Coming Soon! The 9th Annual Kiwanis Kids Triathlon in Baxter

**shared with permission from Essentia Health Press Release

The Brainerd Kiwanis Club is hosting the 9th annual Kids Triathlon at Whipple Beach, in Baxter, MN from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, August 27. The wide sand beach, protected swim area, and quiet residential roads will create a fun and safe venue for beginner and experienced youth triathletes alike.

Kiwanis Kids Triathlon

The Kiwanis Kids Triathlon is a youth triathlon that is open to any child age 5 to 14. Triathletes will be divided into two age groups Ages 5-9: Swim 25 yards, Bike 2 miles, Run 1 mile; and Ages 10-14: Swim 50 yards, Bike 4 miles, Run 2 miles.

“Kiwanis is an organization dedicated to serving the youth of our community. The Kiwanis Kids Triathlon is an event that promotes youth fitness and fun competition. In the past eight years approximately 1,000 different boys and girls from around the Brainerd lakes area and surrounding region have completed in the triathlon, and many of those have completed five or more of the races. The event is having the intended effect of encouraging young people to adopt a healthy, fit lifestyle.” Chris Robinson, Brainerd Kiwanis Club.

Essentia Health has had the honor of being the major sponsor of the Kids Triathlon for the past six years providing helmet fittings, educational materials, healthy snacks, and inspirational sign coloring to cheer on the triathletes. Essentia Health would like to invite you to be a part of this kid friendly event and opportunity to be active as a family.

Essentia Health

Registration is available online at or by mail. Details are available at the race website:  The registration fee is $26 per participant. Each participant receives a race t-shirt.


Strong Relationships-How to Win an Argument (Guest post from Michelle Oie)

How to win an argument: Installment #4 in an Eight Part Series from Speaker/Motivator Michelle Oie
Hello!  Post 3/8 is about using certain types of words in an argument.  That’s important because this post is about saying what NEEDS to be said.

Ever notice how SOME older people say whatever they want no matter how offensive? I believe it’s because they are tired. Tired of having spent 80 years holding back what they REALLY want to say!

Saying what you really want can be freeing. But try to do it when the other person is ready to hear it. Then again, they may never be ready to hear it.

Having an argument end with things left unsaid leaves resentment behind as fuel for a later argument. If you follow the advice in posts 1/8, 2/8 and 3/8 I believe you can be brave in saying what you want if you approach it carefully. And know that “getting things off your chest” doesn’t always have to happen during an argument. Here are some examples.

Prepare them by asking permission. This should create a relatively non-threatening space to speak since they have invited you to do so. I’ve started with, “Can I ask you a question?”, “Do you really want to know how I feel and what I think?”, “Can I be honest?” If they answer yes they are telling you they want to hear what you have to say and are ready to listen.

Using a non-attacking “I” statement (from post 3/8) you can say, “I just feel like every time I want to go to the library I have to answer a series of questions about it before I go. Why is that?” “I have a theory. Tell me if this is true…” “I feel like I earn money but I can’t spend it.” If you speak your statements through a “this is the way I see things” lens you can’t technically be wrong. Even if they don’t agree they will hopefully understand what you are saying.

I’ve let things bottle up for 10-20 years and it’s not good. By not saying anything I thought I was being nice. But what if saying it will help the other person grow? I also didn’t say anything because I thought I had to be less judgemental, sensitive or picky. Sometimes it is me who has to grow. But even so, it doesn’t hurt to get out how I feel so that I CAN grow. Maybe instead of arguing I ask them to help me understand some things and get beyond my hang-ups. Hey, it might be a bonding moment!

Resentment is the cancer of relationships. It’s best to get out in the open what needs to be said… in a LOVING way. This all depends on the person with whom you are discussing things but if it is a loving relationship you both will be more open to listening and will want things to end well. Good luck!!NOTE: To read the rest of this eight part series, and learn more about topics like Know why you are arguing, What’s your intent?, Use non-aggressive words, Be brave, Stay focused, Don’t interrupt, Keep talking and Face the truth., visit Michelle’s blog HERE.




Michelle Oie is living the dream as a full time employee, wife and mother.  Although she has been a Christian motivational speaker and listener for over 10 years, she’s new to blogging and loving every minute of it!  Check out Michelle Oie Speaking at or on Facebook.


Local resources available for families and businesses to support breastfeeding

August 1-7 is Breastfeeding Week
 Danielle Skwira

Danielle Skwira of Harding understands the joys and challenges of breastfeeding as a mother of two and childcare provider. Her journey into motherhood began with six years of infertility before she and her husband Ryan welcomed their son, Kiptin, two years ago.

The couple decide that breastfeeding was a priority for their family and started that journey at his birth. Danielle reflected “Little did we know it could be a challenging journey. I wasn’t one to ask for help even though the start of parenthood was very stressful because Kiptin was a very fussy baby, breast feeding was painful but the latch looked good, and my milk supply was quickly diminishing.”

The couple reached out for help weeks later after trying to make things work on their own but by then Danielle’s supply was nearly gone.

“I didn’t have a large support system,” Danielle recalls “I waited too long to reach out for help so when things weren’t working out there wasn’t much to do besides quit breastfeeding and resort to formula. We tried.”

In March the couple welcomed their second child, Madalyn, and this time Danielle fully dedicated herself to successfully breastfeeding. Danielle explained that Madalyn was a very calm baby but had no interest in eating and when she did it was very painful. By working with Missy Lake, Essentia Health’s Certified Lactation Consultant, they determined Madalyn was not transferring milk well and was losing weight.

This time Danielle had the support she needed. “My husband Ryan knew how hard it was for me last time and wanted me to be successful so he helped with Kiptin,” says Danielle. “Missy was great, doing feeding weights and trying different holds and options. I also found support from other moms and groups on Facebook talking about the challenges and successes of breastfeeding.”

It was determined that Madalyn had a condition called lip and tongue tie that was preventing her from transferring milk well and causing the pain Danielle was experiencing. A little more than a week after being born a minor laser surgery reversed the ties and some physical therapy meant success for the family. Madalyn is gaining weight and enjoying the bonding time with mom. Danielle was able to continue to breastfeed even when she returned to work as a home childcare provider.

Danielle’s advice to other moms is to be patient and talk openly about the challenges you are having.

The Family Birthplace at Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd is recognized as Baby Friendly which identifies for the community that additional support for new families is provided for breastfeeding success and bonding during pregnancy and after the arrival of their child.

Essentia Health provides support to anyone in the community through the Infant Feeding Support Line at 1-855-710-BABY(2229). Information and coaching is provided by certified lactation consultants.

Additionally, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center hosts a free monthly class from 6-8pm that includes both an introduction to the basics of breastfeeding and resources for ongoing support. Upcoming dates for the breastfeeding class are August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1, and December 6. Expecting moms and their support person are encouraged to attend and learn more about:
– Preparation and suggested supplies
– Care for the mother including nutrition and exercise
– Nursing your baby – How soon? How often? How long?
– Easy ways to avoid common breastfeeding problems
– How partners and others can help
– Returning to work
Lake says employers can play a large role in a mothers choice to breastfeed. “If an expectant mother knows that her employer provides the resources she needs to continue breastfeeding when she returns to work, it is much more likely she will make this choice.”

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently has recognized Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center as a Minnesota Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace for mothers and their babies. This certification is achieved by adopting and informing staff about a written breastfeeding policy, ensuring adequate break time for breastfeeding employees, providing a clean, private space to pump breastmilk and demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting breastfeeding in the workplace. The award is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger says “women with children are among the fastest growing segments of the U.S. workforce, so there is a strong business and public health case for encouraging breastfeeding in the workplace.”

“Essentia Health is committed to supporting moms, babies and their families who work at our hospital and clinics, receive care here and are in our community,” says Lake, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Essentia Health. “As part of making a healthy difference support of breastfeeding ensures that babies receive optimal nutrition during their first years of life. Studies show infants who are breastfed are healthier as they grow.”
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated August 1-7 focusing on the value of wellbeing from the start and how to respect each other in the journey of motherhood.

If you are a business interested in creating a supportive environment for employees to continue breastfeeding after returning to work contact Cassie Cary, with Crow Wing Energized at 218-821-6975, for resources that include sample policies, funding and connection to local experts.


Minnesota and Alligators-Two Words that DO NOT Belong Together


I love shows on Animal Planet or the Travel Channel that explores exotic places or showcases the ball-sey individuals who can deal with things like rattlesnakes, alligators and sharks.

I’ve often thought, “I am SO glad I live in Minnesota and don’t have to deal with ANY of those things!”….


Firmly entrenched in the category of “WhiskeyTangoFoxTrot” (WTF) are these two lovely bits of new from my hometown.

Article #1 (July 12, 2016)

Baby alligator found in Barrows

Minnesota alligators

SHUT the front DOOR!


Oh wait…it gets better.

Article #2 (July 20, 2016)

Another alligator found in central Minnesota

Bring Me the News stated, “There’s an infestation in the Brainerd Lakes area and it’s not of mosquitoes – it’s alligators.”


For REalZ?

Now, you may be asking yourself, “where did they come from?” YEAH. WE’D LIKE TO KNOW THAT TOO.

Rumors have flown around on social media involving everything from them being released from an illegal alligator farm in a neighboring county to them being escapees from a local wildlife park. All told there have been three sightings of these swamp monsters in an area that is used to dealing with things like skunks and bears. THREE SIGHTINGS. I seriously am afraid to let my kids swim in a lake. Did I mention we live in The Land of 10,000 Lakes?

The only comforting thing (and this can be viewed as a sad thing too) is that there is no way these poor buggers (if there are more…and I believe there is) will never survive a Minnesota winter.

Honestly, I have never wished for an extremely cold winter so bad in my life. And “17 weeks until winter” sounded too soon, now it sounds like an eternity.


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