Monday, April 30

Baby Bathtub

Recipe for hours of easy entertainment:

  • 1 baby bathtub (M has long since graduated from it, turns out it is very versatile)
  • Water (adjust amount as desired)
  • Numerous borrowed plastic balls (the neighbor girl's, stored within view of our patio)
  • 1 boisterous toddler
Preheat patio to 70F or warmer. Combine first three ingredients and stir well. Add toddler and allow mixture to soak until cold and wrinkly. Rewarm before continuing.
Can you just hear the yells? "Ball! Ball!" At one point I heard a neighbor say, "What is that noise?" Our patio is in the center of the courtyard, into which most apartments have windows. Any talking or noise carries really well, echoing around the place. I think our neighbors are in for a long summer.

It took much longer than I expected for her to attempt climbing into the tub. A good 15 minutes I would say. Peeling the cold, wet jeans off was quite a chore. Tim was much smarter when he supervised tub time this weekend, first putting her into her bathing suit.

Sunday, April 29

Lucky 13

Time continues marching forward and Matilda turned thirteen months Friday. If this past week is any indication, I think I am going to really like thirteen months. We are all having so much fun together. Matilda is surprising us daily with new things she has figured out and learned to do. To continue with the online baby book theme of these monthly posts here's a recap of recent changes:

  • Matilda now is walking 99% of the time. I have a feeling it is soon going to be much slower to get anywhere as we stop to inspect each threshold, corner and bit of trash that we pass.

  • We have been half-heartedly teaching her a few bits of sign language that we thought would be useful. She is now consistently using her first sign: more. More bouncing to the pony song, more water, more singing, more peas.

  • She is quite the little parrot lately and seems to be trying to imitate many words. Gigi and cheese are two new words that she enunciates really well. Duck and ball are also pretty clear. For many other newer ones she only says parts of the word to get her point across: bath, bubbles, moon, button. She has also added another animal sound to her repertoire: "Bawk, bawk."

  • Not only gives kisses now, but will give them more readily and sometimes blow them.

  • Gives five and high fives! High five for that.

  • Matilda got her fifth tooth this month, with another soon to arrive. Quite a mouthful. She has gotten very good at taking real bites and devoured two pieces of pizza we made Friday night. At this point, she continues to enjoy brushing her chompers.

  • Matilda is getting a bit more sensitive about where exactly her parents are at any given moment. Especially Tim it seems. Although not usually a problem as he leaves for work, if he makes any move toward the door in the evening or weekends she quickly melts down. Stepping out onto the patio, into the bathroom for a moment of privacy, or sometimes just into the other room can all be grave offenses for either of us.

  • Matilda is following her Dad's footsteps in developing quite the music appreciation. More on that soon in another post.

Pizza night


Friday, April 27

Drumroll Please.....

I think poor Adam will be most disappointed as we finally have a winner in the great race for Matilda to say some one's name, other than "mama" and "dada."

And the prize goes to: GIGI

Gigi came over to hang out with us this morning while her folks worked. Tim was excited for some Gigi time before work and Matilda was happy with the breakfast company. Matilda repeated Gigi's name mid-way through the morning and has since said it several times. It is exciting to hear a new 'g' sound. Poor Adam and Alwyn would work very hard to repeat their names as much as possible whenever Matilda was around. I think they were really hoping to win this one but the combination of easy name with baby appeal was too much for Matilda.

Thursday, April 26

D.O.T.M. In Progress

Cream, Strawberries, Triple sec, Tequila.
What's not to like.

Do You Know Junk Food?

The USDA's definition of junk food, and nutrition standards in general, is quite outdated. To see how arbitrary and obsolete the rules are try this awesome junk food quiz.

We moved one step closer to updating our school's nutrition standards Wednesday when the Institute of Medicine released new nutrition standards for school vending machines, a la carte and other foods sold outside of school meals. This report just added to the momentum for national legislation to get soda and junk food out of schools. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) bipartisan legislation would require USDA to update its school nutrition standards, and apply those standards to the whole school day and everywhere on campus. Go here to encourage your representatives in Congress to bring our school food programs in line with current nutrition knowledge, quick before Matilda is in school and discovers the vending machines.

Wednesday, April 25


Matilda somehow ended up with some hair goop in tonight and the results were quite amusing.

Tuesday, April 24

Goodbye, Mary

Today we said goodbye to our favorite librarian, Mary. Each week we have been going to story hour with her for over 7 months now and she will be greatly missed by our whole group. She got promoted to Head Librarian and will go run a branch in the Deep Valley with a long commute from her beloved Silver Lake. I would be interested to see how her new customers react to our punk rock librarian with the cutest tattoos, nose-piercing and fire engine red stilettos.

Monday, April 23

One Last AZ Post

As if it weren't already clear enough that my life revolves around food, I had a few more pictures from the family reunion/eating fest that I wanted to share.

Here we are learning to make tamales. They were fantastically yummy. If you could get past the lard.

The results: 12 dozen tamales. We are still eating them.

Sniffy sniff. We had tea one morning at a beautiful gardens and Matilda got more flower time in.
More evidence of my incredibly talented aunts. They made a golf course for my Grandpa's birthday. Water hazards, sand trap, the whole works. The sand traps were coffee flavored frosting even, my Gramp's favorite.
I have discovered the only way to eat waffles is with each of three aunts manning a waffle iron. The piping hot stack was never-ending.

Having way too much fun at lunch.

Sunday, April 22

Full Speed

Thursday night Matilda decided she no longer needs to crawl. She is pretty much 100% a walker now. This weekend she has worked on getting faster. Now I understand all those people that said "just wait until she's walking." She is almost running already and so pleased with herself.

Thursday, April 19

Cook-Off Recap

As part of our week-long family reunion/celebration of my Grandpa's 80th birthday my highly-competitive, cooking-inclined family decided to have a cooking competition. This stemmed from a "friendly" rivalry between the East Coast and West Coast Annual holiday cookie baking traditions. Each group claims their cookies are better, traditions older, decorations more elaborate, etc. Since I grew up in the East Coast tradition, but am now a West Coast transplant I was deemed untrustworthy by both sides and charged with orchestration of the event. It was a hysterical affair with great fun had by all. All week long in the lead up to the actual Cook-Off there was much joking, secret meetings, accusations of cheating and intimidation, questioning of the rules and regulations, and just general revelry and chaos.

In honor of his birthday, Grandpa got to choose the key secret ingredient for the competition: peanut butter (a la Iron Chef). Each team was then tasked with creating three menu items containing peanut butter for the judges' consideration: one entree, one dessert, and a third entry of their choice.

Here you can see both teams in their color-coded aprons (custom made by Aunt Sue) at the kick-off of competition.

The East Coast team showed their over-achiever tendencies with matching aprons and tee-shirts. In the same vein, they had their menu items printed up all fancy on stationary for the judges' consideration.

Aunt Molly and cousin Alison hard at work on perfecting their peanut butter glaze.

Aunt Sue puts the finishing touches on her Moosewood inspired Indonesian salad with a peanut dressing.

Grandma dishes up the West Coast's entree: Thai Chicken Tenders.

Aunt Molly and Mom dish out the Zesty Peanut Sauce on the grilled chicken breast. The entree results were very interesting in that both teams independently came up with very similar Asian inspired dishes, owing to the peanut butter restrictions. It was a slight challenge for my cousin who is a less-adventurous eater but most everyone else enjoyed all the entries. Except for poor Matilda hasn't had peanut introduced into her diet yet; she was stuck with a can of soup for dinner.

The judges gather round to fill their plates

The West Coast dessert submission: Double Peanut Pie. It was later garnished with fresh whipped cream and chopped peanuts, upping their presentation score. This pie tasted even better than it looks.

The East Coast dessert: "Peanut Butter Explosion". Just fabulous. One layer of brownie and two layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse sandwiched between and chocolate drizzled over the top.

Serious deliberation going on here! Really the judges were very concerned about declaring a clear winner. I think they were afraid of jeopardizing their chances of future family feasts.

In the end we (myself and the judges) didn't have the heart to declare a clear winner but each team won distinctions in a variety of categories. Here the West Coast team shows off their hard-earned medals.

Wednesday, April 18

The Gears Are Turning

It is amazing to see how much Matilda understands now. She only says a few words, but she is able to follow so many instructions all of a sudden.

Commands she correctly executed today:
Hand Mommy the giraffe/lion/zebra puzzle piece
Sit down in the bath tub (x10)
Bring me the ball
Get ready for dinner (she went and stood by her high chair)
Hand Mommy that ______ to sniff (she will give me most items, even forbidden ones, if I pretend I want to smell them)
Sniff the ________
Pull the giraffe (a musical pull toy)
Go get your toothbrush
Tell me what the monkey/cow/doggie says
Point to the duck/frog/dog in a book
Push the red button (to make her ball popper toy start)

Commands she chose to ignore:
For the love of god please stop screaming
Don't eat that piece of carpet lint/garbage/unidentified crud
Please lay still a moment for this diaper change
Stop biting your mothers' arm/boob/nose

Monday, April 16

Family is Tiring

We just returned from a week in Arizona, celebrating my grandpa's 80th birthday. It was a fabulous trip jam-packed with revelry every day. I had a wonderful time surrounded by family and Matilda got so much love and spoiling. She was a little sick during the trip and barely slept with all the excitement so she is more than making up for it now. Since we arrived home yesterday afternoon she has been asleep for 15 of 24 hours. There are loads of pictures to sort through and more will go up soon, but for now here is one of my favorites of Matilda with her Great Grandma Mary hiking beautiful Sabino Canyon.

Sunday, April 8

Gigantic Bunny

In keeping with the bunny theme established Friday, we used Saturday to go in search of more rabbit adventure. We recently discovered one of our regular vendors (Tim's radish suppliers) at the farmers market, Underwood Farms, has a big farm stand and lots of "bringing you back to the farm" activities. Not only did we have a fantastic time, but we saw the largest bunnies I have ever witnessed in person. Thumper, the largest one on the right is a whopping 21 pounds. I bet that eagle at the zoo would be pretty excited to meet him.

The bunnies were brought out as part of a farm animal show. Matilda was beyond excited by the sight of the animals on stage and spent the entire program screaming and pointing. The pinnacle of screeching was reached with the duck. Ducks are quite near the top of Matilda's favorite animal list lately and I think the sight of one in someone's arms might have changed her world view.
I also must mention the sky walks they had for the pygmy goats to roam between several enclosures. I think my dad's livestock deserve such luxury and will pitch it as his next big summer project.

Friday, April 6

Big Bunny's Spring Fling

Matilda and I went to the Zoo this morning to check out the Big Bunny event. We don't usually get there right as the zoo opens, but today I wanted to get lots of errands and other junk done in the afternoon so we arrived exactly at 10. It was already a madhouse. Thanks goodness we got there when we did, as we left at 12:30 the parking lots were all full and traffic was backed up a 1/2 mile. We still managed to hit all the big events though since we got there early and we are fast with just the backpack - I could maneuver around all the massive strollers and get ahead of the crowds. There was lots of fun to be had:

Straw to taste

Bunnies to pet

Goldfish to meet (plus freebie Goldfish snacks for M and Peeps and Nesquik for Mama)

Playgrounds to sog up our knees on

Although I am not sure this bunny was having quite as much fun today, it seemed he was playing the role of lunch.

Tuesday, April 3

Matilda Marcos

According to every shoe store employee we have talked with babies feet grow into a new size every three months. Even before considering this tidbit of information it seems Matilda clearly has too many shoes. But they are so cute, and even better, they were mostly birthday gifts. Spoiled lucky, girl.

I think I will cry when these ones no longer fit though. Green and pink mary jane sneakers with a green and pink polo dress. Nothing beats that.

Monday, April 2

Don't Trust the Baby

Matilda promised me she was responsible enough to hold the bag of goldfish while I jogged. Against my better judgement I gave it to her. Thankfully Sarah was with us for the jog and assisted in Operation Goldfish Clean-up. When we lifted her out of the jogger there was an unbelievable amount of crackers underneath her and she ended up riding home pant-less to minimize the crumb debris zone.

Mean Parent

Proof that it isn't all roses and sunbeams all the time around here.

Since Matilda tasted the freedom of the patio during her birthday party, now she's hooked. Anytime we open the hideous blinds or sliding door she drops everything and makes a break for it.