Room to Grow

I cannot help but blog about a conversation at the breakfast table this morning between my hubby and me. First, let me just say it is amazing how differently men and women look at the world and all our responsibilities.

Our family might be in the situation where we will receive an increase of cash flow. I suggested to my hubby that we use this “extra” money for a lawn guy. He quickly adjusts his posture and said, “What?! Well, what if we used that money for a housekeeper?” I responded quickly and said, “OK!” We both broke out in laughter.

Now looking back on the conversation, when I said we should think about hiring a landscaper, what my hubby thought I suggested was that he was not pulling his weight in the household. What I really said was: “Honey, I know you work really hard and study even harder. Why don’t we give that little chore to someone else, so you can focus on the family during your ‘free time.'”

Communication is an art – sometimes it is concrete and other times it is abstract. It definitely adds animation to the marriage 😉

Honest Scrap Award

I received the honor of being given the “Honest Scrap” weeks ago from Carrie Anne (@cbadov) at Another day, another thought. She is an avid blogger, and I only wish I could be as dedicated.

My first award

So as recipient of this honesty award, I now need to tell you 10 truths about me:

  1. I don’t like chocolate. Yes, I said it. I live in a household of chocoholics, but I would choose chips & salsa over dessert.
  2. I love traveling and people watching. There is so much you can learn about a culture from just watching people and listening.
  3. Even though I’ve heard I’m a great cook, I wish I did it more. I’m too lazy to plan out a menu, go to the market and prepare it at home, even though my family always gives BIG SMILES when I do it.
  4. I’m truly blessed with the best husband a woman could have! He was an unexpected candidate, but one of my best life choices.
  5. The best part of pregnancy for me was feeling my babies move inside of me – instant bond!
  6. I don’t think every baby is cute. Fortunately, mine are beautiful 😉
  7. I question my mothering skills more than I’d like. I want the best for my kiddos, and in the end, I hope I am giving it to them.
  8. I enjoy reading people’s statuses and perusing through pictures on Facebook, Flickr & Twitter.
  9. I am not a writer or a photographer, but if I had more time, I wish I could put more energy in these areas.
  10. I wish I had a job where I could stay home and get paid. I like the challenge of business, but I love the comfort of being home and watching my kiddos grow up.

And now I forward this award onto the following bloggers (for them to reveal some truths to us too):

Happy Good People Day 2009

Recently, as a hobby away from the kiddos, I have been exploring social media. On my journey, I came across a dynamic Internet celebrity named Gary Vaynerchuck. Today for the second year, Gary is dedicating this day to praising the people that are awesome and good – the people that have helped you become who you are, or the people that have shaped your approach.

Unfortunately, I am not a video blogger – I have no Web cam, and if I did, I would not know how to use one, so today I write to you. The person who is awesome and good is NOT a blogger, NOT a Twitterer and currently does NOT even have Internet access. Her name is Polly Jeanne Lewis, and she is my paternal grandmother.

The reason I honor her is because she has shaped the way I raise my children and approach life. When I think about a motherhood, my grandmother, grandmommy to me, always comes to mind. I asked her for one piece of advice as I was preparing to have my first child, and she said: “Your children will come into your household, and they will leave when they are adults, but you hubby will be there the whole time. Don’t forget about him.” Those words resonate in my head still. Social media is amazing – I can blog about what it is like being a mommy, and I can stay connect with old friends and meet new people through facebook and twitter, but at the end of the day, it is my hubby that is by my side.

Another piece of wisdom that my grandmommy told me was to ALWAYS forgive people even if you do not know why they did what they did. Complaining and bickering only produce the fruit of bitterness, but forgiveness gives you power and freedom. Life can move at a fast pace, but sometimes it is nice to stop and smell the roses with special people like my grandmommy and just listen to how awesome and good they are.

As an adult and a mother, I have come to appreciate the wisdom of my elders. The lessons I learned from my grandmommy, I hope, have carried over into my life to be passed on to my children. I encourage you to have a chat with your grandparents, and just LISTEN. They have such great stories about where they came from and what the world has become. Today I honor my grandmommy for Good People Day, and I am thankful for wisdom and advice!

How to Help Stay-at-Home Parents

I was flipping through channels and stopped on an interview of Dr. Laura Schlessinger speaking about her new book called “In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms.” Love her or hate her, she wrote a list that was right on. I’d like to add stay-at-home dads to the list, though, because they are working just as hard as moms.

5 Things Dad’s Can Do to Help Stay At Home Moms

  • Cut out complaining or bragging
  • Find something to compliment about the home
  • Find time to talk to your wife as “your woman”
  • Brag about your wife and kids in her presence
  • Provide break or “girl” time for your wife

Even though I stay at home with the kiddos with no monetary compensation, it is the best job I have ever had! Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.”

$imple $aving Ideas

As many of you know by watching the news or listening to the radio, we are in trying times. A poll estimates 67% of American households are cutting spending (source: Washington Post Poll: High Anxiety Act). After sharing some ideas with some girlfriends on how to enjoy life on a tight budget, I’ve decided I should share with others. I hope this helps at least one reader on how you can live a “posh life” without breaking the bank – no pun intended 😉

First, let’s talk about one of the greatest words in English dictionary – FREE! Did you know that if you sign up for e-mail newsletters from retailers and restaurants, they will send you coupons, discounts and possibly a free meal? I have been fortunate enough to receive a $10 gift card from Sur La Table, free food from Krogers Co. (or Fry’s for those on the West Coast) and free meals on the month of my birthday and anniversary from various restaurants. Before settling for McDonald’s for dinner, plan ahead and sign-up for newsletters at restaurants that you enjoy or you’d like to enjoy. It is amazing how many will send you a welcome coupon for a free appetizer or dessert.

Next, reevaluate the stuff in your house. This step was revolutionary for me and my family. We decided that we could not afford to move into a bigger house, and we need to be content with the blessing that we had in our home. As many of you know, with children comes a lot of stuff – most of which you only use for a finite period. I read an article in the Better Homes & Garden Storage magazine that adviced you to go into a room and go through every single item in it. Ask yourself: “Do I really need that item? Am I happy that it’s there? Or, would I be just fine if it were not?” If you can find stuff to get rid of, get rid of it – it just creates clutter and it might have some value to others. Clean out your closet. Try selling it on craigslist or donate it for the tax deduction – all of which turn old stuff you don’t want to use any more into money in your pocket. Not only that, it’s often a psychological load off your mind to clean your house. BTW I am the hugest fan of craigslist – I have sold over $50k worth of goods on it and met some amazing people along the way 🙂

Sell books, music and DVDs cheaply on the internet via services like Half.com. Also, if you need to buy books, check it out – Half.com has new and used books, and even cheap textbooks! It also has a great selection of DVDs, plus inexpensive Blu Rays.

Rethink cable. Instead of spending money on cable, we have chosen to subscribe to Netflix for under $20. With Netflix, you can get movies and television shows in the mail and also on you computer. I’ve also heard the Redbox is great. Did you know that most cable shows can been seen on their web site or over hulu?

Finally, dig into your community calendar. There are often tons of free events going on in your town that you don’t even know about. Check out GoCityKids or your local newspapers & magazines. You can often get free meals, free entertainment and free stuff just by paying attention – even better, you’ll get in touch with what’s going on around you.

On the Road Again

Moving can be tough on kids, especially when daddy is away. I know this personally since I moved twice in a span of a couple years when I was a teenager. It was not easy on me or my brother. I did not want my kids to feel like they didn’t have any control and that they were never part of this big move. To ensure my kids felt like they’re involved, I began making a list of things I wanted to make sure to do before we moved from Arizona and also things I wanted ready for them in Texas.

First, notify the teachers far in advance that you are moving. I had my oldest enrolled until the day we boarded the plane. I needed that time when she was in school to get packed and do last-minute tasks for the move. I think it also helped her be distracted by classmates. On my oldest’s last day, her class put together a great good-bye book for her. She read it on the plane to Texas. At the same time, start looking for a new school for your child. This was really important to me – Is it accredited? Is it more like a school NOT a day care? Is it close to home or to work? As you can see, I am a detail person. After deciding which school, show your child pictures and talk about the new school to build excitement.

Next, start talking about where you are moving to. Tell them about the neighborhood/area and all the things you can do there. I think my oldest and my youngest thought Texas was “The Promised Land.” Well, I know others call it that, so I guess they weren’t off the mark 😉

Plan good-bye parties for your kids! Do not wait for others to do this for you, even though I was fortunate to have friends who did. I took lots of pictures, and my oldest and my youngest love looking at their Arizona friends. It is a great way to remember their “old” friends. Saying goodbye is an important step in the moving process.

Next, make sure living arrangements while you are in transition are “fun”. We were privileged to stay at good friends’ home in Arizona, which felt like a big slumber party. We also stayed at “Abuelita’s” home when we arrived in Texas. Let’s just say the week before moving into the new house was more like a vacation for the kids than a hard, long-distant move. As you see, I bolded “for my kids” because it felt more like the latter for my hubby and me.

Finally, I would like to thank all of you in Arizona and Texas who helped me along the way to make this move as smooth as possible. You not only blessed me but also my kids. So that is my final item on my list – ask for help! For such a big life-change, you cannot do it alone.

Home, Sweet, Home

As I mentioned in my previous post, the family relocated to Texas. In September, my hubby’s company flew us out to check out the area and look at houses. After a crazy weekend of house hunting, I began to reflect on the question, “What makes a house a home?” To me, proximity to everyday activities, a nice, safe neighborhood and place that can hold my family and future guests is perfect. A “house” indicates a physical structure. While it may have four walls and a roof, it does not have any charisma beyond that. Conversely, a “home” offers a sense of place in addition to giving shelter. My family adds our personal touches that it makes it our perfect home 🙂

BTW, it was not until the last house we saw that my hubby realized what he wanted. Therefore, I left the house hunting to my hubby, and I knew the kids and I would make it a home. Fortunately, after a few weeks of searching, we were blessed with the following:

  • A spacious front yard where the kids can play
  • A quiet street with little to no traffic for my kid’s safety
  • A nice neighborhood with playgrounds, pools and tennis courts to keep us active
  • A backyard for the kids to play, so they are not watching too much TV
  • Carpet and tile floors
  • An office for privacy and “mommy time”
  • Three bedrooms
  • Two bathrooms
  • A room available for a kid’s play area for those rainy days
  • A laundry room – in our old house we did laundry in the garage which was SO HOT!
  • A spacious kitchen for entertaining family and friends
  • Upgraded countertops for easy cleaning
  • A fireplace for the cold, winter days
  • A garage for the car and storage of bikes, etc.

Family Camp Worth the Money


I have been meaning to write more regularly on my blog, but life has distracted me. One of these things was a great vacation this past summer to a family camp. I know you might think this is only seen on movies, but there are actually great places around the country which allow the family to bond for a week with no distractions like TV and Internet. My trip to family camp was life changing, and I challenge your family to go to one.

Family camp is run much in the way a youth camp would be including activities for families together or apart such as kayaking, hiking, swimming, rock jumping and arts and crafts. Meals at family camp are eaten together in the rustic dining hall, but here is the catch. Parents are not always responsible for their children at all times. We attended Forest Home in Mill Creek Canyon, California. At this camp, they provide or you bring a CCA (Childcare Assistant). During the late afternoon and evening times, she watches your children meanwhile you and your honey bond over a good message or quiet, couple time 🙂 This was a great week long vacation that was hard to leave. My daughter still talks about the great times she had at family camp. This great experience will be a tradition in the Buxton household, and I hope in yours. This next year, we will try another camp called Pine Cove.

If you too have had a great experience at family camp, please share where and what was great about it.

Baby Registry – What You Really Need

“What do I need to buy for my baby?” “What brands do you recommend?” “What could you live without and what are you glad you had?” These are the questions I often get from new mommies and daddies who are entering the world of parenthood. After reading a blog from a fellow twitterer, I finally have decided to blog about what I think you need and what brands provide the best buy for you and your baby 🙂

Before I begin, I want to thank my best friend, Vanessa, for helping me prepare for my babies. She gave me a lot advice and wisdom, and so I hope to pass it along to you. Let me begin with car seats, this of course is one of the most important since your baby cannot leave the hospital without one 🙂 I have tried a few brands – Britax, Costco, and Graco. The best infant seat is Britax. It has won many safety awards, and it has stylish prints. It might cost a little bit more, but well worth it for the peace of mind.

Next comes the complex area of strollers. There are so many types, weights, looks and prices of strollers that you can become overwhelmed. First, I would NOT recommend the travel systems. We never bought one, but my friends who did ended up buying something else because they felt it was too bulky. I would recommend a car seat stroller. They are cheap, light and compact. After the baby could hold up his head, we bought an upgraded light stroller. After carrying around the infant seat, I was ready for something light and easy to travel, and the Maclaren strollers were just that for our family. We originally had an all-terrain stroller, but I needed an SUV just to transport the stroller, so I ended up selling it. Personally, I am all about convenience 🙂

In our family, mommy and daddy carried their own diaper bag. I had my stylish Kate Spade bag while my hubby enjoyed his Diaper Dude. Having your own bag is less stressful for you and your family – take it from me 😉 My hubby also wanted to have a baby carrier. He used it a lot especially when we took walks through the park and the zoo. It is so easy to use when traveling instead of bring the stroller. The Baby Bjorn is the one we had and loved!

Finally, for the first two months of our kiddos’ lives, we use a co-sleeper next to our bed. I am too lazy to get up out of bed and do late-night feedings. After our babies slept through the night, the kiddos moved to their own rooms. For the kiddos’ rooms, I would recommend a convertible crib, a changing table and a glider. We chose neutral furniture that our kiddos would grow into, so we did not have to buy furniture at each childhood milestone. I consider myself a savvy shopper, and I hope these tips will help you as your prepare for your bundle of joy!

Daily Prayer

“…Teach us almighty father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past…” Jane Austen