My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

July 9, 2018
by mymommyology
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Podcasts

We spend so much time in the car, the girls have learned to listen to podcasts.

Podcasts for kids were first mentioned by our dearest friends from Chapel Hill when they came to visit.  It became a fun thing for them to enjoy together while we were in the car.

The concept of listening and comprehending was further reinforced in school.  Apparently our school tests auditory comprehension and retention by having the kids listen to podcasts in class, and then have them write down what they remember, what struck them, and the like.

See I don’t think I ever remember having this as a tool when I was growing up.  Everything was visual.  Or, it was the spelling words that I had to get right.  It is great to see how these schools have kept up with the times.

Since then I’ve come to learn and appreciate the value of podcasts, especially during long car rides.  The girls are quiet and they listen.  They don’t fight over what station to listen to.  And that’s a good 30 minutes of peace (at least!).

Here are a few of our favorites:

SMASH BOOM BEST. This is our most recent favorite and we’ve been listening to it constantly.  So far they only have one season in.  Smash Boom Best came from the makers of Brains On (another favorite as you’ll see), that focuses on debates.  Bats vs Owls, Superspeed vs Superstrength, Lava vs Quicksand, Books vs Movies!  The girls go through four rounds of debates and learn fun facts in the process.  I personally love that they can see how both arguments are good, and how both arguments could be improved.  We’ve actually gone into their website and the girls have given their ideas for what debates they think the producers should make.

 

BRAINS ON!  The sister program of Smash Boom Best, Brains On is one of the science podcasts for kids.  Brains on takes a topic and dives into the many different facts surrounding it.  It’s how things work, where things come from, and what makes things go.  All pretty cool topics from booger to dinosaurs and the girls are amused.  We haven’t listened to all of it, but picked through the ones that we like.

WOW IN THE WORLD.  This is another favorite science podcast but formatted differently.  There are two characters, Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz that get entangled in specific situations that lead them to talk about certain facts.  Sometimes they have this time machine (of sorts) that takes them inside people’s brains, takes them back in time, or even out of this world!  I think the girls enjoy the silly parts more than the facts, but really, it’s whatever I can get them to to learn in a fun way, right?

ELEANOR AMPLIFIED.  This is an adventure series featuring Eleanor, a reporter and the sticky situations she gets herself in and out of.  It reminds me of the Nancy Drew mystery books I used to read, but this one is the kid-friendly podcast version.  It is funny and witty, and there are villains and heroes in the story too.  I love how the girls can imagine the actual scene that’s being described by the characters.

THE ALIEN ADVENTURES OF FINN CASPIAN.  This was one of the earlier podcasts the girls have listened to (about a boy that goes into space and beyond — A little bit like Star Trek!).  I don’t think we went past some episodes in the first season, because we had downloaded everything almost all at once.

I just discovered it now has 4 seasons!  Maybe this is something we need to revert back to this summer!

I’ve to admit, even I enjoy some of these podcasts.  The debates for instance, sometimes even the girls and I get into it.  I am learning some fun facts too.  When Eleanor Amplified leaves us hanging, even I can’t wait to get to the next episode to find out what’s happened.  It’s all a lot of fun.

If you have any podcasts you’d like to let us know about, we’d love to hear it!

July 7, 2018
by mymommyology
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Now Trending @TwoTotsPH

Two Tots has done a lot in the last two years.  It’s wonderful to see that our products have indeed, stood the test of time and “grown” with our clients — in a manner of speaking.

As ours are customized pieces of furniture, we have seen some of our traditional furniture increase in size as well — to accommodate these growth spurts.

Our Elizabeth “twin” – in California King size!

More space needed – work desk and drawers.

As space becomes more of a luxury these days, and the cost of real estate rises, more parents have asked us to incorporate additional storage in their limited areas.  We think it’s smart!

Storage where we can. Under the bed, why not?

Designs as well are trending toward more minimalist with small, elegant touches here and there.

Slight waves to add depth and dimension.  And storage!

Our traditional pieces, with little touches of roundness for a more custom look.

We still get the occasional, very specific requests.  And as much as we love to help shape the outcome of a room (or a piece of furniture), we also love bringing our clients’ visions to life.

Clockwise: 1) A navy blue cabinet, 2) A TV stand with drawers, and 3) A ballet barre and mirror.

That ballet barre and mirror is genius, if I do say so myself — for aspiring and dedicated ballerinas-to-be.

And then, there’s the trend on two toned pieces.

Left: Work desk
Right: Fish-tail side table

The fish-tail side table is another customer-inspired piece and we love that she allowed us to share this idea with the world.  We’ve gotten so many inquiries about it too.  This piece however requires a lot of labor-intensive work, but it is made with a lot of love!

Of course, we still have the accessories that can complement these pieces available at our showroom.

Accessories that fit and complement custom-made furniture.

Our pals at the showroom would love for you to come and visit!

We still post regularly on Instagram and Facebook, at @twototsph.  But for quotations, it is better to reach us at inquiries@twotots.net.  Because each piece is custom-made, to be able to give you an accurate estimate of cost, we need to match this with its corresponding specifications.  That’s hard to do in a text response.

And yes, it is July — coming soon will be our #2THoliday2018 Collection!  (How is it Christmas already?!)

If you’d like to visit the Two Tots showroom, please let us know and we’d be happy to put you down for an appointment!

 

July 6, 2018
by mymommyology
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MyMommyology’s #FieldtripFriday: Huntington Gardens

Except, this particular field trip happened on a Monday.

With Maga in town, and the girls out of school, we thought we’d continue our field trips here and there.

A good friend recommended we take her to the Huntington Botanical Gardens, just because it’s beautiful.  So we packed up the car and drove out there for the day.

I’d say off the bat, that a membership there would be worth it if you can go three or more times.  The gardens are very open and spacious, and a good place to let the kids run around and be outdoors, especially during the summer months.

And on that note, when bringing children, I would encourage packing a backpack of food, drinks and snacks.  You technically aren’t allowed to take any outside food into the grounds, but there is an area before you enter where you can sit and eat before exploring.  If anything, we found the food inside the cafes and tea houses were a little overpriced for what it was.  

There is a lot to see — beginning with Huntington’s old home with all the European Art collection.  My kids were not as interested to stay in the building (granted that everything else was outdoors), but we did go into the hall where the Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough was located.

The room where the painting resides.

We were able to go around a little bit and explore the library.  The girls sat on typical chairs the Huntingtons would sit on back in their time.

Chair templates

Needless to say, we didn’t enter the American Art museum because the girls just wanted to stay in the gardens.

The Rose Garden is very colorful, and reminds me distinctly of Beauty and the Beast’s Gardens.  Who knew there would be more than one type of rose?  I didn’t.

Using the panoramic view of the iPhone.

We also downloaded a QR scanner on our phones to learn a little bit more about the roses in that garden.

My personal favorite was the Japanese Garden.

Beautiful view, with a little moon bridge and all!

The docent explained that the Japanese Garden was a surprise gift by Mr. Huntington to his wife.  She didn’t like it at first but then she eventually grew accustomed to it.  They used to have tea in the Japanese tea house up the hill.  This was transported out of Japan during the great earthquake in the early 1900s and brought here.

I love that the girls get a little bit of history as they appreciate some natural beauty all around them.

The Japanese gardens also have a Bonsai Court — my guess is it’s Jamie’s favorite since she said “all the trees are smaller than me!”

So cute these tiny trees!

We walked past the Chinese Gardens too, and some Lily Ponds to get to the Desert Gardens, which was sprawled very widely.  There were a lot of cacti.  And a lot of animals as well — I think the girls liked these gardens best.

I would go to the restrooms before heading over to these gardens — you wouldn’t want to rush through cacti when you need it!

Entering the Desert Gardens

Before we left for the afternoon, we went through the Brody Botanical Center, which housed a learning lab for the kids.  It was pretty humid inside, but the girls still loved going around and trying the different experiments that were laid out.

My scientist loving every minute of it.

They loved looking through the microscopes and magnifying glasses to learn about the seeds and plants.  There was a whole lot of information to take home.

At the end of the day, our heads and hearts were full as our feet were tired.  I feel like a massage at the end would be a great profit-generator for them.  You can’t deny though, you’ll definitely get you your steps in!

July 3, 2018
by mymommyology
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Run Momma Run

It’s funny how two years ago, you’d never think to put running and me in the same thought.  Or sentence.

I just re-read a post about my first 10k run, and couldn’t help but smile.  I still remember when running a 5k was extremely challenging.

But I am proud to say that my running mates and I have come a long way since then (in actual mileage as well!).  Thanks largely to peer pressure, we’ve managed to maintain our regular Sunday runs.  Regardless of the weather and the time changes too (I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is to get up in 40 degree weather and run in the dark!  Ack!).  If it weren’t for them, I’d probably put the alarm on snooze and roll over and go back to bed.

I’m fairly impressed we’ve been able to keep it up this long.  Some of us have come and gone, but it definitely helps that we have someone asking “who’s up to run this trail this week?” or “who’d like to join this race with me?”

Yes, they definitely keep me going.

And it is thanks to them and a few other running buddies, that I’ve managed to put three half-marathons under my belt to date.  Woot!

Proof that I survived.

The endurance and stamina have been built slowly though.  In my father-in-law’s words (to my husband), I am no spring chicken.  Trust me, I feel it.

The body takes a while to recover when I push, and the prep before a race takes longer.  I know when I eat (or drink) the “wrong things”, I can feel it when I run.  And if I don’t run regularly, I pay for it days later.

In other words, there is no more “winging it”.

It’s also funny how, because I’ve come to run much more, I got pulled into the girls’ school Run Club this year.

Photo credit: @rocking_my_miles

The joke is that my very good friends were desperate for a fourth person.  Anyway — I did as I was told, got a workout in each week with the kids, and I had fun! It’s all good.

I’ll admit it was nice to see both my girls start to enjoy running as well, and have them build their own physical endurance.  This year they joined a bunch of their friends at Kids Run the OC.  I dare say they’d like to do it again next year.

Training for her race.

This coming fall, we’ve all agreed to do a 5k race as a family.  My husband (the only runner in the family when this all started), who’s run the least of us all, has agreed to participate and “train” occasionally.  This remains to be seen, but hey, here’s hoping right?

I remember a Parenting Lesson Coach Pia taught us — about teaching your kids something that you love, or something you’re good at.  I’d always thought that would be up my husband’s alley since he played all kinds of sports, and he was good at them.  I never thought of myself good at running (I know a whole lot of other people who are better), but I do it often enough that I think I know a little bit.   I never thought I’d enjoy it — it just seemed like the easiest workout to do.  So I never thought they’d “learn to run” from me!

I have to say — that realization has put a smile on my face too! 😉

 

 

July 1, 2018
by mymommyology
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MyMommyology Likes: Incredibles 2

I didn’t realize that it’s been fourteen years since the first Incredibles movie.  I introduced it to my kids when they were both old enough to watch movies since we had the DVD at home.  Incredibles was a fun one back then for me, I just had to introduce it to the girls.

Naturally, Incredibles 2 was much awaited for all of us.

We took my mom to see it with us this summer and I have to say, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  (Spoilers ahead, so please watch the movie before coming back to this post!)

The first thing I liked was the pre-movie acknowledgement that the actors / voices made about it being 14 years “in the making”.  I hope they showed that little sequence in all the theaters around the world.

I also liked that they picked up from where they left off, 14 years ago with the Underminers.  Granted that those villains were not apprehended, but it was a good jump off point from when we last saw them.  The fun twist I found was that they also still managed to keep it very current with Elastigirl taking center stage during this time of female empowerment.

Disney Pixar’s Elastigirl

At the same time, Mr. Incredible home with Dash struggling with Math sounds exactly like parents in my circle complaining about common core.  The storyline was very relatable then and now!  That’s hard to do, so I am impressed.

I think the most anticipated part of this Incredibles sequel was Jack Jack.

Disney Pixar’s Jack Jack

He is too cute.

The first movie had us guessing what his superpowers might be.  I feel, the writers just had fun with it, but at the same time, still managed to keep to the them.  It was, dare I say, incredibly fun to watch.

My personal favorite part was the sequence with Jack Jack and Edna.

Disney Pixar

It is quick and short, but Edna is always a fun and memorable character to watch.  She was adorable in the first movie, and all the more now, as she babysits Jack Jack for an evening, and actually bonds with him.

The girls were laughing so hard in the theater, and loved it from beginning to end.  We know this to be true because they are repeating and re-enacting lines and scenes randomly.

We’ll definitely add the Blue-Ray copy of this movie to add to our collection, to watch over and over again. 🙂  It’s a great summer flick for the family if I do say so myself!

 

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