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 πŸ˜‰

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, β€œWhat 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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

Setting a Routine

I prefer to use the routine than schedule. In recent times, schedule has had mixed connotations linked to the word. Some moms love scheduling, and others feel confined by it. Because of this, I prefer “setting a routine” for me and my children. I found setting a routine very helpful for my family. Both of my children like a routine, and they prefer me to stick with it. If I don’t, they usually communicate their dissatisfaction through crying or whining.

When I begin setting a routine, I focus first on when my children need to eat – breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack or two between. After this, I determine how much sleep my children need. My infant needs between 2 – 3 naps (2-hours each) daily and my toddler needs 1 (2-hour) nap. After I have determined these two things, then I have set up their routine. My question to you – how many well-fed and well-rested children throw tantrums?

Poisoning our Children?

Yesterday, I receive another warning that there are possible dangers from plastic baby bottles (e.g. Avent, Dr. Brown, etc.). This is driving me mad. As a mother, I try my best to provide all for my children, and even that is not enough. Toys, baby bottles, food – what is next? I feel like the quality control is diminishing in the states. I having to research everything that my child touches. This is concerning and exhausting.

OFF SOAP BOX
Here is the information that I have collected regarding these concerns. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a substance used in the production of polycarbonate plastics that has estrogenic properties and has been shown in animal tests to cause a host of health problems such as cancer and male and female hormone disruption in lab animals. Both parents and manufacturers are starting to catch onto the idea that safer plastics and even non-plastic materials can be used to make durable and attractive baby bottles and toddler cups.

Preferable Plastics

You can identify better plastics by the recycling code numbers stamped in them. Look for reusable bottles made of:
#2 (HDPE, high-density polyethylene, the most widely recyclable)
#4 (LDPE, low-density polyethylene) or
#5 (PP, polypropylene).
These plastics have not been found to release BPA or phthalates.

On the other hand, most single-use water bottles are made of #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). These bottles, if old, reused or heated, may release phthalates, which are possible human carcinogens, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Also avoid #3 and #7 plastics as polycarbonate has been found in some tests to leach BPA when heated.

ON SOAP BOX
Lead-Free Toys

* Wood toys with or without non-toxic paint
* Rubberwood toys
* Made in America toys since we have strict lead-free guidelines

Daily Routine

William Blake states my daily routine so eloquently. I love mornings! It is truly the only time of the day when I can hear my thoughts. I enjoy sipping coffee on my comfy sofa with no noise or distraction. Then, 7 a.m. comes. It is nonstop preparing food, changing daipers and playing with the kids that sometimes I forget that I have not eaten all day. My husband is quick to remind me of this because my patience is a little short. Ahhh! By the time I am finished with dinner, I am ready for bed. Poof, my head hits the pillow and off to dreamland I go. Until the next morning πŸ™‚