Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handwritten lunch note

Now that Astrid can read at 5 years old, I'm sending her off to 1st grade with a handwritten note in her lunchbag. Today she got her 1st one & asked me to keep it up. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Astrid is a gift

I told my daughter tonight that she's a gift. A gift to the world & a gift to her Mama. She's an enduring source of happiness in my life.

I want her to know that and to be full of unconditional love always.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Astrid is learning to spell & read

"Papa? How do you spell Dragon Tales ?"

U. shared with me tonight that Astrid was being clever, asking him how to spell Dragon Tales.
"I know she wanted the spelling so she would look it up on the iPad. She's sneaky like that & I love it."

Not bad for a 5 year old.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Silent Night (bedtime lullaby)

I sang to Astrid every night at bedtime when she was a baby. Still at 5 years old I sing to her to ease her into the sleep transition when I see she needs it, or just to mix it up so it's not just a book & bed. She winds down, feels nice & cozy, and most of all loved.

Tonight after singing "Silent Night" to her she said:
"Mama you sing so beautiful when you do that one."

Oh, thank you. Good night sweetheart. Sweet dreams...of rainbows & butterflies.
Mama loves you.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Deep thoughts by a 5 year old

After dinner tonight Astrid announced that she no longer wanted to be a mom & here is the conversation that ensued:

Astrid: I changed my mind; I don't want to be a mom.
Me: How come?
Astrid: I want to be a Veterinarian instead.
Me: You can be a mom & a Veterinarian.
Astrid: Are you sure?
Me: Yes, you can be both. And I definitely want grand kids.
Astrid: (whispering into my ear like it's a secret...) Are there still mans (men) in the world who aren't married yet?
Me: (laughing) Yes, of course. You're already thinking about that? You're only 5 years old. You shouldn't be worrying about available men in the world yet.
Astrid: (big mischievous smile)

And this is just a month after she announced that Elmo (on Sesame Street) is for babies, claiming she's a big girl now. I couldn't believe at 5 she's already outgrown Sesame Street. And now the mature conversation above. What's next?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day 2010!

The first thing Astrid (5 yrs old) said when she woke up this morning was, "Happy Mother's Day Mama. Do you know what I wish for? I wish I was a mom today."

I guess it's all the presents, hugs, kisses & attention us moms get on this day.

Forever grateful I'm surrounded by my loving, little nuclear family. Mother's Day for me, now that I'm a mom, is really about enjoying the day with my family.

U. reserved a Mother's Day brunch for us and afterward I'm being treated to a massage. It's a good day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers of the world.

Monday, March 01, 2010

I'm done! (aka please come wipe my butt)

I have to jot this down, as one day Astrid will stop shouting this from the bathroom, and I'll have completely forgotten all about this sitcom situation with the little one.

Before Astrid goes to the bathroom she will tell U. & I that she is going pee and/or poop and then says she will tell us when she's ready. After a few minutes we hear "I'm done!" shouted from the bathroom. Meaning - Mama/Papa come wipe me!

Sometimes it's a false alarm and as soon as we rush to the bathroom we're met with "I mean I'm not done yet!" or "Just kidding!"

It's classic stuff. Sometimes U. & I will be eating dinner, or right in the middle of something when we hear "I'm done!" being shouted from the bathroom and we'll both look at each other - no words are exchanged - and one of us will say, "I'll go."

U. asked me by what age do kid's wipe themselves. I have yet to google this. Astrid has started wiping herself at school, but when she's at home she prefers Mama & Papa wipe her (and if it's #2 we prefer it as well.) But just like the diaper stage, it will be nice when the wiping stage ends, and then we're off to yet another stage.

Awww...parenthood.

Cat has 2 T's?

Tonight Astrid (aka my 4 yr old spelling bee queen) was adamant that the word "cat" has two T's. I heard her arguing with her dad and getting so frustrated that she came upstairs to tell me Papa was not listening to her.

I got her to explain to me what she was saying and then of course agreed with U. that "cat" has only 1 T. But my role as mom (aka Sherlock Holmes) means that I must not rule anything out, especially if Astrid is so adamant about being right - experience has shown there's either a misunderstanding or some truth to what she's saying. That means not ruling out that cat has two T's.

So she said, " Yes! I'll show you!" And I was happy that she's at an age where she can show me exactly what she's talking about. Rather than having a tantrum she can explain it to me in a different way to make me understand what she's trying to say.

So Astrid went to get her little kid laptop, that has words and letter games. The word she pointed out was "kitten". Yep, it has two T's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All in a day's work

Every morning is hectic getting a preschooler ready for school (and myself ready for work), but especially this morning.

Never mind that I had reminded her 10 times at least to be ready, that I had an early morning meeting at the office to attend. And as I was getting ready in the bathroom, Astrid got into the diaper rash cream. I spotted her running to the downstairs bathroom with 2 very white hands and white stains all over her sweater. When I asked what she was doing she shouted, "Nothing!" I could smell the Desitin. I think she was trying to play with it with one of her dolls as she was telling the doll to go poop in the toilet just before.

Then, just as we were putting on our shoes & getting ready to leave the house, Astrid announced that she couldn't find the Valentine's Day card she made for her teacher Ms. Parima.

So as I watch my 4 (almost 5) year old burst into tears and refuse to leave the house without the card, my heart is racing because I know I'm going to be late for my meeting, and I'm weighing that with Astrid's preschool being closed Friday and Monday for President's Day - so if we were to bring the card on Tuesday, Valentine's Day will have passed. Plus my kid put all that work into making her teacher a beautiful card. So I made a split second Executive decision...

"Okay Astrid - let's go to school and after my meeting I will pick you up for lunch and we can come home, look for the card, have lunch together, and then you can give the card to Ms. Parima."

It worked. My kid happily agreed through her tears.

I had 3 back to back meetings this morning and when I looked at my watch it was 11:40, so I made a mad dash to Astrid's preschool to pick her up. We're at home now and as I was helping her look...she found the card! YAY!

Now lunch with my daughter and then a mad dash back to the office to finish a few projects before my evening appointment.

All in a day's work...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kid's Yoga Class

A few weeks ago Astrid started taking an hour long kid's Yoga class every Sunday.

I've been practicing Yoga for a few years and Astrid likes to stretch with me "Let's do Yoga together mom!". And she'd do "downward dog" on her own. We had tried another kid's Yoga class (Family Yoga at the Y) where adults participated too, but there was very little Yoga being taught and more just running around and was a bit chaotic. We didn't go back. But this new class really teaches Yoga to the kids - the words as well as the poses, and it's for kid's only which is great.

Astrid at 4 1/2 is the youngest kid in the class but she holds her own - by listening to the instructor, following instructions and just soaking it all up like a sponge.

After last week's class she excitedly told me she learned "Namaste" today, and showed me how she did the "tree pose". So cute! And she learned a new mantra - "I am calm. I am at peace. I am focused."

She loves it and I'm happy she's being introduced to something she can do her entire life.

(We also signed her up for Karate classes on Saturdays. More to come on that. And she is continuing to take a Musical Theatre "Pop Star" class during the week.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Birthday all year long

Astrid has been talking about & planing her birthday constantly since her last one in April. She talks about where it's going to be, creates her list of invitees, and all the details. At first she didn't understand why everyday couldn't be her birthday. I tried to explain to her it's because a birthday celebrates the one day you were born & everyone has just 1 birthday which is celebrated once each year.

I've never seen any kid so obsessed about having a birthday party. I can understand after the birthday party being excited and wanted to talk about it. Or when your birthday gets close to want to start planning. But she has been planning her next birthday the day after her birthday and it has continued throughout an entire year.

"What are we going to do for my next birthday mom? Who can we invite? What kind of birthday cake should I get?"

It's kind of sweet in that I know we've created a very special day for her that she loves & gets excited talking about all year long. And looks forward to all year long. All her friends can come, they play, have cake, decorations just for her party, and everyone sings happy birthday to her. I even come to the school with cupcakes so her class can sing happy birthday & celebrate with her. And sometimes when her actual birthday falls on weekday, U. & I take her out to a restaurant for dinner.

All of this constant birthday chatter has made me look forward to the day too esp. when the date gets closer, and keeps me on my toes thinking about all the details...place, theme, goodie bags, cake, balloons, games, food, face painting.

For Astrid's 1st birthday we had a traditional Korean 1st birthday at our house & Astrid, myself & my mom were dressed in Korean Hamboks (traditional Korean dresses).

Birthday #2 - We celebrated her birthday at home with the family. Astrid & I baked a bran muffin in birthday cupcake wrappers & she got to blow out her candle and eat her muffin. U. surprised Astrid by blowing up a bunch of balloons to fill up the upstairs room just for her.

Birthday #3 - We had her birthday party at Peekaboo Playland (indoor & outdoor playground) & the theme was the circus. So much fun playing in the bouncy house with slide, dress up & coordinator to setup & cleanup.

Birthday #4 - We had her birthday party at Amy's Playground (indoor playground) & the theme was Hello Kitty. The kids had a blast running around and playing & we had a face painter there who painted a Hello Kitty on Astrid's cheek. This time I dressed Astrid in Hello Kitty socks & tiara.

Birthday #5 - Coming up in April - at the new Peekaboo Playland location on Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. www.peekabooplayland.com. Theme will be butterflies.

So now her birthday is coming up in a little over 2 months - and this year I've already made all the arrangements. Astrid wants to have it at Peekaboo Playland, and since they moved to their new location it'll be extra fun for her. Same setup, but new location with more things to do.

I decided that this year I would rather pay a little more and have Peekaboo Playland take care of the goodie bags for the children, print up invitation flyers for me (rather than having to hand write them out for all her classmates in preschool), provide the plates (real plates with lady bug, monkey, elephants on them that they wash afterwards - more green earth friendly), utensils, tablecloths, food, juice & balloons. And again this year we are going to have face painting. New this year will be musical chairs, limbo & parachute games. I paid for an extra hour (3 hours total) since Astrid is a little older now & the kids need more time to play.

The only thing I need to do is buy the cake (and buy drinks for the adults). We went to our local bakery in Eagle Rock (Ruby's bakery) and picked out a cake - One with a rainbow & butterflies. Very whimsical & kid appropriate (without Disney commercial junk). So the theme this year will be "butterflies". I even picked out some really cool, big mylar butterfly balloons from Balloon Emporium.

When I tried to place my cake order at the bakery & put down a deposit - the lady behind the counter looked at me and chuckled and said it was WAY too early.

My kid is rubbing off on me! But at least we're all set & pretty much all the details are taken care of and my kid will have another great birthday this year. The most important thing is that she's surrounded by her friends and family who love & adore her.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Today Astrid was telling me what she wanted to be when she grows up.

Astrid: "I want to be a Yoga teacher, a classroom teacher, and a mom."
Me: "What happened to wanting to be a Veterinarian?"
Astrid: "Oh yeah. That too."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day (from a 4 yr old's perspective)

Astrid: "Is today Martin Luther Day?"
Me: "Yes, it's Martin Luther King Day."
Astrid: "Is today his birthday?"
Me: "I don't think so. It's just a day to celebrate him & his life."
Astrid: "He says - No fighting, no hitting, we all need to get along with each other - right Mom?"
Me: "Yes, that's right. And everyone should be treated fairly & equally."

I could tell she's been learning of MLK in preschool. A pretty good way to explain his belief in non-violent protests by explaining it to preschoolers as "no fighting & no hitting", and civil rights as "getting along with each other".

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peace on Earth 2009

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday & happy new year!

(Photo taken at Pershing Square, Downtown LA holiday ice skating rink.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sleeping in her own bed

Tonight as I was trying to sneak out of Astrid's bedroom she said to me, "Goodnight Mom. I'll see you in the morning. Can you turn the light off?"

Oh my gosh, my daughter is a big girl now!

When she was born both U. and I agreed that we didn't want a baby sleeping with us in our bed. We'd heard horror stories from friends and didn't want that for ourselves.

We setup a routine as soon as we could and Astrid slept in her crib and then her own bed. Then over a year ago things changed. Astrid traveled with U. to Germany to see his dying mother and pay his last respects. She died not too long after that. Astrid had night terrors after that and was traumatized by the experience. She continued to have night terrors when she got home, so we let her sleep in our bed. That setup a bad habit. It was easier to let her sleep in our bed then it was to go through a whole ordeal and lots of tears and tantrums to get her to sleep in her own bed. We thought she would go back to sleeping in her bed, but realized unless we went back to the routine it would never happen.

So we started with baby steps, Astrid had to go to sleep in her own bed, and she could come into ours if she woke up in the night. We got her a dream catcher, and hung it in her bedroom window to help catch the bad dreams in the webbing, so no bad dreams to get through and they'd melt away with the morning sun. That helped a little. Until she had bad dreams again and told me the dream catcher didn't work. Then she would sleep and come into our bed in the morning. Whenever she would protest that she couldn't sleep all by herself, I reminded her that she did when she was a baby and she could as a big girl.

Friends of ours with a kid around the same age have the same issue. Their take on it is that their kid won't be little forever, and will one day not want to be so close to them, so they permit it.

It can be very sweet to sleep with your kid. They're warm & snuggly and there's so much love and tenderness there. To watch Astrid sleep takes my breath away sometimes, she looks so sweet an innocent, a little angel. But the reality is it never gave U. and I time to ourselves in the evenings, and one of us would end up on the couch when Astrid would crawl into our bed, because there wasn't enough room for all 3 of us to be comfortable. After a year of that things had to change back to the way we tried to hard to get to - her sleeping in her own bed.

In the process, she would cry like a banshee every time she heard me try to sneak out after she'd just fallen asleep - after hours of trying to get her to sleep with reading, songs, back rubs, her sleep sheep playing the song of rain. She'd cry out, "Don't leave!" I was getting frustrated, and more times than I'd like to admit I fell asleep in her bed - being exhausted and waiting for the moment when she would fall asleep - I'd put myself to sleep.

The past couple days she has slept through the night again in her own bed. I've tried to make her bed the most comfortable, cozy place on earth with a new blanket and pillow, and U. put up the canopy again that makes it like a kid cave. (We took it off in the summer when it got too hot, but now it's Fall and nights are cooler.) Recently my mom bought her a winter blanket that is pink and super soft, with a matching super soft, pink pillowcase. She crawled into bed and had no qualms about going to sleep tonight.

We're also reading "The Wizard of Oz". The book has great illustrations and it's long so I read pages to her each night, and we continue where we left off each night. She saw the movie with her nanny so she knows the story, which captivates her imagination.

And I sing to her which I've done since she was a newborn.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this sticks - so U. & I can get a good night's sleep and hope the little one does too in her own bed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Great Idea

At this age Astrid is able to tell me what she's thinking about, and she loves to share her great ideas with me like this one:

Astrid was telling me she had a great idea. That she could write a letter to Santa Claus this year.

"That's a great idea I thinked about in my brain," she said.

I made a pact with Astrid

Astrid REALLY wants a baby brother or baby sister. I mean BADLY. She is so baby crazy. Just about everyday she asks me if I'm going to have one for her. So finally I sat her down and was like look here's the deal-

How can I have another baby if you act like a baby? Then I'll have two babies to take care of, and Mommy can't take care of two babies at once. I can only have another baby if you act like a big girl. You have to listen to mommy. No more temper tantrums.

Astrid responded, "Okay! Okay! I will mom! I promise!"

She'll do anything to get a baby. And she knows that in order to grease the wheel to get me to agree to have another child would be a major accomplishment - as I am definitely NOT baby crazy. I am perfectly happy with one child.

Now whenever Astrid acts up all I have to say is one of two things:
"I thought you wanted a brother or sister?" or "Are you acting like a baby or a big girl?"
Immediately she'll change her tune - smile and say, "Oh I forgot. Okay. Sorry I'll be good."

So lately my demands have been ramping up.
"You have to go to bed at night without any tears," I said tonight. "I can't have another baby if you cry every time I put you to bed. Then I'll have the little baby crying & you crying - and I can't handle two babies crying at the same time."

"No more crying when I brush your teeth Astrid. You're a big girl now."

Both those comments were followed by a smile and twinkle in her eye at knowing if she acts like a big girl she will get her baby. That's the pact we made.

Tonight she wanted me to get her string cheese from the fridge after dinner, and I said I would, but she had to wait since I was cleaning the dishes.

"Look mom. I'm being good. Can you give me a baby now?" she said.

Oh and I'm afraid she may have inherited my ability to negotiate because now she is demanding a baby brother AND a baby sister.

So we'll see how this goes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Only Mama & Papa

Astrid had a urinary tract infection earlier this year that cleared up nicely with antibiotics. But then a month later she had some similar symptoms - fever, nausea, and she was telling me that it hurt when she went pee. So I immediately took her to see the Pediatrician again. The tests came back negative, but the doctor wanted to examine Astrid.

That is when all hell broke lose. Astrid did NOT want to let the doctor examine her private area. She would not sit on the table. She would not let me pull her underwear down. No siree.

The peeing in the cup was bad enough, but she was kicking & screaming & completely hysterical when she heard the doctor wanted to check her out down there.

When I asked her about it afterwards she said, "I didn't want her to. Only Mama & Papa can do that."

In the end we just made sure no more bubble baths, just water and soap and we have had no more problems. But it donned on me that Astrid is old enough to know what inappropriate is - even if it's a doctor. And to understand the difference between what trusted people are allowed to do and strangers. I shared this with U. and he said, "It's good that she knows the difference."

And with all the cases that have come to light of children being abducted - I have had kid discussions with Astrid about strangers. If a stranger asks her to come with them - to say no and run away & get an adult. If an adult asks her for help looking for their dog or to find something or help them with anything - don't go alone - find Mama & Papa first. Never go with a stranger, even if they have a kid with them. If you think she's too young at 4 1/2 to understand - think again. Her response to me was, "Do they take you and put you in a cage?"

I don't want to scare her, but I want to give her the tools to be able to see through a ruse and to have that in her head in case she's ever in that situation - to be prepared.

She also tells me when we're holding hands, crossing the street together, "Only cross the street with Mama & Papa. Never run out into the street by yourself." Exactly.

Just want my little one to be safe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Angel

From the back seat of the car, Astrid explained to me that there were Tooth Fairies around Santa Claus.

I had no clue what she was talking about until I noticed she was staring at an Advent calendar that we bought from the German market, and there were creatures with wings around Santa. She kept asking me if they were tooth fairies, holding the Advent calendar up so I could see it in the rear view mirror.

I told her I thought they could be fairies or Christmas angels - but I didn't think they were tooth fairies. Then of course she argued with me that they were indeed tooth fairies.

Me: "Who lost a tooth?"
Astrid: "I don't know."
Me: "Isn't the tooth fairy supposed to come when a kid loses a baby tooth?"
Astrid: "Oh yeah."

Astrid: "I think they're angels."
Me: "Could be."
Astrid: "Just like me. I'm your little angel."
(So sweet. I do call her my little angel.)

Astrid: "But I don't have wings. And I can't fly."
Me: "You don't need to fly. You'll always be my little angel."
Astrid: "I know."

Family TV watching

I'm not a bit proponent of TV. I'd much rather Astrid be painting, or doing a puzzle, or playing - than watching the boob tube. In fact I did not allow her to watch any TV before the age of 2. Even though those Baby Einstein DVD's were all the rage. And even after we rationed & heavily censored the shows we did allow her to watch. We made sure they were educational shows like Sesame Street, more geared towards her age on PBS with no commercials.

But now as she's getting older (she's 4 1/2), for the first time we are allowing her watch 1 TV show with us that is not a kid's show or a cartoon made for pre-kinder children. That show happens to be Survivor. It's a reality TV game show, there's beautiful scenery/nature/wildlife, and there's just enough going on that keeps the little one interested.

We all cuddle up under a blanket on the couch on Thursday evenings and enjoy the show together as a family.


Astrid stays up later now. So long gone are the days she went to bed at 6:30 every night. Those were nice in that U. and I had time together after the baby was asleep. But the reality is now we don't even get home until 6:30 (from work/school). Then there's dinner to cook & eating dinner together. We want to be able to spend some time with her before she goes to bed and goes to school the next day, rather than rushing her off to bed.

U. and I are getting sick of watching kid shows & it's nice to be able to watch a show as a family. We can actually watch it live while it's playing on TV. Whenever one of us leaves the room to go to the bathroom or kitchen or wherever - the other family members shout out "It's on!" after commercials. Kind of fun.

Tonight's episode, one of the contestants killed a rat and they cooked it and ate it. So we had an interesting conversation with Astrid about why the girl did that - she was starving & it was food, etc. She told us, "No it's not! It's a mouse. It's cute." And she's right of course. At least she's old enough to question things and talk about it.

Funny thing is she must enjoy it too, because she'll ask for "the show with people" - Survivor during the week and we keep trying to explain to her that it's only on Thursday, just once a week. She keeps insisting we watch it everyday, not quite getting the concept of a weekly TV show.

Astrid is now 4 yrs, 6 months, 3 weeks & 4 days old

Where has the time gone?

I look at my little baby who is growing into a beautiful little girl. I remember when she was just born and how small and delicate she was. Now she has long, strong legs and it's no longer easy to hold her in my arms like a baby.

Tonight she fell asleep on the couch while I was holding her. U. & I argued over who should carry her to her room to put her to bed. U. claimed it wasn't good for his injured back. I argued I wouldn't be able to lift her up in her bunk bed. She was sound asleep so she was dead weight. In the end we compromised. U. picked her up off my lap to chest level, and I took her from there. She woke up a bit so she crawled right up into her bed. This is the same baby that U. used to hold in one hand while bottle feeding. Now look at us - 2 parents claiming our kid is going to break out back.

Last night as I was singing to Astrid at bedtime, she smiled at me as her eyelids got heavy. She looked so sweet and innocent, just like a doll. I stared at her face, taking in every detail, just like I did when she was a newborn. Marveling at what a beautiful creature she is. Blessed to be her mother. And forever thankful.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Astrid wants a baby (our conversation over lunch)

Astrid and I had an interesting conversation over lunch today. There was a family eating close by with a crying baby and Astrid got very serious and told me she wants a baby.

Astrid: Mom, I want a baby.
Me: Astrid, you have lots of babies.
Astrid: No, no not a doll. I want a REAL baby.
Me: Why do you want a baby?
Astrid: I want to feed it and take care of it and put it to sleep.
Me: What if the baby cries for hours and won't go to sleep?
Astrid: I'll hold it and rock it back and forth and sing to it so it goes to sleep.
Me: Remember when we babysat Maddox? All you wanted to do was feed her, but when she wasn't hungry you weren't interested.
Astrid: I'm older now. I'm a big girl. I can take care of a baby. Please can I have a baby?
Me: Where are you going to get a baby?
Astrid: Maybe someone will give one to me.
Me: You think someone is going to leave a baby outside for you to come pick it up?
Astrid: (laughing) No. Hmm...we need to think about how I can get a baby.


Okay I'll get right on it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The new face of Summer

Photo taken by Astrid's Godmother today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The movie "Up"

I took Astrid to see the movie, "Up" today. We got home at 6:30 and it was sweltering inside the house. I got an idea to go to the movies - for the cool air conditioning - and also because I had heard people raving about "Up". It was playing at 7 PM - so Astrid and I jumped in the car and went and saw the movie.

And this is what my 4 year old got out of it:

Astrid: "Why the man hit him on the head and make blood come out? And why the police come?"

Mama: "Well he didn't want the man touching his mailbox and he got really angry. But you can't just hit people, or you'll get in trouble."

Astrid: "Yeah you can't hit people. You're supposed to say - 'Please don't do that that.' Right mama?"

Mama: "That's right."

Astrid: "I say sorry when I push people at school sometimes. And they supposed to apologize to me too. When you hurt someone on accident you have to apologize."

Who knew there was a built in proverb?

Astrid translates

Astrid was telling me about a phrase her one male teacher sometimes uses - "knock it off". Having never heard it used before she deduced what it meant as follows.

"Mr. Sabat says, 'Knock it off'. That means stop. He says that when everybody is doing things that they're not supposed to be doing."

I thought that was pretty good for a 4 year old.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Child Observations

"Mama - look she has a BIG tummy!"

Astrid will point out the obvious thinking it's funny & doesn't want me to miss out on the funny sight. I know there's no malice or mean intentions to any of her observations, but she says it so loudly that the person can overhear her, so at that point I have to put on my mom hat and "shhh" her and remind her to be nice.

We were sitting next to a couple with a little girl who had the oddest features. Big eyes with a bushy uni brow and an oddly shaped mouth with an overbite. Astrid kept trying to point her out to me (obviously I saw her right away) so I kept trying to distract Astrid. Finally Astrid said, "Look mom - she has a funny face! Hahaha." Oh boy - the kid's parents were sitting right next to us. So embarrassing. She's going to get me in trouble one of these days.

As a kid she comments on everything she sees. Like "Why is he in a wheelchair mom?" I don't mind explaining to her that maybe he/she got into an accident or maybe they were born with a disability and can't walk. But I try to minimize the finger pointing and exclaiming really loudly - telling her that she can hurt someones feelings by doing that. She can whisper to me and I'll explain it to her.

Usually after her pointing and exclamation - after my reminder not to be so loud and to be nice - she'll whisper to me, "Mom - look at that man. He has a BIG tummy." Okay that's better.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Astrid wearing Mama's hat

Cutie cutie.
U. took this photo of Astrid. When they came home Astrid grabbed my hat that was on the chair and put it on. I love how she's looking straight into the camera like she's talking to you. That's my daughter alright. Looking at this photo make me want to hug her and kiss her cheeks.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona trip without Astrid

U. and I decided to fly to Barcelona for his birthday today. We will be back in 6 days, and with such a short international trip we decided it best if we made the journey just us 2 adults without Astrid. A second honeymoon of sorts.

This is only the 2nd international trip we've taken without Astrid. The first time was to Amsterdam in December 2008 when Astrid was 3 years old, and only for a few days. She had already accompanied us to Europe including Amsterdam just a couple months previous in October 2008, so she wasn't missing anything. This time the trip will be little longer with us being gone for 6 days. It feels so strange to not have her with us (as I'm sitting in the airport lounge typing this). Last night she stayed at her nanny's house since we had pack and leave the house by 5 AM - and I kept catching myself "listening" for her. To hear her if she woke up. Habit I guess.

Astrid begged to go on vacation with us. The plane, the food, the adventure - Astrid inherited our wanderlust and love of travel. I would love to take her but not this time. Mama and Papa need some alone time too. "Next time I'll go on vacation with you," Astrid declared.

Astrid will be staying with her nanny Beate and her family - which includes 2 kids that Astrid adores. She told me on the drive home from school yesterday, "I love Claire and Noah." She was so excited to "sleep over" at their place and get to see them and play with them for days in a row. In fact when I dropped her off last night she immediately ran upstairs with Noah, leaving me behind. I had to call up to her and ask her to come down to give me a hug reminding her that she won't see me for awhile. Her response was classic kid, "I know!" Quick hug and kiss and off she was running again to play with the kids.

The days preceding our flight I was giving Astrid more hugs and kisses and feeling that gnawing feeling in my gut - already missing my baby. She's been sleeping in our bed recently and both U. and I did not fight it - in fact welcoming it just so we could be close to her and hold her all night. I'd also been preparing her with lots of conversation about being away but we'd always be thinking about her and when we would be coming home and the situation with her staying with her nanny, etc. Also told her when we got home she'd get a surprise (hoping to find a Spanish doll for her). Also that both her Papa and I loved her so much and she's always on our mind.

Yesterday evening as I was finishing up in the office, Astrid sat on the floor of my office and colored and enjoyed listening to my music playing on the iPod. I e-mailed U. and told him how much I would miss her and what a good little girl she is. He told me he felt the same way and felt guilty about leaving her. I marveled at how much we love our little one that it kills us to be apart from her, even though we know she's in good hands and will be having a great time. Her nanny has all sorts of activities planned including going to the beach, and we'll Skype so we can talk to Astrid and see her on the webcam.

But I still miss her and would love to hold her right now and look into her smiling face and kiss her sweet cheeks.

Thinking

Lately Astrid is thinking a lot - and telling me all about it. It's a wonder how her brain works and is developing so fast.

She will tell me she was thinking about something last night while she was lying in bed, or she'll stop and tell me she's thinking about something, or ask me to help her name whatever it is that she's thinking about.

Lots of thinking going on over here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

File under "Things my 4 yr old says"

  1. I'm ready Freddy!
  2. When I grow up am I going to have big boobs like you? (My answer was: "I hope not.")
  3. Aye aye Captain! What's that mean?
  4. Let's rock and roll!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Astrid and Maddox

Astrid spent some time at her Godmother Jill's house playing with her 5 month old daughter Maddox. Too cute seeing my baby with a little baby. Astrid looks like her older sister. Maddox can wave now!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vomit & Lack of Sleep

Had one of those nights/mornings where I barely got any sleep taking care of a sick little one.

Astrid's normally a good sleeper but she had a hard time falling asleep last night. Even lying in my bed, where normally she'll fall asleep in a nanosecond - she would cry every time I got up. I don't think she got to sleep until around midnight. Then she started complaining about an ear ache in the wee morning hours. I thought it may have been swimmers ear since she'd been swimming in a salt water pool earlier in the day. That was followed by vomiting. But at least she let me know she felt like throwing up, so we could run to the bathroom together.

I finally fell asleep only to be woken up with Astrid shouting, "Mom I threw up on the floor! It was an accident!" So I spent the next hour or so cleaning up, doing laundry, and trying to get the little one comfortable.

I had an appointment this morning to take a tour of a nearby school - and yet when I called for Astrid to come to her room to get dressed, she was sound asleep. Rather than wake her, I decided to cancel the appointment and let the little one sleep.

So here I am completely sleep deprived and the little one is in good spirits and well rested.

However she did tell me after our whole ordeal, "Mama, I love you so much. I don't miss Papa anymore. But I love him too."

We do have to leave the house to take my dad to the VA hospital for some pre-surgery tests and prep work. Caffeine will be my friend today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Astrid thinking about her Papa

U. is away on business for a conference in Austin, TX. It's difficult to explain to a 4 year old where their other parent is, as they don't understand a) where they went, b) why, and c) when they're coming back - no matter how many times you try and explain so they understand.

An example of that is this conversation I had with Astrid tonight:
Astrid: "Where did Papa go?"
Me: "He's in Texas honey."
Astrid: "But why?"
Me: "He's there for work. He'll be back on Tuesday."
Astrid: "Where is he going to sleep?"
Me: "He's staying at a hotel."
Astrid: "Is he going to sleep in a bed?"
Me: "Yes, the hotel has a bed in his room."
Astrid: "But does he have a refrigerator?!"
Me: (laughing) "A refrigerator? Why would you ask that? Why does he need a refrigerator?"
Astrid: "So he can eat and cook food mama!"
Me: (still laughing) "Don't worry honey, he's in the city - not out in the boonies of Texas. There are plenty of restaurants. Don't worry about Papa. He'll be just fine."
Astrid: "Are you sure Mama?"
Me: "Yes I'm sure."

So U. if you're out there reading this, you may want to send us a pic of you eating so your daughter knows you aren't starving in some remote part of Texas.

A day at the Circus

The circus is in town & we were there! Circus Vargas 2009.
They had a pre-show for kids. Allowed them to come down to the main ring and showed them how to do circus acts - like this balancing act with a Peacock feather. The ringleader told the kids that the trick was to look at the top of the feather while balancing it on their noses.

There were even kids in the show - children of the circus performers. Astrid kept asking me about them. Why they were performing, and why we saw them at the refreshment stand. And where they slept and went to school. Hope she didn't get any ideas about running away and joining the circus.
Under the big top, enjoying her snowcone in a raver cup with blinking lights. Fascinated by that cup. It is pretty cool.
Astrid's first time under the big top. (Only other time she saw a semi-circus was at Circus Circus.)
I mentioned before that Astrid is scared of clowns. So the whole time Astrid kept asking me where the clowns were. Until she saw this clown performing with the show doggies and kitty cats.
"Is he a clown mom?" she asked. "Oh, I'm not scared of clowns anymore mom! I like clowns!" she exclaimed.
She even liked this clown. He was equipped with a whistle and Astrid kept asking me what he was saying. I had to explain to her that he wasn't "saying" anything. That he was using his whistle and body movements to mean different things - like "Good job!" when he gave the thumbs up and a whistle.
During the 15 minute circus intermission Astrid went on a pony ride.
Trained Arabian horses and ponies.
Motorcycles zooming around inside a globe. This act always scares me. First one motorcycle zooming around inside, then two motorcycles, then two motorcycles and a woman standing in the middle. I have a hard time watching and I'm so relieved when it's over and everyone is okay.
Astrid was so proud of herself having overcome her fear of clowns. Although at the end when all of the performers were standing at the exit to greet and take pictures with the visitors - she flat out told me she liked the clown but did NOT want to take a picture with him. Oh well, at least it's a step in the right direction.
Astrid and I had a great time. The best part for her I think was the pre-show kid activities. I loved the Arabian horses & ponies. So well trained and the trainer was very kind and sweet with the horses. At the end of the show the one horse even bent his knee and bowed. Wow. I felt like a kid again sitting under the big top with my kid. Definitely worth the drive out to Simi Valley, and a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, CA

Astrid and I went to the 26th Annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard today.

It takes place one weekend only every year in May when the strawberries are harvested. Last year they had 60,000 visitors and this year they're expecting even more.

Click here for more info.

Here we built our own strawberry shortcake.Astrid and I sitting on a bale of hay with our strawberry shortcake.Choo choo train time.
A perk about the festival is that kids 4 years and under are free.And they have a number of activities for kids. Including a magic show, clown show, music, and face painting.

(Although Astrid is still afraid of clowns. No matter how much she says to the contrary that she's not afraid of clowns anymore - the moment she sees one she runs in the opposite direction. I don't know what it is that's so scary. Maybe just a face that's painted. I was thinking about taking her to the circus tomorrow. Circus Vargas is in town, but I told her if she's afraid of clowns we can't go because there will be lots of clowns there. Astrid assured me she'll be fine and she's not afraid. We'll see.)My little strawberry. Astrid thought it was hilarious that the strawberry on her shirt was wearing socks and shoes.


Taking a ride on the merry go round.Expect long lines, but once it's your turn you tend to forget how long you had to wait.All of the rides inside the festival are free.

U. is in Austin, TX for a conference so he wasn't able to join us. Next year though if we can all go as a family I'd like to try the strawberry champagne and strawberry beer. One of us can stand in line while the other goes with Astrid on a ride. =)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day 2009! (Solvang, CA)

A colleague of mine owns miniature horses bred at Quicksilver Ranch near Solvang, and she offered to set us up with a handler one weekend to take us out to see and pet the babies that were recently born. So I thought it would be fun for the whole family to make an outing up to Solvang for Mother's Day.
The whole family together. Happy Mother's Day!
U. is giving the little one a massage. Mama and baby miniature horses.The little ones are the size of a large dog and are super friendly. When they spotted us, they walked right up to us (again like dogs!).These little babies (foals) were born just last month. While the foals are super friendly, they're super curious too and can nip so you have to watch them.How cute is this? They're the perfect size for Astrid.

Astrid now wants a horse. Not just any horse but she tells us she wants one "this small" and shows us with her fingers about an inch tall. Getting a bit carried away with miniatures.U. getting into the petting action as well. Super cute mini-horses.
U. trying to hold the little ones at bay from nipping us.
Enjoying her 1st taste of split pea soup.

After the horse ranch we drove back to Solvang for lunch and ate at the Solvang Restaurant.

Astrid and Mama (me!). Astrid thought that Mother's Day was like a birthday. She kept asking me if I was going to have a cake.

Last Mother's Day was special because it was the first time Astrid could wish me a "Happy Mother's Day" by actually saying it. This year it was special because she can understand the concept of me being her mother and giving birth to her and caring for her and she understands this is a day to celebrate that. And no matter how many times U. tried to tell her my gifts were a secret, she couldn't help herself by telling me. She was excited about the day and woke up exclaiming, "Today is Mother's Day!"After lunch we took the horse drawn cable car tour around Solvang. Here we are in a Danish town in the United States with a Mexican tour guide. Only in America.
Astrid sitting on U.'s lap. Even though it was Mother's Day - Astrid wanted to be close to Papa.

Our tour guide proceeded to tell us about the history of the town, and she lost us when she gave us some trivia about Europe and told us Denmark is so close to Germany and Holland that when you take the train you have to stay awake or you'll miss your stop and they'll unload your luggage. Lots of laughs from clueless tourists, but U. and I gave each other the look. Um...sorry lady but I've been to Europe many times and taken the train and I can assure you it's not THAT close, and NO ONE handles your luggage. Hot and miserable at the Ostrich farm at the entrance to Solvang.
We eat a lot of Ostrich (since it's a red meat substitute and leaner in fat than turkey), so we thought we could buy some and take it back with us. Unfortunately they only have a smaller cooler with frozen Ostrich that's more expensive than the kind we buy from the butcher.Feeding an Ostrich. You have to be brave because these guys WILL bite.Pellets in a bowl glued to a dust pan.Ever seen an Ostrich chew their food?Three in a row with their long necks reaching over the barrier to eat.Gives you some perspective on how tall and big they are.They roam free and it's quite a sight to see them like wild animals out roaming on the playa.Don't even think about eating my food!Since U. didn't want his picture taken, neither did Astrid. But I still got a few.
It was a long day, but I'm glad we were able to make it to Solvang and enjoyed a full day there together on Mother's Day.