Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Home alone - without the husband and baby

Uwe packed up our SUV today with the essentials: Astrid, our dog, laptop, his mixer and speakers, clothes, diapers, diaper disposal, food and drink, and even a plastic baby pool for Astrid...and off they went to spend a week in the desert, in Joshua Tree. I have to work this week, but as soon as I get off work on Friday I'll be driving out there to meet them.

Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places on earth and the house we rent each year is right next to the Joshua Tree National Park (you can walk right into the park), and it's an oasis in the middle of the desert, perfect for maximum R&R.

This is the first time I've been away from Astrid overnight, and it will be for a total of 3 days before I see her again.

Last night I was preparing freshly cooked vegetables for Astrid. I was chopping up the steamed veggies into small pieces for the nanny to feed to her for lunch. Uwe saw what I was doing and saw that I was deep in thought and said, "Don't worry honey. I'll take good care of her and I'll take lots of photos everyday and post them on my blog so you won't miss her so much."

One of the sweetest things about being married is when your spouse can read your mind and is more concerned about your well being than you are about yourself.

Check out pics of Astrid in Joshua Tree on Uwe's blog at http://astridsdad.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Push around buggy

Astrid received this pink push around buggy as a birthday present from my sister-in-law. (Thank you Angie!) It's become an evening ritual that I strap Astrid into it and off we go for a walk in the evenings when I get home from work. I love how she holds onto the steering wheel like she's driving. Astrid loves it and it's a nice way for me to reconnect with her after being away at work all day.When 5 o'clock rolls around Astrid gets a bit antsy most days because she's tired but it's not quite bed time yet (she gets her evening bath at 6:30, then a bottle, and then I read her a book before putting her to bed) and she's done with playing with her toys or reading a book, but she LOVES being outside. As soon as we're outside strolling around in the push buggy she's all smiles and either turned around backwards in her seat to smile up at me, or pointing to different things in the neighborhood. It never fails to make her laugh by honking the horn (which sounds more like a squeak).

People have actually stopped in their cars to tell me how cute Astrid looks in her pink buggy. (I may be partial but I think she's looks adorable too!)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What a tantrum looks like

Now that Astrid is learning how to express herself and her needs and wishes; as expected we're seeing more tantrums. Here's an example of one. Here she is happy as can be pushing the power button on the TV.
When I say "no" she starts crying and wailing.
"But I REALLY want to push those buttons!"
Here is attempt #2. Testing mom (me).
Another firm "no" and more frustration and tears. (But she still looks cute in her matching outfit and ladybug shoes.)

Most of the time a distraction works, like getting her interested in a toy or book, or looking out the window, or going into another room, but sometimes nothing helps and you just have to wait until it passes.
Here you can see the tears still in her eyes but the tantrum is over.

Uwe and I discussed how this is the time when discipline starts. In the beginning it's just the little things and letting Astrid know that we're not going to be manipulated by a tantrum. It's also important that our nanny is on the same page with us. It wouldn't do much good if we enforced certain rules, but when we're not around, the nanny lets her do whatever she wants to.

So when our nanny told me that Astrid had a fit when she wouldn't let her touch our wine glasses, I expressed to her how I am fine with her being firm about certain rules and not allowing Astrid to touch things or do things where she could possibly injure herself. I would rather her be firm and get some tears as a result rather than giving in and raising a brat. I want to make sure that Astrid gets a lot of love and attention, but also that she grows up a well mannered child.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Astrid's 1st balloon

I went to Trader Joe's in Glendale today to pick up some Zwiebelkuechen (German onion tart) and some snacks for our Memorial Day trip to Joshua Tree. While standing in line I noticed that they were giving away free helium filled balloons to kids. So even though Astrid wasn't with me at the time, I asked if I could have a balloon for my daughter and the cashier said, "Sure!" I felt pretty silly walking through the parking lot with a purple balloon and no kid, but I thought Astrid would have fun playing with the balloon at home.Here is Astrid with her first balloon.
Not sure what to make of it.
I tied the balloon string around her wrist.

Uwe was afraid she'd pop it, but it held up even with little fingers squeezing and pulling it.
Playing sleepy.
Here she is walking (very fast) towards me with the balloon still attached to her.

Finally I have a decent pic of her walking. Previously all the pics have been blurry due to the movement, but here only her hands and feet are blurry (because they're moving) but her face is clear.

She looked so cute running around with the balloon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Part 2

Here are two photos from Mother's Day last year (May 2005). Blogger seems to have fixed the uploading problem for new posts (although it's sporadic), but it still won't allow you to upload pics to old posts. So here's part 2 of my Mother's Day post. Astrid's just a month old here. Uwe said he looked at the photo again recently and said I looked exhausted. I was, but I was happy too to be holding our newborn baby.Complete strangers would see me with Astrid and wish me a heartfelt Happy Mother's Day. For the first time Mother's Day had true significance for me since it was my first as a mother.

Happy Mother's Day 2006!

Today is my 2nd true Mother's Day as a mom. I received these beautiful pink roses from Uwe with a card from him and a card from Astrid. When Uwe and I have a weekend free we're also going to go shopping for a necklace for me. =)On Friday when I came home from work, I saw this box with writing that said, "To: Mommy, From: Astrid. Happy Mother's Day!" I asked my nanny if this was from her and she said, "Yes...well no, it's really from Astrid." So I opened the box and this is what was inside.A stainless steel mug that says, "I love my Mommy this much!" Then our nanny told me to turn the mug around. On the other side is a photo of Astrid that was taken on Friday.

What a thoughtful gift! (I've since brought it to work and everyday when I drink water out of it, I look at my baby's face.)For lunch we went to Captain Kidd's fish market and restaurant in Redondo Beach, CA with my mom and dad. I'd been craving crab for awhile and since I've been going there with my parents since I was a kid (and they love it too), I thought it would be nice to invite my parents over for Mother's Day. It's the best place for the freshest seafood with no frills dining.Captain Kidd's has water tanks filled with live crabs and lobster. You pick the ones you want and they steam them and crack and clean them for you. They also have lots of different kinds of fish, mussels, clams (my parents love the clam chowder), smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, corn on the cob, and various side dishes. My mom absconded with Astrid while Uwe and I were standing in line. Fifteen or so minutes passed and I turned to Uwe and asked, "Do you know where our kid is?" Then I looked up and saw them standing on the other side of the restaurant. You can see my mom (wearing a pink top) holding Astrid (who's wearing a white hat) in the background.

It was ridiculously busy today. Usually the service is pretty good but today if you got someone to look in your direction it was a miracle and there were long lines all around (at the fish tanks, at the snack line, for the side dishes, and the even at the beverage counter). I've never seen it so busy before. It was packed.Here's a photo of one of the employees holding a bag full of freshly steamed crabs. Those vats behind him are where they steam the seafood.Here's where they crack and clean the crab, lobster, and fish. I like that you can see them at work and how they keep everything very clean. See all those lemons on top? They use those to disinfect and keep everything smelling lemony fresh (not fishy). After eating pounds of crab the lemons are also great for freshening up your hands.It's a seat yourself establishment with long wooden tables and benches on two levels in the back facing the ocean (and outside). You wait to hear your number called over the loud speaker announcing your order is ready for pick up. There are no waiters or waitresses. You carry your food on trays to your table. There are sheets of paper provided to lay down on the tables, and you're expected to clean your table before you leave. Astrid ate fish for the first time (yellowtail that Uwe had ordered) and my mom kept trying to feed her crab (which we had to put a stop to). I dunno if shellfish is okay for her to eat at this age. My mom kept proclaiming how much she loved it (which I'm sure she did), and saying she only gave her a couple bites (when we saw her sneak in at least four). Astrid also had rice and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. She loved the cauliflower.Here she is all smiles. Happy to be with her family, and eating what we're eating.

Lately I've been thinking about things I can whip up for Astrid, that the nanny can feed to her during the week. I will definitely add cauliflower to my list. Astrid has moved past pureed foods and she prefers chunkier foods that she can chew and also what mama and papa are eating, rather than her baby food. She's also getting fussier about the foods she does eat. Before she would eat anything we fed her, but now she prefers her fruits and somehow she can tell the vegetable baby food (by the color I guess) and she'll only eat a few spoonfuls and then shake her head back and forth to signal "no more."

We also brought some fresh smoked salmon home with us that we ate for dinner while watching the season finale of Survivor. A nice ending to mother's day.

The only thing missing was a photo of me on Mother's Day. Since I don't have one, I tried to post a couple from Mother's Day last year, from our brunch at Inn of the Seventh Ray, however blogger is having photo uploading issues.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

1st haircut postponed

Astrid's hair has grown a lot and Uwe and I have been talking about getting her hair cut for awhile now, to even it out.We were going to Uwe's hairdresser so I wanted to take some "before" pics of Astrid's hair.Here's a close up. See how long it's gotten in the back and on the sides?Without being brushed it looks a bit like Jane Fonda's 1970's shag hairdo. It pains me to cut it because she's a girl and I can't wait for her hair to grow long enough where I can put it in ponytails, but I know she needs to get it cut so it can grow out evenly.

Uwe had an appointment today with his hairstylist Amy so we decided to bring Astrid along to see if Amy could also give Astrid a haircut.Waiting for her turn at a salon in Studio City.
Wearing her tropicana hat.
Walking around the waiting area.
Checking out some hair and fashion magazines.Uwe with his fresh haircut and lollipop. Astrid sees Amy.Here's Amy and Astrid meeting for the first time.

I remember when I was around 8 months pregnant and Amy gave me a haircut at her old salon in Burbank called "Frenchy's". Amy made a comment about my pregnancy and her assistant remarked, "You're pregnant? You mean there's a baby in there?"

Unfortunately Amy had back to back appointments and didn't have time to cut Astrid's hair. Bummer. Her next availability is in July. I don't know if we can wait that long, so we'll see if maybe my hairstylist Riley can cut it before then.On the drive back home Astrid did not want her photo taken.But she had fun taking off her hat and playing with it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Side effects of the vaccinations

Ever since Astrid had her 12 month vaccinations she has been sweating a lot and feels warmer than usual. This is the first time she's had any noticeable side effects.Here you can see her hair is damp after a nap in the daytime.

The nurse told Uwe that the polio vaccination was the first live virus Astrid's received. All of the other vaccinations up to this point were dormant viruses. Astrid's immune system has to work overtime to fight off the virus and create antibodies. Astrid's also had some problems going to sleep at night. For a few nights after the shots were administered, I'd lie her down in her crib at night after her bottle and she would look like she was going to sleep, but as soon as I closed her bedroom door she would start crying. That hasn't happened in a long time. Normally she's like clockwork and falls asleep as soon as she finishes her bottle, or she's happy playing in her crib before settling down to go to sleep.

By the 4th night, tonight, she seems to be back to normal in terms of her sleep patterns. When I come home from work she still feels a bit warm and her hair is sometimes damp with perspiration, but she's smiling and happy and doesn't show any signs of discomfort.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Nothing's cuter than a baby's bottom

Babies have the cutest little bottoms. Here's a photo of Astrid standing next to the bathtub before bath time. It reminds me of those cute, plastic, naked troll dolls that also have cute little bottoms. Astrid likes to watch the water pour out of the faucet. Other times she plays with her bath toys as she watches the bathtub fill up with water.

Astrid's visits the LA Zoo

Yesterday I purchased an annual pass for the LA Zoo. Our nanny will take Astrid to the zoo at least once a week and Uwe and I can also go with Astrid on the weekends. Today was Astrid's first visit to the LA Zoo. (The first zoo she visited was the Children's Zoo in Central Park in New York.)

Our nanny bought Astrid this cute LA Zoo hat. I tried to give her money for it afterwards but she wouldn't accept any money for it.The pink flamingos.

The into to the 70's TV sitcom "Three's Company" was shot at the LA Zoo. I found the video footage on retrojunk.com. If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, turn up the volume and click on the link below.

Click here to watch the Three's Company intro (shot at the LA Zoo).Right now the LA Zoo is featuring all of their baby animals. How apropos for our baby (Astrid) to go to the zoo to see other babies. Playing with her new hat.Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?A seal swimming in a pool.

I prefer San Diego Wild Animal Park where the animals can roam free and their natural habitat is reconstructed, however the LA Zoo is very close to our house and it's still a great learning place for kids. Astrid can participate in more children's activities and events as she gets older as well.Our nanny said Astrid wasn't really interested in the animals, however she was very interested in the people. It's good for her to be out of the house in the nice weather, seeing and experiencing new things.

I can't wait until she's older and we can have a birthday party at the zoo for her and her friends.