Wednesday, January 30, 2008

17 1/2 Months

Mr. Mustard started his job up in Santa Barbara on Tuesday. Paprika and I are staying in Los Angeles for the time being and Mr. Mustard will come to visit us on the weekends. Certainly, it's not ideal- but I think it's what's best for all of us right now. Mr. Mustard can focus on his work, and Paprika is so comfortable down here that we should stay put for the time being.

Last Wednesday (a week ago), we had a bit of an accident here and I'm still recovering from it. Paprika and I were playing peek-a-boo with a scarf. I was lying on my back and had the scarf over my face, and when she went to grab the scarf, she fell on me and her fingernail went directly into my eye. Her fingernail cut a sort of pouch in my cornea, and I thought everything would be fine and it would heal on its own, but within a few days it got infected and has been super painful.

I am under the care of an opthamologist, and he thinks that it will heal very well but will take some time. I have an eye patch and have to apply a lot of goop to my eye every day, as well as take special drops. I was worried b/c the drops say that they shouldn't be taken by breastfeeding mothers, but the doctor showed me a way to pinch a nerve in my eye so that the medicine does not circulate into my bloodstream. I am taking such a small amount that it shouldn't matter anyway- and even if it does get in my bloodstream, it's just a mild antibiotic, so it shouldn't cause any problems. I looked it up on the internet (of course) and the warning is just a precaution...kind of like how you're not supposed to drink any alcohol while breastfeeding.

The strangest thing about being patched up like this is that I feel like I'm missing half of my head. It's very disorienting, and I find that I am always losing things and just really not able to keep track of anything. My left eye (the non-injured eye) is very weak compared to my right eye, so it has been quite an adjustment. For example, the other day, I turned around to find that Paprika had taken my eyeglasses and snapped them in half. I feel a little bit like a dog chasing its own tail. I'm definitely adjusting to quickly, though, and managing just fine with one eye. I'm just very grateful that it's not permanent and will be so happy when it's all healed up.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Perfect Day!

Well, it rained so hard today- but nevertheless, we've had a wonderful day. Mr. Mustard was off from work, which made it a great day. He has been working non-stop and has not had any time off lately, so we were just so glad to see him.

Paprika let us sleep in late- she's a very late riser, which is pretty wonderful. After we had breakfast, we went to the Norton Simon Art Museum and spent the afternoon looking at art. Paprika kept pointing to the paintings and identifying all the words she knew. Apples in the still lifes. Dogs (or "puppies" as she calls them) in the paintings depicting hunting adventures. And babies in most of the other paintings- especially those of a cherubic baby Jesus. It was really cute!

She liked looking at the Asian sculpture the most of all. The sculptures of Indian gods and goddesses really got her attention- and she was identifying the elephants, cows, and other animals she saw in them. She was really mesmerized by that portion of the museum.

She was in her stroller for the whole trip, as we were a bit worried she might try to put her own mark on the art if we let her roam free. Because she is not a huge fan of the stroller (she craves freedom), we managed to get through the museum by walking at a very fast clip. Other museum-goers must have thought we were speedwalking. As soon as we'd stop to look at a work of art, Paprika would try to climb out of her stroller, so we just kept moving. It was actually really enjoyable, and kind of like mall-walking but with much better scenery!

Next we went to Pottery Barn Kids- Paprika's favorite rainy day play store. She played with the toy kitchens there, vacuumed the store with their toy vacuum, and had a nice conversation with herself on their toy phone. So much fun and a change of pace from her toys at home!

Then we came home, put Paprika down for a nap and Mr. Mustard went to Lucky Boy to pick up some dinner. Yum! We haven't eaten there since the summer. We split a chicken sandwich and fries and it was so tasty. We're catching up on Season 3 of Grey's Anatomy, so we watched that for awhile and then took a nap. Paprika woke up a little while later, and we've been entertaining her and playing with her ever since.

Such a good day! Even with the rain!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paprika Playing With Her Bucket

Here's a quick video of Paprika at the park today playing with her shovel and bucket.


A Nice Break In The Weather

It has been raining non-stop here since Monday, but we got enough of a break in the weather to go to the park for a few hours today. Paprika had great fun with all the usual playground equipment, but when the sky turned dark and ominous, I told her it was time to go bye-bye. She said "no!" so I told her that it was going to rain and that we needed to go home right away, and that once we got home, she could have a bagel (her favorite thing to eat). When she heard that, she headed straight out of the park.

She went right to the front gate and stopped for a moment to chat with the gatekeeper and the gardener. She talked to them at length (mostly unintelligible) with such conviction. Occasionally she would say something very clearly like, "baby," "rain now," or "go car." The two guys were just amazed at Paprika. After she had finished her conversation with them, she turned to walk into the parking lot (where we usually park). It was so crowded today that the lot was full, so we parked on the street instead. I told Paprika that we were parked on the street and not in the parking lot, and she immediately turned out of the parking lot and started walking towards the street. The two guys at the front gate were totally blown away. She is a smart cookie, for sure. As soon as we got to the car, it started pouring rain and hasn't stopped since. Oh well, at least we got a few hours of sunny bliss this afternoon.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where's Baby?

Paprika loves playing "Where's Baby?"- which is her version of Peek-a-boo. Listen carefully and you'll hear her saying "Where's Baby" about 18 seconds into the video clip. You'll also hear her gibber-jabbering in her usual fashion after she's done with the game. She talks like that non-stop all day long! She has lots of energy and many things to say.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Indoor Playground Day

It was raining all day today, so I took Paprika to the indoor playground. We haven't been there since October- the last time we were there, she got really sick, and that set off the chain reaction of many winter colds. But she HAD to get out of the house today, so we went back and I made sure to wash her hands thoroughly every 1/2 hour while we were there. We had a fantastic time jumping in the bouncy, playing in the life-sized dollhouse and racing in the toy cars.

Paprika's sleep schedule continues to be very off- she is set on going to sleep at 2am every night and waking up at 1pm. If I wake her up sooner in the "morning", it doesn't alter her bedtime at night (she can stay up indefinitely, it seems), so I've just been letting her sleep in as late as she wants.

Mr. Mustard's next job is in Santa Barbara, and we may also be dealing with a whole new set of sleeping obstacles- namely getting Paprika to sleep in a new place. We are still thinking about whether or not we will put ourselves through that- our travels with Paprika have been quite rough sleep-wise in the past. Mr. Mustard may work up in SB and just come down to see us on the weekends, or we could go up to see him. It'll probably be a mixture of things- who knows! It seems like when we finally get everything figured out, it all changes. ;-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Paprika Slides On Her Own

Here's a fun video of Paprika at the park on Sunday! She went down the slide for the very first time by herself. I grabbed my video camera, and caught her second slide down, which is this video!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paprika Says Uncle Robbie!

We were scrolling through pictures on the computer the other day and Paprika pointed to a picture of my brother and said, "That's Robbie!" It was very clear, and I was so surprised because she wasn't prompted at all. It's been almost a month since we were in Indiana for Christmas, and yet she remembered exactly who Robbie was and said his name so clearly.

We have been having the most gorgeous days lately- 70s and sunny- so every day has been a park day! Mr. Mustard has been putting in very long hours on Dance War, so it's just been Paprika and me at the park. We went today, Saturday, and had the best time. I ended up chatting with two moms of toddlers and found out about a great mommy & me toddler class that meets near us.

Paprika has the best time at the park going down the slides and playing on the equipment, but lately her favorite thing to do is dig in the woodchips and then walk around with her bucket and offer the chips to other kids at the park. She loves sharing, and wants to give whatever she has to other kids on the playground.

In the past few days, she has become obsessed with bicycles and tricycles and desperately wants to ride one. She's too little, but it doesn't stop her from climbing on other kids' tricycles when they're not looking and trying to take off with their bikes! Her feet don't reach the pedals yet, so I end up pushing her a little bit before she lets me take her off the bike. I guess I should add researching tricyles to my list of things to do!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Fun!

Paprika and I went to the park again today. She really wanted to visit Elizabeth's daughter, Bella- and kept saying "Where's Bella," "Go Bella," "Go see baby Bella," all day long! But Bella took an extended nap today, so Paprika and I went to the park solo. We had a great time going down the slides, chasing the ball we brought, and meeting new babies. At one point I looked at Paprika and she was pulling the tabs off her diaper. She pulled so hard that the tabs came off and then slid the diaper down her pant leg. I didn't have a diaper with me (luckily there were a few back in the car). Needless to say, we made a quick exit from the park after that happened!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Paprika Says Her Name!

This weekend we went up to Santa Barbara for a belated Christmas with Mr. Mustard's family. It was great to have the whole Urth clan under one roof, which doesn't seem to happen very frequently. Mr. Mustard's brother-in-law, Zach, finally got to meet little Paprika.

While we were up there, Paprika decided it was time to call herself something a little more descriptive than just "baby." She began speaking her name! It was hilarious; she was so pleased with her new name it was tough to stop her from saying "Ahnka! Ahnka!" over and over again. Here's a little movie we got of her in action:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere!

We have a huge influx of boxes in our house right now- some from Christmas gifts we mailed back from Indiana and others from online orders. Paprika is enthralled with them all, and wants to climb inside every box in our house! In fact, when a huge box of toys arrived the other day, the thing she wanted to play with most was the box itself. Go figure!

We continue to enjoy every day together, playing at the park and just bumming around during the afternoons. Mr. Mustard goes back to days next week and it will be a little bittersweet, since he will no longer be home to go to the park during daylight hours. This has been a really special time for us.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Paprika is learning her letters! She knows what B, T, and P are- she can point them out in a line-up and say their names very clearly. She has memorized many of our books and when we get to certain pages in each, she points to the words and says what the word says. For example, in the book "Baby Brains" she points to the word "goodbye" and to the word "mommy" and says the word for each. I know it's just because we've read the book a million times and she remembers that this page is about "goodbye" or "mommy" - it's just impressive to me what she picks up and learns without much help from me at all!

Her sentences are getting longer and longer. She says some pretty complex things now like "Oh look mommy, there's a baby!" She is much more loquacious when she's at home- out in public and around new people she gets a little shy. She is also going through a thing where she has to be with mommy. We are so bonded- I just love it and am eating up every moment of blissful toddlerhood.

I think I was born to be a mom, and so I truly marvel at every step and milestone- I am happy to witness a miracle pretty much every day. There are tough times, for sure- but being here for Paprika in this way is the most rewarding position I could ever have hoped for, and gives me such incredible satisfaction. I adore it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Turn Your Back for One Second...

Turn your back for one second and this is what you get! :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Another Day At The Park!

We had a wonderful time yesterday at the park. It was a gorgeous day- a splendid break from the rain we've been having- and we took the opportunity to go to the park and play. Paprika loved it, of course!

Tomorrow our new bed is arriving! We ordered it about a week ago- we've had our eye on it for about a year and have been scouring Craigslist looking for it, to no avail. We finally decided that no one sells an Eastern King bed frame on Craigslist in Los Angeles (at least no bed frame we'd be interested in buying). So, we took the plunge and bought it retail. They are delivering it tomorrow between 10 am and noon, which for us is like delivering it in the middle of the night, since none of us (Paprika included) wakes up before 2pm now. So, it should be interesting, and I wonder what the delivery guys are going to think of us when we stumble downstairs to answer the door sleepy-eyed mid-afternoon!

Today it was raining, so we spent the day at Pottery Barn Kids, letting Paprika play with all of the toys in the store. We opted against taking her to the indoor playground, since she gets sick everytime she goes there and we figured it would be packed on a rainy day like today. Pottery Barn Kids is better because there was no one there (the perks of a slow January retail season), and there are so many wonderfully displayed toys for Paprika's age-group! So we all went and spent an hour and a half watching her play with the kitchen set, run the play vacuum, put together the wooden puzzles, and play with their well-stocked dollhouse. Lots of fun!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fun With Mommy's Beauty Products!

One of Paprika's favorite things to do is rummage through my box of beauty products in the bathroom. It's a box of stuff I never use- and Paprika can spend an hour sorting through it all. I sit there with her while she sorts, so I know that she's not going to get in any trouble while she's exploring. We have such a fun time together looking through this box- and sometimes Paprika will even climb inside the box. She thinks that is the most fun of all.

Our schedules are embarrassingly shifted now. I just put Paprika to bed at 2am, and last night I did not fall asleep until 7am. Mr. Mustard's working nights has us all up, and it's actually been quite nice to all be on the same schedule. After this week, he is on a day schedule for a week- so at that point, I will start waking Paprika up early (by 8 am) and have us all back on a day schedule. Then Mr. Mustard will go back to a night shift after that, and Paprika and I will stay on a "day schedule" so that we can interact with the outside world- and Mr. Mustard will stay on his night schedule and see Paprika and I in the afternoons when he wakes up. Paprika seems to be as much of a night owl as any of us, and would be happy to stay up all night! But, I have things to do during the day (like take Paprika to playdates with my friend Elizabeth) and for some reason, no one else with babies wants to meet up to play at 11pm! So we will be shifting shortly back to a more normal schedule.

Paprika is growing very quickly! Mr. Mustard measured her on 12/31 and she is now 31 1/4 inches tall- which is two inches taller than she was when we measured her on 9/21 (when she was 29 1/4 inches). She is staying about the same weight- she is consistently about 27 or 27.5 pounds on our home scale. She is so incredibly active that I know she's just burning off all the calories she consumes. I, of course, constantly worry that she's not eating enough! But she eats on the go- and likes to walk around the house holding onto a banana and occasionally taking a bite or two in between activities like reading books or playing with her stuffed animals and dolls.

Paprika is using her vocabulary to really communicate what she wants. She puts together sentences easily, and definitely has an opinion about what she wants to do or not do! She also has a very keen sense of humor and is always laughing or trying to make us laugh. It's a joy.

She's very easy to put to bed when she wants to go to bed. Last night I was laying her down to sleep, and she kissed her doll on the forehead and said "goodnight, baby" and then touched my forehead and said "goodnight, mama" before rolling over and falling asleep. It's moments like that where I just am in awe of how much I love Paprika.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Little Night Owl

Oh, Paprika! See this tired baby in the photo? That was taken at the Christmas tree lot in Indiana two days before Christmas. I thought things would get better when we got back, but she's sticking to her late schedule. I am sorry to report that Paprika has been keeping me up late nights since we got back from Indiana. She is sleeping long stretches, but won't go to bed at a decent hour yet. Last night I couldn't get her in bed til after midnight. Today I skipped her nap (normally she takes a two to three hour nap during the day) in the hopes that she would go to sleep earlier tonight. That failed miserably and she didn't get to bed tonight until 12:15pm and was tired and cranky. Phew.

On a side note, we had a lovely afternoon today at our favorite, favorite park. It was gorgeous weather- and I forgot my camera, unfortunately. We ran into some old acquaintances there (the wife of one of Mr. Mustard's old co-workers who has a thirteen month old son)- and possibly kindled a friendship. It was a beautiful afternoon and I was so glad that we all went. Now that Mr. Mustard is working nights, we get to have time together as a family in the afternoons, which is really nice. The park was bursting with babies and dogs- and Paprika had a great time running around petting all the "puppies" (as she calls them).

Mr. Mustard is working on Dance War, which starts airing next week. The airdate for the Oprah show "The Big Give" has moved to March- so even though he worked on that for much of last year, it won't be airing til late spring. After Dance War, he will be on Big Brother, which is another night job. I am really a night owl, so these late nights don't bother me too much. But for Paprika's sake, I have to get her to bed earlier. We'll get it all figured out eventually, I suppose!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas Wrap-Up

Paprika's second Christmas was a huge success. We left for Indiana on December 21, 2007 and arrived back in Los Angeles on December 31st. We stayed with my mom, Eric, and Robbie at their house. We had a great time, and it was so nice seeing family and friends. Our only difficulty was that Paprika refused to sleep much while we were there. We made every accomodation for her: my mom and Eric bought her a beautiful crib, we brought all her bedding with us from California, and the room where we all slept could not have been more ideal. Paprika wanted none of it, and spent most of the vacation awake. When she did go to sleep, it was very late (3 am) and after much cajoling by Mr. Mustard and me.

The first two nights Paprika refused to sleep in the crib at all, and ended up in between Mr. Mustard and me in bed, fighting sleep before finally passing out. I now understand why so many parents love to co-sleep. There is nothing more cuddly than snuggling up next to your baby in bed. Up until now, Paprika has refused to sleep with us- when she gets on our bed, all she wants to do is crawl off it or jump up and down, squealing in delight. But in Indiana, she was so exhausted after almost 24 hours without sleep, that she finally decided it would be okay to fall asleep between the two of us.

Not to mention that in the hustle and bustle of all of our activity, all three of us got sick. Paprika was the first one to get sick, followed by me and then Mr. Mustard. We are all still stuffed up, but Paprika is mostly better now, I'm halfway there, and Mr. Mustard is still in the midst of it. He goes back to work tonight, so he's not in for a good time the next few days.

We had a very active and exciting trip back to Indiana. Here are the highlights:

Friday, December 21
Flew into Indianapolis. Spent the evening hanging out with mom, Eric, and Robbie. Finally got Paprika to sleep at 3am.

Saturday, December 22
Met up with dad. He took Mr. Mustard, Robbie, Paprika and me to Don Pablo's for lunch. Yum!
Then we went to the Christmas Tree lot with Eric and Robbie and picked out our Christmas tree.
Then, I had a "date night" with my mom and we did last minute Christmas shopping up at Castleton.

Sunday, December 23
Went with mom and Paprika to see Robbie play in the church band while Mr. Mustard and Eric went to the Colts game (the Colts won!).
Paprika and I spent the afternoon with her great grandpa and great grandma (my grandparents).
Then, Mr. Mustard, Paprika and I had dinner with Laura, Kevin, Caroline, and Stephanie at their house in Fishers.

Monday, December 24
Mr. Mustard, Paprika and I did last minute Christmas shopping with my dad, Nancy, and Robbie. Then we all took Paprika to see Santa and my dad treated us to a big lunch at Applebee's.
Spent evening wrapping Christmas presents and decorating Christmas tree.
Eric, Robbie and I went to Midnight Mass at Christ the King Church.

Tuesday, December 25
Woke up and opened Christmas presents under the tree at my mom's house.
Then we went over for Christmas day festivities at Grandma/Grandpa’s house (Paprika slept through this, so Mr. Mustard and my mom took turns going back to my mom's house to be there while Paprika napped). Over at their house, we opened more presents and had a wonderful Christmas dinner.
That night my mom and Eric babysat while Mr. Mustard, Robbie, and I went to see the movie "National Treasure."

Wednesday, December 26
Mom took me to her art studio downtown while Mr. Mustard, Paprika and Robbie visited with my grandparents.
That afternoon we went to my aunt Jane's condo to have the Ashmore Family Christmas celebration. All the Ashmores were there- it was great seeing everyone and catching up! My Aunt Jane made a great Christmas dinner and Paprika got lots of presents. We had a wonderful time talking to everyone and hearing about all my cousins' college plans.
Mom and I went out shopping that night at Keystone at the Crossing to take advantage of the after Christmas sales.

Thursday, December 27
Mr. Mustard, Paprika, Robbie and I spent the day with my dad and Aunt Jane at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. It was packed! Paprika had a lot of fun and especially loved the dinosaur exhibit.
That night my mom and Eric babysat Paprika while Mr. Mustard, Robbie and I went to see "I Am Legend."

Friday, December 28
We spent the day relaxing. My mom, Robbie, and Eric left for Florida in the afternoon. Ann came down that night, and we had a girl's night out at Bazbeaux's and Borders.

Saturday, December 29
Had lunch at my grandma and grandpa's house with my dad, Mr. Mustard, and Paprika. My grandma made lasagne (yum!). We had a great time hanging out and spending time together.
That night, Ann came down from Lafayette again and we had another girls' night out- this time dinner at Union Jack's and shopping at Keystone at the Crossing.

Sunday, December 30
My dad and his fiancee, Nancy, came over for a visit in the afternoon and we got to see Nancy's new engagement ring.
That night we had a wonderful dinner at Laura and Kevin's house. It was great spending time with them and getting to see Caroline and Stephanie one last time before we left.

Monday, December 31st
Left for the airport at 4:30am after getting Paprika to sleep at 2:45 am. We had to wake her up, and she was not happy! Two flights and one lay-over later, we landed back in Los Angeles. All things considered, Paprika is an excellent traveller. Even with no sleep, she was wonderful on the plane. We got home, threw down our bags, and all laid down for a 5 hour nap in our own beds. What a treat!

Despite Paprika not sleeping much on our vacation, we had a wonderful time. It was so great seeing everyone and getting to spend Christmas with the Becker, Spinks, Ashmore, Kohls, and McPherson families!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

We're back from our long vacation in Indiana! Happy 2008 to everyone. We got back yesterday on Mr. Mustard's birthday. Today we are relaxing as a family and enjoying New Year's Day together. We went to the park this morning and had a wonderful time stomping through the leaves, smelling the roses, playing on the playground equipment, and enjoying the fresh air and 70 degree weather!

We had a wonderful time in Indiana. I will do an update of day-by-day stuff later. I have a bunch of pictures, and it was so wonderful seeing everyone and spending so much time with my family. It was a challenge getting Paprika to sleep, but now that we're back, she's sleeping great. She took a 5 hour nap when we got home yesterday, slept for 10 hours last night, and then took a three hour nap today. She's catching up on her rest, which is fantastic!