Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Web Cam Christmas


This Christmas my cousin decided at the last minute to set up a web cam at my aunt's house in Texas. I braved Fry's Electronics on Friday before the holiday and bought a web cam for our computer. I'd never done anything like this before and it was easier than I imagined (although my husband did most of the set-up). It was the best Christmas away from home and I can't believe we hadn't done it sooner. I enjoyed Christmas dinner and even a "Scrooge" game (white elephant game) with my entire family in Houston. It was amazing, a bit surreal and lots of fun! The picture and sound were clear and we watched in real time.
My husband and I want to get web cams for both our parents now. It's such a great way to communicate and allow family to see our kids grow.
And it's FREE!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Gak, Oobleck, Flubber & Silly Putty recipes


Science class at home-fun, easy recipes for Gak, Oobleck, Flubber and Silly Putty from Homeschooling.com (The site also offers several other recipes and ideas for fun learning at home.)

I took my kids to a fellow daycare mate's birthday party and the Birthday boy's mom gave homemade silly putty as party favors. What a great idea! I asked her for the link so I could share it on my blog. I can't wait to make some myself. It is such a great way to teach sensory motor skills.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF MOMS...

I have been uttering the oddest phrases as a mom. And as soon as I hear myself speak them, I laugh to myself (or wince) and wonder how many other moms have said the same things.

Here's my current Top Ten List--See if any sound familiar:

10. "The cat doesn't like to be tackled."
9. "Don't drag your brother!"
8. "We don't make mud pies in the house-take that outside, please."
7. "The toilet is not a Barbie bathtub."
(Tupperware is very handy in this case)
6. "Daddy's computer screen is not paper-we only color on the paper."
5. "Don't put your finger in MY nose."
4. "The litter box is NOT a sand box."
3. "Don't smother your brother-that means get off of him NOW!"
2. "Please, wipe your bum before you sit on the furniture."
And the Top Ten oddest utterance...
"Oh, don't teethe on the training potty..."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tips for fussy babies

I swear my brother-in-law is Mr. Sandman. He can put any baby to sleep. He also has the magic touch with fussy babies too. During my last trip home to Texas, I discovered the secret to his touch...
To assist a baby in falling asleep, he pats the rhythm of a heart beat on the baby's back or chest.

(It makes me think of Dirty Dancing when Johnny holds Baby's hand and beats a heart rhythm on his chest "Gauh, Gauh")
I wish I'd known about this little trick when my daughter was still a baby. I use the technique with my son and it works.

For fussy babies, my brother-in-law *swaddles tightly (*the best baby tip of all time) and then also pats the rhythm of a heart beat on the baby's back.
(Disclaimer: I can almost guarantee this method, but I know all babies are different. Believe it will work and give it a try)
*-Place a receiving blanket on a flat surface and fold down the top corner about 6 inches.
-Place your baby on his back with his head on the fold.
-Pull the corner near your baby's left hand across his body, and tuck the leading edge under his back on the right side under the arm.
-Pull the bottom corner up under your baby's chin.
-Bring the loose corner over your baby's right arm, and tuck it under the back on his left side. Some babies prefer to have their arms free, so you may like to swaddle your baby under the arms so he has access to his hands and fingers. (from BabyCentre.com)

A great book about swaddling and other helpful tips for fussy babies is The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

Friday, December 16, 2005

Parent Job Description

(I received this from my uncle via email today-it's pretty funny...)

POSITION :
Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa

JOB DESCRIPTION :
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
RESPONSIBILITIES :
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION :
None. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :
None required. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
WAGES AND COMPENSATION :
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
BENEFITS :
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Easy, kid-friendly Treats

Just in time for the holidays-my daughter is 3-years-old and loves helping make these yummy treats.
ARMADILLO BITES (some people call this stuff "Puppy Chow?")
2 cups chocolate chips (I just use the whole bag 12-14 oz)
1 reg. box Crispix® or Rice Chex® (I use the store brand stuff-much cheaper)
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine/butter
3 cups (aprox) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 paper grocery sack
1 large 2" to 3" deep pan (I use a large aluminum roasting pan from the dollar store)

Heat chocolate chips, peanut butter and margarine on HIGH in a glass bowl in microwave until melted — mix well. In pan, combine cereal and chocolate mix-add vanilla. Stir until completely coated. Pour powdered sugar in paper sack, add cereal mix, and shake to coat. (The powdered sugar and shaking will separate the cereal bites) These are great to fill little goodie bags!


My daughter also enjoys making Christmas cookies. If you don't have the time to make
your own cookie dough, an easy way to share this holiday tradition is to buy pre-made cookie dough. I roll out the dough. My daughter and I cut the shapes out together and I let her decorate with holiday-colored sprinkles.

In addition, Pillsbury makes cookie dough with holiday shapes/decor already on them-you just slice and bake. And many grocery stores now offer holiday-shaped, already baked cookies. You just have to decorate/frost them!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"I think Aedan swallowed nail polish"

Saturday night I went to a friend's housewarming party. While stuffing my face and enjoying adult conversation, I thought I'd heard my phone ring. I checked to see if I had any calls and sure enough I missed a call from my husband. I returned his call. He answered quite frantic and yelled, "I think Aedan has swallowed nail polish." Then, he hung up!
I wasn't sure how to react? I thought to myself, "Did I just hear what I think I heard? Nah...but...maybe... I'll try calling again." I phoned several more times with no answer. I calmly decided my husband must be on the phone to poison control and he'll call me back when he has a chance. A few of the party guests noticed the confused look on my face. I told them about my abrupt phone conversation and I asked them, "Can you really drink nail polish?" It just seems so thick and would dry too quickly??? One of the party-goers said my hubby was just trying to get out of having to watch the kids. Ha, I laughed, but not inside. I called home again. This time my husband answered. My daughter had apparently painted her little brother and from the looks of him, there was no telling how much (if any) he had ingested. When I write that my daughter "painted," it's more like she dumped two bottles of nail polish over her brother's head. I didn't get to see what Aedan looked like post the 3-year-old beauty-salon treatment. My husband said you could only see our son's eyes. Thank goodness the polish didn't get in them. My husband scrubbed Aedan's face for 45 minutes. The dark pink polish is still in his hair. It looks like Aedan has a severe head wound. I researched on the net to find ways to remove the polish from his head and hair:
"You could try using baby oil and see if the dried polish will slide out - like you would to remove gum. Using ice might work, too.
Or a non-acetone nail polish remover if all else fails.
Once the nail polish has dried it actually shouldn't be too difficult to remove - in fact, unless it is a big knotted up mess, you *might* be able to slide it from the hair without using oil or chemicals."
The baby oil did absolutely nothing. The non-acetone polish remover did remove some of the polish from Aedan scalp. I just needed so much to work into the matted hair the smell was wiping me out. I couldn't imagine the fumes weren't getting to my son too. I think we'll be taking a trip to the barber shop tonight.
Some polish managed to get on the floor & Aedan's shirt

best pic of Aedan's head (shows very little though)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hiding Presents


I heard some tips about hiding presents on the radio the other morning. Luckily, hiding gifts isn't a hassle for me, yet. My kids are still too young to know any better and my husband has a hard enough time finding his cell phone on a daily basis. But, I did take note of a few of the tips I thought were especially helpful.
--Suitcases are a great place to hide gifts
--During the holidays, the containers that your holiday decor is stored in make for great gift storage while they're empty of the decorations
--Empty boxes stored in the garage/attic/basement
(I keep all my appliance boxes & several empty boxes in my garage)
--The trunk of your car

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Lullaby and good night...


My 10-month-old son is finally sleeping through the night-much later than my daughter. She was sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks-old. There are several tips and tricks that I have tried. The tip that I find to be most universal for kids is HAVING A ROUTINE. The "night night" routine should be at the same time and relatively same order each night. My daughter still has a nighttime routine at 3 1/2 years-old. If followed properly, she wakes up in a good mood. If we missed the time frame and were lazy (didn't read her a book or tuck her in well), my daughter is restless and usually cranky the next day. Another good tip, is to BE CALM yourself. Kids feed off our energy. Even if you are in the moment, but thinking about things to do for the next day or reliving a stressful day in your head, your child is going to sense your anxiety. During the nighttime routine, don't think of anything else but easing your child into a pleasant, restful sleep. Share this special time with your child and leave thoughts of laundry, grocery lists, job stress or money worries for later.
Actually, knowing how kids feed off of your energy is a good tip for other areas of parenting. If you're calm, it's much easier to calm a child who has been hurt or is upset about something. When scolding a child, they're much more likely to listen to calm, logical dialogue than to screaming and yelling.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Toddlers and the meaning of LOVE

Here's a trick my daughter has been using recently to get out of bed at night and prolong actually going to sleep:
She comes to my husband and/or me and says, "I has ta give you 'nother hug and kiss," and adds "I love you, daddy/mommy."
Oh, she's a genius alright. How can you get mad at that display? It's just so frigin' cute!
But, it made me wonder. At three-years-old is my daughter simply mimicking or does she understand "I love you?" It seems she must understand the phrase in order to use it to her advantage? And if it's true you learn by example, she gets plenty of snuggling, hugs and kisses and "I love yous" to see and feel a connection. Plus, she sees how worried I get when she doesn't look both ways before she crosses the street and hears the correlation; "You have to be more careful crossing the street and always look both ways. Mommy loves you and doesn't want you to get hurt." (I could list several similar senarios) Also, I try to reward her for good behavior and show extra attention and affection. Bad behavior means time out and little to no attention from me. It didn't take long for my daughter to realize she gets attention when she behaves whether its sharing, cleaning up, being a good big sister or using her good manners. Or getting out of bed to give hugs and kisses and say, "I love you."
Now I wonder, how she wouldn't know the meaning of LOVE...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fun often Free Family Activities Abound!

There is always something going on in and around your neighborhood-take your kids out and enjoy. Parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, local historical markers...
My family often goes to the local Farmer's Market (entry is free and the petting zoo and kiddy rides are cheap) Check the local paper for Festivals, Parades and Fairs. My kids love being outdoors and seeing the sights. I love taking them to free events that are colorful, musical and cultural. Many festivals offer free entry and you can pack your own snacks and water bottle to avoid spending money on junk food booths. Festivals and Fairs provide cultural or theme-specific education, free samples, giveaways, kid craft tables and much more! Weekly, I search the local paper, citysearch.com, flyers at the local market and banners hanging across the neighborhoods streets for fun, kid-friendly events. It's just as easy packing up a bag, the kids, getting them in & out of carseats, etc as it is to keep them occupied and unbored at home-plus a day out usually means a good nap later!
**It's Holiday time-drive around and see xmas lights, many parks & malls have special xmas light decorations or tree-lightings or Snow Days-FREE!
My daughter & me at a free Snow Day by Radio Disney

Monday, November 28, 2005

Simple Yummy Healthy Snacks for Kids


Here's a list to get you through a full month of varied snacking:
(I have a calendar version of this list I'd be happy to email by request)

  • Fresh Fruit Salad
  • Bread Sticks & Cream Cheese
  • Orange Slices & Jicama Slices (fruit tastes like an apple with potato texture)
  • Rice Cakes & Apple Wedges with Cheese
  • Assorted Raw Veggies and dip (try a new veggie like Sugar Snap Peas or Squash)
  • Celery Sticks With cream cheese or peanut butter
  • Unbuttered Popcorn with sprinkled Parmesan cheese
  • Whole grain/wheat Crackers with cheese or peanut butter
  • Plain yogurt with Fresh fruit
  • Slice Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cooked broccoli with parmesan cheese
  • Finger sandwich with Tuna or chicken salad
  • Raw carrots and glass of natural fruit juice
  • Baked potato with cream cheese or sour cream
  • Popscicle made from Gatorade
  • Sliced pear and banana wheels
  • Cubed cheese and pretzels (String cheese is always fun)
  • Nuts in shell & Glass of natural Fruit juice
  • Soy beans & fresh melon wedge
  • Cold Cuts and cheese
  • Dry unsweetened Whole grain cereal
  • Fruit smoothie ½ c milk/soy milk ¼ c OJ or apple juice ½ banana ½ cup frozen fruit (if fresh fruit add ice)blend until smooth
  • Cubed Sweet potato (Easy-most grocery stores have bags of these in the produce aisles)
  • Natural white cheddar popcorn (Pirate’s Booty is a good brand)

Special Delivery


I ordered sushi to go the other night. I try to be ready for the knock on the door and have my credit card or cash ready. Well, instead of going straight to my purse after I phoned in the order, I sat my 10-month-old son in his high chair and began to feed him. My husband and our house guest were also occupied and caught unprepared. So when the delivery man knocked on our door, my 3-year-old daughter answered the door...
stark naked.
"Hi," she said to the startled delivery man as he tried to divert his eyes. Ah, to not feel modesty...she started to jump around and tell everyone the "suchi" is here. My husband soon followed behind our daughter with the money and complete embarrassment. Well, Masa Sushi will always remember our address...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Leftover Turkey?


No More Turkey Sandwiches. Here is an EASY recipe for leftover Turkey...the kid's will even enjoy it again!

Leftover-Turkey Pot Pie
Ingredients:
Leftover turkey (cut into small pieces)
1 can cream of chicken (mushroom or brocolli are good too)
1 reg. size bag of your favorite frozen veggies
2 unbaked pie crusts
salt & pepper to taste

Mix turkey, cream of chicken, veggies, salt & pepper in bowl.
Line a pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Fill the crust with the turkey mixture. Cover with second pie crust. Moisten your finger tips and pinch the pie crust edges together to form a good pot-pie seal. Pierce the top of the pie for steam to vent. Bake at 350 until pie crust is brown and inside is bubbling (about 20 mins). Delicious!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I locked out my Mother-In-Law (accidentally, really)

Last week, my mother-in-law came for a visit. And, NO, that's not a bad thing-I am very lucky to have a truly good mother-in-law. She wasn't so lucky last Thursday though. My mother-in-law watched the kids during the day while my husband and I went to work. It was good for her to get some quality time alone with the kids without mommy and daddy being around. I handed my mother-in-law what I thought were the keys to the apartment. I actually gave her two of the same gate keys. My mother-in-law took the kids for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood not knowing that she would be locked out for several hours later. Oh, and she forgot to take her cell phone. On my way to a doctor appointment, I get a cell phone call from my father-in-law. He informs me that his wife is with the kids at a corner liquor mart awaiting my call to the pay phone. The pay phone wouldn't accept my calls. I finally receive a call from my mother-in-law. I told her the bedroom window might be unlocked and that I'd be home as soon as I could. Three hours later I come home. My kind downstairs-neighbor kept my mother-in-law and kids comfortable for the last hour of their ordeal. My mother-in-law said I'd never let her watch the kids again. Honestly, the kids never crossed my mind. All I thought about was, "I've locked my Mother-in-Law out of the house." My daughter-in-law reputation has just gone down the toilet.
TIP: Always check keys before you pass them out & keep a spare set hidden somewhere around your home. (Another error I made-I forgot to replace the spare set!)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

No More Second-Guessing


Because I started weaning my son about a month ago, my milk ducts are getting clogged. My breasts have been quite sore and tender. I researched some home remedies on the internet. Along with reading about warm-compresses and cabbage leaves, I came across the term "nursing strike." I had never heard of such a thing? I pictured my son crawling around with a picket sign-"No More Garlic, Mommy." The article I read stated that as our hormones change or our child is teething, a nursing strike is common and doesn't necessarily mean that the child is done breastfeeding. Immediately, I started to feel guilty. Had I started weaning my son too soon? He didn't seem to want to nurse anymore and therefore I wasn't producing enough. Was he just on "strike?"
Then, I realized I was second-guessing myself-again. We mother's often do this. And we shouldn't. I had read the signs and felt weaning my son was right and at the right time. I can't beat myself up with "what-ifs." My son was nursed for almost 10 months-a bit shy of my year goal. My son showed great interest in eating finger foods-he even gets angry if I don't share whatever I'm eating with him. He still gets plenty of snuggly-close contact when he drinks from his bottle. He's happy and content-no need to second-guess...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Teething Tip


The baby safe feeder is essential during teething. It's part teether, part feeder and the ingenious design makes any food safe for baby. My son loves to chomp on frozen fruit to soothe his swollen gums. This mesh pacifier does the trick. I fill the mesh bag with frozen mango or strawberries. It's a lot less messy and I don't have to worry about a choking hazard.

Product Description from Amazon.com:
"The Baby Safe Feeder is an innovative way to aid teething and get your infant to make the transition from drinking to chewing small pieces of food. It features an easy-to-hold teether attached to a reusable mesh food bag. Simply unscrew top, fill the bag with your baby's favorite soft foods, and screw securely back together. Your baby is now free to teethe while learning to chew (through the mesh). The feeder is top-rack dishwasher safe, or can be hand washed in warm, soapy water. Use only with Baby Safe Feeder replacement bags."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gently Used


I see absolutely nothing wrong with hand-me-downs and gently-used items. It's hard enough balancing a budget while living in Los Angeles with two children. I am so lucky to have a sister with older children. I have never had to buy my daughter or my son clothes. My 3-year-old daughter wears the hand-me-downs from her 4 and 5-year old cousins and my son receives the clothes my nephew has out-grown. My daughter still enjoys the best of both new and old-her Mimi (who only had boys) just loves to buy my daughter the most precious little girl outfits.
Also, I don't understand the necessity to buy brand new toys, especially larger items, if I can find a good-as-new bargain. Plus, my kids are too young to understand the difference between brand new and used. Though as they get older and wiser, I hope that I teach them to appreciate a gift no matter its origin. Recently, I purchased a small, play kitchen from a thrift store. It includes a little microwave, stove, fridge and sink. The kitchen was clean and in good shape except the faucet was missing and a drawer door. It only cost $3.00! What a deal! I made some simple fixes and the kids enjoy it for hours.
I do shop for "new" bargains too. I hit the sales and discount stores to purchase new toys at used-toys prices. For birthdays or holidays, I usually buy a mix of old and new.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Priceless Postage


You've probably heard about Photo Stamps. Have you seen them? The stamps are created from a photo of your choice and each is authentic 37 cent postage. I ordered some last week for my xmas cards and they are absolutely adorable! I can't believe how good they look and how fast they arrived. The stamps come out to about double the price of a regular stamp, but it's well worth the added touch. Baby announcements, milestone birthdays invites, graduation and holiday cards will truly be special on the inside and outside! The stamps are also about double the size of a regular stamp. Try it out-just go to photostamps.com and create a priceless stamp online. Don't forget to save a stamp for your kid's scrap book! Here's the photo I used for my xmas card stamps

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Solo Parenting

I had always referred to my husband staying home to watch our kids as "babysitting." Just recently, I told a coworker of mine that my husband was babysitting for me so I could enjoy a scary movie with friends. Kelly sternly informed me that my husband was Solo Parenting NOT babysitting. I had never heard the term, but I instantly logged it into my vocabulary database. How did I not realize this before? I completely agree that the phrase "my husband is babysitting" is a misuse of words. Kelly said when she stays home with her kids, she's not babysitting, she's parenting. She added, "I pay the babysitter." I've been looking at this all wrong! My husband isn't doing me a favor, he's doing his job...just solo...parenting

Time Warp(speed)


I swear time does double-time from the moment I get the kids out the door and into the car until I've dropped them off at day care. I drop the kids off mornings Monday through Friday at 8am. Whether I allot myself 5 minutes or 15 minutes to drop the kids off literally a couple of block away, I'm left with a mere 10 minutes to get to work. I can't drop the kids off any earlier than 8am and that's plenty of time to get to work by 8:30am-except for the whole time warp speed thing...
My three-year-old is a "big girl" and has to go down the stairs herself, get in the car herself and buckle herself. While she does her "big girl" routine, I'm simultaneously carrying my 9-month-old son, putting him in the car and buckling him in his seat. You'd think that cuts the time in half? Then, the same scenario in reverse once we arrive at day care, ring the doorbell, kiss & hug and off I go,
hi-ho, hi-ho...where does the time go?
I left the house 10 minutes to 8:00 and now it's 8:17???

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Fortune Tee is in your future...

A great gift idea for anytime! Christmas, er, uh, I mean Holidays, Birthdays, Baby Showers, etc.
My friend, Dessa, gave my son a baby bodysuit from Fortune Tee's. It's such a great and unique gift. I had to share...
Check out their website Fortune Tee Shirt Aedan's tee reads: A Surprise Will Appear in my Pants
(and includes lucky numbers)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Deflated...


I am feeling deflated- both figuratively and literally...
This week I started weaning my son. He's eating more and more finger foods and not nursing as much as he used to. I hoped to nurse a full year like I did with my daughter, but my son is a BIG, hungry boy. With my recent breast pumping attempts, I was lucky to collect an ounce of milk. I thought this moment would bring such elation-to be free. Instead, I find I'm feeling quite sad. I won't have that special bond to share with my son anymore. He's growing up.
Or maybe I'm just upset that my boobs have lost their fullness and are once again...silly putty.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Sense of Style

As soon as my daughter was capable of dressing herself-I was lucky if she asked me to do a button for her. She got so good at buttons and zippers and snaps, she was dressing the other kids in day care-even the older ones. Now, at three-years-old, she wants to also pick out her own outfits. Of course, I indulge. It's good for her to feel independent. Plus, she's learning color coordination and building her own sense of style as well as self-esteem. Recently, a fellow day care playmate, gave his dragon galoshes to my son. The boots are too big for my son, so my daughter has taken custody. I think she even sleeps in them. Here's a pic of her latest (adorable)look . My daughter picked this outfit for a nice, family dinner at a fancy German restaurant...shirt daddy bought her in Galapagos Islands, blue pants, and those cute dragon rain boots!
My friend, Mary, is right-my daughter's quite the Fashionista!

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Laziness...a source of inspiration???

Saturday mornings are meant for coffee and reading the newspaper...lounging and lazy...
oh...yah...I've got kids! Well, I tried to enjoy a lazy early Saturday morning when my daughter pointed out a pen that had fallen between the wall and the snake cage (yes, I wrote snake cage). I told my daughter not to worry about the pen. She kept asking me to get it for her. I really didn't want her to have the pen, but mostly I was being lazy. So my daughter goes and gets a long-handled duster
and tries to drag the pen out from between the wall and the cage. A valiant effort, yet she just pushed the pen further back into the corner. I was very impressed with her ingenuity and completely disappointed with my own slothfulness. Feeling proud (for her) and guilty (of me), I got up from my coffee and Travel section to assist my daughter in retrieving her well-deserved pen. And that old duster did the trick!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Walk for a cause & have some fun


A family that walks together, helps a cause and has a great time. I recently walked 6.2 miles for the APLA AIDS Walk along with my two kids. They got to ride along in the stroller for most of it. My three-year-old daughter and I had lots of fun and my 8-month-old just enjoys taking in the scenery. It's a good way to get some exercise with the kids. Plus, you can teach your children about helping out for a cause of your choice-maybe something that's close to home. Don't think these walk/runs are just for adults-plenty of children participate whether they're walking or riding in strollers or baby carriers. Most of these events provide snacks and drinks all along the way (my daughter even got ice cream) and have bathroom pit stops. There is usually entertainment too.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Your Child can Breathe easier with a Chiropractor...



My daughter has suffered with childhood asthma since she was about 6 months old. At first I thought she was just prone to colds, but the coughing and wheezing proved otherwise. Her coughing and wheezing was especially bad at night or after a fit of crying. It was awful-it sounded like she was choking. The pediatrician prescribed a liquid form of Albuterol to help open up my daughter's airway. The medicine helped, but it made her incredibly antsy and irritated. I tried to use it sparingly. When my daughter was almost two, the pediatrician prescribed an inhaler form of the Albuterol. She hated breathing from the inhaler-it was always such a fight. In April of this year, I started seeing a chiropractor for my neck. Since I'm often on my own, my kids were in tow with me during my appointments. Dr. Matt heard my daughter's cough and asked if she had asthma. I told him her story and he informed me that he could rid her of her symptoms. I was very skeptical. I had never heard or read anything about chiropractic care for asthma. He assured me it was safe and would work-he said he cured his son of his childhood asthma. I then talked to the doctor's son. Knowing he was biased, I still believed his account. I found out that my health insurance covered my daughter's appointments and thought I'd give it a try. She started with one appointment a week for eight weeks. In the first week, my daughter was coughing up the nastiest crud from her lungs. The doctor warned me of this and said she should get plenty of liquids. After a month, her lungs seemed clear and I no longer heard my daughter coughing or wheezing. The results were unbelievable! She loved going to Dr. Matt and he was so gentle & good with her. After 2 months, I would have sworn she had no more asthma symptoms. Her appointments were cut to once every other week. It has been such a blessing to use a natural alternative to medicines to rid my daughter of her asthma symptoms. I highly recommend it. Currently, her appointments are as needed. But, please note-all children are different and so are their degrees of asthma. It could take longer for chiropractic care to work on your child than it did on mine. And chiropractic manipulations don't cure asthma-it works to subside symptoms like medicine but naturally and without all the side effects. Although, I believe my daughter is cured-she has had no symptoms at all in several months. It's worth a try-Dr. Matt is located in North Hollywood, CA-but many chiropractors are specialized to work with children.
"The doctor noted, for example, that although chiropractic management does not
cure asthma, neither does medicine. Quality-of-life indicators have improved..." Dynamic Chiropractic
"Although chiropractic treatment may not be a cure for asthma, the use of chiropractic manipulation to control musculoskeletal symptoms is a major benefit..." New England Medical Journal
NoHoChiro

Monday, October 10, 2005

Less Mess (baby food feeding tip)

My sister taught me a great tip about feeding a child baby food:
Whether it's store-bought or homemade, baby food can be very runny and drippy-perfect for a BIG mess. Simply add a little rice cereal to thicken up the baby food. It's adding iron for the baby and lessening the clean-up for you. Don't get me wrong though, babies are entitled to make A mess while they're learning to eat-especially once you hand the spoon over to them. But, the splatter from drippy baby food is much more encompassing than the thicker version. Plus, you might not stain as many of those really cute bibs!

Friday, October 07, 2005

AAAAAHHHH....

Usually when I drop my kids off at daycare, my daughter is so excited she just runs right in the place. I better have given her a hug before we get to the door. Today, she gave me a big, bear hug and then pointed to her cheek-directing me to kiss it. Of course, I obliged with my heart full of aaaaahhhhhh...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


It was pointed out to me recently that my daughter was watching too much TV. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. Why now? What has changed. My husband has been home for about a four weeks (in a row). Were we getting lazy in our parenting to spend more time together? Were we just being lazy? TV is a great babysitter while we're cooking dinner or getting things ready for the next day, or while my husband and I are glued to the newest episode of Nip/Tuck. Ok, obviously, there have got to be limits. So I reverted to a previous rule-no more than 2 hours a day. Limits allow our family more play time, quality sit-down-at-the-table-dinner-time, activity and reading time. My daughter used to occupy her evenings playing outside with the boy who lives downstairs. He's now in second grade and has tons of homework (that's insane). I tried playing with my daughter and my son outside yesterday before I started preparing dinner. My daughter really wanted to play with Daniel so we didn't stay outside too long. I prepared dinner for her and fed my son. While he was still in his high chair eating finger foods, my daughter did some coloring. I pulled leftovers from the fridge to heat up for me. After my son was done eating, the kids went to play in their room. I took care of a few chores and then read a George and Martha book to the kids. I told my daughter she had a little time before bed and she could continue playing and/or watch TV. My husband came home in the meantime and we ate dinner. Later, he helped get the kids ready for nightnight and tucked them in bed. It's important to put limits on how much TV your children watch. It takes some work, but the interaction is invaluable.

Friday, September 30, 2005

DAMN!


My freedom is officially over today...that is my freedom from tampons. I started my period this morning. It's been 1 year, 6 months and 2 days since I had my last one-which signaled I was pregnant. I hoped to escape my normal cycle until I stopped breastfeeding. Oh well...
Now I need to borrow a quarter from someone at work so I can buy a tampon from the machine in the bathroom.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Quote of the day...

"If you have kids, you can't wear low pants because you're bending over all the time and your entire rear end is hanging out...I call it the 'nanny crack.'"
Cindy Crawford

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I call my son JAWS...


At 8-months-old, my son has his two front bottom teeth and, boy, does he like to chomp. It's great for a piece of sweet potato or a cracker, but my nipples can hardly withstand his wrath. I feel like a teething ring. (If my son gets those two top teeth, I might have to start weaning early.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Don't take it personally

I was on my way to a friend's house the other night to see their new baby girl. During the drive over, the father called and said to me, "I don't know any way to say this without sounding rude..." (that's not good-I had no idea what was coming) "...You're not bringing the kids, right?" (My kids, oh, the thought never even crossed my mind?) I hesitantly replied, "Y, yes." Well, because of a conversation my friends had with their doctor, they preferred I not visit with my kids in-tow. They hoped I wasn't offended. I don't know about offended as much as disappointed. But, every parent is different and often doctors give conflicting advice. I completely understood and turned the car around to go back home. I think my daughter was more upset than me-she was really looking forward to seeing the baby. The incident provoked me though. Why is it that doctors' advice differs so much? I had nieces and nephews, cousins and friend's kids in the hospital room with me and my daughter when she was first born and again more recently after the birth of my son. My daughter attended my niece's first birthday when she was just a week old. My doctor informed me the kids should have clean hands and avoid touching the baby's face. And, of course, nobody (no matter what age) showing cold symptoms should be around the baby. I was further told that some exposure would help my newborn build immunities. My friends' doctor told them that their newborn should not have contact with children-especially pre-school age-until she was 6-weeks-old and had built up her immunities. It's all so confusing. I think we have to heed doctor's advice to a point and do what feels comfortable to us. Do you're own research-read and/or discuss with other parents. But, remember to not take offense by or be judgmental of parenting methods different than your own.
I'm also wondering, wouldn't I have the same germs as my kids???

Friday, September 23, 2005

We can't blame the dog...

My three-year-old daughter has lost her first homework assignment-already. I hope it's not a sign of things to come. At daycare my daughter is learning to recognize her name and the letters that form her name. Suzie, the daycare provider, made her a nice large name tag that hangs like a necklace. My daughter brought it home to practice. Plus, I was supposed to write an emergency phone number on the back side of the tag for her to learn as well. She's lost it or put it some place she can't remember. I've torn the house apart twice and finally gave up this morning. I made a make-shift replacement for my daughter to take with her. Too bad we don't have a dog...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Where do they pick this stuff up?


I've been told that kids are like sponges and I couldn't agree more. I just wonder where do they pick this stuff up? I know my three-year-old daughter takes after my husband and I, fellow day care kids, and of course television. But, on several occasions she has said things to me and I can't figure out where she heard or saw them? I'm obviously not paying as much attention as my daughter. Yesterday, she asked for my hand so I put out my hand. My daughter shook my hand and said, "Nice ta see ya." And then she pretended to leave out the front door. It was the cutest thing. I tried to recall having ever said "nice to see you" to anyone while she was around? Maybe it was on TV? My daughter has unfortunately started saying, "Whatever." I have to turn around to roll my eyes so she doesn't start doing that too. Another time, I asked my daughter if she wanted her jacket because it was cold outside. She replied, "It's not that cold, mommy." I felt like a teenager was talking to me. It's amazing how fast kids soak in the world around them and sometimes scary. I know I really need to pay more attention to what I say and do or my daughter's going to start using curse words she's heard from yours truly...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thunder & Lightning


I remember when I used to be scared of thunder and lightning. Now I actually miss them. Having grown up in Houston, I've heard my share of thunder storms. But out here in Southern California, the sound of thunder is rare. Well, until this hurricane season. Last night was the worst I've ever heard it in Los Angeles and the lightning show was awesome. My three-year-old daughter did not agree.
I imagine she saw strange flashes on the wall causing creepy shadows followed by a loud roar. Finally, in the middle of the night, she was calling for mommy and daddy. She eventually got enough nerve to come crawl in bed with my husband and me. It was just so precious. I don't want her to be afraid of thunder and lightning, but at that moment she needed to feel protected. I'll explain the weather to her later. We snuggled together and fell back to sleep.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Smells tasty...or does it?

Last night, a friend staying with me made us a pot of coffee. I had just placed some salmon in the oven to bake. I still had the smell of the fish in my nose when I took a sip of my coffee.
I nearly spit the fishy-tasting coffee mouthful out all over the table.
It got me thinking...
If it's true that 80% of taste is smell, what does my milk taste like when my son is nursing and the smell of baking salmon is in the air? Or better yet chocolate chip cookies baking? Or does the milk taste like how I smell? (I often smell like old milk)
It'll make me think (or smell) twice the next time he spits up his milk...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Importance of being a Traditionalist

1st Farmer's Market (Daddy bought Dawson a sunflower)



On Sunday my daughter asked me if we were going to the Farmer's Market-it's become an every Sunday routine for us.
It means so much to her and is creating lasting memories. We went to the Greek Festival instead, but we still did a Sunday afternoon activity. Other traditions include cooking blueberry pancakes or waffles on Saturdays and reading a book at bedtime. I remember family traditions from my childhood especially during the holidays and I plan to continue them with my family. We always had a delicious filot mignon dinner for Valentine's and a small gift was placed on your chair. At Easter time, my mom would hide our goodie baskets and provide little notes of clues to find them. On Christmas Eve, my folks gave my sister and I one gift to open and it was always pajamas. Then, my sister and I would read The Night Before Christmas to each other. It may seem like silly little rountine things, but the memories are priceless and I would look forward to those yummy waffles on Saturday morning or hunting for my Easter basket. I want my kids to look forward to family traditions and have warm memories of them too.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Kids brighten even the most somber occasions...without even trying...

I haven't blogged recently because my husband's father past away last week. We went to Liberty, TX for the funeral and returned on Saturday. The funeral was held at the burial site. For September in East Texas, the usually hot, balmy weather felt mild due to a pleasant breeze. Yet typical for this time of year in the South, the sworms of love bugs surrounded us.
My daughter had never seen these little black bugs before and often screamed aloud during the service as they landed on different parts of her body. In a whisper, I tried to explain to my daugher that they were love bugs and they were just kissing her. Another couple of bugs tickled the back of her leg and she ran about-an Aunt of ours picked her up. Again, the Aunt and I told my daughter the love bugs were simply kissing her. Then, every time a love bug landed on her she had to point and tell anyone around her, "look, the bugs is kissing me." I hoped no one was offended by her outbursts, but she was actually making people smile. And at a time of sorrow, a smile is the best gift.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Explosive diapers...not just subUrban Legend


After playing on the floor with his toys, my son became a little fussy. I figured he was tired and ready for a nap. I bent down to pick him up. He seemed better and started grabbing for his toys so I sat him up near his toys again. As I walked towards the kitchen, I felt something warm on my left forearm. I thought my son drooled on me and I proceeded to wipe it away. I just smeared some slimy substance into my arm. I looked down and AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH, EEEEEWWWWWWWWW, GROSS! I fought to hold back my gag reflexes. My son had an explosive diaper! I did not see the poop that shot out the back of his diaper because I held him facing me. Crap coated his entire back side up to the base of his neck! This was no job for a wet wipe. This required a hot shower FOR ME and a warm bath for my son.
No wonder he had such a big grin on his face when I picked him up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Choices...

Many parents these days are giving their children choices instead of just laying down the law. It's smart parenting. For example, just last night my daughter decided she didn't want to take a bath (which she really needed and usually asks to have). If I forced her to take her bath, the situation would just become confrontational and frustrating. But, by giving her a choice-take a bath or go to bed-she feels in control and the battle is disengaged. My daughter decided she wanted to go to bed. Luckily, she realized she didn't like that choice. She told me she was sorry and that she'd like a bubble bath, please. I thanked her and made sure she knew what a good choice she made.
During the process of potty training, I'd tell my daughter to go to the bathroom every couple of hours because she didn't always tell me when she had to go. She became annoyed so I gave her a choice-do you want mommy or daddy to take you to the bathroom. Choices can be given in many situations-just be smart about them. When I first started this type of parenting, I didn't think things through very well. In one instance, my daughter was coloring and had crayons scattered everywhere. When she was done, I told her she needed to clean up her crayons or go to time out. She chose time out-leaving me to clean up the crayons!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean...

And now a commercial break:

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is my new best friend-and should be yours whether or not you have children. When my daughter started to really enjoy coloring, she managed to create an entire mural on a living room wall while I had my back turned. (If the kids are quiet-they're probably up to no good) I tried cleaners, the tooth paste and DW40 tricks-the crayon was just smeared making the wall look more like water color painting. But, the Magic Eraser made the wall pristine. It's perfect for dirty fingerprints on the walls, moldings and cabinet doors. My old, white Diaper Genie was looking dull and gray from accumulating dust. It's like the dust was actually trapped inside the plastic-now it's pure white and shiny again. I've cleaned all my dingy plastics, my children's' toys and appliances with the Eraser. They all look brand new. It's awesome at cleaning sinks and tubs too-especially since my daughter loves to use the "washable" bath time finger paints-washable, yah, right! Plus, I even buffed out scratches and smudges on my car. For once, everything you've seen on TV about a product is true.