Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hau'oli la Hanau Hau'oli la Hanau

We picked the right weekend to visit. Today we followed along to two more birthday parties! First was Isabella's two-year party in Mauka. I met Isabella two visits ago at a baby hui gathering so it's like we're old friends.
After a couple hours break (during which we shopped rather than napped) we hit Zak's three-year party across the street. The party started in the garage due to bad weather, but then we moved out to the park so the kiddos could pop their balloons to retrieve the candy inside. Cute idea: piñatas for everyone! In a classic case of monkey see monkey do, Brandt tried to step on his balloon, too. Fortunately he didn't pop it. The pops around him didn't startle him, but I think he would have freaked out had the balloon under his foot disappeared. I was relieved he didn't want to partake in the finger painting in the garage, but he took the first two trips down the slide and mopped up all the collected rain water. So at least he wasn't pain covered like Jake (who looked like the Incredible Hulk with his green face), but he was plenty wet. I have far exceeded my annual pizza and cake quota. Ug.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Enter the Wolphin

We tagged along to Zach's two-year birthday party at Sea Life Park this morning. He pulled out all the stops so we got to do all the normal stuff plus a backstage tour during which everyone got to touch a dolphin on the tail and the birthday boy got to kiss it on the nose. Other highlights were throwing broccoli at the hungry turtles and Brandt and Hannah making out during the stingray ballet. Oh, and seeing a wolphin. You'd think four years of marine biology in college would have taught me about wolphins, but they're news to me! Kekaimalu is a hybrid between a false killer whale (whatever that is) and an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Brandt and I agreed that she just looked like a big fish. Note to self: learn "dolphin" in sign language.
While we were all the way over on that side of the island we went to the new Whole Foods. I had no idea they were building a WF here. This place is almost civilized! Unfortunately they didn't have the "customer in training" mini carts I told Jake about, but otherwise it was all good.

Friday, November 28, 2008

See ya, Seattle

I'm embarrassed to report that I only lasted two days in Seattle before fleeing, but last night was awful--I didn't sleep at all! It was freezing cold (the heat wasn't coming into the bedroom for some reason) and the air mattress is OK for camping, but I can't take one more day of it. As luck would have it, Northwest is having a Hawaii sale right now ($168 each way, plus an extra 3000 miles) so I've run away to hang out with Tammie rather than stay in Seattle and likely kill Dan. I'm disappointed in myself for throwing in the towel so quickly, but it'll be different once our stuff arrives.
I woke Dan up at seven so he could entertain the baby and dogs while I took an hour-long nap and then the day shaped up nicely. It was a bit drizzley so we drove to brunch at a cafe a few blocks away. I don't know what we were thinking, but we then went to REI on the busiest shopping day of the year. The store is three stories of amazingness and includes a playground with treehouse and climb-in toys. Brandt didn't want to brave the crowds in the treehouse, but he happily climbed around some rocks surrounded the first floor fireplace. We got two big people jackets and a rain cover for the magic stroller so now we're ready to brave the elements.
The six-hour flight over was noneventful. I wasn't able to assign myself a seat by booking so late, but I somehow ended up with my own row! Thank goodness for noshows and for people not wanting to sit next to babies. One of the two babies in the last row (whom we were orginally across the aisle from) cried the whole way, but if anything that helped lull Brandt to sleep and he slept a good five hours while I watched the movie and the TV show and finished a book. I should have tried to nap, too, but I was just too excited to be leaving the cold rain for the warm rain.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey day

We started out the day like most Seattlites--at Peet's Coffee. Then we headed down to the playground in Green Lake park where Brandt had a great time. I was hoping to learn a thing or two about warm weather clothing and footwear, but nothing really jumped out at me. There were several kids with Crocs over socks which seems like such a bad idea in wet weather.
Since we don't have any of our stuff yet (the original estimate for the movers arrival was yesterday, but now we expect them next Monday or Wednesday), we didn't do Thanksgiving at home. Instead we cheated and got pre-made dinner at Eat Local and snuck into Dan's coworkers' vacated house so we could sit on chairs and eat with silverware. The coworkers have a little girl so there were a ton of toys for him to play with. He had a terrific time wheeling a toy stroller around (I'll have to convince Dan it's OK for a boy to have one of those) and playing with her teeny pots and pans, making chestnut and plastic panda stew.
Molars are really cool, by the way. Brandt ate a lot of turkey. He used to chipmunk any meat (store it in his cheek for a long while before eventually spitting it out), but now that he's got his first set of molars he's able to eat it easily. His canines are still making their way in so this teething business isn't over and done with yet, but it should be soon...just in time for his two-year molars to start causing trouble.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greetings from Seattle

It was 23 degrees (Fahrenheit, you eye rollers!) when we got into the car at 8am so needless to say, we didn't do any additional exploring of Baker City. We stuck to our usual routine of the past couple days and the drive was pleasant enough: wake up and play around for a couple hours, drive two hours with an awake baby, then two hours with a sleeping baby, then stop for a run-around, then one last hour and a half to our destination.
Here's a picture of Brandt in front of our new place in Greenlake. The gardener was supposed to beat us here, but it looks like he has yet to arrive. The inside is very cute and quirky and I love it! The neighborhood seems wonderful, too--just a block from Green Lake, which we'll go explore tomorrow, weather permitting (I'd imagine the "weather permitting" goes without saying here).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Greetings from the road: Oregon

Today we drove all the way through Idaho and are spending the night in Baker City, Oregon. It was light when we arrived, but by the time we'd had a bit of a rest and set back out at 4:45 it was pitch black and cold. From what I could see, this is a really cute town. If we're not too cold in the morning we may do a quick daylight explore and perhaps see what the deal is with that windmill by the Chinese cemetery.
I just learned that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon. I feel like I should have known this already; we drove through here enough when I was a kid...but of course I was in the backseat fighting with my brother so I wouldn't have noticed the gas station pumping sitch. I asked the guy if Washington is also full-serve, but he assured me it's not. He pondered aloud why so many people complain about it, but I don't think he was accusing me of complaining. Or was he???

Monday, November 24, 2008

Greetings from the road: Utah

Welcome to day one (of three) of our big road trip. This is us stopping for gas and playing in historic Fillmore, Utah. Brandt is doing a little yoga to limber up his car legs. I tried doing yoga a week ago (I recorded the creepy dude on Oxygen) and didn't get too far because Brandt jumped on my back to play horsie every time I did upward dog. But it was worth it because when I did tree pose, he did it, too. He only does it with the right leg so far, but it's great--all I have to do is shout "tree pose!" and he lifts his leg and squeals.
We stopped for the night in Salt Lake City and Brandt helped out with walking Lyle and Bettie. I'll have to take the picture with him in the foreground next time so he doesn't look deceptively smaller than the pupperses.
Driving into town I saw a billboard advertising beer mixed with clamato juice (clam + tomato). I know much of the SLC population is non-drinking, but does that mean they have to ruin it for everyone else? Could you imagine drinking clamato beer? Eww!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bye, friends!

Today is our last day in Las Vegas! We had two big playdates at the park by our house so we could say goodbye to all our friends.

I don't know what it is about this slide, but Brandt flies off the end of it. I missed shooting the first trip down in which he was on his tummy and giggling the whole way, but at least I caught his first ever butt-down slide on a regular-sized slide.
Between the two playdates we headed down to the District for lunch...and mainly to stay out of the house so Dan could pack in peace. We saw a crowd of kids gathered outside the coffee shop and found them all poking at a huge lizard (Australian Monitor, the guy proudly said). I assumed Brandt would be interested, too, but silly me--there were shiny balls nearby. The lizard would need to have any two of the following to be of interest to Brandt: wearing a hat, holding a balloon, holding a glass of water, flying an airplane, eating a banana.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Morning stroll

Brandt and I woke up early this morning (I should hope so after conking out at 8pm last night!) and walked over to Echo Park to check out the ducks. An interesting thing happened: I stuck him in the magic stroller and he just quietly chilled (he didn't even sign at the birds or trees or water!) the whole time. This is the first time I've seen Quiet Alert state in months and months. It's all Active Destroy (note: that may not be the proper technical term for it) now. It seems important for toddlers to have introspective moments so this may just become a morning routine. I'm hoping it'll keep some of those little tantrums, cute as they are, at bay.
Our morning reverie was broken a few times during our three laps around the lake. At one point we came upon two geese eating something in the middle of the path who wouldn't let me pass. I tried sweet-talking them, shooing them, and sneaking by them, but nothing worked so I finally shoved the stroller off-road, up the grassy hill to circumnavigate them. I tell ya, they can smell the fear on me! Brandt was again unphased by the near-duck experience. On laps two and three we were accosted by an abuela who thought Brandt's sunshade should be up so he could see better. That was lap two...on lap three she stopped us to tickle and kiss him. My Spanish was too rusty to explain my theory about introspection and tantrums so I just smiled and thanked her.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to America

Last night we drove from Santa Barbara to LA so we could get up early this morning and watch Aunt Emilie become a US citizen. The event was held at the Pomona Fairplex and they ammuricanized 3500 people at once. You can imagine the traffic jam on the way out: Welcome to America, that'll be $12 to park (Alex was pissed) and you'll have to wait an hour to get out of the lot when you're done.
I can't remember the rest of the day because we were so tired! We had lunch with my dad at some point. We had planned to visit a new pool in Echo Park, but none of us had energy for that. After Alex left for work and Emilie left for a dinner engagement Brandt and I passed out at 8pm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I heart Santa Barbara

We got up super early this morning to drive to Santa Barbara while it's still just one state over. Beth from my UCSB water polo team recently got in touch with me so we hung out with her all day. It was so fun! She lives on the mesa, very close to where I grew up, but right on Shoreline Drive. What a life! It's impressive how many of my former teammates are still in town. I migrated south to San Diego in search of a bigger city with similar weather, but also for more job options. I've always assumed SB was a hard city to earn a living in.
In the evening we visited Elaine, first at her office where Brandt played with her anatomically-correct baby dolls. Brandt was very confused by the baby girl doll with umbilical cord stump--he pointed to the navel and signed "toilet" because it looked like a little hose and wouldn't believe Elaine that pee came out of that boring area down below. We eventually gave up trying to convince him he was wrong. Stubborn little guy. We also stopped by the house where we could see Montecito fire damage on a nearby mountaintop :( But otherwise the visit was a pleasant change from April's when Brandt was puking all over the place. Look, he's even sitting in the fancy chair with no danger of urping on it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fake snow

Today we visited Town Square to check out the nightly fake snow. Since the Santa House was such a disappointment (well the price was, anyway) we decided to go on pet picture night so we could see dogs and cats waiting in line.
The snow was pretty cool, but whatever it was made of (soap, perhaps) was a bit toxic and many of us got sore throats and had trouble breathing. I'll stick to real snow from here on out.
Brandt spent most of the snow show pantless. We've just started breaking out the long pants and it's hard to tell how poorly some of them fit when we leave the house. These Levis seemed OK (they're 12-month size for crying out loud!), but they wouldn't stay up for more than a minute.
We're going to need to get some shoes with real soles once we get to the PNW (Pacific Northwest). The fake snow soaked these Bobux and earlier in the afternoon he jumped in a puddle at Discovery Park and soaked his Sweet Shoes, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Feeding the ducks

We went to Sunset Park to feed the ducks at five this evening. I couldn't have timed things worse because the Gifts of Light show (one of those drivethru xmas lights dealies) started at five, too, so we couldn't park near the lake and had to tromp through a dark field to the dark lake. But other than that, it was awesome!
One big white goose had personal space issues and surely would have bitten off Brandt's toe if I hadn't intervened. He was oblivious to any fowl play (har har) and had a great time. Thank goodness he hasn't inherited my fear of geese...but that all started when I was chased 50 yards by a goose in Marina del Rey a dozen years ago so I guess it wouldn't be an inheritable trait.
I wish we'd done this before now, but better late than never. Dan told me the ducks of Seattle fly south for the winter and I couldn't tell if he was joking or not. We'll find out soon enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chatty Charlie

More fun with the replacement Flip today. Brandt was feeling very talkative while Dan was brushing his teeth and amazingly kept at it while I ran to get the Flip.

Brandt really likes the new Flip and usually charges it the moment he sees it. He enjoys taking dozens of one-second videos by pushing the record button over and over. It's hard to sift through his masterpieces to get to the real videos, but I don't want to quash his artistic spirit.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Counterclockwise Brandt

We went to Town Square to check out Santa's House, but didn't go in because dude was charging $15 for a 4x6 (not to mention the way more expensive packages). But we had a fun time trying to grab the ornaments off the huge christmas tree and playing around in the park and playground.

Brandt prefers to run in counterclockwise circles. I'm sure it's for some significant and intelligent reason ;) He'll go clockwise every once in a while just to mix things up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bellagio fountains

Big big day today. The semi-annual Green Valley Ranch garage sale was this morning from 7am to noon and we got rid of so much junk! We'll still need a storage place in Seattle, but now hopefully a very small one. Dan was unable to start up his old car (yes, he still has the Explorer after all this time) so two people assumed it was part of the garage sale and made offers and that's now gone, too!
After selling all our crap (including my trumpet for $40...my dream of becoming a mariachi is officially dead now :( ) Brandt and I headed north for a birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza. We've been to the one in Henderson and it's nice (and the pizza is AWESOME), but this other one is insane--there's a whole roller coaster inside the place! I thought the little one seemed like a casino-in-training, but that one is a Slots-A-Fun to this one's Venetian. Brandt was most taken by the balloons (of course) and stomping his feet on the metal floor of the photo booth.
Once we were partied out we headed to the Bellagio to check out Deirdre's 16th floor room. Talk about an amazing view. I didn't get a photo at the perfect moment, so believe me when I saw that some of the water jets shot up higher than our lofty vantage point. Brandt was mesmerized.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Magic stroller

Yesterday morning I decided I want a jogging stroller. After about five minutes of research I'd figured out the best one and learned that 90% of jogging strollers aren't designed for jogging--how weird is that? I don't know why I care because I'm no jogger, but a girl can dream.
The whole joggging stroller idea came about when I hurt my back a couple weeks back and Dan was driving Brandt to sleep every night because I was too out of it to put Brandt to sleep per our normal routine. Now that I'm better he's gotten used to this newer routine and I've been walking him to sleep in the stroller. It's kind of nice, but the stroller is so clunky and I got to thinking I may as well be jogging.
By afternoon I decided I had to have the stroller NOW so Brandt and I walked down to REI in the early evening to buy our new BOB. I called Dan as we started walking home to tell him we'd be back in a couple hours, once Brandt had fallen asleep. But as soon as I hung up I looked down and noticed Brandt was already asleep! That's when I realized I had stumbled upon the magic stroller. My friend Jenn has the same stroller (not being a stroller connoisseur before today I didn't immediately recognize it) and she dubbed it the magic stroller since it lulls her little guy (and other babies, too) to sleep like nobody's business. Score!
Deirdre and Arjen arrived to town the other day so we all went downtown for the Veterans Day Parade before Brandt and I had to run off to fancy swim school. It was hot out, but the parade was nice...and supposedly one of the biggest in the nation, but I'm sure everyone says that about their parade.
We ended the day by going to Savers (Best.Thriftstore.Ever.) because everything is half-off today. We scored 23 items for $29. Woo hoo!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holy $@!% we're moving!

Brandt and fam are moving to Seattle! Good thing Brandt has this new rain suit (I couldn't resist it when it was on clearance at REI a while back). Unfortunately, he hates the rain gear. He froze and cried when I stuck him in it inside, but he came around once we got outdoors.
I think Brandt will like it up there, but since his three favorite things are rocks, airplanes, and ceiling fans it's going to be a bit of an adjustment. Besides the great people I've met, I'm going to miss the morning news. What other city regularly has magicians and gamblers on the morning news?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

LOL365

Today marks one year since my last day at CNET and my first day as an LOL (lady of leisure)--woo hoo! We marked the day by attending the Summerlin REI grand opening. We went an hour early for the free breakfast and it was a cold hour waiting in the shade.
It's funny because as I was driving to the book festival yesterday I remembered how hot it had been there last year compared to this year. But as soon as we were out in the sun for a few minutes, we retreated to the shade.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Books, balloons, and big red dogs

Today was the annual Target Children's Book Festival. It's so fun to repeat events after a year and appreciate the difference in Brandt.
Last year he snoozed the whole time and I was a bit bored because I couldn't find anyone I knew. This year I only saw one friend there (and missed several others), but we had a great time because Brandt ran around and waved at Clifford the Big Red Dog (but wouldn't get close enough for a picture with him) and got his first balloon. I tied it to his belt loop because I didn't trust him not to liberate it. It lasted longer than I thought it would (at least ten minutes) before he dragged it into a pokey tree and it popped. Fortunately he wasn't scared by the sound. Unfortunately I couldn't get the knot untied (in retrospect I realize a double knot to keep a balloon secured to a child is a bit excessive) so I let him run around dragging the string. A couple vendors pointed out his dangerous appendage. I hate when other people point something out I've been too lazy to deal with. I usually pretend I didn't notice the missing shoe or the sharp object in his paw since that's easier than admitting I'm aware of the potential for danger and I'm keeping an eye on the situation. I think it's easier to let a toddler march around with a fairly blunt knife for a minute rather than immediately grab it away from him and cause a tantrum. Right??
We had thought about going to the mall in the afternoon to witness Santa's arrival, but I decided it'd be too crowded and we skipped it. Can you believe how early Santa comes to town? I thought he had to wait until after the turkeys had come and gone. I'm sure there will be plenty of other Santa arrivals to behold.

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Friday

We attended our first First Friday tonight. We went early in hopes that the party people wouldn't be running around crazy yet. It was a small event, but pretty cool.
There was a huge crew of FREE HUGS people, as you can see in the background. I didn't know hugs are an art form before now. We had hoped wearing babies would immunize us against the free hugs, but we all got grabbed. We saw some interesting bands (Billie Dare & the Pumps were particularly entertaining), but not a lot of art. It seemed like there were more galleries just outside the First Friday perimeter. Most of the attendees seemed more interested in walking around and drinking than art appreciating. I had no idea there were so many hipsters in town, though, so that was nice to see--I could have been in North Park or Hollywood.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blue state

Apparently I've been letting Brandt run around naked at home too much because while visiting Olive and Bean Boutique he first insisted on taking off his shirt (by insisted I mean he tugged at his shirt while whining until I gave in) and after visiting the bathroom he wouldn't let me put his pants back on either. Sigh. But he had a grand old time spinning the Dwell Baby display around and around and around. I was hoping to get him another pair of Sweet Shoes, but she's phasing them out so we left empty handed.
Speaking of shoes, Brandt is still deciding how he feels about them. I can't blame him. It was too cold for flip flops today and I wasn't too happy about that. He'd usually rather be barefoot, but yesterday he spent half the day at home wearing absolutely nothing but his brown shoes.
We went for an evening walk through The District and to Whole Foods and came across an incredibly long line. Apparently that dude from Tool makes wine now and was signing his bottles. The funny thing is, the line for Maynard was longer than the line for John McCain at the events center two nights ago. Proof positive that Nevada really is a blue state now.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Presidential pardon

I'm recuperated enough that Dan is off nurse duty and back to work today. Brandt and I drove to the library in the afternoon and saw people lining up for the rally at the events plaza. I think both McCain and Obama are in town today so I took a couple pictures of Brandt with the excitement in the background. Unfortunately it was a McCain rally so I've cropped out the republicans.
In the evening we walked back over to the library (I wanted another book) and the rally was really hopping. I was wondering why the line was so short at 1:30, but apparently those were just the hardcore six-hour-early types. The walk was a little rough on me, but even rougher was all the bystanders thinking we were there for the McCain rally! A lady handing out pamphlets thanked us for coming out and I snarked at her, "Oh we're not here for your rally."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Torticollis

I'm still laid up so yesterday we missed the Haunted Reef at Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay. Brandt would have been so cute running around in his shark costume. And I'm sure he would have scared some of the littler kids, too. Heh. And in the evening we missed trick or treating at The District. At least we made it to four parties before my back went out, but I still feel like we have lost time to make up for next Halloween.
Apparently my neck condition has a name: Torticollis. It usually afflicts newborns who were crooked in the womb or drunk people who pass out at weird angles. There's an adorable hamster with a wry neck on the Wikipedia page and I actually feel slightly better when I behold his cuteness. I recall laying down for a nap the first day and thinking, "I'm laying crooked." So I caused this! I would have been fine (well, my back would have still been pulled, but my neck would have been fine) had I just shifted my position. Grr.
I don't know what Dan and Brandt did all day since I'm still pretty out of it, but I managed to take some pictures of them loading the dishwasher. Brandt's contribution was inserting and removing his little plate in various different spots until he found one to his liking. Dan was able to work around him and get the real work done.