Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Shops at Oak Forest

I'm so excited to see a promotion like this of our neighborhood/areas. It's also cool to see a professional use of You Tube. Check it out at

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's Alarming Really

So this morning Little K & I went to the YMCA so that I could get in atleast 30 minutes of exercise while she played. I felt so good afterward & headed to the shower. Almost proud of myself, I pulled all my needed items from my back pack, hopped in the shower & realized it's been so long since I've taken a shower on my own without someone needing me or telling me: "Mommy, I see you!"

The women's locker room is totally empty so I dry off & start getting dressed. The upbeat, pop music that plays overhead is yet another reminder that my daughter is not currently with me. Otherwise, Little Einstein's or the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse would be on. All of a sudden, the music stops & a jolting emergency siren screams. There's no one around to confirm what's going on. My immediate thought is to run to pick up Little K and haul it outside. In the next 3 seconds that pass, I realize I'm about to head out of the women's restroom with only my underwear on. For a split second, I stop.

THANK YOU, GOD! I slowly realize that the emergency siren I hear is part of some new hip song that I've never heard. Some skinny, well-paid singer begins to crune her lyrics and I don't know if I should laugh or cry. Slowly, I turn around to make sure there's no one else in the women's locker room, especially Candid Camera. Nope. I'm safe.

Laughing hysterically while I actually get dressed, I realize how "alarming" it is that I have grown from hip, independent woman to concerned, protective Mommy who obviously needs to listen to a pop radio station now & then. How did that change happen to me? Me, I ask? Laughing still, I realize it's all part of the process & I'm reminded of my little daughter again... even when she's not peaking at me in the shower.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cool Down with Jamba Juice Coupon

Thanks to Kara Hagen for pointing this family-friendly coupon out. Jamba Juice has a buy one smoothie, get one free coupon valid through July 4. Yum! It'll be perfect for cooling off in this Houston heat.

Here's the link for the printable coupon:

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Big Water, Baby Water

This morning, Little K was eager to play... I mean, wash ... her hands in the sink. As I struggled to change her diaper while she stood up, she experimented with the bathroom faucet. Little minds are curious. She turned the faucet knob back & forth, studying the effect it had each time.

Finally, she announced with such delight: "Big Water!"

Yes, the water was on full force & splashing everywhere. Her diaper still was not on.

"Baby water, Mommy?" she asked.

"Sure. Why not?" I replied.

She quickly turned the faucet knob the other way & exclaimed: "Baby water!"

After about the ninth episode of big water vs. baby water, I decided it was time to turn off the water, dry our hands as well as the bathroom & head for breakfast. It was a mere 7 am. Oh, how these little minds work.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Beatles & The Presidents?

Where else but Houston can you see the Beatles (as in Paul, Ringo, John & George) and the former Presidents of the United States? Today, Little K & I visited David Adickes Sculpturworx where the artist has on display what he calls "Mount Rushhour." I was surprised at my own delight. Little K wasn't sure about these gigantic presidential heads and I can assure you she has no idea who The Beatles are... much to her father's dismay.

This is a cool trip for history buffs or young students studying American history. From central or west Houston, take 1-10 toward downtown and exit Taylor. Continue through the light at Taylor (you'll see Target on the south side) until you come to Sawyer. Turn right on Sawyer and continue until you come to Summer. Turn right on Summer and continue until it deadends at 2500 Summer, which is Adickes' studio. Wear cool clothes and bring a camera. This was really cool. Great job, Mr. Adickes!

Until the next nap time...

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Have to Admit..

How is that no matter what I do, I feel like I have a million things on my plate? Hmmm... yes, we have a busy week ahead so check back for updates. Little K & I will be investigating some of the "off the beaten path" museums in town and evaluating them. And we're supposed to squeeze at least 30 minutes of exercise per day into the schedule. Yeah, right.

Hope your Father's Day was a good one. Here Little K gives a smooch to her PaPa and then hugs & kisses her Daddy. I have to admit, I love the photo frame holding a pic with Little K on the playground that was sent home for Father's Day from her school. It's cooler than the flower pot with the wilting flower that I got for Mother's Day. Oh well.

Until the next nap time...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Proud to Wave My Flag

June 14 is Flag Day, a day for Americans to celebrate what the American flag stands for. Do you kids know the history of the American flag? What do the stars & stripes stand for?

Here are a few sites to help you jumpstart this discussion with your kids.
If nothing else, hang up your flag or help your child color a patriotic picture. Be a proud American.
Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Teach Your Children to Volunteer

A special thanks to the Junior League of Houston for the following information.

Teach Your Children Well...
Teach your teenagers the value of voluntarism and of giving back to the community! Contact the following agencies to learn how your child or grandchild can help....

AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc.
Contact: Marc Cohen

American Diabetes Association
Contact: Ralston Creswell
713.977.7706 Ext. 6083

BEAR... Be A Resource for CPS Kids
Contact: Michelle Searles

DePelchin Children's Center
Contact: Za'ndra Jackson

Dress for Success
Contact: Chandra Brooks

Holocaust Museum Houston
Contact: Suzanne Sutherland
713.942.8000 Ext. 102 or

Houston Food Bank

Houston Museum of Natural Science
Contact: Karen Fritz

Memorial Hermann Hospital
(age 15 & older)

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Contact: Danielle Stephens

Reach Out and Read, Texas
(age 16 & older)
Contact: Kim Anderson

Sheltering Arms Senior Services
Contact: Joan Arnold

Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
Contact: Julie Knapp
713.869.7722 Ext. 129

Star of Hope
(age 16 & older)
Contact: Elizabeth Hatler
713.748.0700 Ext. 222

SuperKids Mobile Pediatric Clinic
(age 16 & older)
Contact: Anu McDonald

Teen Health Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine
(high school seniors)
Contact: Peggy B. Smith

Texas Children's Hospital
Contact: Pat Dolan

The Children's Museum of Houston
Contact: Monica Santillam
713.522.1138 Ext. 209

The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Contact: Maggi Suttles

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Blueberry Farm to Try

Looking for blueberries to pick in a family-friendly environment? An old high school friend emailed me to recommend Chmielewski's Blueberry Farm in Hockley. My friend said that it's not too far from the west side of Houston & her son really enjoyed it. How about a healthy snack of blueberries?

Until the next nap time...

Expose Kids to Symphony

Looking for a fun, FREE activity with the kids today? Join us at the Houston Symphony’s Sounds Like Fun! Series, held today at 11 am at Miller Outdoor Theater at Hermann Park at 100 Concert Drive. The centerpiece of the Houston Symphony's Education & Outreach program, Sounds like Fun! offers children an entertaining first encounter with classical music and lays the groundwork for further classical experiences. Pack a lunch & bring a blanket or twoel to sit on. Hope to see you there!

Until the next napt time...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ohio Trip Continues

Today is Sunday, our last day in Ohio. I'm glad that our flight doesn't leave until 6 pm so we can squeeze some more into the trip. Don't get me wrong. I'm ready to get back into the groove but this has been a great trip.

Last night, we drove ~5 minutes or 2 miles to Aunt Kenny & Uncle Brad's new house for dinner. Grilled shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, chicken, cheesy-wheesy potatoes, salad, bread & of course, oreo & ice cream dessert. Yum!

Little K was shy for the first 10 minutes but before I knew it was up & running in the backyard with the 2 dogs. Perhaps best of all was how cuddly she got with Uncle Brad & Aunt Kenny. Too cute. She even played a bit with big cousins Lauren & John. It doesn't take her long to cuddle up next to relatives.

Pa Pa Don just made his infamous pancakes so we ate a delicious breakfast fit for kings, followed by church. More later...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Family is Priceless

Yesterday in the mail, PaPa Don received a giant fish pillow from Aunt Margaret in Vegas. The two have a constant rivalry on who can catch the bigger fish. It's a wonderful competition that has prompted the most hillarious gift exchanges. Once unfolded from its vaccuum-sealed package, we discovered the fish pillow is larger than Little K. Here, PaPa Don & Little K examine the fish closely on the floor.

Yesterday afternoon, we went swimming with cousin Bentley, Uncle Sean, Aunt Patti & Grammy at the new rec center they joined. Chineese take-out at Uncle Sean's filled us up. I was amazed to see 6 year-old Bentley sharing with Little K. It was amazing. When I told Little K that Bentley would soon pay us a visit in Texas, Little K said "and play with cousin Brent." This struck a cord that I was not prepared for. I was delighted to hear my daughter wanting to pull together her cousins. Family is priceless.

Today we've already picked plenty of peas from the garden & completed chores. In exchange for a 50 cent piece, Little K helped PaPa Don (or "Don" as Kylie insists on calling him, much to my horror) pick up the small sticks scattered over the backyard from the messy sycamore tree. Regular breaks to eat peas were provided. Next, we filled up on fruit from the frig and ventured out to Meijers store up the street. It's somewhat similar to Walmart, but much nicer & cleaner. Apparently, Meijers only is in the northwest region of the U.S. or I'd be a new customer. I told Little K that she could buy one sticker or a candy since she helped PaPa Don this morning. She hated the fact that I wouldn't let her eat them all in the store before paying for the candy by the ounce. Grammy encouraged me to give her a few more while we shopped but we continue to fight the battle of rewarding bad behavior. You know how this battle is played in public when Mom doesn't want a scene. Ugh.

After a temper tantrum over gummy bears in Meijers stores, Little K was sent to bed for an afternoon nap. She called for the fish pillow!

Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Quiet Heroes

I really liked this and thought it was especially relevant to parents & grandparents reading my blog. What do you think? Add your comments to my blog.

"Quiet Heroes" by Max Lucado

Quiet heroes dot the landscape of our society. They don’t wear ribbons or kiss trophies; they wear spit-up and kiss boo-boos. They don’t make the headlines, but they do sew the hemlines and check the outlines and stand on the sidelines. You won’t find their names on the Nobel Prize short list, but you will find their names on the homeroom, carpool, and Bible teacher lists.

They are parents, both by blood and deed, name and calendar. Heroes. News programs don’t call them. But that’s okay. Because their kids do … They call them Mom. They call them Dad. And these moms and dads, more valuable than all the executives and lawmakers west of the Mississippi, quietly hold the world together.

Be numbered among them. Read books to your kids. Play ball while you can and they want you to. Make it your aim to watch every game they play, read every story they write, hear every recital in which they perform.

Children spell love with four letters: T-I-M-E. Not just quality time, but hang time, downtime, anytime, all the time. Your children are not your hobby; they are your calling.

Your spouse is not your trophy but your treasure.

Don’t pay the price David paid. Look ahead to his final hours. To see the ultimate cost of a neglected family, look at the way our hero dies.

David is hours from the grave. A chill has set in that blankets can’t remove. Servants decide he needs a person to warm him, someone to hold him tight as he takes his final breaths.
Do they turn to one of his wives? No. Do they call on one of his children? No. They seek “for a lovely young woman throughout all the territory of Israel … and she cared for the king, and served him; but the king did not know her” (1 Kings 1:3–4).

I suspect that David would have traded all his conquered crowns for the tender arms of a wife. But it was too late. He died in the care of a stranger, because he made strangers out of his family. But it’s not too late for you.

Make your wife the object of your highest devotion. Make your husband the recipient of your deepest passion. Love the one who wears your ring. And cherish the children who share your name. Succeed at home first.

Heading out to the park in Kettering, Ohio. More later.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Fish Tales

Expanding Waistes & Memories in Ohio

Well, I picked up Little K from nursery school yesterday to head to the airport. She had a 102.8 fever. Super! A quick dose of Tylenol and we were on our way. Thank goodness we bought a portable DVD player because Little K refused to nap. Grammy & PaPa Don met us at the airport and Little K began to sing "Skip, Skip, Skip to My Lou." This was especially funny considering I used to skip through the airports as a child with PaPa Don. Little K looks nothing like me but I'm constantly reminded by her actions that she is indeed my daughter. Little K's fever returned at some point during the evening so we took another dose of Tylenol and she requested to go to bed at 6:30 pm without dinner. We were all surprised.

Aunt Kenny, Brad & 2 gorgeous dogs paid us a visit after dinner and then we headed to bed.

This morning, we filled up on cereal & fruit and headed out to pick peas in Pa Pa Don's garden. Loads of peas later, we needed to burn off some calories. (I was 10 pounds over weight on the way up here. God knows how much I'll be over by the end of our Ohio trip.) We drove to two local ponds to do a bit of fishing. I caught none, Little K caught one and Pa Pa Don caught several the size of large minnows. Two of us were cratering & needed a nap so we returned back to the house. Little K had lunch & went for a nap. Pa Pa Don & I paid a visit to Miamisburgh for the Hamburger Wagon. These mini burgers with bread, onion & pickle are a special treat. As if the calories weren't enough, we then went to Esther Price for plenty of taste testing of chocolates. A box followed us home.

Little K is now awake from her nap. She calls "Grammy" easy enough, but can't seem to master "Pa Pa Don." Instead, she calls out "Don! Don!" There's no confusing her Pa Pa with Pa Pa Don but we're working on the linguistics.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Playhouse Disney Live! Heads to Houston

Playhouse Disney Live! is coming to Houston on Sunday, Dec 30 2007 at 12:30 pm. Your family can enjoy the Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Winnie the Pooh & friends, and Handy Manny just after the holidays at the Toyota Center. Tickets range from $18 - $33 each. To purchase tickets, call 1-866-4HOU-TIX or visit the Toyota Center's online ticket site.

On a separate note, Little K & I are heading to Ohio today to visit my grandparents, her great grandparents. In my attempt to be prepared, my backpack/carry-on weighs more than my 2-year-old. Ouch! My husband will be holding down the fort in Houston while we're gone and catching up on some much needed rest. I'm really excited about our visit since it's not often enough that we get to visit my mom's relatives. Not only do my grandparents live just outside of Dayton, but also Uncle Sean & his family as well as Aunt Kenny & her family. PaPa Don has worked his vegetable garden so that we can relive my memories of picking peas & other gems from his garden while we sing. Little K doesn't remember this from last summer but we're hoping to start making her own memories this year. Get ready, Ohio. Here we come.

I'll try posting updates from afar. Check back often. Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Young at Art is Kid Perfect

Today, our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group took a trip to Young at Art to paint our own pottery. Many of you have probably been to similar places in Houston just like we had. However, Young at Art gets a big thumbs up for being kid-friendly.

The shop is currently located at 1777 Airline Dr. (an odd location, really). The owner is in the midst of a move to the Heights, where her shop will be on 19th Street. YEAH! Despite her impending move, the owner greeted our group, was so down-to-earth & personable, & remained casual even with ~20 kids running about.

Unlike other paint-your-own-pottery places, Young at Art has a kids' toys area with a chalk board painted on the wall. So creative! Even the wall art is kid-friendly without estranging the adult visitors. In the bathroom, you'll find a stool to help youngsters climb up to the sink to wash their hands. Plus, there's a changing table for diaper duty. The prices seem about the same as any of the other places, too. Don't worry about paint on your clothes. It washes out with water. Clean up is a breeze, too, because the owner takes care of it all after you're done with your masterpiece.

The owner told me that she also does a lot of Parents Night Out events, allowing adults to bring their own food & beverages. I'm not sure what my artwork would look like after a little wine but it sounds fun.

I think our MOPS leader took some photos of our morning so I'll post a shot here when I can. In the mean time, check out Young at Art or wait until it arrives at its new location in the Heights.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Candy Unwrapped at Health Museum

Here's a cool way to get kids' minds engaged this summer. Treat your taste buds to sweet science this summer at The Health Museum! JELLY BELLY® presents Candy Unwrapped, now through Sept. 3. This exhibit exposes the science of sweets and sours with the biology, chemistry, physiology and psychology of sugar. Pucker up for the super sour challenge! Pedal your way to an energy burn to discover how much time it takes to burn off a single sugar cube. Take the jellybean taste test - where what you taste depends on what your nose knows. And catch a whiff of smells to see what sweet memories are triggered. Science never tasted so sweet!

Candy Fact of the Day:
Gummi candies are derived from gelatin. Gelatin is extracted from collagen in the collective tissue of animals - mostly pigs and cows. What parts? Their bones and skin. Ewww!!!

Although groups are always welcome, reservations are required in advance to take advantage of special group pricing. A minimum of 15 people is required for the reservation. Field Trip Policies can be found at or on the Candy Unwrapped exhibit page.

There goes my diet!

Until the next nap time...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Peanut Allergies Strike Again

This morning, I heard DJ Mike on 89.3 KSBJ talking about how his family discovered his daughter Abby Grace is allergic to peanuts. They discovered the peanut allergy in a similar fashion as we discovered Little K's... trial & error with peanut butter.

I want to share some info based on my 2-year-old daughter's peanut allergy. Much of this information was provided to us by our allergy doctor at Allergy & Asthma Associates so it's legitimate.

- Most restaurants that cook with peanut oil are actually using "heat-extracted" peanut oil which does NOT have the peanut allergen in it. Yes, ChickFilA is okay to eat. "Cold-extracted" peanut oil is very expensive so restaurants don't use it.
- Only 10% of folks with peanut allergies will outgrow the allergy. Other food allergies vary.
- Peanut allergies range on a scale of 0 (no allergy) to 6 (super allergic). However, a person's range/sensitivity to peanuts can change year to year. So, consider having Abby Grace tested by a doctor.

Whew! Now, that that's off my chest, I can get to work. Peanut allergies are very scary but living with one is doable without living in a bubble.

Until the next nap time...