Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer's Here (Well Almost)

Maybe Baby Girl C wants to be an official summer baby. The weather in San Jose finally feels like summer (80s!) but the official first day of summer is tomorrow. I thought she was going to be here already because I've been having some pretty serious Braxton Hicks contractions since Friday. But I suspect it was just her way of telling me from the womb that I can't tell her what to do and this is just the start of a long and painful relationship. Neither of the boys made me go through this exercise. When I went into labor I went from 1 to 10 cms in a matter of hours. I don't know where I am today, but I was at 2 cm at the OB's office on Friday and am still waiting. Maybe yelling at my large belly and getting H&R to yell "Come out NOW!" as well wasn't the nicest way to convince her to make her debut. So instead of being in a haze taking care of a newborn, I'm taking care of my first two babies! It's strange because they're on summer break so I have to think of things for them to do.

I wanted to sign them up for camps but found it impossible because of the uncertainty of when the baby would arrive. Since the average cost of a camp breaks down to $35/day, I couldn't risk them losing multiple days if I went into labor and there wasn't anyone available to take them. So we'll be at the library a lot (the one we weren't kicked out of) and make frequent trips to the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. It's really a great children's museum. I like that it's multiple floors and there is actually space for kids to move around. Some other museums we've been to have felt so cramped that I can't believe they charge the same as the CDM. We enjoyed our first visit several months ago enough to sign up for an annual membership and so far they haven't gotten tired of it. We went to the recent members party for the new dinosaur exhibit, Mammoth Discovery. The boys both had a great time playing with bones and discovering dinosaur facts. I only wish there were more dinosaurs, but then again, it's not a natural history museum. We'll need to go back soon to explore the other new exhibit soon, Animal Secrets.

Today, I had to think of something for them to do other than watch Wiggles. So we came up with our own version of Angry Birds. H&R love to play that game on iPad and on Stewart's android phone. (They love that game so much they insisted on getting Stewart an Angry Birds shirt for Father's Day. We actually had to go to the store twice to get the exact shirt they wanted for him.) For our version, we found all the pigs in the house, including two actual Angry Birds pigs they had gotten at Build-a-Bear, and set them up as the targets. Who knew they had so many different toy pigs! It was also surprising that they have ZERO birds. Well maybe not surprising given my intense fear and dislike of birds, but I thought they would have at least one. Instead they had to use balls as "birds." I think they liked our low-tech version just as much. At least I know R did since he could actually "kill" some of the pigs, which he's not skilled enough to do on the actual video game! Now I've got to stop writing so I can get back to setting up the game for them.

Monday, June 6, 2011

PARTYTIME! H's Birthday & POCOYO Let's Party Review and GIVEAWAY

 It's June so time for H's annual birthday party bonanza. Just like last year, I was very tempted to skip a party altogether and just take him to Disneyland or Legoland and say that was for his "birthday," but just like last year, I caved when he started talking about his birthday and what he wanted for his party. I didn't want him to feel like we didn't do enough for his birthday especially since his baby sister is due around the same time. R, on the other hand, still doesn't care too much and didn't really have a party, we just took an enormous Thomas cake to his Sunday School class. Of course, that meant H had to look through the cake catalog and pick out his cake that he would have for his birthday six weeks later. And at his age, he doesn't forget. Unfortunately H never got to see his cake in one piece because they made me cut it up outside before bringing it into the classroom. I guess that's why the other parents had all brought cupcakes.

I was going to do just cake, but then H brought up the issue of goody bags. And so it ended up being much more work than I had anticipated, with multiple trips beforehand and trips to three different stores on the day of his school party. One of those trips was to the health food store to pick up a vegan cookie for a classmate who is allergic to eggs. The teacher mentioned twice how it would be nice if he could be included so I made the special trip AND THEN HE DIDN'T SHOW UP! Oh well! What matters is that H had a great time and was very proud and happy so it was worth it. He also loved his Spiderman cake (props to Safeway!) and had two servings!

We had to have his school party early because this next week is the last day of preschool. Then on his actual birthday is the dreaded CEC party. Every time we go to Chuck E Cheese, I end up holding R most of the time because he is afraid of Chuck E. It doesn't help that you can see the stage with the animatronic characters from every angle of the "restaurant" or that Chuck E comes out every 30 minutes and walks around. So R will probably spend the party crying into my shoulder or going home early with Auntie L. But that's what H wants, so he's getting it. After all, age five is the last birthday that H can have a CEC party since he will be in kindergarten next year and there is no amount of money that will get me into a CEC other than on a weekday morning.

To celebrate H's birthday, one Random Mommy reader will win a copy of the latest Pocoyo DVD, appropriately titled Pocoyo: Let's Party!  H&R LOVE to watch Pocoyo and this DVD was no exception. Pocoyo is a curious little boy with a big personality. He explores the world around him by creating great adventures with his friends Pato, Elly, Loula and Sleepy Bird. On Pocoyo: Let's Party!, Pocoyo and his friends celebrate a birthday party, a welcome home party, a tea party and other adorable adventures. I am a huge fan of Pocoyo because it teaches lessons while being entertaining. There isn't a lot of the background graphics or heavy dialogue (most of the dialogue is done by the narrator) that can be overwhelming for young viewers, which is why I think it is equally appealing for both R and H. R's favorite episode on this 90 minute DVD is Pato Underwater (which he thinks is called Pocoyo Underwear) and H's favorite is Farewell Friends.

The 7-minute episodes are straightforward enough that H&R are able to watch it in Spanish and follow along. This is actually how they were introduced to Pocoyo, by watching on Univision. It's now also on Nick Jr. and PBS as well as having a huge presence on Youtube. Currently licensed for airing in over 150 territories worldwide, POCOYO has earned a host of international accolades including the prestigious BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) for Best Animated Preschool Series, three Pucinella Prizes at Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay Festival and Best TV Series at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France. For more fun Pocoyo content, you can find fun Pocoyo party activity pages for FREE online, including party coasters, party invitations and party hats! In addition, the Pocoyize application, which allows users to create their own POCOYO-style avatar, complete with personalized hair style, skin and eye color and clothes, has proven to be a huge hit both online and via iPhone® with approximately 11 million people Pocoyized to date.

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  Contest period runs from Monday, June 6, 2011 at 12:01 AM (Pacific) until Monday, June 13, 2011 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving a comment on your favorite reason to party, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, making sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address.

Bonus Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry, it counts if you've done any of these so leave a comment for each one)
1) Follow me on Twitter
2) Tweet this contest and leave the tweet url (
3) Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect by clicking on the sidebar
4) Like Pocoyo on Facebook
5) Follow Pocoyo on Twitter

If you don't leave a qualifying comment and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize to randomly choose the winner. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will go to the next place winner as decided by This contest is open for US and Canadian Residents onlyGood luck and have a great week!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I did receive a product sample to facilitate my review.