Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!!

Well, Alex was asleep by 6pm tonight, but we still got to have a 'taste' of trick-or-treating. Alex got into her bear costume, Copper into her annual pumpkin get-up, and we went next door to Barb & Jeff's house. Alex seemed very intrigued with the prospect of being handed shiny, crinkly wrappers, but was more excited to go swing at the park before bed.Ahh....now to enoy the last year I won't have a child all hyped-up on sugar!

Mmmm....CATssarole for Halloween!

Alex, Copper, and I took some time to set out our Halloween luminaries this afternoon. It was about 65 degrees out, and simply beautiful! She played outside for a long time, soaking up the last of the warm fall days!After she got up from her nap I was folding laundry while she had some independent play-time in her kitchen. Suddenly I heard racous laughter....ok, giggles.....and looked over to see what she was up to. Should this be a warning sign of some sort?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Drawing with Mommy

Last night, I decided to stop being lazy, and get my illustration portfolio done in the next two months so that I can start sending out sample sheets to publishing houses. The first step was to bring in my drawing table from the garage! Alex received the cutest little desk from Grandma Jones for her birthday, and we hadn't set that up either, so now we have a Mommy & Me art space.Alexandra had a lot of fun drawing at her desk this morning. I can't wait until she's old enough to start experimenting with different media!She's also started to use signs independently to express what she's seeing. She started signing "sleeping kitty", until I grabbed the camera. Here's a video a few minutes later, where she's telling me that the kitty is sleeping (or used to be....until she pounced on him again and again).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How a Little Bear celebrates Halloween!

This morning we had a Halloween Party for MOMS Club at the local retirement center. The kids all dressed up, I made a bunch of cookies to decorate, and brought some foam stickers & crayons to embellish placemats for the residents' Halloween dinner.

Alex was excited to get her bear costume on. I had it draped over her rocking chair this morning, and she kept going over to it and pulling it down- trying to put it on herself.
Her stranger anxiety, however, was out in full force. While she didn't cry when any of the older ladies talked to her, she definitely was Miss Clingy, and it took a good 45 minutes for her to sit down and work on her placemat with her new friend, Miss LaVerne.
We had a parade through the hallways, meeting and greeting as we went. Alex hung back a bit, just observing everything, but definitely had fun watching the older kids get high fives and handshakes from amused residents.
After the party, we headed for a post-party at Davanni's Pizza, where Alex tried her first cheese pizza. She seemed to think it was 'ok', but tons of it still ended up on the floor. She kept signing for 'nap', so we took off kind of early to head home. By the time we got home, she had passed 'tired' and was at 'overtired'. It took a long time to settle down enough to sleep-- It was a busy, busy morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

...but I want to THROW the crayons!


Unfortunately, the 'sniffle' from last night turned into a fever- runny nose- coughing thing this morning. Poor kid... She's had a lot of quiet 'rest time' today, not too much actual napping, though. She's on Motrin, which seems to cool down her temp and make her a bit more comfortable. We laid low today (hopefully we'll be able to carry on with our plans tomorrow), and played at home. I tried to have her do some artwork, but all she really wanted to do was throw the crayons across the room. Mommy (who hasn't gotten too much sleep) decided that wasn't going to be our afternoon activity, and took away the crayons, which caused a mini temper-tantrum. Ahh....toddlers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Showing Shelly "the ropes"

Because of the icky weather yesterday, Shelly extended her trip for another day! Copper had an eye re-check this morning, so we let Shel sleep in while Alex, Copper and I went to the vet. Alex got to play with the vet kit again, but insisted on putting everything in her mouth this time, so that didn't last long. Luckily, Copper's eyes are doing great- pressure is controlled!Before she left for Des Moines, Shelly did get to accompany us to Kindermusik. She was quite the sport, 'rolling with the punches' and acting silly with all the babies. Alex soaked up the attention, and had a lot of fun! After our friend departed, Alex and I just chilled the rest of the day. Alex is starting to sniffle a little-- hope it's not a cold coming....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lazy Sunday

After Shelly and I returned home on Sunday (after a great weekend of roller coasters and fancy restaurants in the 'big city'), we all took the day to relax and play. Dave fixed a delicious brunch, and Auntie Carrie also came down to spend the first snowy day warm and cozy inside.
Alex is truly exhibiting 'stranger anxiety', and it took a few hours of interaction for her to become truly comfortable with "Miss Shelly". Soon, however, they were reading books and playing with toys.Auntie Carrie came prepared for a day of lounging, and Alex was very envious of her fuzzy blue slippers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Signing up a Storm

I'm posting this very early today because my good friend Shelly is in town for a girls' weekend-- therefore Dave is in charge of the camera at home for the rest of Saturday.

Alex has been working very hard to communicate effectively using sign language, and here is a small sampling of her signs. Right now she probably has a vocabulary of 12-14 signs that she uses and we're constantly working on incorporating 3-4 new ones. If you want to brush up your sign langugage skills, you can check out this cool ASL browser (complete with video instructor). Currently, Alex has her 'own' versions of quite a few signs-- but every day she gets more precise and clearer.

These are the 'official' versions of the signs-- you can see how Al either picks one part to do, or does the sign slightly higher or lower-- all completely normal for babies to do.
"Cracker" (one fist tapping your elbow),
"puppy"(One hand pats the lap and then snaps the fingers),
"kitty" (The fingers indicate a cat's whiskers.),
"milk" (The hand is squeezing the teat of an animal.),
"more"(Fingers tap together to indicate adding to a pile).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Exercising our Right.....to swing on a Voting Booth

Dave worked from home today, so after trying to 'stay quiet' (laugh...) for Daddy's conference calls all morning, we headed to City Hall to vote. We had originally requested absentee ballots, but after receiving ONLY the Presidential ballot, we had to go back in to City Hall to get the entire thing. Luckily, you can vote whenever you want to right now, and Alex had a great time swinging on, under, around, and through the voting booths while Dave and I supported our candidates.
We spent the rest of the afternoon fighting our nap... What's that? I thought that we finally had it cemented to 10am and 3pm. Nope!! Today she spent two hours crying / talking / playing / screaming in the crib, refusing to sleep. She actually made it until 2:00pm before finally succumbing to the Sandman. Maybe it was just because Daddy was home - that could have thrown off her groove. Who knows? The bummer is that she's so happy and charming when she's fully rested-- and sooo grumpy when she isn't! Here she is, in a 'good' phase, taking care of her Baby.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where ARE those keys?

Alex played me a concert early this morning for all of us-- cats and dog included. She especially was 'into' the maracas (see photo above). If that isn't the face of a focused musician, I'm not sure what is!

She made a stop at Playcare for a bit this morning while Mommy worked out, and actually had a GREAT visit! Not one tear, and when I came to get her, she was sitting contentedly on a miniature couch, paging through a book. What a good girl! She celebrated this minor victory with Copper when she got home (they split a plate of cheese cubes.....not my idea)

As we got ready to leave for Sign & Sing class this afternoon, I realized that I had no idea where my car keys were. I haven't driven the car since before Arizona, and I spent about ten minutes ransacking the house looking for them. Alex was concerned, too-- I kept asking her where are those keys? Her response (which is too cute) is to shrug her shoulders and put her hands up as in "I don't know!" Luckily, we found the missing item in a purse I used last week, and were able to make it to class on time!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peek-a-Boo Percy!

Because we had a lot of catch-up chores to do today, we just hung out around the house getting to 'know' Alex's toys again. She slept in until 7am, and spent the morning either in her kitchen or working on her activity board and puzzles. The trip to Arizona was a great break in our normal schedule-- now every toy that Alex has is just waiting to be rediscovered!

Alex has been formally reunited with her kitties, and today Percy introduced her to a new game, entitled "Peekaboo with Kitty". When Dave and I play this game, we often get our hands mouthed, but somehow Percy knows to take it easy with Alex.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Plane Ride

Which, fortunately, was MUCH easier than the first. We were fortunate enough to have an empty seat that Alex could sit in, which is always so much of an improvement! Even though she couldn't get comfy enough to actually nap, she spent the three hours eating, working with her manipulatives board, eating, standing, eating, reading, and eating some more. I swear that one of these trips she's going to throw up from the amount of food she ingests, but if it keeps her happy, I'm fine with the over-indulgence (as long as it only happens on airplanes). We had graham crackers, goldfish crackers, strawberry and peach yogurt wafers, a nutri-grain bar, rice cakes (which she just crumbled and threw), and cheerios. A bit of carb-loading, huh? :-)She was SO happy to see her Daddy that she almost refused to let him go so that I could change her diaper. As we were walking to the restroom, she was reaching out for him and glaring at me. Talk about a daddy's girl! She went to bed at her normal time, and hopefully won't have too much trouble adjusting back to MN time.

Now for a much-deserved nap for Mommy....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shopping....and more shopping!

Alexandra has REALLY enjoyed the tent that Grandma Mary made for her (it fits over a regular card table-- how ingenious is that?!?). She spent all morning playing peek-a-boo with us in the living room, and putting her toys "in" as well as "on" the tent.
After a morning snooze, we headed to the Once Upon a Child to see if we could score any good deals (I found a Janie & Jack dress there for $1 once). Grandma and Alex played with the toys while I dug through the racks-- unfortunately, no steals today, but Alex did get a few new toys (including a manipulatives board) for the plane ride back.
We also stopped at the Gymboree Outlet, where Alex scored big time! She and Grandma had fun picking out some outfits....ok-- I had fun picking out the outfits-- she and grandma had fun playing!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mmmm....Reynoso's

We started off the morning by lounging around the house, enjoying our mini vacation. Then, after her morning nap, we headed to the Phoenix Zoo. It was about 90 degrees out today, but there was a nice breeze, and Alex enjoyed riding the carousel (she chose the bunny).
She especially enjoyed looking at the giraffe and wallaby exhibits, where the animals were really close to the fences!We only spent a short time at the zoo today, as we plan to go back tomorrow morning. Grandma and Grandpa ended up getting a membership so that we can go whenever we're in town! Yea! Besides, we had to get back so that Grandma Mary could meet her new car-- which Alex got to sit in and exploreThen we headed to Reynoso's for Alex's first official "Marotz" dinner. She's been there before, but wasn't eating real food at the time, so today was her initiation. She enjoyed a chip (crunched up into miniscule pieces), rice, tortilla, and shredded beef.

Sorry, Daddy-- we're probably making you really hungry by talking about Reynoso's......we missed you, though!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Alex's First Bridal Shower!

We spent the morning preparing for Leah's bridal shower. Alex, Grandpa Bob, and I went to Costco and HomeDepot to pick up some last minute items. Luckily, Alex 'slept in' until 5:45am AZ time (I say 'slept in' because it is equivalent to 7:45am MN time), so she was able to get in a little nap before the errands.She got dolled up in her Bridal Shower best- and was as cute as can be! Even though it was about 90 degrees outside, I had my daughter in a long sleeved shirt, sweater vest, and velveteen knickers. I didn't have an option-- it was the OUTFIT we picked out especially for this occasion!
The most amazing thing that happened was that when cousin Madeline came in, Alex skipped all of her usual 'I'm shy' routine, and warmed up to her straight-away! She LOVED Madeline, and really bonded to her throughout the party. She wanted Madeline to hold her hand when she walked, and Madeline to practice her 'up' and 'down's with her. In fact, Madeline is quite the natural teacher, and started to teach Alex the Spanish words for 'up' and 'down'!
Alex enjoyed eating right along with all of the ladies, and then, when it was time for presents, Grandpa Bob took her out for a walk. She was a bit cranky and over-tired by that point, so it was a relief to all when she fell asleep in the stroller. Not wanting to wake her up, Grandpa sat out on the front porch with her until she was done with her snooze.
After her nap, she was all smiles and giggles (and she had a wardrobe change into some cooler attire). She played for a long time with 'Auntie' Jenny and even took some time out from her busy schedule to pose with the REAL star of the party, 'Auntie' Leah!
After a long day, she crashed at about 5pm AZ time (which is still 7pm MN time-- I think I'll just try to keep her on her normal sched. so it's not too hard to transition back on Tuesday). What a fun day!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Girl's Trip to Phoenix-

We survived the flight.....barely. Actually, it wasn't that bad, just VERY crowded. Alex and I did not have an empty seat next to us, so we were squished! She did a good job eating snacks, playing with tape, and reading books until she got tired. Then it was naptime, but she couldn't fall asleep-- no matter what position she was in, it just wasn't working. She got frustrated. Frustrated with a capital "F", plus annoyed that she wasn't allowed to hang onto the seat in front of her, or even kick it with her feet. We had a meltdown-- it wasn't a 'tears' situation, just an upset, tired whining session that lasted about 10 minutes. We finally decided to do some walking up and down the aisles (not the easiest thing to do when the aisles are close together and half of the people in aisle seats are sticking their legs/arms/appendages into said space). Alex managed to calm down, and we played with the magnadoodle for the rest of the trip. Sigh....not looking forward to the return flight. It's just so much harder to juggle baby, bag, purse, blanket, toys, books, snacks, etc. when you're by yourself.
Because she couldn't sleep on the plane, she zonked out as soon as she got into Grandma Mary's car. We stopped by Reynoso's (the family's favorite Mexican restaurant) for take-out, and came home, hoping she would transfer to the crib easily. Nope!
She and Grandma Mary played all afternoon with all the fun new toys here, while Mommy got to take a much-needed nap! Then we headed out for a shopping trip (hoping Alex would fall asleep in the car again....but no luck there). On the way home, she had completely had it, and we had a very sad panda who was stuck in a carseat .Home again, getting ready for bed with Grandma. Hopefully she will sleep very soundly (last night she had about 4 wake-ups-- we have a big tooth coming through on top).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Up and Down

These might be Alex's first words....I can't figure out whether or not to count them yet-- weigh in with your opinions!


Alex also was introduced to dinosaurs as a concept today. She has a new sippy cup with dinos on it, so we got out the models we've been hiding away for "later" in the closet. She was interested for a little while--and gave some kisses, but overall they're not too cuddly, so they were pushed to the side after snacktime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Mmmmm....."

Alexandra has been learning to appreciate and savor the unique flavors of each morsel that passes her lips....ok- she's been learning that Mommy and Daddy think it's cute when she says "mmm" when she likes something. Enjoy the video below.


After running errands and going to the Little Gym this morning, we came home and played with our new 'toy'. I found some body part flashcards in the bargain bin at 'The Red Balloon Bookstore' a few weeks back, and went to Kinko's to have them laminated today. Alexandra knows almost all of the parts that are on the cards already, but she's having fun matching and playing "which part of your body should Mommy/Mousie/Bunny kiss?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Peruvian Doll

Why is Alex all dressed up? Is it practice for Halloween? Nope! Just an outfit that we finally fit into that Mommy was really excited to see her in. It's from Gymboree's "Peruvian Doll" line a few years back-- I've been collecting bits and pieces from Ebay and garage sales-- here's one combination!We spent today preparing for our upcoming Arizona trip- it will be my first long flight that I've done with a 'lap-child', so we stopped at Target for the requisite snacks and 'new' toys. I decided on a travel-sized Magna-Doodle, because she does love marking paper, but part of the fun is dropping the crayons to the floor, too. This way, the wand is attached with a string, but she can still make marks. I also have the very exciting roll of painter's tape, some new books, and some of her beloved animals.
"Ok, Copper- you untie this ridiculous vest, and I'll hide it in the laundry hamper!"