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Expressing Motherhood Is Coming To Des Moines

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As you’ve heard by now Expressing Motherhood is coming to Des Moines February 20, 2016 at the Stoner Theater (inside the Civic Center). Ashlen from The Kidsperts is the local producer and co-director of the play. We’re just two short months away from our submission date (October 19) and people have been asking a lot of questions about submissions and the play in general! Here are the need-to-knows of Expressing Motherhood:

  • Expressing Motherhood is a National play, founded in 2008 by two stay at home moms in Los Angeles. The play has traveled to Boston, New York, Chicago, and (this fall) San Francisco and Sioux Falls, SD. The show consists of around 10 people performing their stories about motherhood on stage. You don’t need experience to be in this play–it was made for the amateur performer (and really, there’s all a little amateur performer in all of us).
  • Submissions are accepted ONE DAY ONLY on October 19, 2015. Send submission pieces to desmoines@expressingmotherhood.com.
  • Submissions should be a specific story telling your experience with motherhood. That being said, you don’t need to be a mom to be cast, just have a story about motherhood. Monologues, skits, songs, and dances are all welcome to tell your story. Your story can be sad, funny, embarrassing, etc. as long as it captures the aspects of motherhood.
  • Submission pieces should be around 5 minutes long when read aloud.
  • Before you submit your work, make sure you are available for all rehearsals and shows. Rehearsals will be held Thursday February 18, 2016 from 10 – 2 and Friday February 19, 2016 from 10 – 2. Showtimes are Saturday February 20, 2016 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets will be on sale soon through Ticketmaster and/or at the Civic Center box office (221 Walnut St., Des Moines, IA 50309).

Read more about Expressing Motherhood on their website and find Expressing Motherhood on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (using the hashtag #exmoshow). Also be sure to check out creator Lindsay Kavet’s new Podcast on iTunes, where Lindsay speaks with creative moms about their projects and how they balance life.

If you have any additional questions regarding the Des Moines Expressing Motherhood shows, please email Ashlen at desmoines@expressingmotherhood.com or ashlen@thekidsperts.com. Keep up to date with the latest news regarding the Expressing Motherhood show in Des Moines, follow the Kidsperts on Facebook and/or sign up for our newsletter.

About the Author

1423869052310-300x236  Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raisedhere. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book aut
hor, and co-director and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time Ashlen enjoys exploring all DesMoines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.

Follow her:

Website: www.thekidsperts.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashlen.kidspert

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AshlenSheaffer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ashlen_at_the_kidsperts/

Exciting News!

I have been holding in some exciting news and it is finally official!

DSMParentownership

 

Midwest Mom & Wife now owns Des Moines Parent. Have you ever checked out Des Moines Parent? It is an awesome blog that was created and developed by Thomas Brogan, to keep parents up to date with fun events and activities in Central Iowa. I am so excited I get to take over and continue to do the same!

Midwest Mom & Wife will continue to have awesome information about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, natural parenting, and more! While, Des Moines Parent will have all the fun events and activities to do an see in Central Iowa. There is an event calendar of Des Moines Parent, which is an awesome resource, that lists dates and times of fun things to do. Check it out!

During this transition and I learn to juggle TWO blogs … blog posts may slow down a bit for the next couple of weeks. Do NOT worry though, I will return with awesome posts and information for you.

Make sure you visit and subscribe to Des Moines Parent and also “like” Des Moines Parent on Facebook.

Local Doula Spotlight: Blessed Bean Birth & Belly

In celebration of World Doula Week I had the privilege to interview one of the many doulas, in Central Iowa, Michelle Conkling. Michelle’s doula business is Blessed Bean Birth & Belly and has been a doula for almost two years. Below, you will find some basic questions of why she became a doula, her education, and why she enjoys it so much!

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Why did you want to become a doula?

“Before my daughter was born, I didn’t even know what a doula was. After she was born, I started to read a lot because my birth did not go as planned and ended in a c-section. I joined a local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group and doulas kept coming up. The more I read about doulas, the more passionate I became about the idea. I wanted to support women through this very important time.”

What program did you use to become a certified doula? How long did it take you?

“I certified through the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). There are many organizations now that certify doulas but I felt that ICEA and DONA had the most name recognition. I also liked that I could go back and certify as a post partum doula, a childbirth educator, and a prenatal and postpartum fitness educator all under one umbrella. There are eight books you need to read through ICEA on topics of birth to breastfeeding to postpartum depression. After I completed the reading, I attended a doula training workshop – this was an intense, hands on, two days full of information, workshop. I also attended a childbirth education class. And then I jumped in to attending births. You need three births to get certified – I am a volunteer doula through Mercy West so that helped a lot. I have subsequently attended additional training on VBAC’s and on utilizing a rebozo for labor support (a rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl that can be used to apply pressure to the hips or support the belly.”

What is your favorite part of being a doula?

“I am continually amazed at the strength and power that women have during birth. And there is always the part when the mother gets to see her baby for the first time. It is a privilege to be a witness to both.”

Why should every pregnant woman hire a doula?

“We spend so much time and money planning our weddings but often we don’t give equal consideration to planning our births. Now granted, there are many things you can’t control during birth. But it is worth the time to educate yourself not only about the birth process but creating a support team around you – that support team includes your medical providers. One in three births in this country end in a c-section and those stats are very true in Iowa. We need to start asking our medical care providers tough questions about evidence based care long before we are in the middle of labor – questions about inductions and c-section rates. Having the continuous support of a doula has been shown in numerous clinical studies to result in shorter labors, reduces the need for Pitocin and c-sections, and reduces the mother’s need for pain meds and epidurals. The continuous support that a doula provides is invaluable!”

Do you have children and did you use a doula for your birth?

‘I will absolutely be using a doula for my next birth!”

What differentiates you from other doulas in the area?

There are many great women offering doula services in the Des Moines area. I really think it’s important for women (and their partners) to meet with several doulas to find the best fit for them. My role is to not only support the expecting mother but if she has a partner, help him or her best support the mother.

How many births have you attended?

“I have attended 15 births.”

How much do you charge? What type of packages do you offer?

“My fee is $600. I don’t offer different packages – I do offer a bellycast to clients if they are interested in that. I can work with people on payment plans and take Paypal.”

To celebrate even more Michelle has been gracious enough to give away one FREE belly cast! A belly cast is a plaster cast of a pregnant woman’s belly. It is a beautiful keepsake you can keep for years to come and show your children. This is one, of the many, unique things Michelle offers to all her clients.

Follow these rules to be enter into winning a FREE belly cast! I will announce a winner Sunday, March 29th on my Facebook page.

Belly Cast Giveaway

 Happy World Doula Week!

Campbell Recreation Area

Monday was not only free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen …

It was gorgeous out! It was in the 80′ s and we checked out Campbell Recreation Area in Clive.

Campbell Recreation Area

Campbell Recreation Area is located at 12385 Woodlands Parkway. It is nestled back into a residential area. It is a huge park (34 acres), with lots to do!

There are two different playground available to play on. One is smaller for kids under age 5 years, although if you are older than 5 years, you are okay to play on it.

There is a larger playground for kids over 5 years. Monte who is only 3 years spent most of his time playing on this one. There is lots of climbing and a few tall slides.

The park had a large open air shelter with several picnic tables. It was a nice place to sit, cool off and have a snack. There are grills available too. You can rent this shelter here for different events.

If you are interested in grilling and gathering in a shady area a little ways from the park, there is a small gazebo available with tables and a grill. You cannot rent the gazebo.

My favorite part of the park was the large open fields. There is plenty of room to play football, catch, roll around, kick a ball, etc. Bring a large blanket and have a picnic!

This park is not only perfect for children, but it’s for adults too! There are three adult softball fields, two sand volleyball courts, a basketball court AND three tennis courts.

Greenbelt Bike Trail also goes pass Campbell Recreation Area and there are detours off of it that lead into the park.

This is another park you can plan a day to spend at! Make sure to check it out this Spring and Summer!

Kids in Harmony, LLC: Music Therapy Services

The kids and I had a chance to check out Kids in Harmony, LLC this week at the Urbandale Public Library. They were offering a special preview class for the kids due to Spring Break. We had lots of fun singing, dancing, and playing with egg shakers.

Kids in Harmony is owned and operated by Shelly Peterson who is a board certified music therapist. She has a lot of experience working with children and adults that have special needs. She also works with children who may not have any specific special needs.

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She focuses on communication skills, academic skills, fine & gross motor skills, emotional development, sensory, social skills and music skills, in a playful environment.

Right now, Kids in Harmony is offering classes Friday mornings at Courage League Sports in Urbandale. There is one session approaching fast, starting March 27th through May 8th (no class April 3rd). Classes will be held 9:30-10:00 am for children ages 1 through 6 years of age with an adult. It is $66/child for one 6 week session. They do offer sibling discounts also. Click here to register.

Make sure to follow Kids in Harmony on Facebook here.

Firetrucker Brewery

I have a personal goal to go visit and try all the awesome local breweries that are popping up in Central Iowa. I recently had the chance to visit Firetrucker Brewery.

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The atmosphere was fun. There is a stage area, where live bands can come and play. The night we visited David Watson was playing and he was great! There is a HUGE patio. I am excited to visit again when the weather is consistently nicer. They have a huge area to park bikes and are not far off from the Ankeny Bike Trail. This will be an awesome place to stop for a beer when you bike ride.

Of course, the beer was great! I started the evening off with the Tropical Burn. It was good. It is an IPA, but not like your typical IPA and I actually enjoyed it! It is a fruity type beer with mango, pineapple and grapefruit aromas. The mango sealed the deal 🙂 I also tried the Ladder 317 which is a Irish Style Cream Ale. I started my St. Patty’s Day celebration early!

My favorite part (besides the awesome brews) was the artwork displayed throughout the brewery. Every few months Firetrucker rotates a different local artist into the brewery, so they can display their artwork. I love how much the brewery supports other local people! Right now, VAN HOLMGREN is on display! Check it out!

Breweries do not tend to cook their own food. You can bring in whatever food you like and most nights they set-up delivery with restaurants in the area. The night we were there they had a limited menu from Okoboji Grill. We ordered our food and it was delivered to us! It was also included in one tab, so we were not paying two different tabs. It was very simple and convenient!

Make sure you get a chance to check out this laid back brewery. If anything, grab your bike and ride to check it out!

Make sure and follow Firetrucker on Facebook here to keep up to date with events, music, artwork and more!

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Colby Park

This past week was absolutely gorgeous out. We spent pretty much everyday outside! We also checked out a new park … Colby Park in Windsor Heights.

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Colby Park is an awesome park and has a lot to offer. It is nestled behind the Wal-Mart and in a residential neighborhood. It’s exact address is 69th and School Streets.

There are LOTS of slides and two separate playgrounds to play on. There are also lots of swings, items to sit and bounce on, and a climbing wall!

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I love the amount of open fields there are and picnic tables available. It is a perfect park to spend the entire day! Pack a lunch or snack! There is also a tennis court and baseball diamond available to play on, if you get tired of playing on the playground.

Another awesome feature is the Walnut Creek Trail that leads into the park. After you are done playing, you can get on the trail and go exploring! You could even ride your bike! If you follow the trail underneath the interstate, you will go by a special dog park. So make sure you bring your furry friend with you!

Colby Park is the main park for Windsor Heights and hosts lots of events through out the year. You will also find the Windsor Heights Community Center, which is HUGE and beautiful. You can rent this facility for a fee. It is a great place to host wedding receptions, birthday parties and more! On the back side of the center, are the bathrooms which our clean and very nice to use when you are at the park! I felt very comfortable taking all the kids in there for potty breaks 🙂

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There is soo much to do at Colby Park. Lots of playing and exploring can be done. Even babies have fun too! 🙂

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Make sure to put Colby Park on your bucket list to check out this Spring and Summer!

CAPPA Postpartum Doula Training

World Doula Week is fast approaching!

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I had never heard of a doula until after the birth of Monte and I definitely wish I had the support of a doula with his birth. When I discovered I was pregnant with Amelia, I knew I needed and wanted a doula. The women in the Des Moines area are very lucky with the amount of doulas that are available to help with birth.

During World Doula Week, I am looking forward to sharing with you the awesome resources we have in our area, why you need a doula for your birth, what is involved to become one and an AWESOME giveaway 🙂

For now, I want to focus and share with you an awesome opportunity coming to Des Moines.  Midwest Mom & Wife is hosting a CAPPA Postpartum Doula Training! If you are wanting to become a postpartum doula or are interested in increasing your skills and education, in this field, this is for you.

CAPPA is a pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum organization.

“Since 1998, CAPPA’s mission has been to offer comprehensive, evidence-based education, certification, professional membership and training to childbirth educators, lactation educators, labor doulas, antepartum doulas and postpartum doulas worldwide. CAPPA is proud to provide new and expectant families access to these professionals here. Cappa is a non-profit organization headquartered in the USA, with branches worldwide.”

You will learn:

  • Scope of your Doula Practice
  • How to support parents
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Baby care techniques
  • Calming & soothing techniques
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • SIDS/Back to sleep campaigns
  • Listening & communication skills
  • Record keeping & contracts
  • Creating & Marketing your business
  • Networking soultions

This whole workshop is going to be AWESOME 🙂

The After Baby Lady, from Michigan, is a certified CAPPA instructor and will be leading our Postpartum Doula Training.

This event will be held May 30th & 31st in Des Moines, Iowa. Location is to be determined! Please share and spread the word!

Please print, post & share the flier!

CAPPAPPDOULA

YMCA Preschool Programs: Tumble Tots

I love the YMCA they have so much to offer! I cannot wait until they build the new Northwest YMCA so all of their awesome resources are a bit closer to home.

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YMCA has some awesome classes for different ages, that you must register for. I decided to sign Monte up for Tumble Tots because he absolutely loves running around, climbing, and bouncing. This class ended up being perfect for him!

YMCA Preschool Programs

Tumble Tots is for ages 3 to 5 years old with an accompanied adult. It is slightly structured, but not too much. Monte likes to do his own thing and does not have much patience, so the fact that there is not much structure, is nice.

Tumble Tots always opens up with stretching, which the instructors make lots of fun! They have the kids act like animals, pretend they are in space, and other scenarios that get their imaginations rolling. They also sometimes do “sit-ups” and running around the gym (Monte’s favorite). Afterwards, the kids are free to run around to the different stations and play. The instructors walk around and help at each station. They show the kids different things they can do.

They have a trampoline.

A balance beam to walk on.

A spring board to jump from.

Tunnel to crawl through.

They also have tumbling mats, a bar to swing and hang from, and mats to help you learn how to do a cartwheel!

Tumble Tots is a 4-week class and it is $15 for members, $35 for non-member.

Tumble Tots and other programs/sports the YMCA offers are a perfect way to introduce your toddler to new activities and sports. It is very affordable and the classes last a short-period of time. If they are not interested, then you know that it isn’t the way to go, before spending a lot of money for a long term program/sport.

They also offer:

Tiny Tumblers 18 months – 3 years

Fun & Fit 3-5 years

Kids in the Kitchen 3-5 years

Music & Movement 2-5 years

Tiny Chefs 18 months- 3 years

Moving with Music 18 months – 3 years

 I highly recommend checking out all the classes the YMCA has to offer. Not only do they have classes for toddlers, but they also offer classes for grade school children and adults! Check out here for their online registration where you can search for a class and register all online!

Every Family Rocks 2015!

We checked out Every Family Rocks! this past weekend and well, it ROCKED!

Monte and the entire family had a blast! Not only was the entire Science Center open to roam through, but there was also live music, crafts, jugglers, balloon animals, face painting and more!

Every Family Rocks! is a family fun event and concert for all ages. This event benefits EFR Employee & Family Resources. It was free for Science Center members, $8 for ages 2-12, $13 for Adults & $8 for Seniors.

There were some awesome bands and singers. I loved all the upbeat music and all the movement, from all the kids! Everyone was dancing and hula hooping around 🙂 Artists included:

Monte loved the Sparkle Hula Hoop dance, balloon animals and magic from Jonathan May, and trying all the different instruments available from Rieman Music Interactive Music Booth.

There were also some great craft stations such as a DIY yarn streamer and animal rocks.

We had so much fun and Monte was definitely exhausted after we left! We are looking forward to next year’s Every Family Rocks!