Saturday, January 31, 2009

sorry for the lack of posts!

We arrived at Snowbird this afternoon, after being sick for a few days--- that's why we've not had any posts. We're here until next Saturday, so look for posts and photos!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"dadadada" dolphins

Yes, this is us back at the zoo again- we met some friends from MOMS Club there for lunch. Alex was so excited to see her beloved "dada" dolphins again. In fact, the 'dada' chorus started when she spyed the dolphin fountain by the front entrance.

In case you happened to be at the MN Zoo this afternoon, my child was the one shouting 'dadadadada' and waving her arms violently as we walked down the long corridor towards the dolphin exhibit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shopping with Mama

I decided that I finally needed a new pair of tennis shoes (old ones are 6 years old and have disintegrated), so we headed to the Mall of America today. Alex and I stopped at some of our favorite stores (Janie & Jack and Hanna Andersson) to browse the new spring wear. It's SO CUTE, but luckily for us it's still freezing outside, and the prospect of buying gauzy spring dresses is not attractive yet.
Alex did enjoy playing at the H.A. bead table.

She insisted on walking next to me for almost three lengths of the mall. There weren't many people out and about today, so we took our time toddling along, enjoying the smiles and comments from admiring strangers.

I was worried that it would be hard to try on shoes with Alexandra in tow, but she was quite content to sit in her stroller and eat a graham cracker while I found the perfect pair! Then, she was VERY happy to be the 'shoe holder' until we made our way to the checkout. (Her expression is her reaction to the "SMILE" command.)

As a reward for her stellar behavior, we stopped in at Underwater Adventures. She was obviously exhausted from her long walk around the mall and decided to stay in the stroller for the majority of the visit.

We finished off our trip with a visit to Alex's favorite restaurant- Rainforest Cafe- where she enjoyed macaroni and cheese. She's finally figured out regular straws, and was able to slurp up the milk they served her with ease (yea! no more carting around her sippy cups to transfer liquids between!).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

At the show



Alex loves this show so much that it's the first place she (literally) drags me to as we enter. Luckily we were meeting Emma and Megan in time for today's show, and we were able to go right in and take a seat. Don't the ladies look like big girls? Apparently they have a rotating cast of birds who perform at the MN Zoo World of Birds show, because we saw a few birds that we've never seen before at today's 11:00 performance. Alex was elated to spy a chicken *an Indonesian forest rooster*, and her favorite, the Bald Eagle (whom she imitates in a high pitched shriek).
After the morning's activities (we started off with Kindermusik at 9:30), she was exhausted. We had a semi-grumpy afternoon of "daw-ing" and mini temper-tantrums when things didn't go quite the way she wanted them to. This was a rare and fleeting smile that I captured. Sigh...Toddlerdom approacheth.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tasty Snow

Mondays are always hard. Alex is used to Daddy staying home all day on the weekends, but on Monday mornings he resumes his normal work schedule. We had tears this morning when she realized that he wasn't coming back in from the garage. Luckily she didn't cry for long, because we had places to go and people to see!

We started off with a trip to Rainbow foods (8am grocery store runs = happy baby, deserted store, and speedy checkouts!), and then headed to ECFE class. After class Alex fell asleep in the car on the way home. She was bushed!

We did some more snow experimentation (this time adding powdered Jello to make tasty snow), and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning. I LOVE having a daughter who will happily take a Clorox wipe and clean, clean, clean! She wipes down her kitchen, the bookshelf, the cat....whatever comes in her cleaning radius :-) Today I gave her her very own sponge to 'wash' her pots and pans (guess what I was doing at the same time...)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hide and Seek!

My new game-- hide from the baby and then jump out and scare her. She likes it! Hopefully we won't have to pay for too much therapy years down the road.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

My First Wii

Alexandra has been very curious about the Wii suddenly. It's not like we play it very often, so when Dave is on his Wii board, it's quite the curiosity. Today she got an intro lesson from Daddy.

We pretty much spent the entire Saturday inside in our jammies (all three of us). It was a great break from our busy schedules!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Discovery Cove Cubbyhole



Apparently every mother and child combo in the greater Twin Cities area had the same idea that Melissa and I did today. The MN Zoo was packed! We actually had to stand in line to even get in. Regardless of the crowds, the kids had a fun time exploring and wandering. Alexandra introduced Graham to one of her favorite spots--a little kid-sized porthole on the side of the shark tank in Discovery Cove.
We had planned on taking in the bird show, but it was standing room only (and there's NO way I'm going to be STANDING with birds flying all around me-- it's hard enough to sit through it without reacting). So we braved the chilly weather and headed outside to see how our friends the Grizzly bears and leopards were doing instead. After checking up on them, we had a picnic lunch.

Alex was so exhausted, she fell asleep in the carseat before we left the parking lot. She even slept through a stop at Kinko's (getting out of the car and everything) to pick up some flashcards and an "Alex Book" that I had laminated. On a sidenote, don't use Kinko's to do your lamination unless you really want to spend WAY TOO MUCH money! I can't believe that it cost almost $90 to laminate 300 flashcards! CRAZY!! (We decided that they will be Al's Valentine's Day present-- I'm sure she'll enoy her "Phonics" and "Opposites" cards as much as a red fuzzy something-or-other).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bakery Tour- or "Mama...I want more frosting..."

We had such a cool experience this morning! We joined MOMS Club for a tour of Edelweiss Bakery in downtown Prior Lake. Mark, the owner, was a fantastic and enthusiastic tour guide. He showed us around the kitchen and demonstrated all of the cool baking machinery!
After our VIP tour, they set up a table in their cafe so that the kids could decorate their own cookies (like we watched Mr. Mark do in the kitchen). For a first-timer, Alex did a pretty good job (she did have her 'big girl' friends Lauren and Lydia to help her out).
She thoroughly enjoyed the frosting and sprinkles, even deciding to decorate her pants at one point. Luckily, they're washable, and the moment was priceless!What a fantastic business-- we've been here before (numerous times, actually), but they totally cemented my business loyalty today! We had so much fun-- Thanks, Edelweiss!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Little Gym graduation- in retrospect

Well, we didn't vary too much from our normal schedule today, but here's a clip of a video from her Little Gym graduation (this past Saturday morning). With the haircut that day, I thought I'd just save this for later! As you can see, Alex was not happy about being placed near her teacher-- however, she seemed to really enjoy the medal :-)


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sharing Hugs







Alex went over to Emma's house today for a playdate, and (as always) the girls got along marvelously. They even shared some hugs and took turns in Emma's cute little rocking chair. We had a great afternoon, but it threw Alex's normal nap schedule off, and she has yet to go to sleep (it's 4pm). Sigh....early bedtime tonight.


On a side note, we're still looking for the camera charger. These photos are complements of Megan-- thanks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stories?....ok- I'll sit here


Alexandra is getting better with her stranger anxiety. Our good friend Brad came over for racquetball, dinner, and Wii this evening, and (after a while) Alex cozied up next to him on the couch to hear a story!
We also discovered that Alex is a fiend for crab bisque! I gave her a little tiny bit for dinner, and she ate it so fast that I hadn't even started mine yet! Bisque is pretty rich, so to protect her tummy, I wouldn't give her the "more" she requested. She was not happy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Graham!

Graham's birthday is coming up, and so Alex was invited to his 2nd Birthday Party on Sunday! She dressed in her party best, and had fun playing with the host and Maddie, one of his other friends. She also got to meet Baby Miles (Graham's new cousin), and became obsessed with lifting the blanket off of his (empty) car-carrier to see if he was in there. Rosy cheeks mean it's time for bed! Graham's Grandma wrapped a little present for each of his guests, so that they would have something to open, too! Thanks, Kris-- what a sweet idea (Alex loves her Clifford book).
The highlight of the party was the ELMO cake. All three kids were very excited to see Elmo's face smiling up at them. They also thought he was delicious! Happy Birthday, Graham! Thanks for a great party!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First Haircut!

As a warning, these videos are a bit on the long side, but who can resist taping baby's first haircut! As you can see, it was a bit traumatic at first. By the second video, however, she's doing great (yes-- that's a lollipop in her mouth- I think we'll call them 'haircut-pops' because it sure helped keep her mind off of the complete stranger wielding sharp scissors inches from her face!)



Friday, January 16, 2009

Hold my hand, please

Sick of being stuck at home, Alex and I headed out in -19 degree weather this morning for an outing to the Minnesota Zoo. It was so cold out, though, that Alex had to miss out on her two favorite things-- the snow monkeys (they were foregoing outside excursions in lieu of a heated enclosure) and the birds (too cold to transport them between buildings for the show).

We did get to revisit the chevrotain (the 'little deer', as we refer to it). The most fun, however, was walking on her own. She knows, though, that she needs to hold my hand if she wants to walk somewhere. This video shows her wanting to move on, but torn between the drive to explore and the need to hold my hand.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adventures with flour



Another bitterly cold -20 degree day today, so we started off with some projects. Alexandra and I made three batches of playdough. I spread a towel out on the kitchen floor to put the three pans on and Alex was in charge of measuring (with a little assistance) and dumping (no assistance needed) the ingredients.

While I stirred the pots on the stovetop, I gave her a personal pan of flour to 'mix'. She was engaged with that activity for a good 15 minutes straight! You can see the mess it made, but wow-- she loved it!After our messy cooking, it was time to clean up. Luckily, Alex loves to Swiffer! Everything else- pajamas, towel and all, went straight into the washer. We had fun playing with the playdough, too-- but my camera ran out of batteries, so no pics :-(

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Science Lessons at home

Because it was so cold out today, we decided to just hang out at home. No classes, no trips to the zoo or to a store. Just Mommy & Me time indoors.
We read a lot of books this morning, but a favorite is a Jan Brett retelling of the Noah's Ark story. Alex and I spent a long time playing Noah's Ark after reading the story. She insisted on referencing the illustrations to figure out which animals to put into her ark.
Then we had arts & crafts time, pulling out the humongous Color Wonder paper so we could keep working on our 'mural' (it's not quite done yet-- we work on it a little bit at a time-- I'll post a photo of it when we finish in a few weeks).

For the science lesson today, we brought in some more snow. Now that Alex is familiar playing and working with it, we started to explore its properties. We started out by molding it into an ice cube tray. Then we saw what would happen if we added some food coloring, making it pink snow! We also compared the cold snow with a tub of warm water, and experimented with adding one to the other. Alexandra was amazed at the 'disappearing snowball' trick! :-)

As the climax of the lesson we made some Sugar Snow-- she helped me add some warm maple syrup to the snow and watched as it hardened into little drops of sugary goodness. She really enjoyed that part of the morning (and it took longer than usual to get her down for a nap this afternoon-- so Sugar Snow will be a treat only enjoyed on the most special of days).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brrrr.....hanging out at home

When we went to Wal-Mart to run errands this morning, the thermometer in my Jeep read -24. Seriously-- this is not cool. Despite the sub-zero temps, Melissa and Graham came over for a playdate and lunch today. I tried out a new toddler recipe with lots of finely chopped veggies and those little Acini di Pepe pasta balls. The kids had a great time figuring out new objects to climb on, and Alex was a great toy-sharer!

I knew that it was time for her afternoon nap when I discovered her 'napping' with her hippo. She was quite pleased with herself, and excited to be going "night-night" with her friend.

Uncle Willy is coming over later this afternoon to play (and then babysit while Dave and I go to a hockey game!). Alex is really looking forward to seeing him. We've been talking about Uncle Willy coming, so she keeps going to the front door to see if he's arrived yet.

Monday, January 12, 2009

HUZZAH for Wassail!

This Saturday we headed down to Des Moines to go to Auntie Rorie's Madrigal Dinner. It's her Senior year, so we planned a special surprise for her. For the past three years Will and I have joked about coming in costume. I managed to scrape together NINE Renaissance costumes (through generous Craigslisters and the Theatrical Shop). Mom, Claude, Will, Dave, Alex,Cathy Saylor, Shelly Johnson, Jana & Jerry Foley, and I all dressed in our finest and surprised her. (Did I mention that NO ONE dresses up for this-- we got some strange looks from the other patrons)
The video below is classic. It's a little hard to see, but you can see the moment that Rorie shakes her head when she finally notices that WE were the weirdos who dressed up (we were on the opposite side of the room from her).

We had a great time-- even though Alex refused to wear the cute little duchess hat that Grandpa Claude got for her. Alex managed to make it through the first course (about 7:30pm), and then retired with Daddy for the rest of the evening. Thanks to everyone-- you were all great sports!


Friday, January 9, 2009

More Snow!!



Ever since our ECFE class last Monday, Alex has been wanting to play with the snow she sees piling up on the deck. We humored her this morning and brought some inside. She shared with the kitties, who were also quite interested in the snow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A LONG trip to the zoo!

Alex and I headed to the zoo this morning, with the intent of renewing our membership in person (thank you Great-Grandma & Great-Grandpa Marotz and Great-Grandpa Ed), but we got so sidetracked having fun that I totally forgot to stop at the desk!

We started out at the monkeys, where we had to perform the "Five Little Monkeys" song over and over and over again. In fact, instead of doing the normal sign for 'monkey' (scratching under armpits), Alex has started just signing 'jump' when she sees them.

Our goal was to stay as long as possible at the zoo, so after the monkeys we went to see the sharks and dolphins, where Alex was transfixed by the tide pool exhibit.

In the Rainforest Trail, Al discovered a new favorite-- the "little deer", as she's signing. We actually stopped for about five minutes, and then later on down the trail we had to turn around and go BACK to visit the Chevrotain again.
It was also the first time we stopped in at the kid's area. They have an assortment of puzzles, games, dress-up clothes, and Alexandra's favorite, stuffed animals in crates. Much to my dismay she dragged around an obviously 'much-loved' (read "disgustingly tattered") tiger for most of the time there.
Wait-- we're not done yet! For the first time solo, Alex and I took in the Bird Show! I am considering it therapy for me, as I don't want Al to inherit my fear of all things flapping. I did a great job, and Alex was an attentive and engaged audience member! She loved the parrots, cockatoo, owl, hawk and bald eagle!

After the bird show it was lunch time. We enjoyed a gourmet lunch of mac n' cheese and mandarin oranges-- you can't get much better (or messier) than that! Alex was so exhausted from our busy 3 1/2 hour trip to the zoo that she fell asleep before we'd gotten out of the parking lot.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Bub-bles!"

We kept pretty busy today, going to Little Gym in the morning, where Alex debuted her new word "Bubbles". She surprised everyone (especially me) by shouting "BUB-BLES!" when it was time for the bubble machine to turn on. She continued exclaiming until all the bubbles were put away. I tried to recreate it for your viewing pleasure, but without a bubble machine at home, we just talk about bubbles in the bath. Still exciting-- but not like being in class :-)

After running some errands and taking a long nap we met our friends Emma and Megan at Edinborough Park in Edina for some playtime. Alex and Emma are two independent chicas who roam wherever their little feet take them, so it was actually hard to get a shot of the two of them together!

Alex liked the toddler-sized play area, but I think the most fun was had in the 'open gym' where she could run after basketballs and play in the huge inflatable bouncer.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Copper


Today was a hard day. Dave and I made the decision to help Copper, our beloved basset hound, pass away. She'd been in a steady decline (heart failure) for the past few days, and we didn't want her to get to the point where she was in pain. She had stopped eating (even table scraps), and was having a hard time breathing. She was just very, very tired and it was time for us to help her cross over.

Carrie was able to come down early in the morning to watch Alex for us while we went to the veterinarian. The technicians were all very kind and helpful, and the vet was understanding and compassionate. Copper fell asleep on Alex's baby blanket, with her head in my hands and Dave's hand caressing her ears. It was very peaceful.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers right now. I am so thankful that Carrie has been able to stay with me all day to help take care of Alexandra. I do feel a great sense of relief and peace at the fact that Copper's struggle is over. She was a fantastic friend and companion, and touched many lives over her career as a therapy dog as well as a family pet. We love you, Copper, and look forward to seeing you again on the Rainbow Bridge!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reunited!

Alex was reunited with her ECFE friends this morning! We were late registering for the last session, and so we didn't get into the slot we wanted. Luckily, I was on top of things this time around and we're back in class with Miss Susan, Mason & his mommy Courtney, Isaiah & his mommy Amber, and Joseph & his mommy Brita.Miss Alex was SOO excited to see that the water/sand table was full of snow to play with! Playing with snow is WAY more fun when you're indoors. It occupied her time for a good 15-20 minutes or so.

The other toy that she loves is the little tugboat that she can 'drive'. It's stationary, so she just sits in it, plays with the steering wheel and honks the horn!

After ECFE, we rushed over to Kindermusik (we're double-booked on Mondays as one class is ending in 2 weeks and the other starts up). All in all, with two back to back classes, Al did very well. She was so excited to see Miss Helen at Kindermusik this morning, she was dancing and signing 'hello'!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gingerbread Cookies on Grand Ave






Alex had such a busy morning that she took a 3 hour nap this afternoon!! What sparked this unusual occurence-- well, a trip to The Little Gym for class with Daddy (and Grandpa Steve, who 'assisted'), followed by a drive up to St. Paul to meet Auntie Carrie for lunch at Salut!, where she got to enjoy a delicious gingerbread cookie from Sue. She was shocked that not all gingerbread men were not toys (the only kind we have around the house!).
After lunch (which was preceeded by a post-Christmas shopping trip at our favorite natural toy store- Wonderment)- we had to stop at Carrie's quickly to fix her computer. Alex was obsessed with Carrie's long (and steep) stairwell, and expended much energy climbing up and down it.
She fell asleep as soon as she was strapped into the carseat, and didn't wake up during the transition to her crib. In fact, she slept for three hours total!!
Right now, I'm updating the blog and Daddy is in charge. I heard him laughing in the next room and had to poke my head in to see what was going on. He said "I think I'm the epitome of every 'Mr. Mom' type movie out there". I didn't know what he was talking about until I saw WHAT my daughter was wearing.
She loves her boots.
And not the pj's so much....

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Sled!

We relaxed at home all morning (after a trip to Costco where we were so excited to find individual bags of Annie's bunny graham crackers-- I know, it doesn't take much, does it?). Grandpa Steve and Sue were going to meet us for an early dinner, so we wanted to make sure Alex had a good nap in order to survive a 2 hour meal at our favorite Prior Lake restaurant- Perron's Sul Lago.

They arrived with a very cool Christmas present in tow. A beautiful natural wood sled, which we promptly tried out (although the snow was still a bit fluffy for perfect sledding conditions).
Alex did a fantastic job at dinner, eating her bananas, oranges, graham crackers, fresh italian bread, and noodles in red sauce! She even got to share Daddy's Blueberry Bread Pudding for dessert.