Log in


Forgot your password?
New user?
Upcoming Events
African Americans and Children's Literature: A Symposium and Exhibition 125 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20017,
Mar 02, 2024
Frog Frenzy Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 02, 2024
Frog Frenzy Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 02, 2024
Fire & Ice Festival 8525 Chevy Chase Lake Terrace Chevy Chase, MD 20815,
Mar 02, 2024
Close-Up Magic Show & Tour O Museum in The Mansion, 2020 O Street NW,
Mar 03, 2024
The District School Open House Woodridge Neighborhood Library, 1801 Hamlin St NE; WDC 20018,
Mar 04, 2024
Scouts BSA Collections Merit Badge Winkler Botanical Preserve,
Mar 09, 2024
Scouts BSA Collections Merit Badge Winkler Botanical Preserve,
Mar 09, 2024
Regeneron STS Public Exhibition of Projects Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library,
Mar 10, 2024
Parents Night Out at My Gym Potomac My Gym Potomac,
Mar 15, 2024
Talkin' Bout Turtles Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 17, 2024
Talkin' Bout Turtles Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 17, 2024
Spring Egg Hunt (March 23rd-24th) Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 23, 2024
Spring Egg Hunt (March 26th-31st) Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Mar 26, 2024
FuturElitez Soccer 3v3 Tournament Dulles Sportsplex, 21610 Atlantic Blvd, Sterling, VA 20166,
Mar 27, 2024
Easter Tour & Candy O Museum in the Mansion,
Mar 29, 2024
Spring Eggstravaganza at My Gym Potomac My Gym Potomac,
Mar 29, 2024
Raptors of the Potomac Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
Apr 13, 2024
Girl Scout Garden Day Carlyle House Historic Park,
Apr 20, 2024
The Okee Dokee Brothers Center for the Arts at George Mason University,
Apr 21, 2024
Upcoming events…
 
 

DCUM Weblog

Whither Our Water? Addressing Hormones in Local Waterways

by SurelyYouNest last modified Feb 20, 2008 05:45 PM

Biology Professor Gives SurelyYouNest the Straight Dope on Endocrine Disruptors in our Waterways

Anyone who has a kid, heck, anyone who drinks water has done a double-take on the hermaphrodite fish in our waterways. Um, are egg-producing male fish swimming around in my iced tea water? I'm just askin'.

Hermaphroditism isn't just rampant in the Potomac River here in the nation's capitol. Intersex fish are showing up in waterways all over the country. They're not sure why (birth control pills and chicken farm runoff are two top candidates),and most wastewater treatment plants are doing exactly, ah, nothingabout it. My local councilmember emailed our water and sewer authority

read more...

Credits and Offsets for Non-Green Valentines?

by Organicmania last modified Jul 13, 2011 06:00 AM

Maybe you’ve heard of the pollution credits and carbon offsets made available to Big Business. Today I’m wondering about credits and offsets for non-green Valentines. You see, last week I blogged about Green Valentines, happily recalling the days when I enjoyed making simple homemade “green” Valentines with my son. I expected to do the same this year. But this year I don’t have a preschooler. I have a BIG BOY kindergartner whose best friend is giving out Hot Wheels Valentines.

 

“They’re shaped like real Hot Wheels,” my son breathlesslyexplained, “and they say, ‘Hope you’re right on track for ValentinesDay!’” By this point, dear readers, you know what’s coming, don’t you?

“Mama,” he pleaded, “please, please, I don’t want to make my Valentines this year. I want Hot Wheels Valentines.”

I was scandalized. After all, there I was, telling the entireblogosphere about the joys of making home made “Green Valentines” andmy own son was begging me to buy commercial Valentines cards!

Fortunately, I’ve been a parent long enough not to say “no” rightaway, so I told him I would “think about it.” And think I did. Ithought about how he was the kid at summer camp who told the othercampers that their tunafish sandwiches were poisonous because of the

read more...

A Lesson Learned...

by MommySquared last modified Feb 14, 2008 05:44 PM

Mommy missed bedtime and what that taught me about my husband.

I learned an important lesson this week. My husband is a parent too.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. My husband is actually a great parent. A wonderful parent.He adores the kids and they adore him. But, after a year of intensivehome renovations, it had gotten to the point where I felt like I wasparenting solo. Many nights he would get home from work with a quickkiss for us and then disappear into the construction zone. Sometimes hewould come back in for a quick dinner only to disappear again,sometimes he'd just pop his head back in for a goodnight kiss. Now,some of you may be thinking, what's the big deal? Allow me to respond:no daddy from the hours of 5pm to 8pm? Prime dinner, bath, andbed-time? With two toddlers? Do you now have teenagers and just notremember what 7pm is like for a 2 year old?

read more...

Simple Green Valentines for Your Little Kids

by Organicmania last modified Feb 25, 2008 08:04 PM

It’s hard to believe Valentines Day is next week. Soon it will be time to run out and buy those cutesy Valentine cards so popular with the preschool set. Wait a minute - they’re packaged in boxes shrink wrapped in environmentally unfriendly plastic. Plus, who ever remembers to buy them until your little darling reminds you the day before Valentine’s Day? By then the odds are good that you’ll need to make an extra trip to the store just to pick up the cards – wasting gas. This Valentine’s Day, get ahead of the curve with an approach that’s cute, eco-friendly, inexpensive, and fun.

It’s hard to believe Valentines Day is next week. Soon it will betime to run out and buy those cutesy Valentine cards so popular withthe preschool set. Wait a minute - they’re packaged in boxes shrinkwrapped in environmentally unfriendly plastic. Plus, who ever remembersto buy them until your little darling reminds you the day beforeValentine’s Day? By then the odds are good that you’ll need to make anextra trip to the store just to pick up the cards – wasting gas.

This Valentine’s Day, get ahead of the curve with an approach that’scute, eco-friendly, inexpensive, and fun. Go retro and make your ownValentine’s cards!

You can get fancy if you want, but I’ve gotten rave reviews from thepreschool teachers with just the simplest of Valentines. Before my soncould even cut out a heart shaped valentine, he cut circles, squares,

read more...

Diary of a Date Night

by SarahPekkanen last modified Jul 24, 2018 02:30 AM

This article originally appeared in Bethesda Magazine

Diary of a Date Night

By Sarah Pekkanen

6 p.m.: Date night officially starts in 45 minutes. Plop Trader Joe’s pizza in front of kids, plop kids in front of television, and sprint to shower. Husband is already in shower. Yell, “Are you almost done?” He yells back, “Just got in.”

6:08 p.m.: Husband still hogging shower. Turn on sink water to brush teeth, causing him to squeal as shower water turns scalding hot (love these old Chevy Chase homes!) Say innocently, "Oops." “You did that on purpose,” he accuses. Date Night not off to rip-roaring romantic start.

6:17 p.m.: Ask husband to get the kids some juice. “What kind?” he asks. Impatiently bark, “What do you think? That they’ve suddenly started swigging pomegranate juice or apricot nectar?” He responds huffily, “No need to be sarcastic,” as he gets the lemonade. Date night still sorely lacking romantic ambiance.

read more...

Pictures of Children on the Internet

by mamamonster last modified Jan 10, 2012 06:55 PM

I recently made a disturbing discovery about some of my Flickr photos that I thought were private.

I made a disturbing discovery the other day almost by accident.

When I first put some family pictures up on Flickr, I thought it would be a good way to share pictures with family and friends especially since some of the grandparents are always on me to "send pictures!" My parents thought it was a little weird to post pictures in a public forum, in particular the 3 shots of the kids swimming naked in the mountains.

Hey, dude, I'm a hippy. We swim naked. Big deal.

To appease them, I made the 3 nudie pics "private" for family only and didn't think any more of it.

I happened to be clicking through my flickr album noticing for the first time that flickr records the number of "views" per picture when, like a cold bucket of water on my head, I noticed that the three private, naked, family-only pictures had over a thousand views each.

My immediate reaction was shock and disgust. I immediately deleted the pictures. Then I had some questions. Who viewed my kids 1000 times? How did they gain access to my private account? How did they even find these three pics among more than 100 non-nudie pics? I had not named them in any obvious way- I think they were called something like "img 0048". Who? What? How? My mind did not want to go to WHY.

I have asked these questions to Flickr via their online support (they do not offer phone support) and they have offered no satisfactory answers. Their reply was that maybe I needed to check my privacy settings. I wrote back, insisting on a more substantive answer. I have not heard back.

Kids are meant to be naked. Their bodies are beautiful and I mourn their growing body-shame. I went to art school where we deconstructed essays decrying Sally Mann and her supposed exploitation of her children and their beauty, their nakedness. We debated what should and shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of "art". We agonized over the tension between the artists "intention" and the viewer's "perception".

And now I am agonizing over my own intention to take beautiful photos of my beautiful children so that when they're regular buttoned-up adults they can catch a glimmer of a memory of what it was like to splash and play in a mountain stream, to feel the chill water on their skin, to warm their whole bodies in the sun without a single notion of embarrassment or fear or shame. It's clear to me that perception, in this case, trumps intention.

The whole notion of public and private is shifting in the age of the internet. I understand why my parents (and many others, to be fair) have concerns about privacy and safety, and I too will now be more cautious. But I can't say that this will drive me to join the ranks of the deadbolting, paper shredding, alarm-setting, password touting fear-mongers who try to sell us on the illusion of security. That's just not who I am.

The pictures are down, the children are snug in their beds. I'm doing my job as best I can.

read more...

Greenwashing at the Kiddie Hair Salon

by Organicmania last modified May 09, 2011 01:55 PM

Today was a milestone day – I finally got Baby Boo his first real haircut, since far too many people were calling him "her." So by rights, I should be thinking about that happy milestone. But instead, I left the salon steaming mad about one of the most egregious examples of greenwashing I’ve come across – an “all natural, organic hair care for children” line of lice treatment products called Fairy Tales Hair Care for Children.

Today was a milestone day – I finally got Baby Boo his first real haircut, since far too many people were calling him "her." So by rights, I should be thinking about that happy milestone. But instead, I left the salon steaming mad about one of the most egregious examples of greenwashing I’ve come across – an “all natural, organic hair care for children” line of lice treatment products called Fairy Tales Hair Care for Children.

I happen to really be in the market for an organic lice treatment – in fact I even included it in a post called “Humor Me Not: The Top 10 Organic and Eco-Friendly Products Moms Really Need.”

read more...

Plugged in/Turned off

by mamamonster last modified Jan 30, 2008 06:18 AM

I'm having second thoughts about my kids' array of electronic toys. They're fun and educational-- but that's just the problem.

The holidays brought us many blessings including a large pile of gifts, many of which are electonic gadgets.  And though, I bought some of them myself,  I'm having second thoughts about my kids' array of electronic toys.

While they have and enjoy plenty of non-electronic/non-high tech play things-- dirt, for example, most of their new, and therefore most exciting toys are electro-gizmos.

We have the remote controlled toys, for example. Some monster trucks and a flying dragon fly. Ok. Those are cool. You can take them outside and drive them around.

There's the mini-game player. There's the talking Solar System board. There's the Smart Cycle which is like a videogame/bicycle. They're all pretty fun and they're supposed to be educational.

Actually, that's where the problem comes in. What are these toys really for? I think parents buy them for two reasons:

1. to occupy their kids
2. to feel like their kids are learning something useful

While I can't argue that kids don't need to be occupied sometimes-- after all, parents can't and shouldn't be 24/7 entertainment machines-- I do wonder if plugging them in is the best way to do that.

And if they're supposed to be learning something, can't they learn things without being plugged in? Really, just learning how to occupy yourself without flashing lights and beeping sounds is one of the most important things a person can learn.

As for academics, while I have heard stories of people who claim that their children learned to read with video games, my kids are getting that elsewhere. I mean, if the only way your kids are interested in reading or numbers is in a video game, go for it. Whatever works. But 100 years ago, 7 year olds were expected to learn Latin and French in addition to English grammar and mathematics with nary a video game in sight, so I feel certain that it's possible.

I'm not going to run out and get my kids a stuffy classical tutor. In fact, rather than all of that fancy Latin or even English grammar, I hope my kids learn creativity and curiosity. I want them to learn to explore the world with wonder and to be excited about what they discover.

That's exactly what the Smartcycle and other electronic toys can't give them.

I'm not going to take their toys away. But I am going to make sure to give them plenty of my attention, play dates and time outside connecting with nature-- which is what they really want anyway.

read more...

Medicine in America

by NewMom913 last modified Jan 11, 2008 05:55 PM

Who took the "care" out of health care?

As I sort through the piles of medical bills, insurance forms, and other paperwork related to my recent pregnancy, I'm reminded how complicated the health care system in our country has become.

Up until this past year, my family and I were fortunate not to have to deal much with health care issues – my dear husband (DH) and I were relatively healthy, so doctors' visits were few and far between.  But 2007 brought us our son, and consequently, more contact with the medical community than we'd ever had before.  I'm sorry to report, however, that it was extremely difficult to get the care and personal attention we needed.

From overcrowded doctors' offices with long wait times and rushed visits, to overworked (and sometimes indifferent) medical personnel, to battles with insurance companies over procedures that our physicians ordered but insurance wouldn't cover, we had to fight constantly to get adequate treatment.

read more...

New Year's Resolutions

by SarahPekkanen last modified Sep 08, 2018 11:51 AM

New Year’s Resolutions for 2008: Get bathing-suit ready by springtime. Eat less bread and chocolate. When running errands, park minivan at farthest point away in lot and power-walk to door, strengthening biceps by dragging along protesting kids. Practice rhythmically clenching stomach muscles in line at supermarket while reading about Brangelina in tabloids.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2008: Get bathing-suit ready by springtime. Eat less bread and chocolate. When running errands, park minivan at farthest point away in lot and power-walk to door, strengthening biceps by dragging along protesting kids. Practice rhythmically clenching stomach muscles in line at supermarket while reading about Brangelina in tabloids.

Diary entry on 9:01 a.m. on January 1, 2008: Exhausted from long trudge to door of Whole Foods. Buy dark-chocolate bar (organic, though) to revive oneself. Whole Foods has no tabloids! How can this be? Buy dark-chocolate bar to console oneself.

How can it be springtime already?

My bathing suits have somehow all shrunk during their long winter hibernation. Time to whip myself into shape. Time for a diet.

read more...