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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reading with Papa

Uwe came home tonight with a stack of children's books for Astrid. With both of us working now (I started a full time job yesterday) it's even more important for us to read to Astrid in the evenings, and for our nanny to read to Astrid during the day. This one turned out blurry but it's a really sweet photo of Astrid following along as Uwe's reading to her, and she's point to something on one of the pages. Giving Papa a kiss.

The book Uwe's reading to Astrid is one where you find a corresponding picture that matches the color. Uwe illustrated how the blue matched the picture of the bird and Astrid got so excited. It's thrilling to see your child learning.Content just to sit on Papa's lap and hear his voice."Papa's reading to me in German...yeah!"The German teacher and his apt pupil.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Getting into the cabinets

Nothing's more fun than opening mommy's bathroom cabinet and pulling out all her pads. Now that Astrid can stand, she can reach just that much higher. And if she can't quite reach, she'll stand on her tippy toes to reach it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Baby Einstein

Uwe was giving Astrid her evening bath and I heard him say "Baby Einstein" but it didn't click for me because I was thinking about the Baby Einstein books. But then I went into the bathroom and realized Uwe was referring to Astrid's hair. It's long enough now where it looks really wild standing up on end.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Astrid's new bathtub

Astrid has graduated to a larger bathtub.

She's outgrown her newborn one. It got to the point where she didn't have a lot of room to kick and it was hard for her to sit up in, so we switched to this larger white bathtub. I originally bought this bathtub for her before she was born. I researched baby bathtubs on the internet and this one had the most positive user reviews and it could be used for both a newborn and a toddler.

But I received another one (that smaller blue one we've been using) at one of my baby showers which had a sponge type adhesive backing that prevented newborns from slipping and I felt more comfortable using that. In her new bathtub she has room to stretch out, sit up and kick away.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happy crawling in her bedroom

Astrid's old enough now where I can put her on the floor and she's content crawling around and exploring while I get some things done. Here she is crawling around in her bedroom, while I change her diaper bin.Here she is exploring the temperature controlled heater that's in her room. We only use it at night when she's sleeping so she'll stay warm (72 degrees Fahrenheit) when she kicks off her blanket.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Solving the problem of sitting up on the changing table

Our changing table has restraints but it's hard to buckle Astrid down (which she hates) AND change her diaper at the same time. But we can't let her sit up because she could fall over the side (as she did once). So we solved the problem by having a toy on the changing table that she can play with (while lying down) while we change her diaper. We swap toys and bring in a new one (or one she hasn't played with in awhile) when we see her getting bored with the toy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

The love of reading starts at a young age

Books keep Astrid entertained for much longer than any toy. She loves turning the pages and looking through books on her own.She'll stop and touch pictures or point to certain things and will say something. Some of her words are spoken very clearly like mama and papa, while others are harder to understand but can be understood in context, like when she's pointing to our dog and says something that sounds like our dog's name, and some words I'm still trying to decipher.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

10 Month Milestone

Astrid turns 10 months old today. She's an adept crawler and FAST.

I mentioned in a prior post that I never put up a barricade in front of the TV and entertainment center, but rather tried to "teach" Astrid that she's not to play with the electronic equipment. It seems to have worked as she rarely goes near it anymore.

But she is fascinated with doors. If we leave the door ajar she will find a way to open it and crawl out.Something she loves to do is crawl over to the couch and pull herself up to a standing position.

She's learning how to soften her fall when she wants to get back down. When she first started standing on her own she would fall back down really hard. But with more practice she figured out she could bend her knees and squat down so that when she let go she wouldn't have that far to fall and wouldn't land so hard.

In addition to her crawling and standing, a less obvious development is Astrid's ability to burp on her own after meals. It really is amazing. I remember when she was a newborn and it took a lot of effort to get her to burp (and when she didn't there was hell to pay). Now she can burp on her own and we don't even have to pat her on the back to get the bubble to come up. I still do the patting after her evening bottle (out of habit), but she usually burps before I even start the patting.

She's also sleeping through the night again. For a couple months she would wake up around 4 AM and would need a bottle to fall back asleep. It was one thing to do the middle of the night feedings when I was a stay at home mom, but not doable with Uwe and I both working. Teething tablets helped in the beginning, and then patting her on the back, and then before we knew it she was sleeping through the night.


Astrid doesn't like to sit in her Intellitainer that much now. But she doesn't mind if she can push her walker while standing in her seat.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Intellitainer (infant activity center by Fisher Price)

I found this Intellitainer on craigslist and brought it home on 2/1/06. The previous owner was selling it because their son had outgrown it and was walking.Astrid was getting bored with her Ultrasaucer but at the time wasn't standing on her own yet, so it looked like a unique alternative to an Exersaucer. Instead of spinning kids in a circle, it allows them to walk up and down a track, turning themselves 360 degrees to play with sounds, music and toys. She really enjoyed sitting in it before we left for Florida, but now she's standing.But it's still good b/c she likes to pull herself up on the side and play with the toys. I might even remove the seat so that she can walk inside and play with the toys.Astrid just loves to be standing because she can reach all kinds of stuff now.

The front of the Intellitainer has an arch with the alphabet, and hanging toys/chimes.The one side that Astrid is grabbing has a clock the flips over with a mirror on the other, movable parts/shapes, and a rattle.

The opposite side has an electronic book with nursery rhymes that either can either be read out loud or sang when the pages are turned. It also has two buttons for musical instruments, the ABC's, a spinning cylinder, and a bus (that plays "Wheels on the bus go round and round.")Astrid loves turning the pages of the book. You'll hear just the first part of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and then suddenly it'll switch to "Jack and Jill" and then "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as she turns the pages as fast as she can.

Now that she's standing it might not last as long as I hoped, but since I bought it at a discount anyway, I can turn around and sell it on craigslist when the time comes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

GAD3 Our last morning in GA - flight back to LA

Today is our last morning in Atlanta, Georgia. We're flying back home to LA. We're all packed and ready to go. Just as I was about to scoop Astrid up into my arms Uwe stopped me, saying she looked so cute looking up at me and he wanted to take a photo. Astrid's sitting on the floor playing with the tag on our suitcase.Our happy little frequent flyer. We're flying back on plain ole Delta (not Song Airlines). Go figure, the movie they're showing on the plane is "Walk the Line" the movie I watched on the flight over. And since this isn't Song, there's just one movie being shown on this flight.
The first thing we do when we sit down is get out the baby wipes and wipe everything down. You have to with a baby that wants to touch everything and then inadvertently puts her fingers in her mouth. (That goes for airplanes, restaurants, and parks.) Here she is playing with the latch on the tray table.

The man in the background is wearing a lei necklace in anticipation of his vacation in Hawaii. This flight has a connecting flight to Hawaii. I wish we were going to Hawaii, but I can't complain. We had a great time in Florida and Georgia and I'm happy to have had these couple weeks of frolicking before starting my new full time job back in LA.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

GAD2 Peachtree walk/Centennial Olympic Park/CNN

It's our first full day in Atlanta, Georgia.Gayla lent us a pack 'n play for Astrid (since there's no crib at the condo). Thank you Gayla!

We had it in a separate room for Astrid to sleep in during the night, and during the day we moved it to the front room for Astrid to play in. Here she is clapping and playing in the pack 'n play, with her sleepy sheep sitting in the corner.Behind her is a sliding glass door, that opens onto a balcony.We've got the whole day to explore a new city (and state).A view of downtown Atlanta.Looking back at shutterbug mama.I see you.Holding on with one hand, and having the other in her mouth.The view from above.Uwe is in heaven with Starbucks being across the street. His signature drink, a nonfat decaf hazelnut latte, used to feel like a mouthful, but now after ordering it a dozen times it rolls right off my tongue. Recently he dropped the nonfat so that makes it easier to say.The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. (The view from the front of the building.) A view of the skyscrapers from my point of view walking down Peach Street.

It's a nice day. It's warmer here in Atlanta than it was the last few days in Florida. People here are so happy to have sun this time of year.
The view behind the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Behind the Federal Reserve building there is a little wall with "Peachtree Walk" engraved into it. Since we are staying on Peachtree Street and taking a walk along the same street, I thought it would make a great photo and marker when I got home and started going through all my photos.
Astrid is wondering why the security guard is talking to mommy. The security guard came out and said I couldn't take photos of the building. Oops...too late. If I was scoping out the building to rob them I sure wouldn't be taking photos of this 3 foot wall with my kid in front of it. There's no security breech there. But the security guard was nice and apologized and smiled at Astrid.

It reminded me of Peter Nacken who was told by an Ikea clerk in Italy that he could not take photos in the store; so whenever Peter goes there he always takes photos with his cell phone and the clerks working there have no idea. Then he posts the photos on his blog. It always cracks me up. Silly rules.
Sitting in Starbucks, reading a new book.

This is the new "O" sound Astrid makes. Forming that sound with her mouth just happens to show off her adorable dimples.Turning a page in her book.

I remember when I used to have to turn the pages for her, but now Astrid can turn the pages on her own. I got this book at the pharmacy when I went to buy diapers this morning. It's waterproof with vinyl pages and made for reading in the bathtub. But at this age it's perfect for wet fingers, and slobber. It's very durable and basically baby indestructible. (Unlike paper pages of a book.)
Astrid loves this Care Bear "Colors" book. When we get home I want to get more of these vinyl books for her. She loves to hold the book and look at the pictures. The book captures her interest for much longer than toys do. And that's music to my "former teacher" ears.
We had planned to visit the Aquarium, but got there too late and they weren't letting anymore visitors in. So instead we went across the street to the Centennial Olympic Park which turned out to be a treat. It was built specifically for the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

The two things I know about Atlanta are:
1) The 1996 Summer Olympic games were held there.
2) CNN has their headquarters there (oh and a third related to CNN: Ted Turner has a home there.) Walking in Centennial Olympic Park.

Notice the individual bricks that make up the pathway. They are called the "Olympic Bricks" and each one is personalized. They were funded by individual contributions from all over the world, paving the park's walkways north to south, east to west, each bearing the name of a donor or someone donors sought to memorialize. Here's a close up shot. I thought the "Hi Up There" message was cute.The CNN headquarters building is located next to the park. Here we are standing in front of the Olympic Rings Fountain.

This high-tech fountain, set into a plaza along International Boulevard, which bisects the park, is in the form of five interlocking rings and features a wide array of special effects: from fifty-foot "geyser" bursts to mist to colored lights. In addition, the fountain has been programmed to operate using a host of different patterns and these rotate on a constant basis, so the fountain is never boring.

Another feature that draws crowds are the four-times-daily fountain shows, which run all year except for a few months during the winter. During these 20-minute shows, the fountain demonstrates its amazing special effects to several pieces of popular music, including Tschaikowsky's "1812 Overture," Disney's "Under the Sea," and Neil Diamond's "Comin' to America."

We didn't see a choreographed show, but it was still a lot of fun to watch the water shooting up from the holes in the ground, and people running into and out of circles trying not to get wet. Astrid reaching out to touch the fountain water spray.Thrilled to be in Papa's arms while watching the fountain.

Does she look like a Disney character to you? (Airport security guards thought so at the Tampa, Florida airport.)Here we are standing in one of the circles with the water spraying up all around us.

While walking back through the park on our way out, Uwe reminded me that there was a bombing in the park during the 1996 Summer Olympic games.

It happened during a late night concert in the park, when a pipe bomb exploded killing 1 person and wounding around 100 other people. There was a 911 call, which came in to the Atlanta Police Department 22 minutes before the pipe bomb exploded in the park and the voice said, "There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes."

It was an eerie feeling to be walking through that same park, but thankfully under different circumstances.