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Family Life

Ready, Set, Register! Time To Sign Up for City-Sponsored Summer Camps

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Family Life

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (April 2010) - The end of school is still two months away, but if your kid wants to spend her summer on the beach learning lifeguarding skills, or playing games under the redwoods, you’d best be "camped" in front of your computer by 7:55 a.m. this Saturday.
Online registration for City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation summer camps and courses opens at 8 a.m., Saturday April 17, and local parents know from experience that the most popular classes fill up quickly. According to Recreation Supervisor Carol Scurich, slots in the city’s Junior Lifeguard programs and day camps for elementary-age children are the first to get snapped up.
“Absolutely, Little Guards is the favorite program, it always fills fast,” Scurich said. “After that, it would be the Junior Guards in general, depending on the age group. Day camps like Super Camp, Camp Spot and Adventure Camp are also really popular.”

 

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Camp Harmon: Where Campers with Disabilities Thrive

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

BOULDER CREEK (April 2010) -- Every parent of a summer camper knows how scary it is the first time you drop off your child. Will he make friends? Will she be able to sleep? Who will take care of him if he gets hurt or lonely? For Jill Winston of Santa Cruz, the experience was the same. “I was nervous waiting in line to check Rozie in,” Winston recalled. “But then I saw a camper in front of us in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank. I just cried. I was so amazed that this person could have a camp experience. I thought if they can handle that child for a week, surely they can handle my Rozie.”
Welcome to Camp Harmon, where children and adults with disabilities play, laugh and learn just like campers everywhere.

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Have Reptile, Will Travel

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (July 2009) - It’s a typical 5-year-old’s birthday party. Balloons bob along the ceiling. A pile of brightly wrapped gifts teeter on the sofa. A three-foot-long lizard lumbers among the captivated guests. Well, it’s typical if the animals from Lick Your Eyeballs have been invited!
“Gentle touches,” Audra Barrios instructs as little hands reach out to stroke Esqueleto, a 3- foot long Argentine black & white tegu. Esqueleto scuttles across the deck on short, stocky legs to the delight of the fearless children while several parents, who are trying hard to be good sports, recoil at the sight of his long, forked tongue. “Remember our rule about not touching an animal’s face,” Barrios adds, deftly steering the lizard back into the circle of children.

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Pull Up Your Pants!

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (April, 2009) -- It’s official. I’m old. I didn’t feel that way when I got married and had two kids. It barely crossed my mind when I plucked those first gray hairs and then, without a whimper, turned 40. (40 is the new 30, right?) No, I didn’t actually realize I was old until I heard myself saying to my 13-year-old son, “Pull up your pants! You look like a hoodlum!” With that simple phrase, I joined the pantheon of parents throughout the ages who have responded to their children’s fashion choices with confusion and disapproval. I’ve crossed a line and there’s no going back. And that line hovers just south of my adolescent son’s narrow hips.

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Tragedy Becomes a Miracle for Sand Dune Collapse Survivor

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (Feb, 2009) -- Living near Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Erin Dawn was often awoken by the sound of medical transport helicopters churning through the still, dark sky. She never imagined that one night it would be her own son taking that fateful ride. But on October 11, 2008, it was 9-year-old Aidan Dawn being rushed from the emergency room to a waiting air ambulance for transport to Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
Due to weight restrictions, Aidan’s parents weren’t allowed to ride along, so for the first time in six hours Dawn tore herself away from her child’s side. “That was very painful,” she recalls in an anguished voice. “But I had to let go, surrender, and trust that he would make it there.”
Erin and her husband, Chazz, could only watch helplessly as the helicopter circled and disappeared into the darkness, racing towards Aidan’s only hope of survival.

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Home Is Where The Heart Is

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Family Life

Heart-shaped cutouts embellish a Central Valley home. copyright santacruzwire.com

 

Care Packages: First Class Food and Fun

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

Home-made chocolate chip cookies. Warm socks. Colorful cards from younger siblings. An alarm clock. Music may soothe the savage beast, but nothing warms the heart of a frazzled college student quite like goodies from home. Students of all ages enjoy receiving care packages. Freshmen, however, are particularly appropriate recipients for these reminders of long-distance love.

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School Supplies 101

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

At the end of a long day, you find yourself shopping for school supplies with your very opinionated offspring. He has to have the Star Wars ruler. She wants ("oh please, oh please, oh please") the mechanical pencils. "What the heck," you think. "If it makes everyone happy." If "everyone" includes your children's teachers, you may have to think again. According to an informal survey of local teachers, even the most well-meaning parent can inadvertently pack trouble into junior's backpack.

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Grandmother for Hire: Postpartum Doulas Ease Transition to Parenthood

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Family Life

Written by Tara Leonard

For nine months, prospective parents imagine a cherubic baby, sleeping soundly while they visit with admiring well-wishes. Then reality strikes. Suddenly mom and dad are up all night with a crying baby. Every time they try to nap the phone or doorbell rings. The laundry piles up, the house is a mess, and neither exhausted parent has a clue how to bathe a newborn. Meanwhile grandma, who flew all the way from Pittsburgh to help, can only cook fried chicken, has an aversion to dirty diapers and can't imagine why anyone would want to breastfeed when formula was just fine for her children (although, Lord knows, she doesn't mean to criticize.)

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