This is our place to share parenting perspectives, member news, community events and other ideas.

The AFC Blog presents articles written by our members and people from the local community. If you would like to contribute to the blog (just once or regularly), please contact Amber to get involved!

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  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    We were told our daughter had a 1 percent chance of surviving. 

    The news came when she was 13 weeks in utero - the time when women normally get to sigh with relief that the most risky part of their pregnancy has passed. Nausea and fatigue are lifting, the honeymoon trimester has arrived, and it's okay to start spreading the word about the little, growing miracle.

    I was told the results after getting a noninvasive prenatal exam called MaterniT21, which tests for genetic disorders. The test is 99 percent accurate for things like Down Syndrome, according to my genetic counselor. 

    What my baby tested positive for was Turner Syndrome, or Monosomy X. It's a condition that happens when one of the sex chromosomes is missing, or partially missing. It affects only females, and can cause a slew of problems including abnormal kidneys, heart defects, failure of the ovaries to develop, and shortened height. Most pregnancies end in miscarriages. 

    I went in a few days later to get a chorionic villus sampling, or CVS, to verify the results. While the noninvasive tests can only give the likelihood of a baby having certain conditions, a CVS will confirm with 100 percent certainty whether they have a genetic disorder. (I was warned when I made my appointment, however, that sometimes there is still a small chance that they will not be able to give a clear answer based on the results.) 

    However, my baby measured too big for the test, and I had to reschedule for an amniocentesis. The doctor said the chance of having a miscarriage was greater if the baby was too large. He advised against proceeding unless I had already made up my mind to terminate the pregnancy if there was any chance of the baby having Turner Syndrome.

    I had to wait three more weeks for the appointment. I felt like a time bomb, wondering if I was going to have a miscarriage at every moment. I was frozen with grief, numbly going through the motions of taking care of my toddlers as happily as I could pretend to be. I piled on layers of clothing trying to disguise my bump, not wanting to talk to anyone about it. I lost a baby last February, and the fragility of creating life was still raw in my mind. 

    At 16 weeks, I got the amniocentesis, which tests the baby's own genetic material from the amniotic fluid. My mom had flown down from Oregon to accompany me to the CVS test; yet I went alone this time since my husband was working. My nerves got the best of me and I didn't sleep the night before, and had only a few bites of cereal hours before the test. After it was over, I went shopping, even though you are supposed to only rest--a suggestion in retrospect that I should have obviously taken more seriously. I ended up being taken to the emergency room in an ambulance after nearly fainting at Nordstrom Rack.

    It wasn't the relaxing afternoon I had envisioned, but several days later, I thankfully received the news that my baby was healthy and the test was negative for Turner Syndrome. 

    With my first two children I was never offered noninvasive prenatal testing, which is a blood screening that analyzes the baby's DNA. I don't regret getting the NIPT done because having knowledge is powerful; but I do think it's important to open a discussion about such tests. 

    Like miscarriages, there seems to be a veil of shame or just too much sadness to deal with it openly. Women, myself included, often say how they don't realize how many people have lost babies or dealt with similar testing results and false positives, until they go through it themselves, prompting their friends to share. 

    I am a private person. Yet, having experienced this, I understand how having had more information about how common false positives can be and just having a circle of support during the process can be beneficial; not just emotionally, but for other reasons, too. Many pregnancies are terminated based on results that may not be accurate. 

    For the most part, my husband and I have been fortunate in having two uneventful pregnancies, resulting in healthy kids. While having number three on the way stirred up some anxiety over the impending sleepless nights and chaos to add to our already jam-packed existences, the experience did make us remember to not take the health of our two kids or this little one for granted. Ever. Life is oh so fragile. 

    Baby girl is due May 6.

    -Ananda Paulas

     Ananda has a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and one bun in the oven. She is a European-trained photographer. Shooting weddings has taken her to Costa Rica, the Bahamas, multiple states across the U.S., and all over California. Pre-kids, she felt most alive riding rickshaws through monsoons in India, paragliding over the sea in Malaysia, diving into the Mediterranean, accidentally ending up on a Uruguayan freeway in a golf cart, being chased by a monkey in Costa Rica, or eating Toblerone atop a Swiss mountain.
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I’ll be honest: I don’t look like a beauty writer. My makeup of choice tends to be the “no-makeup look,” easily achieved by, well, no makeup. (I’m literal like that.) But the truth is, sometimes a quick sweep, swipe or smudge makes me look–ok, feel–a little more J.Lo and a little less sleepless twin mom. Minus the glow, that is. And fierce cheekbones. And sexy, come-hither gaze. But we both have twins so we’re sorta similar, right? Right? Bueller?



    This is my take to a desert island, grab from a burning fire, can’t live without, holy grail product. The reason? It kills two, no five (or more!) birds with one stone by blurring the lines (pun intended) between makeup and skincare. For starters, it acts as a daily moisturizer (a godsend when my entire skin regimen = washing my face in the shower), and provides just the *right* amount of coverage (evens skin tone, masks redness, camouflages dark circles). And depending on the formula, it can prime for makeup, protect with SPF, or fight aging. I use this instead of foundation, and often ditch the concealer as well.

    Shut up and take my money!: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 The original and still the best IMO. It leaves me looking dewy, not greasy, which is difficult since my skin often looks like it belongs to a hormonal, french fry-lovin’ teenager.

    Yay! I can still afford preschool: e.l.f. BB cream Its powerful ingredient list screams high-end (vitamin E, jojoba, aloe, cucumber), but at $5.99, it costs less than open swim at Aquatech.


    Surprised? I get it. Blush is often associated with clown-like circles or dynasty-esque streaks. So why on earth would I consider this an essential? The reason: it takes seconds to apply, yet it takes years off your face. My face looks flat and dull without it, and being someone with serious cheekbone envy, this helps. And keep in mind that blush comes in colors other than pink or red. A shade closer to your skin tone (soft coral, tawny peach, dusty rose, or deep mahogany) looks more natural and adds subtle warmth.

    Shut up and take my money!: NARS Blush in Orgasm Thanks to its perfect not-quite-pink/not-quite-peach hue, this universally flattering blush has garnered a cult following, and inspired countless knockoffs. Also, its name is Orgasm. Need I say more?

    Yay! I can still afford preschool: Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso See “inspired countless knockoffs” above.


    I practically had a unibrow when I was younger, but the 90s skinny brow trend (i.e. years of waxing, tweezing, and threading) left mine looking less than lush. Bold brows frame your face, open your eyes, and can transform your whole look STAT. Get ready to raise some brows, literally.

    Shut up and take my money!: I was going to recommend Benefit’s bestselling Gimme Brow, but it was recently recalled. Luckily, the company launched ka-BROW! Cream-Gel Eyebrow Color with Brush and it’s just as good–if not better. The cap transforms into a full-length brush for extra precision, and the creamy gel formula won’t budge, smudge, or smear.

    Yay! I can still afford preschoolEssence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara I don’t have the time or skills for a pencil, so luckily this wand-powered product takes 10 seconds to apply. A couple swipes (make sure to shape an arch) and...voila! Bonus: It’s almost an exact replica of Gimme Brow, but costs a whopping $2.99!


    The most time-consuming beauty product by far is just. so. necessary. I don’t know what it is, but there is something uber-feminine about long, lush lashes. (Think about it: How do you differentiate a female cartoon bunny from a male one? Lashes.) Full fringe is so coveted, my friend once told me that she wouldn’t drive through Taco Bell sans mascara. Which is kinda weird since no one wants extra long nose or ear hair, but eye hair? Sign me up.

    Shut up and take my money!: Lancome Hypnose Custom Volume Mascara An oldie-but-goodie, I like that this mascara isn’t overly dramatic, because being mistaken for Tammy Faye at Trader Joe’s is never a good thing.

    Yay! I can still afford preschool: L’oreal Voluminous Original Mascara Due to my sensitive, infection-prone eyes, I usually shill out extra dough for prestige mascara. But when I can’t get to Sephora, I go to great lengths (get it?!) to grab this from the nearest drugstore.


    For me, lip gloss is too sticky, and lipstick requires too much commitment (as evidenced by the fact that I have three kids with my lifelong partner but still haven’t said “I do”). On the other hand, a hydrating tint, with just a hint of color, looks ultra fresh, not overly fierce. Plus it fades gracefully, unlike lipstick which has to be reapplied constantly.

    Shut up and take my money!: FRESH Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

    Seriously, this stuff is like crack. It tastes and smells so good that I just want to rub it all over my body and eat it–which you can technically do, as it’s totally natural and made from sugar. It comes in a dozen colors, including sheer, but Rosé Tinted makes your lips look like you nibbled on organic, sun-kissed Parisian raspberries (or something like that). My daughter uses it, my “husband” uses it, my dog uses it (ok that’s not true, but she would if she could because it’s just THAT good). Without sounding overly dramatic, YOU-HAVEN’T-LIVED-’TIL-YOU-TRIED-THIS, DROP-EVERYTHING-BUT-YOUR-BABY-AND-GET-IT-THIS-VERY-SECOND. I wish I were kidding.

    Yay, I can still pay for preschool!: Burt’s Bees Lip Balm No intro needed. If you haven’t applied this at least once while reading this, you are about to pull it out of your pocket/purse/glove compartment in 3...2...1.

    -Desiree Marr

    Desiree Marr was born and raised in Alameda, then left at 17, vowing she would never return unless she had kids (which she was 100% NOT having.) Fast forward 20 years, 3 cities, and 3 kids later, she realized that Alameda is pretty cool after all! She is now mom to daughter Saylor (4) and twin boys Hunter and Colton (16 months). In her past life, she worked in Manhattan as a fashion editor and stylist before returning to the Bay Area to write for Sephora. When she is not freelancing for brands such as Urban Decay and Uber, she is drowning in laundry and kissing her slobbery kids. (Seriously, why are they always wet?!) Her (sorta) husband, Mark, is the best hands-on dad imaginable and an amazing partner. In her “spare time” Desiree likes spinning, reading Yelp reviews, worrying, and drinking wine coffee.

  • Monday, December 04, 2017 4:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Let’s be real: as rewarding and fulfilling as becoming a mother is, there is little time left for any of us to let loose, relax, and recharge! Whether you are a stay-at-home-mom or working mom, it can be tough! Do you long for the days when you could pursue hobbies and interests? Or, perhaps on a smaller scale, simply drink a cocktail or eat a meal in peace with like-minded empathetic women?

    AFC and your mom-hive is here for you with monthly group outings that span more than just play dates or kid friendly gatherings! As a first time mom in Alameda, I was eager to make local friends who I could meet up with outside of working hours that truly understood this new phase of my life. This desire prompted me to serve as a Moms’ Night Out (MNO) Organizer for the past year with my right-hand friend and planning extraordinaire Amber Prewitt! It was important for us to not only create fun monthly activities that appeal to a variety of our members, but also instill a warm and welcoming space where we can all take off our mom hats for a bit and focus on our identities outside of that all-consuming title.

    In the past we have done bar trivia, paint night, karaoke, private salon rental for mani/pedis, bingo, AFC MNO only boot camp and dinner/drinks/movies to name a few! Going forward, we are inviting all of our lady members to take an active role in planning these monthly outings to keep the momentum, interest, and assortment of outings high! Future activities include a pajama day, escape room, comedy club, and beer/nachos sampling...all planned for 2018!

    In honor of the holidays this month, we will be having our Second Annual White Elephant/Ugly Christmas Sweater event! RSVP and access details through our AFC website here. We look forward to seeing old and new faces alike, and creating more fabulous memories with you all in the new year to come!

    -Leah Bigonger

    Leah Bigonger is a working mom who, in addition to helping organize AFC Moms’ Night out events, is raising her spectacular toddler son!

  • Friday, November 03, 2017 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations! Now that your blood pressure has gone down from the excitement/nervousness of that positive pregnancy test and reality sets in, what’s next? If the adults in your family are all working, it’s time to look for child care! Yes, even before you tell your loved ones following that delightful first trimester, or before you go scanner happy at Tot Tank or Target for that baby registry. If you hope to keep your baby in the care of someone in our beautiful island city, or really anywhere in the Bay Area, you need to start your search as soon as the shock of a new family member wears off. Seriously.

    So where do you turn? First, a quick sit down to discuss your desires for child care and (very broad) options… assuming a fairy godmother (or grandmother) isn’t going to be on child care duty every moment you need them.

    What do you want your family and child to get out of their new child care setting? Super structured, or more play based? Close to home, or close to your place of employment? What’s your budget? Smaller, more intimate setting, or larger child care facility? Do you work and need child care during normal business hours, or do you only need child care for nights and weekends? Are you looking for full or part-time care? Do you have the flexibility to take off work if a sole care provider is sick? Is an outdoor play space important to you? And, a bit further down the line, but something to consider now: do you want to provide meals or have the child care provider prepare meals?

    After answering the questions above, you may be able to eliminate or narrow down your choice to one or more of the following options:

    1) Nanny or Nanny Share

    2) Child Care Center

    3) Family Child Care Home

    4) Part-time Recreation Program (This last option is typically not an option for the littlest ones, so I won’t go into too much depth here.)

    If you choose a nanny or nanny share (fair warning: typically the most expensive of your options), you will want to reach out to your mommy/AFC/Facebook/Yahoo Group networks in town ASAP (okay, maybe this can wait until the end of the magical third month of pregnancy). Alameda Family Collective, Alameda Mamas Facebook groups. and Alameda Parents Network Yahoo group are brimming with families looking to share or pass off their wonderful, fantastic nannies. Before you interview your very own Mary Poppins, be sure that potential nannies are cleared through TrustLine – a background check specifically for caregivers. This background service is about $135, but priceless for someone who will be caring for your child.

    If a nanny is not your preference, your next call is BANANAS if you are looking for care in Northern Alameda County, 4Cs of Alameda County if you need care closer to work in Southern Alameda County, or Child Care Links if the child care you need will be in the Tri-Valley area. These are Alameda County’s Child Care Resource and Referral (R&R) Agencies, and they are the ONLY ones in the county with access to the list of ALL licensed child care facilities or preschools (used interchangeably in the early care and education field).

    Call or stop by your local R&R, or check out their website – some have online forms – and give them the information about the care you are seeking. The R&R child care specialist will provide you with your own customized list of providers that meet your needs FOR FREE. Yes, they will whittle down the 91,823,679,621 child care options in Alameda to only those that are open when you need them to be, fit your budget, are in the location you need, etc. They will talk about the difference between Family Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers (yes, both must follow Community Care Licensing regulations) and answer any specific questions you may have about child care generally.

    Okay, so now you have your list to jump off of. Next, hop onto the Community Care Licensing’s website and search every single one on your short list for violations. If a facility has severe violations and their license has been revoked, they will not be on the list from the R&R. If a child care facility is on your list, you will still want to check out previous violations, if any. You will want to know what the potential violations were, and if any just don’t feel right the facility can be crossed off your shortlist. Now is the time to set up tours. Infant care waitlists can fill up VERY fast (like a year out) - so the sooner, the better. Ask the hard questions (you can see a great list of questions here). Be sure to go on the tour ideally mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the children are less likely to be napping and you can get a real feel for the child care.

    Once the tours are done, perhaps you are wavering between a few. This is when you reach out to your Alameda parent community. What do families like – and, almost more importantly, not like - about these particular child care facilities? I would strongly suggest making an ultimate decision, signing a contract, and getting on the waitlist no later than one year prior to your little one beginning at a program. ONE. WHOLE. YEAR. You may think this is crazy talk, but trust me, this will lift a huge burden off of your family so that you can sit back, enjoy the morning sickness, swollen ankles, prenatal massages, “baby’s” cravings, and newborn months, and try not to think about handing your new bundle of joy off to complete strangers… we’ll talk about surviving that next time.

    -Katie Honegger

    Katie Honegger is an Alameda native raising her 4-year-old preschooler, Brayden, with her Alameda High School sweetheart husband, Travis. Katie works for 4Cs of Alameda County and was recently appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors as a member of the Alameda County Early Care and Education Planning Council Steering Committee. When she is not working or neck-deep in Paw Patrol, you can find her volunteering for Alameda Family Services as a Board member and fundraiser, watching documentaries, or finding her zen at Leela Yoga. 

  • Thursday, September 07, 2017 6:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Alameda is an island, so this year we are celebrating the end of summer at the beach. 

    Most of the year our beaches can be cold and windy but mid September is prime beach time while our Indian Summer is in full swing.

    040917 Molly exercice outdoor-109.JPG

    We will gather at Shoreline and Willow near the volleyball nets. Slather on the sunblock, grab your shovels and head on down to soak up the sun before Autumn falls upon our home the bay.

    Make sure you RSVP here, small bites will be provided from the Town Kitchen but please bring drinks to share.

    We need volunteers to bring shade structures, tables and ice and we also need people to help with general set up and clean up. You can sign up here.

    Looking forward to getting and sandy with you!

  • Thursday, August 24, 2017 11:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Let’s talk about GUILT baby, let’s talk about you and me!  So now you know that I’m 35 and love Salt-n-Pepa.  While my musical preferences are an open book, what I hide all the time is the overwhelming sense of guilt I feel and have felt for about the past year upon returning to a full-time job outside my home that doesn’t exclusively involve caring for every need of the tiny humans I call my own.  When I was a stay-at-home full-time mom for two years, I had twinges of guilt when I let them watch a little more TV than I thought prudent so that I could have one more cup of coffee, or a shower, or watch one more episode of Game of Thrones out of their sight.  But I wasn’t prepared for the amount of guilt I would feel leaving them with a caregiver 5 days a week for 10 hours a day.  My kids are happy and usually kind little boys with every indication of one day being stellar adult humans.  I honestly have nothing to feel guilty about - they are fine. 

    One of my colleagues, who also has small children, and I were recently discussing how some people need emotional fulfillment from their work life and we were agreeing that we have so much emotional stimulation at home that we don’t feel the need for emotional reinforcement at work.  I explained that every day when I get home, two children’s faces light up, they run screaming to the door, “Mommy! Mommy!” and bury their faces in my crotch with both arms around my legs before I can even get through the door.  Sometimes they even weep with joy and relief at my presence.  Your colleagues might be happy to see you, but honestly, having someone weep with joy at your arrival isn’t something you can really expect daily from your coworkers.    

    With a parent, it's always guilt. You want to be there, but you kind of also want to be here. -Heather Locklear

    Every day at that same door, my kids have said “Mommy I don’t want you to go to work” or “I miss you when you go to work.”  Most days I’m energized and ready to dive into the adult challenges I face at work, but other days I tell my kids that I wish I could stay home, and I really mean it.  When I have a day in my workplace where my productivity is flagging or it is a gorgeous blue day in the usually foggy San Francisco summer, the guilt flows up again and I romanticize about the days when I could pack the kids in the car and head up to the zoo with them or have conversations with them while hiking through the woods.  Whenever they have a behavioral issue like hitting or, I dunno, peeing on the sidewalk and saying “don’t worry mom, I didn’t have an accident!” I wonder if they’d be doing the same thing if I were still their primary caregiver.  Probably they would, but of course I still blame myself.  Then there is the nagging guilt that I could be sending them to a great “forest school” preschool where they could get filthy and be wildlings but is only available part-time, or taking them to Dance With Me or some other enrichment that happens in the middle of the workday…. if only I didn’t work full-time.  And when I am having a really rough day at work, I think of how being a full-time stay-at-home caregiver was one of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, positions (and privileges) I’ve ever had.  

    For all the moms and dads who’ve passed the full-time primary caregiver baton to “the professionals”… I don’t have any answers about how to assuage the guilt or whether I really want to or know how to, but know that if you feel this way - you aren’t alone.

    —  Jessica Frank

    Jessica is a mother of two and is serving as the 2017/2018 AFC Vice President.

  • Friday, August 04, 2017 6:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    ...and we're hoping you'll answer!

    Rainbow colored hands raised with the word volunteer underneath

    AFC is a member-run organization. We all know this. While not everyone wants or has the time to be a board member, there are many other volunteer opportunities where we would love your help!

    Is coordination your forte? We need someone (or a couple people) to take over blog management. Solicit blog posts, edit as needed, and upload to the website. 

    Passionate about writing? The blog isn't going to write itself! Your unique perspective is what we need. Ideally there are many people contributing posts for variety of voice and to reduce burnout. 

    Super at social media? We need a couple people to manage our public Facebook page and our Instagram account. 

    Mad about marketing? Develop promotional materials for our Ed Series events and special events (like Earth Day). 

    Event planning expert? Work with Molly & Hailey to plan our two major parties: End of Summer & Holiday/Winter. 

    Can't wait to get started? Send me an email so we can get you set up!

    None of these suit your passions? Check out our committee list and reach out to the board member listed! 

    Tree with volunteering benefits listed on leaves

    Need more reasons to volunteer? Aside from feeling good about giving back to our community, you're developing marketable skills through your volunteer work! Expand your breadth of skills to make yourself even more valuable in the workplace. Engage your mind in a different way outside of the realm of day-to-day childcare. Try out a different skill in a low risk environment. No matter how much or how little time you have available, we want you to make your mark on AFC!

    — Jennifer Weiss

    Jenn is a mother of two and has served on the AFC Executive Board as Secretary for several years.

  • Tuesday, July 18, 2017 9:23 PM | Anonymous member

    It’s summer. And it’s hot! Sort of. It’s hot if you leave the East Bay! Luckily, we live in the land of beaches, splash pads, swim holes, aquatic centers, and water parks. These are pure gold for kids of all ages. I’m particularly a fan of splash pads for toddlers and preschoolers, as they are often free or inexpensive, and are a great way to get your little one used to the water in a low key setting. Here’s a list of places to do just that, most within or well under an hour’s drive away!

    Current Favorites

    Children playing at covered splash pad

    Larkey Park Swim Center 

    (Walnut Creek): One of the closest splash pads to Alameda, Larkey Park Swim Center has something for everyone. Admission is $2/pp from 10-12 (splash pad only), or $3.50/pp from 12:30-4:30 (as it includes admission into the large, pristine pool, too!) A dual water slide makes this splash pad extra special! You’ll find easy parking (either personal lot or street) and clean bathrooms. Pack a lunch and make a day of it! Playgrounds, Lindsey Wildlife Center, and the Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society are all a short walk away.Boy playing on splash padRancho San Ramon Community Park (San Ramon): My son still talks about this park! In addition to the splash pad, the playground includes a modern day merry-go-round, unique climbing structures, and a zipline! Playing and/or splashing won’t cost you a dime, and parking and bathrooms are easily accessible.Boy playing in shallow wading poolSan Ramon Central Park (San Ramon): This one is different from the rest, with only a large mushroom and shallow wading pool for splashing. However, kids can also dip their toes in the creek, and play on one of the tallest (yet extra secure) play structures we’ve come across. This park was also extremely well kept, and has plentiful parking and bathrooms available.Boy playing on splash pad with water sprayingHap Magee Ranch Park (Danville): An adorable farm-themed park with a great splash pad for the littles! Parking, bathrooms, and trails readily available.Group of people playing on a splash pad shaded by palm treesSeven Seas Park (Sunnyvale): This is by far the largest park on the list! Too many great features to name, including but not limited to: semi-shaded play areas, padded flooring, a nautical themed playground including a ship to explore, musical equipment, and a splash pad. Unlike the former parks mentioned, this parking lot fills up quickly, but the walk is well worth it!Boy playing on splash pad in front of rainbow spray tunnel ringsEmerald Glen Park (Dublin): Located right next to the Dublin Aquatic Center and the Wave Waterpark, Emerald Glen Park is a fun, free option which includes multiple play structures, a generous sand box, climbing rocks with winding slides, and a large splash pad. You’ll find a parking lot and bathrooms on-site, and possibly catch the ice cream truck rolling through.

    Local Swim Centers

    • Aquatech
    • Emma Hood Swim Center
    • Encinal Swim Center
    • Harbor Bay Club

    Bay Area Splash Pads
    East Bay
      • Brentwood: Blue Goose Park, Brentwood City Park
      • Castro Valley: Castro Valley Community Park
      • Concord: Meadow Homes Spray Park 
      • Danville: Hap Magee Ranch Park, Sycamore Valley Park
      • Dublin: Emerald Glen Park
      • Fremont: Always Dream Play Park
      • Pleasanton: Val Vista Community Park
      • San Ramon: Central Park, Rancho Sam Ramon Community Park
    North Bay
      • Fairfield: Mankas Park
      • San Rafael: Freitas Park
    South Bay
      • Campbell: Jack Fischer Park 
      • San Jose: Rotary Playground
      • Sunnyvale: Lakewood Park, Ortega Park, Seven Seas Park
    Bay Area Swim Centers and Aquatic Parks
    East Bay
      • Antioch: Antioch Waterpark
      • Concord: Waterworld
      • Dublin: Dublin Aquatic Center & The Wave Waterpark
      • El Cerrito: El Cerrito Swim Center
      • Fremont: Aqua Adventure
      • Livermore: Robert Livermore Community Center
      • Martinez: Rankin Aquatic Center
      • Newark: Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center
      • San Ramon: San Ramon Olympic Pool & Aquatic Park
      • Walnut Creek: Clarke Memorial Swim Center
    South Bay
      • Morgan Hill: Morgan Hill Aquatics Center
      • Santa Clara: Boomerang Bay at CA’s Great America
      • San Jose: Raging Waters

    This probably goes without saying, but don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water! Temperatures in most of these areas can easily hit 100 degrees. What other splash pads or swim centers did I miss? What are your favorites?

    —Amber Prewitt

    Amber is an AFC mom who helps to coordinate Mom's Night Out, Busy Bag Swaps, Sensory Playdates and more! She's also a brilliant blogger who shares tons of adventures with her toddler son.

  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:00 AM | Anonymous member

    When it comes to finance, doing the right thing isn't always as easy or as obvious as we'd like it to be. It can feel like learning a whole new language or way of life. Throw that into the mix of trying to parent and work and get dinner on the table—sometimes it seems impossible to get the right information, let alone get ahead! Does that sound about right?

    Well, the good news is that you're not alone and AFC wants to help! On July 29th, we're inviting our members and the local community to participate in a workshop with Rebecah Freeling—local family coach and financial advisor.

    Rebecah is passionate about helping both grownups and kids to feel confident when it comes to money. This workshop is all about learning to speak the language of money. In preparation for the upcoming event, we had a quick chat about what attendees can expect to learn.

    Molly McGee: “Financial literacy” is a term we’re seeing more often these days. Why is financial literacy so important?
    Rebecah Freeling: Well, studies have shown that people who are not financially literate have a lot less money than those who are financially literate. And this is not just a matter of the more literate person having more money to begin with.
    For example, the less literate person spends a lot more on debt, because they don’t understand the power of the interest rate and they don’t have a solid understanding of how savings and debt grow over time. There really are a number of specific ways lower- or middle-income people can make even a small amount of money work for them, but they have to know how to do this in order to do it, right? So there’s a relationship between financial literacy and financial health.
    The other thing is that, because money connects to fundamental human concerns – for example, health, or where we live – money actually carries a lot of emotional weight. So just in terms of emotional balance, financial literacy has an impact. I think most of us will feel more empowered when we understand money, and less empowered and more anxious when we don’t.

    We also chatted about savings, interest rates, taxes, and how to make the most out of your financial advisor relationship. I'm amazed by how much I didn't know!

    Of course, this is an AFC Education Series event, so I had to ask her about something uniquely important to our organization...
    M: How can I help my kids get a good start financially?
    R: One really important way to help your kids be empowered financially is to take the time to include them in the family’s financial life... ...Teach your kids to save money—have a conversation in which you all come to an agreement that they’ll save a certain percentage of whatever income they have, and have them do that math... ... ...You can also talk to them about some of your own financial decisions – walk them through some of the choices you’re making (knowing that what you say may or may not be repeated to others outside the family…). Finally, talk to your kids about consumption and advertising – explain that it’s fine to have things and buy more things, but also, the advertisers want us to feel compelled to buy these things just so that they’ll have our money. I’ve found that kids are quite willing to set their own boundaries on consumption once they understand advertising’s manipulation aspect.

    I! This conversation with Rebecah left me feeling inspired and empowered. I'm so excited to bring her knowledge to our community. Get the full event details and RSVP HERE. I look forward to seeing you!
    --Molly McGee with Rebecah Freeling
    Molly is AFC's new president and the Education Series chair. In addition to being a mom, she teaches yoga and engages in community activism.

    Rebecah Freeling is a family coach and financial advisor. She loves helping "spirited” kids develop self-discipline, social skills, and a sense of responsibility. She assists families to plan their long-term financial stability.

  • Wednesday, July 05, 2017 10:00 AM | Anonymous member

    Like most parents awaiting the birth of their first child, my husband and I filled our shelves with books about child-rearing, development, nutrition, safety. We read as much as we could. Then we added to that collection books and documents about adoption from our agency and legal team, topical magazines and (endless) online resources. We had so much information...but not much human connection. 

    The adoption agency encouraged us to exchange contact information with other families also awaiting the arrival of their children. Yet, as we ticked off the application boxes and completed our requirements, we felt further and further removed from other families we had met. There were geographic challenges since the agency had such a large service area. And, every family we met was at a different stage in the process. Some were just beginning the paperwork, some had already been matched with an expectant mom, and others had already welcomed their child(ren) home.

    adoptive family

    So, while we already had a few adoptive families in our circle of friends, my husband and I were keen to grow that web of support—not just for us, but for our daughter too. Through the creation of AFC’s Adoptive Families Happy Hours events, we now have a local resource to help adoptive families connect with each other. A small group of us held our second social of the year in May, and we have dates on the calendar through the rest of the year and into 2018.

    Our small group will no doubt evolve as we grow, and the possibilities for education and community outreach are many. For now, however, we are simply enjoying the camaraderie of families created through adoption. It is a comfort to know that there are other families in the community with the wisdom of experience to share or an ear off which to bounce our thoughts. What a joy it is to see our children connect, realizing they have something really special in common—they are children born not from our bodies but from our hearts. 

    Any member of an adoptive family is welcome to join us: children, parents and even siblings. Foster families are welcome too! AFC membership is not required to attend, so please let adoptive/foster families in your circle of friends know about this terrific new resource! 

    The events are held in Alameda on Sundays from 4:30-7pm so that we can enjoy the last bit of our weekend together. Each family takes turns hosting the event either in their home or a local park. We bring kid-friendly and adult beverages and a dish or snack to share. Our next social will be held in about two weeks on Sunday, July 16. Other upcoming dates are Sept. 17 and Nov. 12, 2017. Locations will be announced closer to the date of the events. Interested parties can contact me via email!

    Michelle Lange

    Michelle is an adoptive mother and serves the AFC community as the Membership Chair on the Board of Directors.

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AFC facilitates connections within a diverse community of families
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