Archives for December 2009

A Year in Review

101_Christy-and-boys.jpgOn the verge of 2010, it seems appropriate to reminisce about 2009. I am so thankful for my family. There were great times we spent together: vacation, holidays, weekends, and times doing nothing at all! These are the things that memories are made of and will be lasting impressions of 2009.

However, without hesitation, I can say there were difficult times too: sickness, loss, and the busyness of life often seemed overwhelming. There were shocking moments too, such as when Jonathan had his bout with seizures and the van was broken into and robbed. Moments like these leave us feeling uncertain and questioning, and that is part of the reality of life.

But, above all, I can sit here today and proclaim God’s faithfulness and love through it all. For that I am thankful and have hope, not only for 2010, but for eternity as well!

May you and your family have a joyous celebration together saying goodbye to 2009, and may God bless you in 2010!

New Lucado Book Perfect for Kids … and Their Parents!

LucadoTallestSmalls.jpgWe see a lot of products for possible review in ParentLife. Rarely do we see a note so personal and heartfelt directed toward our readers. We wanted to share this note with you from Max Lucado about his new book, The Tallest of Smalls.

Parents today need all the help they can get. Ponder these statistics for just a moment.

There are 8,769 hours in a year and within those thousands of hours, children spend 29% of them sleeping, only 1% of them attending church, 16% of them at school, and the majority of their time, with an overwhelming majority of 54%, at home.

Parents are the number one influence on their children’s lives, but with strong outside forces and conflicting messages infiltrating the home, the best teachers in a child’s life are facing tremendous challenges. I have made it my mission not only to inspire and encourage adults, but also to give children and their parents the opportunity to learn together about God’s tremendous love for them through something so simple as a children’s picture book.

In The Tallest of Smalls, I wanted to convey a precious message to children about how divinely special and unique they are. It takes a lot of courage, even for us grown-ups, to stand up for what we believe in and to be ourselves in a world that tells us fitting in is the most important. Courage is a learned skill best adopted during childhood. With The Tallest of Smalls, I wanted to give parents a story that helped build their child’s confidence in him or herself through the life-changing love and unconditional acceptance of our Heavenly Father.

In a society obsessed with image and status, we all need a reminder that fame and fortune doesn’t make the person. We all need a reminder that we are always loved and cherished by God. We all need a reminder that what our Heavenly Father thinks of us trumps what the world might say. It is my prayer that within the pages of a simple rhyming children’s book, adults and children alike can be reminded of these profound truths and apply them to their hearts and lives forever.


Max Lucado

Visit LifeWay Christian Stores to purchase The Tallest of Smalls and to view a special video message from Max Lucado.

New AAP Web Site for Parents

healthy-children-logo-beta.gifDo you have questions about H1N1, car seats, how your baby is sleeping, or what foods are best for your kids? Begin your search for the best medical information at, the new parenting Web site developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of over 60,000 pediatricians.

While you are there, browse for a pediatrician in your area. Search through topics of interest for parents or sign up to have information tailored directly for your parenting stage. Don’t see what you are looking for? Click on the "Ask a Pediatrician" link and get your specific questions answered. Also, download a copy of Healthy Children magazine while you are there.

What are other great information sites you have found helpful in your parenting?

Fun Friday Photo — December 25, 2009

Five-year-old Ethan is enjoying Christmas by making Christmas cookies! 


Thanks to Bonnie A. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Merry Christmas … From the ParentLife Family to Yours!


Early Arrival

In the December 2009 issue of ParentLife, we chose to cover a topic that is very close to my heart. In our monthly column "On the Way" (for expectant parents), we provided information from the American Academy of Pediatrics about bringing home a premature infant. I can tell you all about this from firsthand experience!

105_NICUJack.jpgDue to pregnancy complications, my little boy (Jack) was born one month early. Because he was early, his lungs were not as strong as they needed to be, and while I’m not sure he was ever in a life-threatening situation, he needed help getting the oxygen he needed. He spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where the amazing nurses took fabulous care of him until he was strong enough to come home!

The day we brought him home was very exciting and very scary. For a week, nurses had been there to help us take care of him and oversee that we were doing things correctly. In fact, the night before we brought him home, the hospital allowed us to "room in" with him. They have a special room right next to the NICU where parents are allowed to stay overnight on a test run before sending a baby home. We were responsible for his care all night, but it was comforting knowing that a nurse was only steps away at all times if we needed her! Suddenly, we were home with this tiny life. It’s scary enough bringing home a full-term, healthy baby. But add to that a month of prematurity and breathing issues and it was downright scary. It took us some time to relax and trust that Jack was doing fine and breathing on his own without any trouble.

While the first few weeks with Jack were scary for us, we are very blessed that everything turned out fine and there have been no long-term problems. Not every family, can say that. Many families have babies that spend much more time in the NICU and have long-term complications to worry about. That is why the ParentLife team felt it was important to provide expectant parents with information related to this topic. We want to provide encouragement and support to families, especially those going through a difficult time.

How have your family helped support parents going through a difficut time like this? Or have you been in this kind of situation? Where did you find encouragement and support? What advice would you have for those wanting to help? How can ParentLife provide more support?

Not Just for Sunday School Teachers

The Levels of Biblical Learning (LOBL) is a simple but important ministry tool developed by experts to provide parents and teachers with visible milestones as you guide kids in their spiritual growth. The Levels of Biblical Learning gives a coordinated approach from birth through preteens by using 10 concept areas — God, Jesus, the Bible, Creation, Family, Self, Church, Community & World, Holy Spirit, and Salvation.

13_LOBL.jpgLet me just give you an example. This Christmas, you can talk about Jesus’ birth with your child in an age-appropriate way. You can start when your child is a baby … laying the foundational concepts and then building on them as your child grows.

Babies to 2s

  • God chose a family for Jesus.
  • Jesus was born.

3s to Pre-K

  • Angels told Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be born.
  • Jesus was sent to earth by God.


  • People in the Old Testament told that Jesus would be born.
  • God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us.

Grades 1 to 2

  • Prophets in the Old Testament told that Jesus would be born.
  • God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us.

Grades 3 to 4

  • Old Testament prophets revealed God’s plan for Jesus to be the Savior.
  • Jesus came to earth in human form. 
  • Jesus understands what it eans to be human.


  • God planned for Jesus from the beginning of time.
  • Jesus was born of a virgin.
  • Jesus was God in human form.

To learng more about the LOBL, be sure to visit

More Childproofing Tips

In the December 09 issue of ParentLife, Christi McGuire provided some childproofing tips for Christmas. But there is even more you might not have thought of. Consider the following tips.


Poisonous Holiday Plants
Especially during this holiday season, keep the following list of plants out of reach of your baby.

  • Poinsettias — Poinsettias cause little reacion in most people; however, ingestion by small children may cause skin or smouth irritation, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Holly — Ingesting small amounts can cause mild stomach irritation and drowsiness; ingesting large amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and extreme drowsiness.
  • Mistletoe — Ingesting small amounts may cause mild nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Ingesting large plants may produce serious poisonings.
  • Amaryllis— This plant can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
  • Christmas trees (pine, fir, spruce) — Most Christmas trees are not poisonous, but sharp needles can cause skin irritation and bleeding or choking.

Poison Alert: Toothpaste

104_toothpaste.jpgLook closely at your toothpaste tube and you will see a warning label. Since 1997, the United States Food and Drug Administration has required a poison warning label on all fluoride toothpastes, which contain the active ingredient of Sodium Fluoride, a toxic poison. Although only 1 percent of the toothpaste contains this toxic ingredient, you need to call the poison control center if your baby ingests more than the tiny amount needed for brushing teeth. Toothpaste that is pink, sparkly, and tastes like bubble gum may be easily mistaken for candy, posing a poison hazard for your unsuspecting baby.



Check out this stylish new way to keep your baby safe! Socket-Lockits help reduce electrical and choking hazards in your home. Their unique patent-pending design incorporates:

  • Self-locking barbs to prevent tiny fingers from pulling covers off
  • A convenient pressure-button release to make removal easy for adults
  • A variety of designs printed with non-toxic ink to match any décor

Visit for more information and to order!

Do you have other childproofing tips related to the Christmas? Share your tips with other ParentLife readers by leaving a comment!

Fun Friday Photo — December 18, 2009

One-year-old Kotlon is ready to build! Can we do it? Yes, we can!


 Thanks to Sherry S. and Ashley V. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Free MP3 Download

If you missed our December 2nd post, go back and check it out!

One of ParentLife‘s frequent writers — Mark Smeby — is offering a free download of his song "Emmanuel (You Are With Me)" that is featured in the new Christmas movie The Perfect Gift to ParentLife readers!


To see a trailer of the movie, meet the cast, and buy the DVD, be sure to visit

Does your family have a favorite Christmas movie? What about a favorite Christmas song? Share your favorites with us!