Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roxy at Seven Months

Roxy on her 7 month birthday. This outfit is size 12 months and fits perfectly.
I usually take her birthday photo in the afternoon but I took this one in the morning (because T took Pippa to the doctor and it's so much easier to take a photo of Roxy when I'm not also trying to keep Pippa out of the shot) and the lighting is different.  The lighting makes this outfit look blue and it is very much purple.  

Here's what Roxy was up to between her 6 and 7 month birthdays.

  • Got her first two teeth (one day apart)
  • Definitely knows what the milk sign is about and gets excited when she sees it
  • Pats me on the back of my shoulder when I'm holding her over my shoulder - I love it so much!
  • Nurses from both sides more often
  • LOVES dancing in the baby carrier
  • Likes to scratch the couch
  • Started sleep training (gently, of course - we are so not cry-it-out parents)
  • Still isn't a fan of tummy time
  • We call her all the usual names and added LL Cool Squish, Pippa calls her "Little One" often and it is adorable
  • Had a really terrible cold with a phlegm-y cough that often woke her from sleep  - this cold seemed to last forever
  • Has wavy hair on the top of her head and little curls on the side and back
  • Likes to suck on my chin (it feels so funny!)
  • Is so ticklish under her chin
  • Started wearing 12 month clothes
  • Slaps her tray while eating
  • Sometimes rests her head on my shoulder when I'm holding her - I love this so much!
  • Sits like a pro
  • Crosses her legs at the ankle like a lady all the time - she's been doing this for a while now

And an outtake.  This was actually the very first photo.  We had to shut it down and try again later.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

In the Kitchen

Pippa has been helping me cook for a while now.  It started when I was pregnant with Roxy.  People have some "good ideas" for keeping your toddler occupied while you make dinner.  None of them worked for Pippa.  She was way too interested in what I was doing and always wanted to be held so she could see what was going on.  I used to hold her and make dinner one handed, but when I was pregnant I was too tired and Pippa had a knack for kneeing me in the belly just wrong and hurting me.

So I started putting her up on the counter next to me.  (I know there are helper stools for kids for this exact purpose.  But ain't nobody got money or storage space for that!) For a long time Pippa was content to just watch me.  Eventually I started letting her stir whatever I was making.  Around this Halloween I started letting her measure.  And that's where we are.  Pippa loves cooking.  Especially the part where she gets to taste along the way.

And yes, we are safe about it.  If the stove is on she is never next to it - it goes stove, mixing bowl, Pippa.  I don't leave her alone on the counter and she can't reach any of the knives or anything dangerous.

Here she's helping T make rolls.

All of the girls cooking together (I usually strap Roxy to me in the Becco baby carrier and Pippa sits on the counter).

Baking while Roxy sleeps.

Tasting is always the best part!

Some recipes are more toddler friendly than others (you know - no eggs and will still turn out even if the measuring is slightly off).  One we often make together is apple muffins.  It is forgiving with the measuring.  I just give Pippa the correct measuring cup / spoon and watch how big (or small) her scoops are so we end up with about-ish the right amount.  You might have to slightly adjust the baking time, but these are edible every time (though they do taste slightly different every time when Pippa does the measuring!).  This recipe is great because Pippa does everything (mixing and measuring) but the shortening and cutting the apple (I cut it into big wedges then Pippa uses the chop wizard to cut the apple wedges into the little chunks).

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and put in muffin liners (this makes 12 muffins
  2. Mix together:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
     3.  Cut 1/2 cup shortening (or you can use butter or margarine) into the flour mixture
     4.  Stir in
  • 1 egg (or substitute a bit under 1/4 cup milk)
  • 1/4 cup milk  (so if you sub in milk for the egg it's a very scant 1/2 cup milk total)
  • one medium apple chopped into bite size pieces (any kind of apple works) 

     5.  Divide batter among muffin liners
     6.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
     7.  Unwrap muffins and dip muffin tops in melted butter then in cinnamon sugar

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pippa at 2.5 years

Here's Pippa at 2.5 years old. (I took these pictures a few days after her half birthday - I wanted to wait for a day when she was in a cute outfit and her hair was done, but then I realized that a special staged photo wouldn't be quite what she was like at 2.5.  This is more her style - mostly done hair and a "ballerina skirt" on top of pants.  At least she mostly matched this day! :) )

I feel like the photo below is perfectly Pippa right now.

Here's what Pippa likes to do right now:
  • Play "tunnel."  This has two forms: 1) Putting a blanket over her head and someone else's head about two feet apart and talking to each other. 2) Crawling / around / on top of my legs that are propped up on the ottoman while I nurse Roxy in the rocking chair.   
  • "Upside down Pippa" - basically being upside down in any form.
  • "Get me!" - being chased by anyone, but especially Roxy. (T holds Roxy superman style and they run after Pippa together.  I'll put Roxy in the Becco baby carrier and chase Pippa.  Both girls like both ways, but both girls like T's way better :) ).
  • Twirl her curls on the left side with her finger.
  • Makes us go one at a time on the stairs and she always has to go first.  "No. Stop. Wait. It's not your turn."
  • Brush my hair and sing the hair song from "Tangled" (Flower gleam and glow, let your power shine, make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine)
  • Dance to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" and "Twist and Shout" the Ferris Beuller version. 
  • Have picnics at lunch time (you know - regular lunch just on a blanket in the back yard)
  • Purposely put her head / hair right next to Roxy's hands so Roxy will grab it.  Then Pippa will say "Let go!"
  • Go to church.  Basically because she gets to play with her friends in nursery.  At home when she's playing with her cars the most common destination is church (then the park and the store).

Things Pippa is saying right now:

  • "My do it!"
  • "Want some"  and "Wanna taste it" - usually said when she is "helping" me cook / bake
  • "What am I doing?" (or he / she / you doing?) She loves a running narration.
  • "You ok?" and "You hurt yourself?" (sometimes said as a statement)
  • "Boy crying.  His mommy help him feel better."
  • "You go away." - When she sees me coming to turn off her movie. But also sometimes at the park when I'm pushing her in the swings.  
  • "Okay, see ya, bye"  (sometime followed with "See ya next week") - When talking on the fake phone, when telling T goodbye as he leaves for work (she still gives him gibberish instructions for the day on his way out the door, too), to me after I tuck her into bed.
  • "You go help Roxy sleep" - also after I tuck her into bed. 

Other things:
  • Loves the movies "Tangled" and "Finding Nemo" (aka "The Fish Movie").  Probably because these are the only movies she's ever seen. 
  • Still signs a lot and still does babble signs.  (Not sure if she would sign to anyone but me and T, though.)
  • So social.  Pippa loves other kids and isn't typically shy.
  • Finally lets us dress her in jeans "like Daddy" and it is ridiculously cute and makes her look way grown up. 
  • Is potty trained.  Still needs help pulling pants up / down (wouldn't be a problem if she wore elastic waist sweats all the time, but she mostly wears leggings and they are harder to get down). Wears underwear for naps and diapers at night, but has been dry in the morning for three weeks.
  • Sleeps through the night most of the time.  Not a small deal if you are familiar with this story.  When she wakes in the morning (or at night) she crawls on the floor to our room - there is a small section with a railing that looks down over the lower floor and she crawls that section into our room.  She's a brave girl to crawl to us if she's afraid. Not sure why it's only at night that she does this - maybe because it is dark?
  • Names her cars Dorie, Marlin, Nemo, and Crush (after "Finding Nemo" characters).  The names don't always go with the same cars.
  • If there is water outside, Pippa will find it.  She especially loves the hose. 
  • More independent play.
  • Pippa has a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Anytime T and I hug or kiss she immediately comes over and hugs our legs and wants to be picked up so she can get in on the action.  
  • Says prayers by herself without prompting.
  • Loves riding in the stroller and playing at the park - especially anything with climbing or sand.
  • Pippa has a really great memory - she knows lines from books after reading them once and she knows where we are going by looking out the windows.  She knew the big tunnel was around the bend and she's only been there once before (a few weeks ago!). 

And some outtakes:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Roxy at Six Months

Here's Roxy on her six month birthday:

Here's what our sweet Roxy was up to between her five and six month birthdays:
  • Starting on her five month birthday Roxy rolls from back to front a lot. But she still cried once she is on her tummy. She still doesn't like tummy time.
  • Likes peek-a-boo
  • Easy to get her to smile
  • Laughs at Pippa a lot (mostly when Pippa is running, jumping, or dancing) and laughs even more when Pippa is doing those things and I'm doing those things at the same time with Roxy in the carrier. 
  • Has long curled eyelashes
  • Her hair is so many colors (just like T's beard, haha) - she has brown, blonde, and red in her hair and the dominant color appears to change depending on the lighting and when I last washed her hair :)
  • Does a big, loud, happy gasp at the start of a laugh
  • Spitting up less
  • Wears 9 month clothes
  • Busts out of the swaddle (Yes, she's still swaddled for sleep. Yes, I know you shouldn't swaddle after they can roll. But she never even tries to roll while swaddled and she will.not.sleep. unswaddled.)  
  • We call her the usual nicknames and LL (Little (real name))
  • Pulls her own hair while nursing
  • Still burps after every feeding (I get an odd feeling of satisfaction getting a burp out of her)
  • Is 27.5 inches tall and weighs 19 pounds 2 ounces with a head circumference of 17.5 inches.  Roxy gained less than one pound since her four month appointment.  (She was 18 pounds 4 ounces at 4 months.) The pediatrician was not concerned because Roxy was in the  95th percentile for height at 4 months and her weight was way above the 95th percentile growth curve at 4 months.  Now at 6 months, both height and weight are right on the 95% curve.  It makes me laugh a bit because I know of a few 15 month olds who just barely hit 20 pounds and Roxy is pretty much already there at 6 months.  
  • Towards the end of her fifth month Roxy could sit up alone for 30 seconds to 1 minute, started passing things from one hand to the other, and we started some very gentle sleep training (well, T did).
And of course Pippa had to get in on the photo action:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tree Down

Last week there was a storm in our area.  Lots of rain and wind.  I took the girls grocery shopping (yay for Target's underground parking lot so we didn't have to deal with the storm) and we returned to find this on our street:

A tree got knocked over and was blocking the entire street.  Luckily, it didn't fall into any houses or cars!

I couldn't drive to our house (obviously) so I had to park on the street and take two trips with the girls in the rain to get the groceries inside.

 This is the view from our garage:

 Here I am with the wet girls.  A little rain never hurt anyone.

I was surprised how quickly they cleared the street!  Not sure when the tree went down, but it was completely chopped up and on the side of the road about 2.5 hours after we got home.  


A few weeks ago I put my long hair over my lip and told Pippa I had mustache.   Then she wanted one.  So I put my hair over her lip.  We had a good giggle and I thought that was it.

Yesterday Pippa found a long skinny piece of shelf liner and immediately held it up to her lip and said, "mustache?" So of course we all had to have mustaches.

Pippa looks a bit like Jack Black in Nacho Libre (like this), Roxy looks like an villain from a silent movie, and I look kind of like an actual man (yikes).

For your viewing pleasure...

Moving x2

When we moved back to the USA from Munich, Germany we landed in the Bay Area a few days before Thanksgiving.  One reason it was hard to find a place was because no one wants to move / sell / rent during the holidays aka between Thanksgiving and New Years aka when we needed to get a new place.  We found a place and intentionally signed an 11 month lease so we would move the next year at the start of November and not have to deal with the moving during the holidays stuff again.

Looking for a new place is massively time consuming, especially here where everything is done on Craigslist (at least for renting).  It was especially hard this time around because we had a new baby (Roxy).  But we found a place and moved at the start of November.

My dad came out to help with and meet Baby Roxy and instead of spending all his time playing with Pippa and Roxy he spent most of his time helping packing us and moving us.  And thank goodness. We really couldn't have done it without him.

But the day we moved into the new duplex (we were so excited! the end of a circle! a garage! a small backyard! three bedrooms! in the same ward! relatively cheap!) we noticed that the room we wanted to put Baby Roxy in smelled funny. Like cigarette smoke funny.  Pippa's room smelled a bit like it, too. We didn't notice the smell when we first looked at the duplex because the owner had painted that day and had the windows open so all we smelled was paint. We kept Roxy in our room while we tried many different things to make the smell go away.  Nothing worked.  Third hand smoke is real, yo, and we didn't want to expose our girls to that. So on December 2 we gave our 30 day notice to the landlady.  Which meant that we had to look for a place to live. Again. And we would have to move during the holidays. Again.  Since we were breaking the lease we also weren't sure if we would get the security deposit of $2,500 back (the lease agreement was vague on that point).

It was stressful giving our 30 day notice knowing we might be out that $2,500 and without having another place lined up and knowing that there weren't many options due to the holidays (apartment complexes always have openings, but we really wanted a house or a duplex).  We (I) did a ton of Craigslist stalking and I set up alerts with certain parameters so every time a new posting went up that fit our requirements I received an email. So much time spent looking through those emails.

We didn't really want to set up or do much for Christmas because we didn't know when we would be moving.  We were sad about this because we didn't really do Christmas last year (all of our Christmas things were still in transit from Germany and we were cash poor from all the moving and traveling around Europe) and were really looking forward to doing it this year when Pippa would understand a bit what was going on.  And starting around Thanksgiving T was excited for Christmas. That by itself is a big deal - T hasn't been excited for Christmas since high school. But for the second year in a row we weren't really going to have Christmas.

We found a place that fit our requirements (basically 3 bedrooms and close-ish to a BART station) that was having an open house Saturday December 13.  I emailed the owner and asked if we could see it before then.  He said we could see it that afternoon - a Thursday (T was working from home because there was a bad storm). My mom arrived (she was already planning to visit us) and literally two minutes after she walked in the door T and I left her with both girls and left to check out the house. We really liked the house and we applied for it that night.

But of course even though we liked it, we still had to look at and apply for other places (in person and online) because the owner was showing it to other people that night and the open house was still going to happen.  Saturday came and the owner of the house called us from the open house and told us the lease was ours if we wanted it!  Yay!  We could move in December 27th.  That night (the 13th) T went out and bought us a Christmas tree and we also started packing that night.

It was only two weeks from when we started looking for a new place, but man! those two weeks were so stressful!

So for Christmas we put up the Christmas tree and ornaments but that was it.  By the middle of December we paid full rent at the cigarette duplex, security deposit at the new house, and full January rent for the new house and we STILL weren't sure if we would get the cigarette duplex security deposit back.  If you know San Francisco housing prices, you know this is a lot of money to plunk down.

We don't have a lot of stuff and most of our ward would be out of town for Christmas and wouldn't be able to help so T and I decided pack everything ourselves but to hire movers to do the actual lifting. Such a good decision.  Especially because on moving day Roxy was up for the day at 2 a.m.

By noon on the 27th all of our stuff was moved into the new place.  And Pippa, Roxy, and T promptly took naps.  I tried, but I was too cold (the heat had been off in the new place for a month plus the doors to the house were left open for 1.5 hours for the movers).  I had high hopes of unpacking at least the kitchen stuff that afternoon.  But we discovered that the previous tenants did not clean. At all.

Every single shelf, drawer, window sill, toilet, sink, shower, floor, closet (and the closets are custom closets with tons of shelves and cubbies!) was dirty and needed to be cleaned before anything could be put away.  And we had to buy and put in shelf liners on every shelf in the whole house. Some areas were straight up filthy. (The kitchen tile appeared to have dark brown grout - no it's actually white, it was just ridiculously dirty and took three hours of scrubbing to look mostly clean. The master shower - yuck, T scrubbed it for literally an hour. After 1.5 months here there are some areas that still need deep cleaning) We couldn't even just put stuff in the garage because there were leaves, dirt, and cobwebs everywhere and several mystery spills.

The kitchen tile with a few grout lines cleaned.  

We essentially took Saturday and Sunday off from clean and unpacking.  On Monday we went to clean the old duplex hoping that if we did a good enough job we would get all of our security deposit back.  At the old place we throughly cleaned 2.5 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, and living room. ($2,500 is a good motivator to do a thorough job cleaning - and we DID get our full security deposit back from the cigarette duplex!  Huzzah!  Seriously, so relieved!) Then we came home and started cleaning the new place (3 full bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and garage).  Cleaning two whole houses and packing and unpacking aren't easily done with a toddler who wants to "help" and a fussy baby who needs to be worn.  Needless to say after two moves in under two months we are SOOOO over cleaning and moving and really hope we don't have to do it again for at least a few years.