Thursday, December 25, 2008

Disneyland at Christmas

08 - WWYC_LOGO I still can't believe how much fun we had at Disneyland! Disneyland and California Adventure are really amazing places to visit during the holiday season. I had the opportunity to visit the parks with Chip and Lulu on three different days this month. We started out at an event for Mom Bloggers at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. This was the first time I'd been in the hotel and I was really impressed. It is beautiful and reminds me of a big craftsman-style lodge. There were Christmas Carolers all dressed in costume in the lobby and Chip got a real kick out of it. At the Mom Blogger event, Chip and Lulu got to spend quality time with Mickey Mouse and Goofy all decked out in their Christmas Sweaters. It was a fabulous event and I learned a lot about what the park has to offer at Christmas and what the plans are for 2009. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Immediately following the blogger event, we were escorted into Disneyland! It was the first time I had been to Disneyland during the holidays. Wow, it is so amazing. The Christmas tree at the start of Main Street is amazing. The lights and decorations are spectacular. Sleeping Beauty's Castle is lit up in a lilac/icicle extravaganza that is impossible to describe. So please check out the videos below to see for yourself! At the end of Main Street, we were brought to a private viewing area for the bloggers where we were in prime position to view the fireworks display. It is one of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen. The sky totally lights up just above the castle. Be sure to get into position early as people start looking for good spots about 45 minutes before the show actually begins. That night we also had the chance to take a ride on Autopia which is Chip's favorite. It was such a blast to drive through the cool December air in our car as we made our way around the track. Reality hit that I needed to get the babies home to bed so we headed out looking forward to our next visit.

We returned the following week with my friend Heather and her daughter Bella, age 4 and son Harrison, 20 months. This was the best day at Disneyland EVER! We did and saw so much. We started out on Pirate's of the Caribbean which is one of my favorite rides. Chip is on a big pirate kick lately, so this was a dream come true for him. Next we headed over to Santa's Reindeer Round-up at Big Thunder Ranch. We ended up hanging out here for quite a while because it was so much fun. In here you can visit Santa in his house and check out all his reindeer in their corral. Chip and Bella stood on bales of hay at the fence and got such a kick out of the reindeer. Further into the Round-up is a large picnic table area and stage. There are various shows throughout the day. Also in that area is a cookie decorating stand. Chip and Bella both chose Christmas Tree shaped cookies to decorate. The kit comes with frosting in two colors, sprinkles, miniature candy canes and M & M's. They both had such a blast working on their creations. Also in that area were cast members coordinating all kinds of kid activities including coloring projects.

The best part for me was that the costumed characters entered and exited right near our table. We got to meet: Santa, Mrs. Claus, Pluto, Chip & Dale and Clarabelle Cow. Chip (my son) ended up totally hanging out with Pluto for quite a while because there weren't many other people around trying to meet him. Chip (the chipmunk) & Dale are my favorite characters. I finally learned how to tell them apart! Chip has a brown nose and Dale has a red nose. A cast member gave me a tip to remember who is who: Chip has a chocolate chip nose. We next headed over to catch "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade which is held daily at 3:30pm and 6:30pm. We staked out a prime location near "It's a Small World". The parade is absolutely amazing! Every character is in it and the music and dancing is magical. I learned some fun facts about the parade: Each performance of “A Christmas Fantasy” features 105 performers, 18 float drivers and 12 musicians, costumed as toy soldiers from the Disney movie “Babes in Toyland.” In all, approximately 200 performers appear in the parade. Lately, Chip has been really fascinated with Gingerbread Men. The parade featured a bunch of Gingerbread Men dancing which caused Chip to hoot and holler and jump up and down. So funny to watch him. Following the parade we headed straight over to "It's a Small World". The ride has just been refurbished and is better than ever. For the holidays, the ride is transformed into a worldwide celebration of the season. You can't help smiling for the whole ride. Lulu absolutely loved it proving that even an 11 month old has fun at Disneyland.

Next we went over to the Disney Princess Fantasy Faire where you can meet real live Disney Princesses! This was so exciting for Bella, she got to meet Mulan, Belle and Aurora. To be honest, I didn't know any of them, but got to up to speed very quickly. You get to spend time with each princess and have your picture taken with them. You can take your own picture as well as have the Disney photographer take it. They have a new Photopass program that is really neat. Every time you get your picture taken by a Disney photographer, you hand them a card that is linked to your account. They scan it and your pictures are uploaded to the Disney Photopass website. You log into the site and can view your pictures, order prints, e-mail pictures to your friends and family, and make things like cups and calendars. I made a holiday e-card that I believe is viewable for 30 days. We were excited to learn about the reopening of Sleeping Beauty's Castle after being closed for the past 7 years. You can walk through the castle and see Sleeping Beauty's story updated with new special effects. We next headed over to New Orleans Square for dinner at my favorite restaurant, The French Market. Chip and I shared a yummy chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies plate. After a long day with 3 toddlers and a baby, Heather and I headed home agreeing that we had such a great day and couldn't wait to come back.

We still had one day left on our Park Hopper tickets so we headed back this past Friday for our final visit. Park Hopper tickets allow you to "hop" back and forth between Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Park. This trip, we were accompanied by Chip and Lulu's babysitter, Jessica, who was home from school for winter break. We arrived in the early afternoon and could tell the place was hopping. We ended up parking on the roof of the Mickey and Friends parking structure which is higher than I've ever had to park! Undaunted we entered Disneyland and went on The Astro Orbitor in Tomorrowland, per Chip's request. Jessica and Chip went in one rocket and Lulu and I grabbed another. That's the great thing about Disneyland, babies can go on most of the rides. Since we loved the "A Christmas Fantasy" Parade so much the last time, we strolled over to "It's a Small World" to stake out a good spot. Following the parade, we went right over to Disney's California Adventure Park just in time to catch the "Pixar Play" Parade. This parade is so fun, it includes all the Pixar characters from Disney films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Ratatouille! Next we took a couple of rides on King Triton's Carousel and visited "A Bug's Land" which is the perfect area for babies and toddlers. I really love the food choices over at California Adventure, we had yummy chocolate chip cookies and coffee drinks at Baker's Field Bakery and really good pizza at Pizza Oom Mow Mow. To end our day, we walked over to Downtown Disney to do some Christmas shopping.

Coming up in 2009, Disney is offering for the first time: Come to a Disney park on your birthday and get in free! For birthday celebrations, they have cakes in pink jewelry boxes for girls and in blue treasure chests for boys. You can request that this be added to your meal.

Whew! What an amazing time we had at Disneyland this month. The Holiday Celebration continues through January 4, 2009 so there is still plenty of time to visit! Here are a couple of videos to help you plan your trip:



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Friday, December 19, 2008

My First Easy Bake Oven

My mother wouldn't let me have an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid.  The exact reason why is now fuzzy.  As I've gotten older I've met many others who were similarly denied.  It's what makes us American:  Your mother wouldn't let you have an Easy Bake Oven when you were a kid.  Sure, sure, some girls must have had Easy Bake Ovens, because they remained on the market.  Someone must have been buying them.  Probably space aliens, because I know a lot of people and no one I know EVER had one.  If you were shot down in your YEARNING for an Easy Bake Oven.  You belong.  You are one of us.

The Easy Bake Oven of my childhood looks like this:2629984985_f2e58cc85d

All orange as things were back then--unless they were avocado green or harvest gold.....

Every kid has had their parent say to them, "When you are grown up and have your own money you can do/have/go to ________."  So now that I'm grown up (that's subjective) and have my own Surfer Guy's money, I got an Easy Bake Oven.  Yes.  I.  Did.  Because I can.

Gleefully, I set it up and called Chip (2.5)  and Lulu (11 mos) over.  They smiled at me, but clearly didn't understand the magnitude of the moment.  Undaunted, I proceeded to make my first cake, 35 years in the making, literally.  Yellow cake (included), mixed it up, put it in the pan and into the oven.  This is what my oven looks like:EasyBakeOven&SnackCenterTEAL

And I walked away, eager to pull my golden, delicious morsel out.  I returned 15 minutes later to my creation.  A lovely, tiny, cake.  Next I whipped up the chocolate frosting (included) and frosted my cake!  Chip was excited about the frosting part and actually helped.  Coincidentally it was Surfer Guy's birthday the next day so we called him in and belted out our rendition of Happy Birthday.  We all had a bite, including Lulu.  It was quite tasty, but left us all wanting more. 

As I researched this piece, I learned that it is the 45th Anniversary of the Easy Bake Oven.  In honor of this, the oven is returning to its original aqua color.  In addition, Hasbro, the makers of Easy Bake has launched a search for "Baker of the Year".  The contest allows kids and their adult "assistant" to enter their favorite recipe.  One winner per month will be chosen through February 2009 and all winners will be invited to Walt Disney World for a final baking challenge to be held in May.  For complete info check out www.easybake.com

I most assuredly recommend this Easy Bake Oven but think it is best suited to kids in the 7-12 year old age range.  In fact, I'm passing mine along to the 8 year old daughter of a friend who is dying to have it.  So, for a brief, shining moment, I did finally have my Easy Bake Oven.  Funny how you feel when you get something you always wanted, y'know?  It only seems right to pay it forward.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas 2008 Toy Review

I love a good toy, a toy you really want to play with. I've got a few of the offerings for 2008 reviewed below for you. With only a few days left until Christmas, let me help narrow your choices down.

Tonka Toughest Mighty Dump Truck

TonkaToughestMightyDumpTruck I loved my Tonka trucks when I was a kid and I love them even more now that I have kids. Tonka is one of the few brands that I can say is JUST as good as when I was a kid. Redesigned for 2008, The Toughest Mighty Dump Truck now has even bigger wheels and a steel front grill. This is one solid toy. Chip and Lulu both love it--including riding in it! They take turns pushing each other around the living room. Sometimes Lulu just gets in and hangs out in it. Chip has a pile of plastic "boulders" that he puts in the steel dump bed and lifts the handle and they all dump out. This truck is a huge hit with all the kids at the park, they all want to play with it. It's oversized, yet compact. It's easy to carry, put in the car and have as a park toy. It's really indestructible and guaranteed for life. We've even left it outside in the rain, hosed it off and it's brand new again. I highly recommend this dump truck. A durable toy that won't crap out on you. I put a link in above to one of the few places I could find that still has them in stock, so if you want one for this holiday season, hurry!

Tonka Lil' Gas Pump

TonkaLilGasPump Chip is always fascinated when I pump gas for my minivan, so I thought this would be a good toy for him. the pump and hose are easily unhooked and you can "fill up" all your vehicles very easily. You press the green buttons to select the "fuel" type and when the tank is full you use the Tonka "charge card" to pay. Lulu actually seems to play with the gas pump more than Chip. She likes the shapes sorter and push buttons on the top, you put the shapes in and push the buttons and they fall to the bottom of the pump. She also really likes the "credit card" and keeps taking off with it. I'm wondering if I have a future shop-a-holic on my hands! Although we don't have this, the Tonka Scoot n Scoop 3-in-1 Ride On truck matches up directly with the Lil' Gas Pump. I definitely recommend this toy for all your kid's refueling needs.

Nerf Peyton Manning Rocket Pass Football

PeytonManningRocketPass This is another toy that brings back memories. I'm a jock with my varsity letter jacket to prove it. Back in elementary school, we were ONLY allowed to bring Nerf balls onto the playground. I remember my mother wrote my name in sharpie on the ball and I dutifully carried it to school and back everyday. So I was excited to get this 21st century version, that lights up. The nose of the football lights up when a tight spiral is thrown, it is supposed to also help the receiver make the catch. Well, back in the OLD DAYS we didn't need lights to catch our balls and we walked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways. Anyway, this newfangled Nerf football is definitely cool and a fun addition to our sporting goods collection. Truth be told, Chip is still a little young at age 2 to play with it to it's fullest potential. However, I've taught him to "go deep" for the reception and sent him around the coffee table (tackler) and behind the loveseat to the end zone. I'm confident he will actually catch it sometime in the new year. Maybe it will even be a Hail Mary catch as he runs away from Lulu? My only comment is perhaps based in nostalgia. While the ball is "soft", it's definitely not as soft as the Nerfs of my youth. I don't think you'd get hurt if this hit you, but it's not as spongy as mine were as a kid. I definitely recommend this Nerf football.

Helmet Heroes

HelmetHeroespoliceofficer This is a truly interactive toy. It allows the child (or mom) to pretend that they are racing to the rescue. The helmet and motorcycle handlebars act together sending the user on over 30 different missions. All the missions have "theme music" that adds to the drama. There is a siren, horns, and motorcycle revving among other sounds. I must say, it's not the least bit annoying for a toy that makes sounds. The mission phrases include: "search and rescue in progress", "hot pursuit", and "set up roadblock!" It includes a microphone so you can hear yourself broadcasting your adventure. I was a bit confused trying to get it to work at first. The directions that come with it are VERY basic--too basic. I ended up calling Playskool customer service for help. They were extremely helpful and straightened me out. I actually like this toy and the fact that it has lights and sounds and a flip up visor. I have "taken it for a spin" and gotten a kick out of it. Definitely something I would have wanted when I was a kid. We had a 4 year old friend over last week and he really liked it and played with it quite a bit. I would definitely recommend it for 4 years and up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Win a Simmons Pearl Stroller!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Simmons Pearl Stroller Giveaway. http://www.random.org/ has selected the winner: #77. Congratulations to Renee of California!
Your Simmons Pearl is on its way! Happy Holidays!!!!

With an infant and a toddler, I love having a stroller that either one of my kids can use. My quest has ended with the Simmons Pearl Stroller. Simmons, the same company that makes the mattresses and kids furniture is now making strollers. The Pearl comes in two colors: Bahama Blue and Orange. Orange is actually one of my favorite colors and I like the fact that it is good for both my boy and my girl! I've used the stroller for over a week and really put it through its paces. What I really love about it is the fact that the seat can face in either direction. For example, Lulu likes to face me, so with her in it, I have her "riding backwards" looking at me as I push. Chip would rather see where is he is going, so the seat easily reverses so he can be forward facing. The Pearl is easy to fold and fairly lightweight at 18 lbs. It has a telescoping handle that easily adjusts which is convenient for Surfer Guy who is 6' 1".


The underbasket is generous and easy to access. The ride is smooth and I am able to steer with one hand easily. Maneuverability is a dream. The Simmons Pearl Stroller is really three strollers in one. It converts to hold a Graco Snugride carseat. It also fully reclines so that your baby is laying flat, bassinet style. It also has two other recline positions and a multi-position footrest. The stroller comes with a foot cover which I haven't tried but I'm sure would be very useful in colder climates. It can accommodate a child up to 40 lbs which will take you quite a ways into toddlerhood. Both Chip and Lulu were very comfortable sitting in it for long walks. The brakes are easy to use and the 5-point harness adds to the safety.

My only complaints are that the sunshade isn't as ample as I'd like, especially important here in sunny Southern California. I also wish it came with cupholders, I dream of cupholders. However, most strollers don't come with them, and you can always add them on.
You can purchase this stroller from many fine retailers including HERE

Simmons, a division of Delta Children's Products has generously offered to giveaway a Simmons Pearl Stroller in orange to one of my lucky readers! Just in time for the holidays. So here is how you enter: The contest begins at 12:01 am PST on Friday, December 12 and will end at midnight on Thursday, December 18*. During the contest period, please enter a comment below, your comment needs to include where in the world you would most want to push the Simmons Pearl and why. You must also include your e-mail address. One entry per person. Failure to complete all three requirements of the comment and/or multiple entries will be cause for disqualification. The winner will be selected by Random.org and I will notify the winner via e-mail. The folks at Simmons will ship the winner their new stroller! Note: Winner must have an address in the United States. Easy and fun, the way holidays and babies should be ;)

*blog owner reserves the right to extend the contest period

Monday, December 8, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere!

Late this afternoon Surfer Guy came in from the front yard and calmly said, "We have a problem." I immediately figured Chip had done something like rip his face open on the driveway. I looked up from the computer to see Surfer Guy completely drenched. His t-shirt and shorts were dripping water. I grabbed Lulu and followed Surfer Guy out the door and was met with quite a sight. A horizontal geyser of water was shooting out of the front of the house to the street. The street was filling with water and it was starting to head down hill and pool at the intersection. "What the the???" I asked. Surfer Guy answers, "I was changing the faucet on the spigot. I turned off the water on the side of the house, I don't know what happened."

Who to call? And, of course it's Sunday! I tried to reach our next door neighbor who owns about 20 apartment buildings and knows how to fix everything: voicemail. I next called our contractor who called our plumber. Our plumber actually lives a couple of blocks away, so I thought that he could just come over. My contractor calls back and says he reached the plumber at his beach house in the Mexican Riviera and he says to call the water company. I hunt for a water bill and reflect for a moment on the fact that my plumber has a house in the Mexican Riviera. Find bill, call company. I head outside, cordless, and hand phone to Surfer Guy. Surfer Guy is now sprawled on his stomach halfway down the pseudo-manhole-water-turnoff by the sidewalk. He's trying to turn the water off at the street. He grabs the phone, gives some details. Gets up and says, "He's sending someone, he says they are close by." I nod. Chip is going absolutely nuts. Running around the front lawn all fired up, chortling as only a 2 year old could.

Surfer Guy, Chip, Lulu and I retreat to high ground on our front porch. We partially hide in the lengthening shadows. Chip assumes a position of prominence waving at the neighbors who walk and drive by looking curiously at the GEYSER shooting at them. No one stops. In the distance we hear a siren. It sounds like it's getting closer. I ask Surfer Guy, "Did he say he was sending the fire department?" Surfer Guy responds with a terse, "No." Sirens get closer, the honking sound can now be heard and it's all getting louder. Then into view comes a HONKING BIG hook and ladder. Y'know the kind that has a fireman actually sitting behind a steering wheel up in the back. Surfer Guy and I have a simultaneous "Oh, crap!" moment. Then, miraculously, the fire truck continues whipping past us and up the street. Surfer Guy and I exchange looks of relief, Chip is hooting and hollering. Lulu is clamped onto my hip for dear life. Then it happens.

The fire truck comes to a sudden halt and starts to back up down the hill. Yup, they are comin' for us. The hook and ladder parks squarely in front of our house. Surfer Guy ambles out to greet the nine firemen who emerge. Chip, Lulu and I walk down to the edge of the driveway. It takes three (3) properly equipped firemen to turn off the water at the street. Then they come up and figure out that due to some bizarre construction scenario, the house is actually on two "circuits" for water. Surfer Guy turned off the water to "most" of the house. Fire Captain Guy says he's seen this problem before in our area. Whew, we don't look like losers. I charmingly inquire about whether this is a billable call and joke about "not wanting to be a nuisance." Fire Captain Guy gives me a toothy grin and says, "You've already paid for it." Ah, our tax dollars at work.

Nice fireman walks over and gives Chip a sticker badge. I ask why the big truck. He says on the weekends the water company sends the fire dept. They never know what they will face and this hook and ladder has the best equipment for water problems. The firemen are so nice they actually let Surfer Guy replace the faucet handle, like he wanted to in the first place. Meanwhile, another neighbor who is in the construction business comes over to see what's going on. He heads over to his truck and whips open his built in toolbox. As Jeff Spicoli would say, "He's got an ultimate set of tools." Neighbor proceeds to put faucet handle on for Surfer Guy. Firemen all hang out and have some chit chat with Surfer Guy, neighbor and Chip. I thank our city's finest and head back in with Lulu and get back to what I was doing before I was interrupted.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Win a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit!!!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Wii Fit giveaway! Random.org has selected a winner: #164, Mandie from Illinois. Congratulations Mandie, your Wii & Wii Fit are on their way to be put in your "family room since it has the most room to work out in!" I hope you love them as much as I do.

Stay tuned for my next giveaway, later today!

Just in time for the holidays. You know how cutthroat it is out there trying to hunt down a Wii console. Stay home and win one instead. It's FREE and EASY to enter. Keep reading...

Beginning Monday, December 1, 2008 I am running a giveaway of one (1) Nintendo Wii and one (1)Wii Fit with Balance Board to be awarded together. The contest will run through Wednesday, December 10, 2008* at which time a winner will be chosen by Random.org


I love the Wii and Wii Fit and am totally hooked. I love it so much that I'm totally excited to give someone else the opportunity to win one as well! Wii and Wii Fit are like no other video game experience. This is nothing like the videogames of my childhood! Wii is not just a video game console, it's a reason to get together with your family and friends and have fun. It is so easy and interactive, it really is a video game for EVERYONE. Now they have added the Wii Fit, a combination of fitness and fun. With Wii Fit you can do yoga, balance games, strength training and aerobics. Maybe one day I feel like snowboarding, the next yoga and the next boxing. It's so great to always be able to mix it up. With Chip and Lulu, getting regular exercise is tough. With the Wii Fit, I can actually sneak some extra fitness time into my day.

So now you totally want them, right? How do you enter? Here's how: enter a comment below telling me WHICH ROOM in your home you would put your Wii Fit in and WHY? Make sure you INCLUDE your e-mail address in your comment. Failure to complete all 3 requirements for your comment will disqualify you. I can't stand it when people don't follow directions....
Oh, and only enter one time, if you would be so kind? Multiple entries will be disqualified. Let's give everyone a fair chance?

At the end of the contest time, I will utilize the services of Random.org to select the winner. You will be notified by me via e-mail at which point I will gather all necessary info for the folks at Nintendo to ship you your GRAND PRIZE the Wii Console AND Wii Fit!

*Contest end time may be extended at blog owner's discretion.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Los Angeles Moms Blog Launch Party

As some of you may know, I am a contributor to the Los Angeles Moms Blog. We recently had our launch party at M Bar in Hollywood. Our blog slogan is "Yes They're Real" (not that common in LA ;) What a blast it was to finally meet some of my fellow mom bloggers in real life. As I was in charge of our gift bags, I had spent most of the previous two weeks working with our sponsors. The result was the most amazing array and variety of items any mom could want. You wanna know what was in the bag? Check out my Thank You Post on the LA Moms Blog.

GM was the party's official sponsor and they kindly provided me a Chevy Traverse to test drive the previous week. On the day of the event, they sent me a Traverse with a driver to chauffeur me and all our gift bags to Hollywood. When we arrived at M Bar, we were dropped off on the red carpet where we made our way through the papparazzi and were interviewed. Once inside we had cocktails and the opportunity to mingle with our fellow mom bloggers and invited guests including Dr. Linda Li of "Dr. 90210", Heather McDonald of "Chelsea Lately" and Daphne Brogdon of "Trading Spaces". We next sat down to dinner, whereby I took the opportunity to get up and work my way around the room to chat with several moms including Lolita Carrico of Modern Mom, Jessica Gottlieb and Florinda Pendley Vasquez .

Immediately following dinner, another mom, Amy Anderson took the stage and emceed an all mom comedy show. I think most of us laughed so hard because we could relate to all the crazy, embarrassing, unbelievable and true stories the mom-comics entertained us with. Alas, the party was over before any of us wanted it to be. We all headed out telling each other how much we wished we had gotten more time to talk. Everyone was absolutely thrilled with their gift bags and blown away by how much fun stuff was inside. I hopped back in my Traverse and away from the bright lights of Hollywood looking forward to the next gathering of all my Mommy Blogger buddies. [Check out all the pictures and more stories from our launch party here.]

My Chevy Traverse Hollywood Test Drive

General Motors kindly lent me their new crossover, the 8-passenger Chevrolet Traverse to take on a one week test drive. I've just begun to re-emerge from the haze of having two babies within 19 months and get back a little bit of my old life. That life included living in West Hollywood and driving a cool car. I now live in the suburbs and drive a really practical car. The first night I had the Traverse, I headed off to a screening of a friend's film at a theater on the Sunset Strip. I left my husband in charge of the babies, and ran out the door towards my new Chevy. I backed out of the driveway and pointed the car in the direction of my old life. My first car was a Chevrolet with red velour interior and an 8-track player. How I loved that car!

I zipped up to Hollywood in the Traverse. Great visibility and handling. I loved the XM radio and the vast array of channels offered. I pulled easily into a parking space and hooked up with my tragically hip friend Matt just in time for the movie to start. As we were walking out of the theater, my college buddy Camille texted me: "Do u want 2 goto a party in the Hills?" It was already past my bedtime, and I considered bailing out. But then thought: my old self would totally go. So I texted back: "pick u up in 10 min". Matt was up for it too, but in totally LA fashion, he wanted to go in his own car. So we caravaned to Camille's place. Via the built-in Bluetooth I was able to converse hands free with Matt. Camille jumped in and pulled out a scrap of paper with the address. "Whose house is it?" I asked. "I don't know, some movie producer. My friend Tatiana said it's going to be a great party, she can't go because she just got a face peel and she looks scary and is staying home." Camille replied. "Oh...Ok" I said. I pushed the OnStar button and within seconds had turn by turn directions to the producer's house.

The OnStar totally saved us as we twisted our way up into the hills, Matt following closely. The streets kept changing names and I got more and more disoriented in the dark with all the hairpin turns. We pulled up to the gated driveway and were greeted by a valet parking attendant. I actually felt very cool in my Traverse. Into the party we went. Huge swimming pool, massive Spanish style house. We made our way through the Hollywood scene before us. I saw a few familiar faces and did the whole big smile with the "Hi, how are you?!" as we worked our way to the bar. Finally, we secured beverages and headed to the patio to take in the amazing view. On the way, I overhead someone introducing their friend. The friend had the same name as my baby daughter, a fairly unusual name that is unisex. I stopped and said, "Oh, my gosh! My baby has the same name as you!" Totally-hot-guy-with-the-same-name-as-my-daughter looks at me, smiles and says, "Right on!" Um, hello, I'm a dork, I think to myself. Why did I have to say something as lame as that? I slinked off to a far corner of the patio, determined to get my game back on.

Matt caught up with me and handed me a drink. I was now double fisting my cocktails. I looked down into my two drinks and up at the party. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to go home. I left Matt chatting up a cute chick and looked around for Camille. She was nowhere to be found. My mom instinct took over. I texted Matt: "Can u take Camille home?" He responded: "Yes" I next texted Camille: "I'm out--Matt will give u ride." My job done, I wove my way through the throng. Waving at people I knew. Out past the huge swimming pool. Moving faster, past the cabana. Really fast, through the courtyard. Even faster through the Spanish archways, up the driveway, to the gate. It was after midnight and people were still coming into the party. The valet pulled up in my Traverse. I hopped in and instinctively glanced at the empty car seats in the second row. I headed down out of the hills and pointed the Traverse back in the direction of my new life confident that I had the right car to guide me-- no matter what life I wanted to have.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Love Rick Astley

In my haze of recuperating from the STOMACH BUG FROM HELL yesterday, I had managed to haul my drained body to the family room to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I latched the baby gates and trapped Chip and Lulu in the room with me. This was going to be a family tradition! Chip and Lulu are babies and don't really focus on tv, so they puttered around with their toys and took turns attacking each other. I sprawled on the floor, semi-comatose, swilling Gatorade hoping to replenish my electrolytes.

Yet another inane puppet encrusted float came into position in front of Macy's, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. [Due to the fact that Chip only watches Barney, I have no knowledge of any other kid shows.] The puppets start their cute song when all of a sudden the sound screeches and the opening notes of Rick Astley's 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up started playing. I immediately perked up and witnessed the most awesome RickRoll ever! I sprung to my feet, my legs all jittery and achy. I scooped up Lulu and started dancing all over the family room. Sickness lifted away! Watch the RickRoll HERE

See? Wasn't that awesome? I love Rick Astley. I loved him back then. A guy who looks like Howdy Doody but sings like a huge black man. My dear, dear, late friend, Karen , gave me a poster of Rick, as a joke. I actually hung it up in my dorm room, partially obstructed by a heating pipe, as a joke--sort of. I respected Rick. I had wondered what he'd been up to lo these 20 or so years. So glad to see he's still got it together and pulled off the ultimate virtual to reality RickRoll on all of America. Maybe Rick and I could be friends. Wow, wouldn't that be something?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day With No Turkey

Thanksgiving was cancelled today. Well, for us, as this is my blog. There was foreshadowing. At about noon on Monday, Chip said he felt sick. Shortly thereafter he barfed on Lulu. I gotta describe this barf: it was all over her little 10 month old head, like a cap. It dripped down her back. Chip is lying there with barf all over his shirt. Triage? Yes. I ran to the phone as my mother-in-law (MIL) is visiting and had just stepped out to the store. MIL came back and bathed Lulu while I cleaned up Chip and all the BARF. Even after bathing Lulu, both my MIL and I thought she still smelled like barf. Eeeeuw.

Thus the stage was set. This stomach bug has been on my mommy radar. My mommy sites, facebook friends, I knew it was about and it was ugly. The problem with a two year old...He doesn't tell you when he needs to BARF. So six sets of sheets, copious amounts of towels, two mattress pads later.....

4 ay-em yesterday it hit me. I'll spare you the details. Surfer Guy called into work that he'd be late. I was really freaking sick. MIL was busy doing laundry as Chip was continuing to ruin all manners of linens. Then about noon yesterday it hit Surfer Guy. The jig was up. I really don't remember much of the next 24 hours other than MIL saying she thinks we should postpone Thanksgiving. Luckily Lulu and MIL remained unaffected.

This morning we all emerged feeling mostly better and clearly through the worst of it. I'm still tired and drained, but it really was a 24 hr bug for Surfer Guy and myself. A 48 hr bug for Chip. Thanksgiving is still to come, the meal at least. For now I'm so very thankful that we made it through.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Come Aboard...We're Expecting You!

My in-laws left today for a cruise. For most of the morning, I tortured them with the theme from "The Love Boat", the swell show that ran from 1977-1986. Love, exciting and new....Come aboard we're expecting you! Love, life's sweetest reward, let it flow, it flows back to you!

Now I can't get that damned song out of my head! I've been hearing it all day. I'm belting it out in the car...Set a course for adventure your mind on a new romance. Chip and Lulu have been giving me weird looks. Love won't hurt anymore... Surfer Guy came home from work to the love boat soon will be making another run... And now he's singing it in the other room. We did a duet in the kitchen for the kids just before dinner. This song is stuck. And I don't even like it much. I was being annoying to my in-laws on purpose and this is what happened. It's karma.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Get Your Flu Shot!

During the flu epidemic of 1918 (by the way, a flu epidemic that swept the world and killed an estimated 50 million people), my grandfather was so sick, the priest came to give him last rites. Clearly, he survived or I wouldn't be here to write my swell blog. But hearing that story gave me a strong understanding for how deadly the flu can be. In fact, scientists say that if THAT particular strain ever comes back, it would be just as deadly.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the California Women's Conference as a guest of CVS/Pharmacy . I was really excited to attend the conference as I had heard lots about it and it sold out within 3 hours of tickets going on sale! CVS had a booth set up and were giving 1000 free flu shots to the first 1,000 attendees to stop by. When I visited the booth in the early afternoon, they had actually already given out 1,000 but were going to keep going as long as people wanted vaccines. The booth was humming along and there was a steady stream of visitors. I have a special bond with CVS as I worked there way back when I was in high school in Massachusetts and it is my favorite drugstore. Now that they are nationwide, I'm so psyched that I can go out here in LA. I actually did not take them up on their kind offer of a free flu shot as I had already gotten one two weeks ago at Chip and Lulu's pediatrician (that I paid for, drag!)

I had fun strolling around the exhibit floor with Lulu strapped into her Ergo baby carrier. There were lots of informative booths and lots of freebies, which I always love, of course. They had fabulous speakers in the convention hall. I had the chance to hear Maria Shriver and Condoleeza Rice among others. Some of my comrades at The Los Angeles Moms Blog blogged live all day at the event and have some great posts up on the site. So check them out. You can even see a video of one of our moms getting a flu shot at the CVS booth.

I'm very grateful to CVS/Pharmacy for getting me into this awesome event! You can stop into any CVS/Pharmacy yourself and get a flu shot, at low cost. I recommend you do it, the flu is a serious illness....Ask my grandfather.

Monday, October 20, 2008

First Homework

My father used to complain that he was "still in school" because he had to help me with my homework. Well, I think I was hitting him up for help with CALCULUS and CHEMISTRY. Plus, I was in honors and AP classes, so there.....

Chip is two years old and I had to do his first homework assignment. Dear lord, is this the start of 16 more years of this?

Last week Chip came running out the door of his class room waving a paper lunch bag. Stapled to the bag was a cute little note with colored leaves as clip art, it read: Please collect as many leaves as you can in this bag and return it to school. Obviously there was some autumnal project on the horizon. Now, as you recall, I am from New England, the epicenter of Fall Foliage. Leaf peepers come from all over the world to see our leaves turn each October. I now live in Los Angeles and as far as I am concerned, we have no foliage season. I look into our backyard with new eyes. But, just as I had thought, the palms, lemon tree and avocado tree weren't exactly dropping leaves. Let me rephrase: There were no leaves anywhere in the yard. Perplexed, I asked Surfer Guy. He responded that he thought there were some oak trees in the park and we might find leaves there.

So I started to stress. Mind you, Chip has no idea. He can't read and when I mentioned the leaf assignment to him, he pretty much seemed to have no clue. Ha! The teachers know it's the parents doing this and they know there are NO leaves in LA. So we went to the park today. I found some decent leaves I guess. Not really much for color and pretty dried out. But passable I guess. I ran around like a fool stuffing the leaves into the bag. I asked Chip to help but he just laughed, pointed at me and ran to play on the slide. On the way out of the park I noticed some nice red leaves on the ground so I stuffed some of those in the bag. Now, I'm wondering how many kids (read: parents) actually are going to complete this assignment. I hope the teacher gives me extra credit.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lunchables Million Page Mission

I recently attended the launch event for Lunchables Million Page Mission and I would like to encourage everyone to join the mission! Lori Loughlin of the new "90210" on the CW has teamed up with Lunchables and First Book for the release of a free children's book entitled "Adventures in the Stars". (This book can be downloaded for free at the link at the end of my post!) I brought Chip and Lulu to the launch event and had the opportunity to speak with Lori about this amazing cause. First Book is a non-profit literacy organization committed to providing children in needy communities with the opportunity to read and own their own books. For every parent who pledges to read 100 pages together with their kids during the back-to-school season, the Lunchables team will donate $1 to First Book.

The event included Lori reading "Adventures in the Stars" to a group of school children from a local public school here in Los Angeles. Lori wrote the forward for the book and told me how much reading means to her and her two daughters. I also learned that when school kids in underprivileged areas are asked to bring in a book from home, they often bring in the phone book, because it is the only book in their house. This was a big wake up call to me. The future of our country depends on our ability to communicate. Reading is a huge part of communication. When you read, you become a better writer. When you write, you express yourself to the world. Our society depends on the exchange of information. Without it, you fall into the cracks and there really is no way out. So, please, everyone, now through October 31, join the Million Page Mission! and let's get books into the hands of these children!

At the event, I was also pleased to learn that Lunchables has come out with Lunchables Sensible Solution line which has 14 products that contain fewer calories, lower fat, lower saturated fat and lower sodium than the regular Lunchables.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Townie Perks

This is #2 in a series of posts with a practical tip buried inside.

I frequently joke about being from Boston and somehow ending up married to a surfer and living at the beach in Los Angeles. Today it really hit home that Surfer Guy is a TOWNIE and it is saving us money. Basically the simple premise of "who you know not what." One of Surfer Guy's buddies since kindergarten has a painting business. He is painting our living room (and doing a spectacular job, btw) for oh, UM, 1/3 of what our contractor's guy bid. We need some electrical stuff done beyond what we had expected. So I asked Surfer Guy last night if he had any buddies who are electricians. Well, sure enough, he does. Why did I have to ASK Surfer Guy about this as I bemoaned the cost for several minutes in front of him and saying stuff like, "what should we do?"

Well, I guess his critical thinking skills got waterlogged yesterday. "The waves are going OFF!" he shouted as he ran in, threw his briefcase and tossed his commuter mug in the sink. I followed him down the hall picking up a tie, dress pants, socks, a loafer, etc. When he returned to me crying over the electrician's bid and saw the amount...Why didn't he say, "Hey, my surf buddy Derek, who I just saw down at the beach, is an electrician!"???? Why did it take me asking? So sure enough, Derek was all over it, came by and offered us a discount that WAY undercuts the contractor's electrician. Yay! On the way out Derek says, "Surfer Guy is a buddy, I'm glad to do this at cost."

The whole six degrees of separation concept. Who you know and who they know. The basic fundamental of any networking situation. Coming home to roost in these tough economic times. Saving us cash.

It's funny, I think everyone has a little bit of townie in them. I mean, as long as you lived someplace, for a few years, I gotta believe you are a townie. When I go back to the suburb of Boston I grew up in, I run into people from my past. I am a townie. I was at my high school reunion last November and was debating who was least recognizable from high school with a buddy of mine I've known since 3rd grade. He's now a cop in town. He tells me, if you ever get pulled over, tell them you know me. And I was like, "Uh, yeah, Tom, thanks, but like 8 guys from high school are on the force." In fact, I was pulled over a few years ago (I guess I was going a little fast) and the cop was a friend of my brother's....Let me go with a "You grew up around here, be careful."

Some people may feel that with today's mobile society, we are rootless, unconnected, can't use a townie connection. Well, you are wrong, you are wrong right there! Get on the social networking scene, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Classmates, Friendster, jeez, the list goes on and on. Reconnect. You can be a townie long distance. Yes, yes, you can! In fact, here is a concrete example for you naysayers: I had a neighbor in a mortgage bind. I called a friend thousands of miles away who I grew up with. He is a mortgage broker. He was able to connect my neighbor with his friend and saved the deal. That helped solidify me as a townie in my new town with this neighbor I helped....And the townie beat goes on.

So here is my practical tip: "Townie Karma": In these tough economic times, embrace whatever townie connections you have to save a few bucks. In return, be a good townie yourself and help your fellow townies out in whatever way you can. We need to stick together.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008

Seven years since we were attacked. We haven't been attacked since. Why aren't more people lauding George W. Bush for that fact? You can bet the democrats would be pounding that one until it was dead if we had been attacked, again, since then. They wish they could be blaming him. Really irks me.

So now I have a couple of kids. World is a different place--but not really. There have been Islamic Terrorists since colonial times. Thomas Jefferson built up our Navy to deal with the 18th Century Islamic Terrorists. Anyone, ever hear of the Barbary Pirates? Look it up folks.

It's not about holding hands, playing nice, singing Cumbaya Oh Lord, and letting the world like us. It is immature to want to be liked. Doing the right thing despite knowing that you won't be liked, is very difficult, and something a mature person does.

Let's not forget we were attacked and are still very much at risk for being attacked again. Complacency is the drug of the unprepared.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tall Order

So I got an e-mail from BabyCenter today entitled "How tall will your child be?" Interesting, that it wasn't "How short will your child be?" or "What will your child's height be?" Because, I guess, taller is better? Right?

As far as I'm concerned, the taller you are, the more you can eat. I have friends who are around 5' 10" and mention they can gain 10 lbs and no one notices. Damn them! I also recall reading some study that said taller people make more money. Eat more and be rich--the best scenarios I can think of! So, anyway, the e-mail contained a link to a handy calculator to predict your child's adult height. It said it was only useful for age 2 onwards, so that knocked Lulu out. I plugged Chip's data in and then they asked for the parent info, I duly entered Surfer Guy's and mine. Answer: 6' 6". What the HELL? I'm 5' 7" and Surfer Guy is 6' 1". How random is the 6' 6" prediction for Chip? And what use is the predictor? Why predict height? What is the upside (no pun intended) of predicting height? So I can place futures orders on his clothing? Let the NBA scouts know so they can start tracking him? Something I can lord over other parents at the park? "Hey, I used the BabyCenter calculater last night and it says Chip will be 6' 6". So of course he will be able to eat more and be rich." That must be it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

RMDL

Someone once told me that "remodel" was a four letter word. The reason for my prolonged absence has partially to do with our remodel. Here is what we have been through this past week:

1. A fireplace mantel was designed and installed that is so oddly short, that I think my contractor had been overcome by paint fumes when he decided it, "looked ok." (It's being changed this week)
2. Me stepping out of the shower to be greeted by a workman coming in to use the head. He said, "he knocked." That's what I get for being too cheap to rent a Porta-John.
3. Nails in my driveway.
4. Construction crap in my GREEN Recycle bin. (It was removed upon my mentioning it to them)
5. Random half drunk beverages all over my garage, walk way, garden, etc. Why can't workmen finish a drink and/or find a trash can?
6. My 5 gallon jugs of water I get delivered for my cooler, all covered with stucco. Uh, hello? Tarp?
7. News that everything is going to take longer and cost more than they thought.
8. A sagging ceiling when they removed a beam they "didn't know was for support"?
9. Dust
10. More dust

One funny thing, my contractor's two workers have the same name: Jorge Fuentes and they aren't related. Jorge is from Mexico and Jorge is from Honduras.

I'm sure it's going to look fabulous, I just wish they'd be done already....

Thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I'm BAAAAACK

I just got back from two weeks on the East Coast. I'm exhausted. It wasn't a vacation, it was a trip. Me, alone with Chip and Lulu. Surfer Guy stayed home due to: 1) using up his vacation for Lulu's birth and his trip to Sweden last month with Chip to visit his mom. And, 2) Overseeing our remodel.

It seemed like a good idea. I'd get out of town with the kids and avoid the construction zone that is our remodel. Visit my family and take a road trip to visit friends. What the hell was I thinking? Me in charge of a 26 month old and a 7 month old ALL BY MYSELF! I now know that I am incompetent and I pray my husband and nanny do not leave me. Thank god my mother, sister, father, friends and strangers all lent a hand along the way. Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. I witnessed it.

Now I'm back and the construction zone is in full swing, I feel like I could sleep for a week and Chip starts pre-school on Tuesday. I still need to unpack. Our phone number has been hijacked by another phone carrier in a bizarre scenario that isn't even worth explaining here. If you call the house, you get a "the number has been disconnected or is no longer in service".

As soon as I get this all sorted out, I'll be back with a really good post!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Newborn Tipping Point

I've about hit the newborn tipping point with Lulu. Y'know how it is, they are a blob, happy to sit in their infant car seat. Prisoners of their own lack of motor skills. Hand luggage that pees and poops. In Lulu's short 7 months of life she has been to: a Hollywood movie premiere, a VIP screening of Sex and the City, a winetasting at the Beverly Hilton, a fundraiser luncheon in Beverly Hills, hair salons, nail salons, my massage appointment, an entertainment industry mixer at a bar and I'm sure lots more I'm not remembering at the moment. The ultimate Hollywood accessory. The baby. She sure helps on the networking end of things. The best ice breaker, "how old is your baby?"

Well, those days are over, almost, pretty much. She squirmed her way through my dentist appointment yesterday. She wants out of that bucket she's been sitting in. O-U-T. Just this week, she started to crawl. Places to go, and fish to fry, that's her new agenda. More alert, more awake to the world. Just the first of a series of tipping points yet to come. I'm already missing my little baby and she's still in size 2 diapers....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are YOU ready for the BIG one?

This is #1 in a series of posts with a practical tip buried inside:

We had a 5.4 earthquake here in the Greater Los Angeles area today. We are fine, thanks for asking. But the hot topic seems to be earthquake preparedness: Are you ready for the BIG one??? My mom calls from Boston to see if I'm ok. "Yes, Lulu and I barely noticed." Then she asks, "Where would you go? What would you do?" "Well, " I say, "I think I would shelter in place considering I live in a city of about 8 million people who all have about two cars a piece. If everyone got in their car to escape, I don't think we'd collectively get further than our driveways." "Oh", she says. Then I suggest, "Well, we live so close to the beach, I could walk down there and maybe they would evacuate us via the water." Then she exclaims, "NO, not the beach! Tsunami!" Ok, I guess she has a point.

I have a couple 5 gallon jugs of water for my water cooler, I get this delivered bi-weekly mainly so I have emergency water. We have a decent supply of canned foods and a manual can opener. A radio that doesn't need batteries, a camp stove, a good variety of non-perishable snack foods and a flashlight. We should be good for a few days. If we are at home for the BIG one.

But, what, if you are in your car, not close to home, when the BIG one hits? If you are the typical Angeleno, you very well could be in your car, stuck in traffic and wearing flip flops. Yeah, not exactly practical footwear if you need to get out and walk. So here is my practical tip: leave a pair of sensible shoes in the trunk of your car in case you have to get out and walk when the BIG one hits. I have a pair in the back of the minivan.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wiseguy at my door

Joe walked in and looked like he'd just walked off an episode of the Sopranos--sounded like it, too. In his e-mail, he'd offered to meet in a public place--I said no need. He paid in cash and took everything.

He oohed and ahhhed over my Ralph Lauren sleepers and was impressed with my selection of European baby clothes. I explained my MIL lives in Sweden. He was interested to hear about European sizing. Finally, I had to ask where he was from, the accent was familiar. "Rhode Island", he says.

Ah-ha! My tribe! I spent my formative years in Providence, RI. We went back and forth about all the Only-In-Rhode-Island stuff People-From-Rhode-Island talk about when they find themselves face to face with one of their own Far-From-Rhode-Island. And yeah, the Italian Food in LA sucks. Find me some decent marinara sauce. Please.

We had only exchanged e-mails previously. On a hot tip from one of my mommy message boards, I heard about this Joe, a guy who buys baby clothes to re-sell on Ebay. I was all over it, dying to unload Chip's 0-18 mos wardrobe. I asked why he offered to meet me in a public place, which I had thought a bit "odd" when I read it in his e-mail. He tells me that when he talks to moms on the phone, he has found out that his voice and accent are somewhat intimidating. So he has gotten in the habit of offering to meet someplace neutral. [Ok, I guess he does sound really intimidating] He explains he just likes selling baby clothes. He paid cash. I ask no more questions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flying with Junior

Since Chip and Lulu have racked up quite a few frequent flier miles in their short lives, I'm frequently asked for tips on "flying with baby". I should charge you for this info, but, I'm feeling generous, so here ya go, for free, my tips gathered from my many jaunts in the friendly skies (yeah, right):

1. At security you will need to take baby out of car seat and put that and stroller and EVERYTHING through the x-ray machine. You carry baby in your arms thru metal detector. I’ve even had TSA ask me to remove my baby’s shoes. Be prepared and just take your time and don’t stress about people in line behind you.

2. bring stroller and car seat to gate even if you didn't buy them a seat, there may be an empty seat and you will be happy to have the seat.

3. You don't need the car seat base so leave it at home (most people don't realize this!). If you have an infant seat, just put the seatbelt over the top on the slots. (for car and plane)

4. If the plane is full, you can gate check the stroller (you always check this) and carseat. You get a gate check at the counter by the gate, stop there and ask for it. Also, ask at gate about seats, they may move you to a better row that has free seats b/c you have baby. Always, ASK! When you get to the door of the plane, leave the stroller folded there and somebody will come up to grab it to put under plane. Try to get car seat on plane anyway, get a stewardess to stick it someplace if poss, otherwise, gate check it. Take off anything that could get lost like toys and cupholders. I have been lucky w/ both babies in that I've always gotten empty seats when I had the infant seat. If airline doesn't have "preboard" for people w/ kids, ask if you can anyway.

5. Give your baby a bottle or breastfeed upon take off and landing to help w/ the pressure in her ears.

6. There *should* be a changing table in one of the bathrooms. Ask the stewardess which one. I have heard some planes don't have one, I've never had that problem. If it "works" ie: alone in the row or husband to help, I try to change the baby in the seats because the changing table is a pain to have to schlep to, etc.

7. Pack a big ziploc bag (gallon size or so) and stick a couple diapers, small pack of wipes, changing pad, etc whatever you would need for a quick change and reload this bag when you get back to your seat in preparation for next trip to bathroom. This can be a mini diaper bag to just carry in your hand to the bathroom so you don't schlep stuff you don't need. But, bring MORE diapers than you think you'll need, just don't schlep it all to the bathroom.

8. bring changes of clothes for YOU and BABY. I've heard of many accidents that get mom, too.

9. Formula is no prob to carry on. If you need bottled water for formula, buy in airport as you can't count on a thing from the flight attendants, esp if they run out.

10. If you are flying alone, don’t hesitate to ask stewardesses to hold your baby while you go to bathroom.

11. When baby is past infant car seat age, consider getting a “sit and stroll” which is a car seat that converts to a stroller, it’s an all-in-one for travel. Further ideas to consider: get a CARES restraint harness that harnesses baby/toddler in airline seat, check car seat as luggage—you don’t have to have it to fly.

12. When baby is past formula and breastfeeding you can’t count on milk on the planes. Buy milk boxes that don’t need to be refrigerated from if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby they have great ones (Green boxes). I like this Trader Joe’s the best because the hole on top is easier to pour into a baby bottle.

13. Security doesn’t tend to hassle you about milk, juice, snacks, etc when you are traveling with a baby. A trick to getting water thru security is to put it into a sippy cup. Anything in a sippy cup tends to pass muster w/ TSA.

14. Consider apologizing in advance and being positive to those around you if you fear you will have a fussy baby. It catches them off guard and then what are they going to do??? Give you a hard time? You already apologized!!! Hahahahaha! Have a great trip!

Now that you are all set to fly with Junior, visit UpTake.com to figure out just where in the world you will go!

Friday, July 18, 2008

And what does your husband do?

Nothing like a Mommy Group stroll along the beach to give you a dose of perspective. Yesterday, I was on my weekly stroller push with an assortment of moms who get together informally each week to walk along the beach. I was pushing Lulu in the Bob, talking away to this mom and that mom. I pulled up alongside someone I hadn't had the chance to get to know. Conversation turned to her husband and something about working strange hours and so I asked, "What does he do?" She replied, "He's on the bomb squad." Me, "Really???" She recounted being disoriented when she woke up the other night and he wasn't home yet. So, she had called him and found out he was working late on an arson investigation. Hmmm...The next time I'm annoyed my husband isn't home I think I'll take a few seconds and think of my fellow moms who never know when or if their husband will be home. I am extremely grateful for all those dads AND moms out there who do jobs that keep us safe and protect our way of life.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Traded my BMW for a Minivan

The BMW suddenly was so small. When I had JUST ONE BABY, I could get by fine. Still room for an adult to sit in the back seat, stroller fit comfortably in the trunk. But, then I GOT PREGNANT AGAIN when #1 was just 10 months old. Nine months later, I had two babies in the backseat. It was time to start to let go. Gosh, I loved that car. Stickshift, powerful engine, zipped in and out of traffic and all around town. I didn't want to be one of THOSE moms. THOSE moms drove minivans. That wasn't ME. But then I started to dream....My nights and days were full of one obsession: SLIDING POWER DOORS.

That's all I wanted. SLIDING POWER DOORS. I had to have them. The baby in the infant seat, the toddler squirming around, my arms full, my backbending gymnastics trying to weasel them into the BMW. If only I could have those SLIDING POWER DOORS, my life as a mom would change. I would be at peace.

So, it happened. I traded my BMW for a minivan but still look wistfully in my rearview mirror at the BMW life I left behind.

But, oh, yeah....I love those sliding doors.