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Saturday February 25th, 9 am-2 pm

The fifth annual Junior League of Olympia Community Summit on Resilient Children, Resilient Communities is a FREE one-day workshop for parents, educators, community members and anyone interested in the future of our children and community.

The event will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2017, at the South Sound Community College- Lacey Event Center.

I will be the keynote speaker–the title of the address is “All of Parenting Happens on the In-Breath”.

For more information and to register for this fun, free day, click here.


Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Monday February 6th, 6:30-8:00 pm

Night #2 of our 2016-2017 Parenting Series at Griffin! This evening’s talk will focus on discipline. Not only what to do in the heat of the moment, but how to prevent those moments from happening. There will be time for Q & A afterwards about discipline and any other parenting topics!



Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

January 27th, 2017

Q & A and fabulous food! This small group event is open to everyone. There are 13 spots available for a two and a half hour talk. It is all Q &A about all things parenting. Sleep! Siblings! Discipline! Media! Toilet! Whatever is on your mind, we’ll talk about it. We’ll be meeting at Casa Mia of Olympia from 7 – 9:30 p.m. Tickets for this event ($15) must be purchased in advance. Here’s the link for tickets! And here’s the facebook page for the event with all the details. Come join us!



Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Tuesday January 24th, 9:30-11:15 am

I’ll be at Calvary Community Church in Sumner, WA, to talk to the JAM (Just Among Moms) group about sleep! We’ll be covering kiddos ages toddlers to elementary schoolers, with some info for any newborns, too.


Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Thursday January 19th, 6-7:30 pm

Please join us for our annual workshop on raising kids in the digital age. Use the link to RSVP at Eventbrite, We’ll be sharing the latest research on kids and technology, and helping you establish/revisit/revise your family guidelines to help set your kids up for success. Relevant for all ages. BRING YOUR TWEEN (8-12) or TEEN (13-18) WITH YOU! This is a FREE event and open all in the South Sound region.

Free childcare for very young children will be provided on site. Event is at Charles Wright Academy in the Lower School Commons. It’s the first parking lot/building you see when you get to campus!


Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Stage Fright

Dearest Clara and Nutcracker,

Moments from now the curtain will go up. I know you are nervous. Please, don’t worry about dancing perfectly.

Because by tomorrow the audience will have forgotten you.

All of the hundreds and hundreds of people in the crowd tonight will not remember a perfect performance. Beautiful feet, elegant fingers, timely entrances and well-executed turns will all fade from their minds. These elements are important, absolutely. But they don’t stick. It’s not what people remember.

What they remember is a performance that is real.

Memory comes from emotion. When we feel connected to someone, they linger in our minds. So don’t dance tonight just to be technically precise, but to give character to your character.

The audience enjoys watching Clara during the boisterous, fancy Christmas Eve party. They cheer for the Nutcracker during the bold, chaotic fight scene. But it is the snow scene when they come with you into the story. If you invite them.

The invitation isn’t in the excellence of your mechanics. It comes in the falling snow, in the quiet of the beats between the notes. It comes when you open yourself—and share the longing, the uncertainty, the wistfulness—the emotions of the moment. When you reveal what you feel, the audience feels it with you. That is the magic of artistry. That is what they remember.

And life is the same.

It isn’t enough to be seen. Our accomplishments don’t tell our full story. What we need is to be understood. And for that to happen, we have to invite people in. Into our real. Into our dreams. Into our longing, our uncertainty, our wistfulness. It is when we are vulnerable that we are strong.

Tonight I will marvel at your technique and your emotion. Tomorrow the audience will remember your precision because of your passion.

And after that? I will always be here to listen to your dreams.

With all my love,

Mama Stahlbaum


love the love note? you can pin it.

This is the eighth year I have performed in The Nutcracker. It is my seventh year as Clara’s mother, and the sixth time I have written a letter to the two young women dancing as Clara. This year’s letter is not only for the two Claras, it is also for the two young men who are dancing as the Nutcracker—one of whom is our son Cole.  Here are the links to the letters for the past five years: the balance pointe, home for the holidays, blizzards of truth, life in ¾ time, in a nutshell.



Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

Burning Down the House

Sunday afternoon my neighbor’s house was on fire.

Driving by I glanced up their long driveway and saw hungry orange flames. It’s funny how long it takes the brain to decipher something unexpected. Wow. That’s an enormous pile of burning leaves….it’s awfully close to the side of their house….no…wait…that’s not it at all…it’s much bigger than that…WHAT?!?



Look again.

Grab my phone.

Jump out of the car.

In the pouring rain we pounded on the doors, called 911, connected a garden hose, and attacked the fire that burned beneath a plume of acrid smoke.

In the midst of the chaos, another neighbor walked by with his dog. Eleanor, who had been standing safely to the side, saw him, ran down the drive and yelled with a mix of adrenaline and fear. He paused, listened to her.

And kept walking.

While we stood, waiting for sounds of the sirens.

Of all the people that day—Eleanor and her capable response to our haphazardly shouted directions; my husband and his rush straight into action; the firefighters and their calm proficiency; my neighbor and the pallor of shock on her face when she returned home—it is the retreating figure of my neighbor with his dog that I keep thinking about.

Why did he walk away?

Why did he see flames licking up the side of the house and not stop? Why did he think this is not my fire to fight?

And when do I do the same?

When are my friends, my family, my kids in trouble and I don’t see it? When are my neighbors, my community, full of adrenaline and fear and I can’t see it?

When do I keep walking?

And why?

Why, I wonder, did he feel so disconnected from the scene that he believed he shouldn’t help? Or why did he believe his contribution so small that he couldn’t make a difference?

I doubt I’ll ever know.

Just as there’s never a way to fully know the impact we have when we do stop. When we turn towards someone and help, instead of walking away. We have to take a leap of faith—we have to trust that our seemingly small actions are too big to measure. Trust that slowing down in the craziness of the morning for our child is immeasurable. Trust that donating our extra food to the person on the corner in need is immeasurable. Trust that contributing to the organization whose request arrives in the mail is immeasurable.

Trust that no matter how small the energy, resources, money, time or expertise we think we are giving, the giving always matters.

Seeing my neighbor’s house on fire wasn’t the end to the holiday weekend I had imagined. The real ending was better. Because the house will be okay. Everyone is safe. And my neighbor walking his dog reminded me to trust that picking up a simple garden hose can change the course of a life.

Because on Sunday, it did.


love the love note? you can pin it!

What are your garden hose stories? When have you stopped, and turned towards someone in need? We’ve all made an immeasurable difference in someone’s life. You have a story, I’d love to to hear it.


Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!

This blog post is written for all of us, no matter how we marked our ballots on Tuesday.


The election is over.

And our children heard the whole thing. Whether we had the TV on for every cable news minute, or were sporadically checking headlines on our phones, our kids heard about it. At recess. On the bus. From us.

We’ve had a day to react, now it is their turn. And it’s important that they get to speak. Because they knew all about this election, but their voice had no vote.

Time to see how they are doing with The Big News.

You may have already heard their feelings: surprise, grief, excitement, fear. Or 1000 other emotions. With any Big News comes Big Feelings. And the big-ness? It can often paralyze us. Keep us swirling in place, unable to go forward.

So how do we help them? How do we move out of stuck? We ask A Very Big Question, and then get very, very, very, small.

If you were elected President, what is the very first thing you would do for the people of your country?

This is the question because in their response you’ll hear how they feel—their fine-ness, their scared-ness, their why-are-we-here?-ness. This is the question because age three or 13, they’ll have an answer, and you’ll hear what to do. This is the question because it addresses three of their five most vital needs: to connect, to imagine, to contribute. This is the question because it says to a child: what you believe is bigger than the ballot box.

So ask it. And then listen. And listen. And listen. And listen. Let them go on, and on and on as long as it takes. Then ask a smaller question: How can we do that? Listen again. Then ask a smaller question: How do we create it first here, where we live? Listen more. Then ask a smaller question: what do we do to start it right now?

Then go. And do with them that one small thing.

And tomorrow ask them, “What’s next?” Let them lead. Who knows where you will go. All our children need to know is that their feelings are real, and anything is possible.

And tonight? After you’ve tucked them in and said good night? Softly hum Hail to the Chief as you walk down the hall, and imagine yourself as President. What would you do? And how will you start? Remember, all revolutions begin small.


What is your election night story, and where will it lead you? Send me a line–I’d love to know.


Free Guide: 5 changes in 5 minutes to make parenting better, easier, right now!