Tina Mortimer
Trying to get a 70-pound Labrador to pose for a photo is no easy task. The Labrador, Gregg, only wants to look at his companion, Brea Vandergon, not at the camera.Brea’s father, Cedar Vandergon (attempts to get the 2-year-old service dog to rest his head on his daughter’s lap. As soon as he removes the portable, speech-generating device from the front of Brea’s wheelchair, however, Gregg uses the opportunity to jump up and give Brea two big, sloppy kisses, knocking over the treat bowl attached... more
Don’t plead. Count to 3!
My 5-year-old daughter, Gwen, is like an adorably playful, but naughty puppy, who wants desperately to play nice, but can’t stop nipping. Because the puppy is so darn sweet, and you’re so weak, you keep letting it get away with things it shouldn’t get away with — because in the short term it’s easier to deal with a few nips than... more
Brown-bag bullying
My son isn’t a picky eater. At home, he’ll eat anything — sushi, salmon, whole wheat spaghetti. He likes spinach. And quinoa. Even Brussels sprouts. About the only thing he won’t eat is his mom’s turkey meatloaf. But to be fair, his father won’t either. It’s not very good. I’m aware how lucky we are that we’ve never... more
A toxic mix for kids
Ever since it was discovered that salt could prevent meat from spoiling, humans have worked to create new methods of preserving, packaging and even transforming food. As a result, the foods we consume today contain a dizzying array of additives — from the artificial dyes and flavorings used to make food look and taste a certain... more
What’s ‘moderate’ drinking anyway?
Every week there seems to be a new study in the headlines linking alcohol to health problems. Even moderate drinking is said to put women at an increased risk of liver disease, depression and several types of cancer.But what is “moderate” drinking?It depends on whom you ask.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define moderate... more
A good-enough marriage
In a few weeks, it will be 12 years since my husband and I stood in front of a Bahamian minister — in what was generously described by our travel agent as a “garden,” next to the swim-up bar at an all-inclusive resort — and said our “I do’s.” It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since either of us made out with a stranger in... more
Coping with anxiety
Last spring, just a few months shy of his 9th birthday, my otherwise healthy, active child began complaining of stomachaches. The first time he complained, I kept him home from school and fed him popsicles and crackers until lunchtime, by which point he had made a miraculous recovery. The week progressed as usual until Friday when... more
Climb, build, crawl, splash, grow!
Do your kids like to play in the dirt? Build tree forts? Climb cliffs and careen through tunnels?If you’re nodding your head YES right now, you need to plan a trip to the newly updated Tamarack Nature Center, about 20 minutes north of St. Paul.Operated by Ramsey County Parks and Recreation, the center is located in a 320-acre preserve... more
Until Gwen
The display flashed "Great workout!"and a sense of dread dug its claws deep in my belly.I stepped off the treadmill feeling like I was still moving, my heart doing that flutter thing again. I waited for the sensation to pass. It always passed, I told myself. Always. Hadn’t the doctor said staying active would help improve my mood? If it... more
Nursery detox 101
One of the most exciting times of a woman’s pregnancy is decorating her baby’s nursery. Like so many new mothers-to-be, I spent hours researching the safest car seats, cribs and toys. I baby-proofed everything in the house. When it came time to convert our spare bedroom into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born daughter, I knew not to... more