Monday, November 23, 2009


Natalia LOVES her Opa. She calls him "MY Opa" and constantly wants to be around him. He responds in like, reading to her every night, teaching her about the world, and generally spoiling her. They really have a connection and he can really bring out the best in her. This is one of the conversations they had tonight before bed. She was telling him about a book that she bent earlier today.

"I broke a book Opa!"

"Really?" he said, "How did you do that?"

"I did this," she said, moving her hands back and forth, pantomiming breaking the spine of a book.


"Sometimes I make mistakes."

Seriously!?!? She isn't even 2 1/2 yet. I'm totally blown away by this little one. Can't even imagine what a full command of the English (or Spanish) language is going to bring.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What Dogs Say

This photo has nothing to do with the post, but it makes me crack up, so I thought I would share.

Natalia and I were feeding Odin this afternoon. As she was filling up his bowl Natalia stated, "When Odin eats it then he will burp."

"Does he say excuse me," I asked.


"Why not?"

"Because he doesn't have words." Pause. A thoughtful wrinkle of the nose. Then she looked up at me. "But Opa has words."

"And what does he say when he burps?"

"Whoa...That was a BIG one!!!"

Got to love him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Little Pulpo

Halloween 2008
Last year Natalia was an octopus for Halloween. This year, she said that she wanted to be a princess. But the day of her school's Halloween party, she found the costume from last year and would not take it off. So she was, once again, an octopus (or pulpo when she was at school).

(Notice anything besides the costume that is similar? Yup - the child is obsessed with lollipops - not that she gets them very often. She wouldn't even take this one out for the photo.)

The school party was a lot of fun. They had all kinds of stations and activities. Face painting, photo booth, popcorn, cookie decorating, and a pinata. Natalia espically liked the cooking decorating and the pinata.

She is such a careful decorator

And such a delicate and proper eater.

No way she is my kid...I don't know anyone who would attack a cookie like that.


Sunday, October 25, 2009


I love trying to see the world with Natalia's eyes. Through her I get to re-experience snippets of my own childhood, relive the wonder and excitement of learning something cool every day. I get to let my imagination run wild.

One of my new favorite memories occurred a couple days ago in the shower. I was just getting ready to squeegee the glass door (we don't want the glass door to be etched with soap scum now do we) when Natalia looked up, with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes and yelled, "Look Mommy...look at all those dreams."

"Do you mean drops?"

"No, they're DREAMS!"

She really can believe things very forcefully. Don't even try to tell her differently, if she things water drops are called dreams, THEY ARE DREAMS. Sometimes I try and gently correct her. Other times, it is nice to think of things her way. In this case I chose her way. How beautiful to think of all the droplets of water on the shower door as dreams.

So we left them on the door. One day of dreams doesn't a ruined shower door make.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Halloween PJ's

Aunt Sarah is the best!!!! She is always sending the CUTEST cloths. I never have to worry about Natalia missing out on the latest holiday because right around the time I start thinking about buying her something a shoebox of surprises arrives in the mail.

This time it contained two sets of Halloween pj's and the cutest outfit ever. It has been a struggle to get the little one out of them ever since. The pj pants are the biggest hit because they glow in the dark. This once unknown phenomena now totally preoccupies Natalia - she'll walk right up to you, get real close to your pants, cup her hands around her eyes, and lean in. Why don't all pants glow in the dark? It is a questions I will have to answer for a while...

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Day of School

Natalia started preschool at My Spanish Village last week. I simply cannot believe that my baby is big enough to go to school!

She absolutely loves it - talks about the other kids in her class, jumps out of bed in the morning, and is already using Spanish every day.

"Vamos Mommy! Vamos!!!!"

"Leche . . . LECHE!!!!"

"Que pasa Mommy?"

It is so wonderful, but is definitely taking some getting used to hearing both languages come out of that little mouth.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Would It Be Like To Have Twins?

Natalia and I went on this last trip to Tahoe with the Lyons Family. Courtney and Danielle had a wedding to go to in South Shore and I said I would watch Ava while they were partying like rock stars. The girls and I started off our afternoon with a trip to the meadow

It really is such a fabulous place. Tons of things to look at - birds, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, etc. Lots of space to run, and plenty of fresh air. The boardwalk also provided a perfect little bench for the girls to have a snack.

I had promised them that they could touch the COLD water in the brook on our way back to the car. Ava wanted to climb all over the rocks, while Natalia wanted to scoop up the sandy bottom. (I think I will feel a lot better about trips to the brook once the girls can swim and are big enough to rock climb without help. There is something about freezing cold water and jagged rocks that is so magnetic to those two, and knowing that I don't have to have a hand on them at all times will be so nice!)

The only way I was able to get them in the car was to promise that we would make play-dough when we got home. Now I have never made play-dough in my life. Thank goodness for my Blackberry. I downloaded a recipe for easy play-dough, pulled out two bowls, stripped down the girls, and put everything on the island.

The play-dough experiment started off a bit rocky. The recipe said 1 C water and 1 C flour with some salt and oil and cream of tarter thrown in. Maybe I didn't read all the directions. Maybe I was supposed to cook it on the stove, or put it in the microwave, or bake it, but let me tell you something. 1C of water and 1 C of flour do not play-dough make. A gooey, sticky, gloppy mess? Yes! Nice, moldable play-dough? NO!!!

"Sticky...Sticky...Stickly!!!" The consistency of the stuff almost broke Ava. She DOES NOT like to get messy. Sticky things are no fun for her. So having goopy, messy, flour stuck to her fingers was about the worst thing that could have happened. Uh-oh. I quickly washed off her hands and gave her a spoon. The world was once again all right.

Natalia on the other hand got the stuff ALL OVER. She plunged her hands in, wiped it on her legs, her belly, her face. It was like she was trying to give herself a play-dough wrap. Spa day for 2 year olds.

While spa day was a great idea, we did need some play-dough. So I just started mixing more flour in. Then a little more salt and cream of tarter. The some more oil. The some more water. I really have no idea how much I put in, but we ended up with a HUGE amount of the stuff. Natalia wanted hers blue, Ava wanted yellow, and then they mixed some up and made green.

As you can see, Natalia helped me mix the blue food coloring into the play-dough.

After we had all the fun one can have with play-dough (after Natalia started trying to eat it) we decided to take a bath. Those girls do love their water!!! We got all the sticky stuff off, bundled up into our pajamas

And headed to bed.

Good day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Have Contact

So you may have thought that Natalia and I fell off the face of the earth. In a way it is true. We have been traveling, and starting businesses, and getting ready to start preschool. Lots of work for two girls. But now we are back.
We recently returned home from a trip up to our cabin in Tahoe. Natalia got to spend lots of time outside in the meadow close to our house.
It used to just have dirt paths, but there is now a wonderful boardwalk that winds through it.

What a happy girl she is!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Our days have been filled with picking roses and looking at houses. Natalia is SUCH a trooper.

What is the saying? You can either be upset that roses have thorns or grateful that thorns have roses. Natalia is grateful that houses have roses and that roses have petals to pull off and scatter as she walks. On this particular day she was also grateful that one house had an "alter to the big screen."
It was not what I consider good use of nice marble tile, but it provided hours of entertainment for Natalia while the rest of us walked through the house. Nooks, and crannies and things to climb up and down on.

Like I said. Such a trooper.

And no, we did not put an offer in on this house.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Small Recommendation

I've done a bunch of posts tonight and reading them will likely make more sense if you click on the post titled "Pink Ears" and then read up.

But go backwards if you want.

It's totally up to you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Animals . . . Not So Much

Disneyland is full of opportunities to scare your child by forcing them to pose with very large animals.

Some children run right up to these creatures and hug them.

My daughter did not.

Luckily there was Jello to distract her from the large chipmunk hovering over her.

And friends Ava and Maya to save her from the large strange mouse.

But really, lets keep the animals flying in circles or going up and down (like Dumbo and the carousel). None of this walking and hugging thing.

Horses, Horses, Horses

The carousel was a HUGE hit when we were at Disneyland. I truly can't count the number of times we rode on that thing. Natalia loved it.

Really, she did. She may not look it, but the child threw a FIT the first time we had to get off.
She soon learned that we only had to walk around to the front before getting back on
(which we did something like 18 times)

Ava loved it.

At first Natalia liked it because of the horses. Then she liked it because of the wind blowing in her face. Finally she became entranced by the mechanism that makes the horse go up and down.

She spent one entire ride looking up and chanting "Up . . . Down . . . Up . . . Down . . ."

Opa was so proud. "That's my little engineer."


One of the first rides that we went on was the Dumbo Ride. Now I don't know about you, but I remembered absolutely nothing about the little kids rides. Ava couldn't wait to go on Dumbo, and Natalia liked that there were a lot of elephants going up and down, around and around, but she had no idea what to expect.

She may look a little concerned, but she fell in love with that ride. All weekend it was either Dumbo or the carousel.

Dumbo and the carousel.

Dumbo and the carousel.




We did ride on the Rockets as well, which she loved (because it was like Dumbo).

But we always went back to Dumbo and "horses".

Pink Ears

We went to Disneyland with Ava and family (mom Danielle, dad Courtney, and aunt Dara) a couple weeks ago and Natalia and I had a wonderful, exhausting, character-filled weekend.

This was the set of ears that she picked out. For someone who thought they were going to have a rough and tumble child, I sure do bring home a lot of pink and sparkles. Natalia was given her choice of ears at the Mad Hatter's Shoppe and she picked out the only set of ears that was all pink and had a veil and rhinestone tiara attached.

It's so Ooohhh, La, La.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It Has Been Too Long

I've been getting complaints about my lack of blogging. I apologize. Life got totally crazy, and with no sign of it slowing down I decided that I needed to take the plunge. Somehow find a way to work posting back into my life. And so, with cold medicine surging through my veins, wind whipping around the house, and a warm bed calling me, I sit here at the computer trying to think of where to begin. So much has happened since the last post.

The real estate investment firm I started began buying up, rehabbing, and renting out houses.

We went to Disneyland with Danielle and Ava (and Courtney, Danielle's husband, and Dara, Danielle's sister). Natalia fell in love with the Dumbo ride and the carousel. I get dizzy thinking about it. (Photos will be posted, never fear.

Natalia started really talking. They are full sentences, four to five words at a time. She no longer repeats the response I whisper in her ear. Instead she initiates conversations, repeats phrases at the correct time. One of her newest and most favorite sentences is:

"Do it by self"

Everything is "Do it by SELF!"

Another favorite is:

"Want some Mama?"

and if I don't respond quickly enough


When I finally say, "Yes, please" she replies, "Okay. . . Just one" and holds up one pudgy little finger.

We ate about 24 Teddy Grams this way - one at at time. "Want some? Hmmmm? Okay, just one." It is just too cute.

She has also started sleeping with books. Yup - my child is not even two and she is already hiding books under her covers. Every night she gets to take one thing with her to bed. And every night for the past week she has chosen "Abby Book". Abby Book is a Sesame Street counting book with Abby the fairy monster on the front. It was given to her by one of her aunts and she is OBSESSED with it. Can't sleep without it. I personally can't see how she does it. It is hard cardboard and big. But she clutches it in one hand, holds my hand with her other hand, says her prayers, and falls asleep. Without Abby all is lost.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just Say No . . .

. . . to brushes. This is what happens when you brush curly hair:

Actually I didn't even brush it. It was pulled back from her face all day and when she ripped out the rubber band, this was the result.

How long do you think it will take her to buy a straightener?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So Silly

Natalia has some new favorites.

When crying: "Oh Buggy"
(One of her nicknames is Buggy. Don't ask me why. The phrase is accompanied with a shaking of the head and is generally only used when she is have a temper tantrum (or winding down from one). But the crying, referring to herself in the third person, and the pitiful sound of her voice is just precious.)

When she has hurt herself: "Ice . . . Whale Ice."
(We have reusable plastic ice cubes in different shapes that she likes to put on her ouchie. Favorites are the whale shaped one and the bunch of bananas one. Hence, whale ice)

At something surprising: "Oh Gosh" and "How Bout That"
(Papa would be so proud)

Upon picking up my purse (or anything resembling a purse) and putting it on her shoulder: "Have Fun! See you soon."
Then she'll walk out the door to whatever room we are in, close the door, turn around and knock:
"Hello . . . Who's there?"
Open the door, come back in, and say "Hi . . . Good bye. Have fun! See you soon."
(This game is repeated at least 5 times.)

In reaction to anything Nana does: "Silly Nana . . . so silly Nana."
(Again, this is generally accompanied with a shake of the head and a smile.)

Once Upon A Time . . .

Once upon a time there was sunshine, and blue sky, and days at the park with Ava.

We spent the afternoon climbing

And sliding

And playing with Mommy's camera.

And it was wonderful!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How Do You Hide Vegetables?

Natalia has not been the best eater in the world. She LOVED to nurse, but food - not so much. (Seriously, are we sure this is my daughter?) The child lives on fruit, chicken and cheese. Not the most well rounded diet in the world.

I decided to try and "hide" vegetables in food that she may or may not eat. Let's be realistic here. She will likely not eat it. In fact, she will most likely take one look and then spit out her tongue, shake her head (she loves to feel her hair whip across her face) and start chanting "NO." So this whole "hiding vegetables in food so Natalia will have a well rounded diet" is really nothing more than a way for me to mush up food, make fun colored pasta, and try and get myself to eat more vegetables.

But I digress.

As I was saying, I was trying to get Natalia to eat more vegetables. I had made some spinach-carrot brownies earlier in the day (quite good) and had some beet puree left over beet puree from something or other. So I decided to make beet-spinach gnocchi.
Natalia really wanted to help.

Please, Mamma, please can I help

So she got to help.

And what a helper she was. After asking for a "tiny spoon" she decided to fill an empty ice cube tray with the gnocchi mixture. I think that she got at least half of the tray full.

Thirty minutes later we all sat down for dinner. I dished her up her regular tray of pears, cheese, and chicken but added a little gnocchi this time. Did she eat any of it?

Are you kidding me!?!? Of course not!!! (But it sure was fun to feed to Odin.)

Does she like to eat Play-doh that is the same color? But of course!!!

How about quarters, plastic eggs or Odin's toys. Yum yum.

What about pink gnocchi? Yuck, don't make me puke!!!!

Oh well. At least I got my vegetables for the day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Landscaping

Odin has long helped us landscape our front yard. It now has some lovely water features (aka water filled holes he dug) and some nice areas of soil reclamation (piles of dirt from the holes he dug).

Natalia loves to be outside. She loves to help. So what could be better than helping us garden? Nana bought Natalia a little hoe and spade and now they work in the front yard together.

Didn't they make a nice trench?

Right Side Up

Natalia has really started talking. My favorite new word of hers is


Last night was spent turning books, baby dolls, Mickey, Elmo, teddy bears, etc. upside down. Always accompanied by "up-a-si-down". The little extra "a" is what gets me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Round One Goes To . . .

I don't think there is anything cuter in the world than children who dress themselves. This probably stems from the fact that my mom let us choose our outfits when we were little, and really, who don't look at childhood photos of themselves and think that they were adorable. (I don't mean the glasses and braces photos - those are just painful. I mean the photo of the 3 year old with blue cords, a green velour dress, a striped t-shirt, and shoes on the wrong feet. The priceless ones.)

Well Natalia decided to follow in her mothers footsteps. In the past couple of weeks she has started to have very strong opinions about what she wants to wear. I am no longer allowed to just pick out her outfit. In fact, the first thing that I pick out is generally UNACCEPTABLE!!! Getting dressed was turning into a round of an Ultimate Fighting Competition. So I decided to let the child have some say. I mean really, so long as she is covered, I see nothing wrong with her going out in her princess dress if she wants. (Which, by the way, is how we went to the supermarket yesterday.)

And that is how we ended up wearing blue camo pants, pink sandals, and a brown spotted shirt. With "Cookie . . . Back" and "Big Bird . . . Here"

I must say I'm pretty impressed. She got her shoes on the right feet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mama Rock

Natalia has a thing for Paul Simon. She has known how to ask for Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes since she could say "A-wa . . . a-wa"

But recently, she has become obsessed with Love Me Like A Rock. She will now come up to me when I'm sitting at the computer and say "Mama . . . Rock"

Always, "Mama . . . Rock."

It is, in fact, what we are listening to right now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My First Valentine's Day Party

My Mom's Group decided to have a Valentine's Day party for our little ones. We all gathered at Lisa's house for a delicious brunch and a fun Valentine exchange. Lisa created these cute personalized "mailboxes" for all the kids so that they could exchange Valentines.

Natalia got to put Play-Dough in the mailboxes which made a very gratifying "thump" each time she dropped a little tub in.

She and Ava took their mailboxes and emptied them out together. She especially loved the sticker Valentines she got from her friends.

Mommy loves them too.

I am still finding big stickers all over her cloths (she decorated herself once we got home). She also seemed to be in the Valentine's Day spirit the entire weekend and helped spread love throughout the house. Every day brings one more special find - a little piece of sticker stuck to the floor, legs of chairs, her car seat, a book, or Odin the dog.