Sunday, August 31

Belated Wedding Anniversary

Tim & I finally went out to celebrate our belated 5 year wedding anniversary tonight. Our meal at JiRaffe was perfect & so I don't forget it I wanted to record our selections here:
  • Slow Roasted Organic Tomato Tart -Roasted pistachio-honey tart shell, balsamic onion confit, fresh burrata cheese, ratatouille sauce, basil pesto
  • Purple Peruvian Gnocchi - Fresh East Coast rock shrimp, roasted purple pearl onions, mandarin cross tomato concassé, herb infused tomato nage
  • Prime NY Bistro Steak - Potato puree, roasted cherry tomatoes, sautéed fennel, roasted shitake mushroom, white wine veal reduction
  • Bouillabaise - "fish stew" of clams, mussels, crab legs, shrimp, rock shrimp, swordfish, salmon, fennel, fingerling potatoes, toasted bread with cheese
  • Butterscotch Bread Pudding - Layers of butterscotch and cream soaked brioche, baked and served warm with espresso ice cream and chocolate sauce
Even better than our evening was Matilda's, who got to play at Marie & Eric's house all night long complete with her best buddy, Molly, a sweet puppy for lots of loving, a gourmet dinner of shrimp and crab pasta, some painting time and chocolate dessert!


Saturday, August 30

Another Milestone

Matilda got her first haircut today (although it was really more of a trim). There aren't any really satisfying before and after pictures since it looks essentially the same, only a bit healthier on the ends. I did witness the even trimming but the back still looks quite uneven to me since her crazy tight curls pull it all up in different directions. As prep for the haircut, Matilda got to go along and watch Daddy get his haircut this morning. By the time it was her turn ,M was a pro and sat quite still, even allowing the hair stylist to use the hairdryer on her. Tim & I weren't terribly wow-ed by the kids salon but Matilda was very happy with her special red Jeep-chair. We also got this snazzy certificate and a little envelope full of wispy blonde curls to appreciate the moment.


We were both looking a little concerned here:

Friday, August 29

Anatomy Lesson

One of our little adventures for this week was to find some trout to eat. We saw tons of trout and trout fishermen while hiking to this lake last weekend so Matilda's interest was piqued. I decided to finally investigate a fish market over in Glendale that had been recommended to us, Fish King. Not only did the fish market have a huge selection and great prices, they also had a little take out section with fantastic calamari. While driving to the market Matilda decided she wanted calamari and I was nervous as I had never prepared it before. The little cafe saved me that trouble and provided some instant gratification so we shared an order for lunch that day. 
Our trout we prepared for dinner with this recipe. It turned out quite tasty but the best part was how Matilda got to help me manhandle the raw fish. They were gutted and partially boned rainbow trout but the heads and fins were all still on so Matilda got a full fish lesson. Together we figured out what parts to cut off, poked at the eyes, felt the teeth and got lots of scales stuck to our fingers.

Wednesday, August 27

Tent Calisthenics

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Every time we set up the tent it sends Matilda into hysterics; she goes absolutely crazy for it. Here we've documented her first moments in the tent last weekend.

Kayaking

Long overdue pictures from our kayak outing two weekends ago now:

All ready to boat: Matilda with her raisins, Daisy with her boating jacket.
When we asked Matilda her favorite part of kayaking later that day, she replied "Sitting on Daddy's lap." So sweet.Climbing up the sand dunes with our kayaks and Morro Bay behind her. All the water bird activity was as awesome as we remembered and we were even treated to a sea lion vs. pelican session as they both were after the same fish. As with last year's kayaking adventure, Matilda was just nodding off to sleep as we all returned to dock a little sunburned and full from Anthony and Elissa's delicious sand dune picnic.

Tuesday, August 26

Devouring a S'more

Matilda's first bites of a s'more documented:
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Catching Up

Still recovering from our two weekend trips with lots of unpacking, laundry and napping around here. 

Last weekend's trip was beachy and cold:

This weekend's trip was mountainy and hot:

Both were jam packed with family fun and good food. There are lots of stories I need to get recorded here. Like how Matilda reacted to her first s'more ("More chocolate. More chocolate, please. More chocolate, PLEASE!"). Or how monstrously huge the dead jelly fish on the beach were. And how Matilda did in her new sleeping bag (up until now she had squeezed in to share mine). I'll save the stories for later as now I must go start more laundry, nap and do more dishes (the dishwasher is broken, how do people live like this?), most likely not in that order. 

Thursday, August 21

Ambidextrous?

I think by now you are supposed to be able to tell which hand will be dominant for your kid. Matilda, however, still mystifies us with her use of both hands fairly equally. This delicious dinner clearly demonstrates her mad skills as she shovels in cauliflower soup with the spoon in her left hand and an omelet with the fork on her right. I have noticed recently that when she throws a ball one handed it is usually with her right hand, so that is our currently our best guess.

Monday, August 18

Reptile Family

We got to see a great presentation by The Reptile Family at our library last week that Uncle Dan especially would have appreciated. There were five different kinds of lizards, four snakes including the huge boa below, four turtles that got to run around the room, a millipede, and some frogs. This boy was a hysterical reptile know-it-all who kept me entertained with his interjections. I think it takes a science nerd to love a science nerd. He was also fairly protective of the animals when the littler kids got their petting turn, concerned with that Matilda might injure this millipede. Two cute little sisters hold a bearded dragon, like Tucker. The presenter did a great job letting all kids take turns holding the animals, coaching them if they got nervous, and never once misjudged whether the poor critter would get dropped by a spooked little volunteer.

Friday, August 15

More Justin for Emily & Sydney

Another little tidbit of our Justin Roberts show last weekend. This song's called Meltdown.
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Say Cheese

Matilda managed to give me her cheese face everyday during our fun, busy week. She will now pose and request her picture taken.
Monday: "Cheese" with the bear statue we visited while out on a run with Bob.Tuesday: "Cheese" while modeling matching shirts with Amalia during playtime.Wednesday: A not-looking-at-the-camera "cheese" during her art time. She has been keeping quite busy with crayons, construction paper and stickers doing "craft projects" while I cook dinner each night. Please let us know if you would like one, the house is now overflowing with art. Thursday: Two "cheeses" on the beach with Molly today (well, yesterday technically since I am posting this after watching way too much gymnastics).

We leave for a long weekend trip with friends tomorrow (today) so there will be plenty more opportunities for cheese I am sure.

Wednesday, August 13

Fostering a Healthy Body Image

My brother & his fiance are getting married soon and have graciously included Matilda & I both in the wedding party. The owner of the bridal shop I am dealing with just told me I am "big all over" after I told her my measurements. Last time we discussed my measurements, several months back, she declared me "very small chested." Thanks lady, like I need any help with self-confidence in the body image department. I mean small-chested, fine, I can totally agree with that. But, big all over? That is just unnecessary. I think she spends too much of her time dealing with prom-dress-buying 16 year olds.

Tuesday, August 12

Rocking with Justin

On Sunday we went to see one of Matilda's favorite performers, Justin Roberts, live in concert, complete with toddler mosh pit and a chance to meet the artist afterwards. The show was great in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater and after being paralyzed in stunned-observer-mode for the first 1/3 of the show Matilda got really into it. By the look on her face I would say hearing the D-O-G song was Matilda's favorite while Tim & I really liked hearing Willy Was a Whale.

The groupies, excited in line before the venue doors open. Great seats right up front for Matilda & her buddy S. After all the dancing Matilda shook hands with Mr. Roberts and got him to sign her new album.
Here's our view of the concert with Justin performing "Yellow Bus," Matilda wandering around down front, and Mrs. Orange Shirt, who seemed to be a bigger fan than her kids.
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Monday, August 11

Sesame Street is so Cool

This morning Matilda's little mind was blown when Sesame Street featured a skit with Feist. M was already a huge fan of both Feist's 1234 song and the accompanying video. I would tell you more about this but according to Matilda I cannot sit in front of the computer anymore now unless I agree to simply play this video over and over:

Olympic Sleep Deprivation

Every two years when the Olympics rolls around I turn into a sports watching fiend. It is like some switch gets turned and I have been packing in all my TV time for the entire year this week. So far three nights in a row Tim has had to peel me off the couch as I fade between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. trying to wait 11 more minutes for Michael Phelps race or 15 minutes until Dara Torres. The upside is that I am slightly more productive the rest of the day as I avoid the computer (i.e. wasting time endlessly surfing the web) to not have results spoiled for me. 

Sunday, August 10

Urchin

So Matilda is starting to get really into doing little crafty things. Here she is making an urchin, which was a big hit and resulted in days of stepping on broken spaghetti noodles. We have also discovered that while she enjoys making collages, she would much rather just pour out the entire bottle of glue and finger paint with it. Her interest in these crafting projects is rapidly out pacing my ideas....send ideas!

Slidin'

Matilda is not usually much of a slide girl, but this Friday afternoon I think she finally discovered the fun in it. The sliding down part was almost as exciting as trying to climb up the slide. video

Thursday, August 7

A Nutrition related post. Really, can it be?

Last week at work things were particularly slow so I did some reading in one of my research journals. One particularly interesting article summarized the average American diet from 2001-2002. While that seems like a long time ago, I can't imagine current data would be improved, possibly only more discouraging. I thought that these shocking statistics were worth sharing:
  • Sweetened carbonated beverages provide 37% of added sugars to the average intake.
  • 10% of grains consumed are whole grain. (The current recommendation is that at least half of all grains be from whole grain sources.)
  • 46.5% of fruit intake was in the form of juice. (solidifying my firm anti-juice stance)
  • 43% of the starchy vegetables consumed were in the form of fried potatoes. (fries or chips)
  • Lettuce made up 25% of the dark, green leafy vegetables group. (This wouldn't be so disturbing to me if I thought people were actually eating dark green lettuce and not iceberg.)
  • Of the fish consumed, only 25% were fish considered good sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
Their conclusion was:
"Americans do not, in general, consume the most nutrient-dense forms of basic food groups, instead consuming foods that are high in solid fats and added sugars. The main culprits- the foods that contribute most to discrepancies between recommendations and actual intake- are sweetened carbonated beverages and other sweetened beverages, grain-based desserts, non-skim dairy products, and fatty meats."

So there you have it folks. All you need to do is cut out sodas, frappuccinos, pie, cake, whole milk, sausage and bacon. Sounds simple right?

Fireworks Song


Back by popular demand.

Monday, August 4

Bat Week

After getting up close and personal with Batman at Comic-con last month, Matilda had the chance to see a lot of real bats this past week. 

On Thursday a bat biologist came to our library for a little presentation and brought along Toby, a California myotis bat, to meet everyone. Toby's wings were badly burned in one of the local wildfires so he cannot fly or be released to the wild. Instead he lives with our presenter and acts as a sort of bat ambassador to meet the public. It was amazing to see how small and fragile bats look up close. Toby was a good sport and just crawled around on his dish towel, seemingly unfazed by the swarming toddler mob. 
Our next bat event was Saturday night when we went to the LA Zoo for a special after-hours bird and bat walk. It was so great to be at the zoo during the cool evening hours and we were surprised by how many animals were still out on display. I think many of them were a bit shocked to see us too, disturbing their typical "alone time." We didn't see a ton of birds, as it was getting late, but we did manage to see a bunch of bats leaving their roost for the night. Matilda was also pretty excited about the other non-zoo type wildlife we saw including several skunks and raccoons.
Matilda & I study up on our bats before the zoo walk begins.

Lyle

Just saw a fantastic Lyle Lovett show at this beautiful theater in downtown. I think I had forgot how fun it is to see a concert. Matilda partied hard with Sarah & Gaurav, refused to go to bed for them, and then finally collapsed, exhausted on the couch in front of Finding Nemo. (We rented it this week to pass the time while she was sick and the seagulls especially have become a favorite.) Thanks again to our favorite neighborhood babysitters for a really long night on duty!