These are the chocolate yogurt cupcake muffins Joel baked Saturday Morning for our potluck playdate. They were so yummy.I kept promising to post a recent update but haven't followed through yet, so I figured pictures from our playdate at Chloe's this past weekend would suffice. It was called Merienda which is a 4th snack time meal between lunch and dinner that is common in the Philippines.These were taken with the new camera I got for Christmas, I have only really used it twice, this weekend for the first time. I ordered a memory stick and a spare battery and was good to go. Having Joel to help made it less bulky and easy to manage.I was amazed at how good the pictures turned out, and the camera was really fast so it was easy to take several in the row. It was still a bit overwhelming and I got totally lost when I tried to change any generic settings, so I kept it on auto.The playdate started at 2:00 in the afternoon which was a really bad time, it was too early to nap before hand but just before the time she would need her nap. She wasn't the only one though, the first three kids to arrive, including Chloe hadn't had a nap yet.Our host was a little sleepy and wanted to give Mommy a big hug and cuddle. Holly did really well at first, but as more people arrived and the playroom got crowded she was a little overloaded.She wanted to escape. So Daddy let her play in the hall where she rode Chloe's Tricycle with help and Daddy pushed her around the little car that she loves. After a break she would come back to the playroom and be happy.Here are Pauline and Tyler. Tyler turned two the day before, "Happy Birthday" he is such a sweetie and so well behaved, he hadn't napped either but didn't fuss once. Mom said it was because he was too busy snacking.This is Luciano, he is 15 months old and his parents Vince and Ines are new to the playgroup. They just moved to the area from Sunnyvale, we had such a nice to talk. Mom is from Germany and has lived in both New York and Florida.We had a lot in common. Dad was French Canadian, so they speak Italian, German, and French to their little fellow, which is so cool. Mom did acupuncture, but she also studied physics and biochemistry in the past, which was very intriguing.Here is Holly climbing up the side wall, Daddy was so impressed. It was his first time to see the play structure in person, versus just pictures. He actually wasn't that fearful of her falling, which I was surprised of.Here is Luciano climbing up the slide, but with his socks on he needed a little help from Dad. He was such a sweetie, very curious and personable. I hope we will see more of them at future playdates.Here is Holly playing with one of her favorite toys, the ball popper. She loves this thing, maybe though because she doesn't have it at home. She likes the wind in her face, and pushing the balls in and pulling them out.Sarah was also in attendance, she came a little later, I think she had time to take a nap. We missed her mama though, Isabel stayed home to do some chores, but we were happy that Daddy ventured out on his own to bring Sarah to play. Holly was happy to see her.This is Raymond (Ray) who is three, and also new to the group. His parent's Bethany and Greg just moved here from Sonoma where they owned a Bed and Breakfast. Ray was a talker and very sweet.He played well with the younger babies and was really well behaved. My camera battery died before the end of the playdate, and Teagan and Rowan, and Satine came even later in the afternoon, just before we were heading out.Rowan is already 6 months old, he is so much bigger then before, its amazing. It was nice to See Ryan and Rhonda, we don;t get to see them often, as Teagan has a more rigorous therapy schedule then Holly.Here is Sachi, She hadn't napped before coming over either. She did really well. She always does though, she is very laid back and low key, bringing a calming balance to a very active room.In the end, we had to go even though the party was still in full swing, it was already 5:00 and Holly was getting hard to manage with her on and off crankiness. I would be ready to go, with her whining over something, and then she would be a playful happy angel.Apparently they were both very tired, by 5:30 and half way home they were both passed out in the back seat (Old Camera Picture) She slept int he car till 6:30 then she woke and I changed her and gave her a bottle and she was asleep again by 7:30, she ended up staying asleep until 4:00 AM. She woke up and played in bed and drank another bottle and had another change, and then fell back asleep around 5:45. She stayed asleep until 9:00. And that's our update! Hot off the presses :-)
The advantage of going to Florida is that we get to see most of our relatives all in close to one place. When the older relatives can't really travel anymore, it is the only chance we get to see them. It's sad that I only get to see my Grandmother once a year.But the thing is, she wouldn't know the difference, and the visit really depressed me. Am I a bad person for saying that? I actually read back through my post from the visit a year prior and I guess that one made me sad too.Our visit in 2008 my grandmother tried to communicate and say a few words but couldn't was frustrated, the time before she was forgetful but spoke in German. This time, she said "yah" a few times "oh" once I think and did look around a lot, but she didn't say anything.I think it was the confusion and lack of recognition that made me sad. She was happy, I think to have visitors, and she really liked holly, but I mean who wouldn't like a cute baby. I just didn't get the feeling she knew we were all connected to each other.On a happy note, Holly did better then she did last time, sort of. She let her hold her on her lap, but she was a bit tired and grumpy and really just wanted to play on the iPhone so they didn't engage each other much.I got the impression Oma (My grandmother) felt proud to be holding Holly, and she didn't want to let go the first time I tried to take her (I worried she was to heavy) She smiled several times, but mostly her expression was sad.Here we are four generations of woman, I feel lucky that Holly has met her Uroma, I never met any of my Grandparents, Holly in Fact has met and spent some time with 4 Great Grandmothers, and one Great Grandfather. But sadly those numbers are already dwindling.I'm not even sure what it will mean to Holly when she is older, I doubt she will remember them, but I think knowing she knew them, seeing pictures of her great Grandparents, and then hearing the family stories will give her a sense of where she came from of her roots, and I think she will feel lucky too.Its funny, in this picture her my grandmother is looking right at me, almost with a glimmer of something, it makes you wonder what is going on in there, she can't tell us what she is thinking, but I wonder what thoughts she has, what dreams she has.Its amazing how healthy she still is. Like an Ox my mom would say, she is 92 but other then her dementia she is still very strong. I think she is happy, but how do you know?I love her long beautiful hair, I imagine when I am old, perhaps I will wear my hair in a long braid like this, and maybe I will be lucky enough to meet my great grand daughter too.
These are random pictures from my entire almost 4 weeks in Florida. I still have more to post from specific events, but these were cute around the house hanging out types I wanted to share.My Dad and his trains, you gotta love it. he got Holly her first train set and it was put together and set up the afternoon we arrived. She actually really loved it, but tore it apart. It was hard for her to play with it on the table and didn't work well on the floor because of the dogs and space, so she played with small parts while in Florida, but we plan on setting up at home on occasion for her to play with, and I think she will have a lot of fun with it. It has a remote that makes the train go.The of course there were the bubbles, I think these may have waited to day two, but I am not certain, my parents get so excited about our arrival in Florida they want to show us and do everything with us all in the first 15 minutes! We did however have several occasions to play with the bubbles, Holly quickly learned she had to ask Opa for them, would point to the machine saying BuBu and then More if he turned them off, she loved dancing and jumping in them, and just watching them.The of course, I think her most favorite thing was the swing, and this she could very easily communicate and ask for, she would make the sign, "more swing" and tug and pull and point and run for the back door, just in case we didn't understand what she was saying repeatedly, when it was sweaty hot, freezing cold, raining, early morning, or late night. Sadly she didn't always get to swing when she asked for it which lead to the tantrum milestone, but these were mild and easily distractable, for the time being anyways.Here she is with her Oma and her Opa. I felt so bad for them when we first arrived, they were so excited to see her and wanted to hold her right away, but she cried at first, but as you could see it only took a day or two before she warmed up to them, and she was happy to be held or sit in a lap or two.She was a little intimidated by the dogs as well when she first arrived, intrigued right away, not scared but unsure, it didn't take long however as you can see below before she was taunting them with her toys. We had an amazing time, but it was a lot of work to be in Florida, one of the reasons was the fact that the dogs really liked Holly's toys, and sadly chewed through a few, I should correct this into saying Mizar liked to chew her toys, so every night we had to cover and put everything away.We also had to keep a close eye on both the toddlers, the Holly and the just over 1 year old very large puppy who became her fast best friend and playmate. He would follow her around everywhere, and before long she was initiating play, getting him to lick her ear, and she would cuddle him, and she would throw balls for him to chase.We were also very happy to have Tanta Kat back. Holly really missed her. It provided a bit of a break to have her help watching even thought the work of watching her was so much greater. We brought with us all of her gabba Dolls which was a life saver as well. Here are Holly and Tanta Kat playing on the bed, she is riling her up and tickling her.Isn't she such a sweetie! My parents were pretty busy the first two weeks we were in town so they didn't get to help a lot, I had to wake up with Holly, or the wrong time zone for the first week and was pretty exhausted, so I actually ended up going to bed with her every night at 10:00 and not having any time to myself for the first week. That said, We did get to spend a lot of time with my parents though they were busy, shopping, errands, going out, play dates, Zoo, parties, there was a lot to do and we had a wonderful time.Holly go used to her new environment pretty quickly, and the cabinets in the kitchen didn't end up being a problem like I anticipated, however the doors were, she could open every one in the house, to the office, bedroom, bathroom, another reason it was a lot of work, there wasn't anywhere we could contain her. We resorted to locking the office door after a few days.Not only did it lead to the office where there were wires and computers for her to get into, it lead to the master bathroom where she learned several bad habits from Tanta Kat, first how to climb up into the tub, it was one of those jacuzzi style ones with the tile steps up and in, and it was too big for her to get in on her own, and easy to get very hurt, so we were constantly chasing her to keep her out.Secondly the dogs food and water were in that room and Tanta Kat taught her that she could splash in there water, so of course she ran right for it wanting to make a splash. It wasn't the best solution though, because the dogs needed access to there food and water, so the door was open any time my parent's were int he office so theoretically they could chase her when she entered there realm, but often it was me or Kat on the prowl.After the first week Joel came which was wonderful. He could put Holly to bed and I could stay awake a few hours, watch a movie, or a TV Show with my mom and work on the blog. I hadn't had that much time before to catch up with my mom. Then in the morning Joel could get up with Holly which was still around 7:00 am. Though he wasn't thrilled about wrangling the dogs and her on his own. Though she loves the dogs, they could get over excited and knock her down if we weren't watching.We had hoped that Joel's mom would come and see us during the first week but she ended up having to go out of town to NY for a long weekend for work. Well this was the time of the snow storm, and the weekend right before Christmas their plane was cancelled and they were stuck in NY, they were told it would be for 4 days and they couldn't get back to Florida until the 26th, Well I was not having it, so I got on the phone with the manager of a manager at the airline and found them a flight the next morning, YEAH Christmas was saved and they came down to visit on Christmas Eve.This was one of Holly's favorite games. At first it was a defense mechanism, she would come home and the dogs would run up and lick her face and ear, she would shake her hands and her face would read Ewww even if she couldn't say just that and she would try and wipe the slobber off. Then one day just after that happened, you could see a light bulb go off, she ran into the office, dumped out the paper from the trash bin and came out with it like armor over her head. She went right up to the dogs so they could lick her, though this time she was protected and they couldn't get to her. The cute thing was that by week 4 she would lay down on the floor next to them with her face by there tongue asking for a morning Kiss, just after kissing each of there noses, and though Mizar was the playful BFF, she would never forget to include Pyro. Its weird to think that Pyro is the Old Man now.She also learned a few new signs while we were in Florida Here she is making the sign for Hug. Tanta Kat also taught her in about 2-3 days the sign for Kat, its amazing now how fluidly she uses it for "Tanta Kat" we call Cat's "Meow meows" and don't have a sign for them, thinking that might be really confusing. We started working on the sign for dogs, which she did, but we don't think she "got"Here she is getting into trouble. She would take Toodie with her everywhere, she had two, and we ended up buying her a third as she broke the second one, but now we have a Playtime Toodie, a Sleepy time Toodie, and a parts Toodie that we can cut open, figure out how it works, and and then test out sewing, zipper options for piecing her back together with several more leads (see she talks, but Holly chews on her hand, which gets the "switch" damp and then she stops talking)Mizar really liked Toodie also, so we had to be really careful to keep him away from her stuffed animals, part of the problem was that he had stuffed animals of his own, that he was allowed to rip open and chew on. Well Holly was allowed to play with his stuffed animals though we discouraged it, but he couldn't play with hers though he really wanted too.What is this? Is this Mizar, Pyro? Why no it is a Polar Bear, and one of my parent's Christmas decorations. She was quite taken with all of the blow up items and various other decorations. I loved how my parent's decorated the house, it was like walking into wonderland everything was towards and facing the entrance way.Here is Oma showing her the Elf that comes out of the top of the train that was in the front of there yard. She really liked the train a lot. The thing we didn't like about these types of decorations is that you simply can't leave them on all day long and when they are turned off they look like a Fairytale graveyard all deflated and lying flat on the lawn.Almost every house in Florida has one of these, if not several. We never see these in California, but then we realized that no one has front lawns, we have a hedge but there is no space to put any decorations up like this, maybe in the driveway I suppose, but I couldn't imagine the cost of the electricity to keep it inflated, and well that it wouldn't get stolen.Here is Holly again playing with the Doggies!She sure did love that Basket, in addition to putting it over her head she would put her toys in there or simply slide it all around the kitchen.This is a very awesome Highchair that my mom found for Holly from Craigslist, it was only 15 Dollars, such an amazing steal, and I am sure we will get many years of use out of it.The other cool thing she found, I am assuming from a garage sale is this cool riding toy, we left this in Florida too for the next visit. She really loved playing out on the back porch which is where the Christmas tree was set up. She could ride back and forth, though she didn't really propel herself so much but enjoyed Tanta Kat pushing her.As you can tell from Holly's attire it was so very hot when we first arrived. Here we are at my mom's massage therapist's office, Kathy. I was lucky enough to get three massages while in Florida, it was amazing. I haven;t had one since I am back in California, but after that plane ride home and the flu, I really need one.We would double book our sessions, so it would be me and my mom, or my mom and Kat, or Kat an me. So we are hanging out in the Lobby while my mom gets her massage. I think this is like one of the longest posts ever, I really should have split it into two posts, but alas, here we are now. It did take me two days to write, this is day two, I ran out of steam last night.I think one of the saddest parts of leaving Florida was saying goodbye to the dogs, Holly didn;t really understand that we wouldn't be seeing them in a few hours when we returned, because we weren't returning.She really loved the dogs a lot. She has Tanta Kat's cats but it just isn't the same, she doesn't see them all day every day. It sort of made me want to get her a puppy not that we are at all in any type of situation to care for one.We spent a lot of time shopping while we were in Florida, Holly really enjoyed riding around in the car attached to the shopping cart. We have those here too, but they are kind of a pain to push around.She played with Bubbles often and really enjoyed them, though she was more of a fan of porch bubbles versus backyard bubbles, though Opa kept trying.This was a neat little toy we picked up for her after playing at ikea. it was like 9$ and all wood, she loves pushing things around the floor and it makes this neat semi-musical sound when the pegs drop.She also really liked to help Opa push the broom around the house, so we thought this might be a destraction, we could give her something to do while he was sweeping, it wasn't as good of a deterent as we had hoped, in fact she often tried to initiate sweeping on her own.As often as my dad was cleaning thats kind of hard to do. We picked up this Chair for her at Toy's-R-Us and kept it in Florida, I think it will be just her size till she is 3 or 4 and then her possible in the future sibling can use it too. She simply didn't have anywhere to sit that was her own before it.It is toy Story themed and she really liked it a lot, almost as much as her Red chair at home. Tanta Kat found a magnetic Book at a Second hand Store for like a Dollar but she didn't like the book part so we transfered them to the fridge for her to play with. They were midevil themed with a Dragon and a Princess.This was a Christmas Gift we opened early from her Great Grandmother Pat. It was the neatest thing, it is a wooden stacker shaped like a snowman. Well Holly decided she wanted to try on the snowman's hat herself. Isn't she a cutie. I love that she knows what a hat is.Here she is on Mayzar's back. She didn;t actually ride them, though I bet she could have were she able to hold on, on her own. She did however get into the habit of sitting on there backs when they were laying down. We tried to discourage this though, in case they jumped up suddenly.She really liked the idea though, and they totally didn't mind, she would crawl all over them they were so mild mannered with her. Gental as ever.So while I was in Florida I decided to cut Holly's hair for the first time. My family kept harassing me to do it, they said it was messy, Joel said it was in her eyes, Kat said it would grow thinker and faster if it were cut.I sort of liked the Pixie look, but alas, I still decided to give in a trim it up. I didn't like it at first, I thought it made her look like a baby, I guess because she was younger when it was shorter, but then other times I do think it made her look older.It eventually grew on me so to speak, when it started to grow out just a little bit.Here we are playing at the Book store another favorite outing, more shopping of course.So somethings slowed down after Christmas, but other's didn't for example, my parent's started getting all of there inventory back. So my dad spent whole days waiting for fedex so he could unload and test his machines.It was a lot of work. I think before Christmas we had daily pick-up and drop off's to Fed Ex and after, I think we were waiting for some package or another almost every day, some even got lost, which meant long calls and complaints, but luckily they were all found.Here is Pyro lying on his porch couch, how sweet is this picture, I love how the sun falls on his nose. I don't really have pictures of it, but the last week we were in Florida the temperature dropped into the 20's it was crazy cold.I was surprised at how good Holly was about the tree, she did play with it, but was pretty good. There were 5 Gabba pals hanging on the tree all in glitters and she would make a game of finding and pointing out each one.There was a park within walking distance from the house. I didn't take her but Joel walked over with her a few times for her to play in the morning while I was sleeping in.Another picture of her swinging, I bet I have hundreds of these, many blurry because she was moving so much.Here is Nanna Mary feeding Holly a yogurt Juice during there visit, they came for 3 days at Christmas. It was nice to have the extra man power during the day.And here is Miss Holly trying to help with the sweeping, it seems that I was telling stories before I got to the pictures that show it.Holly and Opa were fast friends, Opa was good at being a chair and a bottle holder. He did tell her "No" a lot, but was really good at redirecting her in those moments so she didn't mind so much.Here are the puppies, they are not supposed to be on the bed, but the night I was babysitting then (New Year's Eve) they got scared of the Fireworks and jumped on the bed.We had a really nice visit in Florida. It was a little too long I think, the first week we arrived to be honest I didn;t miss joel "That Much" I know that might sound mean, of course I missed him, but Holly and I were on an adventure, new place, new routine, fun and exiting things to do, a whirlwind of fun.We were so happy to see him when he arrived and suddenly everything got easier, my partner was there, I had help, someone to lean on, and we got to spend the whole day together, every day, not like at home when i don;t see him most of the day, so it was really special.So when he left, that last week was really hard. I missed him a lot, everything was more work, it was cold, The excitement of the Holidays and New environment had died down, and were were ready to be home and back to our own routine. We love our family and had an amazing time, but we were happy and ready to go home by the end of it.