Athena is now 20 months old. The big development for the month is that she's moved from individual words to two-word phrases. Also, she'll repeat almost anything we ask her to, or try (Lemon was hard!). She now usually says, "thank you" when you get her some food or milk or a toy. She's fairly good about saying "please" when she asks for something and always does it when prompted, sometimes signing it while she says it. She just about melted Erik into a puddle last week when she said not just, "bye-bye," but "Bye-bye, Daddy." On Thursday night, she wished each of the gents farewell in turn, saying "Bye-bye Bates" then "Bye-bye Josh" then "Bye-bye Sherman." It was pretty awesome. At bedtime, she says, "Night Night, mama."And she's working hard to say, "I love you." (But Ls are hard!)
She's full of opinions, and routinely directs us where to sit, when to stand, clearly states when she doesn't want a kind of food or when she wants her shoes or a bow for her hair. She has given up eating all baby cereal, which is a bummer since it was her primary source of iron. After a couple of weeks of floundering around trying to find snacks with iron, I thought of Chex. Turns out the wheat Chex contain 80% of the RDA for iron in one serving. At first it looked unlikely that she was going to get into them, but now she'll eat a handful most nights. Win! She keeps being insanely picky about food. She loves Trader Joe's cheddar rockets, graham crackers, and the Trader Joe's equivalent of Ritz crackers. Sometimes she'll cheerfully suck down a couple of packets of fruit/veg, but other times she just says, "No!" and we gently correct, "Say no, thank you." And then she says it and on we go. At daycare, Dewan talked her into raisins by making little goldfish sandwiches with them. Everyone keeps trying and occasionally we find winners like banana popsicles or raisin toast.
She's learning about animal sounds and has most of them in her Baby Animals book memorized. Baby Animals is her favorite book to read with Daddy.
Her favorite book to read with me is either Inside, Outside, Upside Down or Old Hat, New Hat. Both are Berenstain Bears books. She loves Inside, Outside for the part where the box falls off the truck. She sits on my lap and when the box goes, "Bump! Bump! Bump!" I bounce, bounce, bounce her. There are always giggles. Old Hat, New Hat is awesome because she knows so many of the words. She can say new hat, red hat, blue hat, silly, and best of all "Wait!" She loves that part.
We spend a lot of evenings with Toddler Radio on Pandora. I really should give them some money. They make evenings awesome. Satellite radio is sort of meh, so we quit paying for it a while ago. If I could get Pandora radio in my car like that, I'd cheerfully pay real money for that.
We finished swim lessons for the season a week ago. Athena loves swimming! She's rarely happier than in the pool or the hot tub. We'll have to be extra careful in the next few years around pools because she'll want to be in them all the time. Now that we've come this far, our next step is infant survival swim lessons. Looks like those start up again in March, so we'll be ready then.
Athena has never been much on napping in her crib, but last weekend we managed to unlock that achievement with an epic 3+ hour nap. Unfortunately, it was during the time my dad came down to visit her. She started melting a little before noon, and a little milk and a little rocking and she let me put her down without a fuss. I went out to grab lunch thinking I'd have an hour tops. After lunch and a game of Ticket to Ride with my dad, we were all starting to wonder if she was still breathing. I poked my head in to hear her snoring softly. She woke up a bit after 3:30 with one seriously wet diaper.
This led to us running out of the house shortly afterwards to go audition for a game show called Let's Ask America
. Rachel was contacted regarding their upcoming Halloween show. Ultimately, about 7 of us from Fox Hollow ended up auditioning. I suspect one of us will make the cut, but not sure who yet. Probably my cute husband.
|The Mad Scientist|
|The Happy Pirate|
We had a big housewarming party. I think we invited 250 people, but I can't tell you how many people we remembered who we didn't invite in the following week. Gah! Oh well. Invitations always feel like a scramble of trying to remember who you're forgetting, like trying to see the negative space. But the party was lovely. We made a huge Costco run in advance and spent a terrifying amount on food, then came home and tried to cram it into the fridge and freezer. Then we proceeded to feed folks from noon til midnight, with me working frantically in the kitchen til about six. I think my favorite part of the day was when Clementine and her moms arrived. The girls squealed in glee, then Athena took off running around the kitchen island and Clementine followed. All was right in the world. We made at least four batches of human soup in the hot tub in the evening, and closed the night with a massive geek out on superheroes and Shakespeare on the sofa for one crowd and other random discussions for a second crowd in the hot tub.
The other amazingly awesome thing this month was going to the LADEE
launch at NASA/Ames. On the way there, I asked Athena if she could say, "My Brains!" And then she did. At first it was a halting sort of, "My Br-Ains." But soon it came along. This was the first evidence of how things were going to change this month. She's so much more willing now to try to copy what we say. You just say, "Can you say..." and then she does. So at any rate, the "My brains!" thing became a game. It makes me giggle.
We opted to get food from the food trucks on site, which took a long time. While Erik and Rachel waited in line for a yellow curry burrito, Athena played with all the buckets set out as seating for the food trucks, picking one up, directing me to sit on it as she put it down, picking up another one, directing me to sit. We killed at least a half hour this way. Then we went and looked at the exhibits. Just in time for the final countdown, Erik and Rachel made it back with food, and it was super yummy! Then the rocket lifted off and Athena said, "Whoa!"
She's awesome. We watched it going up, all the while I sat hoping it wouldn't explode unexpectedly. (I have issues after Challenger.) Once it was safely away, and heading past Africa, we wandered out to Hangar 1, stripped of its asbestos skin.
Then we climbed up into a C130 and looked at a Blackhawk helicopter before it became apparent it was baby bedtime. We got Athena back to the car and headed home. I managed to keep her awake long enough to get her home, only to realize that we'd left my car in Mountain View. D'oh! Thankfully, we called Rachel and Erik drove back to meet her and she drove him back to my car while I put Athena to bed. All in all, the night was a huge success, and I look forward to next time.
The next day, Rollie and Donna hosted a pizza party at their semi-demolished house. They're doing a massive remodel that will take a year. They've moved out. The garage is gone. It's impressive. We got the tour, but the best part was watching Elora and Athena play together. Also, Mira is a saint of a dog. She patiently let two toddlers use her for peek-a-boo for at least a half hour.
We ended up making it to ConQuest Pacificon at the last minute. Erik got to play in Rob's western game and in the Game of Thrones game, and I got to play in Joe and Lauren's pirate game as a wereshark. It was AWESOME. Erik's game was in the morning so I came and met him to hand off Athena between games. She was having a blast. The hotel was lined with water coolers, so she got to practice her new drinking from a big-girl-cup skills.
|Wearing mama's pirate hat.|
|Does this hat make my eyes look big?|
|A pirate and her fruity rum drink.|
|Wereshark? There shark!|
The next day, Erik went back for the other game and I played with Athena. At some point, she ran off down the hall where she found Pepper and wanted to give her a big hug.
|Pepper is okay with that.|
Athena got to go to the big zoo in San Francisco this month. Erik sprung her out of daycare to join the Foxes and Lendvays for a day at the zoo just before he had to start the fall quarter. The best part was Lorelei and Athena playing together. Athena is getting big enough that it's fun for Lorelei now. This is only going to get better from here, so that's awesome.
|Riding in our wagon|
|The zoo gang|
When I asked Athena how it was later and what she liked, she said, "Giraffe!" They got to see the giraffes at feeding time.
We came home on Thursday night to find out that Santa Clara had planted our lovely new Zelkova tree in the yard. I can't wait for it to grow up into a massive shade tree!
This weekend we went to Joe and Lauren's wedding and it was totally fabulous.
Yes, it was in Avila Beach, which is far, but the timing was too perfect. The wedding started at 3, so we left here at 11, fed the baby her nap milk, and she passed out before we hit the freeway. Then she woke up about 30 minutes from our destination. On the way back, we put her in her car seat at bedtime and I drove home as she and Erik snoozed. I was relieved to find that I'm still a very good night driver. Meanwhile, the part in the middle was amazing. We arrived early, so I took Athena across the street to a darling little playground where she drove the pirate ship, had two swing rides, and went up the stairs and down the slide a dozen times. Then we handed her off to the on-site babysitter and spent several hours as Erik and Ammy instead of Daddy and Mommy. This was awesome. We danced. We drank wine (which was fabulous as this what Joe is known for.). We ate the best meal I've ever had at a wedding. Then we danced more, met some great folks, hung out with friends, and sang Bohemian Rhapsody. (Table 5 got a bit of a reputation as the party table.) We also both got complements on our dancing and our outfits. By the time we walked up to get Athena, we slipped her into jammies. We had to walk past the party again and she heard the music and said, "More song?" And then Athena did her first head banging to "Living on a Prayer." Turns out, my baby girl loves 80s hair bands. Seriously. We closed out the wedding and headed to the car to go home.
In August, Rachel took some new photos
of Athena. They're gorgeous!
My coworker Anne mentioned on Facebook that she was looking for cute kids to help build her photography portfolio. I've got a cute kid, and I never miss an opportunity to catch more of her since she's so beautiful and I want to capture all of it forever. So we met Anne at Emma Prusch Park in San Jose and rampaged around to capture a very different style of photography. Athena loved the chickens and the bunnies and got to see a cow and a bull and played on the play structure and ran through the trees and it was fabulous. I wish we'd known about that park sooner as it's just around the corner from our old place. I drove past it a hundred times headed to Target or the gas station.
I love that we live in the time of digital photography where you can take a million shots and keep the good ones. You don't have to fret over the expense of developing film. And I'm so grateful to have friends willing to spend time capturing my little girl. It's such a treat.
Well, after Blogger ate the first version, I'm certain I'm leaving something out, but I've now sunk far too many hours into this, so we'll leave it here for the month. Say bye-bye Athena.