Saturday, July 28, 2007

Paparazzi shots of the girls at the beach

I couldn't pick just one photo of Lauren & Alexa, the little buddies! This is from today at Venice Beach.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sears carpet cleaning sucks

I wish this was going to be a glowing endorsement of Sears carpet service, but it's not. They came to clean ours and they did get rid of the little stains we had around (but a lot of them came back a few weeks later) but they left an even bigger weird, giant rust-colored stain on the living room carpet:

Since they have a satisfaction guarantee, I called them to come and fix the stain. The lady on the phone told me that sometimes their cleaning fluid can leave a stain if it's not rinsed properly. There's a long story here involving me coming back from vacation early to be sure to be home for them and them canceling at the last minute and rescheduling for a week later. We'll pretend I bored you with those details. Anyway, then when they did come, the guy told me "we could not have done this. I know you spilled something after we left but I'm going to clean it anyway". I got really mad at this because of course we did not spill anything. Also, we left the house for 4 hours (he said it would be dry by then) and it was not dry until 2 DAYS later.

Anyway, he came back a second time, to clean it again, and he told me that this time he believed me that I did not spill something after he left, but that it must have been an old stain resurfacing. If we didn't have stain there, then the previous owners of the house did. Huh?! We had the carpet cleaned professionally before we moved in, we didn't see a stain before that at the inspection, and in the 3 years we've been here we've also cleaned the carpet ourselves 2 or 3 times. No stain, ever, until Sears showed up.

So, $188 later I am....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..."mad" is not the word. They have been here 3 times and the stain is WORSE, not better. But of course, *I* somehow spilled something or the previous owner (a professional woman who traveled frequently, had a cleaning service here once a week and kept the house spotless) must have spilled something which is now rearing its ugly head.

Oh and for a longer postscript: why does it seem like our place is small until service people come and act like it's this enormous mansion? They charged us more than the quoted price on the phone because they said our living room & dining area were 2 separate rooms. Then they don't have a price for cleaning 4 rooms, only 5, so it jumped up $50. BTW, for those who don't know me, I live in a 1200sf condo with 2 bedrooms. No "garden room", no conservatory, nothing fancy. Just 2 bedrooms, a living/dining area, and stairs and a hallway for them to clean. The bathrooms & kitchen don't have carpet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Feta Cheese Factory


The photo has nothing to do with the story really, but I thought it was cute. Lately, Lauren has been taking her sippy cups full of milk and hiding them around the house, car, etc. We then smell something and discover them. Today I found one in the cabinets by the trash bags. It had turned into clumps of feta cheese. No, I did not eat it. Bleck!
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Sunday, July 22, 2007

New camera finally

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Got the new camera & am busy playing around in Picasa with the effects on one shot that came out blurry but I love the look on L's face anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Orange County Fair, the aftermath

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Orange County Fair part 2

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A Day at the Orange County Fair part 1

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Ryan's favorite pic of Lauren


Taken last week. Last post for awhile, I think I'll finally go to sleep!
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"Pipping" the BakingStation


She just can't help herself, and must rearrange the contents of the baking station every day. Wouldn't be a problem if there weren't some sticky, messy things in there, like molasses, and some poisonous-to-dogs things like chocolate chips. So she's been told by her Daddy not to do it, and tonight he attempted to put child-proof latches on the baking station doors. Didn't work. I'm sure tomorrow she'll pip it again!
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Back at the Office


Just for fun, I put Lauren in her "office" for a few minutes today. She's outgrown it and it's been 6 months at least since she was in it last. She was delighted to be there, even though she can practically climb out on her own by this point and her legs are too long for the thing.
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Lauren and her Daddy watch Baby Einstein tonight

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This is pretty cool, and makes me want to go to Paris. I tried bike to work day once. It took me over an hour to get to work and only 15 minutes to get home. I live 4 1/2 miles from my office but I have to go through some pretty steep hills and many, many traffic lights.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Congrats Megan and Paul!!! NY baby news

Elizabeth Nora (Ella) Kmiotek
July 10, 2007 09:52 PM
7 lb and 11 oz
19 inches

Congrats Megan & Paul!! What a beautiful girl with a beautiful name! Lauren was almost "Elizabeth".

Megan was one of my bridesmaids and I was one of hers. We've been friends since 3rd grade. I wish we lived closer. Ella was born on our friend Serena's birthday. So we know, if astrology works, that she'll grow up to be a great partier!

Vital stats from 15 month checkup

I forgot to write this on Tuesday. Lauren now weighs 28 pounds, 4 1/2 ounces. She is 32 1/4 inches tall. By the charts, she's in the 97th percentile and is the size of an average 3 year old (but she wears size 24 month clothes). Her doctor recommended we start potty training her since she understands what we say and wants to imitate us.

Conversations with Lauren

Today, we took Lauren to Toys R' Us to shop for a potty seat. Of course, we played with some toys as well. Pictured above, she is sitting in a $300 pink Corvette. Of it, she said "Whee!"I wanted to buy her one of those $1.29 bouncy balls every kid has. When I showed her some and asked her to pick a color, she said "Boo" and "Yayow". I asked her if she wanted blue or yellow, and she said "both, peas!". Since she said "please", she got both.

She's so funny lately, because she can follow conversations and comes up with responses when you didn't even know she was listening. Last week we were at my parents' house. In the middle of the night I was uncomfortable so took Lauren into a different guest room away from Ryan. I nursed Lauren in bed there and thought she was asleep. He came and found us and said "What happened to you guys, I got worried!". Me: "I just got hot so we came in here". Him: "What?" Me: "I was hot. That's all." Him: "What?" Lauren (popping off her nursing to talk): "HOT!" (like, "Gee, Dad, are you DEAF?") Him: "Hi Lauren!" Lauren: "Hi, Dad!"

Another conversation with her: Me: "What's your name?" Her: "Loy-yen" Me: "That's right, your name is Lauren! What's your nickname?" Her: "Ni-name!" Me: "You nickname is?" Her: "BABY Loy-yen!" Me: "Well, your nickname is "Pip". Her: "Pop, pep, peep, pap" (laughing) Me: "Pip is your nickname! What's your name?" Her (suddenly serious): "No names. No names."

We used to pretend she had really stinky feet and this made her laugh. Now, if we say the word stinky, or pretend to smell her feet, she wrinkles her nose like there's an odor. She calls it "tinky". And speaking of shoes, she is now size 6 wide. Last MONTH she was 4 1/2 wide! She has some size 5 and 5 1/2 T-strap shoes she never even got to wear.

We're picking up these new sandals that her Nonnon bought her, at Brooks Shoes for Kids tomorrow. She was also given another pair of Robeez, in 18-24 months with pink penguins on them. We gave her a choice of plain pink, pink dragonflies, off-white likes she already has, or these pink penguins. She picked them out, and even said "peas", so Nonnon bought them. She said "pen-gin" and pointed to the penguin. My mom had just read her a book about penguins that morning so she made the connection. I hope she still likes them in a few months when we put them on her. At first, I thought all of her 12-18 month Robeez were too small for her but it turns out it was just the 1 pair I washed, so she still has 2 other pair to use until she gets to these new bigger ones.

The Pout Game

Ryan invented "The pout game" with Lauren. The way it's played is that she pretends to be very upset, as pictured above, and pouts at Ryan. Then he pouts back and then quickly smiles, and she smiles back. It's very weird. Budding actress? She also does the face on command if you say the word "pout" and also in response to a question I asked her in one of her books, "how does the little boy feel?" [after someone did not use the word "please" and was rude, from her "Courteous Kids Say Please" book]. The answer is "sad", so she made the face.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Food pantry info

Last week I dropped off some food at the Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica. Mona had some things leftover and I added some things from our pantry, for 25 pounds total. The whole process was really easy, from driving there to parking, to finding a staff person to help, and the whole thing from my house to the pantry, then back home again took less than 1/2 hour. (I live only about 3 miles away.) We even got a tax receipt.

I found out that they are in greater need of food during the summer months because there are not as many organized food drives then. You know how at the holidays it seems like every store and office has one of those giant cans for a food drive? But people are hungry and in need all year.

Here's the info & directions in case any of you are inspired to go:

From my house, take 10 West to Cloverfield. Make a right on Cloverfield and first left on Michigan. First right on 22nd. It is the mustard colored building on the left, #1710.
They are open...I forgot the exact hours but it was something like 9-5. There are other food banks around town even closer to my house but they had limited hours and are only open a few hours each day so it was nice to be able to roll into WSFB's parking lot at 2:00 p.m. and have them be open!.

I was thinking next year for my birthday I might create my own mini-food drive and ask people to each bring canned items to the party. But then again I might forget by the time February rolls around, so someone remind me!

Friday, July 06, 2007


This morning I am still reeling from 2 near misses. A bomb exploded in my kitchen, and my daughter ate poison. Or at least, that's what it felt like.

In actuality, a Durex glass bowl exploded in the microwave (so much for microwave-safe!) while I was thawing peas for Lauren and shattered into hundreds of pieces. It sounded like a bomb and scared me. I called Crate & Barrel to find out why their product (glass stacking bowls) would do that and they were not very helpful. More in another post-I await their response to my email.

Then Lauren was wandering around and had what looked like a shopping receipt in her mouth. Turns out she'd found a packet of "DO NOT EAT-SILICON" from some shoebox or other. When I took it away and saw the warning, I immediately grabbed the bottle of ipecac syrup and called Poison Control (1-800-222-1222). Didn't have to use the syrup. The nice man on the phone said that it was one of the most common kinds of calls they receive and that silicon is not harmful and will pass through her body. I'm just supposed to give her some water to help her digest it. I then wrote the Poison Control phone # on tape on the back of the phone so I won't have to google it next time and waste precious time.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

15 month Lauren update

Talking, talking, talking! She is saying so many things now. She loves the word "baby" and points out babies in stores, on packing, on books, etc. She will say "Grandpa's baby" and put out her arms if she wants to go to him. Here is a Laurenese dictionary"

Mama, Mom, Mamie. "Mama" if she wants milk, "Mom" if I walk in the door, and "Mamie" if she's being playful.

Milk ("Mi")

Baby ("I'm the baby", "Grandpa's baby". The other day she offered Ryan her milk and when he pretended to drink it, she said in a delighted voice, "big, BIG baby!". She also likes to say "Baby?" to my mom when she's not sure what something is, so she'll get the reply "No, that's not a baby, that's a ____"and sometimes she says "hey baby!" to say hi to someone she likes.

"Down", "Up","Jake" and "dog" ("dawg"), "book", "I'm done"-these are all perfectly clear.

"Cheese"(whe she wants to eat some or when posing for a photograph), "peas", and "please"-requires a trained ear to hear the diffference, but they're in context.

Green, yellow, blue, red, ("gee", "boo", "yayow")

bath ("ba")

"I'm good", when she is full "I'm done", "All done", etc.

"More" ("mo, mo!") as in "more grandpa!" "mo cheese!"

"duck", "hat", "ball", "hair", and the favorite, "ball". She looks for all of these things in books and announces them as she points to them.

"hot" and "ow"

"hi" and "bye-bye". she used to say them with a southern accent, now it sounds more valley girl. "buh-bye!". she uses it in friendly terms, and also dismissively if she wants someone to leave or is impatient to go.