Friday, March 31, 2006

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee (life in a new prospective)

My dad emailed the following to me today-it's a wonderful lesson...

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had som! e items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--the love of your life, your children, your extended family, your health, your friends and your personal growth --, and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like business and career goals, your favorite passions, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else--the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that should be important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Love somebody. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Laugh out loud. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first--the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

(Now go hug someone...)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Don't Know How Ya Do It Story

The following story I'm about to relay is to illustrate how parents must juggle routine situations. The following Don't Know How Ya Do It tale is for all parents out there doing the best they can and I hope allows others to better appreciate the job of parenting.
Any time kids are part of the scenario, things are more complicated. For instance, arriving at the airport and retrieving luggage from baggage claim.
I go into the situation knowing it's going to be more difficult, but I accept it and make the best of it.

My kids and I flew back to LA last week. Upon arrival, we departed the plane and waited for our stroller. A baggage handler set our stroller on the jetway.
I'm wearing my son in a snuggly, I'm holding a diaper bag and my daughter wants me to hold her too-all while I'm trying to set up the stroller. No one offers any assistance. After several tries, I still can't get the stroller set up. An airline worker waiting for someone to depart that needs a wheelchair, finally lets go of the empty wheelchair to help me. In a matter of seconds, the stroller is open. I thank the man and in my head I curse the other people standing around. I place my children in the stroller and head for baggage claim.
I've done this on my own before, I tell myself, it'll be okay. Once we arrive at baggage claim, I pay the three dollars for a smart cart
and head to the luggage carousel. Soon our bags slide down the shoot and I grab them up off the carousel. As I begin placing the suitcases on the smart cart, I wonder why it's called "smart." The damn thing has no brakes and just rolls away at the weight of
each bag. I try and wedge the "dumb" cart between the stroller and the carousel as I load the bags. The cart won't stay still much like a 3-year-old on an airplane. Everyone around me is waiting for their own luggage to care about little 'ol me and all I needed was a foot-a foot to steady the cart while I loaded the bags. Out from the crowd came a knight and he steadied my cart with his gallant foot. What relief (and about freakin' time)!

Now the tricky part, pushing the double stroller and the luggage cart out to the shuttle area. I pushed the stroller in front of me with my left hand and pulled the luggage cart behind me with my right hand. It was well-balanced and seemed to be working... for a while anyway. The dumb cart hit some crack in the side walk and completely tipped over. Here we go again! Instead of getting mad though, I laughed. Okay, maybe it was a defeated laugh. The bags literally fell in front of guy waiting for his ride. He looked at me like I disturbed him and his sidewalk area. He didn't lift a finger much less a bag. I wanted to lift a finger. I just glared at him as if he couldn't be real? More than a dozen people walked by me as I picked up my bags and reloaded them on the cart. The words Don't Know How Ya Do It rang in my ears as did the phrase It takes a village.
The kids and I made it to the shuttle area and waited for the Super Shuttle van. Waited. And waited. I finally called Super Shuttle to find out about the delay. The dispatcher told me to see the guy in the blue Super Shuttle jacket. I could see no one in a blue Super Shuttle jacket. The dispatcher asked if I was in the right area under the orange ride share sign. I looked up at the orange ride share sign above my head-yes, I told the guy, I'm in the right area. The dispatcher said he'd call his guy there. As I continued to wait, I looked around and saw another orange ride share sign and a guy in a blue Super Shuttle jacket talking on the phone. I yelled to get his attention. "Super Shuttle, hey Super Shuttle, hey, super shuttle guy." People heard me and stared at me like I was insane. Other people walking by blue jacket guy, looked at him and then looked at me, but didn't get his attention for me. All someone had to do was tap him on the shoulder or point in my direction. I realized this wasn't working and thought the blue jacket guy was probably talking to the dispatcher I just spoke to on the phone. So I called Super Shuttle back. I told the dispatcher to please ask his guy to turn the OTHER way and he'd see me waving desperately for him. The dispatcher asked me to move down to his guy. I informed the dispatcher that I had a stroller of two kids and a cart full of luggage and that I wasn't moving-kindly ask your man to turn his head!

The guy in the blue jacket finally looked our way and flagged down a shuttle van for the kids and me. And we were on our way home!

(I'm not alone in these types of stories. Let's all be kind out there and lend a helping hand...)

Friday, March 24, 2006


Update: Email reply from Continental (not much but at least they're taking it into consideration for future flights)
Dear Mrs. Darbonne,
We are concerned that you felt the in-flight entertainment selection was shown at inappropriate time. Your comments are appreciated, and will be used within our Marketing division as we continue to improve our service. Thank you for using Continental Airlines.
Cheryl San Jose

This is an email I recently sent to Continental Airlines...(My friend's recent experience with American Airlines reminded me of this)

Flight Experience


My family and I flew on the red eye flight from LAX to Houston IAH the morning of Saturday, March 11th, 2006. I love to fly the red eye because of my small children so they'll sleep during the flight. I try hard to make sure my kids don't make the flights uncomfortable or loud for your other passengers.
Therefore, it was quite disturbing to my husband and I that you would choose to air CHICKEN LITTLE at 2 O'clock in the morning. It was very difficult to get my kids to sleep which was the whole point of taking the red eye. I know you have millions to please, but many of us are parents trying our best to fly peacefully with our children for our sakes as well as everyone aboard.
Thank you ever so kindly,

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Born Learning

Usually I don't pay attention to bathroom stall ads. If I want some entertainment while I'm in the can, I read the graffiti.
A recent ad caught my eye though, and I was hooked...

"The pile was made up of all different colors. A mommy decided she would play a game. Red! she said to her child, holding up a red shirt. Red! the child said. Mommy put it in the colors pile. Whites went in another pile. Green like a frog! White like ice cream! And so it went. Colors, whites, colors, whites. And on the very last thing - a bib of blue - the child pointed to the colors pile. You should've seen the smile on the mommy's face.

Everyday moments can become learning moments. Because learning starts long before school does. So tell stories. Play with the laundry. And even a chore with your child will become much more. Find out more at "

That's good advertising. I've since visited the website. You can link there through the United Way website too.

The website is an incredible resource. It's full of great tips, games, videos, links and articles to promote early learning using everyday chores or activities.
You're turning "ordinary daily activities into eye-opening experiences for your child."

Learn 5 tips to a happier baby-the key to early learning.

There's more helpful information for you to check out...(including some fun campaign commercials)

Monday, March 20, 2006

You gotta have a SIGG cup...

I've found an incredible drink bottle you can't be without-the SIGG CUP! It's an aluminum drink bottle that eliminates the nasty germs that get trapped in regular plastic sippy & travel cups. The swiss-enginereed bottle doesn't leave a metalic taste either. I found the bottles on the U the MOM website. The prices are very reasonable and the bottles are available for kids and adults.

"As seen in Time Magazine's 'Most Amazing Inventions' List for 2005, this child's sippy cup is truly cutting-edge! Say bye-bye to old plastic-leaching sippy cups, and hello to the ultra cool, smart, and easy-to-clean Sigg Cup! Since its made with Swiss preciseness and one peice of aluminum, there are no seams, making it easier to keep things sanitary. This is also the only stainless cup that can tolerate acidic juice and soft drinks without corrosion or taste transfer, and there are no dangerous chemicals that can leach out as often found in plastics. This .4L size is perfect for small hands, yet large enough to last, and is very light weight. Also see the many colors and styles of tops available for this item in the Accessories section. There is even a glow-in-the-dark top, and remember all Sigg tops fit all Sigg bottles, so stock up for style!"

U the Mom also offers fun, unique gift ideas for kids and moms included collegiate items and personalized CD's.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I've been vacationing with the kids this past week. It's been so great visiting my family in Texas. It's rodeo time here and my hubby and I took the kids for some "Agventure."
While we were enjoying the carnival, my daughter needed to use the bathroom or port-o-potty. If you are at an outdoor event and the only bathrooms available are port-o-potties make sure to tell your kids in advance that the round deoderizing-object inside the men's urinal is not soap!
(My daughter actually picked the thing up and in what seemed like movie-slow-motion, I yelled "drop it" as I tried to knock it from her grasp)
And always pack lots of handy wipes and sanitizing hand wash when attending outdoor events.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Teaching Kids Good Manners

A few mornings ago, I was brushing my daughter's hair. She was sitting on my lap and she farted on me. My daughter then looked up at me and said very politely, "excuse me."

It made me grateful for lysol teaching her good manners.

I believe it is very important to begin teaching children good manners as soon as they are starting to talk. It's also important to set a good example. I try to always say "please" and "thank you" to others and especially to my kids.
In addition, when the occasion calls for it, I say "excuse me" or "pardon me." And be it my Southern-raisin', I always say "yes, ma'am" and "yes, sir."

I've taught my daughter to cover her mouth or nose when she coughs or sneezes.
TIP: teach your child to cover a cough or a sneeze with the mid-arm instead of their hand-less germs are spread.

It's never too early to teach good manners including table manners (chewing with mouth closed, using a napkin and not your sleeve, etc), sharing, and the proper way to behave in certain locations (i.e. restaurant, office, church, etc).

It's so precious when my daughter uses her good manners. When she does, I let her know-"Thank you for using your good manners." It's great to make your kids feel proud for good behavior and reinforces it too.

Remember your kids learn by example-if you catch yourself wiping your nose on your sleeve-chances are your kids saw it too!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Where's a shovel and pail when you need 'em?

Quite often I take my kids to the park/playground and on several occationss the outing is unplanned. I just happen to drive by a park while out running errands or something.
Many kids at the park bring toys to play with the sand and they don't always like to share.
I've found it's a great idea to keep a bag of playground/beach toys in the car.
I keep an extra pail, shovel, and misc. sand toys in the trunk.

It's also a good idea to keep a minimal diaper bag in the car with wipes and diapers-then you don't have to lug around your larger diaper bag for simple errands or an afternoon at the park.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I was invited to a couple of Oscar-watching parties this past weekend. While I would have loved to join my friends, I didn't have a babysitter.
I love to watch the Oscars and it's just impossible if I'm at someone else's house with my kids. I would constantly be chasing after them to make sure they weren't spilling or breaking something, getting into cabinets or unraveling the toilet paper roll.
Getting together is a whole different experience when kids are involved. Many parents don't like taking infants out until they are 6 to 8 weeks old. An infant can be easier to look after than a fully-energized toddler, but some infants are colicky or don't do well away from home or around strangers. Parents of toddlers usually have their hands full. In addition, most kids are on schedules that may coincide with an invitation.
For me, it's much more difficult and exhausting to visit my friends with my kids along. It's especially difficult if my friends' homes aren't baby-proofed. It's so much easier and less stressful visiting friends with kids and child-proofed homes. They don't seem to mind toys strewn about the place, a spilled juice cup, a dirty diaper, a tantrum and the stairs are gated and cabinets child-locked.
If you've ever wondered why you don't see your friends who have kids as often-now you have some idea why.
Please, don't misunderstand me, it's still worth getting out of the house and fun seeing friends, but it's not going to be the same quality visit and long, uninterrupted conversations you may be used to having.
Excluding this past Oscar Night, I still take my kids out for gatherings, bbq's,ect at my friends' homes. I just make sure to pack enough stuff to keep them occupied and happy. I take the usual diaper bag with additional drinks and snacks. Plus, I bring a bag of some of my kids favorite toys, videos or activities. For Thanksgiving dinner at my friend Mary's, I even brought a craft project to entertain my daughter. Depending on your child's age, a pac-n-play/port-o-crib or suggly comes in handy so you can have your hands free.
I also have a few suggestions for anyone who doesn't have children and/or baby-proofed home inviting over company with kids---
I mention my friend Mary again-she always has juice drinks my daughter loves and a little treat for her as well.
Mary has even invested in some age-appropriate toys for my kids to enjoy.
If you value something within a small child's reach, put it away!
Candles are great and set a mood-but again, please don't put them within a small child's reach
Simply understand that kids are around and the focus will mainly be on them and not you and your party
If kid-free and/or child-proofless-homed hosts and invitee-parents properly prepare, enjoyment can be had by all-just remember it's a little different.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sign Language for babies and toddlers=Good Communication

It seems signing with babies and toddlers has become a new fad, but it's actually been around for years. Until your child is able to communicate verbally, signing is a blessing.
Frustration in babies and toddlers is most often caused by a lack of being understood.
Signing allows you and your child to communicate and trust that you both understand each other.

Learning the basic signs to communicate with your child is easy.
I simply went online. And you don't even have to use the "proper" sign-make one up if it suits you better. The teaching process is no more difficult than teaching your child to wave bye bye or blow a kiss.

I started using sign language with my daughter at around 6 months. She picked it up rather quickly. Within a month, she was signing for milk, more, finished, and bath. By the time she was walking, she was even signing please and thank you. At 3 1/2, she still remembers her signs and has learned more from such shows as Sesame Street and Blues Clues. I've been teaching my son to sign since he was about 7 months. He's a year now and is able to sign for milk, more and finished. Every child will be on their own schedule.
For more info, I found this great signing baby website. It has lots of links you'll need to get started.