April 30, 2010

Aloha Friday

The question this week for Aloha Friday is:

If you could go on vacation right now, where would you go?
The first thing that came to mind was Key West, Florida. It was a stop on a cruise we went on in 2004. Chris and I were able to spend the day exploring Key West. It is a place that stayed with me and in the back of my mind it will always be a place I could see my self retiring and living out my days in a little cottage by the sea. My garden would spill over the entire yard with tropical flowers and I would ride my bike with the big basket in the front to go get the catch of the day and fresh produce. Kicking back with a cocktail and a piece of Key Lime Pie sounds like the good life to me. Here are some photos from Key West from that trip.

April 25, 2010

Disneyland 2010

We had a bit of a rough start to our trip. We were all packed up and ready about 30 minutes earlier than we had to leave. So we headed out on our 2 hour car trip to the airport. Chloe is not a fan of her car seat. The time we left was close to her normal morning nap time so we thought we might get lucky and she would just fall asleep. No such luck. I sat in the back seat with her to try and entertain her and help her not to think about being strapped into the car seat. About 20 minutes into the ride to the airport Chloe started to get upset, and it got progressively worse as we went along. We finally made it to the airport.

Plane Ride
We just sat Chloe in the seat in-between us. I just strapped her in and put a blanket over her lap. Next time I think I will get one of those little pillow lap trays for her. I think it will make it easier for her to eat a snack and also play with something.
Chloe maybe got a total of 15 minutes of sleep on the plane. She was beyond tired and this did not help things. Thank goodness it was a direct flight. We arrived on time at LAX and caught the Disney Bus soon after retrieving our luggage, which consists of 4 suitcases, a stroller, large diaper bag and my purse. The bus ride was about 45 minutes to our hotel.

The hotel
We stayed at Disney’s Grand California Hotel. This is on Disney property and walking distance to both their parks and the downtown Disney area. We are members of the Disney vacation club, which is a time share thru Disney allowing us to stay at any of their resorts, otherwise there is no way we could afford to stay there. The room was a one bedroom with a kitchen and sitting area, the bonus is that we had a washer and dryer in the room. I think we used it almost every day. The room came with a pack-n-play for Chloe to sleep in. It also had a high chair which was great. We tried putting Chloe down for a much needed nap but she was not having it. So we decided to go ahead and head out to get some dinner. For dinner we ate at the Creole café. It was heavenly and the best part of our entire day. After dinner we called it quits and headed back to the hotel. Finally Chloe was exhausted enough to pass out in her new surroundings in the pack-n-play.

Crawling Around
The first day into the park we realized Chloe is at the stage were she wants to be crawling around and not confined to her stroller or held for long periods of time. We tried our best to periodically find spots for her to crawl around and pull her self up onto things. She is not walking yet but working hard on her mobility.
Back at the hotel there were a few areas we could take her to crawl around on the fresh cut grass she loved it. She is drawn to all the plants and flowers much like I am. Of course she would find the oldest crustiest leaves and stick them in her mouth. One time we had her in the stroller and were walking around Disneyland and one of the employees stopped us and said do you know your baby is chewing on a plant. We simultaneously said “Yes”. She was chewing on a pine needle. On a scale of good and bad things she could possibly had found and popped into her mouth the pine needle was ok as far as I was concerned and she was content to be in her stroller at the time so it actually was a good thing.

Feeding the Kid
I think Chloe was on a growth spurt the week we were on vacation. The kid was eating all day long every day. I think I was too, but that is the joy of vacationing right? I would just keep the tray on her stroller wiped clean and toss snacks in there for her to munch on thru out the day. She was able to try several of the kiddie meals available. She liked the Mickey waffles, mac-n-cheese, and also there was a meal that had rice bowl with chicken mixed in and a side of applesauce. She loves blueberry muffins so we would pick one up for her daily at the bakery. We also would give her tastes of the things we were eating like the pineapple dole whip, yummy.

Often we would try to walk around during her morning nap time and try to get her to fall asleep in her stroller. Once asleep we would walk to a quiet area to sit and watch people while giving Chloe some time to sleep. You would often see strollers with kids passed out in them, especially in the evening. My husband takes a nap when he can so in the afternoon both him and Chloe would head back to the room for a snooze. During this time I would either hang out on the balcony of the room catching up on some reading or I would go back into the park by myself. The last full day we were there I went back into the parks and rode some of the rides Chloe was not able to ride. I also wondered casually in and out of all the shops on Main Street. I had the best time and felt foot loose and fancy free.

The Rides
There are plenty of rides and areas for kids Chloe’s age at Disneyland. I think the busiest area is Fantasyland and it has all the kiddie rides. If you get a chance to do a magic morning, which allows you into the park an hour earlier, use that time to hit all the rides that normally have the long lines. We also took her on all the other regular rides like the Jungle Boat Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion. One of my favorite shows is the Enchanted Tiki Room, Chloe enjoyed it too.

Character Breakfasts
Chloe’s favorite thing on our vacation was the 2 character breakfasts that we went to. A character breakfast is where you go and have your meal while characters wonder around the tables spending time and taking pictures with your family. The first one we went to was located at our hotel it was the Chip’n Dale Critter Breakfast at the Storytellers Café. This one had the characters that would normally be out in the woods like Chip, Dale, Brother Bear, Dakota, Terk & Baloo. The second one we went to was the Breakfast in the Park with Minnie & friends. This one is located inside Disneyland and had more variety of characters like Tiger, Minnie, Captain Hook, the Fairy Godmother, Geppetto, Rafiki, Eeyore & many more. Both places we did not have reservations and walked in and were sat right away. The first breakfast located at our hotel was more enjoyable and cheaper. Chloe loved all the individual attention she got from each of them. It was a lot of fun to watch her interact with them. Here are some of the photos from those 2 experiences.

The Wrap Up
Overall it was a wonderful get away and we have some great memories of the trip. Knowing what I know now and things I would change, first I would check the weather forecast and not assume that it would be sunny and warm. We packed a lot of cute summer outfits never to be worn due to the cooler temperatures. I probably would book the trip a few months later giving Chloe a little more time to start walking first. I would pack more than one change of clothes for Chloe in the carry on bag. I would not pack so many diapers, what was I thinking. I would say that traveling with Chloe at 4 months and also 9 months was way easier than traveling with her at 12 months. When she was younger she just went with the flow and what ever we wanted to do we did. This time we were definitely on Chloe time. It is a good thing she is such a cutie pie.

April 24, 2010

We Are Back

This week that we have been home has been a blur. It is amazing how you can leave for a week and when you get back it seems like you will never catch up with your life. I am hoping to get a good post written in the next few days describing our trip to Disneyland with our 12 month old daughter Chloe. In the mean time here are some random shots taken on our vacation.

April 11, 2010

Heading to Disneyland

We are heading to Disneyland for the week. I am looking forward to finding my happy place. I will be back in a week with some pictures and details.

Getting to Know YOU

1. What color do you wear the most?
I tend to gravitate towards the warm side of the color wheel, with the red, pinks lilac, & oranges.

2. What would you rather have $10,000 or a dream vacation?
Dream Vacation – perhaps a long Mediterranean cruise.

3. Do you have a weird, quirky or unusual habit?
I prefer things to be balanced and in their place. I am most comfortable with an even number of objects or if there is a group of objects there should be a second group near by to balance the view. So thru out the day I am constantly putting things back in there place or moving objects to create balance.

4. I really need to start…….?
Cleaning out the closets.

5. What was the first blog you ever read?
When I first started reading blogs I was interested in the ones about knitting. So one of the first ones I followed regularly was Lolly Knitting Around.

6. Do you collect anything?
I like to save interestingly shaped glass jars or bottles. I also collect mugs from places we have vacationed. I have a pretty good size handbag collection.

7. How old were you when you had your first kiss?
It was around the 5th or 6th grade, I went to a girlfriend’s birthday party. It was an evening dance party. I was going with a boy at the time and he was at the party. They kept turning on and off the lights and that is when I had my first French kiss. It was also the first time I slow danced with a boy.

8. Do you text/twitter while driving?
Nope, I can barely drive with out that kind of distraction.

April 10, 2010

The Saturday Post

So much stuff going on around here, I thought it was time for another Saturday Post to share all the current events and what not.

Bye Bye to the Bottle
A huge event around here is we said fair well to the bottle. Back when I was pregnant I read an article that had a photo of Tom Cruise & Katie’s baby girl and she was almost 2 and she was drinking from a bottle. The article basically said this was horrible and the kid should be off the bottle. Of course at the time I read it I had no experience with any thing bottle let alone know when a kid should be off the bottle. So I remember doing some research to educate myself a bit on the subject. It appeared that it was a big deal to get kids off the bottle and a good time is at one years old. So I made a plan. When Chloe was 6 months I introduced her to the sippy cup, just putting water in it. Once she got the hang of it, I started giving it to her with meals only putting water in it. She liked it. A couple weeks before she turned one, I dropped off a few sippy cups at her daycare and took back the bottles I had there for her. So on the days she went to daycare she only had the sippy cups during the day, but had the bottle in the morning with me and in the evening. Then about a week ago I scrubbed up all the bottles and put them away. I decided to just go cold turkey. Chloe got up that day and in her routine I changed her diaper then went into the living room where she would normally have a bottle first thing. I handed her the sippy cup with whole milk in it. She was not happy. That first day was tough and there were tears I definitely know it would have been much easier to just give in and give her a bottle. What I did was just keep giving her affection and offering her the sippy cup. She would eventually take the cup and each time it got easier and easier. The first day was the worst and each day after got better. Now she is in to a new routine with her sippy cup and just fine with it. I am over-joyed with not having to make up the bottles. It is so easy to just pour milk into the sippy cup.
From 6 months to 9 months we tried several different kinds of sippy cups to see which ones worked the best. The one that worked out for us is the Munchkin Mighty Grip. I have six of them and that gets me thru the day. She is able to hold onto them and even with just one hand. It does not leak which is a big plus because this thing is all over the place. I have not had one break and she is getting good at tossing it over the highchair. Next we will work on her drinking from a regular cup and also teaching her how to drink from a straw and working on her using a spoon.

Resolution Results
Photo of HABA children’s toy scale
I have completed my 3 month resolution to become more fit and loose weight. March seemed to go much better than February. Overall I lost a total of 15 pounds since the beginning of the year. I am very happy with the results. I am down one clothing size. I can put my wedding ring on & off with out having to goop on lotion first. I am going to continue on and see what happens by the end of the year. I have added exercise on the treadmill, so this should help me tone up a bit.

The Herd Moves North
Last year we were able to sell several of our alpacas. After the sales we were left with a total of 26 alpacas in our herd. Last Monday they were shipped up North to a large alpaca farm where they will be cared for and sold. Hopefully we will be able to find some good homes for them this year. It is so strange to look out my windows and not see them frolicking in the pasture. It is even stranger to not have the daily chores of feeding them and tending to their needs. I miss them but feel a relief of our progress. We are currently working on cleaning up the barn, shelters and pastures and preparing the property to be put on the market.

Everybody Loves Babies
It seems like there are a ton of movies out now that I want to see and just have not had the time to go. I recently read an advertisement for an up coming movie titled “Everybody Loves….. BABIES”. The documentary follows four babies around the world from birth to first steps.

The four kids are:
Ponijao from Opuwo, Namibia
Bayarjargal, from Mongolia
Mari from Tokyo, Japan
Hattie from San Francisco, CA

The movie opens mother’s day weekend. I hope it will be playing at our local theater. I am definitely going to try to catch it and show my support. If you would like to read up on it and watch a trailer go to their website HERE.

April 9, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

My Little Life

1. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Isla Fisher – She tends to play quirky characters, and has a great laugh.

2. Did you ever go to summer camp?
Nope, I went to some lame retreat for a weekend but that is about it.

3. What sends you running and screaming in the other direction?
Centipedes & millipedes, they give me the heebie-jeebies.

4. What is something you do that drives your spouse nuts?
Well we have been together for over 17 years so pretty much everything I do drives him crazy and vice versa. I would say something high on his non tolerance scale would be my evening ritual of getting ready for bed. You know washing the face, then the face cream, putting on the jammies, slathering on the lotion, & fluffing the pillow.

5. What is currently your favorite song?
That is a tough question. There are so many favorites. I think currently my top album at the moment is by “No Doubt” titled the singles 1992-2003. Top song on the album would be “It’s My Life”. The song is a remake and is done just as good as the original. The album is a great one for working out too. It gets you moving.

April 1, 2010

Chloe's First Birthday

Oh dear my little baby is a toddler now. I think I was more excited about her birthday than I have been about any birthday in a very long time. I will say that it went nothing like I had imagined it would. For all you Moms out there anticipating your own child’s first birthday my advice is to not make it too overwhelming for them and just relax and go with the flow. In the photo above Chloe is wearing a special dress I bought to take photos of her at 1 years old. I originally planned to take her to get professional photos done, but the scheduling was not working out and I could not get a good time. So I decided to just take photos myself. This worked out great because I only had a good 10 minutes of her sitting pretty in her dress before she was done with the whole thing.

Some Gifts

This special toy box was made by Chloe’s Aunt Stefanie’s boyfriend Rusty. Hopefully that makes since. Rusty has been a close friend of the family for many years and this was a wonderful surprise. I am sure this chest will be with Chloe for a very long time, and will be stuffed full with all her little treasures. It even has those child safety hinges, so it is safe for her to use all by herself.

These wonderful hand made outfits were made by Chloe’s Grandma Ce.

Here is some detail on the fabric she used, cute little frog print.

This little rocking chair was from both of Chloe’s Grandmas from Oregon. I love the colors and the wonderful animals depicted on the chair.

This is the Disney princess ride on that my husband and I got Chloe for her birthday. She sits right on it and moves forward and backwards all by herself. It has all kinds of buttons that make music and make the front princess’ move around or up and down. The seat lifts up for storage. There is also a musical keyboard that she can play while sitting on the seat. We are very pleased with the product and Chloe loves it.

The Birthday Cake
I used a flower shaped cake pan and made a strawberry cake. The cake did not rise as much as I thought it would, so I made a second cake in chocolate to make 2 layers. Since we had company I wanted to make sure we had enough for everyone. It turns out that the chocolate and strawberry layers tasted well together. I frosted the 2 layers with cream cheese frosting.
Then I used some of the cream cheese frosting and colored it pink to decorate with. I placed a baby Winnie the Pooh and Tigger cake topper in the center of the flower. Overall I was happy with the results and feel I can tackle a more challenging design next year.

I will leave you with some photos of Chloe enjoying her first birthday cake.

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