Monday, February 27, 2006

Looking at the bRIGHT side...

I was visiting my friend Lynette over the weekend. A few hours into the visit, I looked down at my shirt and realized it was filthy. It was covered in sticky orange-juice handprints and playground grime. As I looked at my shirt, I said, "Look how dirty this is."
My friend assured me, "it only shows you how much fun you had with your kids today."

I'm going to start thinking more along those lines...

The next time my son flings food at my face, I'll know my face isn't just covered in yogurt, my son is learning to eat!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Scrapbooking made easy

I love scrapbooking. I enjoy crafts and for me scrapbooking just makes photo albums more personalized and fun. Although, I often end up with stacks and stacks of photos awaiting a scrapbooking page. It's a difficult hobby to perform among my two young children. I use lots of paper, cutouts, stickers, and a multitude of tools for cutting and shaping. (The tools are not kid-friendly) My kids want to play with all the supplies. I don't have an extra room in our apartment to lay everything out so I must use our kitchen table. When I work on my scrapbooks, I want a good chunk of time not just an hour or so during nap time. I usually take my scrapbooking stuff with me when I go visit my sister and we catch up on our albums together. This got me thinking...
Recently, I noticed at Target that there are pre-made scrapbooks complete with ornate decorative pages. All you have to do is add the photos. Many of the scrapbooks have themes including baby shower, wedding, anniversary, vacation, school days, friends and family. I think they're a great idea for gifts or for someone who doesn't have the time or patience to scrapbook on their own.
Also, there are photo albums you can purchase from online photo websites such as kodakgallery or shutterfly. You can design the theme of the album as well as the colors and layout of each page. A friend of mine showed me an album she had made of her honeymoon for her 1-year anniversary. The album looked amazing! It's as nice as a coffee-table book. The books start at $29.99. What a great way to participate in scrapbooking without all the hassle. And another great gift idea!
photobook examples

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Barney Clean Up Song Makes Cleaning Up FUN

A friend of mine wrote a comment for one of my earlier blog entries about the "Clean Up" game.
Well, it's actually the ONE thing we can all thank BARNEY for and mean it!
Instead of just being told to or nagged to clean up, most kids will enjoy cleaning up while hearing or singing a fun song. If you avoid Barney on TV and haven't heard the song-here are the lyrics.
"Clean up clean up everybody everywhere. Clean up clean up everybody do your
Clean up clean up everybody everywhere. Clean up clean up everybody do your
Clean up clean up everybody everywhere. Clean up clean up everybody do your
The song is easy to remember and can become quite the earworm (song-you-can't-get-out-of-your-head).
I try to make sure my daughter cleans up her toys, craft materials, etc. after she is done with them. She'll start singing the song on her own as she cleans up. Her daycare also uses this tactic-like it's a game.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Read to your kids...they're listening...

During a doctor visit last week, the doctor asked my daughter several questions. At one point, my daughter was holding her head and the doctor inquired, "what's the matter with your head?"
"My head is full of brains," my daughter replied. The doctor and I exchanged knowing glances and chuckled to ourselves.
I soon realized that my daughter had been paying more attention than I thought when I'm reading a book to her. sometimes she sits very still and listens intently to me as I read. Most times, she looking at all the pictures, naming the objects or colors, and turning the pages before I've finished reading. It doesn't bother me. It's just her way. But, I always wondered if she "heard" the story? Well, I have yet to go over the brain and the fact that it's in her head-but Dr. Seuss has written all about it!
"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."
Oh, the Places You'll Go-Dr. Seuss

I hope you have most of these books-they are such great learning tools for kids and they're so much fun to read!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Easing the symptoms of sick kids...

I've been taking care of two very sick kids. They both had high fevers, runny nose and cough. I've find that Children's Motrin works best for lowering high fevers quickly-although it does make the children quite drowsy. I try to use medicines sparingly. When necessary, I prefer Pedicare brand. The medicines seem to work the 8 hours as specified on the bottle and are available in non-drowsy and nighttime formulas.
I have yet to have the problem of my kids not wanting to take their medicine, but several brands offer "tasty" candy-like chews and even popsicles to make administering meds easier.

I absolutely recommend a humidifier/vaporizer. It works wonders on congestion and coughs.
I put a few drops of essential oils in my humidifier. Eucalyptus oil works great for soothing and clearing sinuses when my kids are having a difficult time breathing at night.
Humidifiers are good whether your child is sick or not. In California, the air gets very dry and usually affects our families sinuses. We often use the humidifier.
Also, a few drops of lavender essential oil in a humidifier/vaporizer is so calming if your child is ill or just having a hard time falling asleep.
My mom always put Vicks on my chest followed by a hot hand towel that she folded and stuffed into my PJ top. You just heat the towel in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds. My daughter loves having Vicks Vapor rubbed on her chest and the warmth of the towel. There is a Vicks Vapor Rub available for infants now too.

(I still use the Vicks/hot towel trick when I'm under-the-weather. It's so comforting.)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Parent compromise

As much as I'd like to say something to my husband about the look of our kids' room (and sometimes the rest of our apt) after a night of his solo-parenting, I keep my mouth shut and remain grateful of my free time.
I've learned he has a harder time with authority.
In some cases, it's best to compromise. A night out with the girls, lunch with an old friend, a day at the spa-whatever the event-
it's worth this mess...(and for my husband to agree to future solo-parenting)

I think they emptied every drawer in their room

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You're not a bad mom if...

(abbreviated list-it could go on for days) didn't have a natural, drug-free birth. didn't/don't breastfeed. have/had postpartum depression don't cook a homemade meal every night.
(Did you know spaghetti O's don't have preservatives? Pair with a salad if it makes you feel better)'re just too tired to read a book to your child tonight. (Your child might want 2 books the next night when you have the energy) can't afford a trip to DisneyWorld. raised your voice. need a break from your kid(s).
...your house isn't spotless and free of toy-debris.
...your child throws a tantrum.
(for most kids, it's the best way they know how to communicate their feelings)

Being a mom shouldn't mean living with the guilt of not living up to the title of "perfect parent."
You're not supermom. You can't always do everything you or your kids want.
You're human, you're going to make mistakes and you learn from them.

I know it's difficult not to feel guilt or inadequacy. But, remember those feelings come from judgments of how you think things should be based on the perceptions of the world. In other words, you feel that way because you think you're supposed to.

As parents, we're constantly judged by others. I have strangers walk up to me in the grocery store and tell me with an appalled tone to put socks on my son. "Aren't you worried his feet are getting cold?" I just ignore them. I know I do worry about my son, but he keeps taking off his socks and throwing them on the ground. I think he'll survive while we purchase some diapers and milk. While we were out running errands another time, strangers remarked about my daughter having a dirty face. Yes, I would prefer my daughter have a clean face too. But, I'm not going to fight or bribe her if she doesn't want to clean her face-especially since the main reason to clean her face is the thought of how others are going to perceive her and me. Since then, she's learned on her own to clean her face.
It's the same scenario as when a kid throws a tantrum in public. We're so worried about what on-lookers are thinking, we change our parenting. We should stay our parenting course. It shouldn't matter what others think.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Good Parenting begins with a Good Night's Rest

Normally, I wouldn't write about a non-kid product, but a good night's rest is essential for every parent. A month ago, my husband and I bought each other a Sleep Number bed. It's the best investment we've yet made. Sleep on our old, regular box spring mattress was restless and fitful.
I sleep so soundly now. I must also inform you, it's made a huge difference in my energy level through out the entire day and thus improved my patience and attitude. Before the Sleep Number bed, I was a yawning-machine around 3 o'clock every afternoon. In the evenings, I was exhausted and it took everything in me to cook dinner and play with my children. I'm not yawning every afternoon any more (well, unless there's an issue with the kids-like my son's teething) and I have the energy to spend quality time with my kids after work.
My husband and I chose the Sleep Number bed because we could control the softness/firmness on both sides of the bed. If you're pregnant or plan on having another child, you know how uncomfortable it can be to sleep especially during the third trimester. I remember having to use pillows to support my belly. The sleep number bed can conform to your body and "nest" your belly.
There are several good beds available in different price ranges and with payment plans. Whether it's Sleep Number, TempurPedic or a top-rated pillow top mattress, I highly recommend investing in a good bed. As a parent, you can't afford not to sleep well.

I have one complaint about the Sleep Number bed:
I never want to get out of bed in the morning-it's that comfy.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lithgowpaloozas and other activities for kids

I absolutely love JOHN LITHGOW. He's much more than just a brilliant actor. He's also a best-selling children's author.
And Mr. Lithgow's most important role is being a father.
His most recent children's books include A Lithgow Palooza! and Lithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for Kids.
According to his Lithgowpalooza book, a palooza is "an activity that keeps kids from uttering those terrifying words, 'I'm bored!'."

A palooza is easy to do!
• A palooza doesn't cost much (some cost absolutely nothing)
• A palooza is instigated or organized by parents but is quickly taken over by children
• A palooza may involve a computer but never the TV
• A palooza may use all varieties of arts and crafts
• A palooza may secretly teach children (and parents!) a thing or two
• A palooza is entertaining for the entire family
• A palooza depends entirely on the inexhaustible creativity, ingenuity, imagination, and sense of fun of young minds

The books are full of fun, engaging activities for children ages 3 to 12, yet most of the activities are geared for ages 6 to 12 (the activities can be modified for most age groups though).
Mr. Lithgow has definitely learned from his role as dad and has also created travel palzoola kits. Plus, his story books are sure to be included in your favorites list.

For online craft activities, playdough and other recipes, games, kid software downloads, and more suggestions for great kid books- check out the "internet playground for families" at KINDERPLANET!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fashion Show

As I've written numerous times before, my husband often works out-of-town, well, out-of-the-country. (Latest trip to Shanghai during the Chinese New I'm not bitter...a little jealous maybe)
My husband is very thoughtful and always returns bearing gifts from the exotic locales. And though it won't make up for his absence, it sure puts a smile on his daughter’s face…and mine... (it's nice to know he's thinking of us)

Happy to be home.... "I feel a wreck without my, little china girl "

Oh, and once again, I must share my little fashionista's taste in clothes. She picked this number out for our traditional Sunday visit to the Studio City Farmer's Market... she's so proud of herself!

Don't ya just love the dino costume paired with pink socks on her feet and hands!