Sunday, December 31, 2006

Mr. Mustard's Birthday!

Today is Mr. Mustard's Birthday- his "Golden Birthday" because today he is 31 years old on 12/31. I wish I could say that we've been having a fabulous day, but mostly it's been us just driving around in the car looking for a new place to live (renting). Today was basically a repeat of yesterday, when we drove around for 7 hours house hunting. Ugh. We've seen everything from Beverly Hills to the Valley and most parts in between, and it all is just okay at best.

After all this searching, we are considering moving back into our place in Pasadena. I don't know, we both need to think about it a bit before we make any rash decisions. Of course, yesterday, when we were at the apex of optimism about our housing search, we gave 30 days notice at our current apartment. So, now we have a 30 day ticking clock and nowhere yet to go. If we move back to Pasadena, we have to give our tenants 60 days, basically, we have a little timing problem!

We were supposed to go up to Santa Barbara today to celebrate Mr. Mustard's birthday, but that's not happening. Mr. Mustard goes back to work next week and we're not going to have much of a chance to house hunt after that, so the pressure is on for us to figure out something this week. Hmmmm.

I still haven't updated about all of our wonderful times in Indiana- I will do that soon. For now, I'm going to go figure out something special to make for Mr. Mustard's birthday dinner. Paprika was a trooper- 7 hours in the car today and 7 hours yesterday of aimless driving. She is wonderful and I can't believe how great she is sometimes!

Oh, and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Back Home Again

We made it back to California in one piece! Our trip to Indiana was outstanding- a wonderful trip it was, especially since it was Paprika's very first Christmas! We did so much in a short period of time. We saw family, friends, and even made a trip to see Santa Claus! I will update more later on what we did on a day by day basis. It was a truly unforgettable trip- I miss everyone so much already. For now, I'm off to pick up Hauser from the Dogsitter's house, then unpack, and then get some much needed R&R!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Last night Mr. Mustard and I went to a Holiday Party. It was at Geisha House, which is a sorta swanky restaurant/bar in Hollywood. They had an open bar and free sushi, so I had to go, of course! I didn't find out about it until last minute, but luckily Jessica and Matt agreed to babysit even on such short notice. Mr. Mustard and I ended up having such a great time at the party- and I actually knew a few people there from my days working on The Bachelor, plus all of Mr. Mustard's current co-workers were there that I've met before. Anyway, it was a good time.

We didn't stay too long, though, because I knew that Jessica and Matt had to get up to go to work in the morning, and plus, I figured Paprika might be giving them some trouble. We got back to Jessica and Matt's and Paprika was about to fall asleep. It was almost 11 pm and she was exhausted. Jessica and Matt did such a great job watching her- their place is so calm and serene. They had decorated it so beautifully with a big Christmas tree and then several small trees and other decorations. They had Beatles music playing quietly in the background while Matt kept Paprika at ease by swaying with her in the Baby Bjorn. They said that Paprika cried for about 20 minutes while we were gone, which of course, broke my heart. But, truth be told, it could have been a lot worse! I'm so glad that they were able to watch her- I really trust them- they are just a great couple, plus Jessica used to be a nanny, so I felt comfortable. It was the first time we've left her with anyone other than my mom or Mr. Mustard's mom, so I guess it was a bit of a milestone!

It was nice for me to have a little time to get out of the house. I realized that last night was the first night since my birthday (Sept. 7th) that I had been in Los Angeles without Paprika by my side. That was when my mom was in town visiting, so she watched her. I've made a few short trips out in Santa Barbara while Mr. Mustard's mom has watched her, but none in Los Angeles, so it felt kind of weird. When we got her home I snuggled her so tight- I realized that I really really missed her while we went out!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Santa Barbara Christmas

We went up to Santa Barbara this past weekend to celebrate Christmas with Mr. Mustard's side of the family. The weather was perfect, and Mr. Mustard's mom made lots of yummy food! It was a lot of fun just relaxing and taking it easy. Mr. Mustard and I went for some long walks around the neighborhood and took advantage of the warm 70 degree weather.

On Saturday, we went to a party at Mr. Mustard's mom's neighbor's house and Paprika got to meet the neighbors and smell a beautiful pine Christmas tree. Paprika wore her Santa Suit, which was a present from Laura, Kevin, Caroline, and Stephie. She looked SO adorable in it!

On Saturday Paprika turned 4 months old- sigh. She is growing and changing so much, it's unbelievable! She wants to go, go, go all the time now and she is trying so hard to crawl! I know one of these days not too long from now she's going to do it. For right now, though, she's stuck "swimming" on her tummy.

4 Months!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Early Training

Mr. Mustard is teaching Paprika how to play video games and watch movie trailers online. Next thing you know, she'll be learning how to edit and will be accepting her very own first Emmy!

Tummy Time!

Paprika loves being on her tummy more than anything else. She is trying so hard to crawl, but she can't seem to coordinate everything at the same time. But, she has a lot of fun trying! I think if she could be on her stomach always, she would.

This week Paprika and I braved the mall on Tuesday. She did so much better in the car- she didn't cry at all the whole trip. I guess her fear of the car was just a part of the maturation process. She seems fine with it now, thank goodness!

We went on a stroll through the neighborhood on Wednesday. It was the first time we've used the stroller just to go for a walk, and I must say, it was pretty nice. Paprika seemed to like it okay, but she didn't like it quite as much as being snuggled up in the Baby Bjorn. We're still using the Bjorn for almost everything, but it was sort of novel to try out the stroller. All the nannies were out in force walking around the neighborhood. I find it strange how none of them will make eye contact with me! Huh. Oh well. I feel lucky that at this point we don't have to have a nanny- I know not everyone gets the opportunity to stay home and go for long walks with their babies, so I feel really lucky and blessed.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Now that the holidays are upon us and it seems like everywhere you look there's an advertisement imploring us to spend, spend, spend- I have just been feeling, well, very connected to what's really important and grateful for all of the blessings in my life. This past year has been incredible for us, and the outpouring of love and support has just been miraculous. I feel so grateful for the help and love of our family and friends. Life is so good, I could just burst sometimes!

Having Paprika has taught me so much about life, about what's important, and about continually striving to become a better person. Who knew that becoming a mommy to a precious, innocent soul could be so incredibly fulfilling? I guess a lot of parents know that, and now I know that, too.

I am really grateful for all that we have, for our family, and for the joy of waking up each day. Things are challenging, yes, sometimes, but these last few months I've found a deeper happiness than I ever thought could have existed. I have been happy in the past, yes, but not this deeply happy. I cherish every day, every moment now, and there's a part of me that is a little fearful that somehow this could all be taken away from me in a moment. I guess that's the fearful side we all have, but anyway, it just makes me not take anything for granted, not for a second.

I'm not trying to rush things with Paprika, I'm just enjoying each and every moment and every stage. I'm not pushing her into solids, I'm not ready for her to walk. I know these things will happen, but I'm not rushing her infancy away by wishing for the next stage. Every stage is just too precious to even think about the next one.

This year I feel like I've discovered the meaning of life- what it's all really about and what the purpose of life is. It's different for everyone, I guess, but for me that purpose is to be truly happy and enjoy the gift of life. Being a parent and watching our family grow makes me shine from the inside out, and it's more valuable to me than any amount of money or fancy job, or title, or outwardly prestigious marker.

All I really want for Paprika is for her to be happy. I'm not concerned about whether she is an academic superstar, or a great athlete, or anything like that. I want her to be joyously content with her life, to enjoy all of its stages, to be gentle with herself, and to be kind to others. More than anything, I want for her to feel the happiness that I feel right now and to know that she is so deeply and profoundly loved by her friends, her family, and especially by her mommy and daddy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Milestones and Changes

Paprika is fascinated with her hands and constantly wants to eat them! It's hard to get a picture without her hands in her mouth. I think it might be the first signs of teething because all of this fist chomping is accompanied by lots of saliva. She wants to put everything in her mouth. She is able to put her pacifier in and out of her mouth, which is a very handy skill to have. At dinner tonight, she even grabbed one of Mr. Mustard's french fries. She's come a long way, baby!

Over the past few weeks, Paprika has discovered how fun it is to giggle and will laugh at almost everything, but especially when you give her lots of kisses. Today she let out a high pitched squeal when I tickled her tummy. It's so rewarding hearing her laugh. It makes me laugh, which makes her laugh more!

Tonight we went to The Daily Grill for dinner and Paprika was pretty good. We should have gone a little earlier. We didn't arrive at the restaurant until 8:30, and Paprika's bedtime is now around 7pm, so she was really tired. She was a trooper, though, and managed to stay awake until the drive home, around 10pm. Then Mr. Mustard put her down for sleep and she went right to bed.

I hardly know what to do with myself after she goes down to sleep. It's almost as if there is so much to do that I don't end up doing anything. I think, "how can I best utilize this time?" and then I just end up surfing the internet or watching movies on TV I've seen a million times. Now that we finally have cable (for the first time in my adult life!) I have taken to watching all of the reality TV shows that we have helped create but have never actually viewed on television. Last night we watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition- all two hours of it! Wow- TV can really carve a big chunk out of your evening if you're not careful. I'm rambling now, I guess. The point is, I know I need to keep my TV watching to a minimum and do something productive with my time- like sleep!

Alternative Auto Show

On Sunday, we all went to the Alternative Energy Auto Expo in Santa Monica. It featured all sorts of cars that run on alternative fuel- like electric cars, cars powered by natural gas, and biodiesel cars. It was really neat- and educational, too! Paprika liked it okay- but was not as excited as she was at the LA Auto Show. I think she liked the flashy lights at the mainstream auto show, and since the Alt Auto Show didn't have any of that, she wasn't as excited to be there!

Mr. Mustard put together Paprika's Exersaucer yesterday, which was quite a feat in itself! It was unbelievable how incredibly complicated it was to put that thing together. We put Paprika in it this morning, and fortunately, she loves it!

Yesterday we also went to look at another house to rent. I absolutely loved the house- but Mr. Mustard wasn't too hot on the neighborhood. After some thought, I agree. It's not in the best location, so I guess we'll keep looking.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

L.A. Auto Show

Today Mr. Mustard, Paprika, Matt O., and I all went to the Los Angeles Auto Show to check out what the future holds for autos. It was a fun way to pass the day, and everyone had a great time. Paprika was about as perfect as she could be, and didn't make a peep the whole day. I think she was in awe of all of the flashing lights, the displays, and the people. Most of the cars were the type you'll find in your local auto showoom next year. There were a few cool models that won't hit stores for a long time (if ever). For example, there were hydrogen powered cars and other alternative energy cars. There were also lots of hybrids. We are all absolutely exhausted (no pun intended!) now, and feeling a bit loopy because of it! Paprika woke up every 2 hours last night, so Mr. Mustard and I are both really tired. Hopefully tonight will be more restful!

Friday, December 8, 2006

16 Weeks!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

O Christmas Tree!

Paprika is really mesmerized by the Christmas Tree lights! The tree is in her room, and it's so relaxing to sit in there with just the glow of the tree. Paprika went to bed last night at 6:45 and woke up at 6:00 this morning. She was already asleep by the time Mr. Mustard got home from work. :-( But, he woke up with her this morning and they had some good father/daughter bonding time.

Mr. Mustard's new obsession is buying a veggie oil car. We're researching it now, and will likely make the change to veggie early next year. Anyway, it's a lot of fun looking at cars, and since I've been driving the same car since 1998, I wouldn't mind a different car! We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

She Sleeps!

I forgot to mention that Paprika is back to her old sleep schedule- thank goodness! Last night she slept straight through from 9pm until 6:45 this morning. That's the first time she's done that since we arrived back from Indiana. Every other night, she's woken up at least once. So, needless to say, I am much better rested today. I hope this becomes a trend.

Today I Am A Lawyer!

Mr. Mustard, Paprika, and I all just got back from the Pasadena Convention Center, where I was sworn in as an attorney. There was a big ceremony, and then at the end I raised my right hand and took the attorney's oath. Our friend Jessica was there with her husband Matt, and she got sworn in, too. Paprika was great for the whole thing, she basically just sat on my lap until I had to stand up, and then I passed her off to Mr. Mustard who entertained her. Mr. Mustard went to work after he dropped Paprika and I off at home. Paprika and I are celebrating now by watching Sesame Street and eating a Lean Cuisine, (well, I'm eating the Lean Cuisine)! :-)

Monday, December 4, 2006

House-Hunting, Holiday Party, and Birthday Bowling!

We had a very busy weekend- whew! Saturday we drove all around Culver City looking for houses to rent- and had NO luck. We went to Baja Fresh for lunch, and tried out the stroller. It was our first time using it, and I'm happy to say it worked out great! For once, Mr. Mustard didn't have to "bounce" while holding Paprika in the Bjorn during a meal. We actually got to sit and interact together while Paprika looked around the restaurant.

Saturday night we went to Lauren and Don's second annual Christmas tree decorating party. Basically, everyone brings an ornament and enjoys good food and company for the evening. Last year at the party I was pregnant with Paprika but didn't know it yet! This year there were a lot more people, I think because L&D have gotten lots of friends through their new church. Everyone was really nice, and of course, we took Paprika with us. She was a little upset at first, but then I went off and fed her, and she was perfect for the duration of the party. We ended up staying until almost midnight (!) and she enjoyed the party thoroughly. It was so great seeing old friends and even making some new ones- I'm really glad we went!

Sunday, we went up to Burbank to see about renting a house up there. The house was a small cottage in the backyard of another house- it was okay, but not ideal, I would say. As long as we're saving money living here, I would say that I'm intent on holding out for a place we really like. I'm working on visualizing our ideal living situation, and that way once we do find a place that fits the bill, we'll know it's just right. I don't want to just move from this place to another one that has problems of its own.

I think my ideal rental would be affordable and would have 2-3 bedrooms, so Paprika can have her own bedroom and Mr. Mustard can have an office to possibly work from home occasionally. It would be on a quiet street, and have a big backyard for Paprika and Hauser. In an ideal world (a girl can dream, right?!), it would also have a working fireplace and a jacuzzi bathtub. It would be in a central location, so Mr. Mustard doesn't have to drive hours to work. It would have its own washer/dryer...and if we're really dreaming here, it would also have a pool!

Mr. Mustard has been thinking about the possibility of us moving into an apartment complex that has more ammenities, like a pool and a playground- because then we could meet other young families. But that does not solve our issue with Hauser not having a yard, and us constantly having to walk him, which has become a big issue lately.

The other issue I'm dealing with at the current apartment is the fight for the laundry room. We have one washer/dryer for our whole building of 8 units and someone is always using it. It's sort of an ordeal for me to get down there to do laundry, and everytime I get down there, the dang machine is in use! It's very frustrating, so I will be glad if we can find an apartment or house that has its very own washing machine and dryer.

Anyway, after we went to look at the rental house in Burbank, we decided to do some Christmas shopping at Target. Paprika was quite a trooper and was rather mesmerized by all of the holiday shoppers. I just wanted to get our stuff and get out of there! It was a madhouse! We got a few essentials, including a Christmas Tree! Yea! We came home and set it up- it looks fantastic. I will have to post pictures of it soon!

Then, after that, we went to Jacey's 29th Birthday party. Her fiance, Dan, had set it up at a bowling alley in Santa Monica. We had a great time! Mr. Mustard bowled while I held Paprika and ate pizza. Yum! We all had such a great time. We hadn't been bowling in years, so that was really fun.