Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Traditions!


One of my favorite festive things we did this Christmas was drive around together as a family and look at sparkly lights. I know it sounds like a little thing, but the beautiful lights always make me smile and feel all warm inside.

We toured the lights three nights over Christmas. The first time was probably the biggest hit. We just drove around our neighborhood, and although none of the lights were over-the-top spectacular, it was still so magical to Paprika and Ginger since it was their first time this season.


The second time we went to look at lights, we toured a neighborhood in Torrance that is famed for its Christmas displays. It's streets and streets of amazing light displays. We even heard that when you buy a house in this neighborhood, you have to agree to put up lights at Christmas! Needless to say, it was amazing.


We drove through the neighborhoods, but the girls wanted to get out and Mr. M took them while I waited in the van with the baby (who had fallen asleep during the drive!) People were selling hot chocolate and popcorn on their front lawns, and so the big girls got a little treat while they toured the lights on foot.

We even went back one more time to look at the lights. We did that a few nights before Christmas, and by then the traffic was crazy in the neighborhood!!! So, that trip was a short one - haha - and made me realize that we did the right thing looking at lights before the rush. Only in Los Angeles can there be a traffic jam looking at Christmas lights! ;-)

Anywho, this adventure was one of my favorites we did this year, and a tradition I want to keep going as the girls get older. There is something so magical about putting on Christmas music, getting bundled up, and looking at the lights together. I kind of wish that these light shows were year-round, but then I guess they might not seem quite so special. :-)


Time To Party!


Today is one of my most favorite days of the year. Not because it's New Year's Eve, even though that is part of it. Nope, today is one of my favorite days of the year because it is Mr. M's birthday! How great is it that he has a whole holiday devoted to his special day? This is the 11th birthday I have spent with him, and it just gets better every year...


I know that we are going to be ringing in the new year and that it's time to put 2011 behind us...but I have so much catching up to do here, that I hope you'll play along with me as I get caught up on our Christmas week posts. We did so much, and I really don't want to forget a moment of it. So, the next few days I may be doubling up a bit on posts, trying to get it all in before I begin my 2012!


Last week (the day the baby turned 6 weeks old), we spent the day at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. We're members there, although we rarely get to go anymore (it is a bit of a drive and they close early)...


Paprika spent many afternoons there her first three years of life (we used to live right around the corner from this place), so everytime I go there, I get a bit weepy about days gone by. They are going fast. I can't tell you how many pictures I have of her playing in this same fountain as a new toddler. Now she looks so grown up to me.


The baby is hiding out under the nursing cover. I know, it's a bold fashion statement on my part. It's how we roll these days:


Paprika had to bring her dollie with her to the gardens. She's taking this little one everywhere these days. She named her "Little Baby I Love You So" - so if you ask her what her baby's name is, don't be surprised when she tells you that long name. I am not sure which part is the first, middle, and last... I just go with it!


Ginger is about the age Paprika was when the Huntington opened the Children's Garden. Seeing Ginger here at this age reminds me so much of Paprika (even though these two girls' personalities are night and day!)


I am so grateful that I am feeling well enough to get out now. It is still hard for me to walk (especially with the baby in the baby carrier)- but I am doing it. I think it's good to get moving, although by doctor's orders, I am still taking it pretty easy. Every day I feel a little bit stronger...I am so grateful for that!


Hope your New Year's Eve is fun, safe, and wonderful! I'll be back with a bunch of posts about our winter break adventures in the next few days! Then it is on to 2012...I have a lot planned for this coming year! :-)


Friday, December 30, 2011

Science Time!


Another stop on our Winter Break Adventure tour bus was the Los Angeles Science Center. We have been a few times before, but not in the past year or so. It's in downtown Los Angeles, which is exciting in itself.

It's also free admission, which is definitely the right price in my book. Even though it's free to get in, there was hardly anyone there. In a city of 12 million people (or is it more?), you would think more people would come...but thankfully (for us!) they all were out holiday shopping or something. ;-)

Paprika and Ginger had a great time playing with the little television studio they have there. She did a puppet show...


And just generally goofed around...


And we watched it all on the "big screen":


Ginger was the camera operator. She had a lot of fun with it, can you tell?


She also spent a lot of time building stuff...we have noticed that she loves, loves, loves to build. She has been using our giant Lego set more than anyone, and often when she's supposed to be napping, we find her building elaborate structures out of little I see a future engineer in our midst?


So, the Science Center was a hit! Our littlest girl slept through the whole thing, so no pictures of her on this trip. We'll have to bring her back again when she's awake! I guess even at 6 weeks old, you're never too young for a trip to the Science Center. :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere!


We have literally been here, there, and everywhere this Winter Break. Last week we went to a museum or park or something every single day...and of course then with Christmas, we have been so busy I haven't had time to take a breath. So, get ready for picture overload! ;-)

Last week we took the girls to the "Big Aquarium" (Aquarium of the Pacific). The girls love going there, and the baby loved it, too. She was so good. I had her in the Bjorn with a nursing cover over her most of the time (to keep the germies away), but we took off the nursing cover for a moment to take a picture.


We also took the girls to the marina in Long Beach. So much fun to look at the boats. They were broadcasting classical Christmas music and the girls had so much fun running around. We had the whole place to ourselves.


I had to take a picture of daddy with his daughters - the baby was sleeping in the Bjorn while I was taking the picture, so it was just the big girls.


Ginger really is not a fan of group or posed photos...can you tell? ;-)


Even though it's a bit of a trick to all pile in the van and get out and about, it has been so worth it. I have found that all our moods are lifted when we make that effort to get out in the sunshine on a daily basis.


My girls are obsessed with dandelions...and love to blow the seeds here and there.


I wonder how many "flowers" will grow because of them?


That's the Queen Mary in the background. The girls call it the Queen Boat.


Whenever I see these at the harbor here (and also in the Bay Area), I am reminded of the At Ats from Star Wars (a movie I saw once, 15 years ago!) I think the ones in the Bay Area were the inspiration for the figures in the movies...can you see it?


I wonder how much of our outings the girls will remember when they grow up? I guess, even if no one else remembers, I will remember these days and treasure them. And that is important, too.


More pictures with daddy (one at a time):


And Ginger in a slightly better mood!


Looking out at the boats...Ginger kept saying that we needed to get in a boat and sail to the other side of the harbor. I half expected her to jump right in!


And nothing like letting the girls run with wild abandon and get their energy out. I have been so grateful to have Mr. M home from work this Winter Break - besides it being great spending the time together, I so appreciate the help corraling the girls! ;-)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas Miracle...


Little Miss turned 6 weeks old yesterday! Her first six weeks have gone so fast. Ann always says "the first three months after you have a baby are just survival" - and while I normally agree, this time it has felt in many ways less hard than with the other girls. In some ways, it is a lot harder because I have more kids to juggle (haha!) but in other ways, it has been a lot easier.


She is an easy baby...or maybe I am just more used to what having a newborn entails and so I'm more relaxed with her...I don't know. She is a pretty good sleeper, a great nurser, and overall a very happy baby. I figured out a few weeks ago that she is very sensitive to any kind of cow's milk dairy. It makes her soooooo upset and colicky, so a few weeks ago, I completely cut dairy out of my diet. Almost overnight, that helped her so much.


A few nights ago, I decided to try adding dairy back in to see if it would make a difference, and was like night and day. She was in so much pain and spent 5 hours screaming. So, needless to say, I am dairy-free again for the forseeable future. ;-) A small sacrifice to make for a happy baby.


Looks-wise, she really favors Ginger. I think they look almost identical at this age, whereas I never thought Paprika and Ginger looked too much alike (although a lot of people told me they did). I guess time will tell as to who looks like who. ;-)


The most challenging aspect for me has been figuring out how to parent all three girls in a way that gives them all the individualized time and attention they need. Paprika needs help with learning, school work, and all sorts of other things. Ginger is still a baby in some ways...she just turned 2 and a half and is potty training, and needs her snuggle time. She just weaned, which was a big transition for her. She did it on her own, and I am a little grateful (although it is bittersweet, too, of course).


The big sisters love their baby sister, and it's all I can do to keep them from covering her with kisses day and night. They both want to hold her and play with her. Ginger keeps saying: Her is sooooo cute! I love her sooooo much! Paprika loves holding the baby, and kissing her, and wants to "teach" her how to clap. Both girls always want to know what the baby is saying, as if I am the master interpreter of baby coos and gurggles.


Yesterday (on the official 6 week birthday), we spent the day at the Botanical Gardens. She was such a good baby, and I have to say that she pretty much always is. She loves it when we interact with her, and take her exciting places, and as long as she is with her mama, she is a happy girl. I can't believe she's already 6 weeks old. I know I keep saying that, but it's true. My little Christmas miracle is the best present I could have ever received this year. I am so grateful for her with each and every breath I take...


Monday, December 19, 2011

Send It Soaring!


Is there anything more fun than flying a kite? I bought kites for the three girls: a Barbie kite for Paprika, a Yo Gabba Gabba kite for Ginger, and a Toy Story 3 kite for the baby because...well, it was on clearance, and I knew she wouldn't know the difference. ;-)


Ginger is crazy about Yo Gabba Gabba (she got to watch it a bunch while I was pregnant) and Paprika is a huge fan of all things needless to say, the kites were a hit!


We waited for a windy day down at the beach, and we were not disappointed. I can't believe Ginger is old enough to fly her own kite!


Paprika thought her Barbie kite was the best thing ever...


The girls wanted to fly their kites until sunset...and they did!


Paprika chased her kite far down the beach. Thankfully, her kite gave her away and she wasn't able to get too far! Ha!


I can't believe Christmas is on Saturday! Eeek! Are you all done shopping? These kites were supposed to be a Christmas gift, but I just couldn't wait. I am glad we got them out when we time like the present to enjoy a little kite flying. :-)