Category Archives: Educational

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The Children’s Discovery Museum

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The Children’s Discovery Museum

We took the kids to my favorite museum in San Jose. It’s hands on and educational but you would never guess it by the kids laughing the whole day. I think its safe to say, we have a new favorite spot to visit!
If you enjoy this video please subscribe to our YouTube channel Taking California & hit like! Right now its only my daughter liking our videos because she feels bad.

 

Potty training

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Potty training

Two weeks ago I decided to potty train Carlos using the one week trick. I finally had a week where we weren’t running around all day doing errands. Carlos is the same age Emery was when she stopped wearing diapers. I didn’t blog about potty training Emery but she was half way potty trained at 2. Then I got pregnant and really sick and she back peddled big time. Once Carlos came I had a rough time changing two kids. One day I got really upset about having to stop and change her pooped diaper before leaving the house. I said what I had to say at home and once we got into the truck it was over. While I drove to my mom’s house Emery brought up how she was sorry about pooping herself. I mostly listened and she said, “I’m deciding to not poop or pee in the diaper anymore“. Of course I thought what a wonderful idea and from that conversation she never did. Once Emery sets her mind to an idea she does it.

I’ve only ever heard that a boy is harder to potty train. Well, if Emery basically just decided to go at two, I figured I had some actual work cut out for me. There are many methods and techniques. Carlos didn’t fit into the mold of watching his reaction and running to the restroom. He was really nonchalant about the whole thing. I decided the best thing for us would be bribery. What? Is that bad?

We made a Target trip Friday morning after dropping Emery off at school, and got lots of toys in the dollar section. For some reason we made our way to the toy aisle and Carlos fell in love with a big T-Rex toy. Carlos loves a lot of things but one of his favorite things are T-Rex dinosaurs! Of course it came with a little price tag so we talked it over and decided this toy would be our, no more diapers reward! Carlos knew and told everyone he wanted the big T-Rex toy and he had to poo poo toilet to get it.

I like to use the toilet seat top instead of the little fake toilets when I potty train. I feel like it gets them ready to go on the big toilet so its not intimidating especially when you have to do a store potty run. Also, I don’t like the idea of dumping crap out of a poop bowl and having to wash that. Kinda defeats the purpose of me having a little break from changing diapers during the process.

On Monday I printed out a Everybody Poops cartoon image of Batman (his favorite super hero). We talked about how he is using the restroom and Carlos colored it. Before Monday the family spent months saying how we all go poo poo toilet and don’t pee pee our pants. I used our newest cousin baby Dominick as an example as a little baby who needs diapers. I felt like that was me trying to shame him so I used that example with caution and tried not to use it with anger.

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All set up, each time Carlos went to the bathroom he would get to pick his reward or get hand stamp!

Found some goodies at Michaels summer clearance section too!

Found some goodies at Michaels summer clearance section too!

He loves getting his hand stamped

He loves getting his hand stamped

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There was a few little bumps in the road, one or two pee accidents in the beginning and about 4 dirty underwear and 2 poop on the floor incidents. One of them happened one morning when I was cleaning the house and didn’t check on him. Luckily it was a super easy clean up, he was sorry (his classic “sorry mom. sorry again mom” line) and we both learned something. He would try harder because big boys don’t poop themselves and he couldn’t get his T-Rex reward if he pooped his pants. I learned Carlos is a morning dropper.

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When Emery was in school Carlos would be with out pants so he felt awkward and didn’t have that security to want to have an accident in his underwear.

Any time we left the house I had his little seat in a tote with us. We took it to Papa and Grandma’s house and to gymnastics. I didn’t want to have to put him in a diaper at all (besides bed time) and have him confused or only potty training half the day.

Within the first week he got the hang out it and pooped underwear where a thing of the past. He caught on so fast it surprised us. We made a second trip to Target to refill his bucket.

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Carlos also got a small T-Rex toy for finally going poo poo toilet (which is the hardest part of potty training). He also has been taking his nap with no bottoms on or in his underwear without any accidents. I find that to be really impressive. The hardest part I would think, would be teaching a child not to pee at night but I am super lucky that both Emery and Carlos (knock on wood) have never given me any trouble with peeing the bed (something I struggled with as a child).

He was excited to get some new T-Rex's but decided he only wanted one and not two

He was excited to get some new T-Rex’s but decided he only wanted one and not two (what kind of kid demands only one new toy?)

After the second week of potty training and consistent poo poo in the toilet use, Carlos earned his big reward!

Dad surprised him with his big reward after his nap!

Dad surprised him with his big reward after his nap!

Have you ever seen a child so happy? You earned it kid!

Have you ever seen a child so happy? You earned it kid!

So two weeks later, I am making it official, my child is potty trained! A major milestone in becoming a big kid. While I don’t miss changing diapers it’s one more thing making me realize he’s our last little baby and he’s growing daily. I’m proud of you kid!

Emery’s surprise Disneyland birthday

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Emery’s surprise Disneyland birthday

After last year’s My Little Pony’s themed birthday I was pooped. I decided next year I would love to take Emery to Disneyland for her birthday and take a mental break from planning an elaborate birthday. Still, it took months of planning, saving and sleepless nights staying up searching for just the right pins for our lanyard collection.

Everyday Emery would ask, “Can we go to Disneyland” and I would respond with, “Emery, it’s far away and expensive“. Secretly I wanted to shout, “YES! Let’s go!” and I really wanted to talk to her about the trip for a whole year. The only kid that knew was Carlos and he knew not to say a word. My secret was safe with a 2 year old who couldn’t form sentences (at the time, he’s on his way now).

May 15th we went to Los Angeles and visited Victor’s family and of course Emery says, “Mom, since we are in L.A. can we go to Disneyland?” Victor and I looked at each other with a grin and said, “Sorry we can’t” but we wanted to say, “YES TOMORROW!!” The next morning we woke up at 7 a.m. and Em was not having it. Eventually she put on her Princess Anna  dress because “we wanted to show Mami Chela her birthday outfit (wink wink)”. We told the kids it was too early to go to grandma’s so we were going to drive around and only see Disneyland (we had to say that much because the GPS said we were going to the Disneyland parking garage). Once we got there we broke the news and Emery was as usual less enthused as I thought she would be and her older brother Vic was overaly excited. It was Vic’s first time at the park’s, Emery assured him he would have a great time. TIP: You can bring your own water and snacks into the park. Just have your bags and stroller ready to be checked before entering downtown Disney.

Waiting in line to get into the park. He's one happy little boy!

Waiting in line to get into the park. He’s one happy little boy!

Heeyyy look at us! We in Disneyland!

Heeyyy look at us!
We in Disneyland!

The Calderon's take  DISNEYLAND 2015!! #HappyBirthdayPrincessEmery

The Calderon’s take
DISNEYLAND 2015!!
#HappyBirthdayPrincessEmery

We went the week before Disneyland was having their 60th anniversary celebration so we saw all the new decorations and Kelly & Michael filming in the plaza.

Right away we saw characters taking pictures. I was so excited, last time we went we didn’t see any out. We jumped in line right away and took photos with Pluto my favorite. Next we ran in line and took pictures with Mickey Mouse! We were the last ones to take photos with him and right away things felt magical.

Carlos wasn't scared of the characters this time!

Carlos wasn’t scared of the characters this time!

Mickey!!!! TIP: Have your phone ready to take photos & the Disney photographers are more willing to take photos with your phone. Each time you take a picture the Disney photographer will hand you a card. Once you get one let the other photographers know right away you have one and at the end of your photos they will scan it. All your Disneyland memories will be on one card and if you decided to get the photos at the end of the day (they can be pricey but  worth it) they'll on be on one card.  Personal TIP: Get your photo with the character and scoot out of the way so others can get there picture fast.

Mickey!!!!
TIP: Have your phone ready to take photos & the Disney photographers are more willing to take photos with your phone. Each time you take a picture the Disney photographer will hand you a card. Once you get a card let the other photographers know right away you have one and at the end of your photos they will scan it. All your Disneyland memories will be on one card instead of several different ones. If you decided to get the photos at the end of the day (they can be pricey but worth it).
Personal TIP: Get your photo with the character and scoot out of the way so others can get there picture fast.

At the time we didn't realize how precious this picture was. One of the Disney staff took it for us and I mixed the photos together. Such a magical moment

At the time we didn’t realize how precious this picture was. One of the Disney staff took it for us and I mixed the photos together. Such a magical moment

First ride we went on was Emery’s favorite, Star Tours! Carlos was too short to ride so I was handed a rider swap pass. TIP: If you stay behind with a younger child have the adult ask for a ride swap pass immediately after getting off the ride.

Something Extra: A fun game to play while in line or walking around Disneyland park, the Resort or even while watching the Disney movies is trying to find the hidden mickey’s A hidden mickey is the traditional shape of our favorite guy Mickey Mouse in the decorations and architecture. If you really want to get into the scavenger hunt you can print out this list and have your luck with it!

While we waited for the older kids and dad to get off the ride we caught a show in front of the castle

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We met up with the family after the ride and went our separate ways again. It was easier for me to take the two little kids on little ride and see characters and have the boys go ride other rides. We ran to see Tinker Bell in her home and I was so happy because I have never seen her and her house is easily overlooked. While waiting in line Emery and Carlos made friends with a little girl. The woman and I started talking and it turned out both the girls were celebrating their birthday’s early, Emery and Elle both shared their birthday’s on the same day!

Elle and Emery waiting to see Tinker and her friends next.

Elle and Emery waiting to see Tinker and her friends next.

Emery and Silvermist

Emery and Silvermist

Tinker was so cute and silly

Tinker was so cute and silly

Emery wanted to go through Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Dad met up with us. As soon as we walked out the band came out and Emery and dad started dancing around to Sleeping Beauty’s, Once Upon A Time. After the band and audience clapped for Emery dancing with mom and dad.

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Dad came with us to see a few more Princess’ but mommy left the signature book behind (guess we’ll just have to go back soon). TIP: Remember to have your book and pen ready while you wait next in line. You can also pick up an autograph book at the Dollar Store to save some money.

Snow White & Emery

Snow White & Emery

Princess Belle

Princess Belle

Princess Belle was my favorite. Her personality was so cute.

Princess Belle was my favorite. Her personality was so cute.

Spinning in their dresses

Spinning in their dresses {Princess photos taken by Disney staff}

Thank you Princess Belle for such great memories.

Thank you Princess Belle for such great memories.

Princess Ariel

Princess Ariel

At night the park was crowded and we got a little anxious but we regrouped and went on the Jungle Cruise. The kids loved it, its also a favorite for us because the tour guides always tell jokes. TIP: At the end of the ride you can ask the guide for a map of the cruise. Beware you may have to tell a joke to get one!

Around 11 o’clock the park starts to die down and it’s the best time to run to all of the rides you can’t really get to during the day. First we went on It’s A Small World and then separated again.

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Inside, Its A Small World they have added Disney characters. If you go on the ride keep an eye out for Alice In Wonderland, Pinochio and XXX

Inside, Its A Small World they have added Disney characters. If you go on the ride keep an eye out for Alice In Wonderland, Pinocchio and Woody to name a few.

At the end of the night I realized the whole day guess in the park had big pins. TIP: I didn’t realize until closing that if you go into any store and ask you can get a pins, Anniversary pin, Wedding pin, First visit and a Happy birthday pin. We got Emery a Happy Birthday pin and in Disneyland when a Disney cast member sees the pin they say, “happy birthday or happy birthday Emery”. Victor got “my first visit” and Carlos had to have one so he got an, “I’m celebrating”. I wish I would have asked earlier about the pins!

I took the kids on an Alice In Wonderland ride and then on Pirates Of The Caribbean (it was closed off and on all day and night). The kids and I got on a boat by ourselves and enjoyed one last ride in the park. I would think Carlos and Emery would be scared of that ride because of the drops and craziness going on, but they’ve never had a problem with any part of it.

FACT: Legend has it that while the ride was still under construction, Imagineers were displeased with the false skeletons placed about the ride. They didn’t look authentic enough. The solution was simple: to use real human bones. The UCLA medical school provided cadaver skeletons to Disneyland, which were positioned in the classic poses we see  today. A pair playing chess, one atop a mountain of gold coins, a dead captain with a sabre in his ribs… While this may seem grotesque, they remained for quite some time.

Pirates Of The Caribbean [photo not taken  by me. Pirates Of The Caribbean facts are from the Disneyland Report]

Although the skeleton in bed looking through a magnifying glass is no longer the remains of a deceased man, the bones on the headboard behind him are. That is a genuine skull and crossbones, and it is not known why they chose to leave it there. Love it or hate it, it certainly is a spooky Easter egg that will hopefully remind patrons of the ride’s eerie history for ages to come.

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Day two California Adventure

The next day was park number two at California Adventure across the way. First Character we saw was Oswald, we did a little research on him afterwards (nerd alert) because we didn’t really know who he was. Right away we met up with a group of friends that were at the Disneyland parks at the same time. I love to go to the park with a group of people, it’s so much easier with kids and being able to switch on and off the rides. TIP: Download the app Disneyland Wait Times to see wait times on all attractions to Disneyland Park and California Adventures.

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All the boys loaded up together on our first ride of the day. Don't under estimate Mader! I love this ride!

All the boys loaded up together on our first ride of the day. Don’t under estimate Mader! I love this ride!

Me & the birthday girl acting crazy

Me & the birthday girl acting crazy

All the main Disney characters in C.A. are dressed as artist or in sailor attire.

A quick swirl with Goofy

A quick swirl with Goofy

Screenshot_2015-05-22-20-52-45-1& while I rode California Screamin’ with Michelle the kids got in line and took photos with Donald duck. Carlos loved him and just as we walked up they were done and Carlos waved goodbye and blew kisses.

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We got Fast Passes (the only way to see the Frozen girls). While we waited the kids watched artist drawings of some memorable movies on the screen.

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The kid’s met Queen Elsa and Princess’ Anna. Carlos’ was super excited to see the them, but too shy to take a photo with them.

Princess Anna couldn't believe Emery had a white streak in her hair! Queen Elsa didn't know how it got there :)

Princess Anna couldn’t believe Emery had a white streak in her hair! Queen Elsa didn’t know how it got there 🙂

& the photo to complete Emery's Frozen Disney birthday

& the photo to complete Emery’s Frozen Disney birthday

The girls were inseparable and rode rides together like big girls. Chloe was celebrating her June birthday a few weeks earlier too. It melted my heart seeing the girls hang out and ride the rides together while the moms hanged out in the back. She’s growing her big girl independence.

Monsters Inc.

Monsters Inc.

Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land.  A must go on.

Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land.
A must go on.

Just one of Emery's silly faces.

Just one of Emery’s silly faces. Photo caption via Snap Chat.

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After a long day of walking around we were all beat! The girls needed to relax with a snack and the younger boys fell asleep.

I felt like doing the same thing!

I felt like doing the same thing!

Thank you for the memories Disneyland, once again we were not disapointed. My favorite memories were of Carlos blowing Donald kissies, everyone wishing Emery a happy birthday and Emery says her favorite part was the Ariel ride in California Adventures.

Ariel's Under Water Sea Adventure

Ariel’s Under Water Sea Adventure

Happy pre birthday Emery! Mom and Dad love you with all of our hearts, we hope you had fun and were surprised.

The Calderon’s take San Francisco

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The Calderon’s take San Francisco

In mid February we took a day trip to San Francisco to visit the city and The California Academy of Science. Growing up in the bay area, I was able to visit this museum and many more on school field trips and day trips with my Dad. I want to take the children to all the amazing sites I was able to go to in my life. Any time Victor and I are in the city, whether its down south in Los Angeles or up north in San Francisco we try to set aside a day to take the kids some where they have never been and to a explore things that we don’t have where we live  in the central valley.

The last time I went to the San Francisco Academy of Science was in the mid 90’s. Since then the museum had gone through a $488 million dollar renovation in the Golden Gate Park.

It was like an all new adventure for Victor and I. The museum was completely different from anything I remembered growing up. Immediately to the right is a 90′ spiral dome with a living rainforest. walking in it you feel the humidity while thousands of butterflies and free flying birds are fluttering around.

Below you can take an elevator down to the flooded Amazon and walk through a 25′ tunnel with the rainforest above. The kids loved watching the fish all around them and I loved watching their reaction.

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We saw taxidermy animals in their natural habitat

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Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

The museum also had a huge coral reef aquarium that offered a show with a reef diver. While we didn’t watch the show, we weren’t disappointed at all of the other things there were to take part in.

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Capturing fun

Capturing fun

A whole new world

A whole new world

One of my favorite things doing at the museum when I was a kid, was going on the


earthquake simulator. California is known for earthquakes, but (knock on wood) we really don’t get them as often as people may think. In 1906 San Francisco was hit with a 7.8 earthquake. Any time anyone brings up earthquakes this is the one that al earthquakes are based on. The quake resulted in 3,000 deaths and $524 million dollars in property loss and lasted 1 minute. The city burned for 3 days and destroyed 500 city blocks.

Another major earthquake to hit California was the 1989 Loma Prieta that lasted 15 seconds at a 6.9 on the seismic scale.. This resulted in 60 deaths and wide spread damage. I was nearly 5 years old and it was my first earthquake. It hit in Santa Cruz, 60 miles from San Francisco and was felt in San Jose where I lived. It felt like it lasted much longer than 15 seconds as my mom and I hid under the large dining room table.

Now that I caught you up on a mini earthquake lesson you can only imagine emotion of going through the simulator and having semi experience each earthquake all over again. Instead of having posters to read and standing on a platform that shakes, the  new updated version takes you into a planetarium like room to explain how an earthquake works. After you moved into the self proclaimed infamous Shake House. Hold on to the rail because you will first experience a touch of the1906 quake. The simulator doesn’t last as long as the actual quake did nor can it move up and down like the real one, only side to side. Second up is the 1989 Loma Prieta and as I’m writing just realized how historic it was that 26 years later my daughter was nearly the same age I was experiencing that earthquake. While she’s  never been awake to experience an earth (we’ve had ones while we both have slept) Emery thought it was a fun little ride. A much different reaction I experience living it.

(video in my Instagram GypsyWidow 13 weeks ago from this date)

There was so much to do at the museum but we ran out of time and I didn’t want to run our of daylight before visiting the iconic Golden Gate bridge.

With the mad driving skills of Valerie we made it to Crissy Field at sunset. A little fact that all mothers learn quickly is be prepared with extra everything. I know this unspoken rule, I’m pretty good with it and I know San Francisco is freezing at night. Did I pack warm clothes? DUH. Did I bring them? No I did not. What I failed to mention peed his shorts on the way to S.F. It has never has never happened before but now that we were out I couldn’t have him wet and in shorts. As luck would have it this conductor pants were in the trunk from the day before, and it all worked out.

We got some great shots of the kids enjoying themselves

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Their personalities shinning through

Their personalities shinning through

some of me and the husby

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I’ve always wanted to go to this part of San Fransisco and take pictures with the bridge in the background. I’m so happy that we made it just in time!

 It was Emery and Carlos’ first time in the city so we went down to the peir to grab sone authentic San Fransisco food at Boudin.

Cookie cheers with my little man

Cookie cheers with my little man

The highlight of my night turned out to not to be those bridge picures i’ve wanted for years but forgetting Emery has no idea about street entertainers and watching what she thought was a statue come life after putting a dollar in  the can. She turned around so fast as soon as he began speaking. The man was nice enough to offer a picture of them two together. The bridge pictures I love but the street performer made a lasting memorie for me.

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The California State Railroad Museum

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The California State Railroad Museum

CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOO

The Calderon’s take over The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento (again). While visiting family and Nina Valerie in Sacramento we had to stop by the California State Railroad Museum in “Old” Sacramento. Emery went when she was two and Carlos is the same age and hasn’t gone yet. Carlos loves trains. He has a growing collection of Thomas the Train movies, toy trains and train apparel.

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I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I dressed him up in his little train conductor overalls, red bandana and conductor hat. He fit right in with all the huge trains and the train stewards. We didn’t bother reading many of the facts this time around, we were strictly there to get on some trains and interact with all we could.

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When you first walk into the beginning of the tour its set-up to explain who worked on the trains and what the time line of the construction. There’s a mock train station booth and cars you can peer inside.

One ticket please!

One ticket please!

Theres a Canadian National Sleeper train in the back of the museum that gives the feeling of movement with sounds as if the train is passing by railroad crossings when you’re in it. Carlos went on it 5 times each with a new chaperon.

Daddy's little guy

Daddy’s little guy

Carlos' first walk through in a train

Carlos’ first walk through in a train

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

& Mommy took him a few times.

& Mommy took him a few times.

The building has so many trains inside of it, it’s amazing to walk around all of them. Some trains you can look inside, some you can walk in and there’s a big black train that you can sit in the engineer’s seat.

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What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

More coal!!

More coal!!

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Up stairs has toy trains to play with and a professional set up behind glass. It was probably my fourth time going and I still enjoyed walking around and exploring.

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them lose and for the parents to re-group

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them loose and for the parents to re-group

In April the Museum begins to offer train rides along the river. We weren’t able to ride it because it wasn’t open yet, but we’ll be back! If you make the trip to The Railroad Museum hang around “old Sac” where the museum is located and check out all the other buildings and the history of the area. It’s very cool to see older buildings and horses right in the middle of the states capitol.