Fun Friday: Big Bros 2nd Birthday Ideas and Sadie's Update

Hi Friends,

How was your week?

(Sadie here) ... my Super Big Bro seems to have come down with something as of yesterday.  We were thinking allergies, but now he has a fever.  Let's cross our fingers he gets better so we can be out and about on Labor Day weekend.  Don't worry, bro, I'll entertain you this weekend with dancing in my house (womb).

So we wanted to share with you today a fabulous 3rd Birthday celebration we attended this summer, but we were having photo issues.  Check back this weekend for a blog on this birthday!

In the meantime, we'll share a little update on Mad Max's 2nd Birthday ideas, some Celebrity Birthday fun, and my update.

Max's 2nd Birthday Ideas

How far ahead do you plan birthdays for your kiddos?  (Crazy) Train Wreck Mommy thinks 6 months is ideal, so we are really cutting it close this time for Mad Max.  We are going to check out a birthday party location this weekend (a secret right now), but the theme we are considering is Where the Wild Things Are (you know the main character's name is Max, right?).  Fitting, right?  What ideas do you have for this theme?

Our possible Halloween costumes may fit this theme - so perfect!  Mad Max on Halloween?  Super Sadie on Halloween?

We also found some inspiration for Mad Max's 2nd Celebration on Hostess with the Mostess and Etsy, but we don't want to spoil all of our ideas!

Friday Fun

Enjoy some lavish Celeb babies / kids birthdays from Babble (Max would love all of Suri's balloons!).  Too much?  Or does it make sense for how much money they make?

My (Sadie's) Current Stats: 

Age: 32 Weeks Tomorrow (Eep!  I have to leave my comfy house soon).

Height: 16.7 inches long (approximate and not much room in here)

Weight: 3.75 lbs (approximate)

Fruit / Veggie Size: Large Jicama (WTF?)

Fun Facts: Supposedly I have REAL hair now!  Don't be jealous, Big Bro.

What do I enjoy most right now?: I am enjoying helping Mommy and Dada gear up for my arrival.  Much to do in the last two months!  We have some gear to purchase, clothes to buy, space in my room with Mad Max to prepare, Halloween to prepare for, and newborn photos to prepare for (among other things!).

As we prepare for my arrival, let's take a look back at Mad Max (holding his paci straight out of the womb) ... do you think I'll look like my bro?  (Good thing that puffy face goes away!):

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

-Sadie of Mad Max and Family and Mad About Town


Thursday's Kids and T(w)eens: Giving Back for Birthdays?

Hi Friends,

We hope you are enjoying our focus on birthday celebrations this week.

It's making Mommy quite the Train Wreck when it comes to obsessing over my next big (2!) celebration.

Mommy and I think it's a nice idea to consider charitable donations on birthdays (and other events).  We think it's a great way to teach kids about the value of giving back and service (and to get family and friends involved).  Also once kids get to a certain age, they probably don't need too many more toys!  What do you think?  Apparently we are not the only ones that feel this way ... after doing some research, this is apparently quite the latest craze for children's birthday parties: Cake, but No Presents, Please (New York Times).  And like all parenting topics, there is a heated debate on both sides.

Although it is our opinion that getting your kids involved in donations and charity (even on their birthday) shouldn't be seen as negative at all.  We would never force someone to make a donation or get involved in a charity!

For my 1st Birthday Celebration, we did make charity a small part of my birthday with the Gift of Grub for the Houston Zoo, and we are definitely considering making charity a part of my future birthdays.

But your older kids will have an even greater understanding of the importance of charity.  So how can they incorporate charity into their birthdays?  Two ideas.

First, they can pick a charity (either local, national, or international) from the web that has an easy and user-friendly ability to provide donations.  charity: water is one example that already has an area for birthdays!  I suggest letting your kiddos pick a charity that is either important to them, and / or goes well with the theme of their birthday celebration!

Second, for your older kids, we think it would be a unique and valuable idea to host a birthday celebration where all of the guests go complete service together in your community!  What do you think?  Another idea (that may require less logistical planning) is to make items at your birthday that can be taken to a local charity (maybe at a slumber party your kids could create cards to be taken to a local nursing home?).

And we would love to hear your ideas ... do you have any online charities your kids may be interested in supporting?  Or local charities?

And a few photos from my 1st Birthday (first one with Auntie Tam):

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

-Mad Max


next stop: The Menil Collection Birthday Celebration

Hi Friends,

What is your next stop with your family this weekend (or beyond this weekend)?

Any birthday celebrations?  What about any institutions in your city ... are they celebrating their birthday?  Do they throw a party?

The Menil Collection (in Houston) is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year.  This is my favorite art museum to visit with Mama and Dada (and actually this was the first art museum I ever went to)!

We are very excited to see that there is an array of programming surrounding their 25th Anniversary celebration.  But today we wanted to tell you about their ... (info from the Menil):

Menil 25 Birthday Party 
Saturday, September 22, 2012, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987, is commemorating its 25th Anniversary with events and programs through the end of the year. The celebration includes birthday cake, music, a City of Houston Proclamation, and children’s scavenger hunt. 

The special anniversary exhibition Dear John & Dominique: Letters and Drawings from the Menil Archives and a campus tour, Voices of the Menil: A Cell Phone Audio Walk are ongoing.

Houstonians: Do you plan on attending with your family?  It is definitely on our calendar!

Or if you are outside of Houston ... what cultural institution birthday celebrations have you been to?

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Here I am (Mad Max) with a piece by Jim Love outside of The Menil Collection.

Finally, be sure to visit us at Mad About Town!  You can also find us on Facebook (and other Social Networking sites - see our sidebar).

-Mad Max


Tuesday's Tots and Wee Ones: "Tiny" Celebrations

Hi Friends,

We hope your week is off to a nice start!

From Train Wreck Mommy: As you know from yesterday, we are focusing on (birthday) celebrations this week.  Do your kids have any birthday celebrations on the calendar they will be attending soon?  Or how do you celebrate in your family?  Do you go all out?

What about for your little ones?  Do you go all out for them too?  What do their birthdays and celebrations mean to you?

From Mad Max: Mommy (and Dada) went all out for my 1st Birthday Celebration at the Houston Zoo. She said the milestone (and that they "made it") through the first year was really important to her.  Besides the fact that (as Mommy says), who doesn't love throwing a great party and having an excuse to get crafty (DIY)?  (I think Mommy was so caught up in everything she didn't finish the blogs about my birthday, but you can at least read about my 1st Birthday details.  Actually, it's never too late ... we'll plan to post more blogs about it soon since we took so many pics!)

Now we are (gasp, as she would say) gearing up for my 2nd Birthday Celebration.  It may be scaled back a bit (which would equal smaller guest list and less money spent), but Mommy said the focus now is mostly on me, Mad Max, having a great time (and a memorable one for my Train Wreck parents and guests).

So another main question for you ... are there any blogs / sites / Etsy Shops / Pinners you love to get celebration ideas from?  How do you prepare?  We would love to hear your ideas.

There are several that we enjoy, but two quickly come to mind: Hostess with the Mostess and One Charming Party.  Do you have others to share?

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Mama and Dada's little Zoo Keeper.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
This isn't my reaction to cake anymore!

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Mommy got lots of help from Gramby and Mimi with the food (both of them) and photo banner (Gramby).

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Don't you love the name banner Gramby made?  And Mommy did a lot of DIY for the party too.

Finally ... stay tuned!  We have more birthdays to share this week!  And now Mommy is inspired to finish my birthday blogs as she gears up for my 2nd Birthday Celebration.

-Mad Max


Mad for Monday (Max's Weekend Update): Weekend Celebrations

Hi Friends,

How was your weekend?  How did you celebrate the weekend?

We are focusing on celebrations this week!

We had a fun-filled weekend.  I started SoccerTots on Saturday.  I'm training to be on the Houston Dynamo Team!  How did it go?  Let's just say Coach and I are buds ... I did well with my drills ... and Train Wreck Mommy got me a soccer ball to practice with at home!  I highly recommend the program for other Super Tots.

Note: Daddy wasn't able to make it with me and Mommy this week, but he'll be there next week and Mommy will take more pics (and stop sweating so much running around with Sadie).

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Here I am watching "Coach" teach us our exercises.  You want me to, what?  Touch my nose to my toes?  (You should have seen Mommy do this!).

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Soccer Drills.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Practicing at home!

Yesterday I went to see the Dinos (roarrrr!) at the Houston Zoo.  Yes, you heard me right.  Dinos at the Zoo.  Much better than finding them at the art museum or your favorite restaurant, right?  I really enjoyed waving at all of them.  Mad Max and fear?  I think not.  If you are in Houston and have kids and even younger ones, go see the Dinos before they leave.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
And finally ... thank you to everyone that participated in our Whole Foods Back-to-School GIVEAWAY (and most of all, thank you to Whole Foods!).  Congrats to our winner: Vicki!  We will be contacting you directly.

Stay tuned this week... more on celebrations.  Check us out also on Mad About Town.

-Mad Max


Fun Friday: Welcome to the Candy Shop

Hi Friends,

Sadie here!

I have a Fun Friday blog for you today.  With our focus on food this week, we (of course) can't leave out the sweets!

Image Credit: Neha P. Photography

Houstonians: Train Wreck Mommy's ol' buddy from high school, Neha Patel (Neha P. Photography), is partnering with Bows by Karly (clothing designer) for a Candy Shop themed photo session.

From Neha P. Photography: "We are so excited about the Candy Shop themed photo shoot.  Bows by Karly and I wanted to come up with something for all age groups, for boys and girls and something fun and colorful.  This would be a great picture to end the summer with and begin the new school year!"

See the image above for detailed information, and enjoy the photos below!  More photos can be found on Neha P. Photography.  We can't get over how cute this theme is and the photos are wonderful!

All: How often do you take professional photos of your kids or family?  Do you like to include fun or special props?

We've had professional photos on the brain lately because Mommy is preparing some ideas for my (Sadie's) newborn photo shoot.  What ideas do you have for us?

In case you missed it ... Guest Blog: check us out on schue love this week. Thanks for having us!

Houstonians: Leave one comment on our Whole Foods "Back-to-School" Giveaway posting for your chance to win the awesome prize pack.  More ways to win on the blog posting.  Super Simple, says Mad Max!  You have until Sunday evening to enter the Giveaway.

-Sadie of Mad Max and Family

You can also visit us on Mad About Town.


Thursday's Kids and Tweens: Cooking Classes

Hi Friends,

Do you have a little (or big) chef in the house?  Or have you thought about cooking classes for your kiddos?

My (Mad Max's) extent of cooking so far is playing with the Tupperware (which is one of my favorite hobbies) and smelling all of Dada's spices (so basically yes, I am a future chef in training!).  If you have ideas for how to get Super Tots involved with cooking, let us know!

In the meantime, what about your older ones?  We found a few cooking class options in Houston you may want to check out!  If you are outside of Houston, do you know of ones in your area you can share with us?

Sur La Table (which is in other cities too) offers cooking classes for kids at the River Oaks and City Centre location.

I didn't see Cooking Classes geared towards kids at River Oaks this Fall, but they had many options this past summer (such as World's Best Food: Kids).  Be sure to check them out for future opportunities!

The City Centre location is listing classes this Fall that involved Parents and Kids (ages 8 - 12 years) such as Baking With Your Kids: Tricks and Treats.  Be sure to check their calendar page for other available classes!

And if you are in the Houston area, check out the Young Chef's Academy for your little chefs (Sugarland, TX).

Do share with us other ideas for Cooking Classes!

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Photo Above: Here I am training to be a future chef by learning how to eat my corn on the cob like a big boy.

In case you missed it ... Guest Blog: check us out on schue love this week.  Thanks for having us!

Houstonians: Leave one comment on our Whole Foods "Back-to-School" Giveaway posting for your chance to win the awesome prize pack.  More ways to win on the blog posting.  Super Simple, says Mad Max!  You have until Sunday evening to enter the Giveaway.

-Mad Max

You can also visit us on Mad About Town.


next stop: Restaurant Week

Hi Friends,

What is your next stop this weekend with your family?

Houstonians: Have you been to Houston’s Restaurant Week?  

Or if you are outside of Houston, does your city have a Restaurant Week you participate in?  Did you include your kiddos? 

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

The Houston Restaurant “Week” was extended until Labor Day.  There are many restaurants that participate, and you can see a full list here.  My … (Mad Max’s) favorite is Max’s Wine Dive.  But the best part of the Houston Restaurant Week is that it is dining for a good cause.  Houston Food Bank donations are made by the participating restaurants based upon how many lunches and dinners they sold during the event. 

So do you plan on taking your kids to Houston Restaurant Week?  Or perhaps you can create your OWN “Restaurant Week.”  Wouldn’t that be fun!?  How would you design your “Restaurant Week”?  I think if we were to create our own “Restaurant Week” we would pick two or three restaurants we’ve never been to … and try food maybe I never tried or don’t eat too often (so Tex-Mex is out).

You also could enhance your own personal “Restaurant Week” experience by learning about the culture for the food you will be trying prior to your visit. And the next week, you could try to make your own dish with your family (as inspired by your restaurant visit).

What is your next stop when it comes to food with your family? 

In case you missed it ... Guest Blog: check us out on schue love this week. Thanks for having us!

Houstonians: Leave one comment on our Whole Foods "Back-to-School" Giveaway posting for your chance to win the awesome prize pack.  More ways to win on the blog posting.  Super Simple, says Mad Max!  You have until Sunday evening to enter the Giveaway.

-Mad Max

You can also visit us on Mad About Town.


Tuesday's Tots and Wee Ones: Nom Nom Nom and WHOLE FOODS GIVEAWAY

Hi Friends,

In case you missed it ... Guest Blog: check us out on schue love this week.  Thanks for having us!

Houstonians: Leave one comment on our Whole Foods "Back-to-School" Giveaway posting for your chance to win the awesome prize pack.  More ways to win on the blog posting.  Super Simple, says Mad Max!

Image Credit: Whole Foods Market

What are some of your "go to" foods to feed your Wee Ones and Tots?  Are you struggling with anything as it relates to food?  Did you have to give up any foods because of food allergies?  We've had the "giving up foods" conversations with several friends and bloggers.  I'm (Mad Max!) plant-strong so I'm happy to help those of you that need ideas when giving up dairy, etc!

At this point, I'm not really served anything different than Mommy and Daddy - I eat what they eat.  But all kiddos love grilled "cheese", right (even big kids - adults)?  Even plant-strong kiddos can have grilled cheese!

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

So this is a photo of Mommy's plate, but mine would just be smaller portions.

The Happy Herbivore: Grilled Cheeze

Makes 2 Sandwiches

1/2 c nutritional yeast
1/2 c nondairy milk
2 tbsp white whole-wheat flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp ketchup 
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1 tsp garlic powder (granulated) 
1/4 tsp dried dill
4 slices of toast

Whisk all, except toast, together in a saucepan and heat over high heat, stirring constantly until really thick (it will get lumpy).  Smear "cheeze" on toast and serve.  

You can of course add some greens to your "grilled cheeze" and a side of your choosing!  Check out The Happy Herbivore for more plant-strong ideas for your family.

What are you cooking tonight?

-Mad Max


Mad for Monday (Max's Weekend Update): Whole Foods Back-to-School GIVEAWAY

Hi Friends,

How was your weekend?  What did you do?

We are going to take a break from our regular "Weekend Update" post today to share an exciting Whole Foods GIVEAWAY for Houstonians and ... to share our guest post on one of our favorite blogs, Schue Love.

You can read our regular Weekend Update on our Houston Chronicle blog: Mad About Town.

Whole Foods "Back-to-School" GIVEAWAY

Houstonians: Are you gearing up for the back-to-school season with your kiddos (small or big)?  School supplies aren't complete without some lunch / snack treats and gear.

As many of you know, Whole Foods is our food destination of choice to refuel for the new school year.  We are very excited to partner with them for a Super "Back-to-School" GIVEAWAY.  I think even "big kids" (adults) would be excited to win this gift pack.

Image Credit: Whole Foods Market
From Whole Foods: 

Whole Foods Market is taking school lunches to the next level!  From our eco-friendly lunchboxes to our lunchbox-ready staples with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, we have just what you need to help your kiddos start the school year on the right foot.  We have incorporated a few of our favorite back-to-school products in this giveaway!

Want to build a better lunchbox? Check out our Weekday Lunch Planner

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Here I am above (Mad Max) on a recent trip to Whole Foods.  Monk (see: the monkey) and I are picking out some apples.

Whole Foods "Back-to-School" GIVEAWAY: HOW TO ENTER (9 number of ways to win!)

1) Visit the Whole Foods Market (Montrose) page and leave a comment below (simple!).

Or for extra entries (easy!):

2) "Like" Mad Max and Family's Facebook page (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).
3) "Follow" Mad Max and Family's Twitter page (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).
4) Post a comment on this blog post.
5) Comment on our Mad About Town (Houston Chronicle) blog (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).
6) "Like" the Whole Foods Market Houston Facebook page (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).
7) "Follow" Whole Food Houston's Twitter page (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).
8) and 9) Post about this giveaway on Facebook, and / or Tweet about it on Twitter (providing the blog link) (be sure to let us know by commenting on this blog post).  This can be worth two entries!

Remember, you must comment in this blog post for EACH entry (up to 9 comments) because each entry / comment counts.  Be sure to leave a way I can contact you in case you win!  You can also email us at madmaxandfamily (at) gmail with your info.

You have from now until Sunday, August 26th, 2012 at 9 pm (CST) to comment and be entered for a chance to win.  The winner will be chosen at random using and will be announced on Monday, August 27th, 2012 by 7 am (CST).  No purchase or payment necessary to enter.  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Open to those in the Houston, TX area since the Whole Foods Market Giveaway package will be picked up at the Whole Foods Montrose location.

Good luck!

Guest Blog: Mad Max and Family is on Schue Love today / Monday!  Be sure to visit one of our favorite blogs, Schue Love, today.  Natasha, thank you for having us over for a guest blog while you enjoy time with Super Baby Ethan!

-Mad Max and Family


Fun Friday: Secret Gardens and Super Sadie

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

Blog From Sadie ... What would you pick as the most fun from this week?

We have two fun things to share with you, and then I will share my update.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Max wanted to share this photo yesterday, but we seemed to be having some technical problems.  So did you know that Gramby is designing us a Secret Garden at her house?  And ... Max planted sunflower seeds!  Then yesterday Max picked one of his sunflowers and gave it to Mommy when she picked him up after work.  Isn't that the sweetest (and prettiest flower)?

And for some more fun ... I joined Mommy (and "Auntie" Alicen) tonight at our first blogging event with Houston Blogging Chicks for their 2 year "birthday" celebration at the Tasting Room in Uptown Park.  We had a great time with "Auntie" Alicen and meeting new bloggers.  Mommy and I held off on the wine ... we are more of vodka gimlet drinkers.

My (Sadie's) Current Stats:

Age: Almost 30 weeks (we think!) ... Mommy and I are train wrecks, and we are losing count.  About 10 weeks left, eep!

Height: 15.7 inches long

Weight: Almost 3 lbs

Fruit / Veggie Size: Head of Cabbage (does not sound attractive?)

Fun Facts: Apparently right now and when I am born I'll only have 20 / 400 vision.  Train wreck vision.

What do I enjoy most right now?: Hanging out with Mommy all day.  Kisses from Big Brother Max.  Talks from Dada.

What was the fun in your week?  What are you doing this weekend?  Have a great weekend!  

-Sadie of Mad Max and Family

PS: Visit us on Mad About Town, and don't forget to come by on Monday for a big Whole Foods "back-to-school" giveaway.  It's not to be missed.


Thursday's Kids and T(w)eens: Buffalo Bayou's KBR Kids Day in October

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

How is your week going so far?

Is it getting cooler where you are yet (if in Houston, I know the answer is NO).

One Fall event that we didn't talk about yesterday is Buffalo Bayou's KBR Kids Day on Saturday, October 20th.  From Buffalo Bayou:

Saturday, October 20, 11am-3pm
6th Annual KBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou

Downtown’s Sabine Promenade (150 Sabine Street)
Free Family Fun Day!

Calling all families and kids!  Save the date for our 6th Annual KBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou on October 20, 2012 from 11 am to 3 pm.  Join us for a completely FREE day of family-fun hands-on activities, give-aways, performances, and more!  With face painting, kayak demonstrations, a photo booth, boat rides, and so much more!  KBR Kids Day is one event you will not want to miss.  Come out in your favorite Halloween Costume and participate in our Costume Parade.

Do you have a family event similar in your city in the Fall?  We would love to hear about it.  Mommy is actually meeting with Buffalo Bayou later this month, and she said she plans to share more information about the event afterwards.  Mommy said she hopes to take me, but since Sadie is probably arriving that very Monday ... we'll have to wait and see.  What do you think?  We think it sounds like a great event for kids (and even your younger and older set).

Finally, Mommy asked that I share this photo with you today.  After she came to pick me up from her work day, I gave Mommy a sunflower I grew in my "Secret Garden" at Gramby's.  Okay, scratch that. Something weird is going on with our photo abilities, but we will share it soon!

-Mad Max

PS: You can always visit us at Mad About Town.  Stay tuned on Monday for our first Whole Foods giveaway!


next stop: Fall Festivals

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

What is your next stop this weekend?

What about looking ahead to this Fall?  Are there any Fall Festivals that you look forward to?  Or any that you would like to go to with the family?

Mommy and I found a listing of Fall Festivals from last year via the Houston Chronicle (many of which are probably around the same time this year).  We pulled out a few that we thought would be great to look into this year for the family (there are many more to choose from beyond the ones listed below!  Be sure to click the Houston Chronicle link ... what festivals are you looking forward to in your city?).

Ballunar Liftoff Festival (September 28 - 30th, 2012): Hot air balloon festival and more.  This could be fun for kids (as young as tots) of all ages.  One of my favorite things?  BALLOONS.  I've never SEEN a hot air balloon ... so this would be beyond exciting!

Greek Fest (Exact Timing TBD): I'm not sure of the exact dates for the Fall Festival, but it is usually in October.  This is a very popular festival in Houston, and it's a great opportunity to expose your young ones to the Greek culture (and did I mention, food!).

Bayou City Art Festival (Exact Timing TBD): This is another Fall Festival that usually happens in October (and then again in the Spring).  Mommy of course couldn't leave off a festival that connects to the arts.

Dewberry Farm (September 29th, 2012 and Beyond): Mommy and I actually heard about this last year, and we thought it was a great place to take kids during the Fall (pumpkin patch and corn maze (and more)).  Mommy decided I was a bit young to really enjoy it last year (ahem, speak for yourself!), but maybe we will head out past Katy, TX this year to enjoy it.  What do you think?

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Finally, we would love to hear your ideas of Fall Festivals either in Houston (if you are a Houstonian) or near you!

-Mad Max

... You can also visit us on Mad About Town, and please stay tuned this coming Monday for a back-to-school giveaway with Whole Foods Market.


Tuesday's Tots and Wee Ones: Your Own Little Pumpkin Patch

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

How are you?

(How was your Monday?  Mommy said hers was ... well ... "teaching is more exhausting than giving birth!"  Hang in there, Mommy!)

This week we are focusing on all things FALL.  And with Fall, we started thinking about the Holidays.  First up, Halloween!  Do you celebrate Day of the Dead or Halloween?  Or do you celebrate another holiday?

If you celebrate Halloween, do you plan on dressing up your Tots or Wee Ones?  Do you plan on trick or treating?  Or do you plan on doing something else to celebrate?

You can see how I celebrated my FIRST Halloween last year here and here.  You don't want to miss those posts - my first pumpkin patch and Zoo Boo!  (The posts make Mommy and I sad because Hermann (our late) kitty is in them.)  You can also enjoy some shots from the St. Luke's Pumpkin Patch below.  I know, I know ... nice spider costume, right?  (Mommy got the costume and my personalized matching treat bag from Pottery Barn Kids).  Sadie, I can't wait to pass it on to you!  Muhaha.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J 
Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

So if your young one dresses up, do you know what they will be this year?  Mommy and I already started thinking about it.

We were thinking I might be Max from Where the Wild Things Are (Pottery Barn Kids).  What do you think?  And wouldn't it be cute if Sadie was one of the monsters (we haven't found that costume yet!).  Any ideas on where we can find one?  Or another costume idea for her (that goes with mine)?  Or another costume idea for us?

And where will you be celebrating or trick or treating this year?  Last year we went to a pumpkin patch at our church, and we went to the Houston Zoo's Zoo Boo.  Mommy and I highly recommend a pumpkin patch visit and / or a Zoo Boo (near you!) for your Tots and Wee Ones.

A friend mentioned to Mommy that Houston's First Baptist Church has a Halloween Carnival.  We will be looking that up closer to date!  How about you?  How will you celebrate?

-Mad Max

PS: Visit us at Mad About Town.  Visit us here next Monday for our giveaway with Whole Foods too!


Mad for Monday (Max's Weekend Update): Are you ready for some FOOTBALL???!

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

How was your weekend?  What did you do?

My swim lessons were cancelled this week, but I went with Train Wreck Mommy and Daddy to the Children's Museum of Houston.  A few photos from my venture:

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Mommy went to enjoy a gal's lunch during my afternoon nap on Saturday at Jus Mac (very much not plant strong, so Daddy and I didn't miss a thing!  They are a "Mac and Cheese Eatery."  Mommy said it was yummy, but she did feel a bit sick afterwards.  Maybe too much, ahem, cheese.  Mommy had the Rustic.  What do you think?  Do you make any creative Mac and Cheese creations at home?  Mommy thought the bread crumbs on top made the dish!

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

And the biggest highlight of our weekend ... Houston Texans Football Season started!  Are you a football fan?  What is your favorite team?  My family thinks life is just better when it is football season! Here I am below watching the start of the game very intently with Dada.  I'm sure what followed was lots of cheering from us!  Congrats to the Texans on their first win.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

So with the start of football season ...Mommy and I are focused on FALL this week.  A bit premature you think?  I think Mommy just secretly wants it to get cooler in Houston.  The other day she said (to Dada), "I can't wait until Fall!  Cooler!"... Dada said "Yes, a cool 80 degrees."  Okay, 80 is better than 100, no?

So Houston doesn't have "seasons" unfortunately ... but we have much to look forward to this Fall / Winter season.  We are looking forward to Houston Texans Football season, cooler weather, my baby sister being born (Sadie!), Mommy's maternity leave, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and maybe our annual Houston Rockets trip, and more!

An important mention from us: be sure to stop by our blog next Monday!  We will have an awesome "back-to-school giveaway" from Whole Foods (Houston location)!

How was your weekend?  What are you looking forward to this Fall?

-Mad Max and Family

PS: You can also visit us on Mad About Town!


Fun Friday: Sexy and Stylish at The Mommie Series

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

Happy Friday!  How was your week?

Today I'm (Sadie) going to fill you in on my "gals night out" with Mommy (and her friend Sarah) last week at The Mommie Series Houston.  We are taking a break from our Olympic theme today, but Mommies have to train in many ways, you know!  We will also bring you my Sadie update either this weekend or on Monday.

Last week Mommy, "Auntie" Sarah, and I went "back to basics" at The Mommie Series Houston held at La Mode Lingerie.  We knew the evening would be filled with sexy and stylish Mommies, savvy information, and scrumptious bites!  But who knew these friendly modern moms would also be hilarious?

The Mommie Series Houston event was presented by Misti Pace-Krahl of MISTI STYLE.  The Mommie Series is a "refreshing educational series where a team of experts will enlighten, educate, and entertain modern Houston moms with their knowledge."  Allison Bagley of Houston Tidbits served as the Master of Ceremony, and topics focused on FAMILY, HEALTH, FINANCE, and FASHION.

FAMILY: Neha Gupta, Owner of Elite Private Tutors, offered study tips.  She also kept us laughing (this was a trend throughout the evening and with all speakers) with her honesty.  She offered insight into tutoring that most of us don't think of ... tutoring can serve as a tool to broaden a student's perspective (such as by learning a new language) versus just seen as a "fix" for students that are struggling.  Do you have school-aged children?  Have you considered tutoring?

HEALTH: Dr. Debra Cutler of Kelsey-Seybold focused on the subject of vaccines and our children.  Her wittiness also shined, and Mommy and I enjoyed her talk.  Who would have thought it would be like a comedy show that night too?  She also brought expertise and seriousness to the subject.  She was pro-vaccinate (as most pediatricians are ...).  What is your take on vaccines?

FINANCE: Claudia Kolker, author of The Immigrant Advantage, discussed the interesting tradition of the Vietnamese Money Club.  She also was very charming to the audience, and "Auntie" Sarah is inspired to start our own "Vietnamese Money Club."  We won't go into details because we don't want Dada to find out!  Do you have any "outside of the box" ways that you spend (treat yourself or your family) or save money?

FASHION: Finally, La Mode Lingerie shared the base of our fashion wear - and fabulous pieces at that!  The speaker was so charming that Mommy said we must go back in and visit soon.  Do you treat yourself to fabulous, yet basic, lingerie pieces?

Mommy, Sarah, and I really enjoyed the speakers, but it was also nice mingling with other modern moms (and many carrying fetuses too).  We enjoyed bites from Green Plate Kids, but unfortunately we couldn't enjoy the wine (one won't hurt, Mom ... ).  There were also great drawings and prizes throughout the entire evening, and fabulous gift bags for all guests.  We sure were pampered.

Mommy and I were very excited that we got our first press photo together from the event (along with Sarah) (via Last Night Pics).

culturemap Houston: Sexy hot mamas listen, learn & shop the latest styles at The Mommie Series

Lights Camera Action: Hot Mamas and Bachelor Pad Screening!

Interested in more event photos?  Check out The Mommie Series on Facebook.

Next Up for The Mommie Series Houston: Save the Date for Wednesday, October 17th.  This is their next event!  We are also happy to report that we will be partnering with The Mommie Series to offer tickets to the event for one of our lucky readers!  Did you miss the last event?  Don't miss this one!  (We'll be sure to take some of our own photos next time so we can share them on our blogs).  Houstonians: Will we see you there?

What's your next "Mommy" event?

Have a great weekend!

-Sadie of Mad Max and Family / Mad About Town


Thursday's Kids and T(w)eens: Your City. Your Olympic Sports.

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

Do you have any Olympic sports that are popular in your city / area / nearby?  Do you have any training facilities (that may train Olympians)?

Do your kids, tweens, and teens play sports?  Or do they like or follow certain sports?  Or do you know of any kids, tweens, and teens that do?

As you know, I live with my Train Wreck family in Houston.

Houston is probably most well known for the (summer) Olympic sport of gymnastics.  The Bela Karolyi camp is north of Houston.  As you probably know, Bela and Marta Karolyi are very involved USA Gymnastics and the Olympics team (to put it very mildly).  Would you send your child to their camp?  I would probably be worried about how intense it was going to be!

And Houston has had several male gymnasts that have competed in the Olympics recently.  I'm not sure why Houston seems to have training facilities for Olympic gymnasts, but being a Houstonian, it's definitely something to be proud of (who doesn't love rooting for a hometown hero?).  For example, the Houston Gymnastics Academy has connections to the Olympics.  Mommy said she is going to look into a class for me (for next year).  (Not because she wants me to be a future gymnastics Olympian ... but wouldn't tumbling be great for any Super Tot?)

Do you have any kids that participate in gymnastics?

Another great sport for the older set is martial arts.  Do you have any kids in martial arts?  Did you know that Houston actually has a family of Olympic martial artists?  Lopez Taekwondo Academy!  Whether you are from Houston or not, you should read more about them on their site.  Their story is inspirational, no?

Mommy and Daddy said they want me to get involved in martial arts when I'm a bit older (Mommy is looking into it now) ...maybe 3 years (or 4 yrs or 5 yrs).  The Little Ninja's Class is what I would start with most likely.  Mommy said she hoped I would like martial arts, and it's in my blood!  Pops had a martial arts school, and Mommy's Uncle C has one now (in another state).  Maybe one day I will have a Mad Max Taekwondo Academy?

So what about your kids?  Are they involved in any sports?

And what about where you are from?  What sports are well known there?

-Mad Max

PS: Visit us on Mad About Town!


next stop: Olympic Sports in Your City

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

Before we get to Olympic Sports in Your City ... Mommy wanted me to share a few things:

Did you see my little sister's (Sadie's) first press photo today in Culturemap Houston: Sexy hot mamas listen, learn, and shop the latest styles at The Mommie Series?  If not, be sure to check it out!  Also, don't miss our blog this Friday (from Sadie).  She'll give you a recap of The Mommie Series event from last week.

Also on Friday ... Sadie will share her doctor appointment adventure from today.  Mommy said she has lots to share.  Mommy, I thought we had a blast today?

Finally ... thank you to all of our readers!  Mommy said she's been hearing from several of you in person.  If you haven't already, you can click follow on our blog, and you can also find us on Bloglovin.

Olympic Sports in Your City: 

What's your next stop this weekend?  What about a sporting event (that is also featured at the Olympics)?  What sporting events are available where you live?

If you are in Houston ... we recommend going to a Houston Dynamo (soccer) game.  Have you been to their new stadium yet?  We haven't been yet, but this is definitely on our list to check out soon.  If you've been ... share your experience with us!  Or share your experience of a sporting event where you are from.

They don't actually have a game at home this weekend, but their next home game is on Sunday, August 19th at 8 pm (most appropriate timing for your older ones).  Check out their schedule here.

Did you know that the Houston Dynamo has Youth Programs (ages 5 and up)?  And they partner with SoccerTots for 18 months and up.  I'm (Mad Max!) very excited to begin my SoccerTots class / team this month!  I'll have photos to share soon.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Well, I haven't started soccer yet so I don't have photos ...but in the meantime, I am training in EATING (on a recent visit to Whole Foods).

So what do you think?  What's your next stop?

-Mad Max

PS: Visit us on Mad About Town!


Tuesday's Tots and Wee Ones: Baby Olympics!

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

First, Happy 19th Birthday to me!  Can you believe I'm 19 already?

Second, are you lovin' the Olympic fever?  Or over it?

Train Wreck Mommy and My Hero Daddy are glued to the screen.  I have to admit that I'm often passed out (after a nice glass of Scotch) in my crib before Olympics Primetime even starts in the evening.

What about Baby Olympics?  Do you have or know any babies or tots that are currently training?  I know my little sis is, Sadie.  (Gymnastics, we think).

Have you seen the Guys with Kids promos during the Olympics?  Mad Max gives them a 9.9.  Cute.  And hilarious.  Mommy said she wants to see this new NBC show.  What do you think?

So what about your babies or tots ... or ones that you know?  Are any of them in sports (that are also seen in the Olympics?)

Dada put me in the Olympic sport of swimming (at Dad's Club) which we think is a great sport for babies and tots.  What is another great sport for babies and tots?  Mommy said tumbling!  She said I might get to try tumbling either in the Spring or next Summer.  A friend of Mommy's recommended (or rather, heard about) Houston Gymnastics Academy.  Home to Olympians!  We need to research it more though.  Houstonians: any recommendations for swimming, gymnastics, or other sports for young ones?  What about those of you outside of Houston?  Where did you choose to go and why?

-Mad Max

PS ... Find us on Mad About Town!


Mad for Monday (Max's Weekend Update): Your Future Olympians

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

How was your weekend?  What did you do?  Did you catch any Olympics?

This week at Mad Max and Family and Mad About Town we are going to focus on all things Olympics.  Which are your favorite Summer Olympic sports?

But first ... our Weekend Update:

We didn't have anything too out of the ordinary this weekend: trained for the Olympics (swimming lessons at Dad's Club) and entertained the ladies (SongPlay! music class).  But the highlight was getting together with Dada's family for Cousin C's 6th Birthday.  Thanks for including us in the celebration this weekend!

Did you go to any parties this weekend?  Maybe an Olympics party?

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J 

Here I am above on my first big trampoline with Cous R.  I just got to get that jumping down.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Your Future Olympian:

We are also going to start including parenting topics of various sorts on Mondays.  Mad Max has to help parents out there, you know!  You can send us ideas for parenting topics too.

So of course today ... most appropriate we'll start with the Olympics.

So our first question is ... what type of Mom (or parent) do you think it takes to raise an Olympian?  (I personally think even though my Train Wreck Mommy is well, a train wreck, she can raise an Olympian!).  We read the NYT Motherlode Blog piece " Does It Take a Tiger Mom to Raise an Olympian?"  (Read it!  What do you think?)

From Mad Max's Mom: So what type of Mom / parent do you think it takes to raise an Olympian?  As I commented on the Motherlode blog, I don't know that it takes a specific kind of parent to raise an Olympian.  I think some individuals (some, not all) can overcome anything ... and it doesn't matter what your background is ... But of course I'm sure it would help to have a really supportive parent.  I don't think a "pushy" parent would help though.  Don't kids usually want to do the exact opposite of what you may really push them to do (or at least teenagers)?  I think a child has to have the dream on their own!  A child can't fulfill a parent's own childhood dream.

Is your child in an Olympic sport?  When did they start playing that sport?  How did you decide what sports to put them in?  What are their dreams?  What are yours?

-Mad Max / Mad Max's Mom

PS ...

Don't forget you can find us on Mad About Town, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Fun Friday: Our Last Summer Adventure (The Case of Monk and His Margaritas)

Hi Family, Friends, and Fans,

How has your week been?  What are your weekend plans?

Our focus has been on the "back-to-school season" since Train Wreck Mommy returned to school on Wednesday (Sadie here .. I'm still with Mommy each day, but my brother, Mad Max, sure misses Mommy!).

But today we would like to bring you one of our last adventures for this summer (well, really ... Monk's (Max's Monkey)) adventure.

The Story: Has your child ever left (or lost) their favorite toy, blanket, or lovey?  If you answered yes, you may be able to relate to this story.  If you answered no (and have kids), I encourage you to go get several duplicates of their favorite toy, blanket, and lovey just in case (don't worry, Mommy, I won't tell Max).  If you don't have kids, maybe you can relate to this story if you saw TED ... hmm, well maybe!

About a week ago I went out to lunch with Mommy, Mad Max, and a few of Mommy's friends at The Original Ninfa's on Navigation (if you aren't from Houston and ever visit ... make sure to add this to your list!).  We were enjoying a nice lunch (thanks Viola and Jennifer!), and most of the time "Monk" was sleeping in Max's diaper bag.  Towards the end of our meal, Monk came out to of course enjoy some of Max's tortillas, rice, and maybe he was eyeing that margarita.

Fast forward to arriving back home for Max's nap time... Mommy went to look in her bag for Monk for nap time.  Uh oh.  No Monk.  Mommy asked Max "where's Monk?"  Max (being mostly nonverbal) did his "I don't know" turned over hands and shrug look.  Mommy started to panic.  Did we leave Monk at NINFA's?  She did her best to remain calm and put him down for his nap.  As soon as she put him down, she flew down the steps and basically turned the car upside down to find Monk.  Nothing.  Back to the diaper bag.  Nothing!

Then she knew it.  Monk.  is.  at.  Ninfa's.  And worse ... was he lost in the parking lot?  Dropped like an unwanted teddy (monkey) bear (stuffed animal)?

Mommy and I quickly called Ninfa's.

"Hi, yes, I was just there for lunch with my 18 month old son and some friends.  Odd question, by any chance did you find a small monkey?"

"Oh, yes!  We are keeping him very safe."

Whew.  So maybe Monk just wanted an overnight stay at Ninfa's?  What do you think?  We were worried Monk would have a hangover the next day (when we planned to pick him up) after a few dozen or so margaritas.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
In case you don't know Monk as well as we do, here's a photo of Max with Monk in Disney World (shopping).

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J
Before Monk went missing Max enjoyed some "peek-a-book" with Mommy's friend V.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

The next morning we went to pick up Max's Monk.  He was so happy (to see Monk) and seemed shocked that he was there!  And to make matters worse / more confusing, poor Monk was in a body bag.  How rough was his night??  (Photo: Outside of Ninfa's).

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

... if you like our Monk story you will also love this story about a Stuffed Giraffe (Stuffed Giraffe Shows What Customer Service is All About).

I will be back next week with my "Sadie Update."  In the meantime ... do you have any toy, blanket, or lovey stories to share?

Have a great weekend!

Sadie of Mad Max and Family / Mad About Town

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