Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This is what Art Garfunkel's hair looks like when it is dry.

But look how long it is when it is wet! I couldn't believe it.

She totally needs a haircut. It is so tangled by the end of the day. I force her to sit while I comb it out after her bath. Last night she patted my hand and said, "mom, be gentle." I was trying to be as gentle as humanly possible, but after 10 seconds of combing through the rats nest she said, "mom, mom, what are you DOING back there?"

Working It

I have never for one second questioned my decision to go back to work after my maternity leave. It is better for me, it is better for Norah, and it is definitely better for BVZ. That's not to say that two (almost) full time jobs in one family doesn't come with its own set of challenges, but it really has been the right fit for our family. I really like my job and the people I work with and I LOVE that four days a week I get to go to the bathroom by myself whenever I want. It certainly has helped a ton that as much as I love to go to work, Norah loves to go to Ruby's house. The girls are so good for each other and they couldn't have a better caregiver than Pam. It has been amazing in the past few months to see how much their interactions have changed. They engage in cooperative and imaginative play and on a daily basis Norah reminds me just how much she loves them both.

Norah has been a bit clingy since I have been home from my quick El Paso trip. She legitimately missed me, which I love, but it makes me so sad that she was so sad while I was gone. Since I have been back she wants to be with me all of the time and won't even let BVZ get her out of bed in the morning (she sits there and demands I come get her. It's cute-for now). Yesterday when I was packing her bag for Ruby's she started to cry and told me that she wanted to stay with me. It broke my heart a little bit and I told her that Ruby and Pam would miss her so much. She said, "no, Mom. I go to Ruby's. You just go too."

A Handful

BVZ drives Norah to Ruby's house in the morning. Lately she's been giving him a hard time and refusing to get in her car seat. She wants to sit in the front. (I admit, it is time to turn her to forward facing...) Anyway, I leave before they do and so he always sends me a text or email to let me know that she got there safely. Here is the email I got today:

Subject line: Your daughter...

...was giving her dad the business this morning. First, it was her refusal to let dad help her put her shoes on, which resulted in her walking out of the house with only one shoe. Then in the car, she screamed that she wanted to play the "ABC game" with mom in the house. Finally, just as we're getting to Ruby's, I look back and that little monkey got into her bag, pulled out a banana, peeled it, and started waiving it everywhere.
One word: handful!

It totally made my day. Pictures are unrelated, but cute.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When Mom's Away...

This Saturday was Grandma Flossie's services, so I made a (very) quick trip to El Paso. I was only gone from Friday morning to late Saturday night, but it's actually the longest I have ever been away from Norah and certainly was the farthest. BVZ was on deck for Norah duty and I am happy to report that she seems fed and uninjured. Thankfully he was empathetic to how much I was missing her and sent me plenty of picture of their adventures.

This one was actually from Megan (Norah spent the day with Ruby and Pam until BVZ got off of work). Ruby was very helpful and put Norah's shoes on for her.

Friday pizza and movie night (they watched Finding Nemo).

After dinner walk around the block.

Saturday hike around the reservoir.

Pit stop at the library.

Lots of time at the park.

I figured she would have missed me as much as I did her and so when I got home (at like 11:30 pm), I sneaked* into her room and covered her face in kisses. She opened one eye and said, 'Stop, Mom. Me sleeping.'

*Uncle Kiki, don't correct my grammar-either sneaked or snuck is proper usage.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grandma Flossie

My mom's mom, my Grandma Flossie, died last Friday. She was just shy of her 91st birthday. She had recently had a number of health scares and was in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation centers quite a bit. But, just as she lived her life on her own terms, she left this life on her own terms as well, quietly passing away in her sleep.

Flossie was definitely what you would call, 'a tough old broad.' She told it like it was and didn't put up with much from anyone. I would like to think she's where I get my feistiness (or maybe just my big mouth). She was a hard worker and dedicated to her family. She could be a bit prickly at times and didn't always have the easiest time showing her emotions, but I truly believe that at the end of the day she cared very deeply about the people in her life.

I was thinking the other day about how quirky she was. She was a terrible cook and when we used to eat lunch at her house she would make us sandwiches with peanut butter, regular butter, and lettuce, with a side of canned green beans. But she would also take us on awesome adventures-to museums, the plant nursery (which we LOVED and was the site of Amy's orange shoplifting drama), to parks, and on walks. She didn't have a ton of toys for us to play with at her house, but she always let us rearrange the furniture to play hide and seek or Murder in the Dark (basically, hide and seek with the lights off). She took great pride in the tomato plants she grew in her backyard, but always let us pick the tomatoes-even when they weren't quite ripe. We were obsessed with her refrigerator because it was one of those models with ice and water dispensers in the door (this was big time stuff in the early 80's). Not only would she let us get as much water and ice as we wanted, but she always set out little dixie cups for us to use that had jokes on them. It was subtle, but looking back on it I think it was her way of showing us how much she cared.

As we got older she was always in attendance at dance or music or whatever recitals and sporting events. She went to graduations and weddings when she could (traveling in the past 10 years or so got really hard for her), and without fail remembered every one of our birthdays, every year.

She had a very special relationship with my Grandpa Hod, who died in 2000. It broke her heart when he died unexpectedly and I don't think she ever was the same without him. They had their quirks too-they used to secretly record each other-like with an old school cassette recorder-and then use the recordings as 'evidence' of the other person's broken promises or wrong doing in later arguments. We always thought it was hilarious, but they took it very seriously. At the same time though, when we would play hide and seek in their bedroom we would find love notes they had written to each other, tucked in the side of a mirror or taped to the bathroom medicine cabinet. And these weren't old notes either, they wrote them to each other all of the time-I imagine up until the time he died. I took from them that true love doesn't have to be perfect. True companionship is messy and sometimes requires surreptitious recording, but it is definitely worth it in the end if you get to live your life with your best friend.

She loved to play the slot machines (she would win ALL the time), she loved the San Antonio Spurs, and she loved to talk politics. I may not have always agreed with her opinions, but I appreciated her passion and her honesty about how she felt. She was a tough old broad and we were all better people for knowing her.

[It hasn't been a good summer for grandmothers. It is strange that I lived 34 years with both grandmothers only to lose them within about a month of each other. I feel very lucky for having them in my life as long as I did-my only hope is that Norah is able to say the same about her grandmothers.]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Don't Hit!

Norah is very into 'reading' her books and so will often times yell out words or phrases. For example, we read her Sandra Boyton book 'Dinosaurs' together.

Me: Dinosaurs...
Norah: Happy!
Me: Dinosaurs...
Norah: Sad!
Me: Dinosaurs...
Norah: Good!
Me: Dinosaurs...
Norah: Bad!

You get the idea. Her other favorite one to recite is 'Curious George Feeds the Animals' which is actually a good thing because I have read it 9,567,802 times and there would be something wrong with her if she didn't have it memorized.

I have written before how much Norah loves the Maurice Sendak book 'Pierre.' It was my book as a kid and I am not sure it is even in print anymore. Pierre's mom and dad and even a lion all try to have a conversation with him, but the only thing Pierre will say is 'I don't care.' Finally the lion eats him. At the hospital the doctor shakes him loose and having faced a near death experience, Pierre finally admits he cares. The final line of the book is: "The lion took them home to rest and stayed on as a weekend guest. And the moral of the story is..... CARE!'

Last night we were reading it and I paused after, 'and the moral of the story is....' And Norah yelled,


Ha. I will take it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fur v. Jammies

Every morning at about 7:00, Norah wakes up and demands to be taken to our bed for her morning snuggle. She always brings Bear and Baby. The other day she noticed that Bear (stuffed) was 'warm' but Baby (hard plastic head and limbs) was 'cold'. I told her that Bear had fur and so he was always warm but that Baby had skin so sometimes she would be warm and sometimes cold. I asked her which one she had to keep her warm.

She said, 'Curious George jammies.'

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Hollow

There is a zoo/petting zoo/little kid amusement park down in San Jose called Happy Hollow. I thought Norah would enjoy it but I have resisted taking her because I hate crowds. Especially crowds with a lot of kids. But, today we had a chance to hang out with one of my favorite friends Tara and her adorable kiddo Sean (who will be 3 this November).

Norah loved the carousal. Really, really loved the carousal. Like, I think we went on it 17 times. All of my pictures are extreme close-ups because I was a helicopter mom who had a hand on her at all times.

iWe never made it to the big zoo part, but checked out the lemurs.

And the goats. We have been to petting zoos before and Norah has always been really skittish around the animals, but this time she was totally into petting them (eww) and feeding them (eww, eww). As a funny aside, one of her favorite books right now is 'Curious George Feeds the Animals' and George gets into big trouble for feeding animals at the zoo his popcorn. Norah needed a lot of reassurance that it was okay to feed the goats goat food.

In the amusement park area is a GIGANTIC play structure. This shows about an eighth of what was there. Norah can be cautious sometimes at parks, especially when there are a lot of bigger kids around, so imagine my surprise when she went bananas climbing up, sliding down, traversing rope courses, etc. I have no pictures except for the first one because I was killing myself trying to prevent her from killing herself (and yes, she went down THAT slide!).

Her bravery continued when it came to the rides. I think maybe it was the fact that she was completely smitten with Sean, but the kid literally had no fear.

You have never seen two kids so happy as these guys were as soon as they got a popsicle.

More carousal on the way out.

It was a great day. I can't wait to take Norah (and this time BVZ) back.

A Breakthrough

Norah is brilliant, but she isn't very creative when it comes to naming her toys. Bear is named Bear. Baby is named Baby. Her new ladybug pillow is named Ladybug Pillow. You get the idea. But we've had a breakthrough! Her hamster is named....drumroll please.....


Photo Dump

Just a quick collection of pics from the past month or so....

Ever since Aunt Amy was in town and sleeping on the couch, Norah has requested the 'blue sheet' when she lounges on the couch reading her books. I think she just likes the idea that the couch can change colors.

The previous owner of our house was a big cat person and so there's a lot of random cat related modifications that were done. Case in point, there is a cat door between the third bedroom and the sun room (which is currently the playroom). Norah just recently discovered it and enjoys passing her toys and lovies through the 'secret door.'

She loves this wrap jacket I have and requests to wear it every morning. She calls it her 'keelano' (which I suspect means kimono).

We are slowly easing into potty training at Norah's request. She loves wearing underpants. So far we only have her in them at home but she is a champ at going to the bathroom (without prompting), pulling everything off, and peeing on the potty. There is no talk of poop yet (she asks for a diaper when she needs to go), but we feel no hurry and are letting her go at her own pace. I may regret that later, but for now it is working.

Norah is OBSESSED with talking on her phone. She loves to 'call' people, especially me. She typically 'calls' me when I am sitting right next to her. Our conversation goes something like this:

Me: Who is this please?
N: It's NORIE!
Me: Why, hello Norie it is so nice to hear from you. How are you?
N: Good. How do you do do?
Me: Pretty good. What would you like for dinner?
N: Chicken nuggets please.
Me: We don't have chicken nuggets [the only ones I will let her eat are the Earth's Best brand and Whole Foods no longer carries them. Yikes!]
N: Okay, maybe raspberries.
Me: Sounds good.

On Saturday Norah and I took BVZ to see Toy Story 3. She loved it just as much the second time. We were very smug as two families had to leave with kids much older than Norah. Our kid rules.

The other night Norah grabbed a stack of napkins and shoved them in her shirt so she could 'have a baby like Aunt Amy.'

Norah has excellent fine motor skills. Seriously, she has the dexterity of a 5 year old. One of her favorite things to do is buckle shoes. She put on her Suri Cruise shoes today (ie, her dress up shoes from her cousin Megan) and spent a good 5 minutes trying to buckle them. It was seriously next to impossible for her to do. She came over for help and it probably took me at least 5 minutes to get them buckled. The whole time she kept asking, 'you almost done, mom?'

Bay Area Children's Museum

I had been dying to take Norah to the Bay Area Children's Museum for a while. It has the reputation as the best kid's museum in the area and is known for its toddler room-no big kids allowed. I hate 75% of big kids we interact in public places these days. They are pushy, domineering, and have parents on the other side of wherever we are texting on their iphones. Anyway, Aunt Amy and Bubby were in town and so we decided to take the plunge and make the drive.

The museum is in Sausalito, which is just right on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic was no issue and we got there in about 40 minutes. We hit the toddler room first. Norah's favorite thing, by far, were these plastic tubes that would shoot up bubbles if you pressed the pedal with your foot.

Then there was a tunnel with a rain forest on the outside.

Back to the bubbles.

There were huge buttons on the walls that made animal sounds when you pressed them. And Norah pressed them. A lot.

The other toddler room was insect themed. There was a giant ant hill and a structure for climbing (or pretending to be ants? Termites? Who knows).

This bench had all kinds of stuffed animals that you put into holes. Norah was genuinely surprised (and freaked out) when she would put one in a hole and it would come out a different one.

Back to the fish room. There were water bed type things that the kids could walk on and pretend to be lily pads. Norah hated them. She is okay to play on them by herself, but as soon as another kid got on it was game over. This is exactly how she feels about the trampoline. She could jump on it until the cows come home, but the second that someone else gets on and messes with her equilibrium she gets totally pissed.

One of the water beds had real live fish in the glass ceiling above it.

She even lay down to get a better look.

Immediately outside the toddler room was Norah's favorite part of the whole museum. You could take giant plastic fish and set them in the water at the top of the structure and then watch the current bring them down.

It was really awesome to see just how much she gets the whole concept of cause and effect. She would let a fish go...

...and then run to the other side of the bridge to watch it float down.

She clearly loved the stone statutes and sat on all of them.

Even the little mouse.

The grounds of the museum are in old military buildings, set over several acres. Each 'room' of the museum is in a different building, which is a brilliant set up for a kid's museum. You walk outside in the fresh air to get from exhibit to exhibit. It gives the kids a chance to run around without annoying everyone and clausterphobic parents get a chance to get a breath of fresh air.

Here we are in a different building checking out mixtures from the bay (sand, rocks, marine life, etc. in creepy little test tubes).

Making waves roll and birds fly.

Being fish on tv.

View of the bridge.

My favorite room was the San Francisco port. It had a great train table.

And tons of cute exhibits detailing an old school fishing port.

We fished off the side of a big boat (it rocked and everything).

And sent the basket down to collect crabs.

Norah crawled around in the underground tunnels. (Good thing Bubby is miniature and could go with her).

The space room.

My other favorite part was the outdoor area. There were all kind of nature hikes and trails for bigger kids, but Norah stuck with the trucks.

And the diggers.

The giant spider web.

And the antiquated tree that had been hollowed out.

It's beyond a fabulous place and I can't wait to go back.