Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cool Summer Days – 1 month down!

So our final day of June was Superman’s birthday. However, Cooper and I were simply recovering from our recent trip to LA. So, instead, we had popsicles and a tea party with Elmo. I know, I know…my son having a tea party. My husband thought he was going to keel over and die when he first heard my mother-in-law had purchased my son a tea set. But, the entire household has enjoyed what it has brought. Imaginative play, an attitude of service (he will bring tea to anyone in the house), and maybe some manners? Okay, so maybe that last one is a stretch. ;) It’s a sock monkey tea set, so as manly as tea sets can get.

IMG_1730 IMG_1732 I think with our completion of our first month of Cool Summer Days activities I have learned the following (which you have probably seen in my myriad of posts):

  • Planning is crucial! Activities would not have been accomplished if I had not planned them out the month ahead. The master calendar was very helpful!
  • Planning made for a variety of fun, new activities that would not have been had otherwise!
  • Flexibility is key….you cannot predict what your child will or will not like, or what he or she will be up to each day. So, either have a backup plan, or be okay with the fact that you just might not get accomplished what you had hoped for that day.
  • Stick to it! There were many points where I felt like this was overwhelming. But each time I hit that point, Cooper and I would have a wonderful experience that had been planned on the calendar. Try it for at least a month! The fun may surprise you.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Obligatory Mom Moment…

So, Cooper and I flew home from our LA trip…look at my big boy on his plane ride. Thankfully we’ve taken some not so full flights where he can sit in his own seat even though I don’t have to pay for his own ticket yet.IMG_1726 We both made it home safely, exhausted…and to a home that had been taken care of my husband for the past week. So, needless to say, as soon as naptime was over, we were headed to the store to pick up some milk (which we found none of in the house). But, we couldn’t leave until after I re-installed the car seat.

Here’s where the “obligatory mom moment” cues in. Here was my dilemma: I knew it would take a good few minutes to install the car seat, and didn’t really want to leave Cooper wandering around inside the house by his lonesome. So, I plopped him in the front seat of the car with the AC running (partially so I didn’t die of dehydration in the backseat while attempting to install the car seat). Anyone see where this is going?

I proudly install the seat within a few moments and get out of the car to retrieve my son from the front seat to put him in his car seat to….yes, drive to the store to get milk. Drum roll please…………guess who unbeknownst to me had locked the doors during my car seat installation efforts? Oh yes, that’d be my son! Following the split second panic of realizing I had just locked my 20 month old son in a running car – I scoured our key storing location in the house for a spare key (found none) which led me to run over to my neighbor’s house looking like a crazed lady. She opened the door and I blurt out,

“I need your phone and your triple A card!”

Bless my neighbor’s heart. She went over to watch Cooper in the car while I called. They said they would set it as a priority call (Gee, ya think?! ;) While my neighbor and I are panicking trying to keep Cooper happy and AWAY from all buttons and knobs in the car – he is happy as a clam having a hay day in the car. He’s rocking out to music, making faces…just having the time of his life! Thankfully, our hero – the tow truck driver – arrived and rescued us (before the firemen even! yikes! – Triple A HAS to call the fire department when a child is reported being locked in the car) without any calamities.

My neighbor and all our kids in tow headed to Baskin Robbins for a well deserved helmet sundae. Ahh, a trip down memory lane. We got an Angels helmet, big surprise, huh? Cooper looks severely traumatized, right? Haha! NOT! Here’s to experience those “inevitable” life moments. =) Cheers!

BR Sundae Helmets

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sugar Shack…family traditions.

My final day in LA we headed down to Huntington Beach to have breakfast, as per our family tradition when I come to visit, at Sugar Shack on main street. I was looking forward to getting Cooper down by the water to see his reaction. He’s only really been ON the beach once last summer in Hawaii when he was only 9 months old. Maybe this summer, he’ll appreciate the water. We strolled down the pier and took our (again, becoming a tradition) picture on the HB bench. Look at the change from the few pics we’ve taken so far…

August 2009

August 09 March 2010

March 10 June 2010 – I love how telling this one is of the stage…trying to get a 20 month old to stay put for a picture? Umm…can YOU fit a camel through the eye of a needle?

IMG_1713 He much preferred trying to chase the birds and kick the stray volleyballs back to their appropriate sand courts.

IMG_1709 IMG_1722Note the “kick” action….=) And oh yeah, it was a bit too chilly to test out his reaction to the water. Oh well…we’ll see in August!

He also very much enjoys the “1…2….3….jump!” action while walking between two adults. Come on! You know what I’m talking about, right?

IMG_1720 Who doesn’t love a good beach day….whether it’s walking down the pier, or laying out by the sound of the waves? Fun times!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grammy & Papa Day

I had the privilege of attending my good friend, Krista Applegate’s, baby shower today. It was heavenly! Her teacher friends welcomed me in and made me feel like I was chatting with old friends. I got a break from my son for about 3 1/2 hours! Thank you mom and dad! What a blessing. So…Cooper’s “Cool Summer Days” activity was to spend the day with his grandparents. I did snap a photo in the evening however while he was helping Papa wash the car. Too cute! What a little helper!

IMG_1700 IMG_1702

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Travel Town

So our bizarre nap mishaps turned into a hidden blessing in the sense that we took two trips in a row up to Burbank (following our instincts to go back to the merry-go-round). We started our day with a trip to the Original Pancake House in Yorba Linda, CA. Mmm…anyone else ever been there? Here’s a pic of Grammy & Cooper at the Pancake House.IMG_1645Then we began our journey (and naptime) up to Burbank. An unexpected turn of events while I was in LA and was making any and all attempts to distract my son from unwanted behavior….he learned how to ask for my Ipod. That’s right, you heard me correctly, my 20 month old son is VERBALLY asking for my Ipod! What?! I have some “kiddie” tunes on there that I had him listen to in order to distract him while in the airport. Now, when he wants to listen, he just asks, “Ipod”. Niiice! Check him out in the car. So cute!
IMG_1650We made two main stops while in Burbank: Travel Town and the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. If you are ever in the area, and your child likes trains, you need to come here! Cooper was in train heaven! “Choo-choo’s” were being shouted every other minute. Look at the sheer glee and curiosity on his face:
IMG_1659 IMG_1667 See the arm motion for “Choo-choo”?
IMG_1670IMG_1681The merry-go-round was a fun “old timey” activity for me because I’d just finished reading Catcher in the Rye where in the final pages, Holden Caulfield watches his sister attempting to grasp the golden ring on a merry-go-round. I searched for where the golden ring may have been located on this particular merry-go-round…couldn’t see where. But it was interesting to imagine the risk involved in trying to reach for it. Hmm…sorry for the bizarre “history” moment. Fun though.
We had a fantastic time! What a fun trip to Burbank. We ended the day visiting with family.

Friday, June 25, 2010


A few of our Cool Summer Days calendar ideas were flexible as we traveled down to see Grammy and Papa. After our climbing out of the crib incident, I was trying to figure out how to get in a good, solid nap so we didn't all have to combat a grumpy child all weekend. We grabbed lunch and headed to WACC, my parent's church, to watch all the construction going on, hoping to wear him out. What 19 month old boy doesn't love to watch diggers!? Within the 5 minute drive, however, he fell, plan B!
It seriously felt like a "Choose You Own Adventure Book". As I was looking at how the day mom and I both commented on how your day can either go well, or poorly, depending on your perspective. Here's a Plan A (a yucky perspective), Plan B (an upbeat perspective) method of explaining what I mean...
Plan A: Why couldn't Cooper just stay awake so we could accomplish what we had planned?! Now I have to sit in the car for an hour and a half!!
Plan B: I get an hour and a half of peace and quiet in the car while we drive up to Glendale to have lunch with my dad! son will be in a much better mood when he wakes up.
Plan A:We were stuck driving around Griffith Park looking at outdated parks and "touristy" attractions listening to my mom relive the "good 'ol days". How boooring! Why did Cooper have to take such a long nap?
Plan B: While driving through Griffith Park, I got to hear about my mom's memories of her dad bringing her there on weekends to ride the merry-go-round (which we may have to return to). It's always special to hear about things from your parent's "previous lives".
Plan A: Cooper is STILL sleeping! Guess we'll have to drive around until we can eat lunch. Gosh, I’m starving! As we pull up to drive around Forest Lawn Cemetery to kill time, we ran into all the Michael Jackson fans!! Ugh…so much media and Jackson fans clogging up the roads!
Plan B: Hooray, Cooper is taking a fantastic nap. While pulling into Forest Lawn Cemetery, we got to see the “historic” Michael Jackson one year anniversary to his death fan mob. Take a look at what we saw....on this MTV video. We actually saw the guy dressed up as Michael Jackson in the MTV video. Craziness is all I have to say. We drove to the entrance and rolled down our window for the security guard who asked, "Are you hear for Michael?" My mom and I had to giggle inside a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Michael Jackson's music...but I'm not about to walk half a mile to go to his gravesite on his year death anniversary. What a funny memory that will be!
Plan A: Cooper is FINALLY awake…time for lunch. Grabbed some In-n-Out for Papa where Cooper saw a water fountain with spitting frogs…which he was then obsessed with, couldn’t focus on ANYTHING else. While eating at Papa’s office, Cooper spilled, sorry…splattered carrot applesauce EVERYWHERE. Then, when we went back to the frog fountain, I had to buy diapers and wipes because we ONLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN GONE FOR AN HOUR TO BEGIN WITH!!
Plan B: We picked up some lunch for my dad at an In-n-Out near the Americana (look how gorgeous it is below) in Glendale, when Cooper spied a two story water fountain with spitting frogs!! IMG_1607 For the next hour or so...he couldn't stop talking about wanting to go back and see the frogs. So, we went back to check them out and found the beauty of the Americana was the perfect outing for the day... 
Resulting in the following fun firsts for Cooper:
IMG_1621 First ice cream CONE (and Thrifty's at that!)
First standing escalator ride
IMG_1630 First trolley ride (yes, I realize you can't SEE the trolley, but here he is with Papa.)
First major piece of balloon art
...and just a whole lot of fun for all of us! Talk about a cheap, amazingly fun outing! The weather was perfect and we had a blast. So, life lesson learned (again). Be flexible and go with the flow! AND...look at the bright side of things. The day COULD have been viewed as such a downer, when in reality it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Today was a fun, big surprise for Cooper! Well, not a complete surprise, because we've been talking about how we were going to ride an airplane to go see Grammy & Papa! But the day has finally arrived! I was, once again, reminded that the best laid plans can still prove to be somewhat useless. I had packed a small suitcase with snacks and toys galore to help fill our time when we got to the airport, which would have been incredibly useful, if we hadn't had to wait in line to check our luggage for 40 minutes. Cooper was such a little trooper though and listened well staying right by me as I tried to move two suitcases and the car seat each time the line moved forward. It was quite comical. We THANKFULLY made our flight, but I had no time to retrieve many toys or use half of the goodies I had packed. Oh well, perhaps on our return flight. Cooper still had an absolute blast, and we're thrilled to be spending time with Grammy & Papa.

We also had one other snafu....we arrived at the grandparent's house to put Cooper down for a nap. Seriously, within 15 seconds, he'd climbed right out of his pack-n-play. We knew we needed a solution come bedtime. So, we blew right through nap time (thank you Buster from Arrested Development), and headed to Walmart to figure out a bedding solution. We got a "big boy bed" - a crib that converts, still hoping he wouldn't climb out of this one. Ha! Just as quickly, only even scarier seeing as it's taller than the pack-n-play, he climbed out. So, back to the toddler bed. Flexibility my friends, flexibility! He's adjusting pretty well. Cheers to having multiple adults to help fight the grumpies!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Loves to Grandma…

IMG_15844Today on the calendar is Public Service Day. Cooper and I “discussed” doing special things for other people. It also happens to be National Rose Month. So, we went to the store and Cooper picked out some lovely roses (he also learned to say rose, what a fun bonus) to bring to Grandma to say that we love her.

He had a blast picking out the roses!


And it was so fun to see how excited he was to bless Grandma’s day. He ran up to her holding the bunch of roses and held them up so tenderly for her.

IMG_1583   IMG_1588  How fun when surprises are well received! We love you Grandma….hope you all, too, can show some love to someone in your life today.

Cool Summer Days – How To

IMG_1405 I hosted a craft night with a bunch of outrageously fun ladies, and figured I’d provide you with all the cool “add-ons” to the Cool Summer Days calendar I “doctored” up for them. Yes, I am a fan of air quotes, let’s just put that out there. Moving right along.

We were all deciding that it would be fun to have a Craft Club, similar to a Book Club, but someone would host doing a craft each month. I tried to put the ball into someone else’s hand, but we’ll see if any of them decide to take on the next one.

Us girlies hard at work:

IMG_1412 IMG_1414 IMG_1420 Craft Night

I provided each girl with a folder containing the following which should provide you with almost everything to complete the calendar if you so desire (sorry if you don’t have Publisher – it’s just the easiest way!):

  • Cool Summer Days – Blank Calendars and Paper Inserts: This includes blank calendars for June, July & August that I used as a master calendar for me to keep so I ccould look at the month at a glance, not have to pull the paper for each day to remind myself what we’re doing. It also has the template for the size paper to fold and put in the ice cream cone slots.
  • Cool Summer Days Outlines: These were the “stencils” if you will to trace onto the iron-on sheets. *NOTE* – I did not make the squiggly lines on the ice cream scoops. I just drew a straight line. And yes, the words are backwards, so that when you iron them on, they are correct.
  • Folder Title: This is the cute little label on the front of the folder, and tabs to go on the side of the folder to store in a file cabinet with all the ideas.
  • Summer Monthly Celebrations: Here’s a list of all the crazy holidays I found to potentially help fill your summer days with fun activities.
  • Alphabet Inserts: My neighbor had this fantastic idea to put a letter in each day to focus on. These were inspired by her. You could do colors, numbers, states….so my options! Fun idea. Thanks Alissa.

I cut the background fabric to be about 28”x30”, then all the stencils should fit perfectly! Happy crafting! And remember, you don’t have to be neat or perfect about it. We certainly weren’t. ;)





Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zoo Month

June is National Zoo Month, so today for our Cool Summer Days, Cooper and I headed to the local Folsom Zoo. It’s only $4 for adults and children under 2 are free, can’t beat that for the variety of animals this zoo provides (except for when they half price days!). I can’t even count the number of times the word “tiger” came out of his mouth after pulling his “surprise” for the day out of the calendar.

We started our fun by attending the story time  at the Folsom Library which is virtually in the same parking lot as the zoo. We even checked out a book called “The Great Escape from City Zoo” by Tohby Riddle.

WARNING: *UNRELATED CONTENT* I have a confession, I often times have what my husband refers to as verbal diarrhea, flattering, huh? But, I have to note this! I have to laugh as I provide you a hyperlink for this book. My little guy has developed this habit where after we check out a book from the library, he will be asking for it for weeks after we have already had to return it. One book this happened with was I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me by Jonathan London. It’s a special book in our household, so I looked it up to purchase it on Amazon only to discover that it’s out of print and a copy costs nearly $100 dollars!! What?! Oh wait….I see….as I’m searching, there’s a used copy for $3. A used copy seems perfectly suitable for me. So, we’ve done this on a number of occasions, perhaps with this newest book about that zoo, we’ll see! *END OF UNRELATED CONTENT*

We then headed over to the zoo where we, of course, saw the tigers along with a myriad of many other animals, including the peacock which also happened to be one of his favorites.


IMG_1542    We even stopped and had a little picnic.










We ended our fun day with Cooper’s first ride on the Folsom Zoo Train. The conductor was an absolute doll who taught photography for 9 years and showed me how to work my camera. Here’s the picture he took of Cooper and I:


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

I had SO much fun putting together a fun Father's Day luncheon this year. My inspiration was dessert inspired burgers and fries from Bakerella. They had templates and everything to make this a sure fire cake-walk! 

I was chatting with a friend Friday night (yes Nicole, that was you, hehe) and told her I felt bad I hadn't posted these brilliant ideas BEFORE Father's Day, but my thought is this....I don't want to promote something if I don't know how it will turn out. So, the idea is I will post things I've DONE and try to provide any and all information to help make it a success for you. Sorry if the fun ideas get to you after the holiday.

Moving on to our fabulous Father's Day celebration...I mentioned the dessert burgers were the inspiration, as well as the mini-toolboxes I had made previously. Red, white and blue seemed to be the logical color scheme, which I think proved to be quite a success....judge for yourself:
My biggest hurdle was a centerpiece. Guys aren't frilly, right? I thought this was sort of in between. Holiday oriented, but still adorable. I wrapped craft paper around 3 stemmed glasses spelling out the word Dad. I filled them with those rock gems, which helped the gerber daisies stand upright. I was thrilled to find this radiant color at our grocery store! The food was easy thanks to Allie and her yummy blog. I made her Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches along with a salad and some fruit. It was divine.

As I mentioned, I followed the burger instructions almost to a tee from the bakerella link above. Let me tell you a few changes/discoveries I made along my way:
  • Instead of green icing for the lettuce, I did coconut thrown in a ziplock with green food coloring.
  • Red food coloring and I do NOT get along (hence the "pink" ketchup). I still don't have a solution to this one except maybe try the americolor red suggested in the bakerella website. Let me know if you find a solution.
  • I used a shot glass to cut out the brownie "burger patties". It was the perfect size!
  • My mom inspired me to come up with creative place cards her creativity from Mother's Day. I came up with the idea of a receipt, you know, since it looks like a fast food meal. I typed up some creative Father's Day content to include. Here's a male and female example. 
  • I cut the French fries VERY thin (about a 1/4"), put them in the freezer for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then had to bake them for almost 15 minutes to achieve the "golden" fry color. Bakerella said for about 5-7 minutes. Then rolled them in sugar. The other idea I had was to put red frosting in a small cup to look like ketchup to dip the fries in. But alas, my aforementioned issue with food coloring made the idea a bust. But thought I'd mention it in case it works for you. =)
Happy Father's Day to my father (whom I will be celebrating with later this week), my husband, and my father-in-law. I'm spoiled to have such stellar examples of capable men in my life. Hope you had a great Father's Day celebration.