Tuesday, August 28, 2012

guess who

We play a game at our house. Little Miss J flips through photos and we ask her who it is. She's good at recognizing, halmoni (Korean grandma), Grandma Amy, Papa Roger, sam choon (Uncle David), Uncle Paul,  Umma, Appah, Avi, Lilly, and herself. However, when she sees the following two photographs of me as a baby, she insists that it is Juliet - not umma.

Love having a mini me!

the mcalbertsons

Two of Little Miss J's (and ours too) favorite people are Auntie Rachael and Uncle Randy. I've known Rachael for pretty much my entire life. We've attended elementary school, junior high, and high school together - with some swimming, cheerleading, confirmation, and flag twirling along the way. We were even roommates in Minneapolis for short while after college. Rachael has been living in California, eventually ending up in Sacramento with Randy, for several years now. Traveling and finally moving here has allowed us to catch up after so many years and has given Little Miss J some fun new friends to play with. Both Rachael and Randy have been so helpful by spending time with Little Miss J, when we need to go somewhere or get something done. It's great to have good friends that we trust to take care of our little girl.

On Sunday we went to church with Rachael after which, we headed over to the McAlbertsons' for some brunch and pool time for Little Miss J. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, Little Miss J yells "yay, Rachael!" The munchkin wasn't that interested in food, but was pretty excited to see the bunny hop over from next door, threw a bunch of rocks into the river, and collected another impressive pile of stones on a table - all while Mama sipped a mimosa and ate a chocolate croissant. After brunching, it was time to try out the pool (and all the toys!) that Rachael got for Little Miss J.

how many dads does it take to inflate this thing?

fun with Auntie Rachael
Thanks to the McAlbertsons for a fun afternoon. Little Miss J thoroughly enjoyed herself and immediately passed out in the car on the way home.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

day at the museum

While not as impressive as the Phoenix Children's Museum, the Sacramento Children's Museum didn't disappoint. It is much smaller than the one in Phoenix, which I actually like because there are less places for Little Miss J to run away to. There is an area for the under 3s, as well as an area set up like a grocery store complete with very real looking and feeling fake foods, a dress up area with uniforms for construction workers, mail carriers, fire fighters, a post office complete with boxes and envelopes, etc. My two favorite areas were the painting area and the water play area. Thankfully, Little Miss J managed to not climb into their water tables.

In the arts and crafts area, there is a giant glass wall where kids can paint. Once it gets all filled up with their little masterpieces, it can be hosed down and wiped clean with the squeegee. Here's my little Picasso at work -

Another fun thing was that we ran into one of my coworkers there. Matt the Map Guy was there with his wife and his sons (2.5 years and 4 months). Matt and I have cubicles right next to each other and often share war stories about our active toddlers. It was the first time I had met his wife, who was super friendly and easy to talk to - perhaps we will become better friends.

Friday, August 24, 2012

just can't get enough

I literally cannot get enough of watching Little Miss J do stuff. Just stuff. Any kind of stuff. Like this video. I've probably already watched it about 15 times, and she isn't even doing anything particularly amazing - except for being her amazing little self, that is.

She becomes more independent by the minute. Shutting herself in the bedroom so she can color on her own. Pushing her shopping cart around the house collecting things. Cleaning the floor or any other random object I hand to her. Helping crack eggs for breakfast. Playing iPad all by herself. She's a busy little baby and I love seeing the look on her face when she learns something new. I feel so lucky to have such a happy, fun-loving little kid.

Monday, August 20, 2012

to the moon and back again

Saturday night, I was laying in bed with Little Miss J as she was getting ready to fall asleep. She climbs on top of me, gives me a hug and a kiss (full on the mouth, because that's how she rolls) and then says ..."I love you (which sounded kind of like "roo), umma." And in that moment, I couldn't have been happier. Like I told Gus, I've been waiting for that moment since the day she arrived.

It's no secret that the whole mommy thing was tough for me at first. I seriously thought perhaps I was missing the maternal chip that apparently all women are born with. It had been mistakenly implanted into my husband. I loved her fiercely, but physically and emotionally I was just not feeling the way I thought I was supposed to. I was not this glowing new mommy, who despite stitches and having to use giant maxi pads with mesh underwear, was basking in new motherhood. All Baby J did was eat, sleep, poop, and cry. It was exhausting and I felt like she didn't even like me - let alone love me. It is obviously irrational to expect anything from her, but I mostly just felt like a 24-hour all you can eat buffet - and it didn't seem like I was offering anything to her that she couldn't have gotten from somewhere or something else. I guess I just sort of felt like she didn't need me, and was rather indifferent to my presence.

These days, it's pretty easy to tell how much Little Miss J likes me. Her face lights up when she sees me and it makes my mommy heart swell with joy, as she races straight toward me - often times taking me out at the knees. The fact that she has learned that hugs and kisses and saying "I love you" is the way to show affection makes me feel like we've done a good job showing her that she is one loved little girl.

I love you too Little Miss J ... to the moon and back again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the name game

On the way home from daycare, Little Miss J chatters away in the backseat saying, "bye-bye" to each person individually. Bye bye Beckett, bye bye Carmen, bye bye Ian, and so on. This goes on for the whole way home until we get a block from our house when she starts yelling for Carl. Yesterday, we couldn't tell whether she was saying "bye bye Gary" or "bye bye Gabby." So this morning, we asked Miss Desiree if there was a child named Gary or Gabby - and as it turns out there is indeed a little girl at daycare named Gabby. Miss Desiree told us that Little Miss J is really good with names and already knows the names of all her friends. Today she even recognized the car of one of her little friends, yelling "bye bye Beckett" until Beckett's mom rolled down the window so Little Miss J could see Beckett wave bye bye to her. The question is, if she's so good with names, why does she still get Umma and Appah confused?

Monday, August 13, 2012

chillin' and grillin'

It was a bit warm for dining al fresco, but since it is not incredibly oppressive and unbearable like Phoenix, we went for it. Fired up the grill and had Italian sausages with peppers and onions and a chickpea salad. Gus opines that I use chickpeas entirely too often - going so far as to say that I use them in 95 percent of the salads I make. Overexaggeration of epic proportion. But I do really like them, they are easy and versatile, high in fiber ... I mean really what's not to like? Little Miss J liked them enough to suck on them, chew them up, and then spit them out - which I don't really understand. It's clearly not the taste or the texture that offends her, but she refuses to actually fully ingest them. The outside dinner was disturbed by the 8 million black flies swarming about, and Little Miss J has a compelling need to yell, "BUG" every time one buzzes by. As this happened about every 0.2 seconds, I spent most of my dinner shooing the flies away from the little princess. So maybe it wasn't the most relaxing dining experience, but as the mother of an energetic toddler I'm not even sure I remember what that concept actually entails ... sigh. I'm looking forward to more "outside," as Little Miss J would say, in the coming months.

Little Miss J apparently doesn't rip out the piggies
 when Miss Carmen puts them in. Traitor.

playing in the water before dinner

she's either eating or showing me where a BUG is.

the grill master

even Carl is having a good time

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Being the parents of the next Dana Vollmer and all, we figured that we shouldn't let too much time pass before we found some water for Little Miss J to do some splashing. Luckily for us, there is a nice play pool just a few short blocks from our house. Suited up my little fish and strolled her down to the park. Next time I will have to remember to wear my swimsuit. Little Miss J wasn't so sure about swimming by herself, so of course like any other good mom would do - I sat right down in the water clothes and all. The pool also has a waterfall sprinkler. It took her a little while to warm up to, but once she realized how much fun it was she just ran back and forth through it like crazy.

cooling off

it's raining. it's pouring

take your mark
c'mon mom!

Friday, August 10, 2012

settling in

One weekend, approximately 100 boxes, and at least four trips to Ikea and Target each, we are finally settling in. Cable and internet were installed on Monday and we've got about 5 boxes left to unpack,which is always the hardest, right? We need to hang some pictures/artwork on the walls, and of course I'll need to do some closet organizing. But overall, it's starting to come together.

Gus and I have been at our respective jobs for a week and a half with Little Miss J at daycare. We all seem to be getting into a groove. After work, the typical routine is to play outside in the yard with Carl until Little Miss J does something naughty that lands her back in the house. Overall, I love the relaxing feeling of sitting outside while Little Miss J explores the backyard and Carl tears around rolling in the grass like he hasn't really been outside in a year and a half. Oh wait, he hasn't.
The tree-lined streets of our neighborhood remind me of South Minneapolis or maybe even Northfield. We've tried out some local restaurants nearby and there are several more on my list. I love living only a few miles from Trader Joe's and we're within walking distance of two parks.
Life is good. We're living the dream. Now if only I could get Little Miss J to stop playing the Muffin Man song.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

we've been on the run driving in the sun

Looking out for number one. California here we come.

We left Arizona on Saturday morning and arrived in Sacramento late Sunday evening. We made a quick pit stop in Palm Desert to change a diaper and let Carl Rove get out of the car. Unfortunately, it was so hot that poor Carl was standing on three feet for most of the time. Saturday night we stayed in the 90120 - ha ha, couldn't resist. It was a really nice dog-friendly hotel. You could even order room service for your dog for $10/plate. Sunday morning when I was coming back from taking the dog for a walk, guess who greeted me when I got off the elevator? One Little Miss J, who had managed to open the hotel room door and wander into the hallway. I had a mini heart attack, when I saw her.

On Sunday we drove up to Fresno to see my cousin Nancy and her kids. We had a nice time visiting and Carl had fun playing in the yard with the other dogs. Nancy cooked a delicious dinner - grilled flank steak, green salad, pilaf, broccoli casserole, and homemade hummus. Nancy is my mom's niece and we just reconnected when I started coming regularly to Sacramento. It's been nice getting to know her and her kids, and fun to hear her memories of my mom. After dinner, we hopped back in the car for the last 2.5 hours to Sacramento.

We pulled into the house about 9:00 p.m. Our new landlords are the sweetest family. They cleaned up the landscaping in our backyard and even built Gus a bed because he had mentioned that he wanted to start a garden. Our backyard looks so adorable. Inside the house they had left us a housewarming plant, a baby doll for Little Miss J, and a list that included some of their favorite restaurants (complete with food recommendations), grocery stores, parks and even a babysitter (SCORE!). They even agreed to be one of our emergency contacts for daycare (a daycare that they recommended) - which was great for us since we don't know that many people yet.

Monday and Tuesday meant multiple trips to Target and Ikea, but we still managed to find some time to play outside and explore a few new restaurants, as well. Today is our first day of work and Little Miss J's second day at daycare. Boxes arrive tomorrow and cable/internet gets installed on Monday.

I love love love our new neighborhood. I feel more at home here than I did in the year and a half we lived in Phoenix. More on the 'hood later.