Sunday, April 27, 2008

Schwing!

Guess who finally likes swinging at the park!
I have dozens of pictures of Brandt looking serious in various swings around town, including this one in the same exact swing, eight weeks ago.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Papa's new game

Brandt and Dan devised a new game today: Brandt points at the ceiling fan and giggles until Dan lifts him up so he can tug on the pull cords.
They played until Dan's arms got tired, and then they played some more. I know better than to ever lift the baby up over my head again so he doesn't start thinking I might play fan grab, too. It's nice for Dan and Brandt to have something just the two of them share. And Dan will toughen up the more he plays.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

We kicked off Earth Day with a swim in baby Xan's pool. We were excited to get wet because we haven't been in a pool in a while--every swim session filled up before any of us had a chance to enroll. It must be the pre-summer rush. We spent almost three hours at the pool (Brandt napped half the time) and then rushed across the street to Paseo Verde Park for a play date plus craft activity.
We usually do footprints for the craft projects, but we attempted handprints this time. The first hand was a success, but the second hand was stubborn and wouldn't spread out and Brandt got mad and cried when I tried to pry open his paint-covered fingers. But that just makes for more character in his Save the Earth collage.
We finished up the day with a visit to the Summerlin farmers market and were pleasantly surprised. It was small by California standards, but way better than the North Las Vegas farmers market we hit a couple weeks ago. We bought some sweet potatoes and strawberries and got a couple free doggie fortune cookies--containing real fortunes that need to be pulled out before the dogs eat them (sounds almost dangerous). Brandt loved the strawberries and drew a big strawberry smile on his face to showcase his happiness.
I couldn't find my camera before our pool date and looked all over for it before heading up to Summerlin. Finally I thought to check the most obvious place: outside the doggie door. Brandt loves throwing anything and everything through the flap. He'd probably fit through himself if he turned sideways, but he hasn't figured that out yet.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Birthday party in WeHo

Late last night we drove from Santa Barbara to LA and crashed at Uncle Alex and Aunt Emilie's so we could have a little party with the family today. Brandt's got some lingering gastric issues, but he still partied hard even if he wasn't allowed to eat any cake.
West Hollywood Park was really fun and Brandt made good use of the playgrounds. His favorite thing is still climbing up the stairs to the slides. We saw a dude from CSI and while we were chatting with him about the Radio Flyer Scoot-About we now have in common, a dude from Gilmore Girls strolled by. Talk about a star studded park.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Seder in Santa Barbara

Brandt and I got up at four this morning (well, Brandt didn't bother getting up) to drive to Santa Barbara for baby's first Passover seder. The ride went well. It took five hours, including a thirty minute pee/gas/snack break.
Our first stop was Tri County Produce for strawberries. I also picked up one of those honey sesame crunch thingies that I thought was the best thing ever back when I was little and didn't know any better. Brandt had a lick--baby's first honey!
Next we hit my childhood stomping ground, Shoreline Park. It was 55 degrees, but we sucked it up and walked through the park and played in the playground. Brandt patiently listened to all my old person reminiscing and ranting: "I remember when they built this playground!" "Back when I was your age, we didn't get driven here...we had to schlep three blocks!"
Next stop: Hendry's Beach so we could see for ourselves that The Brown Pelican is really gone :( At least it makes for easier parking at brunchtime. Brandt fell asleep ten minutes into our beach walk so I kept at it an hour and a half while he napped. He missed a lot of good dog watching and seeing Lyle's favorite rock, but I didn't want to wake him up and have a grumpster on my hands.
Our final stop was Elings Park so we could visit my mom's tree. I perched Brandt in the tree for a picture and he ate a piece of the bark. How is that for the circle of life? I was very touched. He was a bit mad when I scraped the bark out of his mouth.
So after all this excitement, we got to Elaine's at 12:30 (I know! Big day so far). We were supposed to help get ready for dinner, but Brandt started puking. Had he not spit up in the car early in the morning, I would have blamed the sesame crunchy and assumed he had botulism...so much for baby's first honey! I figure when we were out last night he ate something that disagreed with him or picked up a little bug. At least he was smiley and as energetic as normal even with the puking. I was bummed out Brandt couldn't partake in any of the Passover treats, but he had fun anyway and the puking tapered off by the end of the night so after doing a load of laundry, things were pretty much back to normal.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Third Thursday

Brandt and I headed downtown to check out Third Thursday (monthly art, music, food festival) for the first time this evening, but found it a bit lacking. The other gals and I were discussing the motto for the City of Henderson. One thought the motto used to be "A nice place to call home," but was now "A place to call home" so as not to be misleading. I offered it should be "Not as bad as you'd think."
The babies liked the music and liked walking around and played on the grass a bit and in the library a lot. Brandt is not doing a Shannen Doherty impression (note the crooked eyes); I caught him mid-screech--he was pretty excited to play in the grass.
Apparently two year old Dean looked exactly like Brandt when he was little so here is a picture of Brandt's future:
Earlier today we went to a playdate at Trey's house, where we haven't been in almost two months. It was cool to see Brandt play with toys he wasn't ready for last time. Trey has an indoor bounce house that Brandt ran screaming from last time, but he loved it this time. It was too tall for him to crawl into so I had to set him inside, but then he bounced around and kept catapulting himself out the sides for me to catch mid-air. Big fun.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First birthday!

Holy crap, the baby's one! Correction, the toddler's one.
We met some toddlers at the park to play and celebrate, but it was so windy! At one point, a tumbleweed blew through the park, but we stuck it out for several hours. The wind died down by the evening so we took a family walk up to the little park so Brandt could show papa his new sliding skills. Oh, and he started pointing at stuff today. Happy birthday, Brandt!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Family ride

Brandt and I did a tri-mom-lon today (it's like a triathlon, but not quite). We started out the day with a hike at Red Rock Canyon (took a different trail this time and saw the petroglyphs). Then we took a bath. Then we went on a family bike ride. See--tri-mom-lon: hike, bathe, bike.
Our bike ride was 2.5 miles to Paseo Verde Park. There's a playdate there in a couple weeks and I wanted to see if I could make it on a cruiser. There's a long hill, but it wasn't too bad.
And some milestone stuff today: Brandt has gotten the hang of sitting back down once he's been standing up and holding onto something. Good because he doesn't need to call for help to get back down anymore, but bad because now I can't attach him to something in the standing position and know he'll stay there. And he's also figured out hanging a leg off the side of the couch and rolling onto his belly to shimmy down to the floor. He sticks his leg out well in advance and has to scoot to the end of the couch on his butt so it looks really funny and cute.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Star" sighting

In this day and age, you'd think a baby would see his first reality TV star within the first few months of life, but that wasn't the case for Brandt. Granted we saw Marcel and Elia of Top Chef at the Borders grand opening last weekend, but we're not counting them since we knew they'd be there. But today we scored: we saw Angelique from Rock of Love 2 (aka Frenchie) on the strip.
The funny thing is we started the day at the Clark County Children's Festival where there were a whole bunch of renaissance festival-looking people there (I think they may have shown up on the wrong weekend). I wanted to take a picture of one of the scary medieval dudes holding Brandt, but I was too shy to ask and reasoned that they probably eat babies anyway. So would Brandt have been safer in the arms of a baby-eating RenFester than those of a dirty stripper? Either way, bad mommy.
We were down on the strip to see Boyd Kelly Kelly Boyd who is in town for a video poker tournament. We walked all over the strip. Babies love the flashing lights and festive sounds of the casinos so Brandt always likes an excuse to get out and gamble.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wetlands Park Nature Preserve

We discovered Wetlands Park today. It's a constructed wetlands ("The ponds, streams, trails and overlooks were carefully engineered and constructed with funds from a state wildlife bond") so I guess it's just like the canals at the Venetian, only no shops and restaurants.
I saw my first roadrunner, a bunny, and a bunch of quail. I find it so neat to see quail since we were raised to revere them as the California state bird. I don't even know what the Nevada state bird is, but I know I don't have to kiss the asses of those quail anymore! I made a point of saying "Outta my way, asshole!" to every quail that crossed my path today. Heh.
Poor Brandt was taking the nicest nap while I explored and swore at birds, but I woke him up so I could take pictures of him on the little bridge and island. He never finished his nap so was super grumpy by the time I dragged him to the Cha Cha with Mama class at Family to Family. We gave up and left halfway through. We'll just have to boogie together on our own, I guess.
Thank goodness we got all our errands done yesterday so Brandt could rest until swim class: we returned the blue bike helmet and got the yellow one (maybe I can pretend it hasn't been used and trade it for a blue one at an REI in LA next weekend) and got some baby sunglasses. Unfortunately Brandt refuses to wear the sunglasses, but he did fine on the bike ride to the pool without 'em.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ciclismo

Brandt and I took our first baby/mommy bike ride today! It took us a bit of work to get here:
1) Too stubborn to buy the sale Bobike Mini for €30 when we were last in the Netherlands (since it didn't have the cutest padding), it took a couple weeks of eBaying to get one. At least $77 + $12 shipping is about €30 these days so I'm telling myself I got a good deal.
2) The yellow Giro Me2 helmet at REI was a good fit, but c'mon--yellow? Not willing to wait for a blue version to get shipped in, we grudgingly bought the blue Bell baby helmet at JT's. Yeah, yeah, I know Giro and Bell are the same company thanks to the salesdude stating that fact like ten times in five minutes (he must be paid to say that), but the Bell isn't as adjustable.
3) Which bike to use? Initially (and still) I thought this would require a whole new bike. Don't I deserve a cute Amsterdam bike or Bianchi Milano to stick my cute baby on? Especially since I lent out my hard-tail (mountain bike sans rear suspension) and that would have been my best bet otherwise. Of course he'd look cutest on my pink beach cruiser, but I was worried it'd be too hard to ride around with no gears (it doesn't take much of a hill to make me whine). But I put Dan's pétanque boules in my basket and successfully rode to the pool and back (7 minutes there, 8 minutes back). So yay! But apparently the stem of the Kustom Kruiser Kosmopolitan is a little too leany to accommodate the Bobike so Dan had to attach it to his boring blue beach cruiser. Then I tested that bike with the pétanque boules strapped into the bike seat and it worked just fine...except for not looking as cool as it would have on the pink bike. Definitely a sign I need another bike.
The ride to swim class this afternoon was a breeze! Brandt really enjoyed it, but I think we need to add sunglasses to the mix because his eyes got a little red from the wind. Everyone really liked the bike seat so maybe we can get a whole baby/mommy biking crew going!
Earlier today Brandt got his first chance to play in a sandbox at Joe's Crab Shack. It was really fun - we met three other babies for lunch there and they all tooled around in the playground. Brandt didn't even try to eat the sand so we might do it again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The picketing pays off

Almost a year since our last protest at Sunrise Hospital, we were all set to do it again, but the fight is over! Sunrise Hospital has changed their rules and now new moms can take their placentas home with them.
But since we'd already planned another protest rally, we showed up anyway and held up Thank You posters and gave the nurses balloons and a card. And as you can see from the pictures, I discovered that Brandt may have anthophobia (fear of flowers). So we'll keep an eye on that.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tot turf

The District is greening it up and has replaced the grassy play area with fancy recycled tire tot turf so we had to go check it out. Apparently there are interactive touch points that you can step on and hear sounds. We may have found one that made crickets chirp, but with so many kids jumping around and the spots unmarked, it's hard to tell whose interaction is causing what.
Earlier in the day we met baby friends Jakey and Symphony (with their mamas) at Town Square to lunch and check out the new Borders. Brandt fell asleep on the way over and we beat everyone there by 30 minutes so I walked around with him in cradle hold in my sling. I wouldn't have though he'd still fit in the sling laying down and I must have looked ridiculous with such a long baby wrapping around my waist like a spare tire, but oh well. He took a monster nap and finally woke up near the end of lunch--just in time to try some pineapple (bit hit).
We timed things to see the kiddie magician at Borders, who was making balloon animal after balloon animal by the time we arrived. Brandt kept trying to chew on his doggie balloon so we had to give it away to another kid, but Jakey marched around with his blue sword (I think it was a sword, anyway, and not something naughty)...he's a few months older and knows not to eat balloons, so hopefully there can be balloon animals in Brandt's near future.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Red Rock rocks

We checked out Red Rock for the first time today and that place rocks! We attempted to hike the children's discovery trail, but I think we ended up on a different trail halfway through...which is a good thing because I found it a little tough and would have been embarrassed if it was the kiddie one.
The waterfall still had a bit of water in it (the sign said it dries up in March) so that was very exciting. Brandt enjoyed splashing in the water. I think we're going to go back next weekend, too! Fun fun fun.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Farmers market in the desert

This afternoon we trekked up to North Las Vegas to check out Aliante Nature Discovery Park. It's a very cool dinosaur-themed park next to a pretty duck-filled lake. It was a bit hot out in the sun (there's never much shade in these parks...wah!) so we hung out inside the giant triceratops skull most of the time.
I was excited to see the North Las Vegas Harvest Market going on in the park, but it was a bit of a disappointment. I guess I shouldn't have expected much from a farmers market in the desert. There were half a dozen booths, but only one had produce. Maybe it'll get more exciting as spring progresses.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cruising

Brandt is now cruising (walking while holding onto furniture). He's cruised a little bit here and there before, but usually only when chasing down something really enticing, like a chihuahua or the TV remote. Now he cruises in circles around his toy chest and shoves his activity table thingy across the room and use it to cruise along to other objects.
We met some other babies for a picnic at Town Square today. I was excited to hang out on the fake grass, but it wasn't as fuss-free as I thought it would be. The fake "dirt" under the fake grass (made of recycled tires or sneakers) was comprised of little black crumbs that stuck to everything and left behind black smudges. But at least Brandt didn't try to eat anything. He had a lot of fun finding the real leaves among the fake grass and picking them up and dropping them over and over and over. It really tired him out so we didn't stick around until storytime or to check out the book sale at the Borders that just opened up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby Warma

Finally, a picture of Brandt in his elaborate swim outfit. He was too cold in just swim trunks so we added the Konfidence Baby Warma wetsuit. The wetsuit velcro irritated his neck so then we added the rash guard. He still shivers a bit near the end of class so I might add more layers if I can find something else to help...maybe surfer booties and hood. Ha.
So we're on our fourth session of swim lessons and Brandt does seem to be learning a bit. I don't think he's anywhere near blowing bubbles or doing arm strokes (or ice cream scoops, as they call 'em in Parent and Me), but he's kicking!
I also finally got my act in gear and we walked to class and back for the first time today. We did a test run yesterday to time it: 21 minutes.