Have your ice cream for breakfast and Super Bowl too

The Children’s Museum Missoula is hosting its fifth annual Ice Cream for Breakfast this Sunday, Feb. 1., and don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to eat ice cream AND catch the Super Bowl kick-off. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Ice cream will be served from 9 a.m. t0 11 a.m. at the Wilma Theatre downtown. There will be a complete ice cream buffet, including waffles and bacon. There will also be Mismo Gymnastics on hand to offer tumbling and Childbloom Guitar music provided. For quieter morning types, a family-friendly movie will be playing in the small theater.

While the children’s museum is always happy to accept donations, this event is 100 percent free and open to all families, thanks to the sponsorship of these fine local businesses: The Wilma Theatre, ZillaState, Mismo Gymnastics, Childbloom Guitar, Zoo City Apparel, Black Coffee Roasting Company, Scotty’s Table, Posh Chocolat and Big Dipper Ice Cream.

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First comes love …

… then comes marriage,

then comes the incredibly rare monoamniotic twin babies born Monday morning at Community Medical Center.

Welcome to the world, little ones. And congratulations, Castillo family!



Photo by Tom Bauer of the Missoulian

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Climb out of the Darkness to raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders

Last week I got a note from Samantha Hines about an event called Climb out of the Darkness Missoula. It’s aimed at raising awareness of postpartum depression and other mood disorders, and Samantha very kindly pointed out that it’s coming up on June 21.

That’s a Saturday – and the official start of summer. In short, a wonderful day to show up at the Mt. Sentinel M trail at 11 a.m. Bring a picnic lunch afterward, at noon, to the Oval.

And register – it’s free but required – here: http://www.crowdrise.com/samanthahines-COTD2014

Here’s the description provided on Crowdrise:

Climb Out of the Darkness is the annual awareness raising and fundraising event for Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit focused on supporting pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis and pregnancy depression. Also, Climb Out of the Darkness kicks ass. Just so you know.

For more information, send Samantha an email at samhines@gmail.com.


New Montana Down Syndrome Association is just getting started!

Happy Friday! And a happy Friday it is!

This morning I read the most wonderful news on Facebook. I’m copying it below in full. It’s from Jessica Kryzsko Crowley, who lives in Missoula with her family and who is a great photographer. In fact, she’s the one who took that beautiful picture of my family in the About Missoula Mom section of this website.

Here’s her message:

Good morning, everyone! I am Jessica Kryzsko Crowley, and I have a beautiful 6 (soon to be 7) year old who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. He is precious and teaches me lessons in love, acceptance and patience everyday. Last night I went to the very first meeting of what will be the group Montana Down Syndrome Association. So far we are just trying to get our legs under us, gather ideas, hopes, expectations, needs to be filled, and information from families who have children or adults with Down Syndrome. We don’t want to miss anyone for our Buddy Walk mailing list this year, and one of our main goals is connection and communication. While legally we cannot request any personal information from doctors, educators, therapists, or many other professionals, we can ask you as parents, advocators, and loved ones to share with us any contacts and information you wish to help make our group and society more aware, effective, productive and inclusive! If you are uncomfortable sharing here, feel free to message my personal page. I look forward to hearing from each and everyone of you! May God bless you all. Thanks!

Interested in getting involved? Message Jessica on Facebook or, if you don’t do Facebook, you can send me a message and I’ll make sure it gets to her.

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How to give all of Missoula’s children a merrier Christmas

This editorial ran on the Missoulian’s Opinion page yesterday. It talks about the recent toiletries drive for needy students in Missoula County Public Schools. And it describes the ongoing need for other items – diapers, cleaning supplies and extra athletic clothes in particular – as well as how to provide those items if you’re moved to help.

School buildings will be closed through the break but the Administration Building at 215 S. Sixth St. W. will be open during its regular hours after Christmas Day. That’s Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. After the holidays, give Kennedy a call at 728-2400, ext. 1080 or send her an email at sskennedy@mcps.k12.mt.us to find out which supplies are most needed right now, and where to deliver them.

Something to think about as we enjoy all the riches of the season on this Christmas Day. Merry Christmas,  everyone!

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Missoula health expert knows how to keep kids safe during holidays

A Health column in yesterday’s Missoulian by Community Medical Center’s women’s and children’s services director Kim McKearnan included a list of ways for those of us with children underfoot to keep them safe during the holidays. It also provided a link to more safety information and checklists via homesafetycouncil.org.

Here’s a condensed run-down of McKearnan’s list. Check out the column itself for the full version.

• Ensure that all electrical cords are in good condition and out of walking paths around your home (including not placing them under rugs).

• Be mindful of hot drinks.

• Candles should be kept a minimum of 3 feet away from anything that can burn, monitored at all times and out of reach of children and pets. Battery-powered candles can be a safe alternative.

• Hosting a house full of guests can lead to decreased supervision of children. Have adult guests take turns watching children, hire a trusted baby-sitter during holiday parties and make safe play rules clear to the children in your home.

• Exercise caution when cooking holiday meals. Keep children a safe distance from the oven at all times and take time to teach them kitchen safety.

• Provide a designated spot for your guests to stow potentially unsafe items.

• Carefully read the labels of the toys and gifts you purchase for children before wrapping them to be sure that they are age-appropriate and safe. When giving an older sibling a gift that could be harmful to their younger sibling (for example, small parts that a younger child could choke on), be sure to remind the child to keep the toy in a place that is out of reach for their little brother or sister.

• Dress your children warmly head to toe. It is strongly recommended that children wear helmets when sledding, snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding to prevent head injuries resulting from falls. Adult supervision is also recommended.

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Ride-a-Thon this week at A Carousel for Missoula

November, where have you gone?

I’d meant to post something before today’s big Griz for Kids Toy Drive – in which folks are asked to bring a toy to donate at Washington-Grizzly Stadium during the Griz football game against Weber State.

The toys will be given to local nonprofits like Youth Homes to hand out to kids as Christmas presents.

I may be late on that post but I’m not going to let this one get away from me: the upcoming Ride-a-Thon at A Carousel for Missoula. That’s happening on Nov. 20 starting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s the first time the Carousel’s directors have hosted this kind of event. They’re asking 30 riders to saddle up and ride until each has raised at least $200. The money will be used to support the Carousel and the adjacent Dragon Hollow playground.

Folks are invited to come and watch and cheer – or better yet, to make a donation or offer a pledge. To call in a pledge, the number is 549-8382. To fill out a donation form, go to http://carouselformissoula.com/shop/ride-thon-donation/.

“In addition to our everyday operations, for which we are best-known, the Foundation also maintains Dragon Hollow at its expense, provides more than 10,000 free tokens each year to agencies providing direct services to disadvantaged children and youth, and welcomes anyone with a physical or mental disability to ride free at any time,” says Theresa Cox, executive director of the Carousel, in a news release announcing the Ride-a-Thon. “The Carousel provides free or low-cost entertainment by hosting a Fairy Tale and Super Hero Festival in July, which is free to all participants; Haunted Hollow in October and Santa’s Breakfast in December, at very low cost to attendees.

“We support 75% of our annual budget through operations, but to keep ride prices low and accessible to all, we engage in numerous fundraising activities throughout the year. The Ride-a-Thon is a fun way for local celebrities and other Carousel fans to encourage the public to support to these beloved community landmarks.”


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Missoula gets approval for being more approving of breastfeeding

Did you catch this letter on today’s Opinion page?

In it, a registered nurse and mom of twins takes note of the growing acceptance of breastfeeding she’s seen in Missoula.

Tiffany Manthie includes some interesting info, such as, “According to the Centers for Disease Control website, so far in 2013, 37.2 percent of all children born in Montana were still breast-feeding at 12 months, compared to 30.6 percent in 2009.”

She also gives a shout-out to both big hospitals in Missoula, certified lactation consultant and Nursing Nook owner Jennifer Stires, WIC, the La Leche League and, finally, all of Missoula.

Even if Missoula and Montana are growing more comfortable with public breastfeeding, it’s worth repeating that nursing mothers are fully covered by Montana law (no pun intended). They have every right – and plenty of reason – to feed their babies this way.

The law has been in place since 1999, and in fact was sponsored by a Missoula mom and state legislator – Carol Williams. Yet as recently as four years ago Missoula got itself all in an uproar over a mom who was asked by a restaurant manager to cover herself while breastfeeding her infant son.

Manthie, in contrast, recently fed her twins at a restaurant without receiving even “one second glance.”

We’ve come a long way, baby, and I hope to see more signs that Missoulians are growing more understanding and supportive of breastfeeding.

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Lots of interest in planning for future of Missoula’s schools

Missoula County Public Schools continues to plow through its facilities planning process, a thing that has all the potential in the world for being dry and boring and poorly attended.

Which is why I love to see photos like this:

KURT WILSON/Missoulian

KURT WILSON/Missoulian


Now that’s participation!

Look at all these people interested in the future of Missoula’s schools and students.

They’re putting deep thought into things like “dynamic educational environments” and “various models of school organization.”

And they’re not nearly done yet.

Tomorrow’s the next big opportunity for public involvement, as MCPS communications head Hatton Littman wrote in yesterday’s opinion in the Missoulian. To join in, just show up at the next Community Listening Session on Wednesday, 6:30-8 p.m. at the Broadway Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 1609 W. Broadway.

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A Halloween party for mermaids, pirates and other water-lovers

My daughter likes to reach for the impossible. For her birthday recently, she asked for a swimming suit “with a real mermaid tail.” Uh huh. I’m still working on that one. Maybe I’ll have something figured out in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, Halloween is coming up and that means it’s time for costumes and parties. Wanna-be mermaids in particular won’t want to miss the upcoming “Splash-O-Ween” party at Currents – which will include a costume contest and other fun activities in addition to open swim.

It’s this Friday (!), Oct. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The admission cost is $3 for all ages, with a dollar from each admission going to Share The Fun Youth Recreation Grants.

So support a good cause while also enjoying the company of Currents mascot Oscar the Otter (who will pull double duty as the costume contest judge), as well as a “Mad Scientist’s Lab” display, a greased pumpkin contest, musical inner tubes and a pumpkin relay.

Word is that the Crazy Creek Cafe from Splash Montana will also offer concessions for purchase.

For more information about the city’s aquatics programs or the “Splash-o-Ween” party, call 721-PARK.

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