Monday, July 30, 2007


Awesome Weekend!

We had a fantastic weekend. On Saturday, we relaxed around the house, went over to our local gardening store and browsed (we're going to plant some flowers in our patio area soon), and enjoyed a family day.
On Sunday, we were suppsed to meet up with our friends Lauren and Don, but they had to change plans at the last minute, so Mr. Mustard, Paprika, and I decided to make an impromtu trip up the coast to Santa Barbara. Mr. Mustard and I had a wonderful lunch at the Habit, went to the beach, and then later that night went to see Harry Potter! It was very fun. Paprika got to spend quality time with Grandma Pat, who took excellent care of her. I think they had as much fun as we did!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Getting Out and About

Paprika is not wanting to stay at home anymore! She wants to get out of the house and see the world! So, I'm obliging her. Yesterday we did three thing out of the house. First trip of the day, we drove around in the car so she could look out the window, relax, and fall asleep for her nap. Paprika has been having the worst time sleeping and sometimes the only thing that relaxes her is going for a nice, long drive.

After her nap, we went to the outdoor mall near us. I bought a pair of black flip flops (in a size 10- yikes! My feet were an 8 or and 8 1/2 pre-pregnancy). Then we stopped at Cold Stone Creamery and I had a little treat. I even let Paprika try the Oreo in my ice cream. She really really liked it. So far, I've discovered that while she could care less about avocados, blueberries, hummus, or yogurt- she will not turn down a bit of chocolate! And who can blame her, right?
Paprika loves to try to feed other people- specifically me and Mr. Mustard (and Hauser, too). The first picture at the top is her trying to feed me her Oreo. :-)

After that excursion, we came home and did the whole diaper change/nursing combo before heading out on foot to Trader Joe's. We live four or five blocks from the original Trader Joe's, and it's a joy to walk over there and do a bit of grocery shopping. It's very convenient, especially since we don't have to worry about parking. I just take the stroller, bring my own bag, and then we browse the aisles picking out yummy things to make for dinner. Yesterday we got a wonderful pear salad dressing. Yum!

Here are some pictures of Paprika enjoying her very first Oreo cookie- ever!

Here is her "I must inspect this" look:

Maybe I'll try a bite:

Mmmmm...tastes good!:

All Done! Time to wash it down with some water!:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's Just Food!

Paprika still wants nothing to do with solid foods! That's okay with me, though. I am not going to force feed her. I am so glad that I'm breastfeeding and able to keep up with her. I would say that about 99.9% of her nutrition still comes from me- with occasional tastes of solid food here and there. She just won't take it! I offer her solid food at breakfast- and nope, she closes her mouth and puts her hands in front of her face. We try again in the afternoon and the same thing happens- head turns away, hands in front of face. Then again at dinner. Our pediatrician says it's normal- and I know it's normal. I just wonder when this little girl is going to want to have anything other than breastmilk!

Mealtimes consist of me trying to feed her unsuccessfully, then me eating her food while she tries to escape from the highchair so she can get on the floor and read her books. Reading books to herself is her favorite thing to do. She loves to sit there talking to herself, flipping the pages, and pointing at everything along the way.

Her new favorite word to say is "baby"- I bought her this brand of yogurt called "YoBaby," which is an organic whole milk yogurt. On the top of the carton, there is a picture of a baby and she points to it and says "baby!" I try to give her a spoonful or a taste from my finger and she closes her mouth and turns away. Then she starts laughing and pointing at the carton again, saying "baby, baby, baby"!

She used to love Cheerios and pieces of bread, but has now figured out that it is much more fun to feed them to Hauser. So, at least he's eating well!
In all seriousness, I know that she will eventually love solid food and will want to quit nursing- so I should just enjoy the state we're in. And I am. I also look forward to her enjoying all the yummy food I make for her!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Beckers and Finns Converge In Chicago!

Eric and Robbie came up to Chicago while we were there for Mr. Mustard's work, and we all got to spend some quality time together.

Uncle Robbie showed Paprika how to play with her new toy:

We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is a wonderful zoo- not too crowded, full of great animals and lush habitats-- and best of all, it was free! That was a surprise, for sure!

Paprika liked pointing out the animals to us, especially the big bear:

She got so tuckered out from animal-watching, it was time for a snooze:

After she woke up, we hit Chicago's famous North Beach:

Finally, it was time to get on the airplane to go home. Here's Paprika and her daddy, playing in the airport as we get ready to board the plane back to Los Angeles!


We're back in California now, after a really wonderful second trip to Chicago. Paprika and I took in the Museum of Contemporary Art, did a lot of window shopping on the Magnificant Mile, saw the great Chicago Water Tower, and the Fire Station. Paprika was so excited to be out and about, and loved people watching on Chicago's bustling streets. On Thursday, Robbie and Eric came to see us and we had a fantastic time! We took in the Lincoln Park Zoo, ate at California Pizza Kitchen, and went to Chicago's North Beach!

Paprika was wonderful for the whole trip- she is a very adaptable baby, we're finding. We repeatedly kept her up well past her bedtime, took her to quiet restaurants, and on long plane trips- and still she did great! She is the best, best baby in the whole world! :-)

The first picture is Paprika on the plane- she slept most of the way to Chicago! I love having her nap on me- it's one of the best feelings in the world.
Here is Paprika hanging out at her favorite spot in our hotel suite- the bathtub:

Pointing Out an Exhibit Outside the Museum of Contemporary Art:

Enjoying a refreshing sip of water at the museum's cafe:

Reading the Museum's Visitor's Guide:

The wallpaper was almost as neat as the art at the museum!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back in Chicago!!!

We are back in Chicago for another round of notes with Harpo. We are all enjoying Chicago so much. Mr. Mustard is working a lot, and Paprika and I are enjoying the sights of the city. We checked in on Sunday night to our gorgeous hotel on the Magnificant Mile. It is beatiful here, and we are certainly getting the red carpet treatment. Paprika and I have been doing some shopping these past few days. On Monday, we hit a big sale at the Baby Gap, where I bought her many, many adorable outfits. Then I got home and realized that half of the clothes are too big for her, and by the time they fit her, it will be the wrong season. So, it looks like another trip is in store for us- to return some of those clothes!

Our flight into Chicago was easy, breezy. Mr. Mustard flew with us, and we had a whole row to ourselves on the plane. We had a short layover in Phoenix, where we had lunch. Paprika was perfect on the plane- not a tear was shed the whole day. She's a trooper, for sure! That night we had dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe on Michigan Ave. and then brought dessert back to the hotel to eat while Paprika was sleeping.

Monday night we went to a great Italian restaurant around the corner from our hotel. The food was so good that we went back last night with Mr. Mustard's co-workers to eat there again!

Right now Paprika is taking a nap while I sit in the other room checking my email. We have a suite, which is so nice for us. It means that when Paprika naps, I get to do something other than sit very quietly in a dark room, which is how it would be if we had a standard hotel room.

Yesterday, we did some more sightseeing- we went to the Chicago Water Tower, one of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. We also did lots of window shopping around Michigan Ave., and had lunch at our old standby- The Corner Bakery.

Today, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is only a few blocks from our hotel. Paprika loved looking at all the art, especially the large photographs that were on display. I took some pictures of her there, which I will post when I get back to LA. My memory card on my camera doesn't work with our laptop.

Tonight we were supposed to have dinner with Mr. Mustard's friend, Ryan, but something came up, so now we'll just be the three of us (Mr. Mustard, me, and Paprika) for dinner. I've scouted out a few casual restaurants close-by that will be great.

Paprika turned 11 months old yesterday! Now Mr. Mustard can finally say she's 11 months old and have it be true- he's been saying that she's 11 months old for the past few weeks! I always wait to say she's the next month when it's finally here- I don't want to rush her one day! She'll grow up fast enough as it is.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Paprika's favorite new trick is to dump everything on the floor- including bags of Cheerios! I like to call it "decorating the floor"- she is very skilled at it! Hauser usually helps me clean it up, and he loves getting a little extra snack.

I am trying to figure out what to do for Paprika's 1st birthday, which is just a little over a month away! My original plan to go to Indiana may need to be pushed back due to Mr. Mustard's hectic work schedule. Mr. Mustard was supposed to be finished with his current show by early July, but now it looks like he might be working on it until the end of August.

I can't believe Paprika is almost a year old- the time has flown by so quickly. She is growing into such a bright and funny little girl before my eyes. She keeps me laughing and smiling every day. Paprika loves looking at books- she could do that for hours. We're going to go to the library and pick up some more books later today. She's seen all the ones we have many, many times and is thirsting for some new material.

Paprika is getting another tooth- this time it's her bottom right tooth. It's giving her a lot of pain- she woke up yesterday screaming. I looked in her mouth and her lower gum was angry and red, with a little white tooth popping out. She went for so long with just those two bottom teeth, and now all of a sudden she's gotten 5 new teeth in the past two weeks. It's incredible!

Monday, July 9, 2007

New Teeth!

I forgot to add that Paprika got four new teeth when we were in Chicago! She has 6 teeth total now- Her front two on top and bottom, and then one on the bottom left and one on the top right! :-)

Paprika is 10 1/2 months old, and has been going through an explosion of developmental milestones in the past two weeks. While we were in Chicago, she started crawling on all fours for the first time. Prior to that, she scooted along very quickly on her chest doing an "army crawl." She was so proficient at it that I thought she might go straight from the army crawl to walking. Turns out she's even faster now on all fours.

While we were in Chicago, she also started standing up. She can stand up holding onto things with one hand, and has even started cruising from one piece of furniture to the next. Walking appears to be just around the corner.

With all of these mobility milestones in our laps, we are faced with a very inquisitive and mobile baby. She is into everything- no cabinet, drawer, or door is safe! She wants to open everything and climb inside. She is keeping me very, very busy!

Paprika also babbles non-stop and understands a lot of words- probably more words than we even think! For example, if you say to Paprika, "Paprika- point at Daddy's nose"- she will point at Mr. Mustard's nose. Or last night, we said to her, "Paprika, do you want to take a bath?" and she crawled over the bathtub and stood at the edge, and started to try to crawl inside.

She loves playing games, too. She loves being chased and will squeal with delight when we say "I'm gonna get you!" She races off. Or if I say to her, "Paprika, go get the kitty," she will crawl over to the cat and start petting her.

Paprika loves to throw her pacifiers on the floor when she's in her crib. I will go into her room and say, "Paprika, what happened to all of your pacifiers?" And then she starts giggling and clapping. It's quite adorable. She also loves pushing food off of the table for Hauser to eat. Hauser has come in handy lately as our little vacuum cleaner. He's getting a few extra meals these days!

We had a fun weekend up in Santa Barbara! We left Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, and took Paprika and Hauser up for a nice trip to see Grandma Pat. Mr. Mustard and I had a date on Saturday night while Mr. Mustard's mom watched Paprika. We went to see Transformers and had a great dinner out at Zaffiro's. It was the first time we had a date by ourselves in a long time- and only the third movie I've seen in the theaters since Paprika was born. We had a really nice time.

The next day, we all went to the beach. It was cloudy and overcast, which was great because we avoided the sun and mid-July heat. Then we went back to the house and Paprika took a long nap while I laid out in the back yard and Mr. Mustard did some chores. It was very relaxing!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

We had a wonderful and ambitious 4th of July! We started out the day with a bang by attending (and participating in) our neighborhood's annual Fourth of July parade and party. The neighborhood gets two big In-n-Out trucks to come and serve burgers, fries, and sodas. We reconnected with some of our neighbors and had a great time hanging out.
Me and Paprika at our neighborhood party:

Then we went to a pool party at Hillary's house. There were lots of babies and toddlers there- it was really fun. Paprika loved swimming in the pool and even got to experience a bit of independence in the water by floating around on an infant floatie.

Mr. Mustard and Paprika Relaxing in the Pool:

After that we went over to Hoot's house for a big afternoon/evening cook-out. There were lots of little babies at the party, but Paprika was the only girl! Around 9 p.m., we all walked about one block from Hoot's house over to a ridge overlooking the Rose Bowl and watched a spectacular fireworks show. Paprika was in awe of the fireworks and stayed awake through the whole thing. Afterwards, she immediately fell asleep. She was super tired from her very first 4th of July!
Playing on the Swing at Hoot's House:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sunday, July 1st- Packing Up and One Last Trip to the Park

Helping Pack Up To Go Back to Los Angeles:

One Last Lunch at The Corner Bakery:

Sunday we packed up our suitcases and checked out of the hotel. Paprika helped us pack- well, actually she unpacked everything we packed! After we re-packed everything she unpacked, we headed out for a nice and big lunch, since we knew that we wouldn't be eating much on the plane back to Los Angeles. After that, we went and explored all of Millenium Park. We walked all the way down to Lake Michigan and got to see the amazing gardens in the park and the Pritzker Music Pavillion, where people were having picnics and playing frisbee on the lawn. It is truly an amazing park.

At the Pritzker Pavillion in Millenium Park:

At the Gardens in Millenium Park:

Then Ryan came and picked us up and took us to the airport and then we were off! Mr. Mustard flew first on American and my flight left later on United. Paprika did great on the flight- she is such a trooper. Now that I have figured out how to distract her with Cheerios and raisins and play songs for her on my IPod, she is a very happy traveller. She didn't cry one tear the whole flight, even though we had a very long layover in Phoenix. We had a lot of fun together running through the airport and twirling around in the stroller. It seems to me that as long as she is with me or Mr. Mustard, and she is engaged, she is a very happy little person.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Saturday, June 30th- The Aquarium, The Taste, and Gino's Pizza East

At The Dolphin Show at the Shedd Aquarium:

On Saturday, Mr. Mustard had the day off work, so we had fun sightseeing in Chicago together. We went for a long walk down the marina to the Shedd Aquarium. We spent a good part of the afternoon at the aquarium looking at the dolphins, the beluga whales, and all the other marine life. We even got to see a dolphin show! Paprika fell asleep in the Ergo after a few hours- I guess all the fish were starting to blend together. So, we walked back to the hotel and on the way stopped at The Taste of Chicago food festival for lunch. Paprika woke up when she smelled the food and heard the crowd!

Paprika at The Taste of Chicago Food Festival:

Mr. Mustard and Paprika at The Taste of Chicago:

At Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park:

The "Taste"- as it's called in Chicago- was packed with people! I am not a huge fan of crowds, so I wanted to get out of there asap. Once we got our food, we went over to a side lawn where they were having the Country Music Festival and Kenny Rogers was playing "The Gambler." I couldn't believe that we stumbled on a free concert in the park. So, we stayed and watched that for awhile before heading back to the hotel.

Listening to Kenny Rogers in the park:

Once we got back to the hotel, Paprika took a two hour nap, and then we headed out to dinner with Ryan and Katherine. We took a cab to Gino's Pizza East, a great pizza restaurant, famous for its deep dish pizza. They were featured on one of the episodes of The Amazing Race, so of course, we had to go and see it for ourselves in person. By the time we got home, it was after midnight, so we all went to sleep!
Eating dinner at Gino's Pizza: