Thursday, December 20, 2007

Exciting News!

Today has been a wonderful day! I got off the phone a few hours ago with Greenleaf Book Group, which is a division of Ingram, a major distributor and publisher. They called to tell me that they want to pick up UnInked! The Complete Guide to Tattoo Removal, and distribute it to all of the major bookstores, like Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, as well as offer the book in over 900 independent bookstores nationwide as well as sell the book to libraries across the country. They are a top distributor and offer to represent less than 1% of the books that are submitted to them.

Needless to say, I am very excited and joyful that they want to distribute the book! I have a meeting set with them for January 4th to discuss the details. Greenleaf wants to republish the book with a new cover, and do an extensive marketing and publicity campaign. They believe the book will be a huge success! I am so excited!

I also was contacted by Baker & Taylor, which is a major wholesaler of books. They also want to carry UnInked! in their catalog. This is a major coup, and I am thrilled at all of the possibilities opening up to us in the world of publishing.

It's a great honor and a wonderful Christmas present to get this news today. It is particularly validating, and I am flying high at the moment. Yea!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

6 Days Til Christmas!

I can hardly believe there's less than one week between now and Christmas! Eek! Things have been hectic in our household for the past few weeks, and it will be nice to slow down and enjoy the holidays. Mr. Mustard's last day of work is tomorrow, and I am breathing a sigh of relief for him to be home and for us all to enjoy some good, quality time together. He has been working late- very late- every night. When I say late, I mean coming home after midnight and leaving for work by 6 a.m. the next morning. It's been rough. He's sick, and I have been dealing with my tooth pain. No fun! So, I am very much looking forward to spending the holidays together and breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

16 Months Young!

Paprika turned 16 months old on Sunday! Time is really flying. She is running everywhere, into everything, and is such a bright-eyed joy to be around.

She loves reading books- and can sit and read them for longer than anyone I know. Seriously. She would sit and read all day long if she had the choice. Before bed, we read books together for an hour straight, and she's not ready to put them down when we say it's time for night-night. She will let me read to her, but if I'm going to slowly or not doing it right, she'll take the book away from me and sit on the floor and she'll read the book outloud to me. Of course, most of the words are a little bit gibberish, but I know she knows what she's saying! And it sounds very conversational me. I sometimes wonder if all of the reading I did studying for the Bar Exam while I was pregnant with Paprika had an effect on her- she really loves reading!

In terms of words that she's speaking that I understand, there are hundreds. She picks up new words and phrases every day, and is able to put them together into sentences. Her new funny thing she's saying is "Oh, no mama!" which she says when she sees something going wrong. She puts her hands up to her face and gets a very concerned look- and then says it with the utmost seriousness. She says all sorts of other unexpected things, too- like today she pointed to a picture of a pumpkin and said in a very clear voice- "pumpkin"- I have no idea where she learned that!

She can name all of the farm animals, and what sounds they make. She knows her colors and can say pink, purple, and gold. She can point out and say all of the basic body parts- like eyes, ears, nose, hair, teeth, feet, hands, belly button, etc. She makes little sentences like "let's go outside" or "mommy, i go in car now!" or "let's go upstairs and take bath!"

She tells me when she has to go poop (or after she's already gone). That's proven to be pretty helpful, actually! I'm not planning on starting potty training for some time, though. We are still cloth diapering, and it's working out great. The fact that I don't have to buy diapers every week makes me less inclined to start. I think Paprika will let me know when she's ready. Right now she says "poo poo" and "pee pee" and wants to flush the toilet- so that's a good sign. But, we're in no rush.

Paprika is very outgoing and friendly to others, and is genuinely interested and excited to meet anyone and everyone. We've been noticing that she's started to get a bit more clingy to me. If I leave to go upstairs to get something, she will get upset and try to follow me. She only wants me to read to her at night, and is just very much a mama's girl right now. But, that's normal- and it changes weekly, it seems!

She is not afraid of anything, and is a true daredevil. For the past few months, she has wanted to walk down the stairs by herself- not slide, not go down on her bottom- but walk fully upright all by herself. Of course we are there to hold her and show her the proper way. But left to her own devices, she would bound ahead without fear. This happened last week. Mr. Mustard was helping her down the stairs to the garage, and she stood up and tried to launch herself down the stairs standing upright. Luckily, Mr. Mustard was there to catch her, but she came very close to falling head first onto the concrete floor in the garage. She gasped and I think for the first time really scared herself. Afterwards, she sat down and was much more cautious in going down the stairs. So, she's learning.

Paprika is also getting many new teeth! She has been working on her molars, as well as several other teeth, and is developing quite a smile. We're still nursing- and so far it hasn't been an issue at all, thank goodness!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Visiting Daddy at Work

We had a very busy weekend. On Saturday, we went to Old Town Pasadena, saw Santa, and did some Christmas shopping. We picked up some sushi, and came home and had a wonderful dinner together.

On Sunday, Mr. Mustard had to work all day, so Paprika and I made a daytrip and met up with Mr. Mustard for lunch at his office. Mr. Mustard is working on the upcoming show "Dance War" at the CBS lot. It was a great adventure meeting up with him and getting to see all the stages on the lot. On the way to his office, we passed through all the props for "The Price Is Right" and by the stages for "The Young and the Restless." Of course, we had to snap a few photos!

The Showcase Showdown from The Price Is Right:

The Late Late Show:

At The Young and the Restless Stage:

Then we went to lunch at The Grove, which is a very posh mall right next to the CBS lot. There is a secret entrance between CBS and the mall, and we were able to zip right over to the mall on foot without having to deal with the swarms of people trying to park at the mall. It worked out perfectly. We had a great lunch at the Farmer's Market, and even got to see Santa's Village at the Grove- it was truly a sight to behold. They even have snow that falls nightly at 7pm and 8pm. They have a huge Christmas tree that is in the center of their dancing fountain. Paprika loved looking at the water and was dazzled by all of the lights. On the way back from lunch, we ran into all of the contestants on the upcoming "Dance War" show. Mr. Mustard knew them all because he's editing the show and looks at their faces every day on his screen. So, we chatted with them for awhile. A good afternoon was had by all!

Paprika and Mr. Mustard in front of Santa's House:

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Day At The Park

Paprika and I took advantage of today's gorgeous weather to get out and have fun at the park. Paprika loves to run, run, run and be outdoors. She is learning how to play with other kids, and is infinitely interested in them. Today there was a 22 month old boy at the park, and she wanted to chat him up and play on the jungle gym with him.
She amazes us with her love of books, and her ever-increasing vocabulary. She surprises me with new words every day- like out of the blue yesterday she said "blanket" and handed me her blanket when she woke up in the morning.
We really limit television- Paprika watches no broadcast tv, and only rarely watches a kid's video- like Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo (Spanish Sesame Street), or the Pixar Animation shorts. But, that's not to say that she's not interested! She loves the Pixar short "Boundin'" and will go to the dvd player and say "Bounce!" when she wants us to play Boundin'. Then she wants us to play it over and over again, and gets really upset when we turn it off. But, that's life! :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back From the Dentist

The dentist today confirmed my suspicions that I have an infected tooth. I will be going back on Tuesday to take care of the problem- so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My fever is down and I am otherwise feeling good. The heater guy is coming on Wednesday to fix our heater, so that is also good news!

Paprika has found a new best friend in my neighbor's 20 month old daughter, Isabella. She loves spending time with her and they have so much fun playing together. They give eachother hugs, and in general just have a ball when they're in the same room. Elizabeth (Isabella's mom) watched Paprika for me today when I went to the dentist- and it was so wonderful for me to know that Paprika was in such good hands and was having such a great time while I was gone. Meeting Elizabeth has been such a wonderful blessing of living in Pasadena. I'm so happy to have found her!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Paprika is over being sick! She, thankfully, is keeping down all food and is back to her old self. We are very grateful for that! I seem to have gotten what she has. I have been running a 104 degree fever since last night. That, coupled with Mr. Mustard's long hours at work, have made life a bit difficult these past few days. To top it off, our heater stopped working, Mr. Mustard's car broke down, and my mouth has started to hurt immensely. It's raining and pouring a bit on the Urths the past week.

I have a dentist appointment for Tuesday to have my mouth looked at. It's a bit tricky because I'm still nursing Paprika, and you have to be very very careful when getting dental work done while nursing or pregnant, especially if you have amalgam fillings (because they contain mercury). When they remove or upset the fillings, it can cause mercury to be excreted into your system, and it is then passed on through the breastmilk. I am hyper-vigilant about making sure that Paprika is not exposed to heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.) because exposure causes all sorts of developmental, neural, and other problems for a developing child.

So, I have been working hard to find a dentist who will take the necessary precautions when working on my mouth (they are surprisingly hard to find). The dentist I'm going to see has 30+ years experience in mercury-free dentistry, and is tops in taking the right precautions so that there's no danger of mercury being released into my system. Of course, he's not covered by our dental HMO plan-- but it seems nothing is covered by our medical or dental insurance, so I'm trying not to worry about it and just chalk up this trip to the dentist as an early Christmas present to myself. His earliest appointment is Tuesday, so hopefully I can last that long with my teeth hurting.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Field Trip to the Nursery

Despite being violently ill, Paprika still wants to "go, go, go!" She needs to get outside every day and see the world, otherwise she gets serious cabin fever. Because she's still sick, I won't take her anywhere other kids frequent, since I don't want her to get them sick. So, today we went to our local plant nursery and had a great time looking at flowers, Christmas trees, gnomes, and stone statues. Paprika had great fun splashing in the water fountains, petting the metal horse, and looking at fish (pronounced "Wish!") in the pond.

Paprika was throwing up until late last night, but this morning she didn't throw up at all, which is great news. The night before last, Paprika threw up in her crib while she was sleeping. It was just plain horrible. Last night we thought she threw up in her crib, but Mr. Mustard went to check on her and she was fine. So, anyway, she seems to be getting better! The problem is that everything has now moved south (so to speak), so we're dealing with sickness on the other end. I don't think I've ever seen Mr. Mustard more worried and scared than he has been over Paprika being sick these past few days. He's just beside himself with worry, as am I. But she seems to be through the worst of it (hopefully)!
Petting the horsie:

Looking at the "Wish" (fish) in the pond:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More Thanksgiving Pictures!

Here are a few more of Paprika from Thanksgiving! :-)

A Little Under The Weather

Well, it looks like Paprika's evening on Saturday at the Mother's Day Out center has had unfortunate consequences. On Sunday, she started sniffling, and by yesterday, se was fully sick. She has been vomitting up everything she eats and drinks- it's pitiful! She can't keep anything down, but we've been feeding her little bits of food, water, and I've been nursing her often. It's just a fact of life of her being exposed to other kids, I guess. It makes me think twice about having her go back to the center, though- I just worry that a few hours of time around groups of kids will make her miserable for a week afterwards. It's not worth it!

My good friend Sarah was supposed to come visit today. She lives in Colorado, but is in California visiting family this week, and she was going to drive 3 hours to stay with us for two days. I really wanted to meet her baby, Zane, who is 6 months younger than Paprika. Sarah and I used to work together back at Stanford a million years ago (okay, it was 1999- but that was last century). We've remained really close over the years. It's such a shame that Paprika is so sick, because otherwise it would have been fantastic to have Paprika and Zane meet eachother. Sarah is going to plan to come out to see us another time- a trip just to see us. Otherwise, we're going to have to go to Colorado to see her!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Feels Like Summer!

The past two days have just been gorgeous! Yesterday we went outside in sweaters. Today it was warm enough for shorts and T-shirts. We've been spending a lot of time at the park, on the playground, and in the library. Paprika loves to just cruise around the neighborhood in her car, and explore it walking on her own two feet.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lauren and Don's Party

Last night we went to Lauren and Don's big annual Christmas party. We had such a great time! We left Paprika at the Mother's Day Out center, and she had a wonderful time playing with the other kids. When we came to pick her up, she was standing in front of the big fish tank they have pointing out all the fish, turtles, and bubbles. The center director came over to tell us that she has never seen someone Paprika's age with such a big vocabulary. She told us all the words Paprika was saying to her. She was just in amazement about it and said that Paprika is really exceptional. So, Paprika was a big hit at the center, and she really enjoyed her time there. We were very glad to get her back, though!

The party was super fun. It was nice to get out and mingle with other adults, and have a conversation without running after Paprika. Lauren and Don's house is huge- perfect for a big party, and we got to catch up with a lot of friends we haven't seen in forever, as well as meet some new people. One couple brought their beautiful 6 week old baby to the party, and he was so adorable. It reminded me that last year we brought Paprika to the party- she was only three months old at the time- and we carried her in her baby carrier all night long. What a difference a year makes!