Monthly Archives

August 2012

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Photoshoot: 19 Months Old

nineteen months old

Baby girl turned 19 months old on Aug. 28. Each month on the 28th I take a photo of Miss Alexa and her owl to mark her growth because, as everyone likes to remind me, “they’re only little for a short while.”

This might be the most challenging age so far. She is definitely in full toddler mode. She wants what she wants, and she wants it five minutes ago. Tell her no, and there’s an immediate meltdown, complete with tears, squeals and wahhhhs, not to mention flailing limbs. Try to distract her, and you will be met with narrow eyes that quickly avoid your gaze. The cold shoulder!

We have been wearing lots of dresses and T-shirt/shorts combos with sneakers because it is HOT. In the mornings I immediately sweep her hair up off her neck to keep her from getting too warm. She is wearing 18-24 month clothing and a size 6 shoe. Her feet are growing so fast I can’t keep up. Plus she wears out her shoes so fast. A quick second to complain about the cost of decent kiddo shoes. Like I’m going to pay more than $20 for a pair of shoes she’ll likely either destroy or outgrow in a month.

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One nap a day. In general Alexa is sleeping till 7 or later. Getting ready in the morning without her taking that morning nap is still not my favorite thing in the world. We’re slowly but surely getting good at it, but oftentimes there are the aforementioned tantrums, especially when it comes to the great offense of changing out of nightclothes.

She is still teething every now and then. The only cure? Ice and binkie. Sometimes taking out the binkie to make room for ice. So not looking forward to the day when we have to take away the binkie for good. We try to keep it only for bedtime and naptime, but if she’s crazy fussy it’s the only sure bet to calm her down.

Alexa is getting pickier about her food. I’m having to take greater care in presentation, cutting sandwiches and pancakes into appealing shapes, and hiding veggies in mac-and-cheese. She loves hummus and walnuts, though, which is more than I can say for myself as a child.

Walking up and down the stairs without permission is her favorite game. At least, she thinks it’s a game until all of a sudden she finds herself in timeout. She is very proficient at stairs, and almost always holds the rail, but it makes me nervous when I’m cleaning dishes and she sneaks off to the staircase. Must keep watching her like a hawk.

Favorite things: drawing circles, playing dress up with mama’s shoes, putting things back where they belong, washing hands, water (it’s her best friend and her worst enemy), reading (favorite books: Pooh’s Honey Trouble, the one where Thumper finds shapes in the forest, animal book — basically all of the ones that drive me crazy), jumping up and down, “go outside”

New words: Ice, elephant, oh no, I know, apple, let me down, change diaper

I love asking for her help. Most of the time she will oblige. For instance, I will tell her to “get Mama’s keys,” and she knows exactly where to find them. Same with her shoes (or my shoes). When I tell her it’s time to get dressed, she goes to the stairs and holds out her hand. If I hand her a baby wipe after a meal, she will help clean her high chair or face.

The girl would watch “Yo Gabba Gabba” all day on a loop if left to her own devices. She is crazy about that show. It could be worse. The music is good, and there are no bossy “explorers” or purple dinosaurs. Win/win for Mama’s sanity. Although you should be warned: I find myself singing random songs, like “Banana.”

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Previous months:
one  •  two  •  three  •  four
  •  five  •  six  •  seven  •  eight
nine •  ten •  eleven •  twelve
•  thirteen •  fourteen •  fifteen •  sixteen
seventeeneighteen

Would you ever run for president?

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Would you ever run for president … of the United States?

Assume for a minute that you had infinite resources and money. Assume for a minute you had a bad yet expensive haircut people can make fun of and a mouth full of perfect veneers for those sparkling, reassuring smiles. Assume for a minute you would win. Hands down.

Would you do it?

I don’t think I would.

I’m surprised by my own answer because I was so into political science in college (it was my minor, nearly a double major). I enjoyed getting involved in debates in class, relishing the opportunity to speak my mind and make points. And, yes, WIN. I could be relentless to the point where people would rather concede than fight my logic.

So what turns me off now? Well, for starters, all the lying. I’m not the cock-eyed optimist I once was. I know what it takes to run a country, and it starts with the constant media spin. George Washington might’ve been a pretty righteous dude for all I know, but I think even the fabled cherry tree would agree that he could tell a lie. Me, on the other hand? What you see is what you get. I would have a hard time swallowing a load of B.S., let alone trying to sell it to the country.

Also, I have no desire to take on so much stress that I age prematurely. Exhibit A.

These are just my tip-of-the-iceberg reasons.

What about you? Would you run for president? Why or why not?

Getting the Hang of Gallery Walls

Getting the Hang of Gallery Walls • Little Gold Pixel

It’s been three months since I finished hanging my gallery wall in the stair landing. Thanks to Pinterest, this is something I was convinced was going to take a lot of time, a lot of precision, and the death of a lot of wax paper.

It didn’t take me that long because I have a toddler. There is no time to be precious about perfect walls when there are nails, a hammer and a kid eager to climb the stairs and get in the way of said nails and hammer.

So how did I get the hang of gallery walls? I just picked up a nail, hammered it in and hung a frame. Repeated approximately 20 times. I did not trace any outlines, I did not arrange the frames artfully on my living room floor, I did not pass go.*

Crazily enough, it took me longer to finish ordering the prints to go in the frames than it did to plan the wall itself (and that includes a month’s worth of finding frames at thrift stores). Three months, and I finally did it! I placed the order, and the remaining prints are on their way … finally!

It was hard as hell to whittle down the possibilities. At first I thought I would showcase some of my landscape photography, but the longer we lived here the more I grew enamored with the idea of having a family photo wall.

Oh, but to pick out the photos from the millions we have. It was a process. The empty frames seemed to mock my indecision on a daily basis. We’re still empty, they said, taunting me. The jerks.

When Alexa and I walk down the stairs each morning, we pause on the landing to point out family members. I framed a photo of my mom as a toddler, and she points at it eagerly, saying, “Baby!” I like that she is getting to know her grandma even though grandma isn’t with us. Same with her paternal grandpa (who looks so much like H in his framed photo that a few times Alexa has mistakingly called him “Daddy”). Of course, she knows Baba (my dad) and Mima (my mother-in-law). And Mommy and Daddy. Soon there will be a picture of Uncle Chad and Aunt Kelly and cousin Lola.

Today I pointed to a big photo of Alexa. “Who’s that?” I asked. She grinned really wide. “It’s you!” I said. “It’s Baby Alexa.”

“Baby ‘Lexa,” she said decisively.

UPDATE: Photos in all the frames!

*I am a designer by trade, so it doesn’t hurt that I have a good spatial sense. (Plus, perfection is overrated.)

Steppin’ Out

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What I’m wearing:
Striped tunic: Thrifted, no tags
Capris: Used to be my mom’s
Shoes: Urban Outfitters, gifted
Flower hair clip: H&M

What Alexa’s wearing:
Shirt and shorts: Baby Gap, thrifted
Silver slippers: Old Navy
Jelly sandals: Baby Gap, thrifted

Look y’all, my hair is long enough to pull back into a nubbin of a ponytail! It’s been years since I was able to do this, so I might be overly excited about the prospect. It’s been nice to pull the hair off my neck with the heat we’ve been enduring this summer. I have to be careful, though, that I don’t fall into that trap of growing my hair out just to put it up all the time like I did in college (the last time I had long hair). Back then my hair was down to the middle of my back, but no one would know, considering all I ever did was twist it up in a scrunchie … while it was still wet! I know.

Anyway, Sara snagged these comfy shoes for me from UO last week. I love them. She knows me so well, as if there were ever any doubt. She is the genius behind the capsule wardrobe, after all.

Can you believe I’ve never stepped foot into a Baby Gap? And yet, Alexa is wearing an entire outfit from there. Not planned, even, because when we left the house she was wearing her threadbare slippers. She goes through shoes so fast. We stopped at Children’s Orchard to find some more substantial seasonal footwear, and we scored a pair of jellies (!) for $3.99. She loves them, especially the sound they make when they clack on the ground.

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Working for the Weekend

On days like today I feel like I’m on autopilot. I wake up. I make breakfast. I pack lunches. I wrestle a squirmy, screamy toddler into her clothes for the day. I drive to work. I work.

Then I find myself in the parking garage, walking to my car, cursing under my breath that the attendant moved it from one side to the other, hiding it in a spot I manage to overlook. Twice.

And as I merge onto the freeway, I truly understand the meaning of working for the weekend.

Because on the weekend I get to see this:

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On the weekend, I get to introduce Alexa to the joy that is the splash park. I get to watch her curiously point at the water from a distance. She puts two and two together. Her eyes light up. We’re going there? Yippee.

And she starts the curious dance toward the sporadic spurts of water shooting out of the ground. Closer, closer, then turns and sprints away, only to turn back around and point at the water sternly. Don’t you touch me, water! She says in baby jibberish, looking very wary of this whole setup.

But wait. She sees me dart into the water, into the center where the water can’t touch me. Residual mist manages to spray me in the face, and it’s oh-so-refreshing on this brutally hot Saturday.

“C’mon, Alexa!” I implore her.

She smiles and darts toward me, finally figuring out that Zoolander truth: Wetness is the essence of beauty!

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We leave the park wet and giggly and about 10 degrees cooler than when we arrived. The weekend is almost here again. Almost, almost, almost.

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I Watch Movies: The Long, Long Trailer

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Sometimes I manage to dig up some real gems on Netflix or Amazon. This occasional series will serve as my gift to you: quirky flicks, even quirkier side stories of my own. Maybe you’ll just find something new to put in your queue.

Movie #1
Title: The Long, Long Trailer (1953)
Starring: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
Amazon Instant Video synopsis: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz live slaphappily ever after as newlyweds honeymooning in The Long, Long Trailer. They quickly find that the interior of a moving trailer is ideal for tossing a Caesar salad — and everything else.

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I guess it was pretty damn exciting to own a vacation trailer in mid-century America. Either that or Lucy is certifiably insane (also likely). Is getting married and buying a home good enough for her? Not nearly! She talks her fiance into buying an enormous and overpriced trailer instead. That way, wherever they are, they’re home. Awwww.

It’s not long before terrible things start happening, including but not limited to getting stuck in the mud and nearly causing a house to collapse after backing into it. Lucy all the while keeps a happy face on, collecting enormous (and I do mean enormous) rocks from each stop.

When Desi tells her she must lose some of her precious cargo so they can climb an 8,000-foot mountain on narrow roads, she does what any logical person would do: hide the extra poundage instead. No one will ever know, right?

I don’t know about you, but I would want a divorce.

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I remember camping when I was growing up. There were tents, of course, and pop-up campers. Some of them with A/C units (oh the glory!). But nothing was ever as exciting as when my grandparents bought a real trailer. By real trailer I mean TOILET and SHOWER and TV. No more creepy nocturnal visits to the spider-filled public shower by the lake. And I could watch “Wheel of Fortune” after breakfast, every 12-year-old girl’s dream! Ahem.

My grandparents’ real trailer was probably a lot more aerodynamic than those metal torpedoes people used to haul around in the 1950s, even though those 1950s models were infinitely cooler to look at. Check out these roundups for some trailer love.

Photoshoot: Ports O’ Call

Let me tell you a little something about my dad’s side of the family. They are fun. If there is a wedding and one of our own is tying the knot, there will be drinking and dancing, sometimes at the same time. And we do not even care if we do the White Person Dance. We just do our thing.

This is all to say that my Aunt Kristi and Uncle Darren are not about to do the White Person Dance. Because they can dance For Real. They are also world travelers who are always conjuring up their next adventure. I want them to put me in their suitcase.

A few weeks ago they hopped in their convertible and did a California coast vacay. No biggie.

Say cheese!

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I don’t want to embarrass them or anything, but seriously, are they not a gorgeous couple? They had the most fantastic wedding, a gorgeous fairytale affair outside. It was about a bajillion degrees and my preteen self was uncomfortable wearing “dress-up” clothes, but it didn’t matter. I was enthralled.

There was dancing that night; oh boy was there dancing. I doubt my Dad even remembers how many times he twirled me around on the dance floor. I will never forget the sight of my skirt as it whipped around me in circles that warm evening, the breeze from the motion helping fan my sweaty face.

Fast forward to now: It’s been a hot summer by SoCal standards. As I’m typing this it is nearly 11 p.m. and I fear the climb upstairs to sleep in my stiflingly hot, un-air-conditioned bedroom. So when Darren and Kristi came to town, I thought of meeting them for lunch somewhere along the much-cooler waterfront. A Mexican restaurant. Still muy caliente, naturally (but with a squeeze of ocean breeze).

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Requests for an umbrella to shield the sun, por favor. Empty glasses all around. Lots of laughs. A few hours later, and we stretch our legs.

And even though Darren and Kristi aren’t familiar with our neck of the woods, they managed to show us the sights. World travelers, those two.

“We saw this on our walk to the restaurant,” they said nonchalantly, leading the way into a bustling Miniature Mexico that was hidden by an unassuming facade of vanilla-colored exterior buildings.

It is full of tourists and locals lingering and eating, watching and laughing, listening to mariachi music and drinking beer, picking out fresh seafood and watching it cook in front of their eyes.

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All this, in our own backyard! Where have we been?! It’s like living here and never going to Pink’s or Disneyland.

Oops. Can’t say we’ve done those things, either.

Seriously, guys, next trip, pack an extra suitcase. I’ll learn to be a contortionist. And don’t worry about the ventilation. I’m starting to get used to the heat.

*Wipes sweat off brow.*

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Darling, Let’s Not Quarrel.

Lifestyle: 1920s Expatriates Writers • Little Gold Pixel

Ernest (left) & Hadley (center)

It’s been a week since I finished The Paris Wife, and I’ve still got it on my mind.

The lives of these American artists living abroad in the 1920s, the so-called Lost Generation, have been newly imagined in my mind’s eye and I can’t stop daydreaming about what it would’ve been like to live such a bohemian lifestyle in a much slower-paced time, where holidays in the mountains (or to Spain for bullfighting or to the South of France for sunbathing) lasted months and one could live modestly on little more than a few thousand dollars a year.

The struggling Hemingways (Hadley lamented that she couldn’t afford new, fashionable clothes) nonetheless had a babysitter and cook. If that’s struggling, well …. good grief, sign me up.

Lifestyle: 1920s Expatriates Writers • Little Gold Pixel

I put together a little mood board so you can daydream, too.

What a life to be Ernest Hemingway, to stroll down to a cafe and know that within a few hours you would be surrounded by friends — writers and artists such as Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And Fitzgerald, who admittedly could plow through tens of thousands of dollars in no time on who knows what, would scoop you up into his brand of crazy and help you to lop off the first 30 pages of “The Sun Also Rises,” arguably the most successful edit ever.

Do you ever get sucked in by a mood like this? Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that flips a switch in your brain that keeps you searching for more and more just like it? Well, that’s where I am now. I want to fully submerge myself into the modern 1920s expatriates writers movement.

I’ve been pulling Hemingway and Fitzgerald books off my shelves, re-reading and bookmarking to read later. I re-watched Redford’s “Gatsby” and can’t wait for Leo’s version next year. I’ve been told I should watch Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and the HBO movie “Hemingway and Gellhorn.” Any other recommendations?