Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Visiting An Old Friend

Paprika and I took a trip to our favorite park today. We hadn't been there since early July, and yet, Paprika remembered the place as if we'd never left.

When she saw the War Memorial, she ran to it and said, "Oh Tin Man! I'm so happy to see you!" Then she ran up to him and gave him a hug and a big kiss. She started having a very fast conversation with him, and interjected many, many times: "I love you SO MUCH!"

It was hard to get her to leave the memorial, but eventually I asked her if she wanted to go into the woods to look for bears and snakes, and she said, "Okay! Yes! Let's Go! Bye Bye Tin Man! I love you so much! See you next time!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Learning To Live Without Them

A lot of people have asked me how I'm feeling, whether we're going to try to have more children, and many other questions lately. We are getting by- grateful to have Paprika and happy for the joy she brings to our lives- but also incredibly sad for the loss we have experienced.

I know we will never "get over" losing Vivian and Annemarie. I know I think about them every day- pretty much every second of every day. We are sad in the way you are when you experience a loss that changes the shape of your life forever. It's as if we have lost two of our limbs, and we are trying to navigate the world with no arms, or no hands. It's incredibly hard, but it's not something that can be fixed, either. We must learn to live without them, as unfathomably hard as that is for us to comprehend.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we have to go on- for Paprika, mostly. I don't want her to grow up with parents who are angry, sulky, and depressed all the time. We put on a brave face for her and we are trying to create a life for her that is wonderful, magical, and full of hope.

But, that doesn't mean that we don't think about Vivian and Annemarie and mourn for them. I don't know what the future holds for our family, but I do know that we are trying to make the best come from our lives. I want to live a life of meaning- one that would make Vivian and Annemarie proud of their mommy.

I also feel a significant increase in my desire to become worthy of Heaven. I know Annemarie and Vivian are in Heaven. I want to see them again so badly, I'm doing everything I can so that when my time comes, I'll get to join them.

In the meantime, we are doing our best to walk through this terrible tragedy and create a life worth living here on Earth. All days are hard for us right now, most are incredibly hard, and I don't know when things will get better. But the one thing we have right now is hope- hope that our family can grow, hope that we can make the most of the days that we do have, and hope that our girls are looking down on us from Heaven and that they know how infinitely much we love them.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Big Girl!

Paprika's 2 Year Stats:

Paprika is 35 1/2 inches tall and weighs 33.5 pounds! She's at the top of the growth chart for girls her age for weight and height. At one year, she was 27 pounds and 29.25 inches. So, in one year, she has grown 6.25 inches and has gained 6.5 pounds. She's growing so tall and is losing all of her squeezable baby chub!

She wears a 3T in tops, dresses, and shorts and a 2T in pants.

Over the past week or two, Paprika has grown up SO much. She is now pretty much fluent in English- she can carry on a conversation with paragraphs! She can sing LOTS of songs from start to finish. Her current list of songs she can sing all the words to are:

All the "Baby Songs" songs by Hap Palmer (about 20 of them...)
Old MacDonald Had A Farm
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Ring Around the Rosie
Bingo (there was a farmer who had a dog...)
The Alphabet Song
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Rockabye Baby
The Barney Theme Song
The Elmo's World Theme Song
A bunch of Sesame Street Songs
Most of the Barney Songs (I like Red...it's the color of an apple, etc.)

The list goes on..., she sings pretty much all day long! We have the piano songbooks for the Sesame Street, Hap Palmer, and Barney songs- so we get a lot of practice singing and playing them around the piano. Fun!

Paprika is very polite- her favorite things to say are "Please" and "Thank you SO MUCH! Have a nice day!" She also says "Sorry" a lot- not sure where she gets that from- probably from me!

We are working on potty training. She definitely "knows when she goes" but is not interested in using the potty. She just turned 2, so I'm not going to push the potty training just yet- she'll be ready when she's ready (I hope!).

She loves building "tall towers" with blocks and being around other "babies" (kids her own age). She loves playing away on our piano and singing to herself (and everyone around her). She's easy-going and has a great sense of humor. She is a joy to her parents and provides us so much comfort, fun, and enjoyment. I can't imagine a more wonderful kid. :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meeting Princesses and other Disney Fun!

A few more from our trip to Disneyland on Wednesday!

Riding the Carousel (on the horse all by herself!):

Paprika meeting Sleeping Beauty:

And Snow White:

Into the Jaws of the Whale in Storybookland:

With Goofy, who for some reason she kept calling "Paprika's Goofy!"

Disneyland Pictures!

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Disneyland!

Outside Cinderella's Castle:

On the Carousel:

On the Flying Elephants:

Having Fun with Daddy:


Yesterday we took Paprika to "The Happiest Place on Earth," or Disneyland as it's called by most people. We had a GREAT time! We had the park practically to ourselves and there was very little (if any) wait time for rides. We even brought our own lunches, so we enjoyed a delicious picnic inside the park. Fun!

Paprika loved every ride she rode- even the really scary ones. She would sit very still during the whole ride, taking it all in, looking very serious, and then at the end of the ride, she would look up at us expectantly and say, "go one more time, please!" Then, if we said yes, she would squeal with delight, clap her hands, and say "Yea!!!!" Her favorite rides were the Carousel (we rode it at least 5 times- probably more), and the Flying Elephant (Dumbo) ride.

Here are a few of the videos we took during the day. I will upload photos later! We got some great ones!

The Three of Us on the Flying Elephant Ride:

Paprika made a big deal about wanting to meet "the Princesses." So, we did that, too! She met Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and Snow White, and then we went to Story Time led by Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Success!

On The Teacup Ride:

It was all very relaxed and drama-free. We even beat the traffic both ways! It doesn't get any better than that, especially in LA!

Saying Good-bye On The Carousel:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Paprika Sings ABBA!

Here are a few recent videos of Paprika, 24 months, doing what she loves best- singing! She really loves singing ABBA songs from the Mamma Mia! Soundtrack. She is able to sing pretty much all of Dancing Queen, Supertrooper, and Honey Honey-(especially when she's singing along to the CD). I took these videos after she had already been singing at top volume for about half an hour, so she is a little worn out!

On these videos she sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Dancing Queen, and Supertrooper. At a couple points, she interjects "Oh The Places You'll Go" from the Dr. Seuss book she loves to read. She is a hoot! :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Trains

I've been teaching myself Photoshop over the past few months, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it. Photography has become a passion of mine since Paprika was born, and it's one of those things that I'm constantly seeking to improve.

But, the picture doesn't always go according to plan, which is where Photoshop comes in! I rarely have much time to retouch photos, so all of my retouching jobs are quick and dirty. I erase other people out of our pictures all the time and I am apt to take off a blemish or two (or clean off a dirty face) in the editing process.

Here's a very recent example:

Original Photo:
Looks okay, but notice the boy and his father in the picture? Not the image I was hoping for, but on a busy day at the Fair, it would have been nearly impossible to get a clean shot.

The Same Photo with the Boy and His Father Removed:

Imagining the Train in 1893:

Or in 1945:

Or in 2008 (cleaned up with a little color boost):

Isn't Photoshop fun?!!!

The LA County Fair!

We descended on the LA County Fair last weekend. Mr. Mustard's mom, Pat, was in town for the weekend and treated Mr. Mustard, Paprika, and I to a day at the Fair. We all had a great time!

Paprika was slow to warm up to the fair. At first, every single animal we saw, she would greet the animal by indicating her desire to leave the Fair. "Bye Bye Sheep! Time to go home!" or "Bye Bye Goat! Time to go home! Time to lay down!" or "Bye bye Pig! See you later, alligator!" She clearly was not enjoying herself.

But, when we found a little petting zoo where you could actually get in and touch the animals, she warmed up immediately. After that, she was all smiles and a real trooper the rest of the day.

We tried to get Paprika to take a Pony Ride, but this is the closest she got to the pony (see above picture). As soon as that man tried to put her in the saddle, she locked her legs and refused to sit. After a few attempts, we decided to save the pony rides for next year. But, all was not lost- she had a lot of fun dancing up on the platform where you wait for the pony ride!

After we had seen every animal at the fair, we headed over to the historic train section. Unfortunately, the trains were all the way on the other side of the park, and you had to walk through the Midway to get to them. But, we persevered and after a trek that seemed like an intercontinental crossing, we made it! It was worth the trip. Paprika called every train "Thomas!" after Thomas the Train. :-)

All in all, a very successful trip to the Fair. See you next year, Fair!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Still Summer In California!

One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is that it's summer year-round. It sort of makes up for everything else: the smog, traffic, high cost of living, population density, and oh yea, about everything else! ;-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fashionista

As I was driving yesterday, I glanced in the backseat and saw this scene. Sunglasses, check! Purse, check! Paprika has such her own personal style. She loves boots, shoes, hats, purses, and can't leave the house without commenting on what I'm wearing. "I like your new pretty brown boots, mommy!" This child just amazes me.

In addition, lately we've been listening to the Sara Mr. Mustards Greatest Hits CD in the car. When "Suds In The Bucket" comes on, Paprika sings along- all the lyrics. Then when the song is done, she says, "Mommy, play the song again, please."

Such personality, and so much her own person! Where did this little girl come from again?!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Birthday & Dress-Up

We had a wonderful time celebrating my birthday this past week. It was definitely a hard birthday for me. It doesn't feel right not having Vivian and Annemarie with us. Of course, Paprika was an absolute delight. She is so much fun to be around, and I am loving this age so much- but, of course, I love every age! Paprika especially loves to play dress-up, as you can tell from these pictures!

Ready For Her Close-Up:

Telling Mommy Thank-You:

The Wings:

Auntie Ann & Paprika Dancing:

Mommy & Paprika Dancing:

A Rare Shot of The Three of Us:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Today is my birthday. No huge plans except for pedicures with Ann, taking Paprika to swim lessons, and hopefully dinner later tonight with Mr. Mustard, Paprika, and Ann! It's a beautiful day outside and we'll be taking advantage of the gorgeous weather for sure.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Their Names In The Sand

There is a wonderful woman named Carly who has an amazing gift that she gives to families whose children have passed away. She writes their names in the sand at sunset at Burns Beach on the Western Coast of Austrailia. Here are the pictures Carly took for us after she wrote our Vivian and Annemarie's names in the sand:

Thank you, Carly! And thank you, Devon, for telling me about Carly!

Paprika Reads A Dinosaur Book

Here is a video of Paprika at 24 months reading us a book before night-night.

Paprika Sings Her ABCs!

Although she's been singing her ABCs for quite some time now, we finally got it on video! This is Paprika at 24 months, singing her ABCs.

Twinkle Twinkle

This video was taken a month ago, in Florida, when Paprika was 23 months old. Since then she's learned to sing all the words, and she sings "Little" now instead of "Neener"- but honestly, I think I like "Neener" better! Note the hand motions! :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Auntie Ann Is Coming!

Auntie Ann is coming to visit tomorrow!!! We are soooo excited. She is staying here for my birthday weekend, and we have lots of fun things planned. :-) I think Paprika should expect to get an extra dose of love poured on her, as Auntie Ann loves giving Paprika lots and lots of extra attention and love. Yea!