Thursday, April 19, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday Astrid!

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Astrid!
Happy Birthday to you.
Last night Astrid and baked together for the first time. She sat on the kitchen counter and stirred all of the ingredients together in a big bowl. I turned it into a mini math lesson with all the measuring. She loved pouring from the measuring cup into the bowl and stirring away.

The reason I decided to bake cupcakes instead of buying them, is because I wanted something healthy (and not full of sugar and empty calories). It's important for us that Astrid not eat any artificial sweets, and has healthy eating habits. Her desserts are fruits, raisins, applesauce, and yogurt. So we made organic bran muffins that had no sugar (just a little bit of honey) and baked them in pretty birthday cupcake wrappers. It was a lot of fun and Astrid was so absorbed. She loved helping me and doing something grown up. The birthday girl dressed in a pretty yellow dress, a present from her nanny.
"It's my party and I can cry if I want to. "

Astrid put her left sandal on her right foot and her right sandal on her left foot. I tried to prevent what would inevitably come next (a big fall and lots of crying), but she did not want my help. Hence a little birthday tantrum on the couch.Tantrum over. Happily eating a piece of bread. Sandals are forgotten."See! See! See!" she's saying. She wants to see the photos saved in my digital camera.My little birthday girl looking oh so cute in her pretty dress and pigtails.Astrid dancing. Twirling around and around.Yeah Papa's home from the office and he brought me a present!Getting a birthday kiss from Papa.Diving into her Duplo Legos. "What's this? A little man?""I don't exactly know what to do with them yet. But thank you."Standing on her tippy toes for a better look into the box.Astrid and I waited downstairs while Uwe was upstairs blowing up 45 balloons (manually) to surprise Astrid."Can we go upstairs now? The anticipation is killing me!" "Wow....balloons!"A room full of balloons just for Astrid.Here I am bouncing balloons up into the air while Astrid tries to catch them.
Uwe and Astrid playing in the balloons.
To celebrate Astrid's 2nd birthday in style, Uwe bought party hats for us to wear. Usually Astrid loves hats and she'll don anything we put on her, but not this year. We tried several times, but she just did not want to wear her birthday/party hat. So Uwe and I wore the hats and Astrid thought we looked quite funny.

Uwe is quite fond of party hats as you can see from my birthday a couple years ago. Click on the link below to view:
Birthday & Party Hats 2005Here Uwe is holding the hat above Astrid's head, just so we can get a photo of her with it.Ha! One for the scrapbooks. You know she's going to look back at this when she's older and laugh. She just refused to wear her party hat. But she looked so cute wearing it!Here's a close up of the hat. It has a big felt "2" on the front, and came with other numbers that we can use each year until she's 6. I doubt that the hat will last that long, but it's a nice thought. Playing with a big yellow balloon.

Good news - not a single balloon burst. More balloon play.Shouting "Balloons!" So excited. Uwe comes up with the best ideas.New bath toys to add to her collection. Squeezing one of her bath toys.This purple whale acts as a pump and squirts out water. Here without water, it's squirting out air which makes Astrid laugh.Sweet lil cupid doll surrounded by balloons.Tired out from all the playing.Uwe and I wearing our party hats.Here's Astrid with her birthday cupcake that she helped make.It's a musical candle that plays "Happy Birthday." Astrid can't help but touch her cupcake. Uwe lighting the candle while Astrid watches.Astrid can't wait to blow out her candle.Okay one last photo and you can blow out your candle now.Yay! We were surprised by how well she could blow out the candle. Probably the practice she gets from blowing bubbles, and saying "sh sh sh" when she sings "Wheels on the bus go round and round."
Since she was so fast and really enjoyed blowing out her candle, we relit the candle a handful of times and let her blow it out again.
Happy birthday my sweet angel. Mama and Papa love you very much!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Check out my other blog

While this blog is G rated, my other blog "A Blog Away from Home" is a little more PG-13. Same author (me), just the content is more about me and things I find interesting. I'd love to get your feedback on it.

Check it out by clicking on the link below:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thank you

This evening as I was getting Astrid ready for bed she looked up at me with her sweet angel face and pretty blue eyes and said, "Mama? Thank you!"

I was kinda taken aback. I mean she normally says "thank you" when you give her something, but this was the first time she seemed to really be thanking me for something intangible.

Earlier in the evening, when I got home we went for a walk around the neighborhood, this time taking a different path. I can always get Astrid excited about going for a walk by making it into a mission about finding kitty cats. She LOVES cats, or what she calls "Coco". She likes dogs, but she likes cats more because she can usually pet them.

I showed her a mural that someone painted on a wall with dairy cows. Astrid thought it was hilarious. Especially with me making the "moo!" sound. And she loved being able to go up the the wall and touch the painted cows.

On our walk we saw a total of 7 cats. One was a small black kitten with green eyes that she wanted so badly to pet, but it was behind a metal fence and wouldn't come close enough for Astrid to reach her. Astrid looked so adorable putting her two little hands under the fence and saying, "nice...nice...nice" and clapping her hands trying to get the cat to come to her.

We also saw a number of birds, both domestic and wild on our walk. When Astrid saw/heard a bird she would say, "Cheep cheep". So cute.

We have a lot of steep hills up here and her little legs get tired, so every once in awhile we would stop, sit on a curb and just rest and I'd point out stuff to her, and just talk to her. She really loved that. It was the first time I just stopped and enjoyed sitting there with her, rather than carrying her and rushing trying to get home before a certain time.

When we got back to the house we saw a bunny and after chasing it and trying to pet it, we tried a different approach by trying to feed it some food. It munched on a little bit, but was more interested in eating the neighbors plants.

After that Astrid I sat and snuggled on the couch while I read her a couple of books that she got from the library today, and when I looked up I was surprised to see it was already 7 PM.

I quickly made her some dinner, while she sat on the kitchen counter next to me so she could watch, munching on some raisins.

Then I bathed her, brushed her teeth, combed her hair, put lotion on her, and dressed her in her PJ's. That was when she looked up at me in all seriousness and thanked me.

Then I gave her warm milk in her sippy cup, and continued with our bedtime routine: Read her another book, and sang to hear (Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - both of which she's getting better at singing along with me, and Rock-a-bye Baby). After that, she let me know she was ready to lay down, and lying in her crib again she looked up at me and said, "thank you".

She was so serious. It really felt like a heartfelt thank you for taking care of her and spending time with her. I got kinda choked up. It's a lot of work raising a kid, no doubt about it, but tonight with those two thank you's I felt appreciated. I'm so grateful that I have this little miracle in my life, who with her limited vocabulary can still express her feelings and lets me know that the time we spend together is precious.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter 2007!

This morning we went to the Barnsdall Art Park, for Astrid's very own, 1st Easter egg hunt in the park. (Earlier this week Astrid's gymnastics class had an indoor Easter egg hunt.) The park is located on the top of Olive Hill in Hollywood, overlooking the city of Los Angeles. It has an amazing view and was so tranquil and removed from the city. When Uwe and Astrid were here last, there were people doing Tai Chi in the park. Uwe and Astrid (holding her purple Easter bunny) going up the steps.

This morning it was overcast and chilly, so no Easter dress for Astrid. Instead she wore her Easter shawl over her warm purple outfit. The park and surrounding areas are beautiful, but today being Easter I was focused just on taking photos of Astrid. However I did find some nice photos of Barnsdall Art Park and the Hollyhock House (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) which is located on the property on Flickr. See below.
At the top of Olive Hill in Barnsdall Art Park with a view of Los Angeles. This photo is called "Pine Art" and was taken by deadeyebart... A view of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park Observatory. (Photo taken by Clinton.) Barnsdall Art Park has several art installations such as this one. (Photo taken by TravelingMan.)
Hollyhock house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright). (Photo taken by nicola.)

4800 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027-5390


Located at the crest of Olive Hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles, Barnsdall Art Park had its beginning in the early 1900's when Aline Barnsdall came West with plans to develop a theatre company. When Aline Barnsdall donated the Park and its Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures to the City of Los Angeles to the City of Los Angeles in 1927, she wished to provide an accessible arts center, incorporating and preserving the famous Hollyhock House as a vital component. The spirit of Barnsdall's intention was to maintain an active arts center for the community was assured longevity.

Programs and exhibits became a part of the mission of the Park, programs that are used by thousands of Los Angeles community members as well as visitors from throughout the world. The Community Arts Division of the Cultural Affairs Department manages the Park. For more information regarding the Cultural Affairs Department see their website at

Programs include the adult and youth art classes at the Barnsdall Art Center and the Junior Arts Center, the Barnsdall Art Center and the Hollyhock House; museum education and tours programs at the Municipal Art Gallery, the Junior Arts Center Gallery and the Hollyhock House; theatre programs at the Gallery Theatre; and , numerous festivals during the year that celebrate the cultural diversity of the community.
Last night Uwe prepared for Astrid's Easter egg hunt by stuffing stickers into each of the plastic Easter eggs.

When we got to the park Uwe hid the eggs while I distracted Astrid. It wasn't easy - believe me. Astrid knew what Papa was doing, and she kept trying to run back to Uwe.

In the photo above, Uwe is done hiding all the eggs, and Astrid has her basket in hand ready to start hunting for eggs. Uwe is pointing in the direction that Astrid should start looking.Astrid was so cute to watch. She was so excited and shouting "eggs! eggs! eggs!" while running in the grass, picking up eggs and putting them in her basket. She acted like an old pro at it and Uwe reminded me that she got the hang of it from last Halloween when we took her trick or treating. (Then she had a pumpkin basket filled with candy, and now she has an Easter basket with eggs - same principle.)Uwe helping Astrid get an egg that was a little too high up in the bushes for her to reach.
Below are some more photos from Astrid's Easter egg hunt.

Here's Uwe hiding eggs for round 2. He did a great job hiding them in spots that weren't too easy, but not too hard to find, like behind this tree.
Uwe is running to finish hiding the few remaining eggs. Astrid running towards Uwe.It took awhile to get Astrid interested in hunting for eggs again. When she finally was interested again, I had to hold her basket while she found eggs with less enthusiasm. Lesson learned - once is enough. Opening the egg to find the stickers inside.
We're going to use the remaining stickers from the packet that Uwe purchased (with 700 stickers) as positive reinforcement for Astrid's potty training.
Mama and Astrid. With a toddler, I don't see how it's possible to have fat arms. My biceps get a workout from carrying around a 30 lbs baby. Astrid would love it if I carried her around all day, but then my arms would look like Popeye, and I would have major back problems.
Three heart shaped chairs next to the art center.The 3 of us sitting in those chairs.
This was the first time we used the timer on the camera. In the first photo attempt, Uwe sat Astrid on the chair next to me, and rushed to sit in his own seat, but rambunctious Astrid scooted off her seat and went flying face first. Luckily she's old enough now to put her hands out to protect her face, and the Easter basket broke her fall. The photo shows Astrid in mid air, while Uwe and I are reaching for her, and Uwe has a expression on his face that is part terror, as he's shouting "NO!" She gave us quite a scare, but as you can see from the photo above, she was fine and unscathed.Uwe and Astrid in front of the mural in front of the Junior Art Center.
Astrid wouldn't sit in the chair in front of the mural, and instead wanted to crawl up onto another chair. So since she wasn't cooperating, Uwe moved her chair while she was in it, over to the mural. You can see in the photo above, the first chair is pushed off to the side. Astrid looks so serious, but cute as a button just the same. And Uwe looks especially handsome too! I'm a lucky girl.
Standing at the top of the steps, for one last photo before we go home.
Happy Easter everyone!