Thursday, May 31, 2007

I wanna be a cowboy, and you can be my cowgirl

Uwe bought this cowboy hat for Astrid when he was in Austin, Texas recently. It's the cutest hat, but a tad too small.

Organic poster child

Today Astrid and I ate at Whole Foods. She sits in the booth with me and likes to people watch. I took this photo with the "Organic" poster behind her, on the window, featuring a local organic farmer who sells his produce at Whole Foods. I thought - how apropos - as Astrid has grown up eating organic food. She's the perfect poster child for organic food.

Whole Foods - if you ever need a kid model - give me a ring.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fun at the laundromat

Our clothes dryer is kaput. It still works but it's been staining and making holes in our clothes. We tried using a clothes bag when drying her clothes which helps, but then everything comes out all wrinkled. It would be easier to replace if it wasn't attached to our washer (which still works just fine). So we'll have to buy a whole new washer/dryer set. In the meantime, I've been going to the laundromat with Astrid and doing our wash there. She loves to sit on top of the washers to watch what I'm doing.
Normally she's very good, but here she's throwing a tantrum. She got bored pushing the cart around.
So I had her help me put the washed clothes in the dryer.
You never saw someone so happy to work.
Arbeit macht frei.
Whew - need to wipe the perspiration from my forehead.

Actually, this baby wash cloth was the last piece to go into the dryer.

She's wearing a jacket because we went in the morning when it was still chilly.All and all she did a great job. Occasionally I'd have to help her with the bigger items that would get tangled, like the towels, and I'd have to push the clothes back further in the dryer because she could only reach the front, but she kept at it and was only too happy to help. She was so proud of herself, it was great to see (plus no more tantrums!).Her treat for being a good girl and helping mama, is a bottle of water from the liquor store next door. I get the water bottles with the sports drink tops that make it "almost" spill proof.Watching the clothes go round and round.She loves these water bottles. I also make it a point that we can't open and drink it until we've paid for it. I've had cashiers tell me, "It's okay" and try to give it back to her before we've paid, and I always say, "No, she needs to learn." So we pick out a bottle together, she waits patiently while I pay for it, and then she gets to have it. I have to chuckle at myself about what a mom I've become.Enjoying her water after a hard day's work.Pushing her water bottle around in her cart.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Astrid holding her own shopping basket

Tonight I decided to try and make Vietnamese chicken pho' from scratch. Whole Foods was out of fresh basil, so I went to Ralph's and got some organic basil there.
We had already been to 2 different grocery stores by this time (Whole Foods, and Seafood City), to get various ingredients, so Astrid needed to stretch her legs and walk a little bit. If I'm just getting a few items, I let her hold the shopping basket, which she loves to do.
At first I couldn't figure out why the photos were coming out so fuzzy, like there was a filter on it to make it look soft. Then I realized the reason for it - little fingers smudging the camera lens. Uwe lets Astrid play with the camera to look at photos of herself, and we had just come back from Joshua Tree, where she had been playing with it.
She has her Whole Foods monkey in her basket. (Proceeds go to the Jane Goodall Institute.)Sometimes it looks like the basket is too heavy for her, but if I ask her if she wants me to hold it her answer of course is, "No." So I just remind her to hold the basket with both hands, and she does.
People that saw us in the store would comment what a big girl she was - and Astrid was all smiles.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Joshua Tree - Day 1 (Part Two) - Nature Calling

A perfect ending to our first day in Joshua Tree. We took Astrid's bathing suit and swim diaper off to get her ready for bed, and instead of going upstairs to take a bath, she first ran around the house in her birthday suit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Being a stay at home mom again

Friday, May 11th was my last day in the office. I gave 4 weeks advance notice and left on very good terms. One of my coworkers arranged a farewell party for me at Damon's, a local tiki bar in Glendale. (Their Chi-Chi's are my favorite.)

The next morning I was on a plane to St. Louis. This was a blessing in disguise, because I didn't stay out too late celebrating & saying my good-byes, and woke up with no hangover. (Unlike my mentor's farewell party earlier in the year.)

There were a number of factors that influenced my decision including Uwe's career, our family situation, my work, and Astrid. I'm also much more confident in my abilities; both at home and in the corporate world. I know I'm a good mother and career woman, and I can handle both roles. In the end, all signs were pointing in that direction (to resign and focus on my family) and although it was a tough decision to make, it was the right thing to do.

Astrid will be going to preschool in another year and this is the perfect window of opportunity to spend more time with her everyday. She's growing up so fast and although I love working, work will always be there, but Astrid won't be 2 forever. Before you know it she'll be influenced by her teachers and friends at school (and then will come the teens when she won't want to spend the day with me) and although I'll always be mom - it won't be the same. I cherish this time that I have with Astrid and know that I'm very fortunate to have the option to stay home and hang up my suits for awhile.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mother & daughter getaway

Uwe booked Astrid and I into a resort on Mandalay Beach while he was attending a conference out of state. Here are some pics below. More text later.



Surrey Rental
(A four-wheeled carriage having two or four seats.)


Playing in the sand dunes.
driftwood