Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sous Chef

We've entered new territory around here - pretty much all my mothering ambitions came true when Orelia became my sous chef.  

When you have a toddler who is very attached to you, there is no way to get any cooking done unless you do it together, so we are embracing it.  I have a great kid-friendly cookbook that we've been making our way through.   The cottage cheese pancakes are our favorite recipe so far.

Orelia enjoys mixing and watching, but her favorite part is definitely the eating.  Nothing like a little sous chef action to work up an appetite!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Happiest Hollow

Lately we've been spending our weekends in toddler heaven - Happy Hollow down in San Jose.

Orelia got to take her first carousel ride there, and has taken maybe a dozen since.

Every time the ride ends she says "more!" and tries to get us to take her on the carousel again.  It's the best feeling as a parent to find something your daughter loves.

Happy Hollow has a zoo,


A huge playground,

A petting zoo,

And lots of places to run around.

We obviously got a membership the first time we visited.

There is a very special slide in the play ground that Orelia cannot get enough of.

She and her Daddy just run laps to get back to the top of the slide to go down again.

Oh the static that ensues.

Orelia has mixed feelings about the goats in the petting zoo.  They are big and cute and eager to eat...but they are big and eager which can be a bit overwhelming some days.  The above photos show non-scary days.

We are so glad we found somewhere nearby that makes our girl so happy.

And nothing makes her happier than ending the afternoon with one last ride on the carousel.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Half Moon Bay Beach

It's not exactly barefeet beach weather around these parts, but at least we can go to the beach in our sneakers and enjoy some sunshine.

With a spoon in hand, Orelia was perfectly content to scoop, scoop, scoop in the West's biggest sandbox.

Harper was content to fetch, fetch, fetch.  She seems to appreciate her beach trips more these days now that they are few and far between.

John was very keen on building sandcastles, and both Orelia and Harper had grand fun destroying them the second they were built.  It was hilarious to those of us not building said sandcastles.

Half Moon Bay is often fog-laden and chilly, so we especially appreciated all the sun and beautiful views.

Orelia was pretty pleased to be able to walk wherever she wished with dogs prancing all over the place.

When you have a toddler, you certainly appreciate going somewhere where what your child wants to do (run wild and free) is exactly what you want them to do.  An afternoon without "no" is good all around.

Harper and Orelia are looking forward to many more beach trips in our future.  With or without our jackets and sneakers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Orelia at 17 Months

We are at the point where I should start telling people Orelia is "a year and a half" when they ask how old she is, but I can't just bring myself to say it.  She's seventeen months old now, and I'm sticking to it.

 The most noticeable change is that how well she's doing talking and understanding us.  She says fifty or so words now, and is able to learn new ones more quickly than ever.  It's great now that she can understand us most of the time, we can explain to her where we are headed and who she is going to see.

She's gotten good at names, and is able to say some form of the names of most of her favorite people.  "G" for Gigi, "Ma" for Gemma, etc.  She calls herself "Ya" or "Yaya," which we find absolutely adorable.

Orelia has decided she loves playing in the sand, which makes trips to the park longer and more fun.  Maybe a bit messier too, but definitely more fun.

Hide and seek has become a fun after dinner game with Daddy.  And coloring with washable crayons has been buying us some time in her high chair.  I can't wait for her to get more into art.

 In the past month and a half she went from having six teeth to having twelve.  The four molars she got were not a barrel of fun, but I guess we are glad they all came quickly.

Orelia has been testing limits recently, and apparently I should take solace in the fact that she's supposed to be doing exactly that.  It's hard to stay calm when they give you this look right before they do the thing they know they aren't supposed to do.  I've gotten firmer with my rules - one warning and then the object/Orelia is removed.  This seems to at least help me get through the situation.

Our favorite 17 month trick is that Orelia now gives hugs and kisses to us and to her friends.  On some occasions she essentially tackles her friends in her exuberance.  That's my girl!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Toddler NYE

 When you have a toddler, staying up until midnight on New Year's Eve is not as appealing as it once was, so we were thrilled to be invited to a toddler New Year's party that started at 3:30 PM.

We got to celebrate with friends...

And their wonderful kiddos.

Our kids were so happy to be surrounded by their dads and their buddies all in one night.  

It was a lovely way to ring in 2014 with the parents and toddlers that helped make 2013 a great year.

Happy 2014 from our family to yours!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Discovering the Discovery Museum

 John took the whole week of Christmas off while his brother and mom were visiting, so we had a staycation of sorts.

Staycations are perfect for exploring all those places you keep meaning to visit on the weekends, but never do.  For us, a prime example was the San Jose Discovery Museum.  (I actually went there once with Anika and Arianna when Arianna was almost the same age Orelia is now - it was a bit of a deja vu moment for me.)

 We dragged Bob and Linda along with us, and Bob fit right in.  He forgot his glasses in the car, so he had to wear his prescription sunglasses throughout the museum.  Hopefully he didn't scare any young kids.

 Orelia had a blast, even doling out hugs to unsuspecting new friends.

 She looked dapper in a scarf at the play house.

Naturally she loved sharing a soft pretzel with Dada at the food court.  

 She all but dove into the fountain at the water station.  Good thing John has a tight grip on her.

There isn't a kid in the joint that doesn't love the water section.  Orelia got thoroughly soaked and required an outfit change.  That's how you know it was a worthwhile trip to the museum.

Luckily we could take a spin in the garden outside to help dry her wet head.

 And what a very cute wet head it is.

Orelia is really lucky to get to discover the Discovery Museum in such great company.  We had a blast.