Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kids' Effect on Parents

So I'm strolling through the sunny streets of downtown Houston, heading to the parking garage. I'm in a cheerful mood because I'm leaving a calm day at one of my clients' offices. It's almost Friday & the weather is gorgeous.

I'm navigating the Walk, Don't Walk signs and hear several cars honking loudly at someone or other across the intersection. I look to make sure it's not me & luckily it's not.

"HONK!" I blurt out in my chipper mood.

Oh my gosh. Did I really just scream that?
Everyone is looking at me, thinking: "Well, she looks relatively normal but obviously something is wrong with that poor woman."

Remember parents: just because you can act like a fool with your child, yell "Honk!"back at cars & then laugh DOES NOT MEAN OTHER ADULTS GET IT. THEY DON'T REALIZE IT'S FUNNY!

If I ever hear an adult "honk" at someone else, I'll happily smile at them, tell them I get it & then "Honk" at them. Oh, it's another way that I'm being trained by my 2 year old.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fall Fun & Another Family Fave Restaurant

If you're looking for fun fall activities, be sure to check out "Fall into Fun" in The Buzz Magazine's latest issue. In this article, I share a bunch of exciting adventures to help your family explore autumn in Houston. Enjoy!

And if you're searching for a new kid-friendly restaurant, my friend Lesley reminded me of a great spot. There are a few Barnaby's restaurants in Houston. I love the Petaluma salad! Yummy! (I don't want to know how many calories are packed into a "salad".) Like Lesley, I like the decor and the fact that Little K can chat in her regular voice without distracting any of the other patrons. The kids' menu is great with the biggest corn dog I've ever seen as well as mac 'n cheese, etc. Be sure to leave room for their delicious desserts like brownies & fresh baked cookies. Don't have room for dessert? Just grab a free candy on your way out.

As a mom, I especially like to hear Lesley's review of Barnaby's & what she liked best:
"We went to Barnaby's for take out and while we were waiting, a waiter brought Iain a package of crayons and a coloring sheet. He smiled so big! There is so much cool stuff painted on the walls and ceiling for him look at but the best part is that they take the time to pay attention to what is most important to me as a little one's happiness. Next time we will be dining in! It is definitely on the top of our list of 'Iain Friendly Restaurants'."

Thanks, Lesley, for sharing another great eaterie with our Houston parents! Let me know your favorite restaurants (that aren't included in my book already) & you'll be registered to win a Houston Texans football just in time for a great season! Hope to hear from you.

Until the next nap time...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Independence Strikes Again

"Be careful what you pray for. You just might get it." You've likely heard that expression & I'm living proof. Well, actually my daughter is living proof.

On Sunday, we went to church and attended the 10 am children's mass. I've always loved to see the kids get so excited about putting their tithe in the big basket on the altar at the designated time. My 2.5 year old daughter is no different. She carefully walked up to the altar, dropped the envelope in and then looked around... for quite awhile. When I could actually feel heat perculating on my neck from the glares I was getting, I stooped into the aisle & motioned for Little K to return to our church pew in the back of the church. (It can provide a quick escape which is sometimes necessary.)

Finally, I began to creep up the aisle but Little K was not interested in my motioning. In fact, it was time for the rest of mass to continue but this little girl just stood at the steps of the altar, enjoying her good view. Whoosh! The next thing I know my husband sprints to the front of the church and picks up Little K, who cried and reached out to our pastor. I turned beet red. The pastor, on the other hand, kindly waved good-bye to my strong-willed daughter who was carried out of church.

After a brief time when I could gather myself together & the snickers from fellow church goers had subsided, the mass continued. You haven't heard the best part though.

At the conclusion of mass, I held my daughter who said she just wanted to hug Father Clint. The pastor stood up and mentioned that little girl who had stood at the foot of the altar. People turned to look at me, my husband & my daughter. My temperature was rising again. Father Clint said sweetly that we should all be so eager to bring forth our gift and stand before God. My eyes welled with tears because I knew he was right.

After our pastor walked down the aisle to finish mass, Little K tore away from me & ran right into his arms. It was truly a moving sight.

Several people jeered our family after mass & I told them my real feelings. As parents, we are supposed to teach our child about God and appropriate behavior. I also know that when I was pregnant with Little K, I prayed that God would give me an independent child. When she grew into middle school & high school years, her independence would help her not be swayed by peer pressure, I thought. And of course, God listened. I just didn't realize that God can make our little ones independent from day one.

Until the next nap time...

Friday, September 14, 2007

10 Proven Strategies For Strengthening Your Family!

Is the quality of family life important to you? According to a recent Harris poll, the majority of working men and women place the highest value on a work schedule providing plenty of time for family. We sure don't need to look very far to discover the challenges families are facing today. The good news is there are quick and easy ways to strengthen your family and promote each other's personal growth.

Here are 10 positive key strategies that you can use today to improve and strengthen your family now... and for years to come.

1. Make Family Your First Priority. Strong families spend lots of quality time together. We've all heard the well-known quote, "How do kids spell love? T-I-M-E!" Strong families spend lots of positive time working on family projects and playing together. And they enjoy being together too.

2. Appreciate One Other. Strong families appreciate each other's unique qualities and contributions and express their feelings openly. Make a commitment to compliment each other at least once each day.

3. Foster Communication. Strong families listen to each other, respect each other's opinions, and avoid interrupting. One of the most valuable ways to foster communication is by having at least one meal together each day. During the meal, make it a point to engage everyone on their daily experiences, discoveries, challenges and goals.

4. Strengthen Commitment. Strong families work together to solve their problems. They may not always agree, but they are willing and able to bring things out into the open and to talk about them.

5. Create Traditions. Strong families stay connected -- another reason for having at least one meal together each day. Also, give your children the gift of friendship with their cousins, aunts and uncles by keeping in touch regularly. You'll be giving them happy memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

6. Set Rules and Expectations. Strong families set and put into practice clear guidelines and limitations. Family members take responsibility for their actions.

7. Support Each Other. Strong families support one another during challenging times. When family members feel valued by one another, they know they have someone they can turn to for support.

8. Identify Your Family's Strengths. Have each family member write down something he/she likes about each family member (animals included!) Put them up on a bulletin board or refrigerator magnets for everyone to see.

9. Set Achievable Family Goals. Setting and achieving family goals, even if they are small, cultivates success and creates unity. Set goals together whether it's saving for a family trip, a car or a new home. The ideas are endless.

10. Strong Families Love Unconditionally. Strong families love with unconditional acceptance that builds strong heart and faith connections.

Special thanks to the Rockwell Team in Ohio for sharing these great tips that are helpful no matter where you live.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's in the Genes

I know my daughter is related to my mom.

Well, of course she is, you're probably thinking. Besides that direct connection between my daughter & her Grandmother called Mommy, there are other clues... typically humorous ones. Like yesterday, when I walked into Little K's bedroom to put her to bed for the evening. I couldn't help but notice that my daughter had added a bit of artistic flair to her room by rearranging the furniture.

"I moved my table and chairs, Mommy," Little K proudly announced.

Yes, yes you did.

Did I mention that her Grandmother is an interior designer? Did I mention that when bored, my mom rearranges the furniture, which causes quite a raucous act when my dad walks through the house half a sleep at night? Well, my mom also changes her hair color when she's bored. Help me to control myself if Little K colors her hair with anything. I'm telling you, it's in the genes.

Until the next nap time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 Anniversary

This is a picture of my daughter, Little K, two & a half years ago. She was just four days old in this photo. Like most parents, I was so proud to bring her home. Little K had made a detour to the Infant ICU so I was very glad to bring her home.

On the anniversary of 9/11, I've struggled to blog. My husband called this morning to tell me to tune into the radio station 96.5 for his surprise interview. Trent gave an emotional reply to the DJ's question: "Is 9/11 just another date on the calendar now?" As my husband drove down Westheimer and looked up at Williams Tower on this sunny morning, he recalled (for a lot of listeners, I'll add) his memories but more importantly his strong desire to teach our own daughter about the victims of 9/11 as well as those brave men & women who have sacrificed their lives in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

As Little K & I listened to my husband's tearful interview, my own eyes welled with tears. My 2.5 year old couldn't grasp the gravity of the discussion. In response, I simply knelt down beside her, hugged & kissed her, & told her that her parents love her so much. She cheerfully walked away to find another toy as I recalled my own experience on 9/11/01 & how I couldn't even forecast the joy I'd have as a parent today.

Thank you to all the survivors & soldiers who have fought to enable my parenthood. Thank you one and all.

How are you explaining the anniversary of 9/11 to your children? Or are you?

Until the next nap time...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering the Home Within the House

I've been thinking a lot about the theme for our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. It's "The Home Factor: begin here… go there."

When you think of home, you may think of the outside of a particular building – perhaps of the home you grew up in or maybe the house you now live in. Then, if you're like me, your mind quickly follows the deeper meaning of "home". It’s the people in your family, their interests, their coloring pages on the refrigerator & fingerprints -- BIG & small spread throughout your house.

Your home is where you’re comfortable, where you are your true self. Home is where we nestle our kids into bed & help them pray, leading by example. But it’s also where we parents pray about our own struggles, vulnerabilities & deepest hopes. As moms, we see ourselves & our homes in a unique way. A lot of times we burden ourselves with so many concerns about our family members & household chores. We become so worried about our household chores that we forget the deeper meaning of HOME. Then when we walk out the door of our homes, we feel like we must be pulled together, perfect for everyone else to see... without flaws & anxieties.

I do it to myself but I wouldn't judge another parent for showing up to a meeting or nursery school with or without make-up on, frazzled and hormonal. (Yes, I have not forgotten those days just after child birth.) If you haven't found a parenting group near you, I suggest you look for one. If you work outside the home, there are many groups that meet in the evening & provide child care. For stay at home parents, there are also plenty of day-time groups.

Go just as you are & you’ll gain wonderful friendships and support from parents similar to you. You'll also be relieved when other parents echo your sentiments in child-rearing. It's just a wonderful support group & a place to call home without the laundry to complete. My MOPS group has also allowed me to see the best parts of my house... my family that makes a home.

Until the next nap time...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Groovy Baby!

I haven't checked this out yet, but here's a fun family activity that is now in Houston!

Baby Loves Disco transforms Houston's hottest club into a child-proof disco as children (6 months to 7 years) and parents looking for a break from the routine playground circuit let loose for an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun by real DJs blending classic disco. Plus, families will find bubble machines, a chill-out area, diaper changing stations, a full spread of healthy snacks AND optional cocktails for non-driving parents. Saturday afternoon is the new Saturday night.

Purchase tickets at Check it out September 29* & October 27 from 2-5 pm at Rich's Houston located in midtown at 2401 San Jacinto Street. Tickets are $12 for all walking humans (non-walkers free!).
*BLD USA Dance Contest - Best Little Dancer in America Contest!

Until the next nap time...