Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sea Lions, Birds, and Fish...Oh My!


Mr. M hasn't had a day off work in eons. He's been working up in Santa Barbara on his "weekends" and then when DWTS ended, he went right up there to finish up the movie to get it ready for festivals. The one exception was last Thursday. Paprika had Open House night at school, so he moved Heaven and Earth to be home that whole day. It was awesome. :-)

Paprika's school was only in the morning that day (usually she is PM kindergarten) - so we had the whole day to go have fun together. Yipee!


The first thing we did was go have lunch at Rubio's. I brought lots of paper and crayons for the big girls, and they just sat there and drew the whole time we were eating. Baby Violet hung out in her little carseat (she is almost too big for it - sob!) She was happy as she could be sitting between our two tables, just hanging out. I always get a little nervous when we go out to eat, but this time it just worked! Ahhhhhh...relief!


I was craving salmon, so I ordered the salmon chile lime burrito. Yum! The thing is - since December, I have pretty much only been eating vegan. I used to be a vegetarian, but then Violet has a milk intolerance (so I can't have milk, since I am nursing her). So, back in December, I just started eating vegan most of the time. I have cut back about 98% on eating meat, but sometimes when I go out to eat and I am really craving something, I will eat it.

In addition, I started reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies/documentaries about being vegan - and that just kind of cemented in my mind why I have been eating this way. I will not bore you with the details (and I am definitely NOT trying to convert anyone) - just needless to say, it's been working for me. :-)


So, yea...after not eating meat in forever, I had my salmon burrito. And half an hour later, we were at the Aquarium of the Pacific to spend the day!

The very first exhibit I saw was a tank full of SALMON! I swear one of the fish looked me straight in my eye and that look went straight to my heart. Oh, the guilt. I felt awful and just about broke down right there at the aquarium. Here I was looking at this living, beautiful fish and then thinking about how I had just contributed to the killing of one its comrades. Blargh. Lesson learned. If I am going to eat fish, don't visit the Aquarium right afterwards. ;-)

But that little detail aside, we had a great day at the Aquarium. Here is a video we took of the girls over by the sea lion exhibit. It is really cute (in my humble opinion) and worth watching! :-)

Ginger (age 2) is so funny. She picks out all her own clothes. After wearing only pajamas (and preferring to wear nothing at all) - she put together this pretty ensemble. Could she look any more girly?! She was like a little pink princess trotting around the aquarium.


The girls had fun playing hide and go seek out in the little water splash play area:


And of course, we had to go visit the birds. The girls loved feeding the birds. Even Baby Violet found them fascinating.


Ginger got a little help from Mr. M:


Paprika wanted to stay and visit with the birds forever. She called this one her best friend:


So, a good day was had by all. Except for the fish in my burrito. I still feel bad for that little guy. ;-)

This little cutie had the best time just hanging out. After a full day at the Aquarium, we hit the school's Open House, which was a ZOO! I'll have to post about that later because all the pictures from that are on my other camera. :-)


Pin It

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Made It Out With My Life...Just Barely!


Today after school, Paprika was invited to the birthday party of two of her classmates (boy/girl twins). It was at one of those bounce house places, and everyone in her class was going. So, of course, we went, too! Siblings were invited, so I brought Ginger and baby Violet.

Some parents (the ones who have been through this before) just dropped their kids off and bolted for the door. Now I see why! Haha.

It was totally overwhelming sensory-wise. I wasn't sure how Ginger would do because she was so much smaller than the other kids and the equipment was ginormous. She's so exhausted from her trip to Santa Barbara (she woke up at 3am last night and had a hard time going back to sleep). So, she was tired and crabby and about to fall asleep (but of course NOT falling asleep).

I knew I couldn't just drop off Paprika at the party because she has big sensory issues (and food issues), and I really needed to be there for her because something little could go wrong and boom...anxiety attack and meltdown! I am able to calm her down and ground her when I see that kind of thing coming on, so I just knew I had to be there for the what if scneario.

So, I stayed. Ginger climbed to the top of the enormous play structure and got stuck and started crying and screaming frantically. So, I had to climb up and get her (with Violet in the Ergo). Then, Ginger got to the top of the slide and was too scared to go down and started crying.

Finally, Ginger had enough and wanted to go home. But the party still had two hours left (and Paprika was NOT leaving without having some chocolate cake - besides which, she was having a great time). So, I took Ginger to the van and got out the IPad and let her learn her numbers and letters, and play this game that teaches kids Chinese. It was Heavenly. I had a moment of solace right there in the parking lot, sitting inside the van with Ginger and Violet while Paprika stayed at the party. (I told the workers I was out in my van if they needed me).

Then we went back inside for food and cake, but of course my kids did not want to eat the food and drinks being served (pizza and lemonade)- so they both had a cup of lukewarm tap water. Finally, the cake was served. Horray!

But then Paprika got a balloon and a stuffed monkey, and Ginger didn't. I finally got Ginger a monkey and a balloon, but Paprika accidentally let Ginger's balloon fly away. That was awesome.

And then I got baby Violet to fall asleep but she was awoken suddenly by the shrieks of a bunch of kids high on sugar. So, now she's fussy and can't fall back asleep.

So, like I said, I survived. But just barely!

Next time, I will drop off and RUN!!!! Hahahaha.


P.S. Paprika did GREAT at the party. She had a wonderful time, and really held it together. I am so proud of her. She even wants to hold her birthday party there- to which I said...ummmmm, we'll see! ;-)

Pin It

Footloose and Fancy Free!


Our little three day weekend seemed like a month. It was crazy packed!

We kicked off the weekend on Friday by having a picnic after Paprika got out of school. Ginger was so good helping me pick Paprika up at school (she wore clothes and shoes and held my hand on the walk to the classroom!)- so Ginger got to pick our destination for our picnic.

We went to the park with the ducks to see if we could see the baby ducklings again. Pay no attention to the fact these ducklings look one month older than the ones in our driveway. The girls are insisting they are the same! ;-)


Mr. M has been working on a new movie up in Santa Barbara, but he came home Friday night. He wanted to take the girls out for ice cream, so we went to Baskin Robbins at 10pm! Eeek! They were so sugar-ed up after that, they didn't go to sleep until midnight. Ahhhh, the weekend. :-)


Saturday was the most gorgeous, sunny day. Paprika had swim lessons. Then after that, we went over to our friend/neighbor's pool to swim for the day. I was lazy (okay, busy taking care of Violet) and only got this one picture.

Needless to say, a great time was had by all. What is better than playing with Barbies in the pool?


Mr. M had to work every day this weekend up in Santa Barbara, so on Sunday, he took the big girls up to spend time with Grandma and have a playdate with one of Paprika's friends. Paprika is friends with the daughter of the director of the movie. So, while Mr. M was working on the movie at their house, Paprika got to play with a friend the whole day. She loved that! Ginger stayed with Grandma, who took her on a few adventures - the farmer's market and the playground!

Baby Violet was teething big time, so I didn't want to drive her up to Santa Barbara and risk getting stuck in horrible holiday traffic. So, I just stayed home with her. She was sorta miserable with her teeth coming through on Sunday, but by Sunday night two teeth had popped through and she was feeling much better.

So, on Sunday and Monday, it was just me and baby Violet. It was the first time I've been alone with just her for more than an hour or two, and it was awesome! :-)

Now, I did miss my big girls so much that I cried the first night. I have never been away from Paprika for the night except for when I've been in the hospital giving birth. Ginger has spent the night a few times at Grandma's house in Santa Barbara (when Mr. M was working on the movie up there earlier this year). It is so hard for me to be away from them, I missed them so much! was soooooo easy with just one baby. Wow. I felt like every day, I could do anything and everything. I lived like 12 lifetimes in one day. Seriously.


We went to the beach both days.

We went to Target.

Returned clothes at Old Navy. Then went shopping for more clothes- why not?!

Dropped by a friend's house.

Went grocery shopping.

Cleaned out the garage.

Organized the girls' closets.

Took Daisy for a long walk.

Went to an Open House in my neighborhood.

Cleaned the whole house like a boss.

Did five billion loads of laundry (maybe a few less, but who's counting?!)

Took Violet to a new park I'd never visited.

We even went for a four mile hike along the coast.


I just remember how when Paprika was a baby, it all seemed so overwhelming. And now with just one baby plus Daisy dog, it seemed so easy.

For example, the first day when I pulled up to the beach with just Baby Violet in the car, I parked next to this couple with a baby Violet's age. When I parked, they had already been there awhile and were unloading their stroller, packing their diaper bag, and arguing about how many diapers to many blankets, how much baby snacks to bring. I pulled the van in my spot, changed Violet's diaper (in the van), strapped her in the Ergo, and was down at the beach by the time they still had not left their spot.

I remember how hard it was those first months with a new baby - if I could go back with the experience I have now, I wonder what I could do in a day! With three young kids, I often feel in over my head. I bet if I had six kids, I would think just three was a breeze. Anyway, this weekend I was glad for the perspective.


So, late last night my whole crew came home. I was so glad to see them. I really struggled with anxiety while they were gone (what if this or that were to happen to them?) I let out a big sigh when they came home. Paprika and Ginger were both snuggled in their beds and I could go watch them breathe. ;-)

Well, that was the weekend. The first half was a whirlwind of swimming and park picnics. The second half was a lot of snuggling baby Violet and doing whatever the heck else I wanted to do! I have not felt that footloose and fancy free in a long time. It was perfect.


I mean, can you think of a better girl to hang out with on a girl's long weekend? She is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself...


Pin It

Friday, May 25, 2012

Make Way For Ducklings!


I have heard it said that May is the "silent December" - with all the end of year school stuff, we've barely had tiime to catch our breath.

This week was the Season Finale of Dancing With The Stars. I wanted to go - I know I always can go - this season just flew by and I didn't make it to one taping. I know that has a lot to do with having a new baby, and her needing to be fed every two hours.

My sweet neighbor even offered to babysit for me so I could go to the Finale and the Wrap Party. Maybe next season when Baby Violet is older. I have to keep telling myself that this baby stage will not last forever, and that I can go out and whoop it up all I want when she is bigger.

This same sweet neighbor invited us over to swim in her pool last week. It was Heaven! I even got in the hot tub and never wanted to leave. This is Ginger hanging out by the pool. Yea, she could get used to this!


One thing I love about living here is the great neighborhood we have. I know we're just renting, but it makes me want to stay here forever. (Okay, well, once the endless construction noise is over- I swear, my neighbor across the street is going for a record with building his palace). Anyhoo - we have really lucked out with our neighbors, who I consider friends.

So, earlier this week, I was inside my house and had just gotten Violet down for a nap. Ginger was running around without clothes on (because she's pseudo-potty training). I got a knock on the door, and it was my neighbor telling me to come to my driveway. So, when I went outside, I saw this:


Cute overload, right?! I had no idea what to do. I mean, we live in Los Angeles! Super urban area here. I was really worried about those ducks. So, I went nextdoor and got my other neighbor because she always knows the right thing to do. She did not know what to do! She went and got our other neighbor, because she, too, always knows what to do. It was like a little domino going down our street.

Before long, our entire block was standing in front of my house trying to figure out what to do with the ducklings. ;-) I was chasing after Ginger trying to get her to put some clothes on! Haha.

One neighbor called Animal Control, but they wouldn't come out to get them. It was decided to capture the ducks and take them to a nearby pond. The ducks got wind of this and set off into my backyard. So, the entire party moved to my backyard (I had put Daisy inside the house, thank goodness- she was going crazy barking at those ducks).


Eventually, the ducks hopped my back fence into my other neighbor's yard. I had to go get Paprika at school and then go straight to swim lessons (which we couldn't miss because we already missed Saturday's lesson). I figured I would see if they were still there when I got home an hour or so later.

But, when I got home, they were nowhere to be found! I tried to figure out what happened, but so far I have no idea.


The next day, I took Ginger and Violet to our local pond to feed the ducks and there was a mama duck there with her little ducklings, and if I squinted, I swear they were the same ducklings. So I'm just going with that because my brain cannot handle any other scenario. ;-)


That night at bedtime, we read Make Way For Ducklings. It was one of those rare instances of life imitating art. I got really teary when I was reading it. Still, I can't help but think about those ducklings and hope that they did make it to the pond. Maybe I'll ask Paprika to write Make Way For Ducklings 2. It's about time for a sequel.

Pin It

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dreaming In Pixar


(Artwork by Paprika, Age 5)

Paprika likes to sleep in. A lot. This morning I had to wake her up for school. She did not want to get out of bed.

It reminded me of that Beatles song:

When I wake up early in the morning
Lift my head, I'm still yawning
When I'm in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float upstream (float upstream)

Please, don't wake me, no, don't shake me
Leave me where I am - I'm only sleeping

So, when I got her up, she said she wanted to go back to bed because she was having the most delicious dream.

I asked her to tell me about her dream.

She said: I was dreaming about Toy Story 4. It was magical and I need to go back there to that beautiful, dreamy place.

I don't know if they're going to make a Toy Story 4, but if they do, Paprika's got some ideas. Haha.


Pin It

Edge of Three!


In just a few weeks, my little Tigger - I mean, Ginger - turns 3 years old!

Here is what is going on in Ginger's world as she is still 2 years old (as she often reminds me):

Ginger is my little energizer snuggle bunny. She loves staying up late. She loves sleeping next to me. She is always up for adventure, as long as I am by her side.

Her favorite place to go is to the park to feed the ducks. Or Disneyland, of course!

She is my little helper around the house. She helps me do the laundry, put dishes in the dishwasher, change baby Violet's diaper. She can even change her own diaper! (Yea, we're working on that potty training thing).


She loves animals, especially horses and doggies. She likes princesses and dolls okay, but cuddly animals are preferred.

She only likes to wear pajamas - when I can even get her to wear clothes at all! She like pajamas so much that I reorganized her closet and put away most of her regular clothes and just left out the pajamas. She won't wear the rest of her clothes, and so they were just taking up valuable drawer space! Hopefully baby Violet can make use of all those beautiful (unworn) clothes someday! :-)

Ginger's favorite foods are: turkey sandwiches with mayo, mayo bread (which is just bread with mayonnaise), grapes, blueberries, strawberries, canteloupe, watermelon, chocolate Luna bars, vanilla ice cream, and goldfish crackers.

It's 50/50 whether Ginger will eat something that you order her in a restaurant. Usually, I just order for her instead of myself and then if she doesn't touch her food, Mr. M and I will share her lunch. It took a few tries for us to learn this, and we wised up pretty quickly on that one. But let's face it, with three little kids, our restaurant outings are not as frequent as they used to be!


Ginger is at that age where she still wants to be the baby (and I know Violet's arrival had something to do with that), and wanting to be a little girl. She goes back and forth on that - when she wants to snuggle, she's a baby. When she wants to play with Paprika's friends, she's not a baby.

Ginger loves her family more than anything. Paprika is her best friend and partner in crime. Ginger is a great protector to Baby Violet. She can't wait for that oooobly-wooobly Violet to get some teeth and start playing with her. In Ginger's words: Her is just a baby. Her needs teeth!

Ginger is very excited to go to kindergarten (when she's 5!) - mostly just so she can play on the kindergarten playground. She says she will start using the potty when she is 6! Yea, she's pretty stubborn on that one, despite our best efforts.

I had thought of putting her in preschool in the Fall, but I think she'd rather be home with me and Violet. Right now we have a pretty great routine of going on adventures together (usually just the park/playground) while Paprika is at school. These years go by so fast, and I think right now she needs time with me more than anything. So, maybe we'll wait on that preschool thing until she's 4.


For her birthday, she wants lots of balloons and a vanilla cake. That's it. She's easy to please.

This year of two has been quite a ride! I am so thankful for every sweet day with my Ginger bear. I just can't believe she's growing up so quickly...I wish I could bottle up every second of her and hold on to it forever. I have a few more weeks left of her being two, and I intend to savor every sweet little moment of it.

Pin It

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In A Rhinestone World


I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them...

-Theodore Roethke

Have you ever met someone who looked at the world so differently from you that it taught you to reconsider everything you've ever known?

That's what it's like being Paprika's mom. In some ways, she is me and I am her. We are so similar that I feel like I can slip inside her mind and know her every thought before she even thinks it.

In other ways, I wonder how I ever could teach her anything because she teaches me everything.

Here is a little example:

Last Sunday (Mother's Day), Mr. M gave me a bouquet of flowers. When I got up, Paprika mentioned to me that there was a surprise waiting for me on my camera. I nodded groggily, made my tea, and went about my business getting everyone ready for the day.

Later, I took a picture of the flowers Mr. M gave me (you know, to remember them for a rainy day).

This is the picture I took:


I forgot about Paprika's surprise, so when I uploaded the pictures from my camera today, I really was surprised when I found three extra pictures waiting for me on my camera.

I would never think to take photos of a vase of flowers this way. But Paprika sees everything differently. She sees magic in every moment, so how could her flowers not also be a little bit magical?

Here are Paprika's three pictures:


Every day, this girl shows me how to find beauty and joy in the details. In the small things. And she does it so effortlessly.


Beauty just runs in her veins, and there is nothing to be done about it. All I can do is just sit back and let her be.

I often tell Paprika that she is a diamond in a rhinestone world. And I mean it. I really do.


Pin It

Friday, May 18, 2012

Half A Year!


Baby Violet is now 6 months old. Whew! Time is going by so fast. I feel like I am always saying that, but it's true.

She is now a rolling machine. I don't know why she'd ever want to crawl because she can roll everywhere she wants to go and fast, too.

She can almost sit up by herself. She weighs a lot (probably 23 pounds or so?) - and I think that's a lot for her to balance. She's still nursing. Hasn't started eating baby food yet. I think I am going to start that in a little bit, and make our own babyfood in the food processor. I am waiting to get the highchair out of the garage and clean it up for her. Haha.

She has had a few licks of canteloupe from my fork and really seemed to like it. Mr. M gave her a taste of hummus the other day, and she was happy. So, I think food will be something she'll enjoy soon. :-)


She is wearing 12 month clothes now, and is just about done with her infant carseat. She wears a size 3 diaper (Ginger at almost three years old is wearing size 4 pull-ups!)

I have to put all the bouncy seats away because Baby Violet is already too big for them! She can sit up in them and that's a big no-no. So, packed away they will go. It was fun while it lasted! ;-)

She is the happiest, easiest baby. She loves being held by anyone and gives strangers big smiles whenever they hold her. She is easy-going and laid back, and just a mountain of fun. She currently is the easiest of all three kids. There, I said it! Ha!

She loves being held, and gets carried around by me all day long in the Ergo. She only falls asleep when she's being held (sounds just like Paprika and Ginger), and she wakes up whenever I put her down. So, for her naps, I always hold her. At night she'll let me lay her down next to me (which is obviously great for me so I can actually sleep, too!)

Overall, I just can't believe she's 6 months old. She is such an amazing joy and I am savoring her babyhood so much. I look at her and see the magic and wonder of God (I don't know how else to put it). She is just perfection to me.

Pin It

Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh Yes, We Did!


Mr. M's only day off work last week was Wednesday. Paprika has school and swim lessons on Wednesday, which doesn't really leave time for anything else. Or does it?

Now that we have our Season Passes again at Disneyland, we decided to see if we could squeeze in an evening visit.

So, after Paprika went to school, had swim lessons, came home and showered...we surprised the girls with a nighttime trip to the Magic Kingdom! We got there at dinnertime and stayed until the park closed.

It was pretty amazing because the park was practically empty, and the weather was perfect. Mr. M and I both commented that it felt like we were inside one of the malls in Las Vegas (with the ceilings that look like a sunny blue sky).

We rode lots of rides, of course. Baby Violet loved her turns on the Carousel. I think she felt like a big girl:


I know I've shared before about how I was completely traumatized by the parade incident of 2009.

Basically, we were at Disneyland and a park worker invited Paprika (then age 3) to be in the parade with some other kids. But then at the last minute, the worker decided that there were too many kids, so they wouldn't let Paprika in the parade. So, Paprika had an enormous meltdown in the middle of Main Street and threw herself in front of oncoming stilt walkers and was almost trampled by them (no really). I was by myself with newborn Ginger in the Ergo, and I had to single-handedly rescue my 40 pound screaming child from an oncoming float while Disney workers hassled me. I ended up yelling explicatives at them (really bad ones, too).

It was not magical at all.

Anyhoo, ever since then, I have not been a fan of parades. M'kay???? ;-)

Well, this last trip I was getting on the teacup ride with Ginger and Paprika and RIGHT THEN, the parade started next to the teacup ride. So, we were on the ride and Paprika and Ginger both wanted to see the parade instead. They kept trying to stop our teacups to get a good view of the parade.

Then, when the ride was over, Paprika hopped up on on the railing inside the ride area and was so entranced by the parade, she could not move. And when the parade is going, it is loud and you can barely hear yourself think...let alone communicate with an overstimulated five year old!

The teacup ride was starting up again, and I saw those blasted Disney workers coming towards us (telling us to leave the area), and I knew that if I didn't do something, we'd be headed for meltdown central again. By now, the area outside the teacups was so crowded with spectators, there was no way we'd be able to see the parade if we left the ride.

Paprika mesmerized by the parade, in a world of her own:


So, I picked both Ginger and Paprika up (all 80+ pounds of them combined) and stuck them back in a teacup and we watched the parade from the ride again. There were no lines for the teacup ride, since everyone was watching the parade! So, we just kept twirling and twirling in those teacups, watching the parade float by.

Well, it is a long parade, folks. The teacup ride ended again, and the parade was still going strong.

So, can you guess what I did? I rode the teacups again! And then again! And then again!

The whole world was spinning at that point!

Mr. M was waiting with Baby Violet on the sidelines and was getting quite a kick out of seeing me about to lose my lunch after we'd taken our fourth (or was it fifth?) turn on the nauseating teacups.

But, the girls thought it was brilliant. So, all's well that ends well. And no near-trampling experience this time, too, so I was happy.


We stayed until the park closed - it was late - 10 pm, I think?! We were the last ones in the park, and the last ones to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride. The girls were a little tired the next day, but it was so worth it! Good memories...

Pin It