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  • 5 Mar 2018 11:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Ask the Expert: How to begin and persist with your exercis routine

    Movement Heals

    If you made a commitment to exercise in 2016, this is a great intention because exercise is healthy for your body and mind.  Exercise, literally extends your lifespan, reduces heart disease, improves bone health, and just as important, exercise reduces stress, elevates your mood and reduces the risk of depression. Did I also mention, that as a side effect, your body will be more toned and you will feel better looking at yourself in the mirror.  Exercise is literally, a miracle pill and the real miracle is that know one owns it. You can exercise for free or join any number of gyms ranging from the YMCA to all-inclusive clubs and boutique studios. Yet despite all these healthy ravings and a plethora options sometimes, it is still hard to start.

    How to begin to exercise

    Frequently, starting to exercise is the hardest part. Generally the reason is because people put unrealistic expectations such as I need to jog 45 minutes a day 5 days a week to see real results. Another reason is because you have are yet experiencing how good exercise makes you feel until after you begin. So it can be hard to start, when you feel out of shape and mentally stuck.  Despite being a Pilates instructor, I have felt this way many times in my life due to injury, burn out and having baby. Additionally, I feel pressure from my business to stay in tiptop shape as everyone expects a toned instructor. The point is that I have started to exercise again many times and I would like to share a few ideas about how to begin and persist with exercise.

    First, create a very small and manageable goal for yourself.  In fact, make it so small and/or short that it is almost laughable.   After the birth of my first baby, Phoebe in July, like most parents I felt overwhelmed. But I knew that moving again would help me emotionally and physically.  I set a timer and exercised for 5 minutes. This is a very short amount of time but it was not just the exercise that felt good but the few minutes alone just to be with myself again and breath.  Within a few months we moved to Santa Rosa and I lost my routine. So I started again. I took out a pair of roller skates that I bought in San Francisco years ago and never wore. I figured if I could hold onto the stroller for support it would not be so bad. Twenty minutes later around the block and probably looking quite silly I made it, and so did baby Phoebe.  In both of these instances I began with a manageable goal, 5 minute a day or one skate around the block.

    Starting small helps you get the exercise ball rolling again. In fact a study reported through the Harvard Health Journal cited the study, Exercise is medicine at any dose, noted that only exercising 10-15 minutes a day improved health outcomes and led to a longer lifespan.  So, you do not have to run for 30-minutes and you do not have to take a 90 minute yoga class or 60-minute barre or Pilates class to reap healthy rewards. You may not have the time but you can exercise for 10-15 minutes a day.  And if that feels too long begin with 5 minutes. That is how I began again.

    Special considerations:

    Some reasons why you do not begin to exercise after a baby is because of special considerations like pelvic floor issues, diastasis recti, pain, depression or cost.  If this is the case, finding a qualified professional can really help. Some considerations for women after birth include pelvic floor issues like incontinence and frequent urination. Pilates is fabulous for addressing pelvic floor issues as many Pilates exercises focus on enhancing awareness and strength of the pelvic floor. Diastasis recti, is the painless splitting of your abdominals during pregnancy and/or labor. It is important to know if you have this condition.  A health care or trained fitness professional should be able to tell you. If you do have it you want it to heal before doings exercises such as sit-ups because they can exacerbate the problem. If you have pain or depression finding a compassionate fitness professional who can tailor your exercise program to your individual needs can help too. Although a fitness instructor is not a therapist, I have seen time and time again that movement heals.  Our bodies were meant to move, not sit behind smartphones.  So if you are suffering from any specific issue that keeps you from beginning to exercise I encourage you to know that there is a trainer out there who likely can help.

    Finally, if you are concerned about cost you can always the teacher for a short session, 30 minutes instead of an hour and or you can ask for homework in between sessions and spread your sessions out if necessary. However, make sure to do your homework.  Consistency is key in getting stronger. If you have a health savings account and get a doctor to prescribe exercise it may be covered under your insurance as well.

    How to persist with exercise

    If you are a workout rock star there are a few things you can do to help you persist and not burn out.  One, is share the love, two try to incorporate your family, and three challenge yourself with workshops, retreats, or that 5K or ½ marathon you have been thinking about.  First, if you have a friend who you know would benefit from exercise either offer to go on gentle, no pressure walk, beginner yoga/Pilates/fitness class, buy them an exercise gift certificate, or offer to watch their child while they go to a class.  In regards to your family, make sure to incorporate them on hikes, bike rides, dog walking and active games. Third, the fitness industry has grown a lot over the years and there are many offering for more advanced students. Many Pilates, yoga, and fitness studios offer advanced workshops for interested students beyond the regular class schedules.

    Remember, exercise is literally the best thing you can do for your health. It helps your heart, bones, muscles, brain and digestive system.  It is also incredibly helpful for depression and elevation of your mood. Being a mother takes a lot of physical and emotional stamina and it is important to fill yourself up with healthy exercise endorphins so you can meet life’s challenges.  Remember start small, and when you fall off the exercise horse just begin again with 5-minutes a day.

    Eijsvogels M. T. & Thompson, P. D. (2016). Exercise is medicine at any dose.  JAMAS 314 (18) 1915-1916 Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283576887

    Anne Bishop is a step-mother to a 15 ½ year-old daughter Seryna and mother to 7-month old Phoebe. She owns Pilates with Anne in Downtown Petaluma, CA and specializes in Pilates teacher training, pre and post natal fitness, and the body brain connection.  DowntownPetalumaPilates.com 707-953-4570 anne@pilateswithanne.com  Feel free to contact her about any questions or comments.  Or come to the studio for our $149.00 Intro Special for 3 privates + 1 class.

  • 5 Mar 2018 10:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    DADS HOME! My Favorite Part of Fatherhood: MY DRIVE: By Ed Tuscano

    When I was asked if I wanted to write an article for the Santa Rosa Mothers Club on my favorite part of fatherhood I was a bit reluctant, I’m not a writer by any means but when I heard the theme was Resolution Revival something just clicked. I have recently “revived” my own resolution to kick my butt back in shape so this all made sense. My wife and I had a beautiful baby girl a little over a year ago and it's so easy to let exercise fall to the wayside when your wife is pregnant and then having a small child, but I also have an older son and he has been my driving force to get back in fighting shape. We hear all too often “my kids are all the drive that I need,” but I can honestly say I absolutely love working out with my son!

    For starters, he was born almost three months early and was only 1 pound 14 ounces.  His mom was diagnosed with eclampsia and the first three months of his life were an everyday struggle for him.  He had many complications, everything from underdeveloped lungs to a heart murmur. He fought through every obstacle life threw at him and overcame them all. He is still that way and making sure I am as well.

    My little stud is almost ten years old now, and is healthy as can be.  He is very active and loves to work out with me. I am always looking for ways to show him the importance of living a healthy lifestyle whether it is “clean” eating, exercising or just simply taking care of our body.  For example, he is going into his second year of baseball and is well aware that if he wants to become stronger and faster, he is going to have to work for it- meaning practice. This is where the fun begins for me since who does he need to practice with? His dad! I’m the guy who is lucky enough to run drills with this spectacular fighter.

    Working out with my son not only allow me to get my workout in, but it also gives me a chance to create a fun yet challenging exercise for the both of us to do together.  With our busy and hectic schedules we do not always make it to the gym, but that is when I pull out the deck of poker cards and have some fun. My son gets to pick out two of his favorite exercises and I pick out two.  We shuffle the cards up good and do the face value on the card we flip over. We then race against time to see how long it takes us to beat the deck! This is a super simple trick I use to get in my exercise because it really feels like “playing”. Sometimes his favorite exercise is tag and that’s always a fun one.

    One of my goals of being a father is not only teaching but also showing my kids how to live a healthy active lifestyle.  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely days when I am absolutely fried and don’t want to do anything but shower and go to sleep but then I pick up my little stud from school and the first thing he asks his, “Dad are we going to the gym tonight?”  And just like that, the little devil that was on my shoulder trying to tell me to lay it down gets a front kick to his chest from a handsome almost ten year old and I always reply with a smirk, “You know we can’t have it any other way little man. Let’s go get our sweat on!!”

    There are many parts of fatherhood that I love but I have to say “playing” with my kids is my favorite.

  • 5 Mar 2018 10:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Making and Keeping Promises: By Dara Kasza

    Promises are something we say and hopefully keep. Sometimes they are to our friends, sometimes to family, and mostly ourselves. As mothers, we rarely keep promises to ourselves because we rarely even think about ourselves. Kids, husband, dog then if there is any energy left we might think about thinking about ourselves… nah, too tired. We would all love to shift this thinking but how? The first step is keeping the promises we make with ourself; if we cannot do this *simple* task, how can we keep promises to others and most importantly, teach our children to do the same?

    This months magazine is properly titled Resolution Revival because January is the biggest month for making promises- I’m going to get organized, walk the dog twice a day, eat healthy, lose the baby weight, stress less, or my resolution: try something new! Most everyone makes a resolution (promise) for themselves before January 1st but totally abandons that resolution by Mid-February (no, you are not alone).  So what if we make April the month to revive our forgotten resolutions or better yet, make a new, more feasible promise to ourselves we will actually keep? I will kiss my kid everyday- is that doable? Yes. I will tell my spouse I love them everyday- doable? Yes. I will make an effort to be less annoyed at my husbands shirt dropped right in front the laundry basket but not actually in the laundry basket (note, I said effort)- Doable? Very doable!  Or you can force yourself to keep your resolution, like it did, and just say yes. Yes to someone else, in person, in front of many other people. Sure, I’ll take on the editor position of the SRMC magazine even though I’ve never done anything like this before, even though Suzanne has been producing this magazine seamlessly and I have huge shoes to fill. Yes, yes I’ll do it because if I don't say yes, I will never try new things, meet new people or live my life somewhere outside of the “mundane” road it sometimes feels like it follows. If I don't say yes, I will not be keeping the promise I made to myself.

    I challenge all of you start small but start making promises to yourself and keeping them.  One little promise kept will lead to bigger promises and more accountability. We know our kids are soaking up everything we do on a daily basis so if they see mommy keeping her word, being accountable and taking care of herself they will do the same.

  • 5 Mar 2018 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FATHER NATURE

    When you think about it, it’s not fair. We fathers never get any credit. Fathers are a proud bunch, so when the opportunity presented itself to tell our parenting story, we took it!

    Hubby #1

    "Sometimes I get to feelin'
    I was back in the old days - long ago
    When we were kids, when we were young
    Things seemed so perfect - you know?…Those were the days of my life...”  - Freddie Mercury

    A morning bike-ride with my son and daughter on Ducker Creek trail until the tunnel under Hwy 12 is that perfect day! We ride feeling the breeze on our faces, listening to the birds and the calming creek when it is flowing against the rocks. Picking wild blackberries along the way and painting lips while we incessantly consume them!

    In the evening a little physical re-charge often ends-up with me ‘Playing Monster’. Tossing and turning them over while both my son and daughter take on their inconceivable monster father. Always with them teaming together to take me down while I rejoice in the fact that we are all hungry for a family dinner together!

    Don’t we father’s all want to go back there? Like Freddie Mercury would say it,

     "No use sitting and thinkin' on what you did When you can lay back and enjoy it through your kids…Cos these are the days of our lives!"

    Hubbie #2

    Nothing ever prepares anyone for fatherhood and the responsibilities that come with it, is what I was told when we were expecting our first. I thought to myself there are always exceptions and I'm going to be one of them. Having nephews of my own and working all day with kids of all ages, I felt I was very well equipped to handle my own UNTIL I was holding our own baby in my arms.

    Daddy time in the Mansukhani household usually involves the music blaring and the three of us dancing like crazy, splashing around in the bathtub until 'Mom' has to literally pull us 3 out, reading bedtime stories and them putting me to sleep instead of the other way round.  I enjoy every bit of it and nothing beats the sparkle in their eyes when I get home from work that almost screams – “Daddy’s here, now it’s time to Rock and Roll”.

    Hubbie #3

    In our house Daddy-time is time that both Ishani (my two and a half year old daughter) and me look forward to as un-interrupted FUN time! This is the time where discipline goes out the window except for when mommy enters the room. Top of the list is “tea party time”. We have a variety of tea cups that are incessantly filled up and several plastic cakes and biscuits that I have to pretend-eat and visually express every time how yummy each one is. As of today, my daughter has not asked me to wear a boa or tiara during the tea party, but I know that time is not too far away.

    We also have our ritualistic daddy-time trip to our favorite fro-yo store, Yogurt time. Tip – I just fill up the taster cup at Yogurt time and put that quantity into the bigger cup for Ishani to eat. Sonoma County Children’s Museum is another favorite of ours. We can spend 30 minutes easily just at the honey bees section looking at the bees coming in and out of the honeycomb! However I must confess, I am more enchanted by that museum than she is.

    Hubby #4

    “Not all those who wander are lost” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

    I can’t help but fall in love with this saying and the way my two year old boy Ruan is living it. Walking around our favorite Spring Lake, embracing ‘Father nature’ along the way, we both lose track of time wandering into each small side trail trying to spot turtles, ‘kakas’ (birds), duckies and the resident beaver.

    Father’s come in all characteristics, shapes and forms and though we don’t have an umbilical cord attached to our kids at birth, we do have a strong connection. I am 100% sure and so very glad that the Ruan got the same ‘wandering bug’ from me, just like I did from my dad.

    I better wrap up this article now. In a few hours the little guy will be up and calling for his pappa to put him back to sleep; because tomorrow is another big day for running, jumping, kicking and wandering around. These kids, make us fathers strive to be better men.

  • 5 Mar 2018 10:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tribute to Dads

    It can be difficult to find the right gift for Dad on Father's Day. If you have kids, it's fun to do homemade gifts, but what does Dad need? Make this day special for dad by sharing that one favorite memory with dad as a group together! 

    Playdate ideas:
    Family Play dates: This one is the perfect occasion to make it a family playdate. Choose a park or outdoor location and involve the kids in prepping for a fun BBQ lunch and this is sure to impress any dad!

    Art to Honor your dad:
    Some suggestions for group art projects that are sure to please

    Popsicle Puzzle – Use the favorite dad and son/daughter photo and create a homemade puzzle together. Depending on the difficulty you’d like the puzzle to be, you could vary the size of the popsicle sticks (using the larger ones for younger kids), use more complex images, or even make the puzzle two sided!

    Grill-Master Apron - If he's a grill-master, like our Dad, then by all means he needs a new apron! But not just any apron, an apron that has been lovingly decorated by his children.

    What you need:
    - Plain white/cream apron (sold at Michael's or Amazon)
    - Fabric Paint
    - Fabric Markers
    - Puff paint
    -Willing children

    Father’s Day Trophy – For the younger kids use cardboard to create large trophy cut-outs and then bring out your craft supplies (stickers, glitter pens etc.) and let them go to town! For the older kids use paper cups and construction paper to make a trophy they can write their message to dad on and this can always double as a pen holder later!

    Lego cufflinks: Come together to create a set of cufflinks for dad using Lego pieces.  This “one-time” wear item is sure to please and make any dad proud!


  • 5 Mar 2018 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Water fun and responsibility!

    I’m generally the optimist at home and even I’m feeling the need for a gentle reminder to look at the cup half full as far as how fast this year is going. Yes! We still have half the year left ahead of us, with so many more fun things to do this summer.

    I'm expecting this summer to be quite hot given both the El Niño effect and the political climate. Add to that pregnancy/ colic baby/ toddler tantrums/ preschooler screen-time battles and the works. Yikes! So make sure you have what you need to stay cool mommas! Lemonade, mimosas, ciders and a good dose of humor should give us a head start I suppose!

    One of the many things I feel so fortunate about living in Sonoma County is the ease of access to water bodies around us and the splendid scenery that comes with it.  Although compared to warmer regions water “fun” in Northern California is more confined to the summer months, it still feels like a boon to have anything ranging from a pool to lake, river and ocean in such close proximity!

    Often I find myself unable to plan much in advance for water play and that's when it's so great to know that we can make a plan the night before or even the morning of and just pack up and go! Some of my family’s favorite spots to cool off in the waters and have a picnic are Salmon Creek beach in Bodega Bay, Mom’s Beach in Forestville and Gerstle Cove at Salt Point State Park in Jenner. Personally I also find it way more environmentally efficient to set out someplace for splish-splash fun than try to regulate water use during backyard play. The latter is more challenging for me as toddlers seem to comprehend conservation only to a certain degree. Beyond that they are tempted to get the hose going forever which makes me very restless and sound like a killjoy.

    Having lived in semi-arid, drought prone areas in India for the first 25 years of my life, water conservation was more a way of life than something to be especially mindful about. Walking a mile to fetch water was not atypical in the countryside but even for the big city folks, drinking water was always “supplied” during certain hours in the day (or every other day) when we would have to fill it up, sometimes carry it a few floors up to our house and then store in several containers in the kitchen. For all other purposes, most houses had rooftop tanks to store water that would come through the faucets. With these strong childhood memories I find it impossible to let ourselves or the kids use water extensively at home.

    In the spirit of conservation here are a few tips shared from the Sonoma County Water Agency website. (Source: Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, www.wateroff.org.)

    • View water conservation rebate programs at www.wateroff.org.

    • Water landscaping only when necessary.

    • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, gutters and decks.

    • Install automatic shut-off nozzles on all hoses.

    • Turn off water at the sink while brushing teeth, shaving and washing up. Take shorter showers.

    • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.

    • Fix leaky faucets and sprinkler systems.
      Install water-wise appliances, like low-flow toilets and showerhead and faucet aerators.

    Replace your lawn with native plants and a drip irrigation system.

    As mindful moms I believe we play a critical role in developing these habits in our kids from a very young age. In fact there are some good  resources via Pinterest on water conservation activities for toddlers, including simple experiments to demo the water cycle. A book suggestion that comes up is “Why should I save water?” by Dr.Jen Green and illustrated by Mike Gordon.

     As always stay tuned for meet-ups and activities from the Club. As much as summer can be fun-filled, there may be times you need that happy hour break so let’s make sure to do that! Thank you for your continued participation in Club activities. I look forward to meeting many of you over this summer. Play safe and stay cool! Cheers!

  • 5 Mar 2018 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    July/August-Theme: Splish Splash!

    A perfect way to spend a hot summer afternoon would be to just have some fun with water and cool off. There are so many fun things you can do and everyone probably has a favorite already! If you are planning or sending your kid to a playdate which involves water, never forget the spare change of clothes and/or diaper!

    Playdate ideas

    Swim Date: Spend a few hours on a hot summer afternoon at the local public swimming pool like the Finley or Ridgeway Center in Santa Rosa.  Most public pools have a café where you could stop for a quick snack afterwards

    Fun with Water Balloons: Another simple way to cool off is to meet in someone’s backyard set up a water balloon party.  This is fun way to engage kids of any age but do be prepared to get wet and join the fun!

    Cool down with Lemonade: What’s more fun than to sip on chilled lemonade on a hot summer day.  Make a big batch of lemonade with the kids and add a twist to that by creating some edible flower ice cubes to make it fancy

    Water Art: Water is a great medium to do some fun art projects which do not require much clean up after. Use dish soap and washable paints and use window panes as canvases for a fun and messy play date.  Dissolving chalk in water is also fun way to create paint with the driveway as the canvas.

  • 5 Mar 2018 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Special Dates with your Little Ones

    Backyard Camping

    Summer is in full swing.  Parks, museums, swimming, road trips, CAMPING….Since we’ve never camped with a toddler and I have much camping on the agenda for this and next summer, it is time for a dry run. Obviously, the one big difference between camping in nature and camping in your own back yard is the setting. The rustic, natural surroundings definitely clash with city life and the amenities just a few steps away (like running water). So, what are kids to do while camping in their own back yard?

    First things first, make sure you get all the gear out. Set up a tent, dust off the sleeping bags and get out the flashlights. Tip – grab your yoga mat too, it makes a perfect mattress under the sleeping bag.

    Games - Have games planned that are not only fun, but also specific to the outdoors. Scavenger Hunts are great for the outdoors. They get to explore the outdoors in charge, see things how they want, and they will learn a lot about nature. This is also a great way to spend some time together. Certain down times during camping can be boring, but having games that take time are really nice.This is especially good because it will keep little ones busy and make them forget they are home. The backyard will become an adventure!

    Explain - There are a lot of unique things out in the wild. It is really important to explain these things to your child as you go. When you are choosing a campsite, making fires, setting up the tent, cooking or setting up ropes explain what you are doing and let them help. This lets your child see what’s dangerous and makes them feel safer for knowing. At night, the woods are full of sounds, but we know what they are and they are less scary. Explain those sounds to your child, too.

    Since you are camping, try to go technology free as you would if you were in the woods. No Ipads, phones, laptops etc. Encourage everyone to have fun as a family without distractions.

    To make it as authentic as possible, try these fun ideas to have a fun experience without going outside city limits with your family this summer.  Your kids are sure to love it and have an awesome time!

  • 5 Mar 2018 9:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rivers, lakes, oceans, and pools! So many places to get wet in our lovely Sonoma County! These places are family friendly, however, keep in mind that not all of them have lifeguards on duty. 

    River Play:

    Healdsburg Veteran's Memorial Beach Open 7am-sunset
    Popular spot on the Russian River. Swimming & wading beach, picnic area, grassy area, and restrooms.

    Johnson's Beach in Guerneville;May-October, 10-6
    A Russian River tradition.Rent canoes, single & double kayaks, pedal boats, umbrellas, low beach chairs, and inner tubes. There is a snack bar on the beach and beer is for sale at the boathouse. A popular spot is the roped off kiddies’ pool. There is no charge to enter or to park.

    Mom's Beachin Forestville 7am to 1/2 hour before sunset 
    Wide sandy beach, perfect for families. Located at 10584 River Drive in Forestville.

    Monte Rio Public Beach
    Featuring concession stand, canoe and kayak rentals, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and built-in bbq areas.

    Riverfront Regional Park 7am-sunset.
    Sonoma County Regional Park. Features a 2-mile multiuse trail around Lake Benoist and a half mile long trail over Redwood Hill. Also a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, drinking fountain, and flush toilets. No swimming, but fishing ok.

    Steelhead Beach 7am-sunset.
    Sonoma County Regional Park. Quieter beach on the Russian River.

    Sunset Beach River Park 7am-1/2 hour before sunset. Sonoma County Regional Park. 

    Cloverdale River Park Open Daily dawn to dusk.
    Sonoma County Regional Park with Russian River access. No lifeguards. Seasonal launch canoes and kayaks. No formal facility. Picnic area w/BBQs. 31820 McCray Road, Cloverdale

    Gualala Point Regional Park
    The 195-acre park has open meadows mixed with coastal forest. The park contains a campground, trail system, coastal vistas, and sandy beaches. The park is located adjacent to the Gualala River, which offers limited seasonal fishing. Please check current regulations.

    Lake Play:

    Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa June 14-August 16; open 11am-5pm
    25 acre lake for renting paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats, and rowboats; fishing too!

    Lake Sonoma
    Canoe, kayak, ski boats, fishing boats for rent at Lake Sonoma Resort. Boat-in camping. There is adesignated swim beach at Yorty Creek on the north side (reached by Hot Springs Road through Cloverdale). It’s a sandy beach, with picnic areas, a playground, a fisherman’s trail and a public boat ramp.

    Spring Lake in Santa Rosa
    72 acre lake open year-round for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, and fishing.

    Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon in Santa Rosa Open 7 days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 7am-dusk.
    3-acre swimming lagoon with sandy beach and concession stand. The swimming lagoon is staffed by lifeguards. Lakeside Grill is also on the premises serving up hot freshly prepared food and beverages all day.

    Beach Play:

    Chicken Ranch Beach
    North of Inverness, adjacent to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and nestled along the west shore of Tomales Bay. This 3-acre natural area is a popular kayak spot. The small sandy beach is a serene place to relax, have a picnic, fly a kite, or stop-over during the long drive to Point Reyes National Seashore. Dogs are allowed on leash. This is a kid-friendly beach with usually calm waters.

    Dillon Beach
    Dillon Beach is one of the last dog-friendly beaches in the Bay Area! The beach is great for kids with soft sand, sand dunes to run in, and tide pools to explore. Located just West of the town of Tomales, just at the mouth of Tomales Bay.

    Doran Beach Regional Park 7am-sunset
    Doran Park has a 2-mile stretch of sandy beach and is a popular place for visitors to picnic, build sand castles, fly kites, surf, fish and stroll. A rock jetty at the harbor mouth provides access for fishing, crabbing and exploring sea life. There are 2 main beach areas with parking lots and bathrooms. This is a great beach for families - the water is usually calm and the kids can play in the shallow waves.

    Goat Rock
    Near the mouth of the Russian River, Goat Rock is known for its scenic shoreline and easily accessible sandy beach. Picnic tables and restroom facilities are also available. Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals which are fun to watch, but please stay 50 yards from the seals, especially during pupping season (March - August.) Due to the protected status of the seals, NO DOGS are allowed on Goat Rock Beach.

    Hearts Desire Beach
    A nice sheltered cove on Tomales Bay that is excellent for families with small children. The ocean water tends to be a little warmer at this beach. To get there, drive past Inverness on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, go right onto Pierce Point Road, right into Hearts Desire/Tomales Day Park.

    McNears Beach Park
    Set in a beautiful sheltered cove, this 55 acre regional park is located along the shores of San Pablo Bay in San Rafael, southeast of China Camp State Park. The fishing pier is extremely popular—anglers fish for sturgeon, stripped bass, shark, perch, bat ray, halibut, and crab. Facilities include a swimming pool, snack bar, sand volleyball courts, several group picnic areas of varying size, expansive turf areas, and newly renovated tennis courts. The pool and the snack bar operate during the summer season only. The narrow, bayside beach offers a fun, safe place for general beach recreation and easy carry-in boat access for kayaks and canoes.

    Paradise Beach Park
    19 acre regional park is located along the east shore of the Tiburon Peninsula, nestled in a residential neighborhood. Paradise is well-named. This bayside gem is truly gorgeous with its mature landscaping, colorful poplar trees, wildflowers, rolling grassy hillsides above the San Francisco Bay, and a grove of tall redwoods. It’s a fun and secluded place to enjoy the great outdoors, close to home. Facilities include family and group picnic sites along the bay, numerous lawn areas, a horseshoe court, a narrow beach, a long fishing pier, and more. Anglers fish for halibut, sturgeon, striped bass, shark, perch, bat ray, and crab. Paradise offers stunning views of the bay, a beautiful area to watch see seals, sea lions and other marine life, as well as provide bay access for kayaks.

    Salmon Creek Beach
    A lagoon forms as sand closes the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. Nearly two miles of unbroken, scenic, sandy beach make this an excellent place for surf fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking. North and South Salmon beaches are popular with the local surfing community when the waves are good.

    Shell Beach
    Shell Beach is a favorite location for beachcombing and tide pooling. It is used by schools as an outdoor classroom for the study of tidal pool marine life and enjoys a reputation as a prime fishing spot. 

    Stillwater Cove Regional Park Sunrise to sunset
    This 210 acre park offers picnic facilities and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from Stillwater Cove. The park has open meadows mixed with coastal forest. There is a half-mile trail leading to the historic one-room Fort Ross Schoolhouse. Stillwater Cove is popular with small boat operators, skin and scuba divers and abalone divers, as it provides ocean access and a small beach. A beach launch facility is available for people to load and off load their boats or kayaks. 

    Stinson Beach Opens at 9am.
    A very popular beach in the community of Stinson Beach. Stretches for miles, this beach is family-friendly, although there have been shark attacks here in the past.

    POOL PLAY:

    Petaluma

    Cavanaugh Pool
    Open through August. 8th and G Street, Petaluma
    This heated outdoor pool measures 20yd x 6yd, and 3ft to 6ft deep. Water temperature is approximately 86 degrees. Full stairs at one end of the pool. Pool area is sheltered on all sides by walls. 

    Family Swim: Mon-Sat 1-4pm
    Toddler Time: Fridays 10-11am
    Fees: Adult $5, Seniors $4, Youth and non-swimmer $2

    Petaluma Swim Center
    Open until August 23. 900 E. Washington, Petaluma
    The Swim Center has a 50-meter heated outdoor pool and a heated wading pool from 2-3 feet deep. The complex includes heated showers, dressing rooms, a large deck and picnic areas.

    Family swim: M,T,Th,F 12:30-7, Weds & Sat 12:30-6, Sun 12-5
    Fees: Adult $5, Seniors $4, Youth and non-swimmers $2.

    Rohnert Park

    Benicia Pool Open until August 16. 7469 Bernice Drive, RP
    "B-Pool" is one of our more active pools and is often filled to capacity on hot summer days. The centerpiece is the 18-foot waterslide, which attracts users young and old and a one-meter diving board. Picnic area and shade is limited at this pool.

     Family swim: Every day 1-4:15pm
    $5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors

    Honeybee Pool Open until August 16. 1170 Golf Course Drive, RP
    Rohnert Park's busiest pool is popular with families and lap swimmers. "H-Pool" is equipped with a one-meter diving board and has a child's wading pool (not currently open)

    Family swim: Mon-Fri 1:30-4:15pm, Sat & Sun 1:30-5:30pm
    $5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors.

    Magnolia Pool
    Open June 7-August 16. 1401 Middlebrook Drive, RP
    Family Swim: Mon-Sun 1-4:15pm
    $5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors

    Sebastopol

    Ives Pool
    Open through August 16. 7400 Willow St, Sebastopol
    Two Pools: Six Lane Pool 16 yards x 25 yards and Small Pool 16 yards x 14 yards. The only public pool in Sonoma County run by a successful Non Profit organization.

    Family swim: M-F 1-3pm, Sat & Sun 2-4:30pm
    Small pool family swim: M-F 6:15-8:30pm, Sat & Sun 11-2pm
    $4.50 Adults, $3 juniors

    Santa Rosa

    Finley Aquatic Center
    Open through August 23. 2060 W. College Ave, Santa Rosa
    2 large pools, full showers, and coin lockers.
    Public Swim: Mon-Fri 1:30 - 4:45pm, Sat & Sun 1:30 - 6:00pm
    $5 Adults, $4 ages 2-17

    Ridgway Swim Center
    Open through October 4. 455 Ridgway Ave, Santa Rosa
    Features 140 ft waterslide, tumble buckets, and mushroom water features.
    Public Swim: Mon-Fri 1:00 - 4:00pm, Friday 7:30 - 9:30pm, Sat & Sun 1:15 - 6:00pm
    $5 Adults, $4 ages 2-17

    Sonoma County YMCA
    1111 College Avenue, Santa Rosa
    2 indoor heated pools.
    See website for fees and public swim schedule.

    Surrounding Areas

    Francis Ford Coppola Winery Pool
    Open through September 27, 11am-6pm
    Beautiful 2-part pool in the lovely Coppola Winery. Featuring cabines to rent and a pool cafe. Reservations must be made in advance. Read more about our experience at the Coppola Pool.

    Hamilton Pool (Novato) Open through September 25.
    Features a large pool and a shallow pool for kids with a play structure, water slide, and water sprayers.

    McNears Beach Park Pool (San Rafael)
    Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wed-Sun 11am-5pm
    Large Pool and a toddler pool in McNears Beach Park. $10 parking fee and $5 per person to use the pool.

    Morton's Warm Springs Resort (Glen Ellen)
    Open Tuesday-Sunday, June-August, 10-6pm. $5 for kids, $15 for 12 years and up. 2 Warm Natural Mineral Pools, Picnic and BBQ Sites, Wading Pool, Creek Trails, Baseball Field, Volleyball Court, Horseshoe Pit.

    Windsor Friday Family Swim June-August
    Fridays, 6-8pm. The cost is $3 for youth, $4 for adults, and $12 for a family of four. An adult must attend with youth under 16 and be in the pool with kids 6 and younger.
    Windsor Senior Center, 9231 Foxwood Drive, Call 838-1250 for more details.

    MISC WATER PLAY

    Splash pad at Howarth Park
    Located in the playground area of the park, the splash pad is FREE and fun for kids. There are several water spouts that go off about every 15 minutes (confirm times) and the kids can run in and out and cool off.

  • 5 Mar 2018 8:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Then there were two! Having your second child.

    So this is a really important topic to me because before I had our second child, I asked many people for advice and didn't get much real insight. Here are some things I wish someone had told me:

    In the early days after a new sibling arrives, lower your standards and expectations as much as possible. Think they're as low as they'll ever get? Lower them some more. Keep activities & schedules as open as possible. Don't worry about the mess, really. Get other people to take care of your older child so you can focus on the baby, but be sure to switch it up and give the big kid solo mama time too! Figure out what #1 self-care item is non-negotiable for you every day to keep you sane and recruit others so that you get it. Every day. For as many weeks or months as you can. Is it a shower? Changing your clothes? Five minutes outside alone? Time to put on makeup? A walk? Whatever it is, that needs to be everyone's priority for a few weeks at least because when mama's not happy, no one's happy!

    When you are overwhelmed and feel like you can't do anything right and both (or all) the kids are crying at once and you feel like you don't have enough arms, brain power or energy to meet anyone's needs, go to bed as soon as you possibly can. Being tired makes it all seem much worse than it really is.

    Depending on the age and temperament of the older sib(s), they may be super helpful and in love with the baby, but they also might not be, at least not at first. It is impossible to predict but either reaction is normal and ok. Think of it from their point of view: imagine your spouse comes home with a second wife one day and proclaims their undying love and expects you to love the new wife just as much. She'll live in your house, share everything with you, including your husband, be showered with gifts, and you're expected to love and celebrate this new wife. That's what a new baby can be like, especially for a toddler. No one told me about this possibility before our second son was born. Our oldest was only 19 months and all he could say around his baby brother for the first few weeks was "no!" I was so worried about it until I heard the above explanation. They love each other immensely now though, over five years later. How things are in the beginning is not necessarily how things will be later on.

    As demanding as it can feel learning to care for two, remember that the work you are putting in is really for the long-term benefit of both (or all) kids. My boys are each other's closest friends and best medicine. They teach each other in ways I never could. Relax and just let things evolve. Keep your standards low, do what you need to to keep your spirits high, have *fun* with them and it really will all work out. ~Stacey king

    Some of what our moms had to say.

    I would say that some of the genuinely happiest moments of my life have been watching my kids interact with each other. There's nothing like how fantastic that is when it works well. But sometimes to get to that point takes some skill and patience, so set out to learn how to be the best mediator and group facilitator you can be and read parenting experts you trust. Make the effort to help each of them be successful and you'll be rewarded with years of watching wonderful friendships unfold.

    Also, on a very practical note, if you don't have family or resources to help, I think it's easier if you leave more time before having a second or third. They need you the most the younger they are, so for moms who don't have much help it's definitely easier not to be trying to spread yourself between several really young kids. Just my opinion after 15 years of raising kids with no family nearby! - Terri B

    Carve out special time for your older child after the baby is born - regardless of how hard that seems! - Erica Wisner

    Your first born fulfills your desire to bring a life into this world while you have a second to give them a friend for life :) Jharna

    Per dad, get ready to go from man on man coverage to zone defense. My favorite saying - the days are long, but the years are short. - Ginger Sussner


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