Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Costume Party

We went to a kids' costume party this weekend at the house of our friends Hilary and Jonathan.

There were lots of kids in costumes, and of course, Paprika wore her favorite dress- her Snow White dress.

Paprika's going through a thing now where she gets really pensive and likes being alone sometimes. She'll say, "Mommy, go in the other room please." Of course, I go in the other room and then watch her like a hawk through the door crack. It's just her asserting her independence, I guess.

So, I wasn't surprised at the party when I spotted Paprika far away from the other guests, lost in thought:

She returned to the party soon afterwards, ready to play!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Festival and The Chicken

Saturday we went to the Pumpkin Festival. We went last year, and wow, it's amazing how much Paprika has changed in just one year. Here's us at the festival last year: Pumpkin Fest 2007 Look how much more hair she has this year compared to last year!

Paprika's favorite part of the festival was the animals. She loved petting the pony, sheep, goats, and the pig.

But her very favorite animal of all was the rooster, aka "Chicken." Paprika talked to the chicken for at least 45 minutes. I think they may have had some kind of a soul connection. She was so gentle with him, and would pet him so softly. She would whisper into his ear, "What are you thinking about, Chicken?" "What do you dream about, Chicken?"

When the other kids would come up to pet him, she would tell them to be nice, and if they tried to put food into his water dish (a big no-no), she would take it out for him so that his water was clean.

She never wanted to leave his side. It was very hard getting her to leave. When she got home, she cried, "Where's Chicken! I want to go see Chicken!" So, at least we have pictures of their day together. Paprika and The Chicken! :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Alone

One thing I can say is that Paprika gets a lot of individualized attention. She has me 24-7, and overall is a really happy, well-adjusted child.

At the same time, I look at her and am so sad that she is growing up without any siblings around her. We were supposed to be a full house, right about now, with three kids under the age of three.

I think about how much she would have loved playing with her sisters, and as they grew how much fun they would have had getting into trouble.

It is so much fun getting to focus all my attention on Paprika, don't get me wrong. It's just that sometimes it is a lot of pressure, and I have to pull myself together (can't wallow in grief) when someone so important is relying on me as her everything.

I know she gets exposed to other kids from the playdates we have, and the child-centered places we go. But it's not the same as having your own siblings.

I've been thinking a lot about my decision to give up my career to stay home with Paprika, whether that was the right thing to do. We re-evaluate all the time, of course, and I imagine what it would be like to pursue a high-powered career, make loads of money, and all that. I guess it would give me significance outside my home- because right now, my everything is my family. But, when 2/3 of your children aren't with you, it's difficult to find that wholeness in the home. Still, I think it was the right decision for our family for me to stay home.

I guess what I'm saying is that I really miss Vivian and Annemarie- not just for me, but also because I had so many dreams of what they would mean to Paprika. Not having them here makes our house seem so empty. I keep thinking, "they should be here now." But they're not, and it's something I have to wake up to every single day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day At The Children's Museum

Paprika and I spent today at the Children's Museum. She had a GREAT time painting. And the best part was that I didn't have to clean up afterwards! Paprika is quite the artist. She loves to draw and paint for hours.

After she was done painting, Paprika decided it was time to ride bikes outside.

Then, it was time to uncover dinosaur bones like a real archaelogist.

Then, it was back to more painting in a different part of the museum.

After she got that out of her system, we went to the toddler area and Paprika had fun sliding down the slide!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lazy Sunday

We had our lazy Sunday at the Huntington today. Paprika had a great time looking at the fish, throwing rocks in the river, and running through the gardens. Here are some pictures from our day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Day at the Park

Paprika and I spent our Friday at our favorite park. Paprika had a lot of fun smelling the flowers. I had to remind her a few times not to tear off the petals, but overall, she was really gentle with them.

I hope wherever you are, that you are enjoying your Fall as much as we are!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Snow White!

I decided awhile ago to let Paprika pick out who she wanted to be this Halloween. While we were out shopping a month or so ago, she found a Snow White dress and crown that she just had to have. I bought it, put it in the closet, and decided to save it for Halloween.

Well, that just wouldn't do. Paprika loves this dress and wants to wear it all the time. So I thought "what the heck"- let's take it out now and let her enjoy it before Halloween.

The good news is that it's getting a lot of use. The bad news is that it's the FIRST thing she asks for when she wakes up in the morning. "Let's go put on Snow White's dress, mommy! Please, mommy? Where's Snow White's dress? Time to put on Snow White's dress!" Like any two year old, Paprika knows persistence is her friend. :-)

I'm more than happy to oblige her. She has a wonderful time singing songs she's made up herself, pretending in the dress, dancing around the living room, and talking to herself in the mirror. She holds royal court in our home, and I am lucky enough to get an invitation!

All in all, a successful Halloween and dress-up purchase! I'm glad she's having so much fun with it and I'm happy that she loves using her imagination so much!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Playdate with Brandon!

Paprika and I have been keeping busy with playdates, trips to the park, and I even took her to Disneyland all by myself! We have been living it up! On Monday of this week, we went over to Michelle's house for a playdate with Brandon. Too fun!

We really like visiting Michelle and Brandon- there are lots of age appropriate, educational children's toys, healthy snacks, a sandbox to play in...basically, kiddie utopia. Needless to say, Paprika had a great time.

While Michelle and I were talking in the playroom, Paprika wandered off into Brandon's room, curled up in the corner, pulled a blanket over her, and started to look through books.

Within a few moments, Brandon followed her lead, found a comfy spot in the pillows, and picked up some books to read to Paprika. Being so much older than Paprika (8 months older), he had lots of things to tell her about and lots of books to read to her.

Michelle was thinking on her feet, grabbed her camera, and caught these adorable photos. We called it "the intellectual play-date." :-)

Wave of Light

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We'll be lighting candles at our house tonight in memory of Vivian, Annemarie, and all the babies lost or born too soon. I invite you to do the same. Tonight at 7pm!

For more information on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, go to www.october15th.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Three Months Ago

Today is the three month anniversary of Vivian and Annemarie's birth. So much has changed since July 12th, and yet nothing has changed. This has been the hardest year, for so many reasons, but mostly because we lost our girls this year.

I write letters often to Vivian and Annemarie in my private journal. Here is today's letter:

Dear Vivian and Annemarie,

Three months ago today, I was in labor with you both at Cedars-Sinai. Today was the day I held you in my arms, and said goodbye to you both. Every day since then has been so painful. My heart aches for you. I love you both so much, and it is so hard to go on with my life, knowing that you are not in it. I have to go on for Paprika's sake, and for Daddy's sake, but I don't want to. I want life to stop, and I want to join you both up in Heaven.

Girls, I miss you and love you with all my heart. I can't believe that you're gone. Today when Paprika takes a nap, I'll kiss your pictures and hold your urns. I just wish I was holding you alive, and watching you nap in the bassinet beside my bed.

It is terribly unfair that we are separated by Death, and I don't know that I will ever understand why this had to be. You will always be my daughters, my second and third children, and the loves of my life. Never were two girls wanted more than you were. Never were two girls more loved.

Vivian, you would have been a great big sister to Annemarie, who was born 18 minutes after you were. You were so strong, and beautiful, and all I wanted was to watch you grow up.

Annemarie, my littlest baby, how much would I have loved to watch you grow and be my littlest star. You were beautiful and sweet, and strong, and lovely.

I am so sorry you both had to die. I hope you did not suffer. I love you both with all my heart.

I love you today and every day, my sweets.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Disneyland Sunday

We decided to go back to Disneyland on Sunday, since we are now Season Pass Holders. It was not quite as magical an experience as the first trip. ;-) Little did we know that they decided to shut down the entire park for Miley Cyrus' Sweet 16 party- nevermind the fact that her birthday isn't for another two months. Ugh!

We arrived around 1pm and we were told the park would be closing at 5pm. We figured we had a few hours to enjoy the park, right? Well, that's not how it worked. All of the characters had to leave early to get ready for "Miley's Sweet 16." We got turned away from Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, all the Princesses, and Goofy. Each time we went up to meet them, the Disney worker would tell us that the party in front of us was the last group, and that we had to leave because the character had to go get ready for Miley's party. After getting the rope put in front of us on FIVE separate occasions, I was about to lose my cool- especially because Paprika was so excited about getting to see the characters, and then I kept having to tell her that she couldn't. At one point she started crying because ALL she wanted to do was meet a Disney character. Then, many of the rides were shut down hours early for the same reason. Talk about a let-down!

Everyone in the park was peeved that they had to leave so Miley could shut down the park for her party. There were kids saying things like, "Why can't we shut down Disneyland for my birthday party, mom?" Shutting down the park like that on a SUNDAY afternoon sent the message that this one 15 year old girl is more important than everyone else in the park put together. And if you are going to shut down the park, then really shut it down. Don't tell everyone it's open until 5pm and then close the rides and take the characters away hours before then! It left a bad taste in my mouth.

I'm hoping our next trip to Disneyland is better than this past one. Even so, a bad day at Disneyland is certainly better than many of the days we've had recently. So, to put things in perspective- its wasn't even remotely the worst day ever or anything! It was just so not the exciting, escape-from-reality day we had anticipated!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rainy Day at the Art Museum!

Rainy days are very rare in Los Angeles. We see them so rarely that none of us in our little family own rainboots or raincoats, and the umbrellas are buried somewhere deep in the garage. But it rained today. I imagined that the heavens were crying for Vivian and Annemarie on the 12 week anniversary of their birth.

Paprika was very excited when we told her we were going to the art museum. She loves looking at paintings, and wanted to know all about everything, of course!

She would stop and look at the paintings that interested her, but if one didn't catch her eye, she'd walk right by it and not give it a second look.

She especially liked the Van Gogh paintings. She wanted to look at those for a long time.

Finally, she was ready to leave. She started saying goodbye to all the paintings and sculptures. And finally, she said, "Bye Bye Van Gogh! See you next time!"

All in all, a good day at the art museum!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Building Skyscrapers

Paprika loves building with her blocks. She loves building "tall towers," as she calls them. She will build them as high as they will go, until she runs out of blocks. Here is one she built recently that was so good I had to take a picture of it. She did it almost all on her own, except I got a chair for her to stand on to put the tall parts on top. After she finished, I moved it from the floor to the table so we could admire it for awhile. For a 25 month old, I think it's pretty darn amazing!