Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blog Giveaways Addict

I have a problem. Not a problem I am going to change, but one I can at least acknowledge.
I am addicted to blogger giveaways.
I began checking out other blogs when I knew I wanted to start blogging. I wanted to learn from them, but also support the mom/dad blogger community. Little did I know I would discover the world of giveaways. Books, pens, coffee, yogurt - I enter them all! And the addiction is spreading throughout my family.
This morning, my wife logged onto my computer to check out movie times and saw I had minimized 8 blogs. She began clicking on the links and about an hour after she went in the room to check movie times, I went to check on her. She, too, had fallen into the trap of giveaways. In that one hour, she manages to enter 10 giveaways! Not once within the hour did she check out the movie times.
Although I regret spending so much time entering (a task I usually do late at night after our two year old is asleep), I have won a lot of cool stuff and amazing experiences (Disney on Ice tickets, Ringling Bros. tickets, Zicam, etc.....) for my family. I am grateful for those opportunities and am grateful to the companies and the bloggers who open themselves up to share that experience with us. Gotta run now, more giveaways await!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How did your life change after baby?

This time of year often makes me stop and reflect on family, our current status/situation and our happiness/love/treatment of each other. My wife and I live a great life - we have a small, but comfortable house. We are healthy and blessed to have an amazing two year old son who attends a wonderful, safe and convenient preschool. But, like most families today, we both work to pay our bills. We live in a Los Angeles suburb and pay a lot more for a tiny house - nearly double what other people pay throughout the country for a house nearly twice or even three times the size of ours. My wife watches HG TV and often shows me clips of amazing houses in Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and many other states - and it's gotten us thinking. Should we move? Should one of us work, live in a nice house, meet nice neighbors and not be slaves to our mortgage? Live a life where one of us stays home with our little one - even if it means no professional sports teams? But then we look at the economy and wonder if we have no right to complain since we both actually have jobs. In fact, we actually wonder if this economy is the new reality the Sunday pundits say it is? Is it safer and smarter for both of us to remain employed even though we are stressed out beyond belief? I wish I had some answers, but I don't. In fact, I'm hoping some of you do. I'm curious to hear what other parents have done. Did you have a similar conversation with your spouse? Did you actually move for a better quality of life? If yes, how has it worked out?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sealy Posturepedic Bed Giveaway on Mommy Mandy

I casually enter contests here and there, but when I saw this, I had to enter! Go to Mommy Mandy's site and enter to win a Sealy Bed! If I am lucky enough to win, then I'm getting a small bed and putting it in my bedroom! Yes, I'm talking Ricky Ricardo and Flintstone beds in our master bedroom. One for my wife, she can have the big one. Then I get my own bed with my own covers! I'm telling you, that's the wave of the future. I get very little sleep as it is with a toddler in the house and my own bed would allow me to sleep like a baby!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

I have the next couple weeks off for vacation! Yay for me, but we're not going anywhere. My son woke up this morning and I told him that our nanny would be here later and then grandma would be here, but for now, we have a couple hours to play. I wanted to be productive today, so I started to make a To Do list of items that I wanted to accomplish today. I told my son that I was making a list of things that I wanted to do today and gave him a pen and some paper. I asked him to write down what he wanted to do today (he can't write, but I wanted him to participate). He pointed to my list of things to do and said, "I want to do what you're doing today papa." As much as he drives me crazy sometimes, I love my son...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Wife's A Mermaid

My son plays with a neighbor of the same age named McKenzie. She is a girls girl complete with princess costumes and Little Mermaid toys. As a result, my son wants Little Mermaid books and such. We were running late for Disney on Ice and I said, "You're going to miss the mermaid" when he pointed to my wife and said "I already have a mermaid. Mama's a mermaid." It melted my wife's heart.

The next day at his school Christmas event, my wife and I were in line getting food when a fellow mom asked if she was a mermaid. My wife did not know what to say and said "not that I know of" and the mom said, "Your son kept saying 'My mom is a mermaid."

It was really sweet that he was so proud of his mama.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Disney on Ice Review

Last night the new Disney on Ice show "Worlds of Fantasy" skated into Los Angeles and my wife, son and I were invited by Feld Entertainment and Mom Central to check it out. Our tickets were fantastic - about 10 rows from the ice and in clear view of each character. In fact, we were so close, we nearly froze in our seats from the cold air. (If you go, bring a blanket or jacket to keep you and your little one warm.)
The show runs about an hour and half and is comprised of two halves that are divided by one fifteen minute intermission. The first half was great. It opens with Mickey and friends, followed by segments featuring characters and scenes from "Cars," "The Little Mermaid" and "The Lion King." We enjoyed singing along to the songs and seeing the characters that we've loved for many years now do incredible flips and turns while wearing their huge costumes. "The Lion King" segment was really creative, complete with unique animal costumes that must have been inspired by "The Lion King" theatrical production.
I wish I could be as glowing about the second half, but I can't. The first half was fun, divided by 4 different stories that kept things moving, but the second focused entirely on "Tinkerbell" and her fairy friends. For a young boy, it was not that interesting. Even my wife, who loves Disney movies and can sing all the songs by heart, thought the segment went a little long. It would have been nice to close the show with another family favorite like "Beauty and The Beast" or "Aladdin" or "Toy Story" or any other Disney movie.
When we entered the garage at the end of the show, our son said "wanna go back in papa" - he clearly had a great time, and at the end of the day, that is what matters. Thank you to Feld Entertainment and Mom Central for making the night possible for us!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Roy's part two - my son caught you using the wrong bathroom

As a brief follow up to the story below, I want to thank those of you who went or almost went into the incorrect bathrooms at Roy's. You provided some great laughs!
To bring you up to speed, our table was somewhat close to the bathrooms - not entirely, but close enough for us to explain to our two-year-old the difference between M and W.
I even took my son into the M (men's bathroom) to wash our hands before dinner. Throughout the night, we must have spotted 5 men passing the M, and almost walking into the W and what made it funny, was that our toddler caught each of them. He would stand up on his little chair (okay, sorry for the bad manners) and with eyes wide open and finger pointed would say, "mama and papa, he went to the wrong door." To make the men feel better, there was one woman who saw the M, but was afraid to enter the W because she was looking for an "F". She thought it was "M" for male and was looking for an "F" for female. Shocking, but hysterical for us to watch.

Roy's Hawaiian Knows How To Treat Toddlers

My wife and I had been talking about trying Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, the newest restaurant in Pasadena, for a while now and we finally made it out last night. (Okay, the place opened about a year ago and we're just getting out to try it, but give us some slack.) We called ahead to make sure it was the kind of place we could bring a well-behaved toddler. Yes, miraculously, our screaming, fit-throwing toddler sits calmly when food is involved, but that is a discussion for another blog. We were told it was business casual, but because it was only about 5:30, we thought we'd be okay. There were no tables available, but Jessica, the manager who spoke to us on the phone, told us there were tables by the bar that were a perfect fit for a toddler (and of course anyone needing a drink after work). Although it was first come first serve, she offered to put menus down on a table for us if we could get there soon. Surprised someone would be so nice, we hopped in the car and raced over. As soon as we arrived, Jessica greeted us and told us she had pre-ordered a cheese quesadilla and carrots and celery slices as a little "starter" for our two year old. Parents out there- can you believe that? Food was coming for our potentially squirmy combustible the minute we sat down!! And to top it off, Jessica brought us a cup of milk with our child's name written on it. Being that it is Christmas time, I swear she was an angle from above...either that or we were on some sort of training video. We hadn't even eaten yet and our experience was amazing. We then proceeded to order and had the nicest waiter imaginable. The food arrived promptly. We looked at the menu and I had a rib - eye in a burgundy/blue cheese sauce with a spinach, mushroom and potato mash that was out of this world. My wife, a true meat eater, had short ribs that she said were the best she had ever had - which is saying something. We topped the meal with a delicious chocolate souffle (yes, we were pigging out, we admit it) and they brought our son, as part of his kid's meal, a scoop of ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie. (Okay, parents, we're not usually this piggie, but we decided to splurge on our night out - my son had toast and milk and fruit for breakfast this morning to make up for it). Now, it was not the cheapest place in the world, but I have truly never experienced such nice people and amazing service as I did at the Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant in Pasadena. To Jessica's boss, please know that you have an amazing manager running your restaurant. To everyone at Roy's, we'll be seeing you again soon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Brave Toddler Flu Shot

I took my soon last week to the doctor's office for his second flu shot. The only good things about going there are that he loves to ride in the elevator to get there and when we look out the window, he can see the train that sometime goes by. My wife and I have always been up front with him when we go do stuff. So, the day before and the day of, I tell him, "Here's the plan, we're going to go to the doctor's office, ride the elevator, look for trains, get a small pinch from the flu shot, then ride the elevator, and go home."

Sometimes he'll say I don't want to go to the doctor, or I don't want to take a bath. This time, I think with most of the distractions, he was ok with it. I was worried because we had to wake him up from a nap. Typically when we wake him up, he is an angry boy, so I thought from the start I was going to be in trouble. On the way there, he had his blanket and was sucking his thumb and was very quiet. He had a good time with the elevator and watching the train at the office, but all the time, he stayed very close to me and was clingy.

We were looking out the window and he told me that they were calling him. Funny that I didn't hear them call his name and he had to tell me it was his turn. We went in there and I asked the nurse a few questions while he was in my lap. He was quiet but ready. We told him what was going to happen and he watched the prep work and everything. He didn't cry like last time and just waited for the shot. The nurse gave him the shot and after she said, "You're all done". He shouted out "Yippee!".

It was one of those moments where you are so proud of your child and so happy for them. I felt like he did a little growing up at that moment and his fear of the shot and doctor's office had passed. Now that I look back on it, I think we both grew up a little that day...