Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona trip without Astrid

U. and I decided to fly to Barcelona for his birthday today. We will be back in 6 days, and with such a short international trip we decided it best if we made the journey just us 2 adults without Astrid. A second honeymoon of sorts.

This is only the 2nd international trip we've taken without Astrid. The first time was to Amsterdam in December 2008 when Astrid was 3 years old, and only for a few days. She had already accompanied us to Europe including Amsterdam just a couple months previous in October 2008, so she wasn't missing anything. This time the trip will be little longer with us being gone for 6 days. It feels so strange to not have her with us (as I'm sitting in the airport lounge typing this). Last night she stayed at her nanny's house since we had pack and leave the house by 5 AM - and I kept catching myself "listening" for her. To hear her if she woke up. Habit I guess.

Astrid begged to go on vacation with us. The plane, the food, the adventure - Astrid inherited our wanderlust and love of travel. I would love to take her but not this time. Mama and Papa need some alone time too. "Next time I'll go on vacation with you," Astrid declared.

Astrid will be staying with her nanny Beate and her family - which includes 2 kids that Astrid adores. She told me on the drive home from school yesterday, "I love Claire and Noah." She was so excited to "sleep over" at their place and get to see them and play with them for days in a row. In fact when I dropped her off last night she immediately ran upstairs with Noah, leaving me behind. I had to call up to her and ask her to come down to give me a hug reminding her that she won't see me for awhile. Her response was classic kid, "I know!" Quick hug and kiss and off she was running again to play with the kids.

The days preceding our flight I was giving Astrid more hugs and kisses and feeling that gnawing feeling in my gut - already missing my baby. She's been sleeping in our bed recently and both U. and I did not fight it - in fact welcoming it just so we could be close to her and hold her all night. I'd also been preparing her with lots of conversation about being away but we'd always be thinking about her and when we would be coming home and the situation with her staying with her nanny, etc. Also told her when we got home she'd get a surprise (hoping to find a Spanish doll for her). Also that both her Papa and I loved her so much and she's always on our mind.

Yesterday evening as I was finishing up in the office, Astrid sat on the floor of my office and colored and enjoyed listening to my music playing on the iPod. I e-mailed U. and told him how much I would miss her and what a good little girl she is. He told me he felt the same way and felt guilty about leaving her. I marveled at how much we love our little one that it kills us to be apart from her, even though we know she's in good hands and will be having a great time. Her nanny has all sorts of activities planned including going to the beach, and we'll Skype so we can talk to Astrid and see her on the webcam.

But I still miss her and would love to hold her right now and look into her smiling face and kiss her sweet cheeks.

Thinking

Lately Astrid is thinking a lot - and telling me all about it. It's a wonder how her brain works and is developing so fast.

She will tell me she was thinking about something last night while she was lying in bed, or she'll stop and tell me she's thinking about something, or ask me to help her name whatever it is that she's thinking about.

Lots of thinking going on over here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

File under "Things my 4 yr old says"

  1. I'm ready Freddy!
  2. When I grow up am I going to have big boobs like you? (My answer was: "I hope not.")
  3. Aye aye Captain! What's that mean?
  4. Let's rock and roll!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Astrid and Maddox

Astrid spent some time at her Godmother Jill's house playing with her 5 month old daughter Maddox. Too cute seeing my baby with a little baby. Astrid looks like her older sister. Maddox can wave now!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vomit & Lack of Sleep

Had one of those nights/mornings where I barely got any sleep taking care of a sick little one.

Astrid's normally a good sleeper but she had a hard time falling asleep last night. Even lying in my bed, where normally she'll fall asleep in a nanosecond - she would cry every time I got up. I don't think she got to sleep until around midnight. Then she started complaining about an ear ache in the wee morning hours. I thought it may have been swimmers ear since she'd been swimming in a salt water pool earlier in the day. That was followed by vomiting. But at least she let me know she felt like throwing up, so we could run to the bathroom together.

I finally fell asleep only to be woken up with Astrid shouting, "Mom I threw up on the floor! It was an accident!" So I spent the next hour or so cleaning up, doing laundry, and trying to get the little one comfortable.

I had an appointment this morning to take a tour of a nearby school - and yet when I called for Astrid to come to her room to get dressed, she was sound asleep. Rather than wake her, I decided to cancel the appointment and let the little one sleep.

So here I am completely sleep deprived and the little one is in good spirits and well rested.

However she did tell me after our whole ordeal, "Mama, I love you so much. I don't miss Papa anymore. But I love him too."

We do have to leave the house to take my dad to the VA hospital for some pre-surgery tests and prep work. Caffeine will be my friend today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Astrid thinking about her Papa

U. is away on business for a conference in Austin, TX. It's difficult to explain to a 4 year old where their other parent is, as they don't understand a) where they went, b) why, and c) when they're coming back - no matter how many times you try and explain so they understand.

An example of that is this conversation I had with Astrid tonight:
Astrid: "Where did Papa go?"
Me: "He's in Texas honey."
Astrid: "But why?"
Me: "He's there for work. He'll be back on Tuesday."
Astrid: "Where is he going to sleep?"
Me: "He's staying at a hotel."
Astrid: "Is he going to sleep in a bed?"
Me: "Yes, the hotel has a bed in his room."
Astrid: "But does he have a refrigerator?!"
Me: (laughing) "A refrigerator? Why would you ask that? Why does he need a refrigerator?"
Astrid: "So he can eat and cook food mama!"
Me: (still laughing) "Don't worry honey, he's in the city - not out in the boonies of Texas. There are plenty of restaurants. Don't worry about Papa. He'll be just fine."
Astrid: "Are you sure Mama?"
Me: "Yes I'm sure."

So U. if you're out there reading this, you may want to send us a pic of you eating so your daughter knows you aren't starving in some remote part of Texas.

A day at the Circus

The circus is in town & we were there! Circus Vargas 2009.
They had a pre-show for kids. Allowed them to come down to the main ring and showed them how to do circus acts - like this balancing act with a Peacock feather. The ringleader told the kids that the trick was to look at the top of the feather while balancing it on their noses.

There were even kids in the show - children of the circus performers. Astrid kept asking me about them. Why they were performing, and why we saw them at the refreshment stand. And where they slept and went to school. Hope she didn't get any ideas about running away and joining the circus.
Under the big top, enjoying her snowcone in a raver cup with blinking lights. Fascinated by that cup. It is pretty cool.
Astrid's first time under the big top. (Only other time she saw a semi-circus was at Circus Circus.)
I mentioned before that Astrid is scared of clowns. So the whole time Astrid kept asking me where the clowns were. Until she saw this clown performing with the show doggies and kitty cats.
"Is he a clown mom?" she asked. "Oh, I'm not scared of clowns anymore mom! I like clowns!" she exclaimed.
She even liked this clown. He was equipped with a whistle and Astrid kept asking me what he was saying. I had to explain to her that he wasn't "saying" anything. That he was using his whistle and body movements to mean different things - like "Good job!" when he gave the thumbs up and a whistle.
During the 15 minute circus intermission Astrid went on a pony ride.
Trained Arabian horses and ponies.
Motorcycles zooming around inside a globe. This act always scares me. First one motorcycle zooming around inside, then two motorcycles, then two motorcycles and a woman standing in the middle. I have a hard time watching and I'm so relieved when it's over and everyone is okay.
Astrid was so proud of herself having overcome her fear of clowns. Although at the end when all of the performers were standing at the exit to greet and take pictures with the visitors - she flat out told me she liked the clown but did NOT want to take a picture with him. Oh well, at least it's a step in the right direction.
Astrid and I had a great time. The best part for her I think was the pre-show kid activities. I loved the Arabian horses & ponies. So well trained and the trainer was very kind and sweet with the horses. At the end of the show the one horse even bent his knee and bowed. Wow. I felt like a kid again sitting under the big top with my kid. Definitely worth the drive out to Simi Valley, and a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, CA

Astrid and I went to the 26th Annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard today.

It takes place one weekend only every year in May when the strawberries are harvested. Last year they had 60,000 visitors and this year they're expecting even more.

Click here for more info.

Here we built our own strawberry shortcake.Astrid and I sitting on a bale of hay with our strawberry shortcake.Choo choo train time.
A perk about the festival is that kids 4 years and under are free.And they have a number of activities for kids. Including a magic show, clown show, music, and face painting.

(Although Astrid is still afraid of clowns. No matter how much she says to the contrary that she's not afraid of clowns anymore - the moment she sees one she runs in the opposite direction. I don't know what it is that's so scary. Maybe just a face that's painted. I was thinking about taking her to the circus tomorrow. Circus Vargas is in town, but I told her if she's afraid of clowns we can't go because there will be lots of clowns there. Astrid assured me she'll be fine and she's not afraid. We'll see.)My little strawberry. Astrid thought it was hilarious that the strawberry on her shirt was wearing socks and shoes.


Taking a ride on the merry go round.Expect long lines, but once it's your turn you tend to forget how long you had to wait.All of the rides inside the festival are free.

U. is in Austin, TX for a conference so he wasn't able to join us. Next year though if we can all go as a family I'd like to try the strawberry champagne and strawberry beer. One of us can stand in line while the other goes with Astrid on a ride. =)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day 2009! (Solvang, CA)

A colleague of mine owns miniature horses bred at Quicksilver Ranch near Solvang, and she offered to set us up with a handler one weekend to take us out to see and pet the babies that were recently born. So I thought it would be fun for the whole family to make an outing up to Solvang for Mother's Day.
The whole family together. Happy Mother's Day!
U. is giving the little one a massage. Mama and baby miniature horses.The little ones are the size of a large dog and are super friendly. When they spotted us, they walked right up to us (again like dogs!).These little babies (foals) were born just last month. While the foals are super friendly, they're super curious too and can nip so you have to watch them.How cute is this? They're the perfect size for Astrid.

Astrid now wants a horse. Not just any horse but she tells us she wants one "this small" and shows us with her fingers about an inch tall. Getting a bit carried away with miniatures.U. getting into the petting action as well. Super cute mini-horses.
U. trying to hold the little ones at bay from nipping us.
Enjoying her 1st taste of split pea soup.

After the horse ranch we drove back to Solvang for lunch and ate at the Solvang Restaurant.

Astrid and Mama (me!). Astrid thought that Mother's Day was like a birthday. She kept asking me if I was going to have a cake.

Last Mother's Day was special because it was the first time Astrid could wish me a "Happy Mother's Day" by actually saying it. This year it was special because she can understand the concept of me being her mother and giving birth to her and caring for her and she understands this is a day to celebrate that. And no matter how many times U. tried to tell her my gifts were a secret, she couldn't help herself by telling me. She was excited about the day and woke up exclaiming, "Today is Mother's Day!"After lunch we took the horse drawn cable car tour around Solvang. Here we are in a Danish town in the United States with a Mexican tour guide. Only in America.
Astrid sitting on U.'s lap. Even though it was Mother's Day - Astrid wanted to be close to Papa.

Our tour guide proceeded to tell us about the history of the town, and she lost us when she gave us some trivia about Europe and told us Denmark is so close to Germany and Holland that when you take the train you have to stay awake or you'll miss your stop and they'll unload your luggage. Lots of laughs from clueless tourists, but U. and I gave each other the look. Um...sorry lady but I've been to Europe many times and taken the train and I can assure you it's not THAT close, and NO ONE handles your luggage. Hot and miserable at the Ostrich farm at the entrance to Solvang.
We eat a lot of Ostrich (since it's a red meat substitute and leaner in fat than turkey), so we thought we could buy some and take it back with us. Unfortunately they only have a smaller cooler with frozen Ostrich that's more expensive than the kind we buy from the butcher.Feeding an Ostrich. You have to be brave because these guys WILL bite.Pellets in a bowl glued to a dust pan.Ever seen an Ostrich chew their food?Three in a row with their long necks reaching over the barrier to eat.Gives you some perspective on how tall and big they are.They roam free and it's quite a sight to see them like wild animals out roaming on the playa.Don't even think about eating my food!Since U. didn't want his picture taken, neither did Astrid. But I still got a few.
It was a long day, but I'm glad we were able to make it to Solvang and enjoyed a full day there together on Mother's Day.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Astrid's Multicultural Spring Recital

Astrid's preschool had their Spring recital and the theme was "Multicultural."
In order to celebrate diversity and have all cultures represented, they asked us parents to dress our children in traditional dress, red/white/blue Patriotic American, Hawaiian, etc.
Astrid had a speaking part at this recital as well. (Her first speaking part was at her Winter Recital last December.) I was happy to see Astrid's name listed on the 1st page under "Opening Speech". (Last year they left out her name in error.) Astrid dressed as an "All American Cowgirl".

Bonus: I didn't have to go out and buy anything new. Astrid had the dress, and I had the scarf, and I borrowed the black cowboy hat and boots from her nanny. They fit perfectly. Yee-haw!Howdy partner!
Standing with the kids backstage. There were lots of Indian and Chinese costumes, as well as Hawaiian shirts and dresses.
See this a lot with a finger in her mouth & have to remind her to take it out.
They had posters around the auditorium about different countries and cultures. Funny that Germany and South Korea were right next to each other - since Astrid's heritage is German & Korean (American).
Our fearless little one standing on stage next to her microphone, ready to give her opening speech.
She looked so adorable!

There were 2 kids speaking ahead of Astrid, so I was all set to hit "record" with her speech which was the 3rd. But the 2nd kid either got stage fright, or took a bit too long to start and Astrid started. So I missed the beginning part of her speech. U. has a better video. (Which *ahem* he still needs to give me.)
Her speech went like this:
Buenos Dias.
Please rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thank you.
Try saying Pledge of Allegiance loud and fast - it's a mouthful. I was so proud of her. She said her lines perfectly.

Another video - with a bit of choreography.
It's a Small World.In her element on stage. She loves singing and dancing and performing.
Cute little cowgirl.
I sat down in the front to get some close up pics.
At one point she spotted me and waved back. All the kids on stage.
After the show was over, Astrid posed with one of her teachers Ms. Kimberly and some of her classmates.

Astrid posing with her friend Leah.Astrid posing with her friend Diego.
The school was closed for the day, for the recital. (Even daycare was not available in the afternoon, which is a bit annoying for working parents.) So I took the day off and we went to Amy's Playground (where Astrid had her birthday party) afterwards to play and spent the rest of the day together.