Things you never thought you’d do before becoming a parent

JILL HAMILTON
 Sydney Fredette collects donated Build-A-Bears and hosts the annual

Making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate is her driving force

BY JENELYN RUSSO
 Kayaking seems like a physical activity that someone could take up at any point in life. (File photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

I might drown in a kayak soon

BY MARLA JO FISHER
 The Thomas R. Potocki Conference Center will become a fulltime visual arts center in August after the City Council voted, 4-1, to approve the Cultural Arts Master Plan at its March 14 meeting. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Hammond)

New Mission Viejo arts plan leaves after-school program without a home

BY NATHAN PERCY
 Maya Alvarez-Coyne is a top-ranked Irish dancer in North America and ranked No. 8 in the world in her age group. She also won a social media contest to dance on stage with Justin Bieber at an Orlando concert. Maya is photographed at Bower's Museum in Santa Ana on Friday, January 27, 2017. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

This top-ranked Irish dancer won the chance to dance on stage with Justin Bieber

BY JENELYN RUSSO
Children enjoy the bubbles tent at the Babychella Family Art & Music Festival at William R. Mason Regional Park on Sunday. The event took place Sunday March 12, 2017. (Photo by Ana Venegas, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Inaugural Babychella in Irvine entertains more than 5,000 kids, parents

BY TOMOYA SHIMURA
Henry Nowakowski looks at his grandson, Bennett Boeckman, 2, sit in the cab of a garbage truck as Tustin Waste Management provides the chance for kids and their parents to explore the truck during Garbage Truck Story time at Once Upon a Storybook children's book store in Tustin on Saturday, March 11, 2017.  (Photo by Ana P. Gutierrez-Garcia, Contributing Photographer)

(Mostly) boys swarm Tustin bookstore to marvel over garbage truck

BY SUSAN CHRISTIAN GOULDING
 Frumpy Middle-age Mom Marla Jo Fisher's new patio chairs. (Photo by Marla Jo Fisher, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Marla Jo Fisher: This story is strange but true

BY MARLA JO FISHER
 Over 100 people attend the dedication ceremony celebrating the opening of the 18,943-square-foot Quail Hill Community Center Saturday, March 4, 2017 in Irvine. (Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

Irvine celebrates opening of new Quail Hill Community Center

BY TOMOYA SHIMURA

Heather Skyler: What's your relational style?

BY HEATHER SKYLER
 The Arenado family takes a photo at Varadero Beach on the northern part of Cuba during the first week of its vacation in November.

Lake Forest family returning to its roots in Cuba experiences history first-hand

BY NATHAN PERCY
 Bruce Cashin kisses Sheldon, a 6-year-old greyhound, as they sit at the California Greyhound Adoption Promotion booth during the OC Charity Dog Walk. ANA P. GUTIERREZ-GARCIA, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.

Irvine's dog walk raises $6,500 for local charities

BY TOMOYA SHIMURA
It's easy to succumb to negativity, but meditation is a good solution for overcoming turbulent feelings. (Thinkstock)

Meditate your way to a peaceful year

BY JESSIE DAX-SETKUS
Blue Apron: Ramen

Our favorite meal-delivery services

BY JESSIE DAX-SETKUS
Pica Smaldino wears his no-sew bow tie on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

How to make a no-sew bow tie for puppy

BY DENISE SMALDINO
Creamy tomato basil soup (Stephanie Nguyen, contributing photographer)

Simple soups to make

BY STEPHANIE NGUYEN
Because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents put infants to sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, the baby's bones can sometimes be molded and flattened over time, causing a child's head to become flat. (Thinkstock)

What you need to know about flat head syndrome

BY DR. STEVE KWON
Liliani Lan Perino was born at 34 weeks and spent a month in the NICU. She is now a healthy toddler. (Photo courtesy of Laylan Connelly)

Unprepared for a preemie

‘When can she go home?’ was our constant refrain
BY LAYLAN CONNELLY
Dr. Ash Hakhamian holds up JubJub, an iguana he treated after she stopped eating. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Ash Hakhamian)

This veterinarian takes on difficult cases at a low cost

BY JESSICA PERALTA
Miriam Wollesen, a therapist at CBT California/DBT California, with offices in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Long Beach, cautions not to push the interests you had as a teen on your own kids. “No one likes to feel like they are someone else's idea,” Wollesen says. (Thinkstock)

Don’t shove activities or sports down teen's throat

BY BLAKE WYMAN
Kedric Francis with his wife Elaina, son Otis and daughers Rosie and Mabel.

Average is awesome!

Geniuses are great, but the vast majority of kids end up somewhere in the middle
BY KEDRIC FRANCIS
Dr. Dean Leav, a licensed psychologist who practices in Irvine (drleav.com), recommends that parents monitor social media and ban sexting. “It is smart and healthy to enforce a zero-tolerance approach toward sexting. It may seem relatively harmless, but it easily leads to other issues such as young teenagers becoming hypersexual before having the maturity to understand the emotional and practical ramifications,” he says. (Thinkstock)

How to talk to your kid about porn and cybersex in the digital age

BY JILL HAMILTON
Ballet dancer Anna Cecilia Meyer, 14, was given the Youth Grand Prix award this year for best overall performance in contemporary and ballet dance at the Youth America Grand Prix regional round in Las Vegas.  She is now at the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco. She was offered a four-year scholarship to live and train at the school, one of the most prestigious in Europe. Anna is photographed at the Classical Dance Center in Tustin on Friday, December  23, 2016. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Whiz Kids 2017: Meet our talented standouts

BY JENELYN RUSSO
Brian, 16, takes a swing during the third annual Hawk Games at Hillview High School in Tustin on Thursday. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Students at Tustin's Hillview High make it 'a chill day' for kids

BY SUSAN CHRISTIAN GOULDING
 America's Toy Scout, Joel Magee at the Courtyard Marriott in Fountain Valley on Monday. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Calling all Barbies: Toy Scout taps into nostalgia in Orange County

BY SUSAN CHRISTIAN GOULDING

It's OK that some people aren't drawn to a passion

BY HEATHER SKYLER
 Morgan Williams delivered her twin nieces Monday, fulfilling her younger sister's dream of becoming a mother despite breast cancer. (Photo courtesy of Paxton Family)

Woman pregnant with cancer-stricken sister's babies gives birth to twins

Create art just for you and your sweetheart by placing buttons on canvas to say, ‘I love you,' on Valentine's Day or any day of the year. (Nick Agro, Orange County Register)

How to make a heart on canvas

BY DENISE SMALDINO
 Joseph Gilani, 6, of Dana Point, left, lets Beetlejuice, a California king snake, slither through his fingers as Corey Stafford supervises.  (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)

New kids zone at Dana Point Interpretive Center makes nature fun

BY ERIKA I. RITCHIE
 From left, Ladera Ranch Middle School student Rayyan Ali and San Juan Hills High students Amanda Picariello, Kristen Nguyen and Gabriella MacAdam go over plans for upcoming events during the monthly meeting of the Ladera Ranch Teen Leadership Council.

Teen Leadership Council gives Ladera Ranch students a voice

BY NATHAN PERCY
 Pet owners who have dogs with a mild form of separation anxiety – “separation discomfort” or “separation blues” – may be able to benefit from some tools and tips. (Thinkstock)

Dealing with Fido's anxiety

BY JESSICA PERALTA
With 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent study, and with some estimating that those rates are higher in Orange County, there's a significant need for resources that will help parents ensure that their children are as successful as possible when they head to high school or college or enter the workplace. (Thinkstock)

Social tips for kids on the spectrum

BY KELLY MCKINNON-BERMINGHAM
 Most educators and education experts agree that it's counterproductive for parents or an older sibling to do a child's homework or help too much. However, kids do better with some assistance. (Thinkstock)

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

BY AMY BENTLEY
 If you're looking for easy-to-follow instructions and getting the job done in the shortest amount of time, then the three-day method is for you. There are many variations of this approach, but the concept is the same.  (Thinkstock)

What you need to know about potty training

BY DAWN ANTIS
Kedric Francis with his wife Elaina, son Otis and daughers Rosie and Mabel.

We are family

BY KEDRIC FRANCIS
DNA testing is great for close generational testing, like determining paternity, but the farther back you go, the shakier it gets. Within a couple of hundred years, you have more ancestors than DNA sections, so whole swaths of relatives don't show up.  (Thinkstock)

Warning: family trees may be larger than they appear

BY JILL HAMILTON
Tantrums have three stages, according to research from the University of Connecticut and the University of Minnesota. Knowing what's coming makes it easier to handle, as does remembering that this too shall pass. Stage one is screaming and yelling. Stage two is physical aggression, hitting, throwing and flailing about. Stage three is sadness. (Thinkstock)

A kinder, gentler discipline

BY JILL HAMILTON
Karen Casler plays her djembe drum in San Clemente. Casler grew up in a conservative family and never felt like she belonged. Later in life she discovered she was adopted and reconnected with her biological siblings using DNA tests. Friday, January 6, 2017. (Photo by Nick Agro, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The mystery of the missing parentage

BY KATE GAMMON
Malcolm competing to break open the pinata at his 10th birthday party.

Is a competitive nature learned or innate?

BY HEATHER SKYLER
Audrey Doan leads a Tai Chi class at Trabuco Center in Irvine on Monday, January 23, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Irvine seeks input on services for growing senior population

BY TOMOYA SHIMURA