Monday, September 29, 2008

September Be-Be-Q in the Park

About a week ago Friday, our closest family members and friends joined us for a fun-in-the-sun-filled afternoon barbecue in the park. We jumped in a jumbo-size bounce house complete with climbing wall, slide, and basketball "court" fit for big and little kids alike and competed in classic outdoor games like croquet, badminton, soccer, Frisbee, horseshoes...even a potato sack relay race!

Hot dogs, burgers, tri-tip and baby back spare ribs were barbecued on-site by one of our favorite local smokehouses. They also served up garlic bread, fresh fruit and green salads and their famous baked beans. Thank you to Christina and Alan for baking cupcakes and cookies and to Santa and her family for treating everyone to homemade tamales.

Two pinatas -- one pull-string for the really young ones and a more traditional one for taking a swing at -- were very popular towards the en
d of the evening. Notice the alternative use of our nursing cover! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Car Trips With Toddlers, Tips for Making the Long Haul Work

I'm a mom of 3 year-old twins and was ready to embark on the longest car trip to date thus far--moving from Colorado to California. I searched online for ways to prepare and found a few good ideas + came up with a few on my own. This chronicles the best parts offering up some
Tips on making the long haul car trip work.

(1) The preparation. I made a travel box of trip-toys (using Banker's boxes) for each day and let them know that every morning there would be a new box of toys and a new movie for the day. At night, when we cleaned up the car, we packed up the previous day's toys so there were fresh ones to discover when you we got in the car every morning. The boxes had some of their favorite toys from our play room before the movers packed everything and then I bought a few new ones so it would be a mix of daily treasures. As crafty as I tried to be, we definitely needed that travel DVD player too and they loved having new movies to watch. I also discovered the McDonald's DVD rental set up. While we only stopped for their iced coffee and to let the kids play for about 30 minutes (which was fantastic since it's hard to find parks in a foreign town on a limited schedule) it was the DVD rental that was pretty fantastic. $1 per day, drop them off at the next McDonald's you stop at (any, it doesn't matter) and there were appropriate choices for kids of many ages.

(2) Craft time. I got them these plastic tray/desks at Michael's for $5 so they could color and do some sticker crafts + help me keep track of toys, sippies, etc.

(3) They love the movie Cars, still. So we played "guess the truck" -- was it a Peterbilt, a Mack, Volvo etc. They actually loved this so much that they still do it when we drive around town.

(4) Travel potty. MUCH cleaner than most of the rest stops. I used my Diapees & Wipees bags to hold disposable, wet toilet paper, hand sanitizer and clean undies. We had our own restroom-on-the-go.

(5) Food. I'm not a huge fast food fan. We relied on a cooler filled with watered down juice, yogurt tubes, homemade granola, fruits, veggies, hummus, sliced cheese, sliced ham and pretzels.

(6) Sleep. These Head Pillows (Noodelhead) helped them sleep longer and better in the car and also doubled as cuddle toys at night comforting them in a new hotel every night. I found that they also helped when put under another pillow and over the "trip toys" box for keeping them semi-upright and still in their seat belts while sleeping for naps on the road.

(7) Pictures. Since I was always taking them I thought I should bring their travel digi cameras too. It was really fun to encourage them to take pics as well. Note the ketchup on my daughter's. That's why their kids cameras!

(8) Fresh air. We would open the windows about once an hour for fresh air and have them say "hello" to whatever landmark we were driving by. Even though we were guided by GPS the old-school Atlas came in handy for planning ahead and to figure out just what the landmarks were. Made for some extra entertainment for sure.

Are we there yet? Two 10 hour days and one 4 hour day and we made it. Pretty successfully even. I loved this sign for "Beverly Hills" in the middle of the Nevada desert, humor was a nice spice to pepper our days with. Good luck on your next trip!

Friday, September 12, 2008

More from Bebe au Lait

As you might have guessed, I work closely with the Bebe au Lait group. As a Style Coach I have a different perspective to offer. Paired with their creative team's keen eyes for beauty, texture and patterns and you have style, luxury, and function for parents. And now they have more ways to offer that. Here are some shots at the recent trade show showing you the booth as well as the new Double Bib available in time for the holidays this year. The Double Bib manages to do its job while being soft, flexible and free of crazy clasps since it operates gracefully with the help of encased magnets. The lovely blonde is Claire, one of the founders of Bebe au Lait. The baby is Soren, the son of one of the boutique owners we met with.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hiking, Toddler Style

Beautiful weekend, an extra day, we didn't labor much all Labor Day weekend so we were ready for a nice hike at Chautauqua in Boulder, Colorado. We were prepared--oodles of sunscreen, shoes with good tread, water bottles for each person, a collapsible potty, a camera and some cute mountain gear. Come on, I'm a Style Coach. Of course we need cute gear, nothing too granola-like for our quick jaunt up the flatirons! I was even wearing a grecian-style Theory tank top--the jersey knit was comfortable and cool and much more chic than a plain tee or sports top.

One parent to another, it's not really a workout. But it's a great diversion and pretty low stress. Encourage your kidlets to look for bugs, listen for sounds, find sticks, choose which flower is their favorite color, take pictures, and overall run, jump and play along the way. They love it and you get a real breath of fresh air and maybe even a few minutes to talk to your spouse about the view. And since you're toting the potty, encourage them to load up on water along the way. That little blonde boy on his Dad's shoulders was sipping away at Dad's Camelback as they hiked up.

And then...the best payoff.