Over the years working as Editor of Savvy Kids, I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful parents and children living in the central Arkansas community. In this special issue of Savvy Kids I would like to introduce you to Lindsey Stone and her daughter Skylar. Lindsey and Skylar have been fans of Savvy Kids for some time now, and if you’ve paid attention, you’ve seen Skylar’s photograph printed from various community events. Continue reading
Get to know December’s Savvy Family, the Merricks! Continue reading
Meet the November Savvy Family! Continue reading
Meet the October Savvy Family! Continue reading
Meet the September Savvy family!
Dad: Patrick McAlpine, Attorney
Mom: Beth McAlpine, Stay at home mom, volunteer, wrangler of children
Children: Walter age 8; Andrew age 4; Tyler age 9 months
Current Projects: Jefferson Elementary School PTA – New Student Activities, St. James UMC – Adult Handbell Choir, 1st and 2nd grade Church Choir Director, Junior League of Little Rock, Sustaining Member, CARTI Aux- iliary member and Festival After Dark Committee member, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas Chocolate Fantasy Ball Committee – Chocolatier Chair (we solicit all of the chocolate donations), Walt Fiegel Foundation Board Member and Scholarship Committee Member
Parenting Style: Active, high energy and detail oriented. Our kids are very active and love to play together, although that does involve some arguing. Even the baby wants to be a part of what his brothers are doing. We try to keep a balance between structured and unstructured activities, which keeps us all sane. We also have dinner together most evenings, which gives us a chance to talk about the day.
Life Lesson Learned from Parenthood: Every day is a new day and a chance to get things right. We have also learned not to take anything, especially family, for granted.
Keeping it Organized: We use a lot of technology – iPhones, iPads, shared online calendars and sticky notes. We also divide and conquer chores, errands, and kids activities.
Advice for Keeping it Together: Communicate and compromise. Be specific about what is important to you and work with your family to make it happen, which may involve some compromise along the way.
Book: The Help
Music: Whatever the kids are listening to
Place to shop for you: Tulips
Place to shop for kids: Dillards
Family Activity: Swimming and hanging out at Little Rock Racquet Club
Restaurant: Senor Tequila and Purple Cow
Guilty pleasure: Shipley Do-Nuts on a lazy Saturday morning
Place to go for date night: Cafe Prego
Vacation destination: Any beach
Won’t leave home without: Snacks for the kids and ice water for the parents
DAD: Scotty Lawrence, Maintenance Reliability Team Leader, Kimberly-Clark Conway Personal Care Facility
MOM: Lana Lawrence, Business Teacher, Vilonia High School
CHILDREN: four daughters, and one son
We work with The C.A.L.L. of Faulkner County to recruit, train, and support foster/adoptive families within our community. We also work closely with the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to reunite our foster children with their biological families. If reunification is not possible, we work to transition foster children to permanent adoptive homes. We are actively involved with many aspects of Vilonia Public Schools. From participating on the Vilonia Middle School Parental Advisory Board to attending Vilonia Eagle athletic events, we are dedicated to our alma mater and credit many of our teachers, administrators, and coaches for helping shape us and our children into who we are today.
Our children are our priority. We strive to teach our children to put the Lord first, trust his plan for them, and pray for guidance in their daily decisions. This sometimes means that the easiest path is not always the right one. We do our best to lead by example. We all love each other unconditionally. None of us are perfect and we do not let our pride stand in the way of admitting when we are wrong, apologizing when we owe an apology and forgiveness is vital. We feel parents play an extensive role in helping their children apply what they learn at school to everyday life, so we make sure we are up-to-date on what our kids are learning in the classroom so that we can build on that at home. Once our children are grown and on their own, our ultimate goal is for them to be happy, caring adults, who are willing to lend a helping hand when needed, love people for who they are and not what they do, and never jeopardize who they are or what they believe for anyone.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM PARENTHOOD
Parenthood has taught us what really matters in this world. The everyday hustle and bustle is not what we will remember at the end of our lives. It will be the memories we have of spending time with our kids and each other. Although elaborate vacations are great, the best memories are the simple ones. Baking cakes that don’t rise, being scared to death when riding with our teenager for the first time, reading and telling stories, and acting goofy when it is just us are a few memories we will look back on as some of the best times of our lives. We are building memories every day and so we choose to make those memories count by focusing on the big picture. In the big scheme of things, the only thing that matters is faith, family, and, Scotty says, Razorback football.
ADVICE FOR KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Our advice is to keep things in perspective, choose your battles, and treat your children as a member of your family team. Children are not guests in your home; they are part of the family. With that said, show your children that they are important by respecting their feelings, personality, and opinions. Show them they are needed by allowing them to clean their own room, help cook their favorite meal, or weed the garden. They probably will not do a perfect job, but that’s okay. They learn by doing so next time they will do a better job and so on. Focus on what your children are doing right and build on that.
Book: The Holy Bible
Music: Country Music, especially Keith Urban
Place to shop for you: Scotty-J & D Supply; Lana-Dillard’s
Place to shop for kids: Hay’s in Searcy
Family Activity: Vilonia Eagle games and playing cards with Grandma and Pa
Guilty pleasure: Lana-cupcakes; Scotty-Mom’s Amazing Peach Cobbler
Place to go for date night: Razorback Game
July’s Savvy Family of the Month!
Grandfather: Kent Knight, President at Knight’s Super Foods, Inc., Cabot, Jacksonville, Beebe
Grandmother: Karen Knight, Public Relations at Knight’s Super Foods, Inc.
Grandchildren: Carter Bowman, 4; Addison Mathis, 5; Kaden Knight, 6; Taylyr, 9; Tylyr, 11; and twins Collin and Bryson, 13
Current Projects: Running a business takes up a lot of time, but when we aren’t working at one of the stores, we try to get out with our family and support many local organizations. Kent is very supportive of the Cabot Panther Foundation, Cabot Scholarship Foundation, Cabot’s two Festivals, and numerous other local and state non-profit charities. I am a member of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Military Committee of Cabot’s Chamber, Little Rock Air Force Base Community Counsel Member. I was also just elected as National 3rd Vice President of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, Inc. located in Greenville, MS.
Grandparenting Style: Honestly, we are extremely busy going into our “golden years,” and don’t spend as much time with each of them as we would like to, but when we are together we appreciate it deeply. One lives out of state in Florida. We make the most of the time we have. Most playtime is usually outdoor activities, like splashing around in the swimming pool. I have taken up bicycling and enjoy doing that with the grandson who lives closest to us.
Life lesson learned from parenthood: With our children, we feel we did the best we could at the time. All parents go through experiences where they wish they could go back and get a do-over, but life does not work that way. So, our advice would be no matter if your life is a busy one, have quality time when possible, and if you’re not perfect, it is OK! I like to visit the grandkids around their birthdays for one-on-one time, to strengthen an individual bond. Always remember to love unconditionally!
As busy grandparent, how do you keep everything organized? You don’t! You do what you can, when you can, and trust it will get done. (Because, it usually does.) The best advice is to try not to stress, and let God take the lead. He does a great job!
Quote: When you live a life of integrity, you know where you stand, you know what you believe, and so do others. You’re not concerned or confused, not weighed down by guilt or worry, you don’t have to blame or complain, and you don’t have a lot of shame. (Author Unknown)
Book: For all the answers you ever need, The Bible
Music: Wide range, from Country to Broadway Plays
Place to shop for you: We try our best to shop Cabot first, including Karen’s favorite, Bimini Butterfly. Otherwise, with our schedule, if not shopping online, Dillard’s and Sears.
Place to shop for kids: Again, if not online, Dillard’s, The Children’s Place, and Target.
Family Activity: Cabotfest, Cabot’s Strawberry Festival, Little Rock Zoo, and the Museum of Discovery
Restaurant: Morino’s Italia Restaurant and Ashley’s
Guilty Pleasure: Karen, Chocolate; Kent, Soda’s
Place to go for date night: Dinner with a movie
Vacation destination: A beach, especially when cruising to one!!
Won’t leave home without: Money and cell phone.
From the Savvy Family section of the June, 2012 Savvy Kids.
Dad: Steven Ray, Dentist
Children: Parker, 13; and Cassie, 11
What’s your parenting style: Very active!! I have always participated in activities with the kids including swimming, playing basketball, football and baseball, jumping on the trampoline, playing board games, etc. Continue reading
Dad: Bryan Redditt, owner and manager of the Huntington Learning Center
Mom: Becca Redditt, full-time mom and part-time tutor at the Huntington Learning Center
Children: Allie Grace, 3 ½; and Conley, 18 months
CURRENT ACTIVITIES: Most of our volunteer work is done through Huntington in the area of education. We read to elementary classes and, during the summer, we give school supplies to underprivileged students. We attend Fellowship Bible Church and are active in their Community and Bloom groups. Becca is a member of the Junior League of Little Rock and Bryan has recently joined the NLR Chamber Education Committee.
PARENTING STYLE: We are devoted to our children and stay very active in their lives. We want to enjoy life as a family now but don’t want to lose sight of the long-term goal. We parent with the purpose of raising daughters who will be independent thinkers, tender hearted, and morally sound. We include them in every aspect of our daily lives to model friendship, love, and our faith. We accept the challenge of raising them in a household that is loving, nurturing, and encouraging because we realize they will seek what they are accustomed to in their adult life.
LIFE LESSON LEARNED FROM PARENTHOOD: Enjoy learning and be inquisitive! It is refreshing to watch our girls learn about the world around them, not to be afraid to ask questions, and to see their faces light up when they catch on.
KEEPING IT ORGANIZED: What did we do before smart phones? Although we have paper calendars of upcoming activities on our corkboard, we mainly rely on our iPhone calendars and texting reminders to each other. We don’t have it all together but have accepted with kids and self-employment, a certain amount of chaos is to be expected. We must communicate often and be flexible. We are in this crazy life together!
Book: Bryan–Just finished Tick Tock by James Patterson but enjoy any detective/mystery books. Becca–Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. We are reading Radical by David Platt as part of our study in Community Group.
Music: Bryan–Top 40 and anything Jason Aldean! Becca–All genres.
Place to shop for you: Bryan–With all the women in my life, I don’t shop much. Becca– Franchesca’s for clothes and Mason’s for shoes.
Place to shop for kids: The Toggery
Family Activity: We are fortunate to live near great parks and enjoy taking advantage of the area’s playgrounds and trails. The girls love to be pulled through the zoo in their red wagon. We enjoy cooking as a family and involve the girls as much as possible. They especially enjoy picnicking in our living room on a cold winter’s night, grilling hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.
Restaurant: Ya Ya’s sans kiddos or Senor Tequila’s with the kids.
Guilty pleasure: Bryan–BBQ, especially when I have time to fire up my 4-foot smoker!
Becca-Anything chocolate. Who needs dinner when you have dessert?
Place to go for date night: On our last date night out, we escaped to Ya Ya’s. They have a fun atmosphere and my wife’s favorite dessert–phyllo dough wrapped brownie with vanilla ice cream. We enjoy going out but more often spend quality time cooking with each other. It was our favorite date before kids and continues to be entertaining with a family too.
Won’t leave home without: Bryan–Keys, money clip, and iPhone. Becca–iPhone, diapers, and wipes.
Early on, while doing research for this issue, I was told, “You HAVE to meet the McClanahan family!” I took the advice and contacted Michelle McClanahan. Not only was she a great source of information and story ideas on special needs related topics, her warm outlook on life was inspiring and I knew the McClanahans were the perfect family to feature in this issue. Robert and Michelle have four amazing kids. Their oldest son, Riley, was born a perfect child – full of life and energy, complete with all the requisite number of fingers and toes. However, all that changed two weeks after his birth, when a blood vessel in his brain ruptured. “We nearly lost him that night, and many times during the following weeks. And while he survived with his life, he was left with an outcome much like that from a major stroke,” Michelle explained.
Riley cannot walk unaided, he cannot dress himself, he cannot feed himself unless someone places food on his tray, he has severe allergies to a great number of foods, he cannot write his name, he cannot control his emotions, and his right arm is drawn up and virtually useless. “Yet in spite of all that, he has been and continues to be the greatest blessing we have ever experienced. Not to say that we would have chosen this manner of blessing or that it’s an easy thing to accept. Yet Riley blesses us and everyone with who he comes in contact. And through it all, our friends, family and church family have been there for us. There has never been a time that we have had to face any of this alone. Riley and the experiences that he has gone through have changed our family, our church and our community permanently and for the better.”
Together, the family created Riley’s Warriors, Inc., as a vehicle to share what they have learned through their experiences with Riley, with others in similar situations. “We want to help other special families find the support, love and acceptance that they so desperately need. That is our vision, our mission, our passion,” Michelle added.