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Archive for the ‘Grandparents’ Category

Now that you’re done agonizing over your baby’s name, it’s time to come up with what to call the elder members of the family. These days not only do you have four grandparents and possibly great grandparents but now there can be many more with second marriages added to the mix. How does your toddler keep everyone straight?

Lilah (a couple years ago) with some of her grandparents and great grandparents.

When my daughter was just starting to talk I asked each of her grandparents what they would like her to call them. On both sides of the family they said that she could call them whatever she would like. The problem is that in most cases a child needs a starting point.

I have always called my grandparents “Grandma” and “Grandpa” and if I was talking about them they would be distinguished by their last names. In this day and age it seemed a bit formal to do that. Since they had no preference and did not have an issue with the grandma or grandpa moniker (I think it’s because I waited until I was older to have her) we just went with the traditional Grandma and Grandpa. If we were talking about them to Lilah we added their first names to the end to any avoid confusion, for example Grandma Laurie. Of course, when she was just a wee little one she couldn’t even say Grandma. Instead all her grandparents were all known as “Ga” until her verbal skills developed. Great grandma was Great Ga or GG.

In the past two weeks this subject has come up many times with people in and out of the Le Top office. I know that grandparents with different ancestry solve the problem by using the name for grandma (or pa) in their native language, such as grandma is Abuela (Spanish), Oma (German) or Nonna (Italian). Often this is very natural because this is what they called their grandparents. What if that is not the case?

Some grandparents will take the opportunity to name themselves. Generally it’s something that is endearing and fairly easy for a child to remember like Nana. Remember, if the name is too difficult a child may simplify it by him or herself, and you never know how it will end up. In the end, most grandparents are just happy to have grandchildren and will be willing to work with whatever you child ends up calling them.

Here is a list from the grandparents.com website that lists traditional, trendy, playful and international names for grandparents. Hopefully it will give you some useful ideas to deal with your naming dilemma.

Good luck!

Full list of names for Grandparents

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After all that wiggling and the loose tooth still not falling out, Grampa Joe came to the rescue. With a piece of floss and a little tug, that little baby tooth went flying up in the air, hit the wall and bounced somewhere in the living room. Miranda was too busy laughing to realize that she was bleeding from where her tooth was. The Tooth Fairy came for a visit, and she was very generous! She gave Miranda a spinning toothbrush and a five-dollar bill since the first tooth was a special one. Finally, Miranda can go to school and write her name on the tooth chart at school! Yippee! Then my daughter completely surprised me. She decided to donate her tooth money to Operation Rice Bowl because she said she wanted to help the poor during Lent. I’m so proud of her.

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It’s been a hectic couple of months, so our family (me, my husband, Lilah and my parents) booked a getaway to Mexico to lounge, sightsee, and spend some time together. Though we have traveled with Lilah on a plane before, she was too small to remember or really be part of the process. This was going to be her first adventure to another country!!!

Most airlines have a rule of one checked bag and one carry-on (no liquids, scissors, etc.) so we really had to plan our packing. I felt that Lilah should be able to carry all of her own bags so we got her a nifty rolling suitcase. She already had a small backpack that converts to a rolling bag so we were set. She loved that she had the same set up as all of the adults and looked adorable going through the airport.

Lilah was the only one short enough to go through the Mayan tunnel at the Coba ruins.

The security check turned into a game as to who could get through and get redressed first. Quick Tip: When flying don’t forget to make sure your child has gum, a sippy cup/bottle to suck on or is cooperative enough to try and repressurize their own ears. I remembered this only once we started the decent, so other than some temporary ear pain on 3 of the 4 flights, she passed the airtime with flying colors and was even given a “pair of wings” from the airline.

As you are probably aware, being away from home in a strange environment for a whole week can be stressful to a child. It didn’t matter how much fun she was having, when she was tired all she would say was “Can we go home and see the kitties?” It broke my heart every time. However, within a few days it changed to “Can we go back to the room?” We did our best to create a daily nap time since routines are so important for the little ones, especially when you’re traipsing through Mayan ruins or visiting unfamiliar places.

Pool time was the best since Lilah loves the water! She is comfortable in it, but cannot yet swim without a life vest. Most resorts have swim areas specifically for kids where the depth is shallow. Ours was set up like a beach where it gradually got deeper (no stairs). This enabled all of the adults to take turns playing in the water with her without her drowning us (by holding on to our necks) because six hours straight in the water is more than I can take

Lilah just couldn't get enough of the water. She wore us out while looking stylish in her Le Top Sweetheart Butterfly and Lots o' Fish swimsuits from our Spring 2010 season.

We practiced speaking the native language as much as possible all through our trip and Lilah would regularly skip along a path counting or saying colors she saw in Spanish. Having the grandparents along was a dream since my husband and I were able to get in a couple of excursions on our own. The trip was too short but it was nice to recharge our batteries in a beautiful paradise. I can’t wait to do it again and Lilah is already talking about the next trip. I guess I need to get out the calendar!

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Okay, I know Halloween is over, but I have to say that this was the best year ever when it came to my daughter, Lilah. Why? BECAUSE I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I love to dress up and I have always loved trick-or-treating. I was hoping Lilah would feel the same way. Last year we had a costume and a trick-or-treating plan for the day, but unfortunately when the time came to venture out, she refused to wear her costume. I tried to put it on and she took it off. Yes, I have a stubborn one. She did go trick-or-treating in her black cat t-shirt, but she said she was too shy to get candy from people. It was quite a let down (as a proud Halloween parent).

However, this year she chose her costume, Woody (from Disney’s Toy Story) and she was excited to go. On the Friday before Halloween, all of the kids at her school dressed up. I explained that if she didn’t dress up, she would stand out more and that she should participate with her other classmates. She went with it (woohoo!) and ended up having a great time at school and had photos taken of her with all of her friends.

When Grandma took her to Petaluma’s (California) treat-or-treating in the local downtown area, Lilah was able to dress up again as Woody. Yee Haa! She loved that people knew who she was dressed up as. Though still a bit shy about the trick-or-treating, she did participate (a big step forward for Lilah!). That night, we ended up not taking her out trick-or-treating, but she had a blast handing out candy to the other kids. We would sprint for the door and make a big deal of it every time the doorbell rang. All-in-all, it was fabulous Halloween. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

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A couple of weeks ago I decided to go do something special with my daughter since my husband was out of town. What could we do that she and I would both enjoy and wouldn’t “break the bank”  (especially since she may quickly decide that it wasn’t for her)? My mom suggested a local zoo / amusement park that caters to children. Seeing that my parents offered to come along for some much needed ‘Lilah time’ – I couldn’t refuse.

Though I’m sure these parks (and certainly zoos) were around ‘back in the day,’ they seem to have really dialed them in for maximum effect. Many of my mommy/daddy friends swear by themed playlands and children’s parks that they go to regularly. I hadn’t made the time to venture out with Lilah but that was about to change.

Well, I have to say it was fabulous fun! Admission was only $12 per person, free for under 2-year-olds, and they even have group rates for large parties. The best part was the many choices of activities – we could go to the zoo, barn, rides, huge slides, puppet shows or all of them!

We planned on starting with the zoo, but after a few minutes in the barn area, I looked over and Lilah had her finger covering her nose. She refused to remove it to feed the goats because she didn’t like the smell. Okay, well then … off to the rides.

She rode every ride and slid on every slide (more than once) and still wanted more. At this point we were too tired to go over to the main zoo, and we decided to head home. Now we have something to look forward to for next time. I was so happy to have my parents along with us to spend time with Lilah, take turns waiting in line for rides, and generally enjoy the day! 

Our day at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in San Jose, California

I would highly recommend that you visit your local amusement park / zoo / playland. There is something for everyone. If you’re taking little ones be sure the amusement park caters to small children because many rides have height restrictions. Who wants to tell their child they can’t go on a ride because they’re too small. Not me. In the end, I had a happy girl who can’t wait to go back and see the zoo.

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Lollipop, Lollipop, oh-lalli-lalli-pop! Read all about this week’s “Store Spotlight with Lollipops Children’s Shop in Latham, New York.  Chris Coletta, owner of Lollipops Children’s Shop, gives us the story of moving store locations without a credit card machine and her top sales ever, her favorite children’s book and 3 tips to owning a successful children’s boutique.

Visit Le Top’s Facebook and become a Fan to receive weekly “Store Spotlight” updates — Become a fan and Click HERE 

1.    Have you always been interested in entering the children’s business? What was your background prior?
Chris: 
Ever since I had my two girls who are now 30 and 25-years-old, I have always been interested in children’s clothing. When they were born, I used to dress them to the nines!  At ages 4 and 9, I decided that I wanted to open up our shop and called it Lollipops Children’s Shop. I opened the store because I loved the outfits that I dressed the girls in so much and there weren’t any kids shops around where I could buy this types of clothing – they were my inspiration!

Prior to the store, I didn’t have children’s apparel experience, but more of a passion with the support of my wonderful husband, Dennis.

2.    The name of your store reminds of me of something whimsical like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I am envisioning lollipops everywhere and sweet kids shopping! – Where did the name come from?
Chris: During the process of naming our store, my husband Dennis and I were looking through pictures of children and found two children holding lollipops stepping into a box, so that is where it came from!

3.    Are you a New York native? If so, what did you do growing up as a kid in the local area? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.
Chris: Yes, I am! We are from upstate New York near Albany. My cousins all lived down the street, and it was a great place to grow up. Our store is located in a beautiful affluent neighborhood, and is in a strip mall with other retail stores and restaurants.

4.    What is your favorite kid book and why?
Chris: The book that came to mind is the Little Engine that Could because the premise of the book is about really wanting something and making it happen. Dennis and I really related to this in wanting to open our store – it is how we approach our business.

5.    What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe for summer?
Chris: I would probably tell a customer to buy some basic bottoms (solid color or a khaki) for the summer and fun tops to switch up the outfit. Then buy a trendy accessory like a bow or hat to make it look special.

6.    Who is your target customer?
Chris: Our target customers are new parents and grandparents that want something special for their children. Oh – and also love to find beautiful gifts.

7.    Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?
Chris: This spring Tony Dovolani from DWTS (Dancing With The Stars) stopped in! We also had a very good customer who would buy for the musician James Taylor’s twins when they were babies until when they were 5 and 6 years old!

8.    What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?
Chris:

  1. Knowing your customers’ wants and needs
  2. Building long and lasting relationships with your customers
  3. Go above and beyond for your customers. For example, we take special orders and offer complimentary gift wrap.
  4. I know it is supposed to be 3 keys to success, but a 4th key is to be in the store!  I am in the store 90% of the time because as an owner, you should always be there, and even though I have great employees who are trained the way I would personally do sales, it is important to show your face on the floor.

9.    If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Chris: You have to be willing to spend most of the time at the store and know the business. It is the most important thing. Build relationships! A lot of returning customers become family to you. You end up thinking about those customers with personal relationships when you are buying at the trade shows.

10.    What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Chris: We were originally at our 1st location for 12 years. Then 10 years ago, the owners of a local mall came to us and we decided to move…we we’re nervous at first, but it was an unbelievable change. We closed our original store location on the evening of June 30th and opened at the new store location the morning of July 1st.  We didn’t even have a credit card machine and it was our busiest day in our business EVER. We weren’t even dressed for business – I was still in my sneakers and customers were buying right off the rack.  It made us feel good about the move and location. We have now been in business a total of 22 years.

11.    What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbit moon do you heart most from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Chris:
My favorite collections were the girl ‘Daisy Duck’ collection and the boy ‘Gone Fishin’ collection because customers love that combination of mixing and matching.

LOLLIPOPS CHILDREN’S SHOP
594 New Loudon Rd.
Latham, NY 12110
518.786.0379

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It’s a baby bug’s life! Read about our 6th premier retailer in our weekly “Store Spotlight” series where we feature one of Le Top’s best stores.  Judy Novinger, owner of Baby Bug & Me, gives us the fun facts of the state bug of Pennsylvania (where her store is located), her launch of a “shoetique,” what mommies buy in her store versus her online boutique, and what celebrity mommy she would love to meet!

1.      What made you decide to enter the children’s business and what did you do before?

Judy: Baby Bug & Me is a spin off of my previous retail gift shop named Lightning Bug, Inc. There was a major closing of many of the children’s boutiques in the greater Harrisburg, PA area a few years ago.  I opened Baby Bug & Me in September 2003 to fill this retail gap.

2.      The name of your store is very playful – where did the name come from?

Judy:   My original gift shop featured a whimsical little girl lightning bug as our logo.  Our baby boutique logo shows the little girl lightning bug all grown up and pushing a buggy with a baby bug.

Thus the name “Baby Bug & Me.”  Oh by the way, the “Lightening Bug” is also the state insect of Pennsylvania!

3.      What would people be surprised to learn about you and your store?

Judy: I was formerly a gift buyer for a large department store and decided to interview for the children’s clothing buyer position. I was told that I ‘didn’t have what it took to buy children’s fashions’ and did not get the job.   As time went on, I moved on to pursue other opportunities in sales and retail.  Ironically, had I been selected for that original position there probably would not be a Baby Bug & Me today.

4.      Who is your target customer?

Judy: The grandparents are my strongest supporters!  Being a grandmother of eight, I know the thrill of having the child of my child in my arms.  My customers share stories, pictures and what they want to buy for their families. The grandparent shopper is looking for the clothing that “keeps children looking like children”. That is why Le Top is our largest clothing retailer source.  They give quality and take cute to the limit!

5.      As a couple, you and your husband must have incredibly demanding schedules with the store. What’s the key to your successful marriage?

Judy: My husband Jim, whom I am married to for 40 years, is the man behind the scenes.  Even with having a full-time job, he still finds the time to support Baby Bug & Me.  From my visions, he builds my fixtures.  He supports my business computer needs, and he is the MUSCLE behind the heavy “grunt work.”

6.      What products do your clientele like the most?

Judy: Layette, playwear and shoes are our strongest categories.  We provide sizes preemie to 4 toddlers for boys, and girls’ sizes expand from preemie to 6x with a move to 10/12 in the fall. This fall we will have completed our expansion of “The Shoetique”.  This is our store within a store concept for shoes.  Fortunately, my customers are very forthcoming with what they want for their shopping needs.  They want good quality shoes to match the clothing they purchase.

7.      Any Celebrity customers over the years or do you have any celebs buying right now?

Judy: Most of my celebs are from our diverse local TV and radio personalities.  It’s fun meeting the person behind the voice on the radio.

8.      There are so many famous celebrity mommies that we see each week in the weeklies such as Us Weekly, InTouch, etc. – if you could meet one celeb mommy or daddy, who would it be and why?

Judy: I think I’d like to meet Sandra Bullock.  She seems like a good, caring working mother and an all around nice person.

9.      Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to come together as a parenting community?

Judy: I have learned that the computer savvy mother turns to the Internet for their children’s needs.  After hours, when moms are finally settled, she browses the Internet to shop and network with other parents.  We actually just hired a new associate for our store that set Baby Bug & Me up on Facebook.  Wow! What a network!  I also have learned to surf the net to find new and exciting product for the store – it helps me with the necessary planning to attend seasonal kids trade shows.

10. I heard the Lemoyne area in Pennsylvania is pretty cute; describe the neighborhood your store is in for us.

Judy: Lemoyne is located approximately 2 miles south of Harrisburg, PA, our capitol.  We are 1 of 14 upscale businesses located above the West Shore Farmers Market.  Picture a smaller scale Quincy Market type atmosphere as seen in Boston.

11. What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?

Judy: Customer Service, Fine Quality Merchandise, and Product Knowledge.  We always want our customer’s time in Baby Bug to be a good experience.  They deserve individual attention when buying for whatever the occasion.  We supply free gift wrapping for one stop shopping and a special play area to keep those little people occupied.  Customers want a unique look that screams quality.  We feel the customer deserves to know the origin, manufacturer and the proper care of all our products.

12. How do you select your products for the store? Do you find that there is a difference between your online boutique consumers for your brand versus your typical store consumer?

Judy: We have a three-part formula.  One third is what I feel the customer will like.  One third is what is trending i.e. organic.  One third is what the area demands, shoes, christening, seasonal, preemie, etc. We find our online customer wants to buy accessories and toys rather than clothing.  The store customer wants to touch the merchandise.  They like to see the colors, evaluate attributes and talk with us about proper sizing.  How frustrating it is to buy something on the web only to find it needs to be returned for one reason or another.  We do shipping for the continental US and military APO and FPO addresses for both online or store sales.

13. If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?

Judy: Always begin with a financial business plan. It is not a matter of just going to the market place and buying pretty things. Do your homework to meet both the area’s needs and your financial plans.  Mentor with other business people.

14. What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?

Judy: I believe that most people, when asked this question, would probably respond with a happy story, and I have many of those. However, my most memorable moment was when I was able to personally assist a grieving grandfather in selecting the burial clothing for his deceased new grandchild. I felt so humbled in helping this family.

15. What collection or piece from Le Top and/or rabbit moon are you loving from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?

Judy: I am wowed by the oranges and blues of Lots ‘o Fish, a true step away from the traditional blues and pinks. The style and fashion make this a fun group for either boy or girl.  I love the mixing of patterns and stripes and the use of the whimsical orange fish appliqués.

Baby Bug & Me
900 Market Street
Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.763.1780
http://www.babybugandme.com

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