A Mom's Guide to Los Angeles
The City of Angels. LaLa Land. Hollywood. Whatever you want to call it, welcome to Los Angeles, the land of fame excess. Whoa, am I gonna fit in? No, probably not but whatever.
I've been to LA three times not because I particularly like it. The traffic. The glam. The cavalier attitudes. The super health consciousness. I'm being stereotypical here, but it's too much. Not for me. No, I've been three times because I love Ellen (although what's going on with her lately? Someone fill me in.) and baseball. I also don't mind the sun, beach, and running around chasing celebrities.
I'm going to list what we did on all three trips and if you ever go maybe it's something you can do. Enjoy!
Celebrity Match Up
Can you guess if the celebrity is a real celeb or fake? Sorry my camera was so blurry at times. This was 2009. Click on the picture to see the name.
I am a working mom. I teach. I coach. I write. I read. My “me” time is sacred. It’s my opportunity to get things done without a child hanging on to me, which I love by the way, but just not for the full day.
When my child naps for a long time, the angels sing a chorus of Hallelujah, and I head right to my desk to dive into a blog or straight to the couch to dig into a book. Or maybe I sleep. Or watch Netflix. Or clean. Whatever. I just want the opportunity to have those options. But before I dive into what I did to blockade car sleep let's look at why I did the insane things I did.
When my son was around 4-5 months old, and we were really perfecting those nap schedules, I really valued putting him to sleep in his crib or pack n play. Why? Because his long naps allowed him to get the restorative sleep that he needed and me to have some “me time.” Moms, we know how important “me time” is. It’s like gold, and I wasn’t going to let a car nap take away my coveted time to myself.
So what happens when your baby falls asleep in the car on your fifteen minute drive home? That catnap, even if it is only 5 minutes long, kills the sleep drive. That car nap sends signals to the brain: Hey, I am not sleepy anymore. That nap satisfied me. Let’s play!
Try to put your child to bed after a catnap, and he won’t have it. He’s ready to go! Then, you’re left trying to chase naps all day. It’s exhausting.
Unless you want to drive around for an hour and half, so your baby can get his full nap, follow these ways to prevent the dreaded car naps.
1. Tag Team It
If possible, enlist the help of a spouse, friend, other child, or family member to come with you if you must go somewhere that might overlap with a nap.
On your way back when it’s getting close to nap time, one person will ride Uber style in the back and the other person will be the chauffeur. The person in the back has the job of keeping the baby awake by tickling the baby, making loud sounds, or even lightly squirting water on the child.
The person driving has the responsibility to drive safely but not like a slow poke. Once home, one person takes the baby straight away to the nursery to start the nap routine while the other one is left unloading the car.
Then, enjoy your alone time. You deserve it!
2. Rattle Car Keys
My last car had a keyless start, so I would rattle my keys incessantly anytime I saw my son start to drift off. One hand was safely on the wheel and the other shook those keys like my life depended on it.
Henry’s head would snap right back up every time. Did I feel cruel? A little. But not enough to warrant me to stop.
After all, I was doing this for him, so he could have a nice long nap that left him well-rested and happy. My rapacious rattling had nothing to do with my desire to lie down and read a book.
When I got a new car and had to put my keys in the ignition, I banged my keychain against the dashboard as best I could. Not as effective, but it still worked.
I highly suggest purchasing one of those jingle bells and keeping it on hand in the car. Want to take it up a notch? Belt Jingle Bells at the top of your lungs until you get home, and then you can sing Silent Night as you creep out of the nursery to enjoy some peace and quiet for a couple hours.
3. Talk in Whale
Yes, I am talking about Whale as in the whale speech in Finding Nemo. Before discovering Whale, I would narrate everything that was happening out loud to keep Henry awake.
Yet, adding in the dialect of an orca spices things up and piques Henry’s curiosity, so he’s more apt to hang on to witness Mommy’s newfound craziness.
To really get into the role, move your body back and forth like you actually believe you are a whale. Mommy is making a right turn [bob body the right]. The car stops at the red light. Now it turns green and here we go. Vroom Vroom [Contort your body as if you are emerging out of the water to blow water out of your blowhole]. Now we are home, home, home. Time to sleep. You’re whale-come.
4. Activate Scream Mode
This one is very similar to talking in whale, but instead of narrating everything in Fish, you will recount all details of what you’re doing by screaming.
To extend this practice, you can see how loud you can scream your child’s name. For example, my son’s head would slowly drop. “HENNNNNNRRRYYYYYYY!” He would snap back up. A short time later, his eyes would grow heavy and start to close. “HENNNNNNRRRRY!” Even louder that time.
This headache inducing practice continues until you arrive home, and your child goes down for a nice, long nap, and Mama can kiss that headache goodbye as she kicks her feet up on the couch.
5. Roll Down the Windows
I have a saying, “When Henry’s eyes are no longer brown. It’s time to roll the windows down.” Super cheesy but effective.
As soon as those eyelids become heavy, I roll that window all the way down and let the air and noises flood into the car. Henry’s aroused from his short-lived slumber.
This strategy works even better when it’s raining, and those droplets can pelt Henry on the face. Then we arrive home and it’s to the windoooowwws to the beds. The sweat stops running down my head. All the mamas can now call their friends.
I hope these tips help!
Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale's vagina. Never mind, I was just trying to impress you.
The setting for the comedy Anchorman, San Diego is a vibrant city on the Pacific coast of California. Full of history, museums, gardens, a world famous zoo, and a naval fleet, people here flock here for all the activities and stay for the idealyc weather. In the heart of summer, it can still be 72 degrees and perfectly sunny.
I had the fortunate pleasure of going to San Diego in the summer of 2016. I have family living in Alpine, a city right outside of San Diego, and we got to stay with them in their beautiful house with views of the valley below. Even though I would have been perfectly content staying at their house the whole time soaking up the rays by the pool and staring out over the hill, I am going to list what we did during the trip and also provide other suggestions/recommendations from a resident of the area, my mother's cousin (my cousin once removed), so she has first hand knowledge of what to do if you want to be a tourist or go off the beaten path.
Things We Did
This small, quaint national park is located in northern Ohio, not too far from Cleveland. We won't fault it for that (haha Cleveland joke). Upon arriving at the main area of Boston Mill Village, it's like you stepped back in time. Old-fashioned homes and stores, a Towpath for bikes, and a railroad station. We had limited time in the park, but we made the most of it.
Zion National Park is located in southwest Utah surrounded by a playground of National Parks: Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, and Capital Reef. Zion is known for its winding rivers, lush trails, emerald pools, flowing waterfalls, hanging gardens, harrowing hikes, and majestic slot canyons. We spent all of our time in Zion Canyon, the most popular place to begin hikes. Our trip here is remembered for what we saw and sadly for what we didn't see. We made a fatal mistake, so make sure you continue reading to find out what you can't miss when you go here.
My memory at this park isn't as clear as some of the other parks and, unfortunately, I didn't document as well as I did with my other trips, but I will try my best to remember.
This California park is stellar. Absolutely stellar. It has views, heights, domes, waterfalls, sequoia trees, wildlife, and so much more. I can't do the beauty here justice, so if you have to pick a park to go to, choose here. If you can afford it, I would splurge and stay in Yosemite Valley at either The Ahwahnee (formerly known as The Majestic Yosemite Hotel), Yosemite Valley Lodge, or Wawona Hotel. The Valley also has more primitive lodging in Curry Village. Staying in the Valley will allow you so much easy access to all the popular spots. The Valley has a shuttle that will take you to many popular spots throughout the Valley. We utilized it throughout the whole day. Put Yosemite on your bucket list today!
Photo used under Creative Commons from does_not_travel_often