Sunday, May 31, 2009

A decadent decade

It's been two college degrees, one condo, one wedding, one baby and one decade later since Brent and I went on our first date.

I convinced Brent that we needed to celebrate, especially since we still hadn't gone out to celebrate our third wedding anniversary last month.

Surprisingly, it was the first time that Brent and I had been out solo -- without Em or any other adults -- since she arrived nearly 8 months ago! We had a lovely dinner at Grace after taking a rare family photo.
A rare family photo

And we didn't need to exchange any gifts to celebrate - we gave ourselves the best gift eight months ago.
Em and me

"To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others." - Anne-Sophie Swetchine

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's time to put on makeup. It's time to dress up right.

Look what arrived for Em today!
It's here!

Opening...
Open...

Opening... (At this point, Brent said, "This is like that scene at the end of Se7en!")
Open...

Almost out...
Open...

Oh, good lord! She's suffocating! Halp her!
"Halp!"

She's a lunch lady by day, cheerleader by night...
Hairnet

It's Darla, a Muppet Whatnot! (We named her after a quote in "Just Friends." It's just fun to say, "Darla!")
Darla!

Em looooves this gift from Matt and Nicole - her own customized Muppet!
I haz a Muppetz

"Mom, Dad... is this my new sister?"
New sister?

"Ohhh... I haz a Muppet! Thanks, Auntie Nicole and Uncle Matt!"
Funz

"Everything you can imagine is real." - Pablo Picasso

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Better late than never

As you may have guessed, things have been a little busy around here.

Saturday afternoon we celebrated the 4th birthday of our pal Jack, the son of Jessica who happens to be the mama of Em's pal Ben. They're just two weeks apart. They had lots of fun playing, and Ben was very kind to share his toys with Em.
toy1
"Mooooommmmm"

(We'll be sure to save these photos for their wedding day slideshow. Heh.)

That evening we met up with friends at one of our favorite restaurants. Sadly, though, right before our food arrived I started to feel ill. I made it through dinner but didn't eat much more than a couple bites. By the time we dropped our friends off after dinner, I was full-on ill. Side-of-the-road, better-throw-out-my-shoes-cuz-my-aim-is-bad, I-never-even-vomited-when-I-was-pregnant-what-the-heck-is-this sick. We picked Em up from my in-laws' and then it hit Brent. We spent the next 24 hours feeling beyond miserable. Chills, fever and more tummy issues.

Although we keep hearing of a local stomach bug, we think it was likely the corndogs and potatoes I got from the local grocery store deli before Jack's party. Now I can no longer say I've never gotten food poisoning.

Luckily we were both better in time for a quick visit from one of my best pals Stacie on Monday. Em was super excited to meet Auntie Stacie, who brought her a tasty lamb.
Stac


Stac3

Sorry, Em. You're not ready for lamb yet. You're still on fruits and veggies.
lamb

Yesterday I made an appointment with an eye doc about my pointy eyeballs. I'm not a candidate for lasik, and this doc is a specialist in my eye disease and the surgery I can have. He says that I can have the surgery, which won't make my vision perfect but it will stop my pointy eyeballs from getting worse and will enable me to wear soft contacts. That would make me so very happy. We're waiting to see if my insurance will cover any of it, and he's fairly certain they will.

I also agreed to donate a few vials of my blood for a study he's conducting about genetic markers of the eye disease and thus a potential cure. After his assistant drew blood, she asked, "Do you like Starbucks?" Thinking that was her way of offering me a cup of coffee, I said, "Um, no thanks." She laughed. "Not now, for later. As a thank-you for joining the study, we'll give you a $50 Starbucks gift card." Rock on! Even though I'm a Coffee Bean gal through and through, I can find a use for that gift card.

This has been a nice short week. And tomorrow I get to work my half-day from home with our lovely Em - the perfect way to start our weekend.

"Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year."
- Franklin Pierce Adams

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's my party

I met some moms and babies for a playdate at a nearby park on Saturday.

Em was a doll, and she loved hanging out with the other babies.
Sweet girl

While we were there, a nearby birthday party was visited by two characters - Hello Kitty and Belle from Beauty & the Beast. When I told Brent later, he said the same thing I thought -- That would be MY ultimate party!

So it should be no surprise that I tried to sneak a pic of the characters, but I didn't want to be the crazy stranger lady in the park taking pics of some random kid's birthday party. "Stranger danger!" So I didn't get a very good pic. When I showed it to justJENN, she added the perfect captions.

kitty party

That was quite the party.

"Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking." - H. Jackson Browne, Jr.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yamtastic!

Hi.

I'm Nanette.

I like baby stuff.

I like a lot of gadgets.

I like gadgets designed for baby.

I saw this awesome little appliance a few months ago called the Beaba Babycook, but I couldn't bring myself to splurge on it.

But then I'd periodically check Craigslist for one, and happened to find a like-new one in my hometown for a THIRD of the price!

So I arranged for my mom to pick it up for me.

Voila!

I tried it out for the first time last weekend.

"How does it work, Nanette? How do you like it?" you ask.

Lemme tell ya.

Actually, lemme show ya.

Behold the Babycook! Notice the "vase" I Macgyvered for the flowers the lactation consultant gave each of us in our mommy group. It's a baby bottle.
babycook

I decided to make yams.
yams

This was Plan B if my homemade yam endeavors went awry.
backup

I peeled and diced the yams, then placed them in the Babycook's steamer basket.
cut up

I added water to the Babycook reservoir...
basket

Put the lid on...
steam

Pushed the button to "steam," and then 15 minutes later...
steamed

Steamed yams!
soft

But wait! There's more! I used this handy dandy spatula thing to lift out the steamer basket.
spatula

I poured the water out of the bottom of the pitcher/bowl, poured the soft yams back into the bowl with a little bit of the water, and then covered with the mixing lid.
mix

I added the big lid, then turned the button to the "blend" feature. In less than a minute, I had a batch of pureed yams ready for Em!
pureed

Our little musketeer is still getting used to the yams, but overall I think they went well.
musketeer

(By the way - I don't know how in the world I ended up with a redheaded daughter, albeit likely temporary. And no, her hair is not red from the yams. Hardy har har.)

One big yam made enough for half a dozen meals. I separated them into food cubes, and then threw them in freezer. I could have easily made all three of the yams I bought, but I wasn't sure of the Babycook's capacity.

Obviously I don't *need* a gadget to do something that could have been accomplished with a steamer, big pot and food processor. But I *hate* dragging out our Cuisinart. Also, I'm just lazy. The Babycook, or as my mom called it "the Baby Blender," was soooo freakin' easy. I made half a dozen meals in less time than it took to boil water. It was also so simple to clean.

I admit that I don't know if I'd pay full price for the gadget, but I'm happy to have found the deal that I did. If you're interested in your own, they have them at Williams-Sonoma, but they also have them at Bed Bath and Beyond. *cough* 20% coupon *cough*

Edited to add: Via the power of Twitter, Brenda from Scandinavian Child, the U.S. distributor of the Babycook, noted that the Babycook pays for itself over the cost of jars, which can mean hundreds of dollars in six months, after the Babycook and food costs. Plus, you control the food baby eats. All excellent points!

"Necessity has no law." - William Langland

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother, may I?

Today was a pleasant day spent with loved ones. The only way it could have been better was if my mom was here to celebrate with us. (Next year, Mom!)

The morning started off with Em's second meal of yams, which I made myself yesterday, thankyouverymuch. (Separate post on that experience coming up.)

Then we had lunch with my in-laws at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Em did great and napped through most of it.

After spending more time at the in-laws, we strolled the nearby mall where I got an unexpected Mother's Day perk at Hot Dog on a Stick - a free regular lemonade just for being a mom! Woo hoo!

Before heading home we stopped to pick up one of my gifts from Brent at a little nearby boutique. I love jewelry and accessorizing, especially with fun costume jewelry. Last weekend I'd fallen in love with a line of necklaces and bracelets, but didn't pick any up. Brent decided to give me one for Mother's Day. Of the three available styles at the boutique, I chose this one. (You can see me wearing it in the pic at the end of this post.) So very cute!

My other Mother's Day gift was a Tokidoki bag I bought for myself a couple weeks ago and proclaimed as a gift from Brent.
Of course today was less about gifts and more about celebrating the wonderful opportunity I've been given to be a parent of a beautiful little girl. As I once heard and have now found to be true, our baby has filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know was there.

In my Mommy Group yesterday morning, we all talked about something that we were good at as moms. One of my favorite traits as a mom is my patience, which still surprises me each moment I'm able to keep my cool. I sincerely hope that I can carry most of the patience with me as she grows. And my other trait that makes me a great mom is my ability to find the fun in situations. I can honestly say that despite the hiccups and headaches that come along with trying to figure out what Em wants and needs, I find ways to have fun with her each and every day. Through explosive diapers, mounds of dirty clothing, crying, crying and crying, it's not hard to smile when I see her face.

Mother's Day

Happy mother's day to moms everywhere!

"I believe that my life's gonna see the love I give return to me." - Wheel, John Mayer

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Photoshoot P.S.

As I've received so many comments about Em's "month" onesies, I thought I'd post a follow-up.

The adorable outfits you see featured in our monthly photos are actually thin, removable stickers from this Etsy seller that we apply to plain white onesies I bought from Target.

My one complaint is that they're not waterproof, so we have to be mindful of our drooly Em. A few times the ink has bled onto the onesies but came out with no problem.

Such a fun idea, and I'm green with envy that I didn't think of it myself!

"An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn't take his education too seriously."
- Charles Kettering

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Lucky number 7

Em turned 7 months old today! This was our most interesting photo shoot yet as she's soooooo active and just wants to explore everything. We couldn't keep her away from the blocks, despite our attempts at distraction.

"BLOCK! I can put that in my mouth!"
I could NOM that!

"Hey! Who dimmed the lights?"
Who dimmed the lights?

"I can still NOM in the dark!"
Block NOM!

"OK, OK. I'll chill like an ice sculpture just for one sec."
This is the most still you'll get me

"Wait! It's a TIGER! Get in my mouth!"
NOM

"Aw, thanks for the kisses, Mommy. Sorry I wouldn't keep still."
Mommy kisses

"Lemme tell ya a secret."
Secret

"Next month is going to be even MORE fun!"
It's ok, Mommy

"We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose." - Ghandi

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Grand times

It's been WAY too long since my mom last visited -- probably two months. And in baby timelines, sooooo much happens in two months. Em's much more verbal and smiley and interactive -- the kind of stuff that melts the hearts of grandmas everywhere.

I took a half-day on Friday, and my mom, Em and I just hung out at my condo until Em took her afternoon nap. When she was done, we hit the Promenade for some shopping. Of course the majority of purchases were for Em. Baby Gap clearance deals get me every time, like this dress I picked up.
We were in one of my favorite little baby boutiques off the Promenade. My mom picked up a monkey rattle and asked Em, "Do you like this?" Em's eyes lit up and she reached out for it with both hands. My mom was SO excited and couldn't buy it for her fast enough. Little did my mom know at the time, but that's Em's latest skill. You can hold up a straw wrapper and she'll do the same thing. But who am I to deny a grandmother the chance to spoil her grandbaby? The monkey was soggy with Em's drool before we even got back to my place - the true badge of Em's adoration.

The next morning my mom helped us give Em her first real veggie - avocado! I'd say it went pretty well, even if Em disagrees.
My creation

A little while after breakfast, a bunch of birds started battling in the skies outside our balcony. A small bird tried to escape a crow and flew into our sliding glass door. It wasn't dead - THANKFULLY - but it did just sit there, looking around.
Bird!

Brent and I squealed like little girls, and joked to my mom, "YOU get rid of it!" She nonchalantly replied, "OK," and headed out. As she slid open the screen door, the bird flew away! Phew! As much as Brent and I hate birds, we hope it ended up ok.

My mom took her superhero self and headed back to Visalia shortly thereafter. And Em is already looking forward to her next visit. Come back soon, Grandma!
With Grandma

That afternoon we went to Unique LA, a huge indy craftshow (250 vendors!) in Downtown LA, where our pal justJENN had a booth to sell her fun wares. Em decided to help her out.
Oh, hai!

Sunday was a mellow day, too. We had brunch with our friends, Christina and Dan. Later we took a nice, long walk to the grocery store. And as always, we just soaked up our little Em.
My creation

"No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal."
- Bill Cosby