Friday, September 30, 2005

Who knew telephone chords could be used as teething toys?

The plastic coils wrapped around the rings of this teething toy remind me of the old telephone chords that used to always get tangled up.

Astrid's 2 teeth are getting a workout.

Chomp, chomp, chomp.

My lifeline er laptop

I can't say enough good things about Gateway. I e-mailed them about the problem I was having with my laptop (the power adapter kept melting). I think the pin inside where the power adapter attaches to the battery was broken which was causing it to spark, overheat, and melt the adapter. I kept fiddling with it to get it to work, but finally the adapter would not connect at all and the battery died. Gateway agreed to fix the problem free of charge and sent me a box with packaging material and a prepaid shipping label. Couldn't have been easier. Two days later (today) I got my laptop back and it's as good as new. Hurray!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Visit from Grandpa

Today my Dad came over to visit and spend the day with us. Looking around the room at Astrid's toys, my Dad marveled at "all the stuff they have for babies now". I asked my dad what they did back in the day (when my brother and I were babies...*ahem* back in the 70's) without all these modern day "mother's helpers" and boredom busters. He said they just made do with carrying the baby around most of the time or putting a blanket down on the floor and letting the baby roll around. I just listened and thought to myself "Uh-huh...no wonder so many housewives smoked cigarettes and/or drank heavily during this time period."

I do remember however that we did have a swing. There's a photo of my brother as a baby sitting in it and me standing next to it eating an ice cream cone.

And then there was the laundry basket method. I thought it was just my mom's method to sit me in a round laundry basket so that I could play inside there and be safe while she did housework. But then I saw a photo of my Korean friend as a baby sitting in a similar round laundry basket. Turns out it's a Korean thing. Makes sense.
Here's a photo of my mom looking at a four day old Astrid lying in her bassinet.

I can't imagine not having a bouncy chair (we have 3 of them!). We got our first one as a gift and it really saved our lives. The quality of our lives that is. I could wash dishes and fold laundry with two free hands while bouncing Astrid in her chair with my foot. In addition to freeing up my hands, it also saved my back and knees. And we could finally eat a meal without one of us having to hold her and entertain her the entire time.

This was the second time my Dad has seen Astrid. The first time was four days after she was born. Today when I opened the door while holding Astrid in my arms, Astrid looked at my Dad like, "Who's this guy?" So I introduced him to Astrid by saying, "Astrid this is your Grandpa. My Daddy."

Throughout the visit Astrid kept staring at him and checking him out. My Dad would do this clicking sound that would make her smile so of course he got a kick of out doing it over and over again to see that smile of hers.

My Dad said it warmed his heart to see her smile at him. It warmed my heart to see my Dad in the role of Grandpa and to see them interacting with each other as Grandfather and Granddaughter.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The wonders of H2O

Mommy creates a stream of water that magically appears. Astrid was amazed by this and tried to catch the stream of water by bringing her two hands together. Astrid loves her baths. Another pic of a happy baby enjoying her bath.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Amazing Race: Family Edition

Even if we did let Astrid watch TV (which we currently don't), The Amazing Race: Family Edition on CBS is on past her bedtime. This reality adventure series features 10 teams consisting of 4 family members each that trek around the world for approximately 30 days hoping to be the first ones to reach the final destination and win one million dollars.Previously they've had teams in pairs (couples, relatives, friends), but this is the first time the show has families competing. Interesting concept.

There were two families with young children and we thought they would be at a disadvantage. However, one family runs marathons together and they ended up doing surprisingly well and coming in second at the end of the first episode. The other family with small children however was just too slow, and came in last and was eliminated.

It's a great twist and adds something new to the show. Can you tell I'm hooked?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday brunch @ a friend's house

Our friend Chris initially invited us over to his place for dinner, but now that we have established Astrid's bedtime at 7 PM, it's not feasible for us to go out in the evening without a sitter. So rather than dinner, Chris prepared a lovely brunch for us and we brought the champagne. What a beautiful spread huh? Thank you Chris and Kawena!

I didn't get a photo of Chris' girlfriend Kawena but if you look closely, you can see her skirt and legs in the background. She's holding Astrid. Astrid really took to her quickly. That was nice to see. Astrid's getting to that age where she can tell the difference between people she knows and strangers. There have been times when Astrid and I have been at the grocery store and Astrid will look at the grocery bagger and immediately start crying. It's good to know that this doesn't apply to all strangers, and Astrid is comfortable with some people. Here is Chris presenting his homemade casserole. I like how he's using his spatula as a prop. Doesn't he have an uncanny resemblance to Jim Carrey? Random thought inserted here....
Last year at Thanksgiving Chris introduced us to pumpkin pie ice cream. Oh my goodness, forget the pie, pumpkin pie ice cream is thee best Thanksgiving dessert. It's delicious and refreshing and the perfect compliment to a turkey dinner. Random thought I know, but Thanksgiving is just 2 months away and I can't wait to have some more pumpkin pie ice cream.Chris was in the kitchen for a long time. Had he turned into Martha Stewart back there? Uwe snuck back into the kitchen and took this photo of Chris bailing the rising water out of his sink. As Murphy's Law would have it his sink started backing up about 10 minutes before we got there, and then right before we left the water was rising like crazy. It took both Chris and Uwe to be bailing as fast as they could to keep the water from overflowing. At least Chris was a good sport about it and it didn't interfere with him being a great host. Overall Astrid did really well. For the most part she was happy to be held by myself, Uwe and Kawena. The only mishap was when she threw up a little when I was burping her, but luckily it all landed on me rather than on Chris' couch. Chris said they call this "mother's perfume." That's a nice way to put it isn't it?

Also, now when we're holding Astrid on our lap while eating, we have to be careful to make sure she's not able to reach anything because she always wants to grab and touch everything within arms reach. This is a new development. She was able to stick her hand in my casserole before I noticed it. "Hey, what's this Mom? It feels neat!"

Speaking of reaching out and grabbing and touching things...
Astrid loves to grab my glasses. (Today I wore my contacts.) She once was able to grab the frames of my glasses in one hand and pull them off my face, but most of the time she just touches the lenses. One of my pet peeves used to be people with smudges all over their glasses. You don't look like the brightest bulb sitting there wearing glasses with fingerprints all over them. So now I'm constantly cleaning my glasses trying to keep them smudge free but before you know it there's a little baby fingerprint on the lens again.

Getting back to brunch at Chris'...
Amazingly Astrid also took a nap while we were there. At first she fell asleep in my arms and when I knew she was sound asleep I laid her down in her car seat, put a blanket over her, and she took a nice little nap.

It's nice to know that we're able to take Astrid with us and she's not a handful.

We all enjoyed our visit and brunch. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lunch @ Philippe's

I had a craving for an oven roasted turkey french dipped sandwich with swiss cheese, and the following side dishes - pickles, beets, coleslaw; and a homemade lemonade drink. Does the menu sound familiar? If you live in LA you know I’m describing some typical menu items at Philippe’s, a landmark restaurant located in Downtown Los Angeles. Philippe's claims to be the home of the “original” french dipped sandwich and the legend of how the “French Dip” was created goes like this:

“Established in 1908 by French immigrant named Philippe Mathieu. Philippe the Original began as a delicatessen and sandwich shop. In 1918, Philippe was preparing a sandwich for a policeman and accidentally dropped the sliced french roll into the drippings of a roasting pan. The policeman liked the sandwich and came back the next day with some friends to order the sandwich "dipped" in the meat pan. From that day forward, a new sandwich was born--the "French Dip," so called because of Philippe's French heritage, the french roll on which the sandwich was made, or because the policeman's name was Officer French."

In 1927 the restaurant was sold (for around $5,000) and today is owned by the descendants of the same family.

http://www.philippes.com/
Philippe's Then

Philippe's Now

Many Los Angelenos grew up eating at Philippe’s and their food and atmosphere have stayed pretty much the same. The food is homemade from scratch, and is yummy. It's a family style restaurant with sawdust on the floor, paper plates, and long wooden communal tables with stools. The employees still wear the same old fashioned Philippe uniforms and they still have the counter where you order your food and then take your tray and seat yourself. Here is Astrid in front of the counter smiling at all the people. Usually there are long lines at the counter but it goes pretty fast.

The way the service works is unique. There is a long display counter with 10 servers, (called "Carvers"), many of which have been working at Philippe's for well over 20 years. Each Carver has everything they need to prepare your meal. You get into one of the 10 lines, and when you reach your Carver, they take care of your whole meal; make your sandwich or fix your hot dish, serve salads or soup, give you coffee or a glass of wine, add it all up and take your money. The service is fast and friendly.

Although their prices have gone up, they're still very reasonable. The French dipped sandwiches are the house specialty and are only $4.70 each. You can choose from turkey, beef, pork, ham, (and even lamb which is $5.20). My favorite as I’ve already mentioned is the oven roasted turkey. So yummy! Lemonade and iced tea are 60 cents and a cup of coffee is only 10 cents. (So take that McDonald’s!) Coffee was 5 cents until 1977 when they raised the price to 10 cents. The reason they can keep their prices so low is that they own the building and don’t have to pay today’s rent costs.

Also available are pickled eggs and pig's feet, homemade beef stew, chili and beans, and fresh soups. In addition, a variety of desserts are offered, including fruit, cream and meringue pies, New York style cheesecake, carrot cake, specialty cakes, puddings, custards and Philippe's own baked apples.

Even their hot mustard is homemade. (They prepare about 40 gallons of their hot mustard twice weekly.)

Perfect place to go for lunch on a weekend. Good food, good atmosphere, and great prices.

Peek-a-boo

Peek-a-boo

I see you

Friday, September 23, 2005

Foot lessons

Uwe saw Astrid's new teething toy and thought of the saying, "to put your foot in your mouth". In this case literally. She loves chewing on her new pink foot.

That got me thinking of other "foot" idioms such as:
*put your best foot forward
*get your foot in the door
*foot the bill
*starting off on the right/wrong foot

It's funny how I haven't been teaching in a while but I still think like a teacher in terms of "hey that would make a great lesson!" Uwe asked me if I missed teaching and my response was: "I don't miss teaching full time in the classroom per se, but I do miss teaching sometimes."

My one and only pupil at this point is my daughter. She's still too young to sit through long stories being read to her but she sits in rapture as I sing "the itsy bitsy spider" to her and do a little show with my hands. My Principal told me that once you have a child you make an even better teacher. I really think that's true.

One of a kind postage stamp

Yet another thing you can do with your flickr photos is add a frame to create a personalized postage stamp. Click here to create your own personalized postage stamp.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A sport utility jogging stroller called B.O.B.

Meet B.O.B. (our 2005 sport utility suspension baby jogging stroller).

Our pediatrician gave us the green light to go running with Astrid. Uwe was really excited and ran out and bought this jogging stroller for Astrid today.

It's rather comical that the stroller that Uwe picked out is called B.O.B. because that's the name Uwe uses for himself.

Many years ago Uwe and I were at a restaurant waiting to be seated. When they called out, "Bob", Uwe turned to me and said, "That's us." Confused? So was I, until Uwe's explanation.

It's difficult for many people to pronounce Uwe's name and then the spelling is phonetically different from English (in German the "w" is pronounced like the English "v") so it's just easier to say "Bob" when asked for his name.

So now when I hear "Bob" I turn to Uwe and ask, "Is that us?" I still think it's funny that of all the names he chose "Bob", but it is simple and easy to understand. When you say your name is Bob no one ever asks "How do you spell that?" Uwe and Astrid went running today in Griffith Park to break B.O.B. in.

It's really great for all of us. Astrid gets to be outside and gets a free ride. Uwe gets some bonding time with the baby. And I get some time to myself. Woohoo!Uwe plans to run with Astrid in the LA Marathon next year. Training starts now.

B.O.B. is a welcome addition to our family. =)

White Rabbit

Dressing Astrid up in this bunny outfit made me think of the "White Rabbit" song by Jefferson Airplane. Yes, my mind works in funny ways.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Second round of vaccinations

A baby's first vaccinations are supposed to be done at 2 months and then again at 4 months. Due to a combination of complications with our HMO insurance (we had to change Astrid's primary doctor to her pediatrician since they had my doctor listed as her doctor and we had to request a backdated effective date) and our concern for giving her shots too early, we waited until she was 3 months old to start vaccinating her. So now that she's 5 months old, she is due for her second round of vaccinations. Astrid and Uwe sitting in the waiting room of the doctor's office.In one of the rooms waiting patiently to see the pediatrician.

There's a sign posted to the left of the sink, right above the trash can.Here's what it says.

On our first visit to the doctor's office, we had changed Astrid's diaper and looked around for the trashcan, only to see this sign posted right above it. Both Uwe and I were scratching our heads asking, "If we can't put the diaper in the trashcan, where are we supposed to dispose of it?"

Our pediatrician told us that we could go out of the office, down the hall, to the building restroom to dispose of it in that trashcan. What??? Are you serious??? A pediatrician's office that sees babies all day long, 5 days a week and they don't have any place to dispose of diapers? Our pediatrician said, "If we let people throw dirty diapers away here it would smell up the place." So it's okay to stink up the public restroom for all the people on the same floor? That doesn't seem to make much sense either. My response was, "Sounds like you need to get a Diaper Genie." But I think my comment must have fallen on deaf ears because today we saw the same sign posted.

Is this just a kooky policy of our pediatrician, or do all pediatrician offices have this policy? I'm curious, because it seems very un-baby-friendly. While we were waiting, we sat Astrid down and let her play with the crunchy wax paper sheet that lined the table. Still waiting... Finally the pediatrician is here.

Astrid is a healthy baby. She weighs 17 lbs and 10 oz. Her height is 26 1/2 inches. Her head measures 16 3/4 inches around.

And as a merit of our due diligence, Astrid has not had a single case of diaper rash to date. *knock on wood*

Uwe was concerned that Astrid's eyes are still a bit crossed at times. Our pediatrician says that it looks like the right eye is a bit crossed and we'll have to see if it corrects itself in another month. Looking at mobiles and hanging toys will help her eye muscles get stronger.

We were also concerned that her teeth came in so early. Everything we read said that babies get their teeth between 6 and 8 months normally. Our pediatrician says that it's early but still okay. He said that some babies are born with teeth. Imagine that!
We had to wait a very long time for the nurse to come in to give Astrid her shots. Here is a photo of Astrid getting cranky and starting to cry... "What are we waiting for? Can we go home already?" Not the most flattering photo but you can see her two pearly whites are coming in nicely.

Astrid cried when she got her shots and kept looking at me like, "What are you doing? Don't you know this hurts?!" There were lots of tears and sobbing and I did my best to soothe her, so no photos of that. But she's a little trooper. She got through it just fine.Here is a photo of me holding Astrid while we were still waiting for the nurse, right after she started crying and I was able to get her to smile for a few seconds. She loves the camera.

Thanks goodness we're done with the second round of vaccinations and won't have to worry about this for another 2 months. No one wants to see their kid cry and be in pain but unfortunately it's a necessary evil that every kid and their parents have to go through.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's time to get a hockey mask

I got some cute photos of Uwe and Astrid having some quality time together in the evening.Awww...can you feel the love? Sweet eye contact between father and daughter.Rose: "Astrid be gentle. Don't pull Daddy's hair."

Uwe: "It's okay. It doesn't hurt."

What this really means is: "My daughter is so cute even when she's pulling my hair. It hurts a little bit but who cares? I could stare at her for hours."Astrid is playing with her bunny rattle. Distracted for now.

Astrid is back to pulling Daddy's hair.

Rose: "Uwe, don't let her pull your hair."

Uwe: "Oh it's okay."

Rose: "You sure it doesn't hurt?"

Well if hair pulling doesn't hurt, what about...

...a sock in the eye? Ouch!

Yep, it's definitely time to get a hockey mask. It would come in handy for protection from flying baby fists, and mean head buts.

But it might scare the baby. What do you think?

Astrid's 1st rain

It started raining last night and we had a real thunder storm. I don't think I've ever heard thunder that loud and consistent before. I woke up from it and it seemed to go on for hours.

Uwe was concerned that the thunder would wake up and scare Astrid, so he got up every 15 minutes to check on her. Our little one wasn't affected by it at all. She slept through the night waking up at 7 AM this morning.
This morning it rained on and off. Here is Astrid staring out the window at the rain falling from the sky. It's the first time Astrid has seen rain. When I took this photo it was raining a bit and there was lightning in the distance.

Normally when Astrid takes a nap in her aquariam swing I turn on the rain soundtrack (or the sound of waves) which lulls her to sleep. For today's nap however, she got to listen to the real thing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

5 Month Milestone


Astrid is 5 months old today.

It sure doesn't feel like 5 months have passed already.

She shows her 2 bottom teeth when she laughs, rolls over onto her tummy umpteen times a day, says "mama" when she cries, sleeps through the night, and brings lots of joy into our home.

Our precious daughter is growing up so fast!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sitting on Daddy's shoulders

I warned Uwe about Astrid's propensity for pulling hair but he shrugged off my warning saying his hair was too short for Astrid to grab a hold of. That was true a few days ago but not anymore. Her grasp gets better and better each day.

In the last photo Uwe is not rubbing his head due to pain, but rather patting his wet hair covered in Astrid's saliva.

Uwe and I both burst out laughing but Astrid started bawling. I guess she was really bummed that she couldn't continue to sit on her daddy's shoulders and pull hair to her heart's delight.

Afternoon coffee