September 23, 2014

Kristina's Story

Last year's MOPS theme was "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story". We featured some stories of CV MOPS moms and mentor moms. That feature is back by popular demand again for our newsletter this year. The theme is "Be You, Bravely!" Here is Kristina's story:

Tell us about yourself and your family.
My name is Kristina Brochu. I grew up in the central valley and graduated Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo were I majored in Agricultural Communications and meet the love of my life, Ron (on the first day, in my first class of all places - it was love at first sight!). Ron and I will be married 3 years this November and have one daughter, Claire who is two. We live on a ranch in Palomares Canyon and have 3 dogs, 1 cat, 2 horses and many head of beef cattle. I became a full-time stay at home mother in May (praise Jesus!) and run a small special-event floral design company in my free time.

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.
I joined MOPS when Claire was just two months old, and what a blessing it has been! This is my third year in the group and my first year on the leadership team as Creative Activities Coordinator.

What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
Creative activities! I am a crafty person by nature - so being able to pair my love for crafting with much-needed fellowship with other mommies makes for an amazing experience for me.

What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received?
Well, not sure if it's technically "mom" advice, but... "Let it go!"

What were your thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with your first child?
Shock. My husband and I (longtime boyfriend at the time) had been dating for three years throughout college and the first couple years of our post-college careers when found out I was pregnant. He will tell you (and I have to agree) the hardest thing we have ever done was to tell our family we were having a baby, but once the initial shock wore off - we (along with all our family who were about to be first-time grandparents and aunties) were full of support, joy and excitement for what our future held for us. I must say though, planning a wedding in 3 weeks, while 10 weeks pregnant is for the birds!

What kinds of things do you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?
Honestly, when I am stressed out, I clean. I wish I had a better answer that sounds more relaxing and lavish, but this is what does the trick for me. Am I proud about it or taking clients - no!

What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Understanding 99.9% of my toddler's gibberish when no one else can - it's like we have our own secret language! My favorite thing though is Claire's first morning snuggles - I know my time is limited with these, so I take in the moment every chance I have.

What did you learn about being a mom from your own mom?
Cloth diapering really is great - especially if you have a baby with super-sensitive skin!

How has motherhood changed you?
I have gone all "Type A" and now make my grocery list by aisle. This way I can get in - and out - before anyone can even say "melt down on aisle 6."

How has MOPS changed you?
By attending MOPS and hearing all the transparent day-to-day stories and testimonies of other moms, I have become empowered to share my own stories without shame. I know that there are plenty of other mothers going through the same situations as I, and want them to know that they are not alone in their battles!

What is your proudest parenting moment?
Each morning before breakfast, Claire reminds me she needs to feed her kitty - makes me so proud to know she already has the capacity to care for another before caring for herself.

What is your biggest challenge as a mom? Have you overcome it? How did you overcome it?
Balancing tidiness. It is a work in progress for me!

What is the one most important principle you want to teach your child(ren)?
To know the value of a dollar.

What is a must-have kid product that you recommend?
A baby swing! We are already on our third swing and we've only had one child.

What is your mom motto or favorite mom quote?
"I didn't lose myself when I became a mother, I found myself."

May 26, 2014

Early Registration for 2014/2015

We will be accepting registration renewal for current members until Tuesday, May 27.  Beginning May 28 any mom may register.  Want to try our new online registration?  Here is the link:

CV MOPS Online Registration

Space in our MOPPETS Childcare program will be first come, first serve, and after that we will begin a waiting list.  After you send your registration form we will contact you to confirm that you have a spot at Castro Valley MOPS and to let you know where to send a printed and signed release form.

The cost for early registration (prior to June 15) is $94 for the whole year, or $54 for the fall trimester only (then $32 each for winter and spring trimesters).  $22 of this goes to MOPS International and is NOT refundable, but can be transferred to another MOPS group.  You can bring a check made out to Redwood Chapel to our MOPS meeting on May 27.  After that please mail your check to:

Castro Valley MOPS
Redwood Chapel
19300 Redwood Road
Castro Valley, CA 94546

Regular registration costs, after June 15, are $113 for the year or  $57 for the fall trimester only (then $32 each for winter and spring trimesters).  $25 of this goes to MOPS International and is NOT refundable, but can be transferred to another MOPS group.

If you have any questions or need a paper registration form mailed to you please send your request to Christy at

March 4, 2014

Easter ebook for preschoolers

Looking for a creative and meaningful way to teach your children about Easter? Here is a new ebook full of activities to help your child (and whole family!) get a sense of the resurrection. The author also wrote Truth in the Tinsel, which is an Advent program I have used with my 4 year old daughter Meredith the past 2 years and loved. I am so looking forward to using this new Easter book with her this year. I have read through it already and wholeheartedly recommend it. Sign up for the Oh Amanda newsletter and you will receive a discount code for the ebook (good until March 12).

A Sense of the Resurrection

November 5, 2013

Interview with Mentor Mom Annie Martinez

Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of one of our lovely mentor moms, Judy Poling.

Tell us about yourself and your family.
I'm a stay-at-home mom. My husband Joel is a marketing manager at a Silicon Valley high tech company. I have two teenage girls--Chelsea, 16, and Hayley, 14--and they both go to Redwood Christian High School. We attend church at Redwood Chapel.

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS.
I attended MOPS when my kids were preschoolers. I loved its ministry to new moms like me and benefited from the wisdom and teaching. I find it interesting that I've gone full circle and am back at MOPS after all these years.

What is your favorite thing about MOPS?
I love how MOPS encourages and equips young mothers in this very important God-given role. There is a huge need for this kind of ministry. MOPS is meeting that need.

What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received?
In early childhood, the days are long, but the years are short. I heard this at a MOPS meeting when I was a new mom. The speaker was encouraging us to focus, not on the hardships or difficulties, but on enjoying and savoring these days because they will be gone before you know it. It was an enlightening message that I needed to hear at the time.

What is your favorite Scripture verse/passage and why?
My favorite Scripture verse/passage changes according to what is going on in my life at the moment. When I study the Bible, I find it amazing everytime God gives me a verse or passage that happens to exactly correlate to my current situation/challenge/difficulty. Then I grab ahold of this verse and meditate on it, act on it, and sometimes memorize it. At times I write this verse on an index card and put it on my minivan dashboard so I can read it or memorize it as I drive my kids around.

As a new mom, what kinds of things did you do to treat yourself, for fun and to stay relaxed?
I made friends with other young mothers and considered it a treat to spend time and build relationships with them, whether over coffee sans kids or (more often) with our kids in tow during playdates.

What is your favorite "mommy memory" when your children were preschoolers?
I have too many fond mommy memories and can't choose just one. I enjoyed the simple pleasures of reading to the kids, singing and dancing with them, going on trips with them and introducing them to new experiences.

How has motherhood changed you?
It made me less selfish and self-centered--it helped me to focus on someone else's needs at the expense of my own.

What was the one most important principle you wanted to teach your child(ren)?
I felt that the most important thing I need to teach my children was:

1) they need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus, and by trusting in Jesus, who died for their sins, they can be reconciled with God,

2) they need to grow in their relationship with God, in their love for Him, in their obedience to Him, in maturity and wisdom.

I know that they have since gotten #1, but #2 is a lifelong process that they will need to continue to work on long after they leave the nest.

What is your mom motto or favorite mom quote?

"Motherhood is a ministry." With this in mind, since God entrusted us with this high calling, we are to embrace it and strive to be good stewards of this awesome responsibility. This truth helps me set my priorities for my time, money and goals, especially in a society that pressures mothers to invest in things the world values instead. It also encourages me to have a better attitude over what can be perceived as menial, repetitive chores.

October 25, 2013

Interview with MOPS Mom Monica Hubbard

Since the MOPS theme this year is "A Beautiful Mess: Embracing Your Story," we will be featuring the stories of the Castro Valley MOPS community. Here is the story of one of our MOPS Creative Activities coordinators, Monica Hubbard.

Tell us about yourself and your family.
I've been married to Bryan for 11 years. We are doing our best to raise our 3 kids: our athletic 8-year-old son, our outgoing and silly 6-year-old son, and our pink and princess-loving 3-year-old. 

I am Castro Valley born and raised....and still living here. 

Tell us about your experience and involvement in MOPS. 
I joined MOPS when I was newly pregnant with my second son. I found instant playmates for my son, and friendships for me through my table group. It was nice to have new connections in this new stage of life and other moms to share mommy advice with.

This is my sixth year on the creative activities team. 

What is your favorite thing about MOPS? 
The food. I do love to eat, but it is actually the company of the moms at my table I enjoy even more than the food.

I also love craft time. ;) 

What is the wisest mom advice you have ever received? 
This little piece of simple advice came from Judy a few years back. She said she did a lot of marching with her young boys. You know those times when the toddlers can't make it from Point A to Point B because they are tired, throwing a fit, or just distracted? Well, Judy said to have them march. The point is to change the behavior into something engaging, playful, and silly. Count the stairs as you go up, skip together, sing a song, race, or try not to step on the cracks...because you know what happens next in that rhyme. Trying to playful and creative as a mom is more beneficial than giving into the demands of a tired cranky toddler. 

What were your thoughts when you found out you were pregnant with your first child? 
Ahhh, now I really do have to go through labor! Of course, the prize was worth it, and the epidural was beyond amazing. 

What is a must-have kid product that you recommend? 
Scooters. They are easy to toss in the back of the car for a trip to the lake or park. When the kids get really fast, you'll have to run to catch up which them. Instant workout.

October 6, 2013

Harvest Activities

Save the dates for these harvest activities at various churches around the CV area!

San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church
Thursday, 10/31 @ 5:30-7:00PM
Games, stories, photo area, and more!
Light dinner and snacks provided. Everything is free!

Creekside Candy Company
Friday, 10/25 @ 6:00-8:00PM
Decorate cookies, make a craft, carnival games, life size version of Candyland.
Admission is two bags of individually wrapped candies per family.

Redwood Chapel Community Church Harvest Festival
Thursday, 10/31 @ 5:00-8:00PM
Food, games, candy!
Admission: $2.50/child
Food tickets: $0.50/booth

Neighborhood Church Fall Festival
Saturday, 10/19 @ 10AM-12PM
Petting zoo, pumpkin patch, dunk tank, inflatables, and games!
Pumpkins and snacks are for sale, but everything else is free.

First Presbyterian Church of Hayward Trunk or Treat
Thursday, 10/31 @ 6:00-8:00PM
Food and treats!