Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Norah

Dear Norah,

Tomorrow is your first birthday. I am posting this now because tomorrow I plan to be nowhere near a computer. Instead, I plan on taking you to the park, chasing you around the house, smothering you with kisses, and stuffing you with cake.

You are the best damn kid I could ever imagine having. This has been an incredible year. It was not without challenges, but when all is said and done we feel as though we won the lottery. You have become this amazing little person. You walk, you talk, you laugh at dirty jokes. Today you ate a sun-dried tomato and liked it. I love your Frankenstein walk. I love that you chase the cat with the same amount of enthusiasm the 100th time as you had the 1st time. I love that you love books. I love that you love blocks. I love that when you wake up and want to be rescued from the crib you say 'Mama'. I love that you aren't afraid of anything. I love that you still need to sleep with us (although don't tell your dad I admitted that). I love how you curl into me and we sleep soundly all night. I love the way you dance, the way you crawl, the way you 'swim' in the tub. I love your laugh. I love your demon growl. I love your hugs, and although your kisses (read, bites) hurt, I appreciate the effort.

Every day that I know you I like you even more. Thanks for being so patient with us this year and showing us how it's done.

Happy birthday, Norah Bear. You rule.


Hot as Duck

We decided not to do a party for Norah's first birthday. She got to have an amazing celebration with the G side of the family in Austin, and we figured we'd save the big party for when she could remember and/or appreciate it.

That being said, we have spent a better part of this last year at Day One and it has been our home away from home. We have made incredible lifelong friends there and look forward to any chance we get to celebrate with them. We came up with the brilliant idea of having one joint birthday party for all the babies (they turn one within a month or so of each other). We originally thought about doing it at a park, but logistics and the need for permits made it more difficult than it was worth--so we did it at our house instead. Our dear friends Kristiana, Michael and Chiara were in town this weekend (they moved to London when Chiara was 6 months old--brave!), and so it was the perfect time to do it.

Eighteen babies and their parents. And a few grandparents. And the first day all summer that was HOT AS DUCK. Seriously hot. Like 95 degrees hot. All in our 1,100 square foot house. It had all the makings of a total disaster, but with the exception of the crazy heat, it was a perfect day.

Our backyard canopy kind of fell apart the last time we had it up (we used it a lot), and we did some surgery with coat hangers, duct tape, and a four by four. But, it couldn't stand up to the wind we get around here and we had to RIP it. BVZ splurged and got a pop up canopy that goes up in minutes and is much bigger and sturdier and it kicks ass.

We trapped Norah in the sunroom, but she had a good time watching the construction. Please note her Birthday Girl shirt, pink shoes, and pink HAIR BOW (thanks to Jim and Carolyn for the shoes and bow).

She is still having a hard time adjusting to soled shoes and spends a lot of time trying to get them off.

Isn't she the cutest damn thing you have ever seen?

The canopy tent in all its glory.

Our friend Jennifer provided all the plates and decorations for the party and this was her special surprise:

Check out what I gave Norah for her birthday (BVZ isn't giving her anything until tomorrow--her real birthday). It is a water and sand table. Obviously, water goes in one side and sand in the other. I went to the store to get sandbox sand for it the other day and in big letters on every bag is: WARNING, MAY CAUSE CANCER. Really? Now, SAND causes cancer? But, alas, according to the internet who knows everything, sandbox sand has all kinds of bad stuff in it--quartz, graphite, and what not, and can be very bad to breathe it in. Considering the fact that I knew Norah would be licking most of the sand, I figured that couldn't be a good thing. The wise internet also directed me to a place that sells 'safe sand' and for a ridiculous amount of money I could get a bag of non-cancer causing sand. Sold! But, it is sand and heavy and takes a loooooong time to ship. So, we were without sand for today. Instead, we made it a water and water table.

Norah and her dad.

And her mom.

The babies went NUTS for the water table. They splashed the crap out of each other and had a fabulous time. We kept having to refill the water because they kept knocking it out.

Unfortunately, I have very few pictures of our fun afternoon. I was running around quite a bit and I kept setting down my camera only to completely forget where it was. And then I had a glass of champagne in the sun and became pretty much useless.

But look how beautiful our friend Ava is....

I made each baby their very own cupcake. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed with Norah's performance. She licked the frosting very daintily and then patiently waited for me to break off pieces of the cake for her. I plan to put her in her high chair tomorrow and really let her go off on her own cake with no other distractions around her. I bet she goes nuts.

The gorgeous Exie.

Sweet Chiara...

Norah trying to eat the toys in the table.

Norah gives Aileen a high five for a job well done.

Those are the only pictures I got! Terrible. Hopefully, other parents did a better job and will email to me what they've got (hint, hint).

We can't adequately express how much our Day One family means to us. You all are a big reason we survived this year with smiles on our faces, and look forward to celebrating with your beautiful kids for years to come.

Evil Knievel

This is Norah's snail rocker. She loves to climb on and off it herself. Lately she has started riding it backwards, rocking with no hands, and standing up. We are considering getting her a helmet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Long Time, No See

We've had a lot going on lately.

Norah is officially walking. She doesn't do it consistently and finds that crawling to her destination is usually faster, but she can get places on two feet. She looks (and sounds) like Frankenstein when she walks because she holds out both arms (and growls).

She has said 'dog' about 80,000 times in the past few days and 'monkey' twice.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pretend First Father's Day

I know that Father's Day isn't until next Sunday, but next Sunday BVZ will be away at trial (boo!) and so we celebrated today. I made hot breakfast and Norah and I gave her dad his gifts. Norah got him a sweet book and this fancy plate she made him that has her cute little hand prints on it.

Norah's mom went above and beyond and got him the new Neil Young Archives Volume I. This was particularly impressive given the lengths Norah's mom went to in order to get this awesome gift (namely, she made trips to seven different music stores and a got into a verbal altercation with a customer service rep at

After presents and breakfast, BVZ and Norah went on a long walk. I stayed behind intending to clean the bathroom, but ended up laying on the couch and watching a terrible movie instead.

Texas folks, please pay particular attention to the fact that it is June 14 and in order to go for a walk outside at 11 am, Norah had to wear a winter jacket. That's why we can never move back to your hot ass state, suckers!

Could she be any cuter?

The fog burned off and we took a family trip to Whole Foods. BVZ finally understands how fun it is to go to Whole Foods with Norah and wants to take her evey weekend (I am telling you, WF is Disneyland for babies). We got stuff to grill and set up shop in the backyard.

Norah is currently obsessed with tortilla chips. It is a dangerous obsession to have, believe me.

She was throwing a fit about it, so I put some guacamole on her chip. It was pretty mild, but I do think she got a taste of something spicy.

BVZ is wearing a Chuck Norris t-shirt and a woman's sun hat. Priorities change post-baby, people.

It used to be very easy to hang out with Norah in the backyard because she was scared of grass and would stay on the blanket the entire time. She is not scared of the grass any longer.

So, in order to get her to stay put I had to give her the roll of paper towels.

Don't worry, we will use all the ones she tore off at a later date. Even the ones she chewed on a little.

She liked wearing the hat.

And much preferred to hang out on the brick than on the blanket.

It was a great Father's Day (well, at least in my opinion....). We love you BVZ and look forward to celebrating many more.

Great American Food and Music Fest: FAIL!

I love to eat and I love to cook. Post-Norah, I watch a lot of cooking television and actually cook very little, so I thought it only appropriate that we go to the Great American Food and Music Fest. We went with our fun friends Josh, Suzy, and Caroline and looked forward to a great afternoon of food and cooking demonstrations by the Food Network personalities.

To say that the festival sucked was a serious understatement. First of all, it was at Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is a venue we have been to many times, mostly for sold out shows. We've never waited in line to get in more than about 5 minutes. On Saturday, however, the line wound around the entire parking lot, at least 500 people deep. There were at least 100 parking attendants directing traffic in the lots, but apparently only 2 people taking tickets. It took us almost an hour to even get in the front gates.

Once we were in we found WALL to WALL people.

So, in true GVZ fashion, we immediately found the beer tent.

Norah took it all in stride. I knew she was a great kid, but after this experience I have a whole new appreciation for her. It was no fun for her. It was hot, it was crowded, and she was confined to the stroller for much longer than I intended her to be. She never complained, she never fussed. She just smiled and laughed and flirted with people. She ate a bagel with creme cheese and smoked salmon and couldn't have been happier.

BVZ had 3 giant beers and couldn't have been happier.

The biggest problem with this FOOD festival was that it was impossible to get any food. Every vendor was 100 or so people deep and the poor people working there just simply could not deal with the crowds. We decided to take our chances and get the Philly Cheesesteaks, and waited in a non-moving line for about 45 minutes before I wised up and figured out what the problem was. Apparently, they made each sandwich after it was ordered and their ovens could only handle five at a time. They each took 20 minutes from start to finish. So, based on the number of people in line, I think it would have taken approximately 10 hours for us to get a sandwhich.

Ironically, there were no lines at the beer stands and so people kept drinking, but were unable to eat. The general drunkedness created a great sense of commrodery amongst the starving crowd and we had a lot of fun chatting with the people around us. Turns out a woman who was in front of us was the cousin of a woman who used to be an intern at my office (long story as to how we figured that out, but what a small world!)

We eventually got some food (not Philly Cheesesteaks), and found a lovely patch of grass in the shade where the girls could stretch their legs and practice their walking. Despite the fest's adversity, we had a fabulous time with Josh and Suzy and the awesome Caroline and it turned out to be a great, great day.

Doesn't Caroline have the best hat?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just a Girl

No real point to this post other than the fact that I think this picture is super cute and I really like the outfit she's wearing (one of her birthday gifts from Sarah). It is a wrap dress and she's wearing shoes with sparkle on the top. Doesn't get any girlier than that, people.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Backyard

Our house is really small. And Norah has a lot of stuff. Which makes it seem even smaller. Every time I bemoan the fact that we are quickly running out of space, I remind myself why we bought this house in the first place. The backyard:

On days with cloud cover (or when we can get BVZ to put up the tent), Norah and I hang out in the backyard. I would spend a lot more time out there, but remember, we're both translucent.

Norah is really into reading herself books these days. It doesn't seem to bother her when they're upside-down.

We got her this walker cart to help her practice walking. She won't use it. She will push it while crawling, sit in it, pile toys in it, etc. Just about everything but walk with it.

She will, however, chew on the metal stabilizer bar.

If you look closely you can see Loretta being pissed that she can't come outside. Sucker.