Sunday, August 15, 2010


Dear Hayley,

When Daddy and I created this blog it was mostly to keep our family and friends updated on the life of our expanding family. Since then, I've relied on this space to capture moments in our life that I never want to forget. I've been thinking lately that you are growing and learning so fast that I need to pause and take a moment to capture all of the magical moments and accomplishments that have been happening at lightning speed lately. So, here we go!

  • We've been working on sign language for months now and currently you sign for: more, eat, thirsty/water, milk, fruit, please, thank you, you're welcome, I love you, sleep, baby, dog, cat, duck/bird, chicken, car, train, home, shoes, play, book, help, bath, dance and music. It's not always perfect, and some of the signs you've made up yourself, but you're consistent enough that we know what you mean. You know so many signs now that sometimes you get too excited about something and you become confused, going through a few similar signs before settling on the correct motion.
  • You're pretty content with signing and are taking your time with the talking. You babble all. the. time. but you are pretty limited with your words: Mama, Dada, go, bye-bye, stars, sit, I did it! and what's this? round out your vocabulary. Sometimes you learn a new word and use it over and over for a few days and then all of a sudden you stop. This happened for duck, dog and other words I know I'm forgetting. You've also made up your own version of Kati, and call Grandma "Ah-ma".
  • Though you speak very little it's obvious you understand just about everything. You can follow directions, even if they are specific (for example, you know the difference between bringing me your slippers rather than your shoes). Not only do you understand what we're saying, but you're a great listener and will help clean up your toys, share and follow rules with minimal conflict. You understand concepts very well. We can tell you we're going to go to grandma's and you can pick a toy to bring. You'll get up, pick a toy and head straight for the door saying "Go, go!".
  • Grandma's already working on teaching you Christmas carols. When prompted with "Laughing all the way" you go "ha, ha, ha". Currently she's working on getting you to say "Hey!" after she sings "On a one horse open sleigh".
  • When you see a real, toy or picture of a fish you make a little fishy face with your mouth. When you see animals such as dinosaurs, lions, tigers or bears you let out a loud "Roar!" You just started making monkey noises, too.
  • You're slightly obsessed with books right now and reading with you is very interactive. When the book says "sick" you pretend to cough. When a book says kiss, you have to kiss whoever's reading to you. When your dress up book shows the secret spy, you hold your finger up to your mouth and say "Shhh!" When there are flowers on a page you have to stop and smell each. and. every. one (just like in real life). You really enjoy the books that encourage interaction, such as those with flaps or different textures to feel. You like us to ask you where things are on the page, be it the moon, the mouse, the bee, the mama, the baby, the cat, the...
  • As we read what the caterpillar in "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" ate each day, you pretend to burp after each day's meal. I have no idea where you got this idea but I can't imagine the book being read any other way now.
  • You know a lot of body parts and can point out nose, mouth, eyes, ears, hair, tummy, bellybutton, hands, heiny, legs, feet and toes. You can point this stuff out on yourself, on others, on animals and in pictures of people or animals.
  • You like to pick out your own clothes now. You go to your dresser, open a drawer and tap your pointer finger on your cheek and say "Hmm..." as you make your selection.
  • You hate having anything in your hair. Clips, headbands, rubber bands, hats; doesn't matter what- you want it out. Sometimes if we distract you long enough after putting your hair up we can get you to forget about the offending accessory. Sometimes.
  • You love to play dress up. You love to wear bead necklaces, tutus and your dinosaur tail. Sometimes you wear it all at the same time.
  • When mama is getting ready you like to watch and you love when I put my face cream on you or let you wear a little perfume. It's just as awesome as I'd always imagined it would be.
  • You love shoes. You like to drag guests into your room to show them your bin of shoes, you love to try on shoes at the store, you like to try on Mama's and Dada's shoes, you like to bring people their shoes when it's time to go and you love wearing slippers cause they're the only shoes you get to wear inside.
  • You don't get to watch too much TV, but your favorite things to watch are The Fresh Beat Band and Pingu. You're completely obsessed with both. Pingu you often watch on our cell phones or on Auntie Kati's laptop. Sometimes you like to walk around with your arms behind your back, just like Pingu. The Fresh Beat Band causes you to either get excited and dance or sit there mesmerized for the entire show. You love them so much that Dada made you a CD of their music so we can listen to them in the car (which you ask for right away as soon as we're in the car). I find the fact that Daddy made you a mix CD too adorable to stand.
  • You love to be chased.
  • You love to give high-fives.
  • You love looking at pictures. Of yourself.
  • You love to tickle and be tickled.
  • You love hugging, kissing and playing peek-a-boo with yourself in the mirror.
  • You can go up and down stairs, using the railing, all by yourself. This means it takes longer to get anywhere, but it's okay because you're always so proud of yourself when you get to the top/bottom.
  • You have amazing hearing. It's usually birds or the train that make you stop what you're doing, sign and look for where the sound was coming from.
  • You are still the best sleeper I could have asked for. You sleep for a minimum of 12 hours a night and nap for 1 1/2 or 2 hours each day. You actually ASK for nap in the afternoon and get terribly excited for bedtime.
  • A month or 2 ago you started getting up a few times when Daddy first put you to sleep. It was super frustrating and then one night Daddy was in the middle of something and took a minute to respond. I watched you on the monitor and not even a minute in to your crying you decided to lay back down and go to sleep. Since then we haven't been going in and we watch as you sometimes stand up for a moment, don't cry for us, and then lay back down with Bunny and go to sleep. Lately, you haven't even been standing up and instead going right to sleep.
  • This past week you've been sleeping with a blanket. You seem to like this, but you don't like to have your feet covered.
  • In the mornings you often will lay or sit in your crib for a good 20 minutes just having some quiet time to yourself while you play. When we go in to get you in the morning you get extremely excited, throw your paci on the ground (which you immediately want us to retrieve for you) then you like to point out the stars on the wall and ask, "What's this?"
  • You sleep with both Olivia and Bunny in your crib. You are by far most attached to Bunny over all your other toys.
  • If we'd allow you to eat fruit exclusively you'd be a happy camper. Blueberries seem to be your favorite, but I've yet to see you really pass on any fruit offered. We can usually get you to try something, but after that initial taste there's no guarantee you'll continue to eat it.
  • If we offer you something to dip your food in the chances of you eating it increase dramatically. Sometimes this backfires and you end up just eating your ketchup with your finger for dinner.
  • You're working on using utensils to feed yourself but you always hold your spoon upside down. This drives daddy crazy.
  • You don't like to be messy. You hold up your hands to be cleaned mid-meal, you'll use a napkin to clean yourself and the table and if none are available you'll use your bib. It will shock no one that this pleases your daddy greatly.
  • You drink water and milk pretty exclusively. We don't offer you juice because it has so much sugar and we think it's good for you to get a taste for water now. The only real exception to all this is Jamba Juice. You love smoothies. A lot.
  • You are really loud when you want to be. Like, REALLY loud. You yell for "MAMA!" or "DADA!" when you want us, no matter where we are. When you're excited you squeal and shout. When you're angry, boy, do you make sure we know it.
  • You've started throwing tantrums and we're at a bit of a loss as to how to react. We try to ignore it, hoping the lack of attention causes you to try out a new approach, but it's hard. Partly cause we want to tell you to stop and quiet down, partly because it's extremely funny and partly because it's so cute when you get mad I want to eat your little face.
  • You're daddy had the genius idea to institute the "all-better hug" for when you fall or get hurt. You're very in tune with us and often look to us for how to react to situations and we consciously decided that we needed to contain our reactions and teach you (and us) to not sweat the small stuff. So, when you have a little tumble and your little face scrunches up we ask if you need an all-better hug and you come to us for a quick hug and then are back on your way.
  • You're getting another tooth right now, which will bring your total to 11.
  • We brush your teeth every night and just started using training toothpaste. When we first started with the toothpaste we all huddled around the sink and we tried to teach you to spit. It was a complete failure but it was also one of the funniest times we've had as a family yet.
  • You're in Gymboree level 4 now. It took a while for you to warm up to it, but you love Gymboree now. You missed it the other week because we were on vacation and when you went the following week you were thrilled to be there.
  • Every weekend, usually on Sunday, we go around the corner to Jamba Juice, Starbucks and Noah's for breakfast. It's our little routine and I wait all week for that outing.
  • You now can build with your LEGOs on your LEGOs table. And with that, all of your daddy's dreams came true.
  • You threw up for the first time 2 weeks ago (real vomit, not spit-up) and it was horrible and gross and you were so scared and upset. We all were.
  • Day or night, you search the sky for the moon.
  • Sometimes you zone out and stare into space and I'd buy you a pony to know what it is you're thinking about.
  • Sometimes when you zone out or are concentrating on something you softly say "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma..." to yourself over and over in the most adorable little voice we've ever heard.
  • You're somewhat stingy with the hugs and kisses, but when you do decide to give a kiss to someone you make sure to give kisses to everyone else in the room, too.
These are just a few of the millions of things I want to remember when I think about you at 17 months old. I could never capture all the little memories I want to always remember, but I know its okay because everyday there's something new and special that I'll hold on to. I am constantly telling myself that there's no way it could get better and, sure enough, another day with you comes along and I'm proven wrong.

To the stars and back, Hayley.


Are there memories you want to make sure we remember years from now? Post them in the comments!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hayley doesn't need much to have fun.

Hayley's been playing peek-a-boo with her reflection the last few weeks and Geoff finally caught it on his camera phone. (Sorry for the low quality video.) It should be noted that she started doing this entirely on her own. Man, I love this kid!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer vacation

Last week Miranda took some vacation time from work. What a week it was! It's funny how you always end up doing so much more on vacation than during normal time. So here comes another loooong post.

Instead of taking a long trip somewhere, we decided it would be more fun (and far cheaper and easier) to have a "staycation" of sorts. We had at least one event or destination planned for almost every day but we still got to sleep in our own beds. We even managed to get Hayley home for her midday nap most of the time.

Our vacation coincided with visits by out-of-state family and friends. On Saturday, Hayley's Uncle Gabe arrived, so we kicked off our week with a little dinner/reunion. She seemed pretty smitten with Gabe, as usual, although the effect wore off as the week continued.

Cousin Dylan celebrated his 5th birthday on Sunday and we were there for all the festivities. Everyone had a great time playing in the bouncy house, lounging in the shade, and eating birthday cake. Still can't believe little Dyl pickle is 5 years old!

After nap, we took Hayley to a San Jose Giants game. We've been avoiding taking her to baseball and hockey games this year because she is so mobile now (read: restless). Cheap seats at a local minor league game meant we could go without worrying about staying for the whole thing. We had some good food and a few nice, relaxing strolls around the stadium. We even saw some baseball.

Auntie Kati joined us for a visit to Happy Hollow on Monday. The recently renovated children's park/zoo has been around for a long time (it was a favorite of Kati's when she was a kid) but I had never seen it. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. It's pretty big without being overwhelming, there's a ton of variety, and everything is clean and new (thanks to the aforementioned renovation). Best of all, Hayley had a wonderful time. We enjoyed it enough to get a membership, so we should be heading back there pretty soon.

A few highlights of Happy Hollow include Hayley's first carousel ride, a huge play area with some cool slides, and tons of adorable animals.

That evening, Hayley spent some time with Caiden and they both learned a lesson in sharing.

On Tuesday, we drove down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We saw lots of cool exhibits, but overall Hayley was not as excited about it as Happy Hollow. We made the initial error of not bringing her stroller, so she got pretty crabby (pun intended). After we realized our mistake, I grabbed it from the car, but the damage was already done. We did our best to recover and actually had some fun, though.

A notable incident occurred near the kiddy area, where they had a large plastic clamshell for sitting in and general silliness (which is exactly what Hayley engaged in). She sat there and signed for sleep, so we joked with her that she should take a nap, at which point she laid down and pretended to sleep. Then she noticed the group of onlookers giggling at her. Hayley sat up with a big cheesy grin and basically showed off her cuteness for the crowd.

We left the aquarium pretty late with the intention of going to Casa de Fruta. Hayley was supposed to nap on the long car ride, but she took a really long time to fall asleep, so we decided to abort and head home. That night we had dinner with the family, including Kelley and Dylan. Wednesday morning was our first low-key morning in days. We had breakfast at Hobee's, then dropped Hayley off at Grandma's so we could take Gabe to see Inception (absolutely amazing movie, by the way). Afterward, we met up with family for another big dinner, this time with even more people (and awesome food courtesy of Dave).

The next day (Thursday) was my birthday. We had big plans for a trip to Berkeley, including a visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science in the morning and lunch at the Pyramid Brewery. Unfortunately, our natural alarm clock gave daddy a surprise gift by sleeping in later than expected, thus we missed our time window. So we had another relatively low-key morning with breakfast at Scramblz (an awesome family restaurant in SJ) and some light shopping. Following a relaxing afternoon, we headed out for, you guessed it, dinner with family! You'd think they would be sick of us; good thing we've got such a cute kid. Anyway, Miranda made some delicious steaks and my favorite cake. I capped off the night with some cognac I got with the BevMo card my parents sent to me. All in all, a very nice birthday.

On Friday morning we headed up to the Oakland Zoo with Kati. We went to the San Francisco Zoo before Hayley was born but we weren't that impressed. We had heard that the Oakland Zoo was better in some ways so we decided to see for ourselves.

As far as we're concerned, it's much better. Inexpensive, clean, and fun; it's big, but not so big that you feel overwhelmed (we covered nearly everything within 4 hours, including a lunch break). There are a lot of different animals and none of the exhibits are closed or incomplete. We all had a great time and will probably return within the next year.

Hayley slept over at Grandma's on Friday night so we could host a game night. As usual, much fun was had. Our awesome friends all chipped in for my birthday gift: Link's shield from the Zelda games. It goes with the sword that they gave me a few years ago. Yes, Hayley's daddy is a huge nerd and proud of it:

When we picked up Hayley on Saturday morning, it was time for us to say goodbye to Sandy, Dave, and Uncle Gabe. For the afternoon, we had tickets to an event that would simultaneously finish off our great week of vacation and officially welcome us into modern parenthood: a Wiggles concert! Hayley is not the biggest fan of the Wiggles, but we hoped that the live show would be more exciting for her. Luckily it was exactly that. After some initial worry due to the loud music and audience, she totally got into it, dancing and clapping along with the action on stage.

To commemorate all the places we took Hayley this week, we made sure to get souvenirs for her: a Giants hat from the baseball game, a book from Happy Hollow, a small stuffed penguin from the aquarium, an animal puzzle and a collection of toy animals from the zoo, and a wearable tail from the Wiggles concert (it resembles the tail of Dorothy the Dinosaur, one of the Wiggles characters). Here's Hayley wearing the tail:

Even though it was exhausting at times (especially for Hayley, who passed out hard every single night), this was one of the best weeks we've had as parents. There is really nothing better than making your child happy, and I'm pretty sure we did that. Unfortunately, the fun can't last forever. Mama went back to work today.