Saturday, April 28, 2007

Good Mom Definition

I often think about motherhood today compared to motherhood when I was a child and even longer ago than that. My mom told me today that Mother's Day is not one of the most important holidays to her because just birthing a child does not mean you are a good mom. Of course, not. As my mom put it, "cats have lots of babies." It got me thinking: what makes a good mom? What do you think?

Is a good mom the one who puts her career on hold so that she can stay at home with the kids until they are required by the state to go to school? Or is a good mom the one who works full- or part-time (outside the home, I mean) to help pay the bills and provide for her children?

It's not that simple. I know a few stay-at-home moms. One elementary-school-age daughter told me that her mom is constantly on the phone & doesn't have time for the kids. Surprising words from an 8 year old. I think a good mom is the one who is NOT so preoccupied with her corporate job OR socializing beyond the house. A good mom is the one who doesn't miss opportunities to play Thomas the Train and Care Bears.. even if that means climbing on the floor in her newly pressed slacks and button-down shirt to climb through the playhouse door. (I can barely fit through that door, but it makes Little K laugh with glee. I better stick to my strict eating regimen or I'll get stuck.) Somehow I think a good mom is able to rely some on others to help her through the week, while keeping her child/children a top priority. It's a fine line between relying on help and having someone else raise your child.

In the end, we all make the best decisions we can. As if we don't have enough to worry about: from the right elementary school to another episode of child stalkers on 20/20 to potty training to college applications. At some point, I think we all realize that if it wasn't for that overwhelming love for our children, we wouldn't have to make some of those tough decisions about life. Can you look your child in his/her eyes and feel like you're trying to be a good role model -- however you define that? Good job.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Arbor Day, Houston!

On Friday, April 27, Texas celebrates Arbor Day. The city of Houston has honored this day for more than 20 years. Plant a tree in your yard or help your neighborhood care for its trees in local parks. If you join The Arbor Day Foundation, you will receive 10 trees to plant in your yard. What a wonderful way to participate in nature and discuss the importance of growing and caring for trees with your children. The Arbor Day Web site is full of great ideas for kids ages two and up. As if you needed an excuse to enjoy this beautiful Houston weather. Ahhhh...

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Life: Young & Old Make an Impact

Life is so interesting... how we affect people and overlook the little things.

My 93-year-old Grandmother fell last Thursday and fractured her hip & femur. She's now in the hospital, recovering from surgery and the anesthesia. Grandmother Camille already struggled with some dementia but, depending on the day, it can now be worse. When Little K and I visited Grandmother yesterday, it seemed as if she didn't really know who I was -- maybe someone close but she wasn't sure who. However, Grandmother was delighted to see Little K and called her by name... something she hasn't done for over a year. Interesting, huh?

As I held Little K up to see Grandmother lying in the hospital bed, Little K explained in her limited language that "it's okay" and "feel beher" (better, for you English speakers!). My 2 year-old understood that our matriarch was hurt, but she couldn't possibly understand the gravity of the situation facing someone in her 90s. While so many family members have clung to Grandmother's bedside, it seems "the little children" bring her a quick relief. Perhaps she appreciates their sense of wonder & their sense of acceptance. They bring no knowledge of recovery statistics & they don't speak about Grandmother as if she isn't there. No, Little K and her cousins look directly at Grandmother and wish her well. If only we could all be so simple.

As you'll appreciate, Little K's attention span shortened quickly and "Ring Around the Rosie" with Miss Nora got stuck on repeat while I spent at least a few moments with this woman who has seen/experienced the Great Depression, World War II, the television come into homes, Vatican II, and science develop to save children born with only a few pounds in weight. Little K kissed Grandmother unhesitatingly. "Love you," Little K said with a smile. Yes, Grandmother, we all do.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Music in the Air Friday

At 7 pm on April 21st, experience River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO)'s uniquely informal and intimate music making at Colonial Park in West University. Eleven of the 40 members will perform music such as Mozart's Wind Serenades. Bring a blanket and/or chairs and a picnic for the Music Under the Stars concert series from West University. A map and driving directions are available online. This event was rescheduled from the original date of April 13. What a great way to expose children to classical music in an unstructured environment that the whole family can enjoy.

Subscribe to my monthly, email newsletter for more ideas on fun things to do with Houston kids.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Free Cone Day: April 17

With your taxes filed by tomorrow, you deserve a reward. Head to Ben & Jerry's ice cream shops around town for a FREE ice cream cone. Your little ones will love it!

Here are the details...
Pass the Chunky Monkey or that newer renegade flavor Bananas on the Rum--it’s Ben & Jerry’s 29th annual Free Cone Day! It’s an ice cream dream come true so mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 17.

From noon until 8 p.m., ice cream lovers can enjoy a free scoop of their favorite flavor at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops in the greater Houston area and nationwide.

While there is no charge for the scoop of love that Ben & Jerry’s will be dishing out, each ScoopShop will accept tips and donations that will be passed on to worthy organizations nationwide.

At the Ben & Jerry’s ScoopShops in Memorial, Champions Forest and on Kirby, and the Downtown PartnerShop, the Tip Tubs will go to HoustonWorks USA, the organization that provides training and jobs.

"We're excited to be partnering with HoustonWorks this year," said Alex Carriles, North Houston Ben & Jerry’s franchisee. It serves more than 100,000 people annually with job placement, continuing education and vocational training. Last year HoustonWorks acquired one of the Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShops and opened it in the Rice Lofts in downtown. It offers scholarships and on-the-job training for disadvantaged youth. Ben & Jerry’s provides ongoing training and technical support.

Terry Hudson, executive director of HoustonWorks, will roll up his sleeves and jump behind the counter to scoop on Free Cone Day. "Not everyone has found our Downtown Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop yet, but we have hired a lot of young people and they are spreading the word," said Hudson

At the Memorial Ben & Jerry’s, 1413 S. Voss, media personalities and other local VIPs have been invited for some competitive scooping…whoever can scoop up the tallest cone in just one minute wins a Ben & Jerry’s collectible tee shirt. "We’re inviting media personalities including TV anchors, mayors of the Memorial Villages, and principals of schools in the area" said Carriles.
The celebrities he personally is most eager to meet? Houston’s Amazing Race All-Stars Joyce and Uchenna Agu. They will be Tandem Scooping…just like the tandem bike they will be riding for Team Sun & Ski in the MS 150 Apr. 21-22. "This time they will face no road blocks, just friendly neighbors coming in for free ice cream," said Carriles.

To find the Ben & Jerry's store nearest to you, visit This is going to be a good incentive for Little K to get through her annual check up at the doctor's office. Wish us all luck!

Until the next nap time...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sports, Music, Exercise & Health Top Houston Weekend

At 7 pm on April 13th (Yes, Friday the 13th!) experience River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (ROCO)'s uniquely informal and intimate music making at Colonial Park in West University. Eleven of the 40 members will perform music such as Mozart's Wind Serenades. Bring a blanket and/or chairs and a picnic for the Music Under the Stars concert series from West University. A map and driving directions are available online.

Take advantage of the wonderful spring weather (& probably sunshine) this Saturday, April 14 at the Holy Mackerel Bike Race in the Houston Heights. Details are available in my blog from 4/12/07. This promises to be a morning of cheers and fun with bike races for folks age 3 and up, as well as a moonwalk and concessions.

Also on Saturday is the 2007 Fleishman Family Festival (in honor of the late Dr. Gary B. Fleishman). This year, the event will be held across the street from the hospital (921 Gessner) on Memorial City Mall property. This family-oriented fair will provide a variety of activities, including extensive opportunities to talk "one-on-one" with physicians of different specialties, health and safety exhibits and displays, free health screenings (including blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, pulmonary function testing and more), live entertainment and refreshments. Expected attendance is ~1,500 people. Head out to the Fleishman Family Festival this Saturday from 11 am 2 pm. There is no cost to attend. Plus, this is a great way to spend a Saturday with friends and family while learning about healthy lifestyles!

Sunday, April 15 at 5:05 pm, catch the last Houston Aeros hockey game of the season on Family Day. The Aeros play the San Antonio Rampage for a Texas-sized game. Family packages and tickets are available online. Go Aeros!

Have a wonderful weekend! Until the next nap time…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bike Rides in the Sun This Saturday

Looking for a fun way to enjoy Houston's spring weather?

Head to the 2nd Annual Heights Holy Mackerel Bike Race. Join the Baptist Temple Church in the Heights and the Woodlands Cycling Club for an exciting day of bicycle racing and wholesome family fun in the historic Houston Heights. Experience the thrill of watching top-ranked men and women cyclists compete for cash and prizes and enjoy food, fun and exciting activities for the whole family at "RACE HUB" in the church parking lot.

Children ages 3 to 10 are invited to participate in Kid's Races ranging in distances from 70 yards to 1.5 miles. Youngsters ages 10 to 18 may ride in the Juniors category race, sanctioned by USA Cycling, and adults 18 years and older can race for cash and prizes in the Texas Cup Pro-Am Series* races.

Don't miss the thrilling spectacle and family fun of the 2007 HEIGHTS HOLY MACKEREL! Baptist Temple Bike Race. See you there!
DATE AND TIME: Saturday, April 14, 2007
The Kid's Bicycle/Tricycle Race begins at 10:45 a.m.
Bring the whole family and enjoy exciting Pro/Am Texas Cup racing throughout the day from 7:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Baptist Temple Church in the Heights is located at 230 West 20th Street in Houston.
Parking will be available on streets near the course and in designated lots. Inform an HPD Officer at one of the road barricades that you are attending the race and follow instructions to parking areas.
REQUIREMENTS: Helmets for all participants are required. All participants must furnish his or her own bicycle/tricycle and helmet. Closed toe shoes and appropriate dress are required. A parent or guardian must sign a release of liability and be responsible for the safety and welfare of their child at all times (no child care provided). Participants should be able to pedal and drive their bicycle or tricycle without assistance for their age category distance.

REGISTRATION: Participants may pre-register online. Pre-registration closes at 5 pm on April 11. Space is limited to 25 participants per age division. No refunds. Race day registration (April 14) will be available from 8 to 9 am only at "RACE HUB" and limited to space availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Race day registrations will incur a $5 late fee. Cash only.

There will be snacks and drinks available for the participants and concessions for purchase before and during the event. Don't miss the moon walk, attractions and other exciting activities taking place at the 2007 HEIGHTS HOLY MACKEREL! Baptist Temple Bike Race.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tell Your Tale Web Site

Thanks for those of you wondering what's going on with my Web site. For now, you can visit Thanks!

Until the next nap time...

Photo Opps Abound in Houston

It's a beautiful day in Houston and photo opps abound. If you haven't had a chance to snap that photo of your kids with the Easter bunny, don't sweat it. Northwest Mall on Loop 610 near Hwy 290 hosts the friendly rabbit every day through Easter Sunday. While most malls have visits from this guy, we like Northwest Mall the best because it's easy to make a FAST trip. If you enter on the northwest side of the mall at the main entrance (near CiCi's Pizza), you can walk straight through the food court and then reach the Easter bunny at center court. The line is either short or non-existent so this is an easy thing to do. Say "Cheese!"

This is also a great time to snap a few photos amongst the Texas state flower: the bluebonnet. Here are a few areas you can go to find them:
- Memorial & Wilcrest: a photographer friend of mine has been doing photoshoots here this year because the field is full of them. This is probably the best place I've seen/heard of this year.
- Loop 610 and TC Jester, just west of the Boy Scouts of America building. There aren't as many bluebonnets here as last year but it still provides an easy set up for good photos.
- Brenham and Hempstead: head north on Hwy 290 in about an hour, you'll see beautiful fields of bluebonnets and the redish/orange Indian Paintbrush flowers. Make a day trip out of this and head to the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham.

Another fun activity this Saturday is the Grand Kids Festival in Galveston. This is another great day trip for Houston families.

I hope your families enjoy a wonderful Easter holiday! Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Easter Candy for Peanut Allergy Kids

A special thanks to Shannon W. for sharing these Easter candy suggestions for families with peanut allergies. Hey, I wouldn't want to miss out on the sweets!
  • Lifesavers Jelly Beans
  • Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans
  • Sweet Tarts “Chicks, Ducks and Bunnies”
  • Smarties
  • Hershey Mini Robin’s Eggs
  • Double Bubble Eggs
  • Topps Ring Pops
  • Palmer “Jummies”
  • Lifesavers Gummies “Bunnies and Eggs”
Enjoy! Until the next nap time...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Best & Worst Mom's Day Gifts?

Okay, moms. I'm working on the next issue of the Houston Family Fun newsletter and want to first hear from you. (Subscribe to this FREE, monthly newsletter & get updates on local family activities.)

What is the best Mother's Day gift you've received? The worst? What are some things you wish others knew about Mother's Day but you haven't told them? Do you think your own mother feels the same?

Email me your ideas or add a comment to this blog. Thanks for your tips!

Until the next nap time...

Astros Kick Off '07 Season

Monday, April 2 at 6:05 pm kicks off the Astros’ first home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first 30,000 attendees will receive an Astros rally towel, so arrive early. Plus, the Astros Street Festival from 1-5 pm is FREE in downtown Houston today & is a fun activity for families and fans.

How can you make this a special event for the kids?

  • Head to CHEW CHEW EXPRESS (Sections 133 & 416), which provides smaller meals for younger fans.
  • Squeeze Play is located on the NE corner of the ballpark at the Right Field Entrance near Section 133. Young fans, accompanied by an adult, can test their speed with an interactive Squeeze Play game or their hitting prowess in the Splatting Cage.
  • To cool off, fans can indulge in delicious slushies at the Minute Maid juice bar. With the availability of picnic tables and several TV screens, this is the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy an evening at Minute Maid Park. Look out for Junction Jack, the Astros mascot, who loyally attends every game.
Fans age 2 and under may be admitted to Astros games without an admission ticket. However, they must sit in the lap of an accompanying adult. Sixteen family restrooms are available throughout the ballpark so, yes, Daddy can change the diaper or take the little tikes to the bathroom. Game tickets begin at $1 per child and $7 per adult, increasing in price based on seat location.
Schedule for this week:
Tuesday, April 3: 7:05 pm against Pittsburgh
Wednesday, April 4: 7:05 pm against Pittsburgh
Friday, April 6: 7:05 pm against St. Louis
Saturday, April 7: 6:05 pm against St. Louis
Sunday, April 8: 1:05 pm against St. Louis
Until the next nap time...