Archive for December, 2011

First Disneyland Trip

Saturday, December 31st, 2011 by janice

So I thought I’d better get in the Disney post before NYE takes over.

With Paul being out here for the first time in 5 years to meet his nephew at last, we decided we should take our little one for his first Disneyland trip. We knew it would be crowded and crazy – the winter break is one of the busiest times of the year for the House of Mouse – and that doing D-land with a toddler would be a very different experience. We also knew our boy would really groove on all the holiday lights so we decided to brave it.

We got to the park a little later than I’d at first wanted to but that was OK. Alexei did his usual observer and decide thing when we first came into the park, just watching everything and taking it all in. But he got very, very excited when we got on the train. After the ride around D-land, we got a little food and made a plan for the next few things to do. Got fast passes for Autopia since we knew he would groove on the cars. Then headed over to Fantasyland to hit some of the kids’ rides. Had an interesting incident on Casey Junior – someone left a bag on the train we got on to, but of course this somehow went unnoticed by the cast members – despite a small child trying to tell everyone – until we were all loaded on. So we all had to get off while they called security to check it out. Had to laugh because if had been a bomb the security guard and probably all of us “behind the yellow line” (about 5 feet away if that) would have probably been dead – yeah, that makes me feel so safe. Not! Ah, well, everyone knew it wasn’t anything really.

After a few more rides and some poking around the park, we decided to see if Alexei would settle down for a nap (since he’d slept all of about 30 minutes in the car) – Paul and Richard headed off to do some adult rides and we went over to the infant center. BTW, if you have infants or toddlers, this place is awesome! They have multiple changing tables, many infant and toddler supplies for sale, nursing rooms and highchairs for a quiet feed. They were very kind to let me take Alexei into the nursing area to give him his bottle. Of course, he was having nothing to do with actually sleeping so we thanked them very kindly and headed over to Toon Town for more toddler fun. He loved this area, of course. Nothing he wasn’t allowed to touch or climb on, a nice little play ground and all kinds of things to explore. Donald’s boat was a bit scary due to that weird duck thingy in the entry way, but once we got past that he grooved on all the stuff to play with.

After that we popped by the Big Thunder Ranch to get a look at the reindeer and Santa’s cabin, then over to check out a bit of Frontierland and Adventureland! After a quick bite, it was time to hook up with the boys again. By then, it was getting on toward Alexei’s bed time, so we decided to hit one last ride together, Astro Blaster. Then we sent the boys off again for one last ride while we got Alexei into his PJs at the infant center and went to buy him a balloon.

Thankfully when it came time to pick balloons, Alexei by-passed the blinking ones for the more traditional style (although when did they add those silly outer balloons to them?) Now he has recently been learning his colors, though he only actually says a few of them (purple, blue and yellow) of which blue is his favorite, so when the balloon seller asked what color he wanted, I figured he’d name that one. So I was completely caught off guard when he said “pink.” LOL! Well, he was happy with it and both Darren and I were just glad we wouldn’t have to hide it under something to get home without blinding the driver.

We walked around a little bit more to say goodbye to the castle and the rest of the park, stopped to get Alexei’s first mouse ears and the Main Street Mad Hatter, then caught the tram back to our car. Alexei was asleep about 30 seconds after the tram started moving. So all and all a successful first trip.

So glad we got to share his first trip with my brother and cousin. Thanks guys for being such troopers and riding all the kid stuff with us.

Pics to follow. Next post will be in 2012.

Stay safe out there!

Blessings,

Janice

On the Tram

First Picture at D-land (Let me at it, Mom!)

Train!

Had to show Dad the train too.

Family shot on the train

Mom and Alexei on Casey Junior

Mom and Alexei on the Carousel

Paul, Dad and Alexei waiting in line

Dad and Alexei waiting for the car

Best ride yet!

Had to do this one again!

That's a funny piano

This is a great chair!

I wanna drive the boat!

What's that?

Nice view of Toon Town up here!

What does this do?

I love Disneyland!

My first Disney balloon

Did I mention I love Disneyland?

Waiting for Buzz!

Castle all lit up

I don't wanna go home!

First Mouse ears!

What is this thing, Mommy?

Uncle Paul steals Alexei's ears. 🙂

I'm not tired, Dad. Let's go....

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Happy Winter Holiday of Your Choice

Sunday, December 25th, 2011 by janice

It’s been yet another busy month full of big milestones and some setbacks.

Alexei continues to be the light of our lives. He is growing up so fast. He is very much no longer my baby and moving into being a big boy. He’s achieved the “do it myself” phase of development which can make daily life interesting.

Alexei’s language acquisition is amazing. He is learning several words a day now. Yes, it is definitely time for us to start watching what we say around him. 😉 He still calls some things by the noise they make, especially animals, although he clearly knows what the real name is. Cameras are “cheese” (because that’s what you say when you see one, duh!) and all horses are still Jo-jo. Lol! He is finally saying a lot of the words he once only signed though, like “please” and “milk,” so that is good. He’s knows concepts like up and down and on and off, though he sometimes still gets them mixed up. Also, somewhere along the line we stopped being “Mama” and “Dada” and became “Mommy” and “Daddy.” I’m a little sad about that. But it does warm my heart when he pats me and says “Mommy” with a great big grin on his face, which he does many times a day now. Awwww!

Both his gross and fine motor skills are also getting so amazingly good. He’s doing a lot of things in gymnastics without my assistance. He climbs up on absolutely everything now and I think it is only by because he fell out once and scared himself that he doesn’t climb out of his crib now. Almost time to think about converting to a toddler bed. He’s gotten way too good at taking the caps of bottles and in case you didn’t already know that “child proof” caps are a laughable concept, let me tell you authoritatively that they are. He’s been trying to learn how to take off and put on clothes. He can do up his own zippers and is getting pretty scarily close on buttons. He can already take off his diaper. The only thing between us and Naked Boy is that he cannot get his pants off all alone, yet.

We finally painted Alexei’s room and moved the crib in there. Alexei got to pick out the paint, a lovely shade of blue, which is his favorite color. Although purple was a close contender for a bit, but blue made the final cut. He LOVES the new color. For days after we finished painting he would just light up every time he saw the room and yell “blue!” He even literally hugged the walls. LOL! So we felt pretty confident about moving the crib. And he has done very, very well. He was all excited about the bed being in a new place and immediately wanted to play in there again. The first night he was a bit confused by going night-night in there but he slept pretty well. Since then we have had only one bad night (knock on wood) which was mostly due to him being sick. We actually think he is sleeping better on his own and I know I am. He’s pretty good about mornings, playing in the crib for a while before finally deciding between 6:30 and 7 most days that Mommy has slept enough and yelling for me. Hee, hee.

He is fascinated by babies right now. One of his daycare playmates has a new baby brother and Alexei will spend full minutes staring at the little one when little Jackson comes in with his mom. Whenever I pull up pics of other people’s little ones on the computer he jumps up in my lap and he loves to watch baby videos on YouTube. Sigh. Really makes me wish we could give him a baby brother or sister but that may not be in the cards. (More on that later.) He also still loves to look at pictures and videos of himself on my iPhone. Have I mentioned that he can use our iPhones, really, really well? If he knew the passcodes on those things, he wouldn’t need any help from us to use them at all. Apparently my phone is mostly for pictures/videos and Darren’s for games and music. 🙂

Darren and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last week. So forgot to put up a post. Sigh. Facebook has made me an even lazier blogger than I was before. LOL! It was a very nice day. Alexei was at daycare so Darren and I went up to Santa Barbara for lunch and a spa day at the Biltmore. Yey! Then Aunt Sally and Richard babysat so we could go have a very nice dinner at Saddle Peak Lodge (which is becoming our traditional anniversary spot.) I’m so happy to have been with my best friend and love of my life for a decade now. Here’s to many more decades to come!

Alexei is grooving on the Christmas season. He loves, loves, loves any representation of Santa, be it a picture on wrapping paper or the big blow-up Santa in front of his daycare. But he still wants nothing to do with live Santas, though, so no Santa pic this year again. Sorry, I just feel no need to make my child cry for a picture. He loves the lights as well and we’ve had to have a few walks around the neighborhood to look at them. May have to hit the after xmas sales to pick up decorations for next year. We didn’t do a tree this year – neither Darren nor I can do live trees and we generally don’t like the look of fake ones. Sally offered us hers but we decided against because the kittens are in to absolutely everything and would probably have the thing down in no time. Maybe next year.

He way grooved on opening presents, and there certainly was no shortage of them for our boy. Many thanks to all the friends and family who provided our boy with a bunch of new things to play with. His favorite though was the guitar followed by the toy camera. But trains, cars and the talking puppy were all big hits. (Time to purge the toy collection though!)

We had a nice little Christmas Eve. Paul flew home for the holiday and finally got to meet his nephew. Yey! Aunt Sally and Richard came over as well as Auntie Boo (LE) who is the first person outside of Mommy and Daddy that Alexei could identify by name (OK nickname) in pics and asks for constantly by name. We need to have you over more, LE!

SO unfortunately in the midst of the merriment, Darren was laid off from his job. D being the major breadwinner, this is a bit worrying, though he got a very good severance and we have savings etc. But this does make the job search a little urgent. He has some pretty good leads so we have every reason to believe he’ll be working again soon – and hopefully at a job he enjoys again. But any good job search mojo from y’all would be most welcome.

In addition we are slowly coming to the conclusion that we may be done with family building. I have been researching like mad for other options that we feel comfortable with for a second adoption and we are just coming up with nothing. All of the international programs are seeing issues which are slowing them down, closing them down, or shifting focus to special needs and older child adoption only. The one program that is still placing infants with no identified special needs is fraught with ethical and political baggage and we just cannot go there. We even started looking into domestic adoption again – and I actually had some hope for this route as there have been some changes in how some agencies do business vs when I first looked into it 7 years ago. But I wasn’t really able to find an agency or attorney I felt really comfortable with. I understand it is a business but I just kept getting the feelings that these folks were either making promises they couldn’t keep or had to be putting inordinate amounts of pressure on the birth-mothers to get the to place their babies. And with both domestic and IA there is the pretty good chance we may be waiting 2 or more years, which is a little hard to think about when I’m about six months shy of a big round birthday… Sigh! So unless some program shows more promise soon – or some other miracle happens – it may be one and done. I’m not really ready to say I am done yet though. But we shall see.

Ok, so you’ve waded through the walll of words so you deserve the pay off.

The Ultimate "cheese" face

Paul home for the holidays!

Yes, most of that is for Alexei

Avidly opening his loot

How do you get this thing out of here?

Guitar!

Ready for bed after a long day

Anyway, I’m ready for 2012 now. How about you?

love and bright blessings,

Janice

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