Monday, December 7, 2009

A Little Book Talk...

So, I'm intensively working on a book proposal, to head off large trade publication agents. Although, for BTSOD I think a print on demand book would be best. I am scheduling maybe 2-3 seminars (probably at my house!) with small groups of parents to discuss certain aspects of the book and to share information and concerns regarding the book. More updates closer to February of 2010. I also will have a link where you can order it. I think, there is definitely a need for a Travel with Infants and Toddlers Guide book, and a few people have already recognized that. I would really like more traffic on this particular blog because I seem to get a huge response on Twitter. So, please everyone, recommend this blog to people... and there may be good things for you in heaven.
Update on 13 December-
The class has ended and I have just drafted my schedule for everything. I'll be posting it here soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Huntington We Will Go...

Off to the Huntington Library! Papa has a 3 day weekend due to the changing of the floors. This will be the first time we will be taking the girls, and we can have them running around the grounds and enjoying all the ponds and fountains. Then after, we will be enjoying a couple days in LA, and we might even see a good friend this weekend.

This is all we could think of for a short, fun family vacation on our ever so tight budget. We are members of the HL, so no admission. Our lodging will be minimal- because we are staying on our free stays-- (after 10 nights with you get a free 1.) Food is all we really have to pay for, and breakfast is free at the hotel.

Our car, which is a 1998, 2 door Honda Civic, has about 197,000 miles on it. It's still beautiful and wonderful and we call him Pedro. He is getting a maintenance check early in the morning and this is basically where all our money is going. He still gets about 27 miles to the gallon.

We will post a bunch of pics, but I am just glad to be away from the grind of work and household stresses. The next weeks, we will be refreshed for Emmy's 1st Birthday and Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MacLAren: Stroller Recall, Also Saftey Then and Now

Hey you guys! My favorite stroller company, based in the UK, Maclaren is having a massive stroller recall in the US, and you can pick up a repair kit for free. I am assuming at most major retailers where you can buy Maclarens. Here is some info about it...
I have always loved this company, and sorry to hear such an unfortunate engineering mishap has occurred. Such a good product and I am certain that the engineers have already corrected the problem-- and the new strollers will be safer.

Safety Then and Now
I was talking to a more mature, uncle of mine who told me, in the 50's they used to play with mercury from thermometers and rub it all over their fingers. The mercury could would turn pennies into silver. They would play with firecrackers (scary ones) all the time and burn their fingers. Some of his friends even blew their fingers off. But the next day, there they were, playing with with those firecrackers again, minus friend who blew his fingers off, of course. Or in the Philippines they would run behind the DDT truck that was smoking all the mosquitoes out, behind the smoke and laugh and scream...

Now move forward a couple (or three) decades when I was a kid, (between the age of 5 and 8). I was left with my two cousins (about a couple years older than me) to cook our own meals, and pretty much fend for myself until my parents got home from work. I have no recollection of my brother in all of this. Was my mom there? I thought she was working? Hmmm. I would freak out now if a 5 year old was cooking a meal in a microwave. Or, we would just play in the streets, for hours until it got dark. Hello? Molesters? Serial Killers? Getting hit by a car? Accidents? Getting burned? H1N1?
Am I a paranoid mom? Did my parents neglect me? I can't even leave the girls in the car to pay for gas at the counter... this all has to be meticulously planned. Am I just paranoid? Am I making life harder? IS life harder?

I remember wanting to badly ride in the hatchback portion of my cousins station wagon, with blankets and pillows. I remember having so much fun riding on the freeway in the back of a flatbed truck, no seat belts of course. There were no airbags, seat belt laws in cars. No bike helmets, elbow and knee pads. I wasn't a child of the safety recall era. Even car seats were fairly new back then. There weren't little water gauges telling you that you need to tilt the car seat up about 2 degrees, so that your infant can best survive a head on collision that way. And, if you even think about forgetting to put a harness on your dogs, while they ride the car, you are the anti-christ. Knowing everything then, that I know now, would I have died or been seriously maimed before I reached 19?

There was no hip dysplacia, reflux, ADD, or schizophrenia in toddlers. Hell, there wasn't even autism. There was just fussy babies and the croup. Allergies were sort of non-existent, there were kids who could run, and kids who couldn't. Don't even get me talking about breast feeding vs formula nowadays. They finally decided after 20 years of messing with it, the best way to avoid SIDS is the Back to Sleep method. (baby on back.) first it was baby on tummy, then to side, back to tummy and now to back again. Second hand smoke? That kid just has a chronic cough. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Nah. Remember Fredo in the Godfather?

Today, it's Amber Alerts and Code Adams. The other day someone tweeted (before calling police) that they were involved in a hit and run with the description of the car and they found the person in minutes. There are amber alerts, and sex offender websites and even an application for your iPhone where it will BEEP if a sex offender is within range. Dad is no longer drunk, unemployed and absent. He is now recognized as a an official "deadbeat dad."
Then at about 7 or 8, I want to say Trick or Treating was changed forever. News stories about people putting needles and razor blades in candy had everyone checking out their loot before they could eat it. Even taking their bags to the airport or to the Police Station to get their bags x-rayed. (Now, if you go to the airport with a mask, you will get shot.) If you get X-rayed you need a lead cover. People started chastising the old lady who made homemade popcorn balls for the past 30 years, for not having a pre-packaged seal on her treats.

I'm not saying we were worst back then, or even now for being better. I'm not even saying the old lady who made popcorn balls wasn't a terrorist, and I'm not saying she is. There are these things called studies, and science and polls, and life experience that teach us which things are good, and which things are bad. All in all we don't really know because it's constantly changing. As we speak, there is a new disorder, a new vaccine, a new disease, a new serial killer, a new urban legend...

So, I guess, do what makes you feel safe within reason, or you might go crazy thinking about it like yours truly.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Here are the pics we decided to use for the Gap Casting call. You can vote once day I believe for each kid. Please vote for the first Myla picture because they cant combine the pic votes. Thanks everyone! have a good week and don't forget to vote every day. After the first initial time, it's just a click, so don't let that hinder your clicker fingers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Weather & Trips for November

Andy is going to Chicago to attend a business conference. We were at first, thinking of trying to tag along- his room is paid for, and we would just have to take care of airfare and personal money. But, financially, we just won't be able to swing it this time. We would need about 800-1000 if we want to eat, go to the Shedd Aquarium etc. That, and practically, Andy would have been working day and night- so this time around, he is on a recon mission for us instead. We have received all the info as to how we can do it next time, if we are lucky enough to have extra funds. I have a few friends in Chicago, so we might just make it a family trip on our own.
Of course we have to go on a couple overnights for some weekends. So we have a weekend in November reserved for the Huntington Library. We have an extra day off, so no vacation days will be used. When we first went, we were in the middle of a heat wave and the grounds were impossible to move through. Now, it is chillier and we will take the girls (of course) and be able to enjoy the gardens fully.
I love, love fall weather. I love cloudy, chilly, almost rainy and rainy weather. I was really meant to live in the UK or something. Being born and raised in San Diego, where it's sunny almost year round... I get depressed about the sunny, perfect, weather quite often. I think both the girls like the cooler weather, as when we went up to San Francisco and we had to bundle them up, they looked like they were having such a good time.

Advantages of Colder Weather:
  • For picnics, and just snack toting- food and milk doesn't get spoiled as quickly, you might even get away with not having to bring a cooler. A lot of baby bags have insulated stuff- that keeps the hot things hot and the cold things cold.
  • Socks. I just like socks.
  • Layering. Some summer stuff can be layered, light pants can go under dresses, boys long sleeved shirts can go under tee shirts etc. I love Baby Legs. Baby Leg Warmers that you can throw over leggings, under dresses, even wear on arms (yours or your kid's!) And when you are trying to make a quick diaper change, they make it much easier.
  • You can stay out longer. You don't have to worry about little ones getting sun stroke and heat exposure. Also, the little ones are less likely to get tired right away.
  • Places to go are less crowded and busy.
  • Everything is pretty much cheaper, admission, flights (except for the days before and after major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.), hotel room rates, etc.
  • Souvenirs from little trips during the cooler seasons make great Holiday gifts. So, multi task and do some small holiday shopping (be sure you can pack it on the plane!)
Stuff to bring when you go out in the chilly fall weather... room temperature bottle of water, hand sanitizer, (proven fact, we wash our hands less in the colder months.) Blankets for infants (of course) and a Toddler needs a snuggle also.
I am going to be working most of these holiday weekends at a retail job so we can make ends meet. More on that in a few, can't post what I am unsure of. Both the girls are excited about the prospect of Pumpkin Patches, dressing up as Darth Vader & Yoda, Turkeys and Christmas Trees. Hopefully, you'll be on the seat of your diapers and keep up with us!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Will Work for Travel

The Family and I have some exciting local trips ahead, well, in the planning still... First off, we want to go somewhere cold, within a 2-4 hour flight from San Diego so we can go on a weekend. If we can't really see the seasons, we will settle for San Francisco. This will be sometime in November. We have a couple weekends reserved for our new favorite, the Huntington Library, and also a trip planned to Disneyland for a wedding for our dear friends Tim and Chelsea. We are really, quite excited about that.

So there are hotel room nests to build, bags to pack... and I am also in the market for rolling luggage. Rick Steves, my favorite travel guru, sells a nice carry-on standard rolling luggage which I simply must get, and a lot cheaper than most. I know his stuff won't fall apart on you either.

In order to pay for these trips, I am applying for a seasonal job, cutting back unnecessary Christmas expenses and looking for deals and coupons everywhere I can find them. (For trips as well as every day household things.) Basically, "Will Work for Travel" should be my new motto. I am signed up to see some time shares that we can't afford or buy, with no intention of buying them. Just want the free trips they give away with them, and the 30 bucks cash they give you for your time. Nice.

Other ways I have made a little bit of money:
  • Consumer Surveys (25-65 usd an hour, about 1-3 hours)
  • consignment stores for the girls old clothes (about 100-200 bucks a drop off)
  • seasonal part-time retail position
  • enter free contests
  • rebates, coupon cutting (this is very time consuming, but you will be surprised how much it adds up.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Road Trip Tips!!

Portions of this post can also be seen on my Examiner Entry

As you know, we just came back from our five day Redwoods Trip. I am a packing fiend, especially for the kiddos. But my weakness has always been the overnight trip, or the short, domestic trip. I can fit both girls and my things in a 40 liter backpack for two months in foreign countries, but for a four day road trip I pack the rented Volkswagon Reuton with 5 shopping bags of food, three bags for personal stuff, two backpacks, a case of diapers, a cooler and a case of water, bedding and two strollers. For some reason, I always take too much on the short trips. It's as if my brain is saying, "We will definitely use THIS. We don't want to have to go back and pay overblown tourist prices for something simple." It really is living in luxury as they call it.

A few awesome snacks I recommend for road trips?

Two items that you can open, and toss over your toddler:

Snack trap cups with Cheerios or Gerber Puffs.

Squeezy Applesauce

Juice Boxes

Stuff we had in our cooler:

Half and Half (for me and Papa's coffee)

Case of foil wrapped juice packets

8 diet sodas

3 energy drinks.

4 yogurts

squeezy applesauce

bottled waters

Extra tips: Have your hotel info and/or vouchers, maps, paper information in one designated place, so much easier than digging.

I also like to put the designated gas money or card, in that folder or envelope also, so that I know I don't spend it on other stuff that isn't gas, also this way, we don't have to worry about it on the trip itself.

Make sure you have what you need for baby within an arms reach of you, in case you need to reach him.

Clear a spot in the trunk (if you are taking a van, this is especially helpful) where you can change diapers. If you are taking a car, make a changing station that can easil be folded or rolled up and put on the ground where you can make a quick change. Have all this stuff handy, diapers, wipes bags.

Bring your own trash bags and dispose of everything properly. Be a responsible visitor.

Driving tips:

Make sure you are both agreed on driving and being able to pull over and switch when you are tired.

Find something interesting where you should stop, if there is anything. Most of the time there is. These are the stops where you can see an Alien Diner, use the restroom, change diapers, feed the kids that need to be fed. Of course, if you are breastfeeding, your stops need to be more frequent, as we did this on our first road trip to Utah when Myles was 5 weeks old. Making the journey part of the trip makes all the stops worth it.