Thursday, September 22, 2011

The City of Atlanta Wins ‘Playful City USA’ Designation from KaBOOM! for the Fifth Consecutive Year

The City of Atlanta Wins ‘Playful City USA’ Designation from KaBOOM! for the Fifth Consecutive Year
ATLANTA --- For the fifth consecutive year, KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to creating more spaces for America’s children to play, has named the City of Atlanta a Playful City USA community. 
The City of Atlanta was named one of 151 communities across the country dedicated to creating innovative play-spaces that improve the lives of the city’s youth and the neighborhoods in which they live.  KaBOOM! selected the City of Atlanta and other cities across the nation who put their children’s well-being first by recognition and harnessing the power of play. 
“The City of Atlanta is extremely proud to be named ‘Playful City USA’ for the fifth consecutive year,” Mayor Reed said.  “Atlanta will continue to lead the way in offering physical alternatives and recreational activities for improving the lives of our children. Creating environments for young people to be happier, healthier and smarter continues to be a top priority of my Administration.”
Atlanta is one of only 19 Playful City USA communities that received recognition for the fifth consecutive year. 
“Being honored is a great testament to the people and communities that are dedicated to improving the quality of lives for our children,” said Atlanta Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Commissioner George Dusenbury.  “Receiving this recognition for five straight years indicates our commitment to providing and maintaining vibrant and inviting play-spaces that will encourage children’s physical activity.”
The city of Atlanta earned the Playful City USA, in part, due to the strategic partnership with a local non-profit the Atlanta Taskforce on Play and corporate sponsors.  Atlanta recently installed its first NEO 360 Play System and a 17-foot tall Hexagonal Cable Climber, the tallest climber in any Atlanta park.  Located at Cleopus R. Johnson Park, the NEO 360 Play System builds peripheral vision, auditory and spatial awareness skills through electronic games while delivering an awesome workout. 

"KaBoom!'s recognition of the work the City of Atlanta has done on behalf of children and play is a great honor. As more and more people understand the importance of play in a child's health and happiness, Atlanta will become a truly great city to raise a family," said Atlanta Taskforce on Play Founding Director Cynthia Gentry.
To celebrate its 2011 Playful City USA designation with a play day weekend, the City of Atlanta offers the following events that are free and open to the public:
September 24 – Celebrate National Public Lands Day at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site on Auburn Avenue from 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Volunteer activities are planned to restore the historic houses adjacent to Dr. King’s birth home.  The NPLD will support the First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Outside” initiative.  Families and youth will participate in hands-on activities to close out the day’s festivities. 
September 24 – The community is invited to the Movies in the Park event scheduled at West Manor Park.  The motion picture Thor with Oscar winning actor Anthony Hopkins will be shown at dusk.  The event is hosted by Atlanta City Councilmember Lamar Willis.  The park is located at 3240 W. Manor Circle at Benjamin E. Mays Dr., Atlanta.
September 25 – Join Atlanta City Councilmember Carla Smith, city officials and the Atlanta Silverbacks for an afternoon of fun at the Grand Opening of a new Atlanta BeltLine Park, Boulevard Crossing Park.  The festivities will kick off at 2:00 p.m.  The park is located at 500 Englewood Avenue, Atlanta. 
Atlanta Taskforce on Play (ATOP):
The Atlanta Taskforce on Play is committed to making great play opportunities accessible to every child in Atlanta.  It is the co-organizer (with Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture) of Playable10 International Design Competition.   Playable10 is attracting talented designers from around the world to design a playground for Woodruff Park, a master plan for play for the Atlanta BeltLine, and Do-It-Yourself instruction manuals for innovative community built backyard playspaces.  and
KaBOOM! the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the Play Deficit by ensuring their children have the time and space they need to play.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Georgia residents: Have your state income tax dollars go to scholarships for kids!

I was researching something and ran across this program.  Say you owe $3,000 to the state for taxes.  You can send up to $2,500 to a Georgia school who participates in the program and pay the state $500.  I thought that was a great program.

For more information on the program, visit:

If you want your dollars to go to Woodward Academy please visit:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I think this is a great initiative by Atlanta City Council and Kaplan.

City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell and Kaplan
Offer Free College Entrance Exam Preparation

ATLANTA – Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell has teamed up with Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions to sponsor the 11th semi-annual College Prep Series.

The free event, which is designed to help Atlanta Public School students prepare for the SAT, PSAT, and ACT exams and navigate the college application process, gives attendees an opportunity to get advice directly from testing and admissions experts. 

Since 2002, more than 3,500 students have participated.

“We must prepare our kids to take advantage of every educational opportunity available to them,” said Mitchell. “And one of the best ways to prepare for college entrance exams and improve one’s score – is to practice.”
The College Prep Series is open to any middle school student, high school student, and parents in the Atlanta area. 
The 11th semi-annual College Prep Series dates and locations:
SAT/PSAT Testing: Frederick Douglass High School – 225 Hamilton E. Holmes Dr. on Saturday, October 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon (Registration Code; SAT SKKH1079; PSAT PKKH1013).

ACT Testing: Henry W. Grady High School – 929 Charles Allen Drive – on Saturday, October 8 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon (Registration Code; ACT AKKH1008).

College Express Fair: City Hall South (Atrium) 55 Trinity Avenue – on Saturday, October 15 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.  Students will be able to meet with college representative and receive their testing scores (Registration Code: SKAT1168).

In an effort to promote healthy living, President Mitchell has added a Wellness/Fitness component based on First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative.  Each testing day will include information on “Let’s Move” as well as a free wellness breakfast, lunch, door prizes, and give-a-ways.

To register,

·         Call 1-800-KAPTEST (1-800-527-8378) press #4 then #3 and give code number
·         To enroll online, visit 
Kaplan’s Parent Seminar will be available at both prep days from 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. and at the college fair to discuss various college-related issues.  Discussion topics will include SAT vs. ACT, Accepted; Getting into Your First Choice School, and Scholarship Academy.

For more information, call President Mitchell’s office at (404) 330-6052.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Rochelle and Skyler

It seems everyone was pregnant with boys due in January 2011.  I was fortunate enough to have formed close relationships with two extraordinary women due with boys in January.  We shared "pregger" stories, reviews on strollers and car seats and attended each others’ baby showers.

Everyone at my shower always ask how my “new mama” crew is doing.  So I will share their stories with you.  First up is Rochelle and her son Syler Jordan Danners was due 1-11-11 but he came on his own time!

Q. Describe your trip to the hospital.
A. It started off when I had a routine doctor’s appointment on the morning of December 23. For a couple of months prior to this date, I had been having contractions with no pain for three months. My doctor put me on a monitor to check my son’s heartbeat and my blood pressure. So during my appointment my blood pressure was very high and not an hour into my doctor’s visit I was told, 'We're sending you to the hospital to have the baby tonight!"

Q. How was your labor?
A.I think I’m one out of a million that can say my labor was not so bad. I was in the hospital by 5 p.m. and induced labor started at 9 p.m.. My spine is shaped in an "S". So the epidural would only treat one side of my body. 

By 4 a.m. on December 24, I was ready to push Skyler out. My OBGYN arrived right when it was time to push. He was a difficult little one! He didn't want to come out, every time I would push he would scoot back up into my pelvic bone. Between my pushing and Skyler not wanting to come out, my doctor was falling asleep during my labor! I didn't even know until I was told after Skyler arrived. I thought she was down at the bottom trying to get my baby out. 

So, by the time 6:15 came, the doctor gave me ONE option; to have Skyler suctioned out. She told me all the risks but I would rather have my baby out and healthy than unable to breath because of my pushing and him not wanting to come out. My doctor tried suctioning him out twice and both times, he was unsuccessful. I then recieved an Episiotomy. Then, at 6:45 a.m Skyler Jordan Danners arrived. :)

Q. How many lbs and height was Skyler?

A. 6lbs 13oz 21inches
Q. When was Skyler born?
A. Early Christmas Eve morning at 6:56 a.m.

Q. Who was in the room during your labor?                        
Skyler’s father, my mother, my two sisters Jasmin and Lexy, my cousins LaBelle and Kierstin and my good friends Devin and Rob. But, by the time the pain started to settle in, the nurses asked for everyone to leave except my mother and my sons father.

Q. Describe your first 24 hours after labor.
A. My first 24 hours were the same as any other day, besides the fact that it was Christmas eve rolling into Christmas. The only difference was that I had a brand new baby boy, my first son who I cherish so dearly.

Q. Describe your first 24 hours at home with your little one.
A. My first 24 hours at home was very weird. I had a new responsibility. It’s different when you only have to take care of yourself, but now having someone who depended on me was a whole 180. At times I was nervous, scared and anxious. My son seemed as though he was still trying to learn how to breathe, so every moment I would check on him to make sure he was doing okay. 

(mommy, Skyler and dad)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is a doula?

It’s a funny story.  Shortly after the nuptials of Laura and Alexander Judge, myself and about 10 other women got pregnant!  Laura was a great support and source of information to me during my pregnancy and up until this very day.  I remember sending multiple panic-laced texts while she was at work because I didn't know how to set up my Medela breast pump.  I swear those days seem so far away and my little one is only 6 months!

So, my friend and we shall call her my pregnancy coach, Laura Judge, mom to Alexander Lee Judge III explained to me that she used a Doula.  My first question was, “What is a Doula?”

Laura explained a doula knows your birth plan and will make sure to keep you calm and relaxed while making sure medical staff know your wishes and your birth plan. “She helped with pain management through massage and helping me change positions,” said Laura. “She also gave my husband a break when possible.”
Laura at the hospital.

Please read Laura’s birthing story:

Q. When did you go to the hospital?
A. I had my 41 week (and 3 days) appointment and my midwife let me know that induction would happen that evening, since the practice wouldn't allow me to go past 1 week overdue and that I needed to grab a bite to eat. I was way too nervous to eat (I decided on Subway) because I was excited to meet my little guy and then drove to the hospital about one hour later.

Q. Why did you decide to have a doula?
A. I wanted someone to help me through my labor that was calming and had a great energy around them.  I was big on my baby coming into a relaxing environment.  When I learned that Dee Dee was a doula I knew she was the perfect person to help assist with my labor.  If you ever meet or talk to Dee Dee, she has this calming aura around her.  Also, I believe she has 7 of her own children, so experience is an understatement.

Q. What was your labor experience?
A. When I got to the hospital, I was given Cervidil (which helps dilate the cervix) on May 5, at about 7 p.m. with no progress I was then given Pitocin (to help my contractions) around 9 a.m. on May 6.  Dee Dee arrived early that morning, but I had been in contact with her through phone calls and text messages letting her know to be rested for Thursday (the 6th).  She immediately helped calm my nervous energy and let my husband get some much needed rest.  She helped assist me on the birthing ball and gave me massages to help my son travel down the birth canal.  I was still not progressing and the baby's heart rate started to decrease.  Dee Dee was very motivational, letting me know that I was doing everything right and letting me know how strong I was.  Ultimately, I delivered my son by c-section on May 7 at 1:46 a.m.  Alexander Lee Judge III weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. and was 21.5 inches long.

Q. Who was in the hospital room with you?
A. I had made it clear in my birth plan that I didn't want to many people running in and out of my room, nor did I want many visitors (makes me feel pressure to perform well).  So in the hospital room was my husband, doula, my mother and limited hospital personnel (nurse, midwife). The surgery room was super different: my husband, midwife, doctor, pediatrician (for the baby) and about 6-8 other medical staff.

Q. Explain the moments after your delivery.
A. Recovering from a c-section and trying to see my baby.  I was so drugged up from the surgery, all I remember is speaking gibberish to the nurses.  My husband came to check on me and I yelled at him for leaving the baby's side but my family was watching the baby (sorry love!). They took the baby to the special care nursery for "breathing issues" but I wanted to breastfeed.  As soon as possible (probably too soon), I had my husband take me to see him since no one was bringing my child to me.

Q. Explain the your first time home with your little one.
A. I had lots of visitors. I tried not to have people make me laugh because the incision HURT. I had my husband give the baby his first bath because I was afraid of breaking him.  I couldn't believe we made such an awesome little human being! There was lots of sleeping and nursing, and of course lots of staring at this magnificent little boy!  Dee Dee even called to check in on how healing and nursing was going for me....did I mention how awesome she was?
Alex and Laura

For more on Laura, her birth experience and raising her little one.  Please check out her blog at .

Dee Dee Cocheta served as Laura’s doula.  For more information on contacting Dee Dee, please .

For more information on doulas, please visit  .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shaniya Davis

We didn't get justice for Caylee Anthony but I am hoping for justice in the Shaniya Davis case.  RIP sweet angels.  Please email the DA and let him know we want justice for Shaniya.  It has been two years and they just indicted the mother but still no trial date has been set.

District Attorney's Office

117 Dick St., Ste. 427

Fayetteville, NC 28301


910-437-2590 (fax)