Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Paprika and Her Daddy!

Here's another shot of Paprika and Mr. Mustard taken at the beach this weekend. She loves her daddy, and he loves his little girl. :-)

Paprika at the Park

Paprika likes to pretend anything and everything is a microphone. Here are some recent photos of Paprika at the park, pretending the garden hose hook-up is her own private microphone, complete with stand.

For Paprika, each moment is a chance to pretend, to play, and to have fun. She is such a joy.

Sunday at the Huntington

We had a wonderful visit on Sunday at Huntington Botanical Gardens, which is right in our backyard (practically). They recently built a new children's garden, which has loads of fun activites for kids- even a place to play and splash in the water- which was GREAT because it was a very, very hot day!

We had a nice lunch at the cafe, and just enjoyed the lush gardens and being together. Paprika could have stayed in the water all day long. She was soaked by the time we left!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Beach Baby!

Yesterday we took Paprika to Malibu for a gorgeous day at the beach. The weather was so warm and beautiful, we couldn't miss the opportunity to put our toes in the sand. The funny thing is that Paprika did NOT want her feet in the sand at all. As soon as Mr. Mustard started taking off her shoes, she got so scared, and then wouldn't let us put her down on the ground the whole time we were at the beach. So, we ended up carrying her for miles. It was a nice change of pace, since usually Paprika does not want to be held at all, and we are used to her running off in her own direction any chance she gets.

The beach where we went is also a bird sanctuary, so there were lots of exotic birds fluttering about. It was really neat to see the birds up so close.

Earlier in the day, we went to the UCLA hospital to drop off a care basket for a friend who is in the ICU. We stayed a few hours with the family down in the lobby, and Paprika wanted nothing more than to run and climb on everything. Mr. Mustard and I ended up taking turns walking with her outside, looking for pinecones, and letting her run in the grass.

Afterwards, we spent a few hours in Westwood walking through the UCLA campus and eating lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. Paprika was mostly cooperative- she was in great spirits at lunch, but wanted to sit on the bench by herself and by the end was jumping up and down on the booth seat. We managed to enjoy ourselves, and Paprika had a great time (as usual) entertaining herself.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Smelling the Roses

Paprika and I went to the rose garden and she had such a wonderful time smelling all the roses. She kept trying to put the fallen petals back on the flowers, which was pretty cute. She also found a pinecone, and said "Oh look- it's a pinecone!" I have no recollection of ever saying the word "pinecone" to her, so I was very surprised when she knew what it was. She also picked up a huge rock and said, "Ohhhh, that's a heavy rock!"

After we were done in the rose garden, we took Paprika's bike for a spin around the park. Then we went to the playground and she had the best time playing with a three year old boy. They were chasing eachother and laughing, and having the best time!

One funny sidenote is that Paprika insists on calling the Subaru, "Mommy's Car." We bought the BMW a year ago, and I drove it for a whole year, and she never called it "Mommy's Car." The first day I started driving the Subaru and Mr. Mustard started driving the BMW, Paprika started referring to the Subaru as "Mommy's Car." Mr. Mustard thinks this is odd because I picked out the BMW, he picked out the Subaru, and he actually prefers the Subaru over the BMW. So, it's just kind of funny that, according to Paprika, the Subaru is now "my" car and not his- since Mr. Mustard thinks it's really HIS car! :-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun, fun, fun!

Paprika and I have been having so much fun going to the park and spending our days outside. Summer is coming and it is getting so hot! I love it, though. I recently connected with some moms in my neighborhood and have been getting the low-down on everything fun to do for the summer. It will be nice to find some new places to go!

Mr. Mustard recently suprised me with a new lens for my camera. It's an EFS 17-85mm lens and so far, I am loving it. I've been using Paprika as my little model for photo shooots. She is a willing subject and it's too much fun! Here are some recent photos I took with the camera. I'm lucky that Mr. Mustard really loves the technology aspect of photography, so he is always excited to look into the new camera or lens. I am interested in the "picture taking" portion of photography, so it's great that he is so enabling, and that he really takes care of getting me some great gear! If it were up to me, I probably would still have my 110 camera from junior high.

On a side note, I FINALLY figured out how to fix the problem so that you can click on each image to enlarge it. Yea! So, from now on, all images should be clickable!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

20 Month Musings

Paprika is now 20 months old- that's getting close to two! Eek! She is keeping me quite busy and is loads of fun. Her vocabulary is now outstanding, and she makes me laugh at all the funny things she says. Her new favorite thing to say is "thank you" and "Oh, thank you MUCH!" It's really hilarious because she says it after everything now.

Paprika wants nothing to do with playgrounds and anything kid-related. Instead, when we go to the park, she wants to wander the buildings, run through the woods, and explore every inch of unknown earth. Swings and slides are way too old hat. She also dislikes being carried anywhere, and she doesn't want to sit still for a second. The many months of carrying her in slings and the Ergo has created quite an independent little person, and now she feels secure enough to run, run, run and never look back. She wants nothing more than to leave mom behind and explore on her own. She is full of personality.

Paprika has always had very set preferences about sleeping. She goes to bed late rather than early. For a year she slept in our room, but then one night it dawned on us that we were waking her up with our movement, and so we put her in her own room. I worried she would have separation anxiety. Heck, I had separation anxiety! Just the opposite, she started sleeping like a dream and loves having her own space more than I could have imagined.

Travel, on the other hand, is not her strong suit! I love travelling and had all these dreams about toting Paprika around the world, and her racking up a whole collection of Passport stamps by the age of five. The reality is that she loves her bed, only her bed, and will not sleep anywhere else but her bed. When Mr. Mustard was working in Chicago last year for Harpo, I travelled quite a bit with her there and each visit got worse. I have also taken Paprika to Indiana quite a few times since her birth. Each time the sleeping situation has worsened. Short of dismantling her bed and bringing it with us, I don't know what to do.

We are supposed to go to Tom and Ann's wedding soon, and I'm just imagining how difficult it will be with this incredibly headstrong toddler- the type of toddler who can go 26 hours straight without sleeping. Not to mention that Mr. Mustard and I are really itching to do some travelling- back to Maine and New Hampshire, and maybe somewhere more exotic soon. What to do? What to do?

On a lighter note, these photos were taken at the Go Kart Race Track last weekend. Paprika loves it there, and so does Mr. Mustard. Paprika is addicted to anything having to do with cars and driving. She is definitely her father's daughter!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Off to the Races!

We went to the Santa Anita Racetrack today to watch the horse races. Paprika loves looking at horses, but when we went up to pet a few of them after a race, she was very hesitant and didn't want to pet them at all. For a girl who's not afraid of anything, we found this very surprising.

We placed a few bets, and I won on the last one! Well, only $3.80 and after $12 of betting, I didn't quite come out ahead. But that's okay- it was all for entertainment anyway. The track closes tomorrow, so we were happy to make a trip before the season ends!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Robbie!

My brother, Robbie, turns 13 today! I am so proud of the person he's turning out to be. He's such an amazing guy, and I feel so lucky he's my brother. I was in the delivery room the day he was born and have known him from the second he breathed his first breath of air. I love you, Robbie! Happy 13th Birthday!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Paprika, The Singing Baby!

I think everyone knows how much Paprika loves to sing. She wakes up singing, she sings herself to sleep at night, and she sings every minute in between. Here's a short video of her in action earlier this evening.

Such A Girl!

Paprika and I had a great day at the park today. I just got her some new shoes, and she was so excited to wear them. Whenever we go out, she has to have her hat and her purse with her. What does a 19 month old put in her purse, you may wonder? Elmo cookies, a pacifier, and some crayons, of course!
She met a 16 month old little girl today at the park. The little girl was sitting so quietly in her stroller being fed by her nanny, and Paprika marched right up to her and wanted feed the little girl herself, eat her snacks, and push her in the stroller. Paprika was telling the little girl LOTS of things in her very fast, ferverent gibberish punctuated with phrases like "Okay!" "Sure!" Then, Paprika got bored and decided to go off exploring other areas of the park.
Paprika was so exhausted after the Santa Barbara ordeal that she went to bed last night at 7:30pm and slept until 10:30 am this morning. I kept thinking she would wake up, but no, she slept right through the night and woke up this morning singing to herself in her crib. When I went in to get her, she had lined up all her stuffed animals and was hugging them and talking to them about who knows what. I feel really fortunate that she always wakes up in such a great mood. She is my morning coffee!

Monday, April 14, 2008

New Wheels and Midnight Road Trips

Yea! We finally agreed, found, and bought a new car! It's a beautiful, sporty Subaru WRX wagon- and the best part is that Paprika's tricyle will fit in the back! Now we'll be able to bring her bike to the park so she can stop coveting other kids' bikes.

We had an eventful weekend. Saturday I finished up my sewing class and I am now the proud owner of a new pair of pajama pants that more resemble clown pants than anything else. Saturday night the three of us when to Chipotle for dinner (Paprika's favorite place- she calls it "Chips!" because she loves the chips and guacamole they serve). Then we went to the go-kart racing place and let Paprika sit in the big race cars, and we played a few video games. She really loves that place, and it's the only family-oriented place that stays open late enough for her (it's open til 1am).

On Sunday morning Mr. Mustard asked me if I'd like to go up to Santa Barbara with him and spend a few days up there. I said, "okay, fine- yes, let's go." So, we packed up all of Paprika's things, my things, loaded up the car and started driving. Halfway there we stopped to test drive the Subaru, which was great because there was a park nearby and Paprika got to stretch her legs and play.

We got back in the car about naptime, and thought for sure she'd go to sleep...but no. Instead, she continued to sing at the top of her lungs for the rest of the car ride up (about 1 1/2 hours)- singing about "Lalala Elmo Cookies, LaLa Cars, LaLa Moon!" Cute, but no nap.

After we get up to Mr. Mustard's mom's house in Santa Barbara, we set up Paprika's room to look like an exact replica of her room at home with all her comfy toys and bedding. We also did a lot of babyproofing. We did this while Paprika was having a grand old time running around trying to un-babyproof the house.

At about 9pm, we started night-night routine, since it was obvious that she was exhauted from not having a nap, but as soon as I would get Paprika near the crib, she would start shrieking crying. Screaming at the top of her lungs. So, we waited, and a little while later tried again...to no avail. After 6 attempts of reading books, saying goodnight to everything and nursing didn't work, we tried to drive with her in the car to get her to fall asleep. She fell asleep, but then when we took her inside to lay down, she started high pitched screaming again. So, I put her in bed with us and it got even worse.

At this point, it was 1:15 am and we'd been trying to get her to go to bed over four hours. Then Mr. Mustard said, let's just put her in the crib and see if she calms down (yeah right). After 10 minutes of her cries becoming more and more frantic (and me getting more upset), I went in and got her, put her in the car, and drove back to Los Angeles by myself (a two hour drive), at 1:30am. She fell asleep in the car halfway, then woke up about one mile from our house (when I had to stop at a stoplight). She was wide awake, but I took her upstairs to her bed and said "time for goodnight" and she hugged me and let out the hugest sigh of relief. Good grief!

It was very stressful, and I'm just so glad we were close enough to be able to come home. I really think she would have kept crying like that all night long. She likes her bed and only her bed, and is really set on that. I don't know what I can do to change that except to just wait. Until then, it looks like we're not going far from home.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So Emotional

Paprika has been throwing tantrums lately! She gets her mind set on something, and she won't let go. It's tiring, to say the least! She also is becoming quite the climber and if I turn my back for a second, she's scaled something- be it the bathroom counter (she climbs from floor to toilet to countertop) or the dining room table, or anything else she can find. She's a toddler through and through, and she is wearing me out!

We went to the indoor playground yesterday, and that was a wonderful respite from having to constantly tell Paprika "no"- because the playground is a 100% safe place for her to climb and play. We have issues when we go to the park because she only wants to climb on the "big kid" playground equipment (for kids ages 5 and up) and wants to try to ride the big kids' bikes that they leave laying around the playground. Both are dangerous for her, and I constantly have to try to steer her towards more age appropriate activities, with which she wants nothing to do! Ah well. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted and worn out!

Paprika is also doing some really cute things. She has a little playhouse that she loves, and she is always trying to "bake a cake." She goes in there and whips something pretend up, and then comes out and hands it to me and says "here you go!" It's really adorable. That makes me forget about how much she wears me out. :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fun Day At The Park

We had a great day today at the park. The rose garden is starting to bloom, and everything is so lush and fragrant! Paprika traipsed all over the park, and had a great time smelling and trying to pick all the flowers (but I wouldn't let her pick them)!

I just bought Paprika her first set of Play-Doh the other night and she's had a blast making it into all sorts of different shapes. She is also at the stage where she loves stacking anything and everything- so all of her blocks are being put to good use- finally! I also just got her an Aquadoodle, which is something little ones can draw on without making a mess. It's wonderful- and even has an Elmo theme (her favorite). But so far, she's not super interested in drawing. Paprika does like writing with a pen, though. I think she likes to do that because she sees Mr. Mustard and I writing with pens. We've had some near misses, but so far she's been pretty good about keeping the pen on the paper.

Mr. Mustard is due home later tonight and we'll start our weekend together. Yea!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Paprika Watching a Video of Herself

Here's a quick movie of Paprika watching a video of herself. Watching her own videos is just about her favorite thing to do!

Malibu Speedzone

Paprika loves anything with wheels, especially cars. We went to Malibu Speedzone, a local go-kart place last weekend, and had a wonderful time. Paprika played in the cars while Mr. Mustard raced go-karts. I was supervising Paprika and she did not want to get out of the go-karts. She could have stayed inside all day pretending to drive.

We had a great weekend together as a family. Mr. Mustard is still spending his weeks working up in Santa Barbara, so we really value our time together on Saturday and Sunday.

This past Sunday, Paprika surprised Mr. Mustard by reading "Goodnight Moon" to him. We haven't read that book to her in probably six months, yet she opened it up and pointed to the correct words, and said all the right things- "Goodnight kittens, Goodnight mittens, etc." She continues to wow us, that's for sure!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Paprika Singing!

Paprika LOVES singing anywhere and everywhere. She can sing for HOURS on end, and she's got some lungs! Her newest microphone is an old showerhead we had sitting around the house. Here's a video of her singing earlier tonight. :-)