Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Making Music!

I took Paprika for her first trip to a toy store this morning. We have a Toys 'R Us right up the street, but I've been nervous to go to it. I guess I pictured a messy store full of screaming kids, crying babies, and the merchandise strewn across the aisleways. But, this morning Paprika seemed, well, bored. So, I decided that it might be time to get out of the house, and find her a few new toys to play with and discover.

We got to Toys 'R Us right when they were opening, and to my surprise, the store was empty. Everything was on shelves, in order, and there were no screaming kids anywhere to be found! On top of that, they had a whole "baby" section with all of the essentials we have been driving across town to buy! All this time, we had this store right around the corner and who knew?

While we were at the toy store, I picked up this keyboard for her. She absolutely loves it, and wants to play every key and squeals when she hears the sounds. I also bought her some magic markers and drawing paper. We've noticed that she loves holding a pen and drawing, so this should be a fun activity for us to try together.

While we were in the parking lot at the toy store, I saw a "My Gym," which is a place you can bring infants for Mommy & Me classes. So, we checked that out and we will probably be starting to take classes there before we move to Pasadena. It will be a good opportunity for us to get out of the house and for Paprika to meet other babies. Most of the "moms" we saw at the Mommy & Me class were nannies, but that's okay. I really just want to go to experience the class with Paprika, and to have her get out of the house a little bit.

I'm still in the process of teaching Paprika sign language. I think she already understands the sign for milk!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sitting Up and Sign Language

Today Paprika sat up for the first time! I sat her up on the bed and she stayed put for about 10 seconds before wobbling and then toppling over onto the blankets. We repeated the exercise a few times and she seemed to like sitting up, as long as there was something interesting to play with to keep her attention. Her favorite activity still is rolling everywhere on the floor. She is fascinated by "big human objects," like my water bottle and the remote control. She has little patience for baby toys and really just wants to play with anything that interests Mr. Mustard or me. She would rather play with Mr. Mustard's headphones or my wallet over a baby toy any day.

Mr. Mustard's mom sent us a book called "Baby Signs" today. It is a book on how to teach your baby sign language. It's really geared more towards babies that are about a year old, but I don't think there's any harm in incorporating a few signs into everyday life and seeing if Paprika will catch on. The book says that babies will not respond until at a minimum 9 months, so it can be frustrating to the parents if they start trying to communicate via sign language at too young an age.

I was a bit worried at first that if I started teaching her sign language that it would delay speech. But, after thinking and reading about it a lot I think it could help with her verbal frustration and increase our communication. If I notice that she's not talking as early as she should be, then I will obviously cut out the signing. But, for right now, it seems like a fun and interesting thing to do together. So far I'm teaching her the signs for diaper, milk, mommy, daddy, and doggie.

Signing is pretty easy for me because my best friend in elementary school was hearing impaired, so I learned American Sign Language (ASL) at a really young age and I still remember a lot of it. The baby signs are basically ASL signs, but with some modifications to make it easier for little hands with limited motor control to make the signs. We'll see if it amounts to anything- for now, it's just a neat way for us to interact. :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Paprika Gets Kisses From Hauser!

Here's a quick video of Hauser giving Paprika kisses. She loves trying to pet him, and laughs whenever he gives her kisses. Too cute!

Lazy Weekend

We took it very easy this weekend, since I have been battling my cold and we didn't want Paprika to get sick again. We were supposed to go to Phoenix this weekend to visit my grandparents and their friends, Barbara and Duane, and their family. We didn't end up going because Mr. Mustard had to work, and we didn't know whether or not we would have a reliable car by this weekend. We both really wanted to go, and we were sad that it didn't work out. Perhaps it's for the best this time, though, since I have been so sick and Paprika has been fighting a cold, too. We will have to get out to Phoenix for a visit when Paprika is a little bit older. We love spending time with my grandparents, Barb, and Duane! They are so much fun to be around!

We really took it easy this weekend and didn't do too much that would be stessful or straining. Yesterday morning I got a haircut (finally). It was the first haircut I've had since before Paprika was born. Time really flies! We all went to my hair appointment. Mr. Mustard and Paprika wandered around the mall, went to the Apple store and to the Sony store while I was at the salon. Afterwards we all had lunch at the mall. Mr. Mustard got to drive the new car, which he was very excited to do! It was a very fun trip out. After we got home, we laid around the house, napped, and watched Jerry Maguire in High Definition on cable.

Today we met up with our friend Lauren and went to her Young Marrieds group at a nearby church. It was a lot of fun! Afterwards we went to brunch at a swanky place- Paprika was very well behaved- so much so that no one really knew she was there! Afterwards, Mr. Mustard, Paprika and I came home and took a nap. I am finally feeling a little less congested, mostly I think because I've been resting so much, drinking orange juice, and taking lots of vitamins. Paprika seems completely over her cold now- it was just a little blip for her, thank goodness!

Paprika's new carseat arrived in the mail on Friday. It's a very safe Britax Marathon brand in their "cowmooflage" pattern. I think it's adorable! She'll be able to use it until she's 65 pounds! This means that we're going to have to retire her infant seat. At her current size (28 inches long and 20 pounds), she's outgrown it. The infant carrier is supposed to last for the entire first year, and it's so convenient because we can bring it with us to restaurants and other places. The new seat is going to be a permanent fixture in the car, which means we won't be able to cart her around in it when we go into restaurants and places like that. It's really cute, though, and will be really comfortable for her. It's so soft, padded, and luxurious- she'll be ridin' in style!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Peek-A-Boo with Blankie

First Park Trip!

I bundled Paprika up and took her out for her very first trip to a park! I wanted to try out the baby swing to see if she would like it. She was very interested in looking at the other kids and babies at the park, so much so that she didn't seem to care whether she was in the swing or not. After a few minutes, I put her back into her baby carrier and she promptly fell asleep and slept for the whole trip home.

I'm still sick, but Paprika seems fine. She gets stuffy at night, and so she's been waking up more. And when she wakes up, she doesn't always want to go right back to sleep. Sometimes she wants to play! So, needless to say, I'm not getting that much sleep these days.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cold Season

Paprika and I both caught a cold. I think I had it first and passed it onto her. She seems mostly fine with it, just a bit congested with a little coughing and sneezing. I am not feeling as well as she seems to be feeling- I started coming down with it a few days ago, and now it's worse, unfortunately. This is Paprika's first time with anything, so even just a little cough gets me all in a panic! :-) It's pretty great that in over 5 months, this is the first she's had of even a sniffle. I thought we were going to make it out of cold and flu season without a hitch. Oh well.

The weather here is amazing right now- I'm trying to keep Paprika in and resting as much as possible, but I really want to get outside and take advantage of the fresh air and our new wheels. Hopefully soon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Ultimate Driving Machine

Yea! Tonight we bought our new car! I am so excited! It's so nice to drive -- ahhh, it's just fantastic. It's so roomy, and comfortable, and I'm just in heaven! I can't get over it. Weeeeee!!!

Gettin' Up Time

Paprika is a very happy baby when she wakes up in the morning! It's always such a joy to see her smiling face first thing - if we could all be so happy to wake up each morning, the world would be a better place.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Birthday Parties!

We had a very ambitious day yesterday. We went to two birthday parties! The first party was for Brandon, who was turning one! Brandon is the son of Mr. Mustard's good friend from college. What a great party! Then we went to another birthday party for the daughter of Mr. Mustard's co-worker, Hillary. Her daughter was turning two years old. We had a great time at both parties and by the end of the day we were all exhausted!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tummy Time

Here is a short video I just took of Paprika trying to crawl. Click twice on the arrow in the center of the screen to play. :-)


Today is Mr. Mustard's last day at Extreme Makeover Home Edition - and on Monday he starts back at The Race. I know it's hard for him to leave EMHE because he really really likes everyone he works with, but it'll be good, too, because he has a lot of friends over at The Race, and soon he'll be back with them. I guess it's good to be Mr. Mustard and love what you do and the people you work with. It's a win-win situation.

Paprika continues to be adorable! We are taking her to two baby birthday parties tomorrow, which should be exciting!

I'm doing good- I feel better than I did yesterday. I talked to my brother on the phone last night, which really cheered me up. He is such a cool guy- I miss him!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

5 Months, 2 Days!

Our tenants are moving out two months from today! Yea! It's so nice to have a light at the end of the tunnel with regards to our living situation since it seems to get crazier and crazier by the hour at our current apartment. Living here has become so horrible I'm amazed that I'm still functional.

I quit drinking caffeine on Monday, so maybe that has changed my outlook on things a bit! It's so hard for me to give up caffeine. I was only drinking a few Cokes a day- well, it started out at one can of Coke per day, and by last week I was up to two or three per day. Plus chocolate (a must in my life)! Well, when I upped the caffeine, Paprika and I both started having trouble sleeping. She's never been a very good napper and once the caffeine level increased, she started waking up at least once each night. I mean, it never really seemed like too big of a deal because she would wake up, eat, and then fall right back asleep, which is completely normal for a baby her age. But, I still felt really guilty that my diet could be contributing to a lack of quality sleep on her part.

Well, as soon as I cut out caffeine, I noticed that her whole sleep schedule dramatically improved. She is taking two naps a day now (which is normal) instead of not napping at all, and she is sleeping completely through the night again- from about 8:30 pm until 8 am with no waking up in between. She is calmer baby and her sleep is more restful. It's great! I am looking forward to being through with feeling the effects of caffeine withdrawl. It really hurts me to know that drinking caffeine could have caused Paprika bouts of sleeplessnes. I feel really guilty about it, but what can I do except move on and not drink caffeine anymore?

I am still without a car. The Jeep is in the shop being repaired again because the last repair did nothing to fix the stalling problem. Mr. Mustard is driving the Saturn to work. We were set to buy a Camry from a private party- it was great and perfect- but then the guy said he couldn't transfer the title to us because he wasn't planning on paying off his loan on the car, so the bank would still have title. What? I don't think so! So, that was frustrating to go through all of that just to have it not work out. Sometimes I wish we would just go buy a car from a dealership- even if it was a bit more expensive- because then things would be simpler. Of course, I also understand the desire to get a really good deal, so I basically just follow whatever Mr. Mustard wants to do, since I ultimately trust his judgment and he always ends up choosing the best course of action. :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

5 Months Old!

Today Paprika turns 5 Months Old! We had a wonderful day. We went to the outdoor mall in Century City and enjoyed the beautiful weather we're having. We did a little shopping, and then we went and saw Dreamgirls! Yes, Paprika's first movie! We were going to see Charlotte's Web, but I chickened out, so we did some shopping, and then I got up the nerve to go buy a ticket to Dreamgirls. I thought the theater would be empty because it's mid-week and the movie has been out for awhile. Well, I forgot that the Golden Globe Awards were last night, and we live in Los Angeles, so of course, the theater was packed! Paprika LOVED the movie! She did not cry one bit, in fact, she was laughing during parts of it and trying to sing. She was mesmerized by the people singing so much that she wanted to sing along. It looks like we might have a future singer on our hands! We both had a really great time. I even got to eat some popcorn!

It's amazing to me how much she has grown and changed in the past five months. I didn't think it could get much better, but it does keep getting better every day. Paprika has grown so much, and I am so proud of the fact that so far she's been exclusively nursed by me, with no formula or solid food. I know that it's really hard for a lot of people to breastfeed, so I feel lucky that it's worked out so well so far for us. We're going to keep it up as long as we can and as long as the pediatrician gives us the thumbs up. For now, she's thriving on just what I'm able to give her, which is such a fantastic feeling. She's about 20 pounds now and 28 or 29 inches long, which means that she's fitting into 12-18 month clothes now! It's unbelievable- I feel so blessed to have this sweet girl in our lives!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Paprika Jibber-Jabbering!

Here's a short video of Paprika talking to Mr. Mustard this evening. She seems so close to talking in true English- we think she's trying to say 'mama' and 'hello'. So cute! Be sure to hit the arrow in the center of the screen twice to make it play.

Fun-Filled Weekend

Whew! We did SO much this past weekend. On Saturday we test drove a used BMW 325i and loved it. I'm not sure yet if we're going to get it. We are still looking around at other cars, specifically Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords. Hopefully we'll figure out something soon.

Then we met up with our friends Dana and Gene and their 15 month old daughter, Maya, at the Los Angeles Zoo. We all had a great time- it was pretty chilly, so I bundled Paprika up in warm clothes. She had a good time checking out all the animals, but she also really enjoyed looking at the people. She was fascinated by Maya. It's amazing to think that in a year Paprika will be Maya's age and will be running around, making animal sounds, and trying to talk!

Saturday night we dropped Paprika off at Jacey and Dan's while we went to the Motion Picture Television Academy for "An Evening with the Cast and Creators of ABC's Lost"- it was really great! The entire cast was there, even the big names. We really enjoyed it and it was so wonderful to have an evening to ourselves. Paprika, unfortunately, missed us ALOT and cried for a large portion of the evening. When I called Jacey to check in and she told me that Paprika was crying and refusing to eat, I drove immediately back to pick her up. I felt bad for Jacey and Dan since she was so fussy for them- I'm sure that's NOT how they wanted to spend their Saturday night!

On Sunday I went to brunch with Jessica at Jack 'N Jill's in Beverly Hills. It was so great catching up with her and hearing about everything going on in her life. She is loving her job as an attorney and I am so glad for her! After brunch I came home and spent the rest of the day with Mr. Mustard and Paprika.

Today Paprika and I went bridesmaid dress shopping with Jacey at a boutique in Beverly Hills. It was fun- Paprika was really good for the whole thing and actually napped during a large portion of the outing. Mr. Mustard is on his way home right now. We are going to go test drive a 2004 Camry, so I have to get Paprika packed up and ready!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Paprika Gets Moving!

This morning Mr. Mustard took a video of Paprika rolling over! Click on the arrow in the middle of the screen twice to watch the video play! :-)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Where's The Baby?

This is what happens when Paprika gets rolling! Notice her legs peeking out of the green activity mat! Good thing I was nearby to unroll her.

We have a big weekend planned- it seems like there's even more to do now than before the holidays. I am supposed to meet friends at the Zoo on Saturday, go meet the cast of Lost on Saturday night, have brunch with Jessica on Sunday, and then go bridesmaid dress shopping with Jacey on Monday! Whew! Oh, and on Saturday morning, Mr. Mustard wants to test drive a BMW being sold by a private party. Oh-la-la!

Right now Paprika is taking a nap, which almost never happens during the day. I think she's exhausting herself with all of her activity. I'm enjoying the break and using the time to do the dishes, clean up a little bit, and of course, update the blog!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Paprika & Pooh

Things are going great in the Urth household. Mr. Mustard and I watched "Some Like It Hot" last night after Paprika went to bed. It was such a funny, great movie- I'm embarrassed to say I hadn't seen it before. It really wowed me! We watched "The Lake House" the night before with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves- well, we only got through 20 minutes before we took it out of the DVD player and packaged it up to send back to Netflix! Snore-city!

Paprika is becoming increasingly mobile. She is making great strides every minute, it seems, in terms of her mobility. I laid a big quilt out on the floor for her to roll around on, and she is able to move all over it by rolling herself and squirming back and forth. She's not crawling yet, more like creeping. But, she's able to do it with a lot of success. She sees an object and she makes sure she gets it! Yesterday, she even creeped her way over to the diaper bag and started to pull herself up on it! Looks like I've got to do some babyproofing pretty soon!

Mr. Mustard has been working a lot of hours lately- he will be finished next Friday with his current show and then will move back to The Race. That show is also intense- it's a good thing that he likes what he does for a living! We have missed having him here at home, but at least we get to see him every evening. That was a luxury we didn't have when I was up in Berkeley. I am so proud of him for working so hard!

The weather was phenomenal earlier in the week- in the high 70s! We managed to get some good walks in to enjoy the great outdoors. Today it was colder and cloudier- more like winter, I guess (well, a Los Angeles winter)! Please come back bright and sunny days!

Oh-and I just weighed and measured Paprika. She is 19.5 pounds and about 28 or 29 inches long (it's hard to measure a squirmy baby)! She will be 5 months old next Tuesday, so I will officially weigh and measure her then!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What A Difference...

4 1/2 Months Makes!

Paprika at 5 Days Old:

Paprika at 4 1/2 Months Old:

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Paprika is a rolling machine! She rolls easily from back to tummy now. This morning she rolled from her back onto her tummy, and then from her tummy onto her back, and then repeated the whole thing again. Normally she will only roll from her back onto her tummy and not vice versa because she loves laying on her tummy so much!

She is also a great grabber. As you can see, she loves to pull my hair! I am wondering how long it will be before she starts crawling. I think that will give her a real sense of satisfaction. She tries so hard to get moving now, and seems frustrated by her lack of mobility. Luckily, she is an extremely happy baby, so it's not like she cries when she's frustrated...she just seems to want to get moving so badly that I want it for her, too!

It looks like we'll be moving at the end of March. Our tenants got back to us and asked if they could move over Caltech's Spring Break (our tenants are Cal Tech Professors). Anyhoo- that's fine with us, although as far as we're concerned, the sooner the better! I am anxious to start packing up even though our move is over two months away. I am SO excited to move back!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Rolling Over

Paprika rolled over today all the way, then pushed herself up onto her hands and spit up all over herself and then fell face down into it! She seemed pretty happy about the whole experience!

Her favorite toy right now is something I call her "moo station"- my mom bought it for her for Christmas. Basically, it's an activity mat that has a cow that hangs over her head and goes "Moo!" as well as other hanging things that she can pull on. The bottom part is an activity mat that she loves to play on. It plays tunes like "Old MacDonald's Farm." She loves it so much, and I love it, too, since I can have a few seconds to do things like eat breakfast while she's plays with it!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Paprika Visits The McPhersons!

These pictures were taken in Lafayette over Christmas Vacation. Mr. Mustard, Paprika, and I made a trip up to see The McPhersons- Ann, Len and their sons Benjamin (almost 4 years old) and Cameron (7 months)! We had such a great time!

Weekend Update

Now that the holidays are over, we have a lot more time to just veg- it's very relaxing, actually! This weekend we are supposed to go to an event at the Television Academy-- there is a special event featuring the cast and creators of "Lost." Mr. Mustard rspv'd for us, so we are on the list to go. We met a bunch of the cast members at the HBO Party back in 2005, but back then I didn't watch TV, so I had no idea who anyone was (well, except for Matt Fox who I remembered from the TV Show "Party of Five"). Anyway, Mr. Mustard really wants to go, but I haven't set up a babysitter yet. I need to figure that out- Jessica and Matt already have plans that night. So it may just be Mr. Mustard going by himself unless I can talk one of my other friends into watching Paprika on Saturday night. We'll see. :-)

In other news, I think the decision has been made to ask our tenants to leave asap- and not wait until June to move out of our current place. I talked to our current building managers about it, and even they agree- it's time to move out and into a bigger place! So, it looks like we are set for moving back to Pasadena in mid-March.

We are also checking out getting a new car (well, new to us!) that is about three years old. We're leaning towards a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry. Mr. Mustard, of course, is doing all kinds of research on the best and most reliable thing to buy. I just want something that works and is not too lame to drive!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Odds & Ends

I've been spending the last week enjoying being at home with Mr. Mustard. He took an extra week off work after the holidays, and our days have been filled with spending time together and spending time with Paprika. We've been catching up on all of our missed episodes of Battlestar Galactica. We rented Seasons 1 and 2 awhile back, and have been hooked ever since.

In the past few weeks, Paprika has been showing off some new skills. Her favorite game to play is what we call "The Paci Game." Basically, Mr. Mustard will put the pacifier in his mouth, and Paprika will pull out the pacifier and put it in her mouth. She's gotten really good at it, and most of the time the pacifier makes it into her mouth- although sometimes it goes in backwards!

We are pretty sure Paprika is going to be right-handed. Every time she plays The Paci Game, she reaches for it with her right hand. If you hold down her right hand, she won't even try to get it with her left hand until you help her out. Eventually, with help, she will use her left hand but only reluctantly. Mr. Mustard is left-handed and so is my mom, so we thought she may end up being left-handed, but it turns out she takes after me (and most other people in the world) in terms of her handed-ness.

We have decided to move back into our townhouse in Pasadena. Renting a house just didn't make sense financially, because we would be paying significantly more in rent for a smaller place than the one we own. We gave our tenants 60 days notice yesterday, and we talked to our building managers at our current apartment about the possibility of us staying longer, until we can move back into Pasadena.

We are really excited about moving back to our home in Pasadena because there are so many wonderful opportunities for family-centered fun, it is really really just lovely there, and our neighborhood is outstanding. I've already been put in touch with several mom's groups in Pasadena. The parks are fantastic and there are even two dog parks within a 5 to 10 minute's drive from our townhouse. Also, our townhouse has almost three times the square footage of our current apartment, Paprika will have her own bedroom, we will have a garage for our cars (much more convenient for carrying groceries, etc.), and we will have our very own washer and dryer. Hallelujah!

The only real snag came this morning when our tenants emailed us back to tell us that they are planning on moving to the East Coast in June, so it would be really inconvenient for them to move out now, only to move into a new place and have to move again in June. I really don't know what to do about that. On one hand, I want to be fair to them. They have been great tenants and are very nice people. On the other hand, I am going crazy in our apartment and we are desperate for more space and a nicer living environment. So, we're still thinking about what to do. At a minimum, we will be in Pasadena by June, which is comforting to me.

We are up in Santa Barbara right now visiting Mr. Mustard's mom. She babysat Paprika last night after Paprika went to bed. Mr. Mustard and I went out to dinner and then went to see a movie called Children of Men (his pick). The movie was a little dark for me, but it was so nice to have a date with Mr. Mustard that I didn't really mind.

Today we went and test drove two new cars. We took the Jeep in to be serviced last week because of a recurrent problem it's been having. Basically, it just stops running sometimes- completely cuts out. It happens when you're going 65 miles/hour on the freeway, or when you're just driving down the street to the grocery store. The Jeep is the only car we have that holds the car seat (the Saturn is too small), so basically I haven't been able to drive since the problem started a month or so ago.

We had three repairs made to the Jeep, all fairly expensive, at a shop that specializes in Jeeps. We were assured that the problem was fixed, but then last night when we were driving home from the movie the Jeep stalled on three separate occasions. Ugh. So, we don't know what to do. We don't want to get a new car until we move back to Pasadena since we don't currently have a garage and I don't want to park a new car on the mean streets of LA, but on the other hand, we need to get a new one unless I'm to be house-bound for the next 6 months.

We'll figure it all out- for now, we are happy to have eachother and to have spent so much time together these past few weeks. Mr. Mustard goes back to work tomorrow (Sunday), so it will be a big dose of reality (no pun intended- ha!) for us all as we settle back into our old routine. It has been a wonderful Christmas break for us and we've managed to stretch the vacation long past the point most people can, and for that I'm grateful!

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year's Day At The Zoo!

We took a break from our housing search to enjoy a day at the zoo with Paprika! It was her very first visit to the zoo and we all had a great time. The zoo had a special Christmas exhibit with reindeer, and the Children's Petting Zoo was open, so Paprika got to get up close and personal with some very friendly goats! Overall, she really liked looking at the big animals the most.

She also enjoyed looking at all the humans in the zoo, too! There were lots of kids running around, and she seemed almost as interested in them as she did the animals.