Saturday, December 30

The Newest Herrman

The Herrmans' new baby girl finally arrived yesterday. We went to see the newest members of the parent club and to introduce Matilda to the playmate they made for her. Matilda was eager to get her hands on her new friend. See more pictures of Georgia Gail here and her stats here. Welcome Gigi!!

Wednesday, December 27

Nine Months Old

This month the explorer in Matilda really shone through. She is such a curious little bug and gets into everything these days in order to conduct her experiments on how the world works.
She peers over edges and around corners investigating sounds and looking for new things to chew.

She can dismantle the kitchen in two seconds flat.

Matilda got to be spoiled by her Grandma this month and enjoy a few days in San Diego.

Matilda also traveled to Arizona to join the ranks of family members in bi-costal cookie bakes.

Here you can see a grumpy face after a diaper change. She is going through a difficult phase with her pants changes and fights almost every time. We think she wants to keep going and doesn't appreciate the precious moments we waste by pinning her down. Our biggest test came after a particularly explosive event this weekend in Santa Barbara. Tim ended up basically holding her upside down by her ankles while I took care of business in order to avoid her rolling around and covering the Matrix (and herself) in filth.

Her hair is coming in so fast this month - I was even tempted by the cutesy little barrettes while Christmas shopping. I managed to resist since they will probably just get ripped out and cause Matilda's Dad to worry about choking.

Matilda had a great Christmas and enjoyed her presents almost as much as all the paper, ribbons and boxes. Here you can see her new monkey puppet from Uncle Dan - Mr. Monkey is a big hit with Miss M.

Matilda celebrated her nine-month birthday tonight with her biggest meal ever. Tim & I were so impressed with how much she ate. She was even yelling at us between bites to hurry up and refill the spoon! We have her nine month check up next week so we will have some stats for you then.

Tuesday, December 26

Hurricane Christmas

Christmas morning before the storm.

After a long day of present opening and paper eating. Here you can see Matilda tasting the new robot that her Dad got her for Christmas. Lucky girl got really spoiled. Thanks so much everyone for all the fun presents! A full day later now and we are just beginning to crawl out of the debris.

Monday, December 25

The Clapper

Matilda showed us another one of her mad skills last night while the Herrmans joined us for Christmas Eve raclette dinner: clapping. Here you can see Miss M watching her new stuffed ninja clap and imitating him. We hope she soon starts to imitate all his other ninja skills, then she'll be prepared to public school in LA!

Sunday, December 24

Ho Ho Ho

Matilda is very ready for Christmas. She wasn't too sure about sitting with Santa, but has been trying to open packages all week, indiscriminately. Merry Christmas from the RD Mama household to yours!

Friday, December 22

Pizza Delivery

Piles from the mail man today.
Looks like we'll be having pizza for Christmas dinner.

Thursday, December 21

Getting There

My Mom passed on to me her love of lists. Like her, I will write things on my list just so I can then check them off. She says she gets little endorphins from checking things off. My DONE list is steadily growing and the TO DO list is shrinking. The Christmas cards won't go out on time, but we figure the baby is a good excuse for a delay. Tonight I made Bourbon Hot Fudge Sauce and canned it for Tim's gift to his co-workers. By the end of the process there was chocolate on everything. As I put Matilda to bed I noticed she even had fudge sauce on the front of her pajamas.

  • 12 jars of hot fudge sauce canned
  • 14 Pointy Kitties sewn and mailed/delivered
  • copious amounts of cookies, brownies and fudge sauce consumed (note to husband's vendors: please stop sending Tim gift baskets filled with sweets - it does not make him utilize your business more, it only makes his wife fatter.)
  • shopping done for everyone who required mailing (except my immediate family, who thankfully recommended Christmas in January when we see them!)
  • tree obtained, house decorated
  • grocery shopping done for dessert of the month and for mom's traditional Christmas morning rolls I will attempt to make
  • Santa visited (photos coming)
  • Christmas cards retrieved from the printers

To Do
  • finish shopping for Tim (always the hardest person on my list)
  • make Onalee's Swedish cookies to package up, also for Tim's co-workers
  • wrap, wrap, wrap
  • keep Matilda out of the wrapped presents
  • make said rolls and pudding
  • figure out what to cook for Christmas dinner (any suggestions?)
  • write, address and mail 100+ cards
  • clean house (optional)
  • finish two more kitties, make one more from scratch
  • make some of these with leftover kitty felt - probably a January project along with stockings

Tuesday, December 19

Don't you realize you're wrecking Christmas? Tim said to Matilda as he realized we will be unable to display all the beautiful wrapped presents under the tree due to our curious little elf.

Sunday, December 17

Parental Discretion is Advised

For our annual Dirty Santa Party I always make some sweet treats to accompany the eggnog. This year we decided to make anatomically correct gingerbread people in an homage to my E.C.C.B. roots and the incident. Sarah and Tim assisted in the decorating. The dirty cookies were a hit and the party was the best in years with lots of good gifts and fierce competition!

Saturday, December 16

Mom's Breastaurant

Matilda had her best eating day ever so far with solids today. She ate 6 bites of rice cereal and dried cherries for breakfast. Then for lunch she had 5 bites of veggies and barley from my bowl of stew. It sounds like a measly amount but Tim & I were both cheering loudly for her by the end of each meal. On a related note, while in Tucson recently Matilda found her new favorite place to eat out:

Thursday, December 14

Not Festive Yet

Since we are a little behind the ball on getting holiday decorations up Matilda decides to take matters into her own hands and gnaw into the boxes.

Another Parenting Lesson

Don't call home to check on the baby. She will scream the entire time whether you know about it or not. For the safety of your fellow freeway travelers it is better to not know.

Note to S & G: Thanks so much for being the best babysitters. We apologize profusely for all the obscenities Matilda yelled at you last night.

Friday, December 8

Gifts From the Hearth

I attended my much-anticipated cooking class last weekend and it did not disappoint. For the first few minutes I thought, "I don't know about this." I was feeling like it wasn't worth the steep price and that I could just figure out all the recipes on my own. But once I dove it I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. First we all sat around the gorgeous professional kitchen (very disappointed I forgot my camera) while the instructor reviewed the recipes we would be preparing: Grand Marnier Biscotti Bites, Graham Crackers, Homemade Marshmallows, Scottish Shortbread, Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, Cranberry Raspberry Preserves, Bourbon Hot Fudge Sauce, Braided Christmas Bread Wreath, Golden Pecan Brittle, Sugared Spiced Nuts, and Spicy Paprika Cashews.

My partner and I were assigned the only recipe that intimidated me: Braided Christmas Bread Wreath. I generally shy away from yeast bread as my last effort results in brick-like loaves. However, it turned out to be a great challenge. The bread came out wonderfully even though we rushed it - both resting periods for the dough were shortened from 1 hour to 10 minutes! I am sure if I had not tackled this recipe in class I wouldn't be brave enough to try it again at home. And it gives me new confidence to make my mom's traditional Christmas morning rolls. Just in time since we won't be seeing her this Christmas so there is no chance to con her into making them for us like always.

Thursday, December 7

Resort Living

I felt the 1 day turn around I planned between trips was plenty but I think that was based on pre-baby mentality. I am going to make up for content with photos of our San Diego trip, before we head off for W.C.C.B. and family visiting this weekend.

Matilda seemed to really get into the relaxed, resort lifestyle while staying with Grandma during her conference. She took lots of long naps in the super-comfy bed: Practiced her climbing skills (up and down, up and down) on the stairs in our room: Took baths in the huge bath tub: Was perplexed by the stuffed toy in the mini bar (?): Enjoyed lots of play time with Grandma between innovation sessions: We didn't make it to the famed zoo, but we did find this guy at Balboa Park: And we took lots of walks along the beach to the numerous nearby playgrounds for sunset swinging sessions:

San Diego

Just back in town from San Diego where Matilda discovered the joys of shredding toilet paper. More pictures to come.

Sunday, December 3

No Runners Here

Matilda and I went to cheer Sarah and Gaurav this morning in the City of Angels Half Marathon. Unfortunately I did not pay attention to the finer details of the race course and we were stationed on the road that runs along the river, rather than on the bike path where the runners were actually passing. We ended up just watching a homeless lady as she went through her morning rituals and cheering a few dog walkers. Matilda didn't mind the lack of runners and was quite entertained watching the fountain and spying on these guys doing some sort of Tai Chi with sticks.

Regardless of the blunder my thoughts are with you S & G - hope you make it past mile 8 and that no one (i.e. Gaurav) feels the need to toss any cookies on the curb.

Saturday, December 2

Thirty Days

So I managed to blog for thirty days straight and then the second there is no prize involved I forget to post on December 1st! Fussy says we should know by Monday who gets prizes. Yay!

Today I am excited for my long awaited cooking class. It will also mark the longest time I have been away from Matilda so far. RD Papa is concerned about exactly how much milk is in the fridge and keeps nervously suggesting that I should pump some more. I am suspicious about what he has planned for all the milk. He swears he just wants enough for Matilda, but I did notice he put the freezer bowl of the ice cream maker into the freezer last night.

Thursday, November 30

Pick Me

Also, I know it wasn't really about the prizes. But I really want a prize. I enjoyed the challenge of blogging everyday, and I know the family enjoyed the stories and pictures. But please give me a prize Mrs. Kennedy. I love to win stuff and even though it is random and not based on merit it will satisfy my competitive streak.

Day 30

It feels like I should have something monumental to say on my thirtieth consecutive day of posting but I think I am dry. Not that there aren't more cute pictures of Matilda to post, but that just seems like a cop-out. So instead a list of random musings, questions, statements:
  • In order to complete all my ambitious Christmas project I think I need to hire an elf, preferably an elf with better sewing skills than me.
  • We are very much looking forward to our trip home to visit family in January.
  • We are even sadder to be staying in LA for the holidays and missing our family. If anyone has any recommendations of festive activities to keep us distracted from our sadness your input would be much appreciated.
  • The back-up dessert of the month was (thankfully) a success. Stay tuned for future installments.
  • I have not run in weeks. I cannot even remember the last time we (Matilda and BOB and I) tried to go running. I really need to rectify that situation before the holiday pounds add up.
  • OK, I give up - here's your cute picture from the new (free!) playtime we discovered today at a local community center. It is a huge gym full of toys where the kids can just run wild. The best part is I don't have to re-direct Matilda every three minutes like at home.

Wednesday, November 29

More "Winter" Practice

We got these mittens for Matilda's upcoming trip to visit winter, but have been trying them out on our evening walks in the breezy 40-degree weather this week. They are like little straightjacket mittens with no thumbhole, which you think would make them easier to get on her flappy, protesting little hands. I put them on mid-way through our walk home from the library this evening and her response was about like a dog with a cone on his head.

First she tried rubbing her hands together. Then she tried biting them off. Finally she discovered if she waved her arms long enough they would eventually fly off. I am sure we were quite a sight walking all the way home with her flapping like mad strapped on the front of me.

Tuesday, November 28

For Grandma

Taken post-bath last night - modeling her new "winter" boots.

Sandy Diaper Terror Level

We have just upgraded the Sandy Diaper Terror Level from orange to red. We are currently three (four?) days post beach trip and the amount of sand coming out the other end just appears to be increasing. More research is required to prove my theory (i.e. feeding Matilda more sand), but I believe sand quantity and diaper stink are positively correlated variables. While the diaper situation has been fine up to now, I am officially starting the count down to potty training - bring on the temporary tattoos.

Monday, November 27

Eight Months

Matilda turned eight months old 30 minutes ago!!!
I took her to visit my old office today for the monthly weigh in and she is at 19lb 12oz. The weight gain seems to have slowed down now that she spends her entire day tearing in and out of rooms, over the furniture, and around the playground.

This week she just started putting her arms up to signal she wants to be picked up. It is the cutest thing and we can't help but drop everything to pick her up when she asks. Although yesterday I saw her do it when she was just playing in the corner, then look around, and then go back to playing - like she was just testing it out.

This month she is standing up on everything and really extending her reach:

Standing in the kitchen sucking on a dish towel. I am sure my great aunt Millie wouldn't approve, she would yell if you even threw the dish towel over your shoulder.

Standing up looking for me from the pack n' play.

And just plain standing up having a grand old time.

We left Matilda with babysitters, our friends Sarah and Gaurav, for the first time this month while Tim and I had a "date night." Matilda really didn't seem to notice the difference.

Matilda will tolerate being read to now and maybe even enjoys it. She no longer just tries to bat the book out of your hand so she can suck on it.

She celebrated lots of firsts. Her first "big" holidays with Halloween and Thanksgiving.

First trip in the shopping cart.

First swim lesson.

First trip to the Observatory.

What a great family I have. Each month that passes we have more fun with her and continue to be amazed.

Sunday, November 26

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles Rolled in Spices

Last year I made these truffles as party favors for the tea party I threw for my girlfriends with all my misguided nesting energy. My Mom was there to enjoy them but has requested the recipe to make herself this year. I was pleased to discover the recipe online. Not only did I not have to search through the stacks of magazines to find it, but I didn't even have to type it up. While I am tempted to make them again this year, I also want to try new things like the Chocolate and Whiskey Liqueur recipe I found, or the many items I will make in my cooking class this weekend. Such fun! I am such a nerd.

Saturday, November 25

No Business Complaining

We had a really wonderful day at the beach. Matilda ate lots of sand, we ate yummy sandwiches with turkey and cranberry sauce on them, Tim & Matilda stalked the seagulls (or as he is trying to teach her, "sea chickens"), and I laid on the blanket in the sun relaxing. Yet I am going to complain anyways.

Nothing is going right tonight.

1. We were craving pizza for dinner. Our favorite pizza place, Casa Bianca, is a huge wait and we weren't up for that torture. We tried for 30 minutes to call for take out but the phone was busy. Finally we decided to try Albano's, a newly recommended local place. The pizza there was not at all acceptable and we are left with the unsatisfied pizza craving still!

2. My crafty Pointy Kitties projects are not going as well as I would like. They are cute but my sewing skills aren't quite up to snuff and the heads are attached really wobbly and they all have little openings in the seams where the legs and tail meet. While this forms a quite realistic bum, most stuffed animals I have encountered don't have such accurate anal areas.

3. Dessert of the month is turning out to be a disaster again. It is supposed to be Floating Islands with Chocolate Mousse and Creme Anglaise. However, the meringues did not seem to set right and are too small to scoop out and fill with mousse. I am trying to convince Tim what he really wanted was Chocolate Mousse with Creme Anglaise, Whipped Cream and raspberries. I told him next month he needs to choose something simple to restore my dessert confidence.

Friday, November 24

Black Friday

Not much to report from around here. We are exploring the depths of our laziness this weekend. Today we ventured out for a surprisingly tame trip to Best Buy this morning, did another stint at the playground, ate some more turkey, took hand-me-downs to the Herrmans, and napped. We have more of the same planned for tomorrow (turkey and napping especially) and a massage appointment on Sunday! It is so nice to have Tim home with us.