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The We Turned Out Okay Podcast

What kind of hijinks did you get up to as a kid? Did you climb trees? Did you run around outside barefoot? Did you eat raw cookie dough? Maybe you wanted to do these and other crazy things, but you weren't allowed… Let me ask you this: what if your children wanted to? Would you let them? If you hesitate there, well, you're in the right place. The We Turned Out Okay podcast is where we learn the hows and whys of hovering less and enjoying our young children more. You get to learn from host Karen Lock Kolp's mistakes, but especially from the successes of her guests. Each helpful, lively conversation illustrates why this show really is "The Modern Guide to Old-School Parenting."
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Now displaying: Page 8
Sep 22, 2015

Did you know that, by the time we are five years old, we've heard "no" 40,000 times? And that in that same span of time, we've only heard "yes" 5000 times? (I learned that reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, a great book by the way.)

While it's true that "no" is important – for safety, if nothing else – this n-word can really bring us down… As Jeff puts it: "Eight times as many noes as yeses. Eight times the force holding you down, compared to the force lifting you up. Eight times the gravity against your desire to soar."

Today, I share with you the primo ninja parenting tactic of them all… Make no sound like yes! Here's how:

1) Actually say yes. When they ask "Mom, can I have an ice cream?" you respond "sure! Right after dinner." If it's "can we play play dough?" and if there isn't time at the moment, you respond "absolutely – as soon as we get home from the doctor." This works in so many situations, and have the added bonus of making us parents feel somehow lighter and happier… because no sucks and yes is nice.

2) Keep your cautions to yourself. If your mouth says "yes" but your body language, facial expression, and tone communicate fear and worry, your child won't hear the yes. Worse, if you say yes and then come up with 10 reasons why your child shouldn't climb that tree, or go barefoot, or eat the Halloween candy you just told him he could eat, are you really saying yes? Not really… This is where we need to be angels, not balloon poppers.

3) Use "yes, and…" A great turn-no-into-yes tactic for transitional times, try this one when your child wants to do one thing and you know that you need to do another… "Mom, can we play play dough?" "Yes, we can play now for a bit and will keep going with it when we get back from the doctor."

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: our words matter. The more yeses we can squeeze into a child's day – more noes we can eliminate – the lighter and happier we will all be.

How are you changing "no" to "yes"? Please share! Either go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact or leave a comment right at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to hear your innovations!

Sep 17, 2015

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid's head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you're child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday's guest episode.

Let's dive into your kid's head together!

Tuesday's guest, Wesley Chapman of A HUMAN Project, gave you and I lots of ways to help our young children feel loved, appreciated, and an integral part of our families. If you didn't get a chance to listen to our interview, I think you'll love it – it's Weturnedoutokay.com/024… The obstacles that Wes has overcome and the positive difference he's making and the lives of thousands of families will blow you away.

For today's Your Child Explained episode, we highlight the letter you in HUMAN: to Wes, U means Understanding. Today's show, as we look into our young kids' minds, we see a desperate need on their parts to be understood by the people they love most.

How do you communicate that you honor their ideas, that you "get" your child, no matter how young? Maybe it's as simple as saying "I understand" sometimes; maybe it's slightly tweaking your routine to honor your toddler's preferences.

The best thing is that putting the letter u in Understanding can have great consequences! They can help you know your child better, it can help you laugh together… It can help you have more fun.

Do you Understand your child? If so, please share! Go to the contact page at Weturnedoutokay.com, or comment right here in this post – it took me years to be able to Understand each of my boys, I'd love to know how you do it. And, thanks for listening!

Sep 15, 2015

Today's guest has had a lifetime of unplanned adventures… Abused and abandoned during his young childhood, simultaneously a troublemaker and a bullied kid all through school… Wesley Chapman developed an entrepreneurial spirit at age 8, when his grandmother became disabled and he started going door to door selling flowers from her garden.

The entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Wes, who found that his strength lay in being an entrepreneur, and then helping other entrepreneurs… And in more recent years helping thousands of children and teens through their own private battles.

We talk about all that in today's episode:

  • how Wes's growing up helped him become the man he is today
  • how his philosophy went from "I'll prove them all wrong" to "I'll prove myself right"… And how this philosophical shift affects Wes and the people around him every day
  • what the acronym HUMAN means, in Wes's A HUMAN Project click update
  • how you can help your young child thrive

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: our children deserve our time and our positive thinking. These two elements are what will cause them to thrive!

Sep 8, 2015

Today's episode is probably almost exactly the opposite of what you think of when you think of school rules. In fact, it feels a little subversive… The truth is, I think that schools are getting some important things wrong. These rules for you to follow can right some of these wrongs.

Let's jump in!

1) Get into the mindset that school exists to help your child. We often feel like, especially if our kid does not fit the mold, that we are somehow in trouble – that our son or daughter is to blame for holding up the class, or poor test scores. It's important to remember that, like the police who protect and serve, school teachers are there to nurture our children, to help our children achieve their dreams. It's not the other way around!

2) Formulate a goal for what you want your child to get out of his or her school year. I know that this sounds like a weird one – aren't goals for executive boardrooms, or job reviews, or at the very least high school? – but going into your child's preschool, kindergarten, or first grade with an idea of what you hope she'll learn will help her have a better year. It gives you a parameter, and if you don't feel like this goal is being met it gives you a way to speak up about it.

3) Don't worry about testing. Tests should be the absolute last thing on a parent of a young child's mind; when they are young, our job is to nurture their creativity, help them get along better with other kids, help them spend time doing the things they love… The best way to have kids (of this age) (eventually) do well on tests is to not worry about them yet! Leave the test prep to the teachers.

4) Subject matter matters! It is much easier to help a young child on the path to, say, learning to read if what they are reading about is really important to them. The best teachers help their students learn by having them learn about what they love. If, unfortunately, your child doesn't have one of these best teachers, it becomes even more crucial for you to help them learn about what they love. Luckily, this is fun for everybody; the best learning with kids this age result in a lot of laughter.

5) If you see something missing, ASK for it. Meaning, if you want something for your child that you don't see happening in the classroom, you must respectfully ask for it… And then expect results. Fortunately we have the four C's's – remaining calm, being confident and courageous, and following up with consistency – to aid in asking, because it can be pretty scary to ask for stuff!

I hope these five School Rules help you help your child have a great school year. I'll leave you with a fifth C – community – to add to the other four… Because if schools exist to serve our children, if we think of them and ourselves as existing in a community, then as part of that community we have the right to respectfully ask for change.

What kind of change would you like to see in your child's school? Please share! Either in the comments here, or you can fill in the contact form at Weturnedoutokay.com… I can't wait to hear from you!

Sep 3, 2015

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid's head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you're child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday's guest episode.

Let's dive into your kid's head together!

Simplicity expert and professional declutterer Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of morethanorganized.net really got into our heads this past Tuesday in Episode 21 (weturnedoutokay.com/021).

But what happens in your child's mind when it's time to give something away? If yours are anything like mine, giving things away does not come naturally. Here are three ways to de-clutter and simplify, even while living with young children:

1) Go into stealth mode. Clean out while they're not around, or while they're asleep… As you do this, be sure to bring out toys, clothes, or art supplies that they haven't seen in a while and then put the emphasis on those, while stealthily handing off the stuff you want to say goodbye to.

2) Overtly discuss. Talking about the good that somebody else will get from our stuff can be revelatory, even for young children. They do have generous hearts, and knowing that, when they say goodbye to these things they've outgrown, they are helping somebody else can make the transition that much easier.

3) Go gently. It can be super hard to give away things you still love! We know and understand that as adults, and communicating to your son or daughter that you know how he or she feels can make a huge difference.

There is kindness and generosity in your child's head. Appealing to that can help get past the instinctive "mine!" grab… plus, showing that you understand how tough it can be when something has to go is so supportive for your child.

How have you helped your child through the process of giving up stuff? Please share! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, I can't wait to hear from you!

Sep 1, 2015

Did you ever think about the relationship you have with your stuff? Today, my guest and I talk about all the different ways that our stuff is a barrier to our enjoyment of our time, possessions, and especially our relationships.

Miriam Ortiz y Pino of morethanorganized.net has built a great business to help break down these barriers. When she was 11 years old and was given her first job, alphabetizing the merchandise in the business of a family friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she started the very beginnings of a life of helping others organize. In more recent years she not only helps us regular people clean out our dressers and closets, she also helps organize bigger things, like political campaigns or restaurants.

Today, she talks to me about organization and decluttering, not just of stuff, but of emotions.

Listen for:

- how to better utilize an area of your home by thinking NOT about the bins and containers you'll use to store stuff, but instead of what that space will be used for

- decluttering by choosing mostly gadgets that do more than one thing

- figuring out the emotional ties to an object in order to decide what to do with it/about it – during this part of our conversation, Miriam helps me understand a decades-old argument with my husband!

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: we can be ruled by our stuff, and is up to us to master our (emotional and physical) clutter.

Aug 25, 2015

Today's episode is special, not just because it's the last in our Summer Camp series but because it's more than just a single interview; it's an ode to summer, told in parts. On recent camping trip I took my fun little recorder, the Zoom H5, and today I'm bringing you some of my favorite stories and sounds from that trip. Amazing producer (and 18 time winner of the Husband of the Year award) Benjamin Kolp has woven together these, plus my two-part interview with mom and journalist Heather Kempskie, making for a Summer Camp wrap-up that you will love! So before we jump back into fall, grab yourself one final summertime adult beverage, curl up in your favorite camp chair, and enjoy!

 

In addition to her day job as the Multimedia Editor of baystateparent.com, today's guest has always been a real adventurer in terms of her vacations – in 2014, her family swapped houses with a Danish family for a month! – but their plans for this summer were daring in a different way: she and her family spent two weeks traveling together in a motorhome RV.

 

In this unusual episode, we spend the first part talking with Heather Kempskie about plans for the RV trip with her family… And then after the trip is over we have a postmortem right here on the show!

 

Listen for:

 

Heather's enthusiasm for the upcoming trip, in which the family travels from the Boston area and down along the East Coast, heading inland to the Appalachian Mountains before returning home

what she is concerned about (for example, how do you have any alone time in an RV with three other people?), and how she handles those concerns

her favorite vacation so far – it was that one to Denmark – and how this one stacks up against that one

what the trip was actually like versus her expectations of the trip

If you take one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: being open to seemingly crazy ideas can make your life much more fun!

 

A doggie note about this episode: when we recorded part one, we had our beautiful little Shi-Tzu-poodle mixes for less than 48 hours; by the time we got together to record the second part of Heather's interview, care of the dogs had become too much for me. I had a relapse of the condition I've been living with for four years, called tendinosis, and we had given the dogs up and I was back to 30% use of my arms. You can hear the whole story in Episode 17, where I share four ways to help your young children cope with challenging situations.

Aug 18, 2015

Welcome to another great Summer Camp episode! Today's is more of an evergreen topic, because we care about the successes of our children in all seasons. It's true that this interview is not solely about summer; but as we head back into the school year, it's also a good time to think about how to help our kids in life. And maybe, not even just our kids – but us! I'm looking forward to sharing this great show with you, you're going to love today's guest.

Do you go through a daily struggle to balance your work time with your family time? Have you ever wondered if your gender plays a part in how successful you are at work, how much money you earn, whether you get a big promotion – or watch it go to someone else? Today's guest and I talk about all things women and workplace, the subject of her very successful podcast with a great name: The Broad Experience.

Ashley Milne-Tyte grew up in London, riding public buses and then the London Tube, both by herself, to school. She spent her summers in rural Pennsylvania enjoying the kind of independence that kids used to take for granted, riding bikes or exploring the woods with friends and really only being required to "be back home for meals." Our conversation starts with differences between childhood then and now, and progresses to where her expertise helps you – and your kids – enjoy successes both in work and life.

Listen for:

  • how the myth that "having babies" is the only thing that holds women back in the workplace is completely wrong; women have difficulty climbing as high in the corporate world as men for lots of reasons, and knowing these reasons can help women be more successful
  • what can be learned from two of my favorite books – and two books on my Fabulous Five list of books that help us be better parents – Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
  • a great piece of advice for anyone of any gender: develop the ability to advocate for yourself; to help with this Ashley recommends the book, Ask for it: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get what They Really Want, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, which is winging its way to me from the library as I write :-)

Ashley Milne-Tyte's expertise lies in storytelling, and in today's episode we really get a sense of that, as she shares stories from her own childhood, work experiences and setbacks. You'll finish the episode with a huge smile on your face, both because you'll have a better sense of how to be successful yourself and how to help your children be successful in the workplace when they are all grown up. You'll also have a huge smile on your face because you've got so many Broad Experience episodes to listen to in your future!

Aug 11, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Today's guest spends her work days helping her clients love their outdoor spaces – and then along with her husband and their three young children, she spends her free time loving and improving their own outdoor space. Jill Brown of mylandscapecoach.com really practices what she preaches, cultivating not just plants but community in all areas of her life.

And she has some great tips for us to do exactly the same! Listen for:

  • the value of hanging out, not in your backyard, but in your front yard – this is where friendships are made, trust and community are built, and fun is had
  • three fabulous ways to interact with your neighbors: putting a Little Library into your neighborhood, basically a small waterproof hut in which people leave books that they're done with, or take books they're interested in; putting in a Magazine Box similar to the Little Library; and using a utility pole as a Poetry Pole, a place for neighborhood poets of all ages to have their stuff exhibited
  • fun and inexpensive yard play equipment that you can build, like a simple disc swing or a fence made of electrical conduit

Jill's blog at mylandscapecoach.com has examples and ideas for customizing these concepts for your own yard, plus it's just a fun place to look for inspiration! I know you're going to love our conversation today because Jill has many great ideas that you can use immediately to enjoy life more outside with your young children.

If you love something that we talked about in this episode, and went out and built something based on it, please let us know! Email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, or just go to the contact page, weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and drop me a line. I'm going to be shouting about my favorites on the show, I hope yours is one of them :-)

Aug 4, 2015

This week, we take a temporary break from We Turned Out Okay's Summer Camp series so that I can help you know how to talk with your children when a challenge arises.

Sometimes, even in beautiful summer, bad things happen, and today I share about the tough situation my family and I have found ourselves in over the last several weeks. But rest assured – we've still got three lovely, golden August weeks left to enjoy summer and we will do so!

One last thing before we get into the notes, this show has an epilogue, so after I have said "thanks for listening, see you next time" you still want to keep listening – I have something to share about both the Q&A, and about our dogs.… Not exactly a Hollywood ending, but a better one then I had ever thought could happen!

A Breakdown of Today's Show

Today's show is split into two parts, but before I get to those there is a really neat thing I wanted to share – friend-of-the-podcast Muttaqi Ismael, an amazing whiteboard video artist, has turned a favorite part of We Turned Out Okay: episode 5 – Four Risks That We Take With Our Children's Well-Being Every Day into a fantastic whiteboard video! He's a very talented guy, and to see the video just go to weturnedoutokay.com/017, where it is embedded… My plan is to give the video its own blog post during this month of August. Meantime, enjoy! And thank you Muttaqi – you did a great job!

Our First Q&A!

And now on to the Q&A – Jill asks: "why are my three kids awesome at swim lessons when daycare brings them, but when mommy brings them I'm practically holding their hand in the water (and that's if they actually get in the water) – we've been doing swim lesson since March BTW"

We've all noticed this at some point in our parenting lives, haven't we? Why do they behave incredibly well for somebody else, and freak out for us? Jill, I'm so glad you asked this question because it is such a common concern. My answer dives (pun totally intended) into my experiences with how my kids behaved when they were small at Grandma's versus how they behaved with me – and I recorded the epilogue because, almost as soon as I hit stop recording this episode, I realized that I had been in a very similar situation to yours!

I hope you find my answer helpful, and that it helps you think of other questions to ask. I love Q&A's, I think they're so helpful and also they help us know we are not alone. To submit a question, you can email Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, friend me on Facebook, find me on twitter@StoneAgeTechie, on instagram@weturnedoutokay… Heck, you can even snail mail me! My address is PO Box 61, Bellingham, MA, 02019.

4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations

The main part of this show focuses on the four ways you can help your child cope with challenging situations. This came up because my family has been in a very challenging situation: about six weeks before this episode aired for the first time, we adopted two amazing, awesome dogs… And then the stress of caring for them caused a relapse in tendinosis, this condition that I live with that, at times, has left me unable to walk (which I've since relearned) and with extremely limited upper body and hand use.

Long story short, these wonderful dogs entered our lives and within a very short time, we had to give them up. Truly, it was either them or my health and sanity.

In this episode, I share about how heartbreaking and difficult this has been. But I also share about how grateful I am to have had them in our lives, and how amazed I am by the strength and gentleness of both my husband and our two boys.

Most importantly for you, I share about how we got through this. Because when you are in a tough situation and you don't know how to help your kids get through it as well, it's really helpful to have a guide. I hope you will think of this podcast as your guide!

Here are my four steps to coping with challenging situations, and helping your kids cope as well:

1) communicate with your kids; they WILL know that something is wrong, and consequently you will notice, if you try to keep everything from them, an uptick in bad behavior, anxiety, and tears; sharing with them what you can on their level reassures your kids and helps them trust you

2) help them understand that you are all in this together; be there for tears, questions, reassurances

3) find a way for them to help; children need to be needed, and when you give them a job – a truly meaningful job that truly helps you, however small – they become part of the solution

4) cherish the time we have with our loved ones; because challenging situations often include the absence of a person that they used to see a lot – whether through divorce, or death, or a cross-country move – it is really helpful to talk with our kids about how people come in and out of our lives; sometimes, people are not meant to be with us for long, or not without long intervals between seeing them, and the most important thing is to appreciate the time we have with our loved ones, and cherish the memory of them when we are not with them

Giving up our dogs due to my illness is one of the hardest things we've faced as a family. I'm sharing this experience with you today because I really hope it will help you with the challenges that inevitably come up in your life. Kids are amazingly resilient, and cope well with life's challenges, especially when we grown-ups take the time to communicate with them, share in grief together, find meaningful ways for them to help, and above all teach them to enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

Jul 28, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Though you may not know it, you have heard the voice of today's guest. Anna Vocino can be heard on networks like CBS and Fox Sports, in commercial campaigns for Canada dry, Disney Princess bikes, on The Young and The Restless and Jimmy Kimmel Live! and in many other places… but my favorite place to hear her voice is at the beginning and ending of my very own podcast!

Also an accomplished comedic actor, Anna was a series regular on Free Radio on Comedy Central and performs sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and at FunnyorDie.com. In today's show, we learn that, along with a group that includes her now-husband, Anna started a theater company in Atlanta, Georgia which is still going strong 18 years later.

In addition to all of the above, my guest today has celiac disease, and as a result has relearned how to feed herself and her family, created GlutenFreeAnna.com to share her learning, and has a cookbook coming out soon.

Listen for:

  • her inspiring perseverance through the many obstacles that have been tossed in her path; from the "surprise" pregnancy and birth of their daughter while starting the theater company all those years ago, to cultivating the super thick skin required to make it in Hollywood and right on up to how Anna dealt with the autoimmune disease known as celiac, she has cheerfully taken on every unplanned adventure – and won
  • great summer memories (this show airs during We Turned Out Okay's visit to Summer Camp, when we set aside our usual themes and just enjoy summertime) that Anna has, from going to Methodist Camp as the daughter of a minister, to attending a really great arts summer camp in Michigan with a delicious mystery dessert that she remembers well, even if she can't recall exactly what it is now :-)
  • the importance of a strong family bond, both in the family she was raised in and the one she is building with her husband and daughter, in Anna's life; while she never comes out and says "family is and always has been super important to me," this love comes through in every memory she shares, every situation she describes

If you take one idea away from today's show, I hope it is this: autoimmune diseases come in many varieties, and if you or someone you love has peculiar symptoms that are painful and debilitating, yet no one can place, the problem might be autoimmune based, or possibly food -related. But as Anna Vocino shares with us, these problems do not have to be the end of your world; instead, they could be the beginning of a new and better existence!

Jul 21, 2015

015: Top 11 Ways to Tire Out Your Kids

For This Summer Camp episode of We Turned Out Okay, I asked you about your favorite ways to tire out your kids… And you sure responded! Special thanks to Doug Gray, Aisha Newton, Nancy Marsh, Miriam Ortiz y Pino, De Osborne, Shannon Criscola, Amy Blake, Erica Chick, John Winchenbach, my own Jason Kolp, and Deb Petrella for coming up with our most popular ways to tire out your kids.

Here they are!

  • Number 11: Go take a hike
  • Number 10: Dance Party!
  • Number 9: Have a field day
  • Number 8: Flashlight tag
  • Number 7: Indoor and rainy day games
  • Number 6: Ride bikes
  • Number 5: Noncompetitive games
  • Number 4: Obstacle course
  • Number 3: Wacky golf
  • Number 2: Nerf wars
  • (drumroll please…) Number 1: Swimming

Did we miss any of your favorites? Tell me about it! Tweet me@StoneAgeTechie or post to twitter at #oldschoolsummervaca, shout about it in the We Turned Out Okay group on Facebook, or just get in touch with good old-fashioned email to Karen@Weturnedoutokay.com.

Jul 14, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Great news! During our interview today iPhoneography teacher Andre Ngyen offers you a week's free coaching by email! You can find out how to get this bonus by listening to the episode. Speaking as a student of his I know you're not going to want to miss out; his great ideas will help you take fantastic family vacation pictures!

If you want to see the pictures I took with Andre's guidance, click here – that will take you to last week's blog post in which I previewed the pictures we talk about in today's episode. Enjoy!

If you have any desire at all to capture great summer memories, great photographs of your kids and family – and pets – using just your iPhone, then you are going to love today's guest. Andre Nguyen of iPhoneographyinsiders.com is first and foremost a talented photographer, but most importantly he really wants to help the rest of us take great pictures.

Today's conversation includes lots of fun stuff: summer memories, dog stories, my excitement about sharing when I got to go see this amazing art installation in Boston on the Rose Kennedy Greenway… and because Andre gave us so many tips and apps, I'm going to list them here:

  • the first, easy and fun, is to simply tap the light source on your phone to completely change the amount of light in the picture; in other words, if you want a picture of your husband kissing the top of your baby's head with his son in the background, tap the sun – you'll end up with a silhouette picture! Really, really cool
  • next, be playful – take a variety of pictures of the same scene, in which you have tapped different places on the screen (which left in different amounts of light), try different poses, see if you can capture your kids jumping in the picture, use your imagination
  • when indoors, capturing enough light can be tough for the iPhone which results in grainy photographs where you literally see many pixels; Andre recommends using a strong light source and once again tapping on that light source on the iPhone screen
  • a great app: photographer's ephemerist, which tells you the angle of the sun, and exactly where it will be setting in the sky, on any given day; Andre uses this to plan his sunset photography, knowing exactly where and when the sun will be passing specific buildings, and then he can pull out his iPhone and play
  • another great app, Slow Shutter Cam,which allows you to let more light in and thus get cool blurry effects – if you take Andre's suggestion of doing a selfie on a merry-go-round with your children, please send it along! This sounds like the coolest idea in the world, my boys are too old for merry-go-rounds, I gotta see this in action :-)
  • Andre's favorite website for getting prints of his photos is called artifactuprising.com, where he's gotten beautiful print of his pictures at decent prices
  • on instagram, Andre goes by@AndreHarrison, and I just know you're going to want to head over to instagram and check out his artwork, which is amazing! You can also find it at his two websites: techminimalist.com and iPhoneographyinsiders.com

Once you start taking amazing pictures using Andre's tips, please email me some pictures! You can do that by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or just emailing Karen@weturnedoutokay.com. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Jul 7, 2015

Welcome to the first episode of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay! For the summer months of July and August, we are setting aside our usual four themes (Risky Business, 3R's, Kids Through the Ages, and Unplanned Adventures) and kicking back. We are recognizing that in summer, time moves somewhat differently, and we can set aside our usual schedules at least a little bit – so pour yourself a frosty drink and stick your toes in the virtual sand as you press play.

In this episode I share about four fantastic books that should be on your summer reading list:

  • The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing; I kick off the episode reading this book, an obvious and wonderful play on The Night Before Christmas, a picture book that we read at the beginning of every summer, even now that the boys are 14 and 10, because it is just that awesome
  • How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell; a great book involving a bet about eating live worms, the fallout from that, and the summer in which it all takes place
  • Time Sweep by Valerie Weldrick, in which a modern Australian boy discovers a way to travel through time and space, befriending a young London street sweeper living in the late 1800s; I read and loved this book as a young girl and it just evokes summertime for me
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling; I love rereading the Harry Potter books in summer, and every time I do something new comes up for me… This reread has me thinking of the big ideas that literature can bring up for us, and there's a special kind of magic when you combine big ideas and summertime

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: as parents, it's our responsibility to instill a love of reading in our children. Reading is how humans make sense of the world, and there are lots of other platitudes to be said about it – but it's summer click publish, and platitudes are out! Reading, however, is still in, because not only is it our responsibility – it's fun!

Jun 30, 2015

Today's guest is an early intervention therapist by trade, and has such an interesting perspective on life that I just know you are going to love our conversation! Mariana Sanford Maynard has a background in equine massage, is bilingual, raised for part of her life in Brazil (even though she has no accent), and the divorced mom of two kids. Her gentle, loving demeanor permeates our whole conversation, and I felt like I had the knowledge to be a better parent after we were done talking.

Listen for:

  • similarities between horses and children – you'll be surprised
  • thinking about the system in which our kids live, and how understanding that system can help us be better parents for them
  • how to keep the idea of "family" alive, even after a divorce

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: there is real value in apologizing to our kids when we mess up. It helps them know that we are human, we make mistakes, and when we do we atone for them.

I know you're going to get so much out of this episode, please drop me a line – Karen@weturnedoutokay.com – and let me know what really resonated with you!

Jun 23, 2015

We are headed into summer as I record today, a classic time for parents to worry about kids' academic work slipping. Is this a thing that you worry about? If so, you are going to love today's's show – all about six steps to creating young, happy readers!
No matter when you listen, whether in the middle of an extended summer vacation or in deepest winter, you will love it, because here is where I share my six steps to having happy readers.

Listen for:
How to bond with your kids over books, no matter how young or old the kids are, no matter how simple or complex the books are
Strategies to stop the scourge of trying to be perfect; one of my favorite quotes is from Henry Winkler, a.k.a. the Fonz from Happy Days: "perfectionism is destructive… Beating the sh*t out of yourself is a killer"
Why reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do with your children

We cover an awful lot today, so I knew you were going to want to write all this down – that's why I created a guide, Six Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading, which you can get just by going to weturnedoutokay.com and clicking the button! As a bonus, I've got a resource section of awesome books included with the guide… Between these six steps and the resource section of awesome books, you will soon have some really happy readers in your home.

Jun 21, 2015

Today I share a great conversation that I had recently with my Dad. After climbing his way out of a working class neighborhood in Montréal, Canada, Dad became a very well-educated, high-powered executive at a large insurance company.

But as his daughter, I knew about that part of his life only peripherally. To me, Dad was and still is a great example of how to achieve your dreams, and especially how to live your life: Dad has an unshakable moral compass and an amazing capacity to reduce the most complex problems down to their simplest form.

  • Along with my Mom, whom we hear from in the Mother's Day 2015 Bonus Episode, Dad has spent the last 17 years (after retiring from the insurance company as Vice President of Customer Service) in Breckenridge, Colorado. Out there, he became a contractor to remodel their home, was a Breckenridge ski instructor for 15 years and continues to teach his grandchildren how to ski.
  • Together, they've traveled extensively, circling the globe in a six-month trip in 2010 and spending six months of 2014 traveling through Europe – they were using AirBnB before I knew what it was!
  • Mom and Dad have spent much of the last two years RVing around the US and Canada together; they hike, grill out, make friends on the road – even make and preserve jam in their camper! – always keeping in touch and illustrating the kind of fun you can have in life.

Our conversation today ranges from work, to parenthood, and into grand parenthood. I know you'll love it because, no matter where you are on the parenting timeline, or if you're a mom or a dad, you'll hear a great example of how to live your life.

Jun 16, 2015

Do you have a young child, especially a daughter, who desperately wants to dance – but is totally uncoordinated, or whose body doesn't look like a dancer's? If so, then you probably know already how cutthroat the world of dance studios can be.

Today's guest teaches dance in a unique studio, one where the focus is on dance as a fun way of expressing yourself, and where it doesn't matter what you look like for if you're a good dancer or not.

In addition to spending her days with tutu-clad young girls, my guest is Mom to very active tween-and teenage boys… As a result, evenings and weekends are all about cheering them on at sports, supporting them in their academic work, and enjoying a great relationship with her husband Rob (a guy who happens to be my brother :-)

Listen for:

  • some really great tips for choosing a dance studio; how to know you've got the right one, when to keep looking
  • Sue's take on raising children with special needs, and how important it is to work closely with their other parent – you both need to be on the same page to give kids with extra challenges the support they need
  • how to truly enjoy life, even when it's super busy or throwing challenges at you; for Sue, teaching dance has helped her care for herself, so she can be a more supportive Mom and spouse

If you take just one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: knowing yourself and what you need to enjoy life makes everything better. And not just for you – but for your loved ones and the people you care for. My awesome sister-in-law is really hitting her stride with this, and as you listen you can hear the enthusiasm and love in her voice… She is a great example to follow, and I know you're going to love this episode!

Jun 9, 2015

Do you ever find yourself so stuck in the daily grind that you forget what's really important in this life? Then you are going to love today's show, all about the three most important lessons my kids have taught me. Usually, we think of this in the other direction – we are the teachers, they are the learners.

But here are three key lessons my boys have taught me:

1) Humility – how my then eight-year-old taught me to look at a homeless guy, and see a real person

2) Adaptability – how my then five-year-old aced a grueling surgery and months-long recovery

3) Experience Wonder – how my youngest's mind-blowing questions reminded me that wonder is everywhere, and we need to revel in it

If you take just one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: we parents are not the only people in our families with valuable lessons to teach.

What have your kids taught you? Please share by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or find me on twitter@StoneAgeTechie.

Thanks so much for listening, and I can't wait to hear from you!

Jun 2, 2015

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Maybe not, but as parents, the decisions we make every day – resolving conflicts, allocating money, making decisions that involve our kids – call us out as leaders whether we think of it that way or not.

I used to think of leaders only in a public or corporate sense; the president's a leader. Heads of corporations are leaders, but certainly not me! Dr. Bob Nolley's Labrador Leadership Podcast completely changed my views on leadership when I first heard him in January 2015, helping me realize that to lead has much more to do with our hearts than the size of the group we lead.

Listen for:

  • the Big Rocks exercise (Dr. Stephen Covey's idea) to help you figure out what's most important to you
  • how to make a list that will help you relax while also getting done what needs to be done
  • two examples of leaders in unusual places: one runs a quick-oil-change shop in Richmond, Virginia, and the other is Dr. Bob's cohost on Labrador Leadership
  • conflict resolution and the art of apologizing

if you take only one thing away from today's episode, I hope it is this: you are a leader! Thinking of yourself that way will help you both support the people in your life you care about most, and enjoy the life that you share with those people more.

May 26, 2015

Can you think back on your own childhood and come up with some crazy sibling-fight stories? I've heard some doozies, people being hung out windows or tied to trees by their siblings, the time a brother put green dye in a sister's hair – so the sister retaliated by pouring glitter into the brother's bed! Today, we talk about the ups and downs of brothers and sisters, both in our families growing up and in our homes as parents.

Siblings can hurt each other in lots of big and small ways; sometimes it feels like there's no good intervention. Today, I share about a book that I first read while pregnant with my second: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book is the second of The Fabulous Five, five books which will transform your relationship with your children, so get reading them ASAP (here's the blog post detailing the Fab Five)! It made the list because, quite simply, if you have more than one child – or if you grew up in a family where you had at least one sibling – you will finally understand how to help when siblings fight.

  • Listen for how to:
    • make peace with childhood hurts of our own, in order to be better at handling sibling rivalry with our kids
    • be fair without being equal
    • handle when an older child says "can we give the baby back?"

Your one take away from today: it is possible to alleviate sibling rivalry! You don't have to live with fighting, jealousy, the mean tricks that siblings play on each other… Siblings Without Rivalry will help you fix it.

May 19, 2015

Today's guest Daniel Wolff has, among many other things, produced a documentary about Hurricane Katrina, been nominated for a Grammy in 2003, and written 10 books on all different subjects including the one that we spend most of our time discussing today, How Lincoln Learned To Read. Written in 2009, this book is a go-to for me whenever I need to make big decisions about about the boys' upbringing; because Mr. Wolff tells the stories of the childhoods of many prominent Americans throughout history, I learn something different from each one. Plus, a great read that's fun, interesting, historical – and makes me feel a little smarter each time I pull it off the shelf.

During today's's show, listen for:

  • the importance of fun in education; all these years later, we may think of Ben Franklin as old and stodgy, but almost right from the moment he could read, Franklin was quite the mischief maker
  • how author and scientist Rachel Carson's girlhood, during which she stayed home often from school to play and walk in the woods, helped her grow up into the advocate for national environmental change she became
  • a great piece of parenting advice – my guest shares that decisions became much easier for him when he to "think like a grandparent"

Key Links:

Daniel Wolff's author page at Four Way Books; here is his new book, The Names of Birds

How Lincoln Learned To Read, a great read that has helped me be a better parent

Amazing poet-four-children-of-all-ages Shel Silverstein

May 12, 2015

Sometimes as parents, we think we are limiting the risks to our kids by taking an action – or backing away from an action – when instead, their well-being and happiness would be better insured by doing something completely different. In this episode, I highlight four common things parents do (I know this, because I did them too!) where it would be better to go in the exact opposite direction.

Listen for:

  • the dangers of sticking close by your child's side at all times; when we do this, we take away his or her chance to develop independence, creativity, and problem-solving capabilities
  • the risks of using antibacterial soap; this one keeps me up at night, and it's pretty clear that it also keeps scientists and other super-smart people up at night too
  • how we fail our children when we don't question a teacher or other authority figure who insists that our child has ADHD or ADD; while there is some risk that our son or daughter may have these or other learning disabilities, I share that during my years of teaching young children – and earning my Masters in Early Childhood Education – these diagnoses are given out far more often than they should be; increasingly, kids are put in an environment that is far too restrictive… In short, it is my opinion that schools, and not children, are often the problem when it comes to kids' misbehavior
  • the importance of comics – yes, cartoons, graphic novels – in a kid's journey towards becoming a reader; when adults ban comics, or even disrespect them, we run the risk of limiting our kids' ability to thrive as readers

Whether you agree or disagree, I encourage you to really give some thought to the above Four Risks. Reasonable and intelligent adults can disagree, but the biggest risk of all that we can take is not giving consideration to any big issue that affects our children while they're young, because the effects of our choices compound when they are grown up.

May 10, 2015

Imagine parenting before the era of Google and social media, before there was 24/7 support – or at least entertainment in the form of middle-of-the-night lurking. Books are great, but difficult to hold while comforting a colicky baby at 3 AM. Now, imagine leaving your beloved home city of Montréal, Canada and relocating to a quiet suburb with nothing but houses in every direction. During the day, your husband takes the family car into work, so now you have a three-year-old and a three-month-old, no wheels, and a super expensive long-distance phone bill. A totally different world, right? My mother, Diane Lock, found herself in that situation (I was the three-year-old :-), jumped in with both feet – and thrived.

From that shaky start, my Mom went on not only to raise, along with my Dad, three children who turned out pretty well, in my completely unbiased opinion. She also has written books, started and run a catering service, and sung a solo for Pope John Paul II (we don't talk about this at all in this episode, but it is still pretty cool.)

Listen for:

  • The Stuffed Zucchini Theory of Parenting – how to recognize it, and how to alleviate it
  • An unconventional book-writing method
  • Successful parenting amid pretty major culture shock

This bonus episode is my chance to speak with a truly remarkable woman, my Mom. If you take just one thing away in listening today, let it be this: when our children are small, it is easy to forget that we are so much more than the arms that comfort them and clean up after them, the legs that walk them around in an endless, bouncing dance when they cry. In those times, let my mother be an example to you of how much more you are than mere arms and legs in service to your child. Remember the little grey cells between your ears – and smile.

May 5, 2015

When Michael O'Neal was growing up, his teachers repeatedly said that he: a) didn't live up to his potential, and b) talked too much. In our lively conversation today, these two ideas come up again and again, because Michael is doing much more than merely "living up to his potential," using his propensity to talk too much by helping people like me every day and making a great living at it too.

Listen for:

  • great stories all throughout the episode, including the one about Michael hitchhiking at nine years old, and the time he rode a bike down a mountainside
  • the similarities of raising kids and raising dogs
  • confronting and transcending our fears
  • why setting goals for ourselves is so important, and how to do it right

If you take only one thing away from this episode, let it be this: anxiety and enjoyment are two sides of the same coin. The more anxious you are, the less you are able to enjoy your life, and vice versa; this is especially important because anxious parents – as I was – pass on anxiety to their kids. We need to learn to limit our anxiety to heighten everybody's enjoyment.

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