Thursday, June 29, 2006

We Made It!

My hubby, our two kids and two cats made the drive straight through from LA to Houston and we still have our sanity and a few nerves left. I thought for sure the long hours (about 26 hours) in a car seat would change my kids into tiny demons. The kids were remarkablely well behaved. We planned on making many pit stops to let them stretch their legs and allow us a little peace. We only had to make one stop that wasn't for gas or for one of the parents to potty.
Now the drive itself was horrendous. If you think you can take shifts driving when you have kids in the car-you're wrong! Try as you might to sleep, it's dang near impossible. The kids are babbling or talking or singing, laughing or crying. They drop their toys under the seat and need you to fetch it. The electronic toys that keep their attention so well are obnoxious and echo in your hind-brain so you can't sleep. The kids also get hungry or thirsty. The sleep you need for the next leg of driving is unattainable during this chaotic road trip symphony.

Imagine these sounds all together for hours and hours...

Sesame Street toy: "Rubber ducky, you're the one. You make bath time so much fun"
Daughter: "Mommy, what's that?"
Son: "Ah, ah, ba, ba, dada, dada"
Sesame St. toy: "I love trash, anything dirty or dusty"
Cats: "meow, meow"
Son mimicking cats: "ow, ow"
toy: "beep, beep, coming through. Driving is fun"
Daughter: "I want my rubber chicken. Where's my chicken?"
Radio station in the middle of nowhere: "She living single, so I'm drinking doubles."
toy: "Cookies, yum, yum, yum"
Daughter: "I want some cookies, Mama."
daughter: "can I have some chocolate milk?"
Cats: "hiss, hiss, meeeooowwww."
Daughter: "Aedan's pulling Luna's tail."
Hubby: "No, no, let's be gentle."
toy: "A, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k..."
Daughter: "hey, that's MY toy."
Son: LOUD crying, screaming
Hubby: "Don't take toys from your brother. Use your words and ask. Now give that back."
Son: "Ah, ba, ca, ah, ah..."
cat: hair ball cough
Daughter: "mommy, Remy through up on Aedan."

AAAHHHHHH!! Make it all stop. So basically, my husband and I didn't sleep. But, a few crying sessions is tolerable compared to the nightmare trip I'd imagined.

Friday, June 23, 2006


If you let it, moving can be terribly stressful-especially when kids are involved. I'm lucky enough that my kids are still very young (4 yrs & 17 months). The transition from another state, another day care, a different environment and different people shouldn't be too stressful for them. To make sure the moving transition is smooth for my family these are some of the tactics I used:

1. BE HONEST-tell your kids all there is to know about the move

2. DON'T SHOW YOUR STRESS-kids pick up on that & think they should behave the same way

3. KEEP THEIR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT AS FAMILIAR AS POSSIBLE-favorite toys, stuffed animals, a familiar chair, TV, whatever makes them comfortable

4. LET THEM BE A PART OF IT-if they are old enough & want to help pack, clean, look at new houses, etc.-let them feel involved

5. SHOW & TELL-show the kids on a map or the internet where they're moving to and tell them all about the new place

My 17-month-old really doesn't have a clue as to what is going on. My daughter will turn 4-years-old in about a week and is very aware of "something" going on. I've been very honest with her. I told her we were moving to Texas for mommy's new job and to be near our family. Another lucky thing about our move, is my entire family lives in and around Houston. By letting my daughter know she'll be able to see her Nanna, her Mimi and her cousins more often, the move becomes exciting to her. But, her concept of moving is that of a small child. She believes the apartment we currently live in will be moved on a truck to Texas. She also believes that her day care provider and playmates will also be in Texas. I had to carefully explain that the apartment could not be moved and that we'd be getting a newer, bigger place. I then explained to my daughter that she'd be meeting new friends at another day care in Texas. If she missed her friends here, we could call them, write to them and send them updates and pictures.
I will soon sit down with my daughter at the computer and show her the driving route we're taking from California to Texas-she'll get to visually see the trip.
I allowed my daughter to assist in some of the packing and let her pick out some favorite things she'd like to have during the transition. She felt a part of the process and thought she was a "big girl."
It's best if you can have a place to move to before the actual move. It just makes the move easier on kids if there are fewer changes in the surroundings. In our case, I was not able to pick out a place before our move. And in an effort to avoid, several environmental changes, we're staying with my generous sister and her family while I look for a home. My kids will think it's a holiday visit and will feel comfortable.

For me, the most stress came from trying to decide on a moving van company or uhauling it. I did lots of research. There are several sites you can list your move and companies will contact you with email quotes. The Uhaul quote was almost as much as the cheapest moving company quote and didn't include loading/unloading labor and the cost of GAS! So I went with Golden Van Lines in North Hollywood. Their quote was fair and didn't change too much. Be prepared-the quote will not be the final cost! The company also included free storage for a month.

When choosing a moving company ask these questions:
1. CAN SOMEONE COME LOOK AT EVERYTHING & GIVE ME A DEFINITE QUOTE (they'll have you list everything for an email or over-the-phone quote-but in person they can get a better idea)
2. DO YOU CHARGE BY WEIGHT OR BY CUBIC SPACE USED? The company I went with let me choose. I knew my stuff would be very heavy so I went with space used
3. DOES THE QUOTE INCLUDE PACKING MATERIALS?-IF NOT WHAT ARE THE EXTRA COSTS FOR BOXES, SERAN WRAP & TAPE? Some companies offer furniture blankets free and free use of wardrobe boxes-other materials are usually at a cost
(I had to pay $95 for tape because I didn't provide enough-it's great they wrapped the stuff I missed so well-but $2.50 a roll!)
4. IS THERE A FUEL SURCHARGE? Most companies will charge up to 15% of fuel charges-I paid 6%
5. IF I NEED STORAGE DO YOU PROVIDE IT & AT WHAT COST? Most offer one month free

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Let them be little...

There's a line from a song I like by Billy Dean-part of it goes:

"Oh, let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little"

If they could only stay little...
Because they don't, there are times it's nice to have the kids sleeping in the middle-as long as they understand it's a "special" night and not something they should get used to doing on a nightly basis.

Here's my sleeping cuties

Saturday, June 17, 2006


IT'S HOT in California's San Fernando Valley. I heard the temp was at 108 on Friday!
It gets too hot to hang out in our upstairs apartment so I set up the plastic baby pool in the backyard this weekend. It's nothing fancy, but my kids sure do enjoy it! My downstairs neighbor bought a toddler-size jungle gym from Stage 2 that has a little two foot slide. I positioned the slide into the pool for added FUN! My kids screamed and played like they were at a water park. And unlike a water park, I could relax easier while keeping an eye on them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

ICE CREAM SONGS -- Great Children's Music on CD


Several years ago, I bought a CD from a guy walking along Venice Beach. He was holding a boom box on his shoulder that was playing children's songs. The song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was on and it had a fun Jamaican sound to it. The CD was only $10 so I had to buy it. My daughter was under a year-old at the time and loved the CD then as much as she loves it now. My son also enjoys listening and dancing to the CD. Many of the songs are well-known with a Reggae take. A few songs are original. I've given the CD's as great, unique gifts to family and friends.

Here's some info about the artist from his website

Lionel Jean Baptiste is a native of Evanston, Illinois. The first of the Jean Baptiste family to be born on American soil, the rhythm of his Haitian roots can be felt in every note of his music. Lionel holds a B.A. degree from Lincoln University in PA, where he majored in business and minored in music performance. He currently works as a substitute teacher with L.A. Unified Schools and is perusing his music in LA. "Music has always been a big part of my family life and church experience. I studied piano, drums, and guitar while growing up. My father is a musician. I began my career in children's music by working at a childcare center in my hometown of Evanston. I was the after school teacher, but part of my duties during the day was to go to each room with my guitar and sing songs with the younger kids. I moved to Southern California in 2000, and 'Ice Cream Songs' was born."

Since its inception in 2000 Ice Cream Songs” has developed a loyal following throughout California and the nation-thanks to the launch of Due to huge demand, Lionel created several follow up CDs including “Multiplication Raps”, “Ice Cream Christmas CD”, and Reggae Church”.

In 2005, The Itsy Bitsy Reggae Spider was featured in film "“Two for the Money"” starring Al Pacino. “"Ice Cream Song"” was also added to Delta Airline's’ in-flight children'’s music station.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


As parents, we all need to indulge every now and then. But, if you're like me and your mind has become focused on buying diapers, what to feed the kids and cartoons-you may need a few reminders as well as ideas on how exactly to indulge yourself. has made it easy for us to take a moment for ourselves...

YOUR DAILY INDULGENCE--my link button isn't working so please copy and paste the following url:,,indulgence_90938k88,00.html?o=%20nls,pp_jfm,pp,hp_cn,relax,0

Tiny Bubbles (from May 30, 2006)

"There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne," said the venerable Bette Davis in the movie Old Acquaintance. For busy moms, that time usually comes at the end of a day that couldn't possibly feel any longer.

Test Bette's theory and make time today to buy a bottle of bubbly; you needn't spring for official French champagne -- sparkling wines work just as well. Before you start the kids' bedtime routine, stick a bottle in the fridge. When you're sure they're off to sleep, enjoy a glass with your husband and toast one another for being great parents. On your own? Then cheers to you for holding it together today.

Know someone who deserves a champagne toast? Forward this.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

4' 9" Is the Magic Number Booster Seat Ad Campaign

Have you seen the Disney Cinderella booster seat ad campaign? I drove by a bill board the other day. The sign reads: 4' 9" is the magic number and has a picture of the Fairy Godmother. After I saw the bill board, I thought to myself, "I'm only 3 inches away from requiring a booster seat." I'm only 5' tall.
I searched booster seats on the internet to find out further information about the ad. The booster seats are required in most states for children at least 4 but less than 8, and 40 to 80 pounds and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Luckily for me, the driver seat is adjustable or I might just need a booster seat even with my extra three inches and 40 pounds.
As far as safety goes, the law is smart for kids. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, children 4 to 8 who are properly secured in booster seats are nearly 60 percent less likely to be injured in a crash than children restrained only by a safety belt.
A booster seat elevates a child and allows the seat belts to properly restrain a child without causing further injuries in a crash.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Not long ago, my daughter managed to secretly color her legs with a green marker. The markings were quite ornate. Though I've told her many times not to color on her body, I couldn't help but be proud of her creativity. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the hieroglyphics on her legs until she was getting dressed for gymnastics class. I asked my daughter if she had drawn tights on her legs to go with her leotard?
The class is early on Saturdays and we had little time to clean her up. Plus, I thought this might be a good lesson for her to stick with coloring on paper and not on her person. When we arrived at the gym and she stripped down to her leotard, my daughter suddenly became self-conscience of her green legs. She hid behind me like a shy toddler. Some fellow daycare friends and their mom were also at the gym that morning. The mom commented on how pretty my daughter's legs looked. She hid herself further into the backs of my legs and insisted she needed to get dressed. I couldn't believe my daughter-who's not even four yet-already felt so awkward in a crowd. And no one had even said anything "mean." This really was a good lesson and one I'd never thought about as we headed to the gym. I reassured my daughter her green legs were beautiful and she should show them off. She tilted her head to the side and read the truth in my face and smiled. The gym coach approached us to take the kids out on to the floor. The coach told my daughter her legs looked great. As my daughter skipped out to the floor, I knew she learned it's okay to be different...