Family days are so important but sometimes life gets busy and we forget to stop to take a break. I am so happy we were able to surprise our little one with a small road trip to a family friendly place. Its such a struggle to find such places in northern California, especially coming from southern California where we had them everywhere. Northern California is set up more for the young, hip generations or the techies so when we moved back after being away for more than 5 years it was a big shock to not be able to find places to explore with my toddler. We went from having literally hundreds of places to go to none. The cold weather kept us from visiting too many playgrounds so I searched for more options. I found lots of hidden gems that can really be fun for the whole family. Number one on my list is Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. It gets an all around A+ from Millennial Momee. If you are located in San Francisco it is a drive but totally worth it.
1. Buy tickets online plus the parking pass. You won't have to stand in line to buy tickets and can go straight to the gate.
2. Bring lots of water, especially if you are going during the summer
3. Bring swim wear & towels if going during the summer up to September 24. You don't need a life jacket if your little one can stand in 1.5 feet of water because that's the deepest it goes.
4. Do the rides first and then venture to the swim area because you won't be able to get your little ones out of the splash zones. They have two zones. I felt like the first one that we visited was for more bigger kids called Bonfante's Splash Garden. They had a really big slide that my toddler was too little for so we stayed a little bit and splashed around in the fountains before venturing to the water oasis. The water oasis is perfect for little ones equipped with two water slides and a very shallow pool it was the perfect break from the heat!
9. All of the rides are free inside except the farm animals and of course its right next to the entrance so your little ones can't miss it. It's only $5 per child plus 25 cents to feed the goats and its totally worth it. They have a pony, goats, and chickens. You can actually pet and hold the chickens!
10. There are clean bathrooms along the park equipped with changing tables for the little babes and guess what? Even the men's restroom has them too.
Overall it was very family friendly and such a beautiful place. It is definitely on our list of places to visit again. For dinner before we drove back we stopped by Garlic City and had amazing pasta there. My picky toddler said it was delicious! Also, if you have a couple of hours left and some energy stop by the Gilroy outlets for some fun shopping!
What are your favorite places to visit in Northern California? Share in the comments below!
We adopted our first child aka our pup, Ellie, when she was only four months old. It was about a month into us just moving in together and me starting graduate school. So you can only imagine what kind of changes we went through. She was my gift from my husband and our first baby. She was our first big responsibility and wow did we learn a lot with her. When we first learned I was pregnant nine months into our married life and Ellie was over a year old we wanted to make sure to include her into the pregnancy as much as we could. She still slept in our bed, I still walked with her as my belly grew, and she loved napping right on it. We made sure she would be taken care of when I went into labor by our dearest friends and we picked her up as soon as we came back from the hospital. She was afraid when she heard cries from the bassinet. I still remember her running around our living room frantically in circles around the bassinet. We calmed her down and introduced her to the new addition to our family gently. She licked him and they have been best friends ever since, however, there was a time period that they fought like cats and dogs and that was an awfully hard time for all of us. My son was about twenty months hitting the curiosity stage and also the “let’s torture the dog” stage. We had to teach him to be gentle with her and only touch her with us but still we had our fears especially when he kept poking at her or grabbing her tail. We had to be the mediators and eventually decided to keep them separated by gates. It was so difficult because Ellie didn’t understand why she had to be separated from us at certain times. She is a very talkative dog and would express her disappointment very loudly. We kept introducing them daily to each other and teaching our toddler how to approach her. Finally he outgrew the torment stage a couple of months later and we all had a big sigh of relief.
10 Tips to help your toddler & pup to get along:
Make sure when your child starts to crawl that all dog food bowls are hidden because toddlers are curious and dog food may look tasty to them. Teaching them to respect your dog will also teach them respect to other animals. Lastly, things get really busy when you have both a dog and a toddler. Learn to balance life with both and set time as a family together. We did daily evening walks when weather was nice and fit in some hiking time on the weekends as a family. They both adjusted to each other and my little one couldn’t fall asleep without the dog on the bed next to him. They are inseparable now. Remember toddlers grow and mature and so do dogs. Just breathe, maintain your rules, and this too shall pass.
HAPPY NATIONAL PET DAY :)
One topic hit hard was that the number one chemical stressor for kids and adults alike is processed food. I volunteered in my undergraduate days in a Nutrition Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital educating parents what type of changes need to be made for kids to eat well. Majority of the time both parents wanted to help their kids lose weight and eat better but just didn’t have the time. When both parents are working full time trying to make ends meet the last thing that is on their mind is nutrition. I mean I’ve been there, coming home from a long day at work and then have to stand and cook a nutritious meal fast because everyone is hungry. So, what do most parents do? Either they bring take out, resort to frozen food, or other prepared foods.
Even when you go grocery shopping the aisles are filled with lots of brightly colored boxes displaying favorite cartoon characters or promising a toy inside. All of these companies know how to properly market their products and they do that by targeting the future generation. Look at McDonald’s who has a mascot of a clown and gives toys in their kid’s meals. As a result, we have a rise in obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Watch Jaime Oliver's video below how chicken nuggets are made from these surprising ingredients versus real chicken. Which one do you think kids choose to eat?
5 WAY TO ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING HABITS
1. Educate. Teach your kids by talking and reading books about vegetables and fruits. Teach them why it's good for our bodies. Just like plants need sun, soil, and water to grow our bodies need the proper nutrients to grow such as vegetables. My little one is in his super hero stage and loves hulk. He always wants to be big and strong like him so I tell him the truth how to grow by eating his vegetables. We read a fun book by Usborne books called "The Secrets in the Vegetable Garden" and I highly recommend it because it is interactive. I read and then my toddler can shine a flashlight to discover hidden vegetables.
2. Learn to stand your ground. This is a tough one. When my son was starting solids I introduced all of the vegetables I could think of and he loved them. Then he hit toddler stage and became a picky eater, still loving his vegetables but only some. I realized that if he will be hungry he will eat. Snacks weren't allowed until he ate his food. Every day when I packed his lunch with veggies they would still come back home, until one day he just ate everything and asked for more. It's all about standing your ground as a parent and not giving in.
3. Pack Healthy Snacks. Weekends were always are hardest because we were out and about exploring so we would get hungry. Bring snacks and lunch with you. If you know you will be out for a long time then make a picnic out of it and bring healthy food with you. Our little one didn't mind and always asked for more picnics. When we would come home I would be exhausted that we would have to struggle with dinner options. So I usually cook food on Friday night to last us through the weekend or put on the instant pot on Saturday morning and our dinner will be done by the time we get home.
4. Encourage them to cook with you. We have the most fun cooking as a family. Yes it may take longer but it is so worth it. Weekdays I keep it simple and let my little one help me make smoothies. Isn't it more fun to drink or eat what you made yourself? Kids love it!
5. Lead by example. Kids are super smart and they watch your every move. If you want them to eat something then eat it yourself first. You can't force a child to eat vegetables if you don't eat them as well. There are so many fun recipes to make vegetables delicious! Our most favorite is Borscht (Russian Beet Soup) which you can find a super simple recipe in Lala's Kitchen or by clicking here. My toddler loves it and it is loaded with vegetables! Win Win!
My three favorite kitchen items to keep my family eating healthy are below! Check them out. I would love to hear what your favorite kitchen essentials are to cook healthy! Comment below:)
2. It's Okay to Ask for Help
Make sure to ask for help from a friend, relative, or nanny. In my case grandma was a superhero! She had the most important job, entertaining my little one. Make sure your toddler is occupied with lots of activities during the move to make the transition easier. If you are like us and have a furry child too, grandma's are the best to help with both.
I love Southern California for the many child friendly and fun places that are around. One of them is the Children's Museum in Orange County. So if you are here visiting Disneyland, don't forget to take a day off and drop by. It's low key and fun! It's been our favorite place since my little one could walk. A perfect place to hide from the exhausting SUMMER heat.
*They change exhibits constantly throughout the year and have a major change once a year in September (when they are completely closed for the month).
The new exhibit is all about bugs. Yes they have LIVING bugs there. Not so fun for me but great for my little one. Very educational!
There are many different rooms filled with fun adventures! Dinosaurs, a small carousel, a little tree house room with toys, a theater & costume room, animal room, big train room, actual trains that you can go inside of, and so much more! My favorite room is the cultural room where they feature a lot of Russian dolls and Matryoshkas!
If you plan to go often get their membership pass! It is really a great deal!
What are your favorite spots to visit with toddlers in Southern California?
Find everything about the location, price, and exhibits here: http://www.lhcm.org/
*This is not a sponsored post. Everything I said here is my honest opinion and just a fun find that I wanted to share! Enjoy:)
If you walk into my parent's house you will see lots of books, EVERYWHERE, carefully stored away into bookshelves filled with tons of interesting Russian and American books. That's how I was raised. I was raised to read. Yes, I did watch TV, but my summers were filled with an adventure and escape into the world of reading. My parents always got excited about reading books and they passed that onto me. I have forgotten all about it since I became a mom. Who had time to read? I barely had enough time to read books about babies and the essentials. After I had my son, the only reading I did was to my little one and I wanted him to enjoy it as he grew. We started early about four months when I would lay next to him and read him stories. Today he can sit endlessly and listen to me read. I wanted to make sure I pass down my passion for reading to him so we headed to our local bookstore. I planned on finding a good read for myself as well as update his library of books. It was such a fun time! We ended up spending a couple of hours at our favorite store, Barnes & Nobles (please don't close). We read about cars, dinosaurs, trains, super heroes, animals, and of course Nemo (a new favorite obsession). I think we could have been there all day but we had errands to run.
I actually prefer physical books than reading on an electronic device so I was excited to start my mission of finding good books for both of us.
I love that Barnes and Nobles has a huge kid section tucked away with lots of fun books as well as a seating area to get comfortable and read. The bad thing was that they did have toys there which I didn't appreciate as much as my toddler did. They were a little distracting but we had a great deal of fun and chose a few books. Here are our findings and one for moms:)
I am affiliated with amazon but I will tell you this, the books are cheaper online! So I have posted the book links for you if you are curious to check them out!
What are some fun books do you love to read to your toddlers?
Comment below! I always love adding to our reading list!
We have been faking being hearing for a little longer than two years now. We rocked out to the music. We chatted with each other in gibberish. We toss an object across the room and pretended to hear the noise. Out in the public, we nodded every time people spoke to us. Our family and friends knew about our secret plan and they went along with it.
When do you think is an appropriate time to inform our daughter that we are Deaf? I am considering
maybe when she turns 18, so she can move out if she wants to.
Coral is only two-year-old. She knows she has parents just like everybody else, but she has no idea that we are different from most parents. Having Deaf parents is normal for her. She is hearing, but we are raising her the Deaf way.
What does the Deaf way mean? We converse in ASL (American sign language), always have closed captioning on TV, use flashing lights or stomp our feet on the floor to get attention, write on papers to communicate with non-signers, etc.
We started signing to her right away when she was born. It was strange for us to sign to her as she would not look at us. She seldom paid attention to us. Imagine my surprise when at hardly six-months-old, she signed her first word, NO. She waved her index finger at people, our dogs or objects and said NO! She knew her first sign had to be NO. From there, her sign language and spoken language flourished. She learned both at the same time. She was paying attention after all!
She notices if closed captioning are not on the television and could not care less if the TV volume is off.
Coral LOVES to do facial expressions from early on. When she signs or says words, they often come with facial expressions. She also makes a lot of noises when she sign. Facial expressions and noisy sign language are common in the Deaf world.
She loves music. Every time her favorite show’s theme song comes on, she grabs me, drags me over to the TV and we start dancing to the song.
She knows to tap on my leg or shoulder to get my attention. She started doing that when she was a baby. Before she could walk, she crawled up to me and tapped on my leg. She knows to maintain eye contact while communicating with other people. However, she is being a typical 2-year-old nowadays so she ignores people on purpose.
Coral believes that all people know how to sign. Boy, how I wish that could be true. She gets discouraged when she tries to sign to other kids and they do not acknowledge her. I normally go to them and gestured to other kids to play with Coral. They were thrilled to play together. At first, other kids would try to communicate with Coral but they soon realized that she wouldn’t answer back. They managed to interact through gestures while playing instead. It is crazy how young children are more accepting of people different from them.
Sometimes, people would ask me if she is deaf because she prefers to sign.
When she gets older, she will realize that her parents cannot hear and talk with our voices. I hope when that day come, she will be proud of her Deaf parents and of her bilingual & bi-cultural life.
Life would be less complicated if we have a Deaf child since we already know what the child will go through. We will be ready to guide the Deaf child to prevent the same mistakes from occurring. Nevertheless, I am always up for new challenges. It has been a grand adventure navigating through life with a hearing bilingual & bi-cultural toddler.
The diagnosis of eczema in children under 17 is becoming more prevalent in the United States. A portion of it to be blamed on genetics and a portion on environmental as well as dietary factors. It is a scary thing when you first see it on your child. At first you think WHAT IS THAT? Is it hives? I thought they were hives because my son’s nanny at the time decided to give him two eggs each morning for a week. Excessive right? We started eliminating eggs from his diet but that didn’t seem to help much. I rewinded back to late October and remembered that we had a lot of chemical and emotional stressors in our life. We were exposed to high levels of toxicity unfortunately and we as a family paid for it with our health. Coming from an alternative health care background as well as growing up in a family that always supported natural remedies prior to medication, we held back on the anti-inflammatory steroid drugs that most pediatricians prescribe.
We were fortunate to be able to change pediatricians and fall into the open arms of a one of a kind pediatrician. A pediatrician who supports alternative medicine and will try everything else before he over prescribes medications to a child. We got lucky, but many families don’t. Can you imagine having a child on prescription steroids for the rest of their life? I heard a story like that. A 30 year old man who was diagnosed with eczema when he was a toddler and ended up on prescription medications at an early age. He felt like an 80 year old. He had more illnesses than he could have imagined due to so much inflammation building up in his body from the medicine. He overwhelmed his body and now it was failing him. That story made me feel very afraid for my son and his future. I didn’t want my son to end up like that so I knew I had to be pro-active about it. I write this because I want other moms to know that there are other ways to help your infants, toddlers, and kids with eczema. I am happy to know that what helped my son, helps other kids and I will continue to spread the word. They say there is no cure for eczema but at least there is a way to become asymptomatic. For some kids this may work better than for others, but you try and you do what you think is best as a mom!
According to the “National Eczema Association” most kids who get eczema will continue to have it in adulthood.
“A substantial proportion of the US population has symptoms of eczema; 31.6 million with eczema, and at least 17.8 million with moderate to severe eczema or atopic dermatitis. The prevalence of childhood eczema/atopic dermatitis in the US is 10.7% overall and as high as 18.1% in individual states and 21% across various countries. Approximately one out of every three children with eczema/atopic dermatitis has moderate to severe disease. A recent study found that the prevalence of eczema in adults is 10.2%, which suggests that most children with eczema/atopic dermatitis continue to be affected even in adulthood. Three percent of US adults have moderate to severe eczema/atopic dermatitis requiring systemic therapy” (http://nationaleczema.org/research/eczema-prevalence/).
This is a growing problem. There is limited treatment and the steroids that are supposed to control the symptoms do more harm than good. One side affect listed of a topical hydrocortisone cream says, “If the cream/ointment is used for a long period, there is a risk that the skin will become thinner, there may be some scarring and small blood vessels may become visible on the skin and areas of the skin may become darker” (http://www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk/search-for-a-leaflet/hydrocortisone-topical-for-eczema/). Yes short-term use can help with the symptoms but what do you do after? What do you do if you have to use it long-term? You risk that your skin will become damaged and other unpleasant side effects. You need to search for the underlying cause, instead of masking the symptoms.
To investigate what those underlying causes are we started with an elimination diet. Everything in his diet for two weeks was gluten free, grain free, no eggs, and nothing red. We would start to re-introduce the foods slowly and monitor the rashes. For some reason we would see a spike in redness if he ate tomatoes or red apples. He loves apples so we switched him to green apples instead. You can also request blood work specifically to see what your little one is allergic to. The doctor also suggested daily vitamins and probiotics. Along with that we offered itchiness relief by applying a miracle lotion (at least I thought it was) called “SHIKIA BORAGE THERAPY CHILDREN’S LOTION.” I also used aveeno baby eczema lotion but found that Shikia’s was more effective in the beginning. My son’s pediatrician also prescribed him homeopathic droplets. During bath-time I would put in Aveeno baby eczema bath treatment for soothing. He was also constantly adjusted as needed. Chiropractic does help restore the nervous system and played a major role in helping his system detox from all the toxicity.
My son’s eczema was between mild and severe. It was getting to the severe stage before we finally hit a downward spiral and all the inflammation decreased. After everything we followed through this regime day by day religiously and it was gone. Sometimes it may still pop out once in a while when he eats something he’s not supposed to, but it goes away. It never hits the severe stage.
You need to find an underlying cause to disease and fix that, not only treat the symptoms!
SHORT REMEDY LIST OF WHAT TO TRY:
1. Elimination diet
3. Daily vitamins (we did Vitamin D and C)
4. Best lotions that worked for us: Shikai borage therapy for children (click below)
5. Bath time with Aveeno baby eczema treatment (avoid over–bathing)
6. Keep your toddlers nails short! I learned that the hard way. He would scratch until he bled!
7. If possible see a pediatrician with an alternative health care background.
8. See a Chiropractor who specializes in pediatrics (check out ICPA or click here for one in your area!)
It’s difficult to see your child in pain or covered in rashes. It takes time to clear. Be patient. Be consistent. And follow through.
One of my favorite and passionate subjects, PEDIATRICS.
I was lucky enough to have one of the best and very knowledgeable mentors in school. She inspired me more and more everyday through her teachings. At my Chiropractic school clinic I was able to intern with her and watch the many ways Chiropractic would change a kid’s life. I would see such progress and changes with every patient she had and I wanted to make sure that I would make a difference in every child’s life that I would see in my future practice. It is disappointing to see that there are so many childhood diseases and disorders out there. I am shocked at the rate of how many kids are being diagnosed with speech delay, ADHD, and autism. Even some therapists themselves are surprised at the new alarming increases in rates. Over diagnosis leads to over medicating. Big pharma wins again!
ADHD is a hot topic among parents. It was called ADD before but was changed to include the hyperactivity disorder.
What is ADHD? It stands for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A disorder that the CDC claims is affecting a huge number of children.
The criteria to diagnosis ADHD includes:
-inability to focus
-fidgeting and squirming
“Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are three main signs of the condition in kids of any age, according to the NIH” (Madell).
Did you know that some of those signs are typical child like behavior?