Beneath this bowl of stars...

toddler activites, food, photos, and other orbital occurrences

(upload photo someday)

We have spent several hours here and there on the deck trying to go in the potty with lots of accidents and then running to the potty to try, but no more left..... finally today she had a little accident and then made it to the potty in time! she was so proud and happy! and she got her granola bar. Its cute b/c when she has an accident she tells me and asks me to clean it up (turn on hose sprayer). Later inside she pooped in her diaper and was very upset, and told daddy where she was when she went in her diaper... progress...progress....progress. (when daddy went in on the beach the other night, amber told him he had an accident :-) )

ok so this post is not about a full week in wellfleet, i was just referencing "a year in provence" by Peter Mayle.... we finally had some guests come to visit us here in wellfleet! 2 sets of guests! so needless to say, we have been busy entertaining, relaxing, shopping for food, sitting at the beach, eating, drinking, etc. Been a great week, but now we are cramming for our trip to europe, we leave in 23hrs! (actually like 18 hrs and we leave, and i have not even begun to pack, do laundry or anything, I am still looking for hotels and cars and trains and stuff!!! yikes! I have a ton of new pictures, that I probably will not every get uploaded or posted about, but maybe I will... once we return and i get my super dupery backup (not superDuper) set up and all my pictures are safe and sound and i see them all again and i remember everything i wanted to blog about. like more yard olympics and beach time and art.

Today for Messy Monday we went on a nature walk this morning around the yard and collected nature items to paint with. While everyone else was cooking dinner, Arman, Amber and I painted! Flowers were the biggest hit.

As clean-up began, the painting turned to hand prints. You can see Amber's joy in having an older kid to play with.

We watched some Olympics this afternoon... off of Tivo, the women's gymnastics was a hit. Both Arman and Amber were running and jumping and trying to do headstands and be just like the girls on tv... i guess women's gymnastics appeals to everyone :-) it was very cute. We took a break when the rain stopped and went outside to let some energy out. First we did our own version of gymnastics olympics, where I would tell Arman what to do, like take 3 steps, jump, do a forward roll, jump, run and kick a beach ball. Next we set up a cross-country equestrian course. Amber hung out in her slide house and acted as judge, until she decided to give the jumps a try and went under, rather than over.

Finally we went back in to watch swimming and Arman and Amber shared some raisins.

isn't she beautiful!

turkey meatballs

This morning we did lots of art and other activities. We made some shaker bottles of water/food coloring and oil/food coloring to show arman about mixing liquids and water and oil. We did lots of coloring with crayons, chalk, markers on the window and crayons on the easel. It was nice to see both sides of the easel in use at the same time.
Next we did a crayon resist. It was really nice to have Arman around to actually appreciate my art projects.

We have some friends from chicago visiting. They have 2 kids, Arman, age 5, and Ariana, 5 months. Arman is a budding chef. His favorite tv show is Rachel Ray (by his own choice). Arman could spend all day all 4 days that they are here in Amber's kithcen. He uses EVOO, and makes sushi, and knows temperatures and times for the oven, he knows to shake the pan side to side from time to time when sauteeing, its fun to watch and he puts amber to work as his sous-chef, sooo cute.

Banana Sushi

More than 2 days.He is back outside now.

I have noticed on several other blogs that I read that some kids are doing their own versions of the olympics. At our house, Amber is a little too young to understand competition much less getting a medal, but we do have a little competition going on this week, the potty vs the deck. I like to call it the Potty Training Olympics... After today's round, the deck is in the lead, 7-0. Stay tuned to see who gets the gold, (or rather if Amber ever earns a granola bar).

We had a beautiful dragonfly visit us yesterday... i am going to say it was luck for 08-08-08. It actually hung around in this spot for several hours. Amber was scared at first but later kept checking in it and let me know when it was gone.

Food: Tuna salad -- I have finally found a new food that Amber loves! at least this week, who knows about next week. I was making it for Dave (although i did buy the tuna for her, but i was going to feed it to her plain), and she wanted a bite and then refused to let anyone else have it. Not sure if that is because I said it was "daddy's tuna" and she loves her daddy, or if she just likes it... but 3 days in a row she ate it! She also really likes to say "Tooooona, toooooona"
Toy: rubber ducks in a bag -- for some reason she kept lining up the ducks on top of the pony. she did this several times over several days.
Word:a tie between "daddy" and "yep" -- Every day that Dave was around this week Amber said "daddy daddy daddy....." about 300 times in a row, then she would rest for a second and repeat! He loved it, but oh my, she sure can sound like a broken record. She learned to say "yep" in response to questions rather than "yes". I was not sure where she learned it until Dave came home.. sure enough he says yep often.... well amber says it all the time, I would say on the same scale as most toddlers say 'no'... lucky for me amber rarely says no. (or maybe unlucky)
Action: Going to look for the crab, fish, and lobster out in the garden. At some point someone showed Amber the Yard art that I have in the old Secret Garden (I used to take better care of the the secluded part of the yard on the way to the shed and I had it all decorated with stuff that i call yard art)... well she likes to walk back there and check on the sea creatures and make sure they are still there.
Song: The pony song - On the music together CD is a song about a pony. At the beginning of this song a pony neighs. This is amber's favorite part of the song. When we are in the car she requests not the song, but just the Neigh... b/c as soon as it is over, she MUST hear it again.... or else.

Dave's plane was over an hour late today :-( but at least he was able to come home on thursday! Amber and I had to hang out in the car for a while.... I taught her how to drive. One great thing about a little airport, while we were waiting inside, the security guard/baggage handler/orange stick guides plane/other jobs girl let us go out onto the runway to watch a plane take off!!! (we didnt even have to go through security).

I have been mentioning Amber's need to hear me sing songs over and over and over, or to have me play them in the car. I have also mentioned (i think) how she, like just about every other toddler out there, is not very interested in eating most of the time, especially if its not chicken, in a nugget form and if you are out of 'dip' (ketchup). Tonight Amber and I came to an understanding. We found a middle ground where we can both get what we want and make the other happy at the same time. You might say I tricked her, or maybe its the other way around. You see, she didnt even want to eat more than one bite of nugget, or more than 3 pieces of watermelon and definitely no broccoli nugget. She was begging me to sing the pony song. I said, "ok, i will sing the pony song if you eat your chicken". I dont think she understood at first, but as soon as i put the chicken in her mouth I started singing. As soon as she spit it out, I stopped. After the second time she was on to me.... but she liked it! She ate, I sang. She stopped, I stopped. We made it through 3 chicken nuggets, 1 broccoli nugget and half a bowl of watermelon. I think i sang the pony song 5 times, the apples and cherries song twice, patty cake at least a dozen and itsy bitsy around 7. If I could have taken a video of myself I would have and posted it, b/c I was in true form... over acting out every movement... a broadway version of myself..... we will see if it works again tomorrow.

Today's messy monday activity while very messy and needed to be done outside was actually quite clean :-) We gave her little people a bath. I got the idea from the crafty crow which got it here. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at Amber's enjoyment of this activity.... it provided hours of fun, and when i say that i am not exaggerating because the fun did last into the second hour, a record I think! We started out with a tub of water and 5 little people that Amber's Grammy gave her for easter, and a little frog joined us in the middle. Her favorite part of the whole thing (aside from washing their hair with a washcloth) was the soap... imagine our scene along the lines of the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland... they keep pouring tea but no time to drink it before it needs to be poured again.... that was Amber with the soap. Squirt out the soap, set it down, opps! NEED MORE SOAP! go pick it up again. As you can see in this picture, she even squirted it right on their little heads. (I think we finally finished this bottle of soap that we have had since before she was born)..(she is also this way with Ketchup, but she calls it dip. She always needs more, she never seems to have enough on her plate and she refuses to eat until she has enough)I learned from this activity that she might one day become a chess player. She would move all the people around with such purpose and thought... from a distance it looked like she was playing chess, the way she would ponder, grap and move the person, then move one back a bit, pause, move again... soo cute. Here they are all in a line, ready to play again.
I even got a foot wash/massage not once but twice!! Talk about a relaxing activity for a sunny day.
Here she is again with the soap, this time the tub had migrated to the ground and it was the simple joy of squirting on the table and rubbing around with the cloth.
Finally she finished the bath with a bath for herself. She just could not get enough of washing her face... i think b/c she got soap in her nose and had to keep rubbing it b/c it was annoying :-) I think we could have gone even longer, but it was nap time.

Back in February when we were on vacation in Key West, Amber and I had gone to the supermarket to get food and other supplies (we had a condo). As I was pondering the beer selection I realized that Amber was meowing from the shopping cart. Intregued by this, I glanced over at her and followed her gaze to a display of greeting cards, one of which is a cat :-)

Over the next few weeks she started mooing at milk cartons and barking at dogs on the streets. This then grew to pointing out animals (dogs, cats, horses, birds, and cows (always on dairy products)) by either name or sound as well as a few non-living things such as airplanes, buses, and phones. I would hear her yell from the stroller, A-P, A-P or puppa, puppa, and look for the plane or dog, and sometimes I thought she was crazy or wrong... but sure enough, if i looked long enough, hard enough and creatively enough, she was always right. I was proud of my budding little learner/talker so curious about her world.

Recently Amber's vocabulary has really exploded. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what she is saying, especially when its a word she has never said before, and especially now that she is putting words together.

Today we were sitting in the living room and Amber said 'b-piter.... B-piter' and looked over at the window. I thought I misheard her so i asked her to repeat it, she points in the direction of the window/corner of the room where the walls are blank and says 'b-piter' and then looks at me with a face that asks why i am just sitting there ignoring her and beginning to look a little worried. I try and try to figure out what she can possibly be saying that starts with a 'b' and has to do with either the window, wall or corner. Eventually I realize that 'b-piter' is 'big spider' and sure enough there is a BIG spider on the ceiling! (i'm talking 3inch diameter, it was a daddy long-legs) She said it one more time and i now could totally make out the 'g' and 's' and felt really silly for only hearing 'b-piter' at first, and truly amazed that she can associate the concept of big with a spider. (maybe b/c we always sing about the itsy bitsy spider, but i dont think i have ever shown her an itsy bitsy spider... hmmmmm )

so i was so excited when the apple people told me that they were able to recover my photos.... when i turned on my computer I checked and it seemed that yes they were all there. I needed to find a picture of myself to upload to facebook b/c everyone keeps bugging me that I dont have one.... this is when I noticed that while they did find all my photos, they only found the thumbnails. My 60G of photos was now contained in 1.8G. Luckily I have a backup of everything up to June 23... so everything but china and the 2 weeks after. I moved the recovered libraries to my external drive and I am now waiting for the backup to finish copying, all my finger and toes are crossed. Assuming this works, I still have a lot of work ahead of me. Once all the photos are here, I will only have 2G of free space, and I wont even have the last month of photos moved over here. So I have to archive my older photos. I will make a second iphoto library that i can use (not a backup, i will have to make a backup of this one someplace else). I guess I will do it by year and only keep 2008 on this computer. Since I am now scared of hard drives crashing, I want more backups, so I am going to try to make one DVD for each month. (each DVD only holds a little more than 4G so if one month has more than 4G of pics my life is really going to be difficult!) I am going to make 2 copies of each and put one set somewhere far away from me (maybe i will get a safe deposit box). Then, going forward at the end of each month, I am going to back up that month right away, so i am never again faced with backing up 4 years of photos (well mostly just 2.5).... in other words, dont expect too many posts from me for the next week, b/c i think might nights are going to be spend making dvds.

So for all of you reading this, if you dont have an external hard drive back up of your digital photos, make one now. And if you dont have CDs/DVDs of them, start doing that as well, b/c when you are faced with the fact that you might never get to easily scroll through all your wonderful digital memories again you will be really sad.

When we lived in NYC Amber was obsessed with airplanes. She would ride around in her stroller reclined looking up at the sky always pointing out the airplanes (i say always b/c just about every 3 min you can see an airplane or helicopter overhead in new york). She calls them 'A-Ps' (although every day it is sounding more and more like airplane). Dave taught her how to say airplane in chinese, Feiji (or some spelling like that) and she uses both. The few times (5 round trips) that we have been on airplanes, each time she shows more and more interest in the plane, the seat belts, the safety card, the buttons on the seats, etc. I bought her a toy plane to do nothing more than fuel her growing obsession. Now that we live on Cape Cod, Dave has to fly every week for work. We take him and pick him up from the tiny little airport in Provincetown. We have even waited to see him take off and arrived early to see him land. Once we even went inside the airport to play with the toy planes they have in the waiting area and talk to the nice airport staff.

In our getting to know the towns and establishments on lovely cape cod we came across a nice liquor store that has a great deal on cases of wine/champagne, so we stocked up our make-shift wine cellar for the summer. Dave likes to enjoy a nice bottle of wine with dinner or while fishing on the beach with friends.

Whenever Dave's parents feed Amber they always tell her to eat slowly, but in mandarin, which is Mamande (or some spelling), but Amber just hears 'mama' and always looks at me laughing and smiling thinking YehYeh is talking about me. Its very cute and happens every time.

* * * * * * * * *
The other day I walk into a different liquor store carrying amber (b/c if i let her walk she would probably break something) and we had to walk through the wine section. Amber says "Dada, Wine!... Dada WINE!"

This week when Dave was gone, every time Amber saw an airplane, either in the sky, or in a book, she said "Dada, AP" or just "Dada"

This afternoon Amber was eating raisins and Dave said to her "slow, slow down", and Amber said "Mama! MAMA!"

Song: Still a tie between Obwisanasana and Itsy Bitsy. She now requests, or rather DEMANDS that I play Obwisana again and again and again and again in the car... how she learned that you can skip songs on a CD so easily I'll never know. Similar with Itsy Bitsy, she asks me to sing and do the motions and then cutely asks again and if I dont start singing in the first tenth of a second after she asks, she starts to whine, and it just gets louder and louder until my thumbs and pointers meet.
Food: not grapes! - Amber was sick this week and half digested grapes were all over the house, so when she was better, there were no more grapes!
Toy: thermometer - we have one of those forehead scanner thermometers and after I took her temperature so much for 2 days and Dave came home with his fever from his tooth abscess, all Amber wanted to so was take daddy's temperature and try her own, a sense a doctor's kit toy in her future
Word: delicious and yummy - she uses these when she likes her food
Action: making the "out comes the sun" with her hands and face when we sing itsy bitsy

Got my computer back last night... so far so almost good. I have been able to back up everything I can think that i might need, so thats a relief. They upgraded my operating system from tiger to leopard for free! a nice surprise..... but for some reason my keyboard keeps stopping working from time to time... and they said that my 1800memory RAM that we upgraded last november has also failed... so its a little slow. MY warranty runs out tomorrow at midnight, I think we are going to buy the extended 2 more year for $350... its seems like a lot, but if I subtract the $130 I would have spent on leopard, and think about how much all of the repairs would have cost and if there is something else really wrong with my keyboard... i really think that we should do it. We are also going to purchase Time Capsule so that my backups will happen every hour and I dont have to worry about rebooting (like I am right now, see i should probably reboot and maybe the keyboard issue will go away, but since i have not backed up the photos that they recovered, I am scared to reboot until I do so, since thats what happened last time).