Check out the latest issue featuring Cover MOM: Amanda Pomeroy

The October/November issue is here featuring Cover MOM: Amanda Pomeroy.

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TRI Oct Nov 2016 Cover

United Way’s Birth 2 Five

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Seven Simple Actions # 2: Pay Attention!

These days, there is a lot of research going on in the area of baby brain development and Nerd-moms like me tend to get pretty excited about it! I want to read about it and talk about it with anyone within a few feet of me. With that said, I will try to contain my enthusiasm and attempt to briefly hit some highlights of the amazing developing brain.  As a side note, I would like to apologize up front to all the researchers who put countless hours and detail into their life's work to have them summed up like this, by me.

A baby's brain is a lot like building a house. (There are a lot of houses being built in the Tri-cities, so hopefully creating an image won't be too hard).
One of the first steps in building a house is having a foundation. The brain is the foundation for a baby. This foundation is built based on what we get from our parents and what we experience.  Sadly, there is not much we can do about the genes we inherit but there is a ton of stuff we can do to create positive experiences.
The science people at Harvard (yes, only the best for our children) talk about developing brains in a use it or lose it kind of way. When something is positive and repeated over time, a baby's brain makes a strong connection. The stronger the connections are, the easier it can connect all the different areas of the brain.  When all the areas of the brain are connected, they can start to move faster.  This means movement, vision, hearing, behavioral control, emotions, and memory are all able to be attached to each other. When it comes to brain connections, the more the better. Let's go back to the building a house analogy: These connections are the wooden frame of the house. The frame is the structure for which the rest of the house is built.
The good news is we don't have to buy or pay anyone to help build our baby's brain connections. There are no flashcards to keep track of, no sticker charts, it will not run out of batteries, and you don't need a tech degree to operate it. The even better news is you don't have to add anything to your already full day. In fact, you are already doing it and you don't even know it. The only thing you need to do is…Pay Attention!
Serve and return
Babies do a lot more communicating then crying. In fact they are continually trying to get you to socialize with them. Researchers call that a 'serve'. Every gurgle, babble, smile, coo is designed to get you involved in that baby's world. They need this positive interaction with us just as much as proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and clean diapers! When we respond to the baby, this is called a 'return'. The baby serves and we return. Responding in an attentive and affectionate way, rewards the baby by them knowing this is a safe and loving place AND this is how more and better connections in the brain get made.
Here are some simple ways to Pay Attention in a meaningful way to your baby:
Use that sing-song happy voice. It's called Parent-ees and research shows that it is a big boost to make brain connections. Sing-talk to them about everything; sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches. Remember you are fascinating to your child!
Pick up a baby after she wakes up from sleeping or a nap. Greet them with a big smile and exaggerated facial expressions. Sing a good morning song, welcome that baby while becoming awake.
• Talk to him in his car seat when running errands throughout the day,. Talk about where you are going and what you are going to do. If you catch his eye in a mirror smile back and say hello.
• Use diaper changes to pay attention to your infant. You can tickle a belly, recite itsy bitsy spider while running your fingers up the tummy to the top of her head, talk about sights and smells ("Who made a stinky poopy? You did!!!")
• Gaze into those beautiful baby eyes and smile when giving a bottle or breast feeding the baby. Sure, it is a little harder to eat when you crack a smile, but it is so worth it!  Hum a soothing tune.
• When cooking or cleaning, have your infant sit in a highchair and start talking, provide the baby with lids, spoons, containers for baby to reach for, bang, and put in their mouth. Use a dish towel to play peek-a-boo. Chat away to them about everything you are doing. When your baby makes sounds back, acknowledge like you would in a typical conversation with a friend, "Oh is that right?" "Tell me more."
What happens if the baby keeps serving and we don't return? Let's leave it to the researchers to find out exactly what happens- don't try this at home! The "Still Face" experiment videotaped babies and dads spending some one-on-one time together talking, making faces and noises, playing basic games, positive interaction stuff, it was beautiful. Then the researchers had the dads look away for a little while and when they turned around they were not to interact but to keep an emotionless blank stare. (I know, right?!) At first, the babies were all about picking up where they left off: doing all the stuff that was a big hit a moment ago. The dad's did not react or respond. After about 30 seconds, the babies start to realize something is different, they stop the fun attempts and try to figure out what to do to get back to that place of love! Within 3 minutes, this previously happy joy- seeking soul shows distress, cries, and even tries to get away. The baby tries a number of tricks to get Dad to pay attention to them, but finally gives up trying to 'serve'. The baby gives up-after only 3 minutes! As grown-ups, we can use words like helpless and hopeless but to babies the sad message they get is that no one cares.  To watch the video, click here:
Here is the bad-sad news, when babies 'serve' and don't get 'returned' those brain connections that were building actually stop building.  The baby begins to 'serve' less and the brain growth connections slow down and ultimately, the brain 'prunes' or cuts that connection. The more connections that are cut, the less contact and the slower the connection is with other parts of the brain. Gaining skills socially, emotionally, physically, and academically becomes harder and slower than other kids their age.
Now, I feel fairly confident anyone still reading this article is about helping their baby the best they can, but I want to point out a few of the distractions (what I call Everyday SERVE SUCKERS) in our modern day and age:
• Cell phones: talking, texting, Blue Tooth
• Anything with a screen, social media platforms
• Non-stop access to entertainment like a TV series
• Over-crowded schedules
• Personal-family crisis, chronic illness, financial crisis
• Little to no parent/caregiver support
• Alcohol and drug use
But here's awesome news: Brains like to re-grow! They like to be faster and stronger! They are wired to make lots and lots of connections on a regular basis! They want positive interaction and new experiences- your baby's brain is hungry for living!!!  Pay Attention to those starter home babies and help them turn into Parade of Homes quality adults.
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Mom to Mom is provided by United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties in support of the Birth 2 Five initiative.



Columbia Industries Student Training Program Success!

With school supplies on sale at stores everywhere, it's hard to avoid the sad truth. Summer is half over. Some folks love the coming sweater weather and the colors of fall… At Columbia Industries we look forward to the arrival of fall and new students who joins us when they go back to school. To celebrate Back to School, we'd like to share a couple student success stories to warm the heart.

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Clients at CI Solutions
assemble lanterns for Railtek,
a Whidby island company.
Finished lanterns are shipped to
customers across the country.


Ricardo started at Columbia Industries in 2003 as a high school student.  He received training at CI Solutions and at CI's laundry facility.  When he graduated from high school, Ricardo continued his job training at CI Solutions.  He learned how to make Trainman Lanterns, manufacture hoods for the U.S. Navy, type, prepare mailers, and complete light janitorial tasks.  Ricardo also learned skills to help him manage stressful situations.  Recently, Ricardo made the choice to transition from Pre-Vocational training to Individual Employment.  He will now work with a job coach to find and maintain competitive employment.  The staff at CI Solutions are very proud of Ricardo for taking that next step into Community Employment and wish him well on his new venture.

Aaron also started at Columbia Industries as a student, in 2013.  He was able to transition to Pre-Vocational services at graduation.  After three years of job training, Aaron decided that employment was not what he wanted.  During a meeting with Aaron and his family, CI staff explained all the options available to Aaron, both in employment and in recreation.  Aaron's family encouraged him to choose the service that would make him happy.  Aaron chose to leave employment services and engage in recreational activities and volunteer work.  CI Staff were excited by the way Aaron chose his own life path once he knew what options were available for him.

At Columbia Industries, our mission is to help people with disabilities and other barriers achieve personal success. Our student programs are just a couple of the ways we reach out to the community. Columbia Industries also operates CI Community Center, a safe, creative and supervised place for people with disabilities. Regardless of the level of employment, many clients and former clients enjoy being members of CI Community Center, where they can socialize, learn life skills and explore our community in an entirely different setting.

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Members at CI Community Center enjoy the opportunity to socialize and build relationships in a safe and fun environment.

The August/September issue is here with Cover MOM: Kelsey Shay

TRI Aug Sept 2016 Cover

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Click on the stories below to read more:

Cover MOM: Kelsey Shay

Because I said so: A message from MOM Magazine

Think outside the lunch box: back-to-school lunch gear

Safety first: When are your kids old enough?

Let's do lunch: school lunch made easy

SuperDad: Efren Hernandez is SuperDad

The June July issue is here featuring Cover MOM: Cathy Manderbach

TRI June July 2016 Cover

Click on the image above or here to view the current issue.

Click on the stories below to read more.

Cover MOM: Cathy Manderbach

Because I said so! A message from MOM Magazine

Get moving: Tips to crush your workouts

Olympic Trivia: Get ready for Rio

Camping 2.0: Taking the edge off of the outdoors

Berry Goodness: Sweet berry recipes

From trash to treasure: One mom's trailer makeover

SuperDad: Sean McClintock is SuperDad

Happy May Day

May Day

History: With the early European settlers to the Americas, May Day baskets were made filled with treats or flowers and left at someone's door step. The recipient receives the basket, trying to identify who the giver is who has run away. If the giver is caught, a kiss is exchanged.

The April May issue is here featuring Cover MOM: Diana Cissne

April May 2016 TRI Cover

Click on the image above or here to view the full issue,

Click the stories below to read more.

Cover MOM: Diana Cissne

Because I said so! A message from MOM Magazine

Moms and Money: Getting the most from your credit card

Get Moving: Sticking to a fitness program

Confessions of a junk store junkie: Decorating with second-hand finds

A room to grow: Tips for decorating a nursery or child's room

But mom I made that: Creative ways to display your child's art

The Feb/March issue of MOM Magazine is here featuring Cover MOM: Sara Schwan

TRI April May 2016 Cover

Click on the cover image above or here to view the full issue.

Click on the stories below to read more.

Cover MOM: Sara Schwan

Because I said so! A message from MOM Magazine

Moms & Money: Tips to help pay for your child's education

Vacation MOM: All-inclusive family vacations

Game on! Fun ideas to keep your birthday party hopping

Birthday Parties: Inspiring ideas for your next party

Chili: Warm up with these chili recipes

Not another toy! Alternative gift ideas

SuperDad: Honoring SuperDad JB Colson

Mom & Baby Expo 2016


On February 27th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Mom and Baby Expo will take place at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. This annual event is meant to be a one-stop shop for moms and families of young children to see what resources and businesses are available in our area.
Vanessa Sanchez-Bell, from Bell Productions, created this event last year and hopes for it to continue growing each year.  As a mom of young children herself, she wanted to create a place where moms can get inspired, engage with one another about their journey through motherhood, and where they can shop not only for their needs but for their children's needs as well.  This event is a place where moms can go and find support from other moms and it gives them a chance to break from their normal routines. It will be a fun event with entertainment for both children and parents.
There will be two great Fashion Shows during the event. The Babywearing fashion show at 1:00pm will highlight some cute fashions by Babywearing International of Southeastern Washington, and the Mom and Baby fashion show at 4:00pm will highlight some cute fashions for moms and babies that can be found at numerous boutiques in this area.
There will be a Kids Zone for children and a Dad's Zone as well. The show is also a great educational platform where parents can attend seminars and classes taught by experts. There will be a car seat safety class taught by Safe Kids, a toddler nutrition class taught by the Health District, a Babywearing 101 class taught by the Babywearing International of Southeastern Washington and more! Vendors and businesses at the Expo will be offering many products, services, and resources from health, wellness, and beauty to photography, clothing, and birthing options.
Area businesses will be offering samples, expo specials, and product giveaways during the event. Safe Kids is giving away a car seat. Tickets can be pre-bought at Swanky Babies in West Pasco or Sassafras Children's Re-Sale Boutique in Kennewick or at the door the day of the event. Adult admission is $5 and all the seminars and classes are free with admission. Kids 12 and under are free. For more information and updates you can visit



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