Monday, January 21, 2008

Ticklin' the Ivories (or the Plastics)

Ari just received a delayed Christmas gift (thanks to from his Uncle Andy and Aunt Melissa. Pictures and video below. Yes, it is a highly interactive (i.e. noisy) baby grand piano. And he loves it. Added bonus: after 10 minutes of intense piano exploration and play, he was able to also beat up on the packaging.

Thank you Andy and Melissa for adding some music to our house...and we'll see if you get that credit when he becomes a famous pianist.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Video/Photo Backlog

I'm a little behind in posting some of the videos and photos that we've been taking. So, here's a quick "January in Review"...besides, I'm procrastinating on writing my New Years letter and this'll fill up the time nicely. (note: you have to double click on the play button)

La Jolla Cove
Last week, Ari and I drove down to La Jolla Cove to hang out, people watch, chase some seagulls and have a snack.

Del Mar Beach
This past weekend hit 70 degrees so we decided to take advantage and go to the beach on Sunday. This video (may be boring to grandparents ;) gives a 360 of the beach and part of the park around it. This area is one of our favorites. The whole town of Del Mar is pretty cool. Funky shops. Arty. Lots of alternative and complimentary medicine, massage, etc. Very laid back.

Dancing Queen
Ari's been working on his dance moves. I only caught a few seconds but it was worth it.

Cinnamon Toast Mornings

Ari's just gotten up and is sitting on my lap at the kitchen table while I read devotions with a cup of coffee. He reaches for my cup...huh...that is not going to taste good...

"Would you like some juice?"

"Juusshh! Juussh!" he exclaims with a gigantic grin and practically falls off my lap to get to where we keep the sippy cups.

I am 100% sure that this is Ari's first clearly understood and clearly intentioned word. Juussh. He's been saying it now for about a week. Clearly, I'm a little trigger shy (have been a little too quick to jump on the word bandwagon in the past), so it takes me a while before I'll declare it an official "word". He's said words that have the intention of "kitty", "dadda" and "grandpa/ma" but this is the first really consistent one.

As a reward, I hand him his apple juice. "Juice," I say.

"Juuussh. Ha ha!"

We have contact.

He's been quite the entertainer this morning. We had eggs and cinnamon toast together and he kept hiding his toast strips under his sippy cup, holding up his hands in a "where did they go?" pose, and then whipping off the sippy cup and pointing at the toast underneath with a huge smile. "There they are, Ma!" He's been into that "Where's Ari?" game as he hides behind a chair or in his closet...or under his blanket. And then charging out to "surprise me" with a hug. Very cute. Oh how quickly they grow up. He used to just get a charge out of it when I'd surprise him - now he's got to do it in order for it to be fun.

After breakfast he walked over to one of his toys and started kissing the little playthings sticking off of it. Too cute - especially when he started kissing the dragon puppet (below). 'Course, he won't kiss us but at least he is demonstrating affection for inanimate objects....hmmm...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy New Year!

Seven days late.

It's been a slight whirlwind ever since we left for "Christmas in Michigan" last month. A whirlwind of visiting, eating and illness with no end. So, due to a travel and recovery-induced hangover, it's taken me a while to post anything over the past 4 weeks. Sorry 'bout that.
We managed to get all healed up for our New Years Eve with friends. Ari was recovering from his second (yes, second) bout with allergic reaction to antibiotics. This can't be good. All in all, we landed in the clinic three times in a little over a week. Once with bronchitis and twice with an allergic rash. To different antibiotics. Oy vey. New Years Eve day found us praying for a short line in the waiting room because we had to truck down to our friends outside of Detroit that evening. Luckily, it worked out. Ari was prescribed a steroid and we rushed through our showers and instructions to grandma and hit the road.
It was a wonderful, quiet New Years for us. With good friends, good food and good laughter. God bless them, they had offered from the beginning to host us for the whole night so we wouldn't have to drive. That turned out to be fortuitous for a couple reasons. 1) a bottle of wine each, and 2) eight inches of snow overnight. We woke up New Years Day to the most beautiful winter wonderland imaginable. It actually made me want to move home and deal with winter again.

However, by the time we were getting on the plane back to San Diego (after experiencing two major snowstorms in three weeks), we were all ready to leave the snow. Ari had had it up to here with the snow pants and jacket. His mittens wouldn't stay on and he couldn't move with all the padding. He's not used to that. He's used to going outside, unencumbered, anytime he likes (well, anytime I like). He's, well, he's soft. Southern California soft. Crap. Now, I've always been soft...don't like the cold...but I didn't want to raise my kids that way. Huh.
Anyhow, we've been back for a few days now and "Wendy's Got Her Groove Back" so it's time to update the blog. Not much else to report other than it smells like eucalyptus and pepper trees with a hint of jasmine outside, it's perpetually in the 50s and 60s, usually sunny and there's a 10 minute drive to the beach. Now if that's not an advertisement for come visit over the next 3 months, I don't know what is.
Happy '08 and love to you all!

Rhett Butler in the house

We have a charmer on our hands.

This charmer likes to infiltrate the very large CD/DVD wall rack in our living room. It has a child fence barricade around it - for obvious reasons. CDs and DVDs present a pandora's box of attractive off-limitness and endless possibilities for "sorting" and "fingerprinting". Ari also likes to select a CD, carry it to the player and proceed to play the damn thing. All this compliments of my mother who, in her grandma joy over the holidays, painstakingly showed Ari how to operate their CD player (which has the added bonus of lighting up in a lovely shade of blue...ours does not light up).

But I digress...this barricade worked just fine for 5 months. Kept Ari out. Kept Sascha's meticulous alphabetizing in order. Upon our return after the holidays, Ari discovered that he could move the barricade..."You mean it's not screwed to the wall? No shit!? Wish I'd've noticed this sooner."

Oh joy. For him.

Now, whenever it's a little too quiet in the living room, I know just what to call out, "I said no, Ari." And the delicate dance begins - I don't want to make a huge deal out of it and have it become a locking of horns, nor do I want to shirk discipline and boundaries. So I walk up to the little thief-behind-the-barricade, say "no" and ask him to put the CDs back. He shakes his head and hugs the CDs. I ask again and then I make him. He usually shrieks and goes stiff. I then proceed to drag him back to the honest side of the barricade and shove it back up against the wall. I think it's become a locking of horns anyhow.

This happens at least three times a day.

Until this afternoon.

I managed to catch him before he entered the danger zone, as his hand was on the fence. I shook my head and said no and came over to sit down next to him. Choosing a new approach, he smiled dazzlingly at me and reached out with both his hands to pat me on the shoulders. Hard not to smile at that but I managed a poker face. He tried to move the fence again. I said no. He let go of it and gave me a hug and then touched my nose. "Yes, Ari, that's my nose, thank you." He giggled. All the while smiling like a con man, practically batting his eyelashes. He made another attempt. Another no from me. Another nose touch and then a stream of babble that gave the impression he was trying to explain why it would be good for me to allow him back there. Then a nose touch, a cheek pat and a touch to my hair. By this time, I couldn't stop laughing. Where on earth did he learn this stuff? Certainly not from his father and most definitely not from me. Sesame Street maybe? I knew Elmo was up to no good...

Finally, brilliance struck and I said excitedly, "Ari! Where are your toys?!" He pointed just as excitedly and we moved on to destroying block buildings. CDs forgotten. Thank God.

So, I'm wondering if this little gift of his will continue on through life or if it'll deflate when we move the CDs to a safer location. Not quite sure which option would be preferable. On the one hand, it's awfully cute at 15 months. On the other hand, a gift like that could land him in prison...or shacked up with a sugar 25 years.

Or maybe he'll just really rock in sales some day.