Saturday, December 31, 2005

Astrid's 1st sleepover

Astrid had her first sleepover at Mara's house. Mara and Astrid were born just 3 days apart. Here's a photo of Astrid and Mara playing together.
Originally for New Year's Eve Uwe and I were going to share a babysitter with another couple who had a baby, but at the last minute the couple decided not to go citing the reason being the wife is pregnant again. So that meant we would have to pay the babysitter $300 to stay in our hotel room in Downtown LA while Astrid slept. I mentioned this to Julie (Mara's mommy) who was also planning on going to the same NYE event in LA that we were, and she offered to have Astrid stay over at their place where her in-laws and her dad would be staying and could take care of Astrid overnight. Her mother-in-law was looking forward to playing with the babies.
So we canceled the babysitter and sent her a check for $100 to be fair.

I knew Astrid was in good hands but I still called at 6 PM to see how Astrid was doing because she had been a little fussier than usual. Julie's dad answered the phone and said that Julie's mother-in-law was upstairs running Astrid's bath. He had Astrid in his arms and I could hear her. (After her bath and bottle she went right to sleep and slept through the night.)

Thank you so much Julie! And please thank your dad and your mother-in-law again for taking such great care of Astrid!

In 2006 Julie and I are going to schedule a weekly play date for Astrid & Mara, and will also take advantage of the free babysitting swap so that each of us can go out to the movies, dinner, or concert once in awhile. Julie's also interested in signing Mara and herself up for mommy & me swim classes at the YMCA, so that would be fun as well if the girls could be in the same swim class together.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Decisions decisions decisions

Today we spent another day looking at houses. We've spent all of Uwe's winter vacation searching for another home to move into by the end of January, following the sale of our home. It feels like the search for the holy grail. Rent prices are outrageous right now in the LA area and we have yet to find a suitable house for our family.

Today at noon was the deadline for the buyer. The buyer missed the deadline and then faxed in a long list of demands. Our answer was "no", and we took the deal off the table. As soon as the buyer heard that, he signed all the contingency forms and sent them to our real estate agent saying he really wanted the house.

To sell or not to sell. That is the question.

We're going to celebrate the New Year and make a decision by Monday or Tuesday.

Here is Astrid sitting on Uwe's shoulders.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

How hair defines us

Lately I've been thinking about how hair defines us.

Yesterday I got my hair cut and when I got home Uwe exclaimed, "It's too short!" We had a good laugh about it because he always says that when I get my hair cut. I think he would be happy if I never cut my hair and it was dragging on the floor behind me, because he's never complained of it being too long. =)

Astrid's hair is growing but it's still short enough where people confuse her for being a little boy. I get, "Oh he's so cute. What's his name? How old is he?" all the time when we're out. You know that once she has her hair in pigtails no one will make that mistake anymore.

My hair has been all different lengths and styles and colors, but except for the traumatic haircut years when I was a kid (that's another story), my hair has always been relatively long.

Here is a photo from a Wig Out party in 2002. (Everyone is wearing a wig.) I'm wearing the yellow afro wig, and that's my real hair under it. You can see my hair was pretty long back then, down to the middle of my back. (Yes, that is Uwe under that frosted Kajagoogoo wig.) And here is my hair today, which comes to my shoulders.

There's a photographer who has an exhibit out that spans 35 years in which he took photographs of his wife and her sisters each year from 1973, standing in the same position. It's fascinating to see how the women aged and to see how their hair changed as they got older. There was an article about the photographer and his work in a back edition of "O" magazine. I'll have to look for it. So if you're interested, check back and I'll update this post with the photographer's name and the name of his exhibit and where it's being shown.I can't wait for Astrid's hair to grow longer so I can braid it and style it.

As for my own hair, I try to imagine how my hair will change and look as I get older.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The countdown begins

The last inspection was done today. The contingency period ends this Friday at noon. That means 2 days until we're locked into selling the house and the buyer is locked into buying it, 3 more days until New Year's Eve, and 30 days to find and move into another house. Lots to do in a short period of time. It feels like we're starting a new chapter in our lives. It's both scary and exciting.Here is today's pic of Astrid. I was gone most of the day and Uwe took this pic of Astrid.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Smiley faces

Here are 3 new smiley faces. Smiley face #1.Smiley face #2.Smiley face #3.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Quality time together during the holidays

It's so nice having Uwe home for the holidays. We're spending quality time together as a family and Astrid and Uwe are getting some quality one on one time together. I'm so lucky to have a loving husband who is involved in every aspect of caring for and raising our daughter. Not only does he want to spend time with Astrid and bond with her, but he always wants to help me as well. He does so many thoughtful/helpful things for me without being asked. It means the world to me and I need to tell him more often how much I appreciate him and what a wonderful husband and father he is.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Astrid's 1st Christmas

Today is the baby's first Christmas. Here is Astrid with her first present.

With our house being for sale and all of the viewings, inspections, etc. it wasn't a good time to get a tree. I don't feel too bad about it since Astrid is too young to appreciate a tree anyway.

I want to thank everyone who sent gifts for Astrid. That was very sweet of you. Thank you for thinking of her!

Here she is wearing the winter hat and playing with the burlap bag with baby toiletries that she got from her Godmother Jill.Here she looks puzzled as if she's asking, "Are you serious? I can tear this paper to bits and pieces and it's okay with you? Really?"

Here she's starting to get the hang of it. She liked playing with the tissue paper. We had to keep a watchful eye on her to make sure she didn't put any of it in her mouth.


The pic on the left is Astrid with a collection of CD's called, "Tunes of Toddlers." It has songs, rhymes, and stories. She also got another CD which is called, "ABC's and 1, 2, 3's."

The pic on the right is Astrid trying to chew on her gift bag.

If you look closely you can see a baby in the midst of all the Christmas carnage. You can also see Uwe's reflection in the TV.Here we are, mother and daughter. Astrid is happily playing with her snowman.Uwe with Astrid on his lap. Astrid loves tags and here she is holding the tag attached to her snowman.After opening presents Astrid was ready for her nap. Uwe and I snuggled up on the couch with good books and read for an hour or so. He's wearing his robe that I got him for Christmas and he looked so content curled up on the end of the couch reading that I wanted to get a photo of him. But as soon as he heard the camera turn on he started making funny faces and cracking up. Finally I got this pic of him smiling and reading.I had Astrid on her changing table to change her into her Christmas outfit. Her radar honed right in on the baby wipes.She was so determined to get that package of baby wipes that I let her go for it.
Here she is happy to be holding the baby wipes close to her.Astrid in her Christmas long johns.

She still has a cold with a runny nose and is a little fussier than usual so Uwe carried her around in the Baby Bjoern for an hour. I was trying to get Astrid to look at Uwe (taking the photo) and so I must have been saying something when Uwe took this photo. The cute thing about it is that we both have our mouths open in the same shape like we're saying the same thing at the same time.

We had our friend Dave over and we shared a nice Christmas dinner together. Uwe cooked an 18 lbs organic turkey and I made the side dishes (stuffing, squash with apples, and a sweet potato casserole with pecans).

Uwe decorated the house with candles, so even though we didn't have a Christmas tree this year, it still felt very warm and inviting in our home and all of the lights made it feel like Christmas.Rose and Uwe sitting in a tree
K- I- S- S- I- N- G
First come loves
Then comes marriage
Then comes a baby in a baby carriageHere the 3 of us are celebrating our first Christmas together (and the baby's first Christmas).

We wish you a merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas eve pics with Santa

I took Astrid to get her picture taken with Santa today.Here is the Santa at 7th and Fig in Downtown. Astrid was leery at first and didn't know what to think of sitting on a strange man's lap, and one with a big white beard. But this Santa was very sweet with Astrid. When he saw her about to cry he had me sit on his other knee. I felt like a little kid sitting on Santa's lap.

Doesn't she look cute in her Christmas outfit with the attached little elf shoes? Uwe said it looks like she's wearing Lederhosen. =)They were really nice and let me take photos with my digital camera. The photographer even offered to send me electronic copies of the shots he took if I sent him an e-mail. One photo was free and they only charged for additional copies. I will definitely go back to them for Santa photos.

The parking at 7th & Fig is not a problem, the parking is validated, and it's no hassle at all.

The only thing that I was disappointed about was the fact that Astrid wasn't smiling in any of the photos. Go figure, she was all smiles when we were done and waiting for our photos to print out. So I decided to go to the Glendale Galleria and see if I could get photos taken with Santa there.Glendale Galleria has a huge chocolate chip cookie display in the center of the mall with Santa. However, the Santa there was creepy and would sing loudly into a microphone between photos. They blasted Christmas music out of speakers (which I didn't understand because it was too loud even for adults, let alone small children) and there were tons of people and long lines (don't even get me started about the horrendous parking situation and traffic). Astrid started to cry the moment she sat on Santa's lap.These are the pics I took with my digital camera. The only decent photo package they had was for $40 and I wasn't going to spend that for photos of Astrid crying. The Santa said it didn't matter if she was crying because any kid in an elf's costume sitting on Santa's lap is cute. The outfit is adorable but I hate to see my kid cry.

I showed Uwe the photos and we both had to laugh. Astrid's always such a ham for the camera and it was so unlike her not to smile when getting her picture taken. Uwe was actually happy she wasn't smiling. He said it shows character that she's not happy with any ole stranger. It will be interesting to see how she responds next year when getting her photo taken with Santa.

Friday, December 23, 2005

DWP Light Festival in Griffith Park

The DWP (Department of Water and Power) sponsors an annual holiday light festival in Griffith Park each year. This year was their 10th annual event. Here is a photo of the welcoming arch.

The Light Festival is free and the display of lights goes on for one mile. According to the DWP website it "has become a holiday tradition that attracts more than half million visitors each year." You can drive through or walk along a dirt path on the side. The Los Angeles DWP holiday tree.

Uwe and I try to go every year. This year was the first year with the baby. Driving through the tunnel of lights. The Los Angeles City Hall. DeWapPoSaurus & Volcano.The Venice boardwalk. (For those of you who've never been to Venice Beach, there's an outdoor Gold's gym right on the boardwalk where you can see the body builders lifting weights.) Surfers surfing the waves at Venice Beach.The Vincent Thomas Bridge.

I wasn't able to get photos of all the light displays as big trucks and SUVs were sometimes in the way. A few of the pics are ones I found on google images.

About halfway through I hopped into the backseat with Astrid to point out the different displays to her. Afterall, the whole point of going this year was for Astrid to see and enjoy the light festival for the first time. The Giffith Park Observatory. The Observatory has undergone extensive renovation and has been closed for 5 years. It's scheduled to open again in 2006. City lights, skyline of Downtown Los Angeles.The Los Angeles International Airport.A team of horses pulling a wagon. Although the photo doesn't capture it, the lights alternate to make it look like the horses are walking. This is one of my favorites. This and the western themed ones with the Cowboys & Indians.Another horse and wagon with cowboys and cactus. Cowboys standing around a campfire.Buffalo on a hillside with an American Indian standing in front of them with a bow and arrow. You can see the teepees in the distance.An elf putting a star on top of the Christmas tree.The Hollywood Bowl.
Hockey at the Staples Center. Disneyland.Santa turning on the lights.Animals at the LA Zoo.The Statue of Liberty and the American Flag at the end of the Light Festival.