Saturday, January 27, 2007

2 more bite the dust

I posted previously about San Genaro closing their Culver City location. Tonight we decided to go out for pizza and encountered 2 more closures of favorite places. The Mann Culver movie theater which we enjoyed walking to, and Red Brick pizza, which was okay pizza, not as good as Victor Junior's or The Coop's, but still pretty good. And we liked the gelato and the televisions at every table. We think the new CPK nearby drove business away. Anyway, both Red Brick and Mann were closed and in both instances, we were just there a few days ago, no sign of impending doom. :(

We tried to go a pizza place on Motor, Mamma's, that we have always wanted to try, but then we remembered why we haven't when we couldn't get parking again, so ended up at Overland Cafe instead. It's been pouring rain here since this afternoon, so we couldn't walk from our place with the baby.

We decided to make a mental list of all of the local restaurants that we like(the ones still in business!) that we can walk to, and here it is: LA Dijionaise, The Coop, Victor Junior's, Versailles, Natalie Thai, Overland Cafe, the sushi place we can't think of the name of on Clarington, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head, will add more later!

Culver City has gotten

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Some Laurenisms:

  • "Mamba" is the new word for "Mama"
  • "Uh-oh" whenever she spills or drops anything.
  • "Na na na" is Nonnon, and she says this whenever the phone rings since she talks to my mom on the phone several times a day.
  • "Nap" when she wants a nap. She used to say "Map", as in "Map, Mama, map!" but now it's "nap, Mamba, nap!"
  • "Git dat" for "get that", said to herself when she crawls towards something
  • "Jake" or "Juh...ACHE!" for Jake
  • "Buht" for Bert the cat
  • "Gee" for Grandpa
  • "Daddy", "Dad", or "My DAHdee" shouted for her Daddy
  • "boo" for "book" as in "Git dat boo, Gee"
  • "yes" "uh huh" "oh yeah" to affirm things. She said "yes" the other day when I asked if she wanted a cookie.
  • "hat". this one is in a very clear voice and we didn't teach her the word, she just picked up on it.
  • "shit" once in response to "do you have a poopy diaper?" (like "no, mamba, it's SHIT!) and she also said it again last night when I was at the front door with my arms full of packages plus her, and had to fumble for my keys, and dropped a bag.
  • Friday, January 12, 2007

    My Favorite Baby Products

    In helping a pregnant friend decide what to register for, I came up with a list of some of my favorite baby things that I've bought or gotten as gifts. Here they are, in no particular order. I'll update this as I think of more:

    Baby Einstein Activity Center- She started using this a few months ago and has gotten so much use out of it. I put her in it every morning for about 20 minutes while I check email, and every time I need a few minutes to get the door, stir something on the stove, etc.

    The Ultimate Baby Wrap-Great because it's easy to fold and carry with you, and can be used up to age 3

    Carter's Snug Fit Socks-We just discovered these and they're saving our sock budget. Lauren hates wearing shoes, and views socks as disposable items to be kicked off. These actually stay on her feet.

    Leapfrog Learning Table-The legs can come off and they can use it before they're able to stand. Now that she stands, she loves to play at it and go around each side doing the different activities.

    Bathtub pillow-This is not a baby product at all, but something I had in the bathtub for myself and discovered by accident makes good padding for when Lauren couldn't quite sit up and would fall backwards in the bath.

    Lap pads-These are little waterproof squares of cloth you put under the baby when you change her so if it's messy, you don't have to change the whole changing table pad. A good place to buy them is Marshalls.

    Handysitt-With our small condo it's nice to save space by using this instead of a high chair, and it will work until she's 4 1/2 years old.

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Happy Birthday Kelly!

    Happy Birthday Kelly! I hope that you have a great day! I did the math, and this is our fifteenth year of friendship. Wow, on one hand-are we THAT old? On the other hand, feels like I've known you forever! Anyway, happy HAPPY birthday and thanks for putting up with me for all of these years! Love ya!

    Happy Girl

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    Why I Love LA Reason #31143

    Yesterday was 86 degrees. Took a nice walk through Culver City in a sundress and sandals with Lauren, Mona and Peter. Since Lauren doesn't keep her socks on anyway, it was the perfect weather for her bare feet.

    I always tell people January is the perfect time to visit Southern California. We get these warm weather days where you can go to the beach, and yet it's not tourist season so you have all of the popular spots without the crowds.

    Alas, today it's back to being in the 60's. Just when i had picked out which sundress Lauren would wear and which tropical plant I'd buy at The Jungle's going out of business sale. Oh well, more warm days are in store for us soon.

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    Lauren 9 month update

    Every once in awhile i hear from someone I haven't talked to in awhile who says they follow my blog and that they love to hear how Lauren is doing and feel like they know her through reading her adventures. And at least one friend reads the blog to be amused by Ryan's antics. I can't write about those too much because he told me he checks first thing every morning to see what I've written about him and he seems to be sensitive about it. Let's see if he notices this and tells me.

    I will give you this Ryan tidbit-one funny thing he did do last month, luckily I can laugh about it now and not be mad any more, is use my stamp collection to mail a letter. He had to go into my desk to hunt for the stamps, bypassing the current 39 cent stamps that were out on the desk, not bothering asking me if i had any, instead going right for these rare triangle shaped ones from the early 90's. It didn't occur to him that since the value of the stamp was less than 39 cents, they might be old stamps I was saving for a reason. Since they were 30 cents, he had to put 2 on one letter. His response? "I didn't even know you had a stamp collection."

    Anyway, back to how his daughter is doing. We took her to her 9 month checkup on Thursday. She is 28 1/2 inches long and weighs 22 pounds, 15 3/4 ounces, which means she has lost a little weight. Her doctor thinks her thighs look thinner, and she'll continue to change shape as she crawls around. She likes to "cruise" by crawling around and pulling herself to standing, then holding on to the couch, chair, whatever, and moving around. She pretty much has to be standing if she's awake.

    She loves jokes and she'll laugh right along with us if something is funny. The biggest laughs come from "where's Mommy? here I am!" peekaboo games, and also from when we pretend to nibble on her feet, or tickle under her chin. She craves daredevil activities and getting tossed in the air or bounced. She loves the feeling of wind in her hair, whether from going fast on her little bike, or even us just fanning her. She still likes to pull my hair to go to sleep, but lately she has also been pulling on her own hair, which is only about 1 inch long. We're not sure what color it will be. It's a brownish auburn now, but when my mom (a redhead) is here, we can see that they have the same color eyebrows. She still has her fair skin, lighter than Ryan's but not as pale as mine, but no freckles.

    Foodwise, she is still, believe it or not from looking at her, a light eater. She doesn't mind solid food very much anymore but she will only take about 2 ounces or less before she gets full. She doesn't hate rice cereal anymore. She eats that, oatmeal, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, string beans, and whole grain cereal. Yesterday she ate Cheerios for the first time and it literally took her about 20 minutes to eat 4 Cheerios. She finally got the hang of chewing on them with her 8 teeth. She likes to hold her own sippy cup herself. She loves books, and calls them "boo" which is just prounced exactly like book without the "k" at the end. She also loves to chew on them, and her best loved books ("Who's in the Sea" is her favorite) look like a puppy has gotten to the corners.

    This morning when she'd been napping for about 20 minutes, I thought I heard someone talking upstairs, so I went to check. I heard this quiet little voice saying "Mom" and she was awake! Her naps used to be pretty regular at 9:00 and 1:30 but now she sometimes goes longer stretches without them. She still wakes up around 6:45 every morning but we can usually get her to sleep in a little bit on weekends, or at least, to be happy staying in bed making her little noises or playing with the covers until about 7:30. 9:30 is still bedtime but last night she stayed awake playing and exploring until 11:00. She showed no signs of being tired. We had a box of odds & ends from our Christmas stockings which we hadn't put away yet, and she spent a lot of time exploring each new item.

    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    My New Best Friend

    Last night we had a great time at a party where I saw my friend Mark. I have decided that he is my new best friend. I'm going to get him one of those BFF heart necklaces where I wear half and he wears the other half, on chains around our neck. I don't know if his wife will approve. I've always liked Mark, but what could have possibly set him up for best-frienddom recently? He got a job working at a large shoe company, as their webmaster. He told me last night that he can get me shoes for wholesale minus 15%. Wholesale minus 15%!!! SHOES!!

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    Separation of Church and State

    This happened last month but i am only getting around to writing about it. We were invited to Ryan's cousin's "graduation" from nursing school (you'll see why the quotation marks in a moment) in Orange County. I thought she went to a public school, so was surprised to see it was held in a large Protestant church. We figured maybe there were too many attendees to fit in to the college auditorium so this was the biggest local place, or else that Michelle, who is extremely religious, did in fact go to a religious school.

    So, we met his family there and proceeded to attend what turned out to be what they called a "pinning ceremony" for what was in fact, a public California community college where his cousin got her AA in nursing. They started the ceremony with prayers and as each person walked across the stage and got pinned, they read an announcement, similar to those high school yearbook dedications, where the graduate thanked people and left messages for classmates. Almost all of them started out "___ would like to thank God, and her husband and children" blah blah blah.

    One of his cousin's classmates sang a Christian song "Lift Me Up" or somesuch thing, which Ryan was amused to notice was set to the tune of an old Irish drinking song.
    There was one person who did not attend the ceremony, and she had a Middle Eastern sounding name (or maybe I am remembering this wrong?) so I built up this whole story in my head about how she must have been really uncomfortable with this whole Christian aspect to what should have been a secular graduation from a public institution.

    It's baffling to me that this is 2007 (or rather, was 2006) and these events are allowed to occur in the United States with taxpayer funds. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? What's worse, his cousin and the other people around seemed to really enjoy it and I seemed to be the only one at all surprised/shocked/amazed at the religious aspect.
    We need to make sure church and state are separate. Even if all but one person worship at the same church, if they're attending a public institution paid for by taxpayer money, they should keep ALL religion of any sort out of the equation.

    The simple test for this, if people find themselves so surrounded by others of their same religious background that they don't see the forest for the trees, is to think, what if someone of a religion you completely disagree with wanted to hold the ceremony? Would the organizers want someone who worships a flying spaghetti monster to hold a pastafarian ceremony at their graduation? Would this be okay with them? If not, then they should drop their oh-so "open" prayer at a Protestant church where just because they didn't utter"Jesus", they think they are supposedly including every other religion because of course every religion believes in God.

    On a related note, I think it's awesome that finally a member of Congress did not use a Bible for a swearing in. Now if we can just get "in God we trust" off of the currency and prayers out of Congressional sessions, we'll have real progress.

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    Bye-bye Swamp Boy

    When we were visiting my parents, Jake got to run around outside a lot. At some point, he came back smelling like he'd found a swamp to roll around in. Thus his new nickname-Stanky Swamp Boy. It was pretty bad. Imagine, if you will, some sweaty athlete running for miles in wet socks, then taking them off and stepping on an old damp towel in them, then petting Jake with them.

    Well on Sunday, Ryan brought him to Petco to get groomed and most importantly, get his teeth brushed and his nails clipped. We can't clip his nails at home, too afraid of accidental bleeding. And he does not take well to tooth brushing. He came back SO CLEAN and SOFT. He is back to getting lots of affection from us. (as opposed to "Eww, Stanky, go away!".

    The funny thing is, we call him our kitty boy-when his fur is soft, it really does feel like a cat's. And Lauren has a new word, "Bert" (she says "Buht"), my mother's cat. When Jake came back from the groomer and Lauren petted him, she squealed "Buht!". The other funny time she said "Buht" is in response to my mother's retorical question to her: "Who is the cutest baby in the world?".

    The kid has great comic timing.