Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tips for Remembering Names

I am so bad at remembering names. I always have been. When it comes to business, and socializing, remembering someone's name is really important.

I have had he same UPS guy for almost 10 years. I could not remember his name for the life of me! Recently he asked to see a copy of our local newspaper and showed me a picture of the softball team he was coaching. Under the picture was his name! Mystery solved! (it was Ernie by the way!)

Here are some tips that can help you remember a name...

  • When meeting someone for the first time repeat their name in conversation as often as you can. When answering a question from them start your answer with their name, when you excuse yourself use their name in the sentence. For example "Bob, will you please excuse me". 
  • Write it down. When getting contact information from someone write it down instead getting a business card. This one helps me a lot. Once I translate a name to paper I can remember it much easier. 
  • If the name is more unusual or difficult for you to pronounce ask them to spell it. Sometimes visualizing the letters will help it stick. 
  • Create an image to associate with the name. It can just be something that sounds similar. For example I can picture ice cream to remember the name Irene. 
  • If you are talking with someone and you just can't remember their name and are embarrassed to ask try this trick. Ask them "What's your name again?" They will answer with their first name. Then laugh and say "I knew that, I meant your last name!" This way you get their first name and save some face! 
Are you good with names? 
Do you have any tips on how to remember names? 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Organizing a Princess Party- Guest Post by Sophia Wiggins

Throwing a themed birthday party can be stressful. Our guest blogger Sophia Wiggins has some great tips when your little one requests a princess party. 

Take it away Sophia.........

How to Organize a Princess Themed Party for Kids

Having a princess themed party means that you can have a lot of fun with a single theme. 
Princess parties can be held at home, or at specially organized themed events with professional entertainers, and can give you multiple options for games and dressing up. 
What sort of things should be focused on, then, for a princess themed party that’s going to ensure your children have a great day without spending too much money?

If you’re having a princess party at home, you can focus on decorations and table settings that match up to the theme - Disney princesses might be the simplest option if you want to buy decorations together, although you can also find more generic designs with little effort. Depending on the age of your child, you might also want to include themed cakes and food that can be eaten as a buffet or sit down meal - buffets tend to be easier to organize with slightly older children.

When making princess themed food for a birthday party, you can focus on some staples like fairy cakes and marshmallow cones, as well as items that you can bake together with your kids like cupcakes. Biscuit wands can also be used if you want to add a fairy princess theme to your party, while it’s possible to make up cheese crown slices, mini sandwiches shaped like castles, and bowls of grapes and fruit that look like jewels. Princess themed cakes, and mini tea sets can be similarly strong ideas.

For games, you can experiment with versions of well established birthday party activities; this might involve having treasure hunts where children have to find glass slippers, or decorating games where kids can pin a tiara onto a picture of a princess. Versions of Musical Chairs with songs from princess themed films, or Musical Statues made into Musical Curtseys can be similarly effective, as can Princess Says, an adapted version of Simon Says.

Another option to take for a princess themed birthday party is to hire a professional kids party planner to put together a themed party. These can include special games, dress up competitions, and discos and other entertainment. Children can be encouraged to participate in competitions, while presentations and awards can be made to different children for being there on the day.

It’s possible to have a princess themed party without breaking the bank. 
DIY food and cake that features simple princess dresses and castles can be a good way to approach catering, while you can create your 
own invitations, or make homemade princess dresses, to cut down on other costs. 
Hiring professional party organizers can help you setup your themed party, for example DNA Kids Princess Parties come with a great selection of games. This can also make it more cost effective if you can collaborate with them over the best options to have for the day.

Sophie Wiggins: has survived a few kids princess parties, and thinks it’s a reliable theme to go for with your children. If you want to hire a themed party organizer, she recommends checking out DNA Kids princess parties to see what options are available for different ages.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Outings Series: Long Beach Aquarium

The Long Beach Aquarium is a must-see for most so-cal natives. It's in a fun and bustling part of downtown Long Beach, CA. It's a pretty developed aquarium with plenty to do including fun snapshots with sea-life characters (think sting-ray dressed in board shorts holding a surf board) or enjoying a personalized tour where divers wearing special microphones talk to guest from within large tanks as they feed exotic fish. 

The aquarium has a fun outdoor play area and plenty of exhibits where volunteers are teaching visitors all about different sea creatures. You're even able to touch the occasional star fish or banana slug as well as feed certain fish with the assistance of volunteers. The aquarium has fun shops and can be shut down for private events. Plus visitors can plan to host birthday parties and sign up their children to attend summer camps and activities. It truly is a fun place to visit this summer. Admission into the aquarium costs between: $19.00 (child) - $36.00(adult), but those are web fares, so pay online before you go. 

Keep in mind the aquarium is a wonderful place to educate children on animal conservation. Throughout the exhibits children are taught about caring for fish in the wild and how we can ensure sea life is protected and cared for. There's even an adopt an animal project where families sponsor the cost of caring for a sea creature. 

Do you have a favorite aquarium you like to visit? Leave us a comment!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

HerMamas Rewind- Seven Basic Needs

I remember once crying so hard that I couldn't quite catch my breath. There I was sitting alone in my car questioning my ability to parent and sobbing uncontrollably. I suspect I am not alone. Like me, maybe you've asked if you're messing up this whole parenting gig. Like me, maybe you've beaten yourself up with the constant, "what am I doing wrong?" 

Maybe it's just my personality, but I thrive in following directives and since parenting doesn't come with instructions, I've pretty much failed at everything, at least once. After almost 7 years as a mother, I have found that I have to keep it simple and keep it moving.  A few years ago, I took a parenting class with my husband where we learned about every human being's seven basic needs (plus a bonus). This simple concept simplified my parenting approach and has really helped me turn all of those doubtful moments (and the uncontrollable crying fits) into looking for what needs aren't being met and meeting them.

Seven Basic Needs, plus a bonus (B Special): 

B: belong - You, your children, spouse, co-workers, friends, neighbors... everyone wants to feel a part of something. Make sure to love inclusively and positively. Make others feel as though they belong and find something to belong to. 

S: smile - Are you smiling often? How about your spouse, your children? If not, make up a reason to get silly & get smiling. Seems simple right? But you'd be surprised how little people are smiling, laughing and just having fun.

TM: Parenting from the Heart
P: powerful - Everyone wants to feel powerful. Now this doesn't mean power by controlling your kids or spouse, it just means feeling like you have the power to matter and contribute. This is especially true with kids. Naturally we want to do so much for them. Sometimes this is just logistically easier, but that can create unnecessary challenges. Let your kids do more for themselves, decide for themselves and contribute to family decisions. Even if you start with simple acts of power. Give them the ability to feel powerful.

E: explore - Overly used phrases with kids are "wait!" "calm down!" "stop!" Yup, these don't make a child feel very powerful and it sure as hell impedes their natural urge to explore and learn. Encourage this with them and with yourself. I love the great outdoors, I love music, writing and long discussions with those I love. All four of those allow me to explore and make me better! 

C: connection - Seems basic but many times this is exactly what is lacking. With your spouse avoid feeling like roommates because that clearly impedes your connection. Work also on becoming the best communicators possible. Communication issues are the first to hinder true connection with most couples. With your children avoid simply being a dictator. Let connection be free and flowing. Make sure you're feeling connected to yourself and others then watch yourself feel more at peace and grounded.

I: important - How important do you feel... how about those you love? Give everyone in your world a chance to lead, to feel powerful, connected and ultimately IMPORTANT! Maybe that means you let your kids' decide on dinner and even make it on their own (with your gentle supervision, of course). Give them a chance to contribute and watch their little eyes light up because of how important and needed they feel.

A: attention - This one is getting harder by the minute with so much technology keeping us disconnected and absent. Kids need so much focused attention. Work to give them that with one-on-one dates, same with your spouse through romantic outings, and by spending time alone focused on you. This could also mean simple acts of kindness like leaving a love note for you spouse or child(ren). Take the time to give undivided attention and watch how much more effortless your relationships come to feel.

L: love - Love is love. Give it with all your might and don't forget the power of a simple "I love you!"

I've watched in amazement as my children's so-called negative behaviors have decreased when I've thought of the above needs and made sure those were being actually met. Maybe that meant I suddenly put away my cell phone to just give attention, or I completely change dinner plans so my children can have what they want and make them feel important in the process. I've let them play in the mud so they truly explore. And I've lectured less so that I connect fully and show LOVE! And you know what? Doing this not only makes us all smile, but we feel more powerful, in control and happy. I've become a better me just by meeting my NEEDS and the NEEDS of those in my life.

The next time you're beating yourself up about relationship difficulties and doubts, think about these 7 basic needs (plus a bonus) and improve upon any of those that feel off. You'll soon see just how much better everyone is for it. And everyone includes YOU!

How are your basic needs met? How do you meet the needs of those you LOVE?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HerMamas Rewind- I Really Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.

We have all heard the stories and have seen the television show. Women who go into labor without ever knowing they were pregnant. You don't believe it can happen, until it happens to you. Today we have an interview with Monique G., a first time mom to 2 month old baby Matthew. Monique had no idea she was pregnant until she was being rushed to the hospital to give birth.

Let me start this by saying a few important things. First off, Monique was told by a doctor that she was not able to have children partially because she did not ovulate regularly. She has always had very sporadic menstrual cycles with many months in between cycles. I saw Monique a week before Matthew was born and she looked completely normal. Not a baby bump to speak of!

HerMamas: Looking back now where there any pregnancy symptoms that you dismissed for other things?

MG: Looking back there was heartburn. I had never had heartburn before. I did notice that it was harder to bend down but I thought I was just gaining weight. I had started to lose more hair than usual. But I just thought these were things that just happened as you got older.

HerMamas: The day Matthew was born, what symptoms sent you to Urgent Care?

MG: My cousin forced me to go because I was in pain. I was just going to take an aspirin and go to sleep, but she thought it might be a appendicitis or internal bleeding. The pain started as abdominal pain and when I stood up I could feel tight pain in my lower back so bad that I would have to stop and bend over. I knew that it was not normal. I knew something definitely was not right.

HerMamas: When you were in that pain did you every once think it could be labor?

MG:  NO!

HerMamas: What went through your head when the doctor told you that you were in labor?

MG: I think a "Shut the F#*# up!" come out of my mouth. The doctor told me I was about 2 cm dilated and was about to have a baby. I couldn't say anything. My mouth was open but I couldn't speak. They did an ultrasound and I heard his hear beat for the first time. Then I knew it was real and the doctor was not joking.

HerMamas: After Matthew was born and everything had calmed down, what were your biggest concerns and fears?

MG: I didn't have any pre-natal care. None whats so ever. I ate whatever I wanted, and even had taken a trip to Magic Mountain and rode the roller coaster rides. He went through lots of screening, but besides being premature, he was fine. Since my periods have never been regular they were not certain of how many weeks he was so it was hard to determine how premature he was. The best estimate is that he was born at 31 weeks.

HerMamas: Were you a big deal at the hospital? Did they treat you any differently?

MG: With the nurses I was like a celebrity, but there were certain doctors who looked at me weird. As if they thought I was lying. Lots of nurses told me I should call the TV show. I was like "No way!"

Hermamas: How did your friends and family take the news?  

MG: Everybody was like "No way, how could she not know?" I mean I have watched that TV show too and thought I would know. I think everyone had the same jaw on the floor reaction. It was a big surprise.

HerMamas: You didn't t have the usual 9 months to prepare yourself, you just woke up one morning and a few hours later you were a Mom. How do you process those emotions?

MG: I sometimes feel like I was cheated, I didn't get to bond with him or learn about him.

HerMamas: When Matthew was born did you feel an immediate bond or did it take some time?

MG: I instantly loved him but the bonding took a little time. Since he was being tube-feed I couldn't nurse him. In those first few hours I was still very worried about his health. I was scared that something could be wrong because of something I did or didn't do. But I loved him so much and could not believe that I had no idea I was pregnant. The bond came very soon after. There was so much to take in that day.

HerMamas: There is a lot to learn when it comes to taking care of a baby. Most people get 9 months to study all this. You didn't get that time, and I imagine with a newborn you don't have a lot of free time to read. You are doing such an amazing job with Matthew, do you think motherhood came naturally to you?

MG: Having kids was never in the plan, but I am really getting to know him and his wants like when he is hungry or wet. I do have a nurse that comes in once a week and she helps me with my instincts. The hospital offered the help and I took it. It has been helpful but I do feel that I have picked up on it naturally.

HerMamas: Your boyfriend of over 10 years has 2 boys already. The oldest just turned 21! Is he a big help or are you both learning as you go?

MG: He is a really big help, but I think we are both learning along the way. Even though he has work, he gets up and does the night feedings so I can sleep. He mixes bottles and changes diapers. There is still a lot to learn because things have changed a lot. It took him over an hour to put together the bouncer.

HerMamas: You are an only child and didn't plan to have kids. Now that Matthew is here your Mom is now a Grandma. How is she doing?

MG: She is so stoked. She already has big plans to spoil him and buy him whatever he wants.

HerMamas: How is Matthew doing now?

MG: Awesome! He is such a good baby. I have been so blessed with such a good baby. When he first got home he would have to eat every 2 hours and I would have to wake his little booty up so he could eat. Now he eats every 4 hours or so. He is a healthy eater. He doesn't cry, he just fusses and moves his arms around.

Baby Matthew 2 months old

Thank you so much Monique for sharing your amazing story with us! 
Leave a comment and share some words of wisdom with this first time Mom! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

HerMamas Rewind: Family Mission Statements

Many companies have and work by a mission statement. Why shouldn't your family?

"Family Mission Statement: a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about- what it is you really want to do and be- and the principles you choose to govern your family life."

I love this idea. I know how I envision our family life but I have never really stopped and sat down and talked with the other members of my family to get their vision. I love the idea of the whole family having joint goals, as a group, written down. Something about writing it down makes it more important.

I have to admit I was at a loss on how to write a Family Mission Statement but after some research I found some great tips.

  • There is no wrong way to do it. This is not a legal document or anything. That alone takes off some pressure! 
  • First sit with your spouse and talk about what your priorities are as a family. How would you like to define your family? What is the life you would like to have together? Don't feel rushed. These are big questions, it may take more than one discussion to get your answers. 
  • Once you and your spouse have developed the foundation of your mission statement involve your kids. Ask them what they would like the family to be like, to have accomplished in the next 5-10-20 years. Talk about what things are important as a family. Some ideas are education, finances, travel outside activities, and the responsibility of each family member. 
  •  Now write it down. Keep it simple and keep it positive. Instead of "We will not" use the term "We will". Read the Mission Statement together and make sure everyone understands. 
  • Print it out, scrapbook it, frame it, display it in your home. 
  • Every few years go back and re-evaluate. 
I think this is a great idea. A constant reminder of what we are all striving for. 
What things would you put in your Family Mission Statement? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

HerMamas Rewind: Triplets Plus One = Four Times the Fun

A Little Bit of Our History

Bryan and I met our sophomore year of high school and almost immediately fell in love. We dated for eight years before officially becoming husband and wife. June 15th was our wedding day and it was absolutely beautiful. In fact it was perfect, except for the extreme nausea I was feeling. I chalked it up to nerves. During our honeymoon the nausea never went away and I knew immediately I was pregnant. July 15th, exactly one month after our wedding day, my husband and I went to our first official prenatal visit. The nurse took down all my information and calculated a due date for my precious baby, January 31st. We were elated! A new husband and a new baby in less than a year! How lucky could I be? Then the doctor came in to perform our very first ultrasound, we felt so fortunate that on our first appointment we'd get to see our little miracle and hear his or her heartbeat. 

I laid back on the table while the doctor felt my belly. The first thing he said was "Well your uterus feels pregnant" "Well, duh!" was what I was thinking but whatever, I had no idea how this process worked and I just wanted to get to the good stuff like seeing my baby. Then the nurse came back in and we started the ultrasound. The doctor adjusted the screen, then the nurse says "Oh My!" I'm looking at my husband with tears in my eyes thinking maybe something was wrong. Had I misread all those classic pregnancy signs? Then the doctor says, "Is that what I think it ?" Now I am officially freaked. The nurse replies, "I think so." Oh my gosh, the doctor sees something weird and now the nurse has confirmed it, I'm pregnant with something very unusual! The doctor asked us if we had done anything special to get pregnant. Well I thought it was pretty special but most might say it's the same old way people have gotten pregnant. No fertility treatments or special medication, just old fashion passion. Then he pulled the screen towards my husband and my direction and there it was! A little peace sign, or what looked like a peace sign. I looked at the screen confused and the doctor answered the question in my mind: "It's triplets!"

What? Triplets?!? How did this happen? We were over the moon with excitement. We were not going to have just one beautiful baby to love, but three! That day I knew God loved me extra to give me such a wonderful gift. 

My pregnancy went on from there with lots and lots of planning and excitement. Then the big day arrived, December 19th, the day my babies were to be born. I had developed preeclampsia and it had become very dangerous for my pregnancy to continue so the doctor decided to deliver my babies. First Matthew, then Micah, them Margaret (Maggie), each one a minute apart. My husband described it as if the babies were coming out of a clown car (he laughed at that joke harder than I did). They were relatively healthy for being born six weeks early. Thank you God! After four weeks in the NICU my babies were home with us and the real fun began! 

Are All Those Yours?

Our life had become very different when the babies were born and we were adjusting beautifully. The babies were on a feeding schedule of one baby eating for thirty minutes every two hours. This left us a half hour between the last feeding of the last baby and the first feeding of the first baby. It was exhausting! But we were so in love with their little faces and little toes that we didn't mind in the least. 

Everywhere we went was suddenly an adventure. People were always so curious about the three little carriers in two shopping carts that accompanied the two very tired looking parents. At first we kind of liked the attention. "Yeah look what I can do! I can make three kids at one time, what can you do?" The questions we got were cute and corny. "Are all three of those yours?", "Wow, you need to play the lottery!"  and "Wow Mom! You've got your hands full!" Then they started to get a little weird and annoying. "How do you breastfeed all three of them - you've got a third breast we can't see?" Um, that might be a little personal don't you think, sir? (Luckily my husband didn't hear that one) So it became a game between my husband and I to see what we could respond with that would make people blush and rethink what they had just said to complete strangers. When we were asked "How did that happen?" we would respond with, "Well we did it three times in one night and there you go, triplets!"  Or "Oh my gosh, I feel so sorry for you, I can barely handle my one!" We would respond with, "Yeah, we feel sorry for you too because our life if filled with three times the joys and you only get to have one!" A little mean I know but their comment was very rude! 

Pregnant Again?

Our life was coasting by and we were enjoying our ready-made family. Then August came, our babies were eight months old and developing beautifully. I started to feel that tell-tale nausea again and my husband suggested I take a home pregnancy test. But no, I have eight month old triplets, I cannot possibly be pregnant again! Sure enough those two little pink lines reappeared......pregnant! I immediately made a doctor appointment and the doctor could not believe he was seeing my face in his office again. Please Doc, don't tell me I'm having triplets again. Nope, just one this time. 

I sailed through my second pregnancy. I really made a point to enjoy every ache and pain as much as every kick and hiccup. My husband and I decided that even though I was only 25 years old, I was going to have a tubal ligation. Four children was enough for us and we didn't want to take any chances on another surprise pregnancy that could include multiples...again!

April 23rd, sixteen months after the triplets were born, Marina entered this world, pretty, pink and perfect. I had no idea that my heart could contain so much love. God had blessed me for a fourth time and I could not have been happier. I was so in love with all my children. People occasionally thought I was crazy for being so happy when I obviously had so much on my plate. But I was truly one happy Mama!

The Lord Only Gives You What You Can Handle

The triplets are now three and Marina is two and we still have a pretty great time together. We try to make an adventure out of everyday things like going to the grocery store or playing at the park. People often ask us how we handle four toddlers, and the best I can come up with is that the Lord only gives you what you can handle. God put these children in my care to teach me patience, compassion and love. In turn I hope I can teach my children the exact same qualities. I take one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. We make plans, but plans are delayed or fall through, and that's okay. We try to handle our children the best way we know how, by doing nothing but love them. So in turn I almost always have a pile of dirty laundry and dishes in the sink, but I definitely love my children and they know they are loved and they are very, very happy. After all, this whole adventure started with love! 

-Rachel is one amazing Momma! She makes parenting triplets look like a fun party! Her babies are not only super cute but are all so well behaved. As of today, to her best estimate she has seen the Spider-man movie over 100 times!  The kids are obsessed. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Currently Obsessed


  • Maxi skirts! So cute and so comfy. They seriously feel like wearing yoga pants out in public! My current favorite is a blue with white stripes. They are really a great summer staple for your wardrobe. 
  • Minion Run. I can't remember who introduced me to this app, but they owe me days of my life. This is a simple game where you are a minion racing through Gru's lab and the neighborhood collecting bananas. And of course it is totally addicting and free! Do not say I didn't warn you. 
  • One of my favorite parts of summer are the great catchy pop songs that are all over the radio. Recently I discovered "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell. This song is catchy and sexy and fun. As a "good girl" with a naughty side this song speaks to me. Who knew Allen Thicke would have such a sexy offspring? 


  • Had a major wardrobe malfunction the other day and ran to Marshall's for a mid-day quick change. I must say I was wowed by what I purchased with 9 bucks (yes, 9 bucks).  Ever since I've been back to Marshall's about twice weekly. Got two great sets of shoes for my toddlers (for only $20 bucks) and awesome gifts for friends from the clearance section! Yay, Marshall's! Who knew?
  • Trader Joe's salads are the BEST! In fact all of their pre-made salads, dips and wraps are delish. I spend quite a few lunches wondering the aisles unable to decide among all the deliciousness. Some of my absolute favorites: Reduced Fat Chinese Chicken Salad, Curry Chicken Salad and a Delicious Lemongrass Couscous Salad. 
  • I've had my Nike Fuel Band for OVER a year, but recently became re-obsessed. I suppose distance makes the heart grow fonder. My hubby borrowed it before getting his own. His excitement reminded me what a great tool it is, so now I'm hooked (again). The band tracks steps, calories, fuel points (my daily goal is 3000) and makes for a cool watch, too! 

       What are your current summer obsessions??? Leave us a comment and tell us all about them?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Facebook Envy

Recently I found out that an acquaintance refers to me as "Perfect Mom".

I don't think she meant it as a compliment.

I have to admit, I was kind of hurt by this "perfect mom" comment. I felt like I was being judged and made fun of, based only by my social networking image.

This person only really knows me through my social networks. They see my facebook status updates and check-ins and can scroll through my Instagram photos. They can read HerMamas and my personal blog. This person has come to the conclusion that I live a perfect life, with my perfect husband and my 2 perfect children. Of course I had to laugh at it all because my life is far from perfect. Like many people I tend to post about happy and fun things. This does not mean that our lives are not filled with hardship and struggle.

Facebook Envy is a real thing. 

There are studies that show that facebook envy can affect a person's self-esteem. Reading posts about your friends taking amazing trips, posting photos of their adorable babies and sharing photos from a picture perfect wedding day can make a person feel like their lives are dull and boring in comparison. People can sometimes obsess over the seemingly perfect lives other people are leading.

A few things to remember....

  • Life is not a competition. Don't set the bar for your goals and accomplishments based on other peoples. 
  • Social Media is like a photo album, people are usually only showing the highlights of their life. This does not mean that their lives are only sunshine and rainbows. 
  • When looking through Instagram remember most photos are posed (even if they look candid!) 
  • Use the time you spend focusing on other people's lives, to improve your own. 
Have you ever had Facebook envy? 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tummy Time

It is something that all babies need. And something that most babies really don't like. Tummy time is an important part of your baby's daily routine. When my kids were babies they both despised tummy time at first. It was more like "screaming time" in our house.

It might seems easier to just skip tummy time altogether but here are a few reasons why it is so important...

  • It helps strengthen baby's neck and upper back muscles. 
  • The ability to move their head reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Helps baby develop a round head and avoid flat spots on the back of the head. 
Tummy time can start as soon as your baby is born, but should be added into your daily routine by 1 month old. It is recommended to have 5-10 minutes of tummy time a few times a day, but don't worry if your baby only lasts a few minutes before becoming upset. Any amount of time spent on their tummy is beneficial. 

Here are some ways to help make tummy time happier for everyone...
  • Instead of placing baby on the floor, lay them on their tummy on top of you. They will try to lift their head to look at you!
  • Use that boppy. This gives your baby some height and comfort. 
  • Lay on your tummy facing your baby. Talk or sing and they will look for your face and voice. 
  • There are lots of play mats you can buy that can make tummy time more fun!
Remember to never leave your baby alone during tummy time and never put your baby to sleep on their tummy! 

Do you have any tips for making tummy time better? 
Leave us a comment!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How my parents FUELED my need to SUCCEED: Guest Post by Natalie Lagunas

Natalie Lagunas is one of those rare people that exudes confidence and kindness all wrapped up into one. She's the hardest working teenager I've had the privilege of knowing. She graduated high school wearing a golden robe indicating she had never received anything less than an A grade. How does a teenager become so focused on As while also devoting part of her life to social involvement and countless athletic accomplishments? Well it's simple... her parents played a significant role (actually a few). As a 1st generation college student now thriving in one of this country's top universities, asked Natalie to share a bit of her insight when it comes to working hard and the role parents play in motivating their teenagers towards excellence in higher education.  

Take it away Nat...

I have been asked to write about my hard work and the role my parents played in my success. Unfortunately, this question can never be answered in a small blog post because my parents mean everything to me, but I’ve looked closely at my life and decided on a few essential roles they have played in my success as a scholar and DI (division 1) athlete. I hope you enjoy! 

Role #1: Unending support in both school and soccer. This is definitely the number one role they played in my life because without this I would never be who I am today. First, my mother has always been my number one advocate of education! Being an immigrant herself and struggling through the school system, my mother quickly realized the value of education in America and made sure I was aware of it too. Therefore, I always knew I wanted to go to college and my mother always said, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something!” So, since a young age I knew grades were important and my mother constantly reminded me to do my best in school because it was going to by my opportunity for success in the future. This prompted heavy involvement in school and school activities, such as student government, all in preparation for my acceptance into college one day. On the other hand, my dad was my number one coach and supporter in soccer. I joined for fun and ended up loving it and having a natural talent. Constant practice and dedication to the sport led to my recruitment for tournament teams, club teams, state teams, regional teams, national teams, and then college! Every step of this journey my father and I drove countless hours to practice and games, and WHEREVER I wanted to play my father was excited to take me, regardless of his lack of sleep due to the graveyard shift he’s worked. Our enthusiasm and passion for the game put me in the right place at the right time, or as I like to look at it, when my preparation met opportunity. His time and financial commitment definitely added up, but ultimately led to my full-ride athletic scholarship. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience for me because it taught me the value of hard work and dedication in BOTH school and soccer. Which is why I emphasize that their support in both aspects of my life were essential. Without my mother’s support in school and school activities I would have never even been considered for my university, similarly my father’s support in soccer led to my athletic scholarship to one of the best athletic conferences in the country. 

Role #2: Teaching me to always strive for the best for myself. I believe this is a lesson that can/should be taught to everyone because it has affected me entirely. Whether it was an A in school or making the state soccer team my parents helped me to believe that I could achieve any goal. If I did not do very well in a class they immediately would say, “We know you can do better!” This worked for me because I am naturally competitive and if my parents believed I could do better then I believed I could do better too. My parents helped me to believe I was worth so much, that it inspired me to strive for the best academically and athletically and I now naturally expect it of myself. It has also given me the confidence to never feel inferior to any other person I encounter, whether on the soccer field or in the classroom. 

Role #3: My parents did everything possible to make me happy! My parents have worked unbelievably hard to make sure that I was happy with the sport I was playing and my events at school. They have always wanted to give me what they did not have as children and I am truly blessed. As long as I was smiling they were happy and I could not be luckier to have such dedicated parents! At the end of the day I know that my parents love me unconditionally and it is now my driving force when making decisions for my future and myself. Thanks mom & dad, I love you!

Natalie Lagunas is from Santa Clarita, California. She is currently a senior at Northwestern University. She is on the Women’s Varsity Soccer team and majoring in English Literature. She plans on graduating from Northwestern in June 2014 and hopefully entering law school in southern California in Fall 2014. Her parents are Marcela and Javier Lagunas and she has two younger sisters Joanna and Melissa Lagunas.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Outing Series: Mini-Golf

A round of golf on a summer afternoon? How about a round of mini-golf? A perfect outing for the whole family. 18 holes with different obstacles like the classic windmill or a dragon's mouth.

A day on the fake greens is great for even your little golfers. Bright colored golf balls and tiny little pencils. And an afternoon outdoors.

Many miniature golf courses have special little putters for the little ones. Your kids will love being able to play (and even beat!) the whole family.

You can spend an hour or so and play the course. Or you could spend the whole day at parks that offer other attractions like go-karts, arcades, laser tag and even batting cages.

A round of golf will run you $8.00 and up. Don't forget to check the courses website for coupons and deals! Many places will give you a price break if you purchase tickets for multiple rides and a round of golf.

Miniature golf courses are like Golf-N-Stuff, Castle Park, Boomers and Camelot are some bigger names, but with a quick google search can locate a great mini golf course near you.

Happy Putting!

Friday, July 12, 2013

2013 Baby Name Trends

Every year we see the trend of baby names change. Celebrities and pop culture help to change these lists every year. Once a celebrity names their baby something you can see the name shoot up on the baby name list. Sometimes a super popular book series will do the same thing. Believe me, in about 2 years there is going to be Kindergarten classes filled with Edwards and Bellas. 

Nameberry is a great baby name resource and they recently published the top names for 2013. Here is their top 20 boys name, along with my own thoughts. 

1.  Asher - this name always makes me think of that "I love college" rapper kid. 
2.  Finn - we can thank Tori Spelling for this popular name. She named her latest addition this!
3.  Declan - did you know that this is Elvis Costello's real name? 
4.  Django - the D is silent
5.  James - nice to see a classic on the list
6.  Oliver - Charles Dickens lives on
7.  Henry - Heidi Klum has a son with this moniker
8.  Atticus - as a book nerd I love this name and the "To Kill a Mockingbird" reference
9.  Owen - Ricki Lake had her baby at home and then named him Owen
10. Milo - But before Owen Ricki Lake had baby at home and named him Milo 
11. Emmett - The hunky muscley vampire from Twilight
12. Jasper - The nerd skinny vampire from Twilight
13. Jude - nice Beatles reference
14. Ezra - I loved the 90's band "Better Than Ezra" 
15. Liam - Another one of Tori Spelling's kids name!
16. Flynn - Made popular by the male lead in the Disney film 'Tangled" 
17. Felix - hey that's my Dad's name!
18. Levi - Matt McConaughey made this popular. He gave his genetically gifted son this name!  
19. Miles - Anyone else remember when Miles was born on Sesame Street? 
20. Sebastian - yes like the crab from The Little Mermaid

You can see the complete list of 100 boy names here.

Of course their top 20 girls names.....

1. Imogen - I know this is a famous singer but I don't know how to say this one. 
2. Charlotte - Sex in the City name still holding strong on the list
3. Harper - We can thank the Beckhams for this. Their only girl has this name.
4. Eleanor - Cute, but always makes me think of the chubby Chipette. 
5. Violet - Jennifer & Ben Affleck's oldest daughter makes the list.
6. Amelia - Bedelia. Always my first thought.
7. Seraphina - Jennifer and Ben's youngest daughter makes the list too!
8. Isla - Anyone else think of the Madonna song "La Isla Bonita"? 
9. Penelope - A Kardashian influence. I bet North makes next year's list.
10. Katniss - I wonder if Suzanne Collins thought this would ever happen!
11. Evelyn - this name was popular in 1910's and is making a comeback
12. Ava - Reese Witherspoon's clone of a daughter is named Ava
13. Maeve - an alternate to Mavis or Mabel
14. Cora - Downton Abbey has made this name super duper popular
15. Olivia - this name is dropping in popularity. Last year it was #4!
16. Merida - The first Disney princess who didn't need a man makes the list. 
17. Alice - makes me think of Wonderland and the maid from the Brady Bunch
18. Adelaide - this name is still on my baby name list. 
19. Sophia - In 2005 we named our daughter this and the name jumped to #1. Just sayin' 
20. Elizabeth - A nice classic name to end the top 20

You can see the complete list of 100 girls names here.

What do you think of these baby name trends? 
Is your childs name on the list?
What are some of your favorite baby names? 
Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!