Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eight Things...

I was tagged by my friend, Cryssy, to do a fun post.

Here goes:

8 T.V. Shows I watch:

This is a hard one. We don't watch TV at all (Mr. Mustard says he gets enough at work and I agree)- but we do watch a few shows online or we watch the Academy screeners Mr. Mustard gets from the Emmy Academy (tv shows on DVD)...

1. Lost
2. Heroes
4. Gossip Girl (Mr. Mustard doesn't watch this one!)
5. Battle Star Galactica
6. Entourage

8 Favorite Restaurants:

Mostly LA local...

1. Kabuki (sushi)
2. El Cholo
3. Parkway Grill
4. Sushi Roku
5. Chipotle (we go there a lot with Paprika)
6. TGI Friday's (whenever we go go-kart racing, we always stop in for mozzarella sticks and potato skins)
7. Zaffiro in Santa Barbara
8. The Sage and Onion in Santa Barbara (now closed)

8 Things that happened today:
1. Went to Target
2. At Target, Paprika somehow talked me into buying her a big toy horse
3. Made Mr. Mustard a birthday cake (double layer!)
4. Ordered a blog resdesign (after almost three years of blogging, I deserve it!)
5. Watched Toy Story with Paprika
6. Sent flowers to Eric
7. Talked to my Aunt Laura on the phone
8. Painted with Paprika at her easel

8 Things I look forward to:
1. Mr. Mustard's surprise that I baked him a birthday cake!
2. Mr. Mustard having the next two days off work
3. My next book being published in the spring
4. Taking Paprika to Disneyland in January
5. Hopefully coming to Indy for my dad's wedding in March
6. Fun days with Paprika at the park
7. Spending time with my friends
8. A brighter 2009!

8 Things I wish for:

I'm actually really content with what we have, but if a genie were to ask me:

1. Health and happiness for Paprika, Mr. Mustard, and the rest of my family and friends
2. A four bedroom house with a yard
3. A reliable babysitter who lives next door
4. Some remodeling on our current home
5. Going on a trip just me and Mr. Mustard
6. Many more happy years together
7. To become a better chef
8. To live closer to my family but still have the wonderful perks of Southern California!

Prayers for Eric

My stepdad, Eric, had his surgery yesterday for the cancer he's been battling for the past few months. It's a pretty serious form of cancer, and needless to say, we have all been so worried about him. If you get a chance, please say a prayer for Eric that he has a speedy recovery and that he's back to his old self in no time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Paprika and Baby Cheese!

Today we had a nice little walk to our neighborhood park. On the way, Paprika spotted our neighbor's nativity scene and HAD to go make friends. She knew that this was a mommy, daddy, and a baby. I told her, "That's Baby Jesus."

She looked at him with eyes full of wonder and said loudly, "Oh! That's Baby Cheese!"

Me: No, Paprika...Baby Jesus.

Paprika: Yes, Mommy. Baby Cheese. Hi Baby Cheese.

Me: No, Paprika. It's Baby Jesus.

Paprika: Hi Baby Cheese! Whatcha doin' Baby Cheese! Oh, you're so sweet, Baby Cheese. I'll give you a kiss, Baby Cheese!

She had to sit and talk to Mary, Joseph and "Baby Cheese" for a long time. She gave them hugs and kisses, and told them all about everything.

On our walk back from the park, Paprika was so excited to see Mary, Joseph, and "Baby Cheese" again, and she sat and talked to them for a long time once more.

We have been really enjoying our holiday break. Mr. Mustard's birthday is on Wednesday! So, while everyone else is celebrating New Year's Eve, we'll be celebrating Mr. Mustard AND the New Year! We're pretty lucky, aren't we!

Mr. Mustard's work schedule has temporarily shifted a bit, and now he's home much more often during the days because he's working in the evenings. Paprika and I love that! We get to spend our mornings and afternoons with him, and he gets to do fun things like go to the park with us. It works for us!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Christmas

Our little Christmas tree on Christmas morning:

We had a quiet Christmas at home this year. We all slept in late- I think we have the only two year old on planet Earth who likes to sleep until noon. We got up leisurely, and began opening presents while eating the fresh baked pumpkin bread Mr. Mustard had made for breakfast.

I was so worried that we hadn't bought Paprika enough Christmas presents, but we realized very quickly that she would have been happy with just a few small stocking stuffers. Paprika wanted to take her time opening presents, and wanted to play with each toy for a long time before moving on to the next one.

We opened her presents from noon until three, then she said, "All Done Presents!" - which meant she needed a break- even though she still had most of her presents left to open. We took a break for a few hours, and then after her nap we opened the rest of her presents. In total, it took about ten to twelve hours to open all her presents- granted, each present took half an hour or more.

Mr. Mustard's mom came over and cooked us a wonderful Christmas dinner. She had given us a grocery list a few days prior, and I was happy to buy the food, if she was willing to cook it! It was wonderful, very tasty, and was perfect for our small Christmas feast.

We had a wonderful day overall, although we were sad that Vivian and Annemarie were not here to celebrate what would have been their first Christmas. We miss them a lot and yet we are so grateful for the blessings in our lives, and we are hopeful for our future as a family.

Here are a few pictures from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

Paprika, painting:

Paprika taking a break from painting, relaxing in our cabinet:


More Bubbles!

Paprika, decorating her gingerbread house:

The gingerbread house, in all its glory (looks like they had a blizzard of powdered sugar on their front stoop):

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!!!

Erika didn't order enough holiday cards this year- oops! So, if you don't get one in the mail, it's not because we don't love you! It's just too late to order more! We are sharing our card via our blog- and think of all the trees that are saved in the process!


Our Trip To See Santa

We had big plans to see Santa on Friday. Well, I should say that I had big plans for Paprika to see Santa on Friday. Mr. Mustard got home from work, we got Paprika dressed in a cute outfit to see Santa, and then asked her, "Paprika, do you want to go see Santa?"

Paprika: Nonononononononononono.

Well, we didn't listen. We put Paprika in the car and headed out to see Santa anyway. Paprika wanted to drive the car. Obviously, that wasn't happening, so she got mad. Then we tried to put her in the stroller, but she doesn't like going in the stroller, so then she got really mad. Then I tried to put her coat on her, and she was so offended!

Then we finally got up to see Santa, and she looked at me like, "Are you crazy? I told you I didn't want to see Santa!"

I said, "Oh, Paprika- look, there's Santa!!!" And she said, "Let's go inside the store, mom."

Here we were, the perfect chance to see Santa (there was NO LINE even!), and she dissed him! So, we didn't go talk to Santa. Maybe next year.

She wasn't afraid of Santa, she just wanted nothing to do with him. Instead, she wanted to go inside the Gap and run around the store, go up and down in the glass elevator, go sit and talk with all the mannequins in the window display, and use the scarf rack as her own beaded curtain.

If you know Paprika, you know she likes to behave like she's 25 years old. She sees other children as "babies" but herself as an adult. She doesn't like to be pushed in the stroller, she wants to walk for herself, thank you very much. She doesn't want to see Santa, she wants to go shopping with the other adults. Sigh.

She did get a kick out of these oversized Christmas ornaments. Mostly, she wanted to see if she could slide down the chute and get inside one!

When we finally got back into the car and were leaving the parking garage, Paprika waved out the window and said, "Bye Bye Santa Claus! See you next time!!!" And then she gave us both the biggest smile...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Smiling, Having Fun...

Paprika and Daddy on the It's a Small World Ride at Disneyland on Tuesday:

We've been going to Disneyland a lot- at least once, usually twice per week. Paprika really loves it, and we go on the days when the park is empty. Mr. Mustard went with us last Friday and this Tuesday- and he got to experience first-hand how much Paprika REALLY loves to wear her rides out.

On one particular ride (The Monster's, Inc. ride), we are on a first-name basis with the people who run the ride because we've ridden it so many times. After our 6th time, they stopped making us wait in line like everyone else! I think the people operating the ride felt a little sorry for Mr. Mustard and me. :-)

We've also been going to the Children's Museum. We just got back from our trip today, and we had a great time. Paprika insisted on wearing her Snow White Dress, so I obliged. You can see it's tattered, but she doesn't mind at all.

Paprika at the Children's Museum today:

Paprika insisted on soaking herself in every bit of water she could find. She came home drenched, and then got upset when I wanted to take off her extremely wet dress. She had a lot of fun, though!

Here is a quick picture of Paprika in her Christmas dress. She wore it to Lauren and Don's party a few weeks ago, and we took a picture of her in it as we headed out the door. I need to take another picture- one where she's not running away from me!

Paprika in her Christmas dress:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Almost Christmas!

We have been keeping ourselves busy, running back and forth between Disneyland and Santa Barbara, and a bunch of other places. Mr. Mustard had Thursday through Sunday off this week, which was just wonderful. We have been aching to spend some time together, and so we really cherished these past four days.

On Thursday, our trio went to Disneyland and California Adventure. We rode ALOT of rides, as usual, and watched the parade together as a family. Mr. Mustard showcased his fatherly patience by riding the Monsters, Inc. ride with Paprika nine times in a row. We all had it memorized by our last trip.

This weekend, we went up to Santa Barbara to attend a very fancy holiday party in Montecito. Mr. Mustard's mom watched Paprika for us, and Mr. Mustard and I enjoyed a wonderful date night together. The theme of the party was "A Christmas Carol" and all of the food and decor was English 19th Century. There was a fantastic dance band, an open bar, and even giant amounts of real snow for sledding and snowball fights. This may not seem amazing to some of you, but snow in Southern California doesn't just happen naturally. It was the best party I've been to in a long time.

Tick tock on Christmas- it's almost here. I am so sad that I won't be visiting my family in Indiana this year. It's the first year I haven't gone home for Christmas. I am already missing everyone so much. I've gone to my grandma and grandpa's house every Christmas for the past 30 years (except for a few Christmases I spent with my dad in Boston as a young child), so missing Christmas this year is so sad to me. But, we'll be creating some traditions here. I'm cooking this year (yikes!) and Paprika will be opening her presents under our tree on Christmas morning.

I hope to create some beautiful Christmas memories for her. I really hope her childhood is full of magic and wonder. Already we've been telling her about Santa and how we're going to bake cookies for him the night before Christmas, and leave out treats for the reindeer. She is more excited about that than anything else, I think!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Balloon Release

Tomorrow, December 7th, is Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Awareness Day. Our girls are always, always on our minds- but even more so right now.

Today we did a balloon release for Vivian and Annemarie at our park. We bought three balloons- two to release for Vivian and Annemarie, and one for Paprika to keep. We released the balloons separately. Mr. Mustard let Vivian's go and I released Annemarie's balloon. I thought the balloons would drift off their separate ways, but they stayed together and floated up, up, up into the sky until I could no longer see them. We watched them until they were tiny pink dots and then they were so small they slipped out of sight.

I know the girls can feel our love for them and that they know how much we miss them.

D-Land and Other Escapades

Paprika and I have been buzzing all over Southern California this past week. We spent two days this past week at Disneyland. It's completely decked out for Christmas. They do a big parade at the end of the day with fireworks- Paprika loves that. They just re-opened It's a Small World, and Paprika REALLY loves that ride. She sings the song over and over and over again.

It's a Small World, at night:

We also did a whole day at the park this week- we even brought a picnic lunch to share. One day we went up to see Devon and Riley and spent the day with them. And another day we spent at The Children's Museum.

Self portrait on It's a Small World, taken at night:

Paprika is so much fun to be around. She now talks like an adult with a full vocabulary. I guess she's been doing this for awhile, but I forget to mention it until, like today at the park, someone asks me, "HOW old is she, and HOW long has she been talking like that?"

She learns things so incredibly quickly and sometimes I don't even know where she gets her info. While waiting in line for the It's a Small World ride, she started pointing out all the shapes- the usual: circle, rectangle, square, star, etc..,and then she started saying, "semi-circle, pentagon, octagon." She surprises me a lot with things like that.

She also has quite a sense of humor. When we were getting in the car the other day, she looked at me and deadpan said, "Mommy, I want to drive the car. You sit back here (in the backseat)." And then she started laughing. She is such a hoot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


We were up in Santa Barbara for four days over Thanksgiving weekend: Thursday through Sunday. Did a lot of relaxing, a lot of eating, and a lot of just hanging out.

On Saturday, we took a nice hike with Paprika (although she sat down on the trail a mile in and refused to walk anymore). She only wanted MOMMY to carry her out of the forest, so my arms got quite a workout carrying my 35 pound bundle of love back to the car.

We saw two movies: Bond and Twilight. Both fun- and it was so nice to get out just as a couple. We don't get too many date nights here in LA.

We went to the beach at sunset one day, which was lovely. We wrote Vivian and Annemarie's names in the sand, along with the names of a few other special babies. I got this idea from my friend, Carly, who lives in Australia near Burns Beach. She wrote Vivian and Annemarie's names in the sand in September and so this time, I wrote her son's name in the sand. Then, when I got home and checked my email, I found a message from her saying that she had been thinking about me and wrote my girls' names in the sand that same day. Can you believe that? We were both writing in the sand at the same time, half a world away.

Here are the pictures she sent me. Can you imagine a more perfect, beautiful sunset? It takes my breath away.