Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandma J!

Alex decided to reach a new milestone for Grandma Jones' birthday- :-)



After she practiced walking all morning, we went to a tye-dyeing event for MOMS Club- Prior Lake is having "Lakefront Days", and the big parade is Saturday, so we decided to do it right, and have our members create their own colorful shirts to walk in. Alex had a great time following her 'big girl' friend, Megan, around while the Mommies let their creative juices flow. Don't worry, you'll get to see many shots of the finished product on Saturday's blog entry-- Dave, Alexandra and I will all be sporting tye-dyed shirts.

After our busy morning, we hung out around home, then answered a Craigslist ad for Gymboree clothes. We hit the jackpot! We got about 19 EUC (Excellent Used Condition) pieces for $37!! Miss Alexandra will be the best dressed baby of the fall.


Alex enjoys her afternoon snack!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quality time with Huxley

This morning, when Alex went to take her nap, there was already an occupant of the crib. Huxley was sprawled out inside, and seemed not to mind when I put Alex down next to him. Wondering what would happen if I left them to their own devices, I waited and watched for the next few minutes.




After I finally roused Huxley from 'his' spot, and Alex took a nap, we met Emma and Megan at Perkins for lunch. The girls were both perfectly behaved, and charmed a couple of grandmas who were at the next table. Alex loved the fresh fruit plate that I got as a side (she ate almost all of it herself, leaving me with only two pieces of fruit!) Once the ladies were done entertaining the restaurant, we headed back to our house for a relaxed playdate. The cats were something that Emma hadn't really experienced before, and she wasn't going to turn her back on Percy, but she got used to him quickly, and by the end was even petting him!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mommy and Me.....and a whole slew of fish

I finally did it. I've been debating getting a year-long pass to Underwater Adventures for about 5 months now, and we decided that it was a 'go'! For a 'dual' membership (two adults- kids under 2 are free), it was about $60- not too bad when it costs almost $20/pop for daily admission. We also get to bring in as many guests as we want for 50% off! So-- if anyone out there is craving fish, just give us an email!


It was well worth it-- Alex had a spectacular time. She spent the entire hour we were there pointing at fish after fish. She entertained quite a few of the other aquarium-goers and staff as well.

After our big morning, we came home for a little lunch. Miss Alexandra discovered the joys of feeding Copper from her high-chair. Not just dropping the food so that the dog could find it-- she's been doing that for a while. No-- actually pinching a piece of watermelon between her fingers, leaning over, and feeding it to Copper. I suppose I can't encourage this behavior, but it was pretty cute.

Alex is starting to sign! Here's her 'all done', signaling the end of lunch. Gosh, it's fun to have an almost 10 month old-- She's soaking everything up, and learning so much!

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Learning my Colors!

This morning we joined our friends Summer and James for a playdate at Crystal Lake Beach in Burnsville. Even though both babies are extremely mobile, they thankfully decided to stay on the blanket most of the time, and not eat too much sand/dirt, although Alex certainly got her daily requirement of most minerals. She also sat in the lake for a little bit, trying to dine on snails, rocks, and algae. Yum!

Uncle Willy stopped by for dinner tonight, and Alexandra showed him her new skill. We've been working on colors lately- specifically 'yellow', 'red' and 'blue'. Earlier today she correctly picked out yellow objects 5 times in a row. Of course, when the camera was rolling, she was more entertained by IT than the exercise....but we still got one good take! Enjoy!




Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where's the Baby?


This is how Alexandra entertained herself in the car this weekend. Don't worry-- I'm driving, Dave is taping and talking.

We had a very fast but fun weekend in Des Moines for my 10 year high school reunion. If you haven't been to yours yet- a word to the wise....it's weird. I was that annoying 'Mommy' who whipped out a 4 x 6 professional shot of my darling baby for everyone to drool over. What can I say? I love my life!

Alex got to see her Godmother, Cathleen, and meet "Uncle Nino" for the first time. Nino, Cathleen and I were best buds in high school, and have actually managed to keep in touch (unlike the many people that I got to reconnect with on Sat. evening). Overall, it was a positive experience, but definitely a surreal one. We're all getting old!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lazy Mommy

Sorry no update yesterday, sometimes we just need a break! We enjoyed the morning, garage saleing with Grandma Mary (where I picked up, among other things, a 5 pc Hanna Andersson outfit for $9- currently reselling for $24.99 on EBAY with 5 days left at auction!), and then were sad to bid her farewell.
Alex obviously thrives with 'Grandparental' attention, so we couldn't let her go more than four hours without it. Grandma and Grandpa Jones stopped by on their way home to Iowa later that evening to play and cuddle with her.
We're going to be AWOL for a while-- out of town for the weekend-- we will regale you with updates (and, I'm sure, photos) when we return on Monday. Ciao!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Return of the Swedish Gnome


Alex with the new panda & quilt that Grandma Mary made her.

Alex got up bright and early again this morning (5:20am), but lucky for us, decided to take an hour nap around 7:30am- which allowed Grandma, Auntie and I to grab an extra hour's sleep ourselves.

After her breakfast and a bath, Grandma and I took Alex on a day of shopping. We stopped at Babies R' Us to pick up some food and diapers, and then hit the MOA for some quality clothes-shopping. Here's Alex modeling her new Hanna Andersson fleece coat (there's a pony on the pocket, but you can't see it in the photo) for fall. We couldn't resist getting her another "Swedish Gnome" jacket! We ate lunch at Alex's favorite restaurant (Rainforest Cafe), right in front of an entertaining fish tank.

After we got home, Auntie Rorie filled up the baby pool and had fun entertaining Alexandra. Mommy went to get a haircut, and Alex got a new hairstyle as well. Thanks, Auntie!

For dinner, we girls took Daddy out for Mexican. Alex had rice, guacamole, and even a few spoon-tips of beans. Viva la Mexico!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An ACTIVE Day

We started out at 5:30am with a wake-up call from Miss Alex, making it a very early day! She was excited to start playing with Grandma Mary (and the mouse), but had to wait for a little while until everyone was up- so she hung out on our bed with Huxley.....and his delicious tail.






Grandma Mary and I took Alexandra to her very first gym class at The Little Gym of Burnsville. They offer a free introductory course (no strings attached) that I HIGHLY recommend to anyone in the area! Alex had a lot of fun learning how to do somersaults (assisted), exploring the p-bars, and socializing with the other kids. The instructor commented on how unusual it was to have a 9 month old be so comfortable in a new environment, and so easy-going. She seemed to be impressed that Alex was willing to interact with the other kids and explore!

After a nap attempt at home, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful, fairly cool day, and head to the zoo to show Grandma everything we do there. Alex had a great time pointing out the cows, and met a very friendly (albiet without a sense of self-preservation) goat who didn't mind her pinching and pulling on his nose.




This evening, Daddy, Auntie Rorie and I got to sneak out of the house to see the new Batman movie, while Grandma and Alex played at home. They're having a marvelous time! (and so are we)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hi There, Grandma M!

Alex spent all day waiting for her Grandma Mary to get in from Phoenix! (Well-- she spent a good majority of the day napping, recuperating from her family-filled weekend). Auntie Rorie is staying with us for another couple days, as well, so Alex had fun playing with her while Mommy caught up with the laundry and planted some raspberry bushes that Great-Grandpa Ed gave her.

Alexandra got to stay up a little past her normal bedtime in order to greet Grandma, who came with the cutest little pop-up puppet toy. Alex was enthralled, to say the least. She would squeal and scream with excitement whenever the mouse would play 'peekaboo'. I think she has a new favorite toy!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Two babies...Two bassets

We spent the weekend at Great-Grandpa Ed's farm in northern Minnesota. My cousin Eddie and his family were there also, so Alex got to spend some quality time with her little cousin Aiden. He's 5 months old, but, as runs in the family, is a big guy! Here they are playing with Uncle Danny, and a really fun toy with flashing lights and music (a treat for Alex!)

Alex was a good traveler, as always. She enjoyed looking at the cows and the goats in person, as well as all the 'puppies' that were around. At one point this weekend, there were six dogs running around (only three live actually live on the farm)- two of which were basset hounds!

Alex and Great-Grandpa Ed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Out of Office

We'll be offline for a few days... so you loyal readers will be w/o your daily updates. (Unless I can get my cell phone email posts to work from the middle of nowhere.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What is it??



OK- Dave about fell on the floor laughing when I showed him what I found for .25 at a garage sale this morning. We have spent the better part of the evening debating what species this little handmade creature is. We'd welcome any ideas.... Caribou? Rabbit? Hippo with a goiter??

Hitting the library-

Well, last night was perhaps the most 'active' since Alex cut out her night-time feedings five months ago! The poor little girl kept being 'restless' (eyes closed, but crying) every few hours. The only thing I could do was keep applying Anbesol to her gums. She seems to do OK during the daytime-- there's too much else going on to concentrate on, I guess.


Except today. We did not have any plans for today- I felt a bit strange about that, but decided that having a spontaneous day once in awhile would be good for us. We decided to hit some garage sales this morning- we were in Eagan at 8am for one that promised 'not to disappoint'. It disappointed. However, we did hit a few more, and one really good one, where I scored four new-to-us Gymboree outfits for a grand total of $13.


Alex and I played with her toys today, worked on our colors and shapes for a while, but then we got bored. So, we decided to take a trip to the library in order to fill up Alex's new book display ($5 at a Prior Lake garage sale last week!). We stuck pretty much to the board books-- I don't want to owe the library any damage fines quite yet, but it's something different to look at. She actually picked out one of the books on her own- a picture book about babies around the world!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Showing Off...


OK- if you're one of those people who get annoyed with parents who parade their talented children around for others to see, quit reading right now (and no complaining) :-) We have been working hard with labeling for Alex, and it's so fun because she is beginning to recognize and identify words-- specifically 'baby' and some farm animals (remember our field trip yesterday to the Wells Fargo Family Farm at the MN Zoo?). Isn't she a smart girl?




On a whim this afternoon, we headed to Once Upon a Child in Shakopee and stumbled upon this fantastic shelving unit! Now Alex can see all of her toys, and learn to keep them organized in bins! She looks pretty pleased with the purchase.

Oh- and one more exciting announcement! I finally feel a TOOTH poking through Alex's bottom gum! I thought she was chewing on a rock when I stuck my finger in her mouth to fish out some paper earlier. Lo and behold it was attached!

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Little Rothko....

Well, we spent the morning fighting a nap. Apparently, Alex is offically down to 2 naps a day, but the one she's given up is her morning nap. She complained from 8 until 8:30- when I got her up and fed her breakfast-- and then from 9 until 10, when she finally settled down.....for half an hour. It was hardly worth the effort.
She needed the nap, however, because we were headed to the zoo to work on our farm animal identification. She got really excited in the cow barn, and found the goats hilarious (there were a bunch of zoo camp kids who were in the pen, leading them around on harnesses). The grizzly bears entertained us by wrestling in their pool, and the otters did the same. All in all, a very good zoo trip. Too bad I forgot to bring my camera!
We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home to pick up some spools of thread so that Alex can practice matching colors. Then, finally, we were home and she could sleep (so far she's been down two hours!!). I'll update later with photos of our first art lesson / color-matching session-- should be riveting! :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Wisconsin Experience...or A Weekend in Shawano

We just returned from Alex's first full weekend in Wisconsin! There was a lot going on, so I'll just keep a running commentary along with the photos I post.

We were greeted (after our 4 1/2 hour drive) by a very excited Great-Grandpa who immediately swooped her up into his arms, and didn't put her down!

Alex attended her first Friday night Fish Fry at the coolest little restaurant that had their own petting zoo!! I was in heaven walking amongst the camel, donkeys, goats, and calf that were all tethered in the lawn! Service was a bit slow, but Alex was quite the trooper, and sampled quite a few new foods-- whole peas, potatoes from clam chowder, cottage cheese, pike... :-) She didn't get to bed until 9:30pm (unheard of in our normal schedule), but she slept in until 7:30 the next morning!

On Saturday, we had a true Wisconsin experience- Great-Aunt Sarah took us to the local cheese factory. Alex sampled cheddar cheese with dill and garlic, and seemed to enjoy it immensely.

Then we had a trip to Grandpa Bob's favorite bakery, where we looked at all the beautiful breads, cookies, and cakes.


Finally, a quick jaunt to the grocery store to pick up bratwurst and beer for that evening (I said it was a TRUE Wisconsin experience, didn't I?).

Alex spent the evening showing Great-Grandma how she reads her books and cruises furniture (yes, that was a milestone we hit this weekend as well). She enjoyed the evening, and got to bed at a more reasonable hour this night.

Sunday morning, Alex got up and enjoyed a nice walk along the lakeshore, and then joined Great-Grandpa for coffee in his chair. She tried rhubarb for the first time (as did Dave and I), and had a nice, relaxing morning before having to pack up and into the car for the trip back home. We really enjoyed our time in Shawano, and are looking forward to visiting again soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stormy Weather

Well, we spent a good portion of the afternoon in the bathroom with all of our animals. Alex and I were just getting ready to make a Target-run when Copper started acting very nervous. I actually had the baby in my arms, and my keys in hand when she blocked my way to the garage. I was really annoyed at her, and then I realized that she was warning me that something big was coming. She was right.

Not two minutes after I put Alex down and turned on the TV, the tornado sirens went off in town. The radar didn't show anything, but I didn't want to take any chances. I rounded up the animals, water bottles, extra formula, extra animal food, blankets, and a few toys and headed for the 'safety' of our 2nd bathroom.

There wasn't actually a touchdown anywhere around us, but the sky got really dark, hail was falling, and it was very, very windy (good thing we got that dead tree down a few weekends ago, huh?)

After about half an hour, the storm had passed on to our neighbors to the East. Alex and I ended up running our errands after all-- Copper allowed us to leave this time.
In the afternoon, we took advantage of the slightly cooler weather and played on the deck. A somewhat exciting day, I'd say! We're headed to visit Great-Grandma and Grandpa Marotz in WI this weekend, so we may not have any blog updates until Sunday evening.

9 Month Photos are up!

http://www.marotz.net/gallery/v/2008/2008-07/2008-07-05/

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yes, Dave....that's the "Closet"



Today was a day for errands. Alex and I dropped Daddy off at work (a 45 min drive away), took his vehicle in to be serviced, went to Costco, and then treated ourselves to shopping at Lakeshore Learning Store. Alex came away with a new set of color-sorting toys (just like the ones they have at ECFE), a new color poster, some 'opposites' flashcards, and some word strips.

Yes, my house has now truly been transformed into a classroom. We have started the labeling process in earnest, and now Alex is learning the words "window", "door", "closet", "clock", and "chair". No, I'm not expecting her to read the words yet, the labels are there so that we remember to be consistent and methodical about our instruction.....but if she starts to recognize the words, no harm done! :-)


After a nap at home in her aptly labeled "bed", we headed back up to Northern St. Paul to meet David for a picnic with his team from work. Alex had a great time getting to see Daddy's office and meet his co-workers and all their families. She made it until about 6:30, ate some cantaloupe, veggie burger, and bunny-o's, and then we had a very grumpy ride home.

Spirits always rise, however, when she gets to play with her new favorite toy. The mirror. See the video below for a taste of Alex's reaction to 'that baby in the mirror'.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Standing at attention

Is pretty much all that Alex wants to do these days. It makes my job of entertaining her easy, but I'm also constantly trying to shield her chin and forehead from the inevitable bumps and bruises that come with standing. We got out the cart that Grandpa Steve made for her today, and she loved it. She's exactly the right size to use it as a balance beam right now!

We also got to explore another neighborhood park- Ponds Park- this morning. My MOMS Club board meeting was there, and Alex did a pretty good job entertaining herself (and being entertained by the bigger kids) during the meeting. Normally, at home, she doesn't get snacks during the day-- she has some fruit or bunny-o's (Annie's brand cereal) after a meal, but not a separate snack time. However, when she sees the OTHER kids snacking, she wants something to eat. Now. Luckily I had some bunny-o's with me, otherwise we would have had a complete melt-down.