Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crazy for Carle

Maisie's first book that she loved (more like was obsessed with) was "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. And boy, did she adore that book. We would read it over and over for an more than an hour and every time at the last page, when the little caterpillar finally turns into a butterfly, Maisie would sign "more" and eagerly wait for us to read it to her again (and again, and again). We would try to it mix it up a bit and read a different book, but that didn't go over too well. So "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" became her favorite book for a good few months. Looking at the book now, you could see how well it was loved; a bent spine, the corners chewed and multiple water stains scattered about on the cover. I thought about replacing it, but it's a reminder of where her love of reading started. 

We started noticing a trend that most of Maisie's favorite books were and are Eric Carle books. After "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" it was "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" after that "The Greedy Python" and so on and so forth with "The Very Quiet Cricket", "Mister Seahorse", "The Foolish Tortoise", "The Very Busy Spider" and to her current favorite "Panda Bear, Panda Bear". Maisie naturally gravitates to all his books, she must recognize the style because the minute she sees one, she gets so excited.

We currently have a decent collection of 11, but I would love to expand on her love for Eric Carle books. I have my eye out for a few, how cute are these ones on Barnes and Noble.com?
The Mixed up Chameleon 
The Tiny Seed
Pancakes, Pancakes
A House for Hermit Crab
Do you want to be my friend?
Rooster's off to see the world
The Grouchy Ladybug
Polar Bear, Polar Bear
Does a Kangaroo have a Mother too?
Today is Monday
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
Papa please get the moon for me
and many, many more!

Phew, there are a ton of Eric Carle books! I have a feeling we may never complete the collection, but it will be fun to try!

Maisie's current collection...
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Can you tell which ones were her firsts? 
Poor little Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Python & Cricket

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hasta la vista, pluggie

Yes. That was a Terminator reference. I just went all Schwarzenegger on you.
(Austin and I watched it last night. We're nerds. We know.)

Two mornings ago, after Maisie woke up, Austin brought her into our room where I was still in bed. We read a few books together when she suddenly stopped, pulled out her pacifier (AKA "pluggie") and stared at it strangely. Which started this conversation between Austin and Maisie...

Austin: What is it Maisie? Is it broken?
Maisie: Yeah. Pluggie broken.
Austin: Do we need to throw it away?
Maisie: Yeah.

To our surprise Maisie ran full speed out of our room, into the kitchen and threw her precious plug into the trash. Austin and I were in shock. We honestly couldn't believe what had just happened. We praised Maisie with hugs and kisses and she was happy as a clam, dancing and singing around the whole house. Everything continued to be just dandy until we started making breakfast. I handed Maisie her milk (which we are now realizing is her trigger) when it dawned on her she didn't have her pluggie. She began to cry the saddest, most heartbreaking sobs. Tears streamed down her face as she repeated "pluggie. pluggie. pluggie please. pleeeeeeease." My heart ached. I wanted to fish the dang pacifier out of the trash, wash it off and hand it to her so badly, but I knew that now was the perfect time to wean her from it. She did it all on her own and opportunities like that are once in a lifetime. 

 The first day was pretty difficult, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. She asked for it almost every 15 minutes, and every time she did, we would ask her "Maisie do you remember what happened to your pluggie?" and she would repeat "Pluggie broken. Threw it away. Pluggie in trash." we confirmed her feelings of being sad and followed the whole thing up "you're such a big girl now!".  Even with asking for it constantly, she still took a nap (in the car, but that still counts) and fell asleep alone in her crib sans plug (without crying or even asking for it once!). The next day was exponentially easier, she only asked for it a handful of times and had no trouble falling asleep for her nap or bedtime. We haven't had a sleepless night yet and that was the number one thing I was dreading.


It has now been almost 72 hours since she had her pluggie last. Tonight we completed the third day of pluggie weaning and she only asked for it twice. This task which we have been dreading since, well forever, was much easier than we expected it to be. I think it's mainly due to her completely understanding what had happened/is happening. I think if we tried this a lot earlier like we originally planned, it would have been much more difficult. I am so happy and proud with how well she is doing with this huge change. I'm also proud of Austin and I because we tackled this as a team and Maisie couldn't have responded any better.


Yay for better pictures (without her pluggie), hearing her sweet little voice more and having one less task to tackle.
Bring on the potty training & big girl bed.


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The last picture with "the plug".

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beach day in Santa Cruz

On Monday we spent the whole day at the beach. It was a glorious, just shy of 80 degrees day with a soft breeze that kept you from getting too hot, but we occasionally waded out into the bay to cool off anyway. The weather at the beach hasn't been the greatest the last few times we were there (June gloom), so we watched the weather like crazy leading up to our beach day. It was perfect. Maisie would bravely go into the water but when she saw a big wave (or heard one) she would run towards the shore or grab our hands. By the end of the day she mastered the wave jump, how to effectively bury her feet in the sand and how to untangle seaweed from her legs.

It is days like that, that makes me completely love living in California (ok maybe not the politics, bad drivers, traffic and how expensive everything is, but definitely the beauty the natural state has to offer).

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I'm not quite sure what's going on in this picture, but it's cute that they are doing the same thing with their hands.

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Thanks hubs for making me look tan. You're the best. 

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Vista Point, Marin Headlands & The Golden Gate Bridge

After Golden Gate park we decided to make our way to the actual Golden Gate bridge. We originally wanted to go to Fort Mason (which is on the South side) but the weather was still gloomy, so we decided to cross to the North (Maisie was freaking out with excitement). The weather still wasn't looking good until we got about half way over the bridge and then all of the sudden there wasn't a cloud or billow of fog in sight. We stopped on the east side, where we took some touristy pictures at Vista Point. Then we continued west to venture into Marin Headlands and Construction 129.

The weather was amazing. Which I guess is rare on the North side of the Golden Gate, so it made for some good pictures and fun memories.

Vista Point:
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Marin Highlands & Construction 129:
(read about the Construction 129 here & also in the instagram photos on the right)
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Golden Gate Park

The other day we went on a car ride to San Fransico to see some of the areas we have been wanting to see for awhile. The rules were simple, no spending money. So we packed a picnic style lunch, plenty of healthy snacks and the Moo (Maisie Moo that is) and set off. The car ride was a little over 40 minutes to our first stop, Golden Gate park, where we ate our lunch and let Maisie run around. The weather was very Oregon like with gray skies and not at all warm, definitely coat weather. Maisie didn't mind it one bit and was content taking fist fills of sand and pouring them onto the metal slide, swinging and playing pretend in the big blue boat. After we finished up at the children's park, we walked all the way down to the beach where we ran into a huge windmill. Golden Gate park is massive! There is so much to do and I can't wait to come back on a (hopefully) sunny day for the botanical gardens.

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Maybe it's my Dutch heritage, but I just love windmills. Who doesn't right?
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Our trusty Vdub: Wolfie Herzog-Horst Lee. Austin sometimes calls him Aldo.

4th of July in Redwood City

Austin and I were both feeling pretty homesick this 4th of July. We were missing backyard BBQs with friends and family and communal neighborhood fireworks. The bay area is not the "it" place on Independence day. 99% of the people we know live in apartment/condos so no backyards and that means no BBQs. Even if you had a house and could BBQ, no one sells fireworks here, so that's lame. Plus, there were only like 3 firework shows in a 60 mile radius. Pathetic. Not even Great America had a show that night, but they did the Saturday before and after, which doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, I know the 4th was on a Wednesday, but come on, you could do a show before and after but not on the actual 4th!? Let's just say we were overall disappointed with the lack of Nation pride in this area.

So since we couldn't eat BBQ hotdogs and hamburgers, I planned on making a homemade apple pie (from scratch) because that was the next most American thing I could think of.  But time ran short, so I ended up making an apple crisp instead, same great flavors, but much much easier.

We originally planned on going to San Fransisco, but since Austin worked that day and also the next morning, we decided to go half way and watch the firework show in Redwood City because we were determined to wave our flags and ooh and awe at the fireworks. We brought the apple crisp, tons of blankets and Maisie's wagon, but the only place we found was a huge courtyard. It was nice and pretty and all, but we were expecting grass, not cement.

We waited an hour for it to get dark enough for the show to start and when it did, we (and at least one hundred other people) realized that the show was not visible from the area we were all conveniently  camped out in. Not only that, but in order to get a good view, we all had to walk over a mile to catch the last 10 minutes or so. The website said anywhere from downtown (which is pretty dang vague) and we were in the most obvious place to be and still couldn't see the show. So hopefully next year, whoever mans the Redwood City website will be a little more descriptive.

So it was an epic failure of a 4th of a July. Only because the bar had been set so high in previous years, but we still laughed and made the best of it. We also watched the firework show at Great America the Saturday before, so all in all it was just fine.

Next year we are determined to be somewhere that really knows how to be patriotic, hopefully with friends, family, delicious grilled food and roman candles (ok I will even settle for some smoke bombs and sparklers after this lackluster 4th).

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4th

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Remember what we did last 4th?
Oh, that was a fun one.

p.s MEMORY ALERT: The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays, but I remember Austin telling me (years after the fact of course) that he started falling in love with me on our first 4th of July together way back in 2005. I remember him saying "I saw you in your element and who you truly were and I knew I loved you." I tell you, fireworks bring the best out of a girl. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Boomerang Bay @ Great America

Every Monday since Austin got back from Vegas and me and Maisie from Oregon, we have been going to Boomerang Bay, the water park inside Great America. Maisie almost every morning pleads to go back, she even grabs her swim suit and attempts to put on a swim diaper all by herself. She even handed me the SPF once, is this kid serious or what?

I think this Monday we are going to mix it up and go to the beach. Hopefully the weather will be nice now that "June gloom" is over, but we will see I guess.

Here are a few pictures from our multiple Boomerang Bay adventures:

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Anthophobia

For some odd reason Maisie has developed a fear of flowers.
She appreciates them from afar, but refuses to smell or touch them.
On the rare occasion I have fresh cut flowers in the house this is how it goes down:
When they are on the counter or table = happy times.
The second I bring them down to Maisie's level = crazy toddler rage.
Even if they are the friendliest shade of yellow.

Strange because is it not the very design of flowers to be visually pleasing?

What really gets me confused is that she loves the not as lovely plant life. Leaves dead or living? You betcha. Pine needles? Yup. Grass, sticks and pine cones? yes. yes. yes.

Just the other night (the 4th of July) we were walking/wagoning in downtown Redwood city for the firework show, when we came across a patch of grass covered in pine needles. Maisie picked up the pine needles and ever so carefully organized them into a bouquet that she held in her little hand. She carried them around for about an hour, until we were walking back to the car where she dramatically dropped them from the side of her wagon onto the sidewalk (knowing that pine needles in the car are a no-go). She continued by saying "bye pine needles" a million times, waving and watching until they were out of sight.

I have always had a sentimental side, but Maisie enhances that tenfold. I mean I actually felt bad for the abandoned dirty little pine needles. I almost ran back and picked them up and why?
Simply because Maisie had loved them.

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Maisie & a beloved stick