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Dear Reader: Happy September

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three

learned something new about myself this week – the only kind of puzzles I can put together easily are the ones that come on wooden blocks. My whole "mom" life I thought I was a puzzle whiz, because, well, I am really good at kid puzzles; but it turns out, 500-piece puzzles are a whole different ballgame. And, I have to admit, I'm not good at them. They are so much harder than I remember, because I haven't done one in a long time.

My dad and I decided to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle of Germany's picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle. After a few days and countless hours, we called defeat and abandoned the project. We both made excuses, saying it was too many pieces, and the metallic finish to the puzzle made it harder to match colors. Yada yada yada…

So, not to be daunted, we got another puzzle, but this time downsized to 500 pieces and made sure it had a lot of bright colors with a matte finish. After much concentration and dedication, this puzzle of Renoir's impressionist masterpiece, Oarsmen at Chatou, finally has a complete border and that's about it. I don't want to give up this time, but it really is proving to be a challenge. You'll have to check on me next year to see if it's done, because I am determined to complete it no matter how long it takes. After all, what's that old saying? "It's not about the destination, but the journey."

Now, with the kids back in school, I will have more time to conquer the puzzle that awaits me lying on my dining room table. In Janelle Capra's Hello Happy Mama article, "…And So She Danced!" on page 20, she writes about how she has more time to herself and was able to take dance lessons at Kern Dance Academy for adults. Growing up, she danced ballet for years and really missed it, so she's recommitted to taking an adult ballet class at Civic and challenges you to reignite a passion in your life. In fact, she wants you

to share your new adventures with her on social media using the hashtag #hellohappymama.

Ashley & Kayleen with KCFM Publisher LJ Radon Carlie Shea.
In this month's Humor at Home by Julie Willis "How Do I Eat This? Why I Was Always Starving When My Kids Were Small," she reminisces about days when her kids were babies, and she had to find food on the go. To read about her acrobatic routines balancing a baby while trying to find non-moldy cheese in the refrigerator, turn to page 18.

A special thanks to Ashley Villegas, who shares her life-changing story, written by Callie Collins, "Hope at Kern Medical: One Patient Shares her Valley Fever Survival Story," on page 14. Ashley was diagnosed with Valley Fever during her third trimester of pregnancy, which caused many health concerns for both her and her baby. Kern Medical's Valley Fever Institute is dedicated to helping patients like Ashley and her baby, Kayleen. The Institute was recently awarded $2 million of state funds for its research purposes.

As Back-to-School routines have become a way of life and the kids are settling in, find a few hours for me time, even if it's just staring at a puzzling puzzle. Summer seemed short and before you can blink, it will be the New Year. Slow down, unwind, and find ways to enjoy the moment. And, when you've done something really cool, let us know about it! Don't forget the hashtag (otherwise known in my day as the pound sign) #hellohappymama

Happy September!

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Tags: Parenting

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