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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flooding, Attempted Burglary, Sleep Deprivation, Baking Fool, Baby Shower, Cloning...


...What do these things have in common?

Answer: Me.

I don't even know where to start.  Since I guarantee, I won't be able to follow some chronological pattern here, I guess I'll just start 'somewhere'. 

At the moment I am waiting for the plumber to come over.  Yes, I have a date with the plumber!  And if all works out the way I envision it, he'll be the hero of the day!  David has been working hard and has been gone for most of the past few weeks, which means that I have been playing 'single mom'.  Now, in and by itself that is okay, but when you're exhausted and at the end of the day, walk through the kitchen into the laundry room and you hear 'slushing' sounds (for a lack of a better word) coming from under your feet, combined with water that seeps out through the grout lines between the (what is supposed to be) firm tile floor...that's a bit freakish.  Long story short: our kitchen and laundry room flooded last night.  Not pretty.  I am filled with anticipation, waiting on the plumber who is going to save my day.

Speaking of freakin' me out: a week and a half ago, someone tried to break in to David's car.  While it was parked ON THE DRIVE WAY!!!!  They tried to pry the back window on the side out, but as luck would have it, safety glass doesn't give much.  It didn't come out, but burst in a million pieces.  Luckily they couldn't get through it, but the fact that it happened on our drive way, right outside my toddler's window totally wigged me out. 

The past few weeks have been marked by severe sleep deprivation that Ryder instilled upon me.  Good thing he's so darn cute, but every night he would wake up at 5am.  It's still dark outside dude!!  That means, it's sleepy time!!  For both you AND mama.  Dark = Sleep.  Yeah, nice idea, but convince a 7-month dudenator of that.  I tried.  Believe me, I tried.  And then I tried.  And I tried some more.  The last 2 nights, he managed to make it through the night, until 6am.  It's better than 5am, but still, neither David, nor I are very thrilled.  As I said, it's a good thing he's so cute.  The charm still makes me forget everything (be it for just a moment...)



[a day later]

It's now a day later.  I had to stop writing because my 'date' arrived...

Update: not pretty.  A pipe broke in the wall.  As I said: not pretty.  AT ALL!  Water in the wall, on the inside in cabinets, on the outside in the stucco, under the tiles on the floor.  We now have a huge dehumidifier and 2 giant fans standing in the kitchen drying everything up.  They are loud enough that I can't hear the TV while sitting on the sofa in the living room.  They make the kitchen smell nasty and it's HOT in the kitchen.  These will continue to live beautifully in the way, in the middle of my kitchen until...well, things are dry.  I did dishes in the bath tub yesterday.  It seriously felt like a camping experience.  The plumber came back today and fixed the problem.  Pipe is fixed, sink is in action again, but now we have to get the damages assessed.  Oh boy...

This past weekend I hosted my friend's baby shower.  It was so much fun!  The theme was an English afternoon tea.  The guests were supposed to bring their favorite tea in a pot, we provided the cups & saucers and the yummy goodies that belong to a tea.  Over the past few weeks I suffered through trying out recipes, but the result turned out great.  Scones with jam, lemon curd and cream, sandwiches, brownies, lox & cream cheese filled cucumbers and...cupcakes. 






Believe it or not, I had never made cupcakes before, but these 'sparkling' cupcakes with a hint of prosecco in them turned out great.  I think we added an inch to all the guests' waists, but hey, it was for a good cause, right?

In other news, I have been preoccupied with my legal status lately.  Being from Europe I have a green card, but last week we (almost) finished my citizenship application.  I had to appear for my interview, which went well and I 'passed the test', so to speak.  I am now waiting for the letter that tells me when I will be sworn in as a US citizen.  It's all very exciting.

Oh yes, and then there is work.

So, Ryder is being cute.  He's still dispensing almost equal the amount of H2O to the Niagara Falls, but other than his 2 bottom teeth...nothing. 


He's so close to crawling, it's not even funny.  I had David lower the mattress in his (Ryder's, not David's) crib yesterday as he now also is starting to pull himself up.  He is also starting to get into the rice puffs.  Yeah!!  I remember with Kai that for a while that would entertain him enough to be in the high chair and not throw an immediate fit because their was no spoon in his mouth.  With Ryder it seems to be the same thing.  The kid likes his food though: 4 oz. of solids for breakfast, 10 oz. for lunch and 12 oz. for dinner.  Plus the copious amounts of milk he drinks (approx. 30 oz./day).

Kai is the real toddler.  He has really gotten into building towers. 



Either with small blocks, big blocks, or his Wedgits (he loves loves loves these).  Every masterpiece is being shown off to mama and papa.  He gets so proud and excited when he finishes it.  And then there is the obsession about wild animals.  We're all about wild animals.  The other day we actually went to the library, picked up books on wild animals and spent the afternoon flipping through them on the ground.  Obviously, the zoo yesterday was once again a success.
Today marks day 3 in the past 3 weeks that he is taking a nap.  I seriously think that he might be dropping his last nap, but I (even more seriously) hope that I am mistaken and that my perseverance will pay off.  He's napping right now.  Thank heavens.  The times that he naps, I often find him like this in his room:


We just started our own "toddler reward program".  I made a list of activities, occasions that had proven to be tantrum inducing challenging, resulting in a very moody, defiant and frustrated toddler.  I am on purpose not elaborating on the frustrations that mommy experienced from this.  Anyways, one of my friend mentioned this working at her house, so I gave it a try: every time he 'helps mama / papa brush Kai's teeth / clip Kai's nails' or shares his toys, plays gently with Ryder, etc. he receives a sticker.  He picks the sticker and puts it on his chart.  We then count the stickers we have and when we reach 20, he gets to pick a toy out of a grab bag.  It has made such a huge difference!!! 


Kai LOVES to help, so whenever he has a chance to help out, he gets excited.  This is making for a much more relaxed toddler, who cooperates more than fights - it's working well for us.

I think at this point the last topic of 'cloning' is self-explanatory.  I'm all for it.  Why don't we start with me?  At this point I would do A LOT to have 2 of me in this house.  It would make all the work so much lighter (by 50% mind you!!). 

Well, that was an update of the past weeks.  Now I (myself, my lonely me) am going back to cleaning and tidying.  If I don't have my kitchen, let me at least have a tidy living room.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Forget Tupperware! Crib Parties Are Taking Over!

You think a 7-month old would have no idea how to party (yet), but my 7-month old, well, what can I say?  He's an exception.

2 nights ago Ryder decided that it was party time.  He was up and ready to rock (his crib).  It was an 'all inclusive' event; he made sure that everyone of the household was included by sending out the invite loudly and clearly.  No one was left out to join in celebrating his newly discovered ability to (as I said) rock the crib.  Very thoughtful.

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There was only 1 slight problem: it was 3:30 in the morning...

And rocking it, he was.  After several requests from his side to convince us to join in on the fun and several attempts from my side to make him go back asleep by sending him sleepy vibes through the wall that separates his room from ours, I concluded that my sleepy vibes were just not strong enough (for him).  I went in and found him on all 4's, rocking back and forth so hard that his crib was shaking.  Good thing we had lowered his mattress last week as he otherwise would dive right out.

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I changed his diaper and turned on his lullaby CD, hoping that it would lull him back into zzzz-land.  Oh, how I wish... 2 hours later he finally rocked himself into exhaustion and decided it was time to wrap up his crib party and conk out. Just in time to allow mama 20 minutes to regain a small amount of sanity before her alarm clock went off at 6am. 

Come last night: same thing.  PAR-TAY in Ryder's crib people!  Anyone who wanted to join, was (again) verbally invited.  No doubt about that.  And despite it sounding like a heck of a fun party, my preferred place to spend the night remained in my bed, on my pillow.  With my eyes closed.  In silence.  That didn't happen.  For obvious reasons.

Sleep deprivation is setting in, especially given the fact that I work early mornings and at time I find myself wishing he would just get it over with and start crawling.  That way the newness has rubbed off and we can go back to sleep at night.  But do I really want that?  I mean, REALLY?  [sigh]  I don't know.  Him crawling means that I cannot just put him down in the living room, go get a glass of water and return to the living room finding him in pretty much the same place where I left him.  Once the crawling is discovered, there's no turning back and my peaceful time (as I know it now, though really, it ain't always that peaceful) will be gone.  Never to return again.  Until the boys move out.

Truly?  Really? 

All I want at this point...

...is a good night's sleep.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Look Like a Thief

2 days ago I stopped by Michaels Arts & Crafts to pick up some art supplies for some at home fun for Kai.  Kai was so well behaved that, when he came up to me with a purple ball and asked if he could have that, I figured I could spare the $1 on the desired toy.

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That afternoon, my friend Jackie and her 2 boys (Kai - yes, we had 2 Kai's at the house and though it made for some confusion among the kiddo's, the scenarios were quite amusing at times - and Dustin) joined us for a play date.  Just like moms do at play dates, Jackie and I chatted and chatted, occasionally pausing to tell the kids to "play nice and share".  Our conversation planted the seed for another project that I wanted to try out, so yesterday, guess where we went...Michaels! 

On our way out, Kai wanted to bring his blankies, but after some convincing from my part, he decided it was acceptable to leave them on the sofa.  BUT...he had to bring his new purple ball.  Fine by me.

Once at Michaels, Kai hops out of the car, I put Ryder in the carrier on my chest, get my bag and lock the car.  There is so much to think about when running a simple errand such as getting some poster board and some stickers.  Ugh.  I enter the store and as I turn around and see Kai walk through the sliding doors, following me, my heart stops.  In his hand?  The purple ball I had gotten at this very store the day before.  Nope, didn't have the receipt anymore, threw it out at home.  Here I am with a toddler holding a ball, which to any employee looks like he just pulled it off the shelf, therefore making it theft if he walked out the door without me paying for it.

Option 1: he holds the ball, we look like we're shoplifting and I explain that we (truthfully) bought the ball yesterday.
Option 2: I find a way to take the ball from him, put it in my bag, I look like I'm shoplifting, while dealing with a toddler who will without any doubt throw an absolute fit.

Either way: I am going to look like I'm shoplifting and am stealing this darn ball, worth a whopping $1!

I picked option 2, but for the next 10 minutes my mind races faster than I can keep up with it.  "How the hell was I was going to do this?"  And then...there is the sticker aisle.  And a spare, empty shopping basket.  Kai wants to pull things off the shelf and fill the basket. 
"Hallelujah!  Thank you My Love for accommodating my evil plan"!  "Yes, go ahead and fill up the basket!  While you're at it, put your ball in it as well, it frees up both hands to hold the basket."  

[Ball goes in basket.  Step 1 completed!]
Me: "Honey, that basket is getting pretty heavy, give it to me, I'll carry it."
[Kai hands over basket.  Yeah!  Step 2 completed]
As Kai turns around I quickly grab the ball, stuff it in my bag and start putting other things back onto the shelf until only the desired sticker sheets remain. 
[Woohoo, mission completed!  Now, let's hope no one saw me, including my own son.]
[I give the basket back to Kai.]
Kai: "Mommy!!  Mommy!!  Kai's ball!  Kai's purple ball!!"
Mommy's heart breaks and all tricks to divert and distract are being pulled out of the bag of tricks, until that bag is as empty as it can be.  The crappy thing is that I totally forgot to bring a cereal bar.  Note to self: never ever leave without the proper amount of snacks as bribes negotiating material!

As we manage to make it to the check-out line without Kai actually throwing a fit, I realize we're pretty safe, unless the ball falls out of my bag at the check out stand or something.  It doesn't and we make it to the car.  As Kai plops down in his seat I pull the ball out of my bag and show him.  His face lights up and he and his purple $1 ball are inseparable for the rest of the ride home.

I seriously hope that no one saw me, because despite not shoplifting at all, it certainly must have looked like I did.  Sigh...and all that for a $1 ball.  No, actually, all that for a happy toddler.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm being Featured

And...it's another busy day in Southern California!  I am in the midst of prepping a baby shower for my best friend and these days I am (literally) consumed with trying out recipes.  I know, it sucks having to try out and perfect yummy-ness.  Obviously I will post pics and recipes after the shower (given that the mama-to-be stops by here as well;-)

So, while I am baking, shopping, baking, decorating (my baked goods) and tasting (read: devouring) all this awesome-ness, go check out Emily's blog Family and Life in Las Vegas where I am featured today.

I was so honored when she asked me to be a guest blogger while she was on vacation.  Go check it out to get to know me a little bit better and while you are there browse around and check out Emily's blog.  She's awesome, has a great writing style, has a great little squishy boy and enjoys life.  In other words, she rocks!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Don't Have A Title For This Post

Do you know how frustrating it is when every day you experience things that in your mind you HAVE TO blog about, only to then not have the time...??  Of course you do, and if you don't: lucky you and I kinda hate you (in a friendly, but envious sorta way).

Here I am, 6 days after my last post and every single day there have been events that really needed to be put down on paper.  It didn't happen.  What did happen?  A lot.  We: spent a day in Manhattan Beach with David's uncle, had a guest from Spain stay with us for 5 days, went to Disneyland, had a finger painting adventure on Labor Day, worked, baked, cleaned, tidied, cooked, grocery shopped (that's my own language), almost started crawling (the baby, not me), sorted through both boys' clothes, got the new ones out, put the old ones away
, did laundry and ... there's much more, I just don't remember.

5 years ago, the niece of a friend of mine spent a month with us in order to improve her English.  (She's from Barcelona.)  This summer she returned to the States to visit some friends and she was crazy enough to extend her stay and come out to CA for a few days to visit us.  She had never met the boys and Kai immediately fell in love with her.  Babiche had to play with him, cuddle with him before he went to bed, hold his hand, go where ever he went.  It didn't take long for him to get completely attached to her.  She was the first he asked for in the morning, the last he asked for at night.  Very cute, but a bit challenging now that she has returned to Spain.  This afternoon he asked me: "Mommy, when is Babiche coming back home?"  So sweet and heart breaking at the same time.

This labor day weekend was awesome!  We introduced Kai (and Ryder, but he's still too young) to Disneyland on Saturday.  It was a hot and crowded day, but it made an impression on him.  Metaphorically speaking, I can say that the Disney can has now officially been opened and there is no turning back.  NOT. A. CHANCE.


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One thing I don't understand though: why is it, that my normally impatient toddler is most excited about meeting his favorite characters while he patiently waits in the line that leads up to the meeting?  But then, once it's his turn to meet them...oh my...the water works go into action ACTION.  As in: they go in overdrive.  Floods of tears and burying his head in whomever's shoulder he can get to the fastest.  Really?  That's what we just waited in line for?  Sweating off close to a pound in the burning sun, allowing the person in front of me (or was it behind me?) to nauseate me with their bodily scents, and refraining from making a snarky remark to the kid (who isn't mine) who is practically dancing on my toes.  I had hoped for a bit more of a delighted response.  Tears and "No Mommy, NOOOOO!!!" were not on my radar when I placed myself in the 'meet Woody / Mickey / Buzz Lightyear / Goofy' line.

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Despite all that he does manage, every time he goes to bed, to tell me about the castle, the train that went through all the tunnels, the boat in the water (It's a Small World), the rocket ship, the French Fries, Woody, Buzz, Mickey & Goofy and the fact that papa, Babiche, Ryder and mama were all there.  Twice a day.  For the past 4 days.  I think he's hooked.

Ryder enjoyed a lot of the day as well.  It's a Small World was very exciting, and despite the heat he enjoyed bopping around in the carrier on my chest.  I think he enjoyed it a bit more than I did.  With temperatures well into the triple digits, carrying approx. 24 lbs. on my chest isn't quite my idea of being comfortable, but I am glad he was.  Imagine my delight when he decided to conk out after lunch in the stroller...

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Labor Day (2 days later) was spent relaxing.  Seriously, we needed the long weekend after our Disney adventure.  The fun part for the kids: Kai's girlfriend and his future mother-in-law (my best friend) came over.  (I can't believe I have to say this, but please take the 'girlfriend' and the 'future mother-in-law' as a joke!!  I said that while winking ;-)The kiddo's went crazy making their biggest finger paint master piece to date: David had cut off a huge piece of paper from his 9ft. roll of seamless. 

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Add finger paint to that and 2 toddlers and you have a recipe for success.  The inflatable pool that fits adults as well made it complete: we got to cool off while scrubbing down our little future Van Gogh's.  Finish it all off with some BBQ and you have a fun-filled Labor Day.

And now, on hump day, after a holiday weekend, I am already looking forward to the weekend again.  How bad is that?  I need it already.  It will be filled with children, play dates, craziness and baking.  Deep in my heart I would like to turn myself into (and live a bit more like) a Domesticated Diva, who bakes, who has her house always nice and party-ready, who whips up the best and most delicious meals every day and who has her kids always under control.  What a beautiful life that would be.  Oh well, a girl may have aspirations and dreams, right?  Maybe some day.  [sigh]
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday Faves - Week 7

Happy Friday Everyone!  We are back with the Friday Faves. 
Below is a summary of answers I got to the last Friday Faves.  This week's Faves are listed at the bottom, I look forward to hearing from you and reading your comments. 

If you have any suggestions or ideas on which you would like people to share their favorite, let me know and I'd be more than happy to include them in one of the next week's Friday Faves.



Here's a run down of the feedback we got after last week's Friday Faves:

1. Favorite
kid's lunch

"Chicken Nuggets with ketchup and ranch."  "Chicken Nuggets."  "Chicken Nuggets with ketchup and ranch."  See why I put this question up?  I need some variation, because despite having a Costco membership that allows me to purchase Kai's favorite lunch food, I cannot deny that the kid needs to switch it up a bit.
TV mentioned the old time favorite Mac 'n Cheese and though I never really thought of it as lunch, I guess that we can start introducing it.  It certainly is a fave of Kai's, especially if I make it myself with some Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic and an egg or two.
PB&J sandwiches?  They seem to work for everyone, including for Joey's kids, but at our house it is an absolute no-go.  Is there something wrong with my child?
PinkPowerRangerMom mentioned the one item that seems to work here as well: Vlasic Snacker Pickles.  For me?  Not really.  For the kid?  Absolutely.  Yep, pickles were once the hot topic of the day and are still a snack that brings memories for both Kai and me.  Cheese sticks are making a come-back as well.  Thanks for the tip!


2.
Favorite baby proofing item

We got lucky with Kai.  For about a week he was obsessed with outlets and he let it go after that.  We bought some outlet covers and made sure the toilet bowl lid was closed, but that was about as much baby proofing as we did.  The shelf with alcohol and liquors is still at kids' level, the drawers could be opened, he never did it and has no interest in it whatsoever.  Phew. 
For
TV the cabinet magnet latches were a must, while the baby gate was a must have for Megan.  
Though Ryder is not quite mobile yet, I can only pray that he is as easy going as Kai used to be.  Because otherwise, I would have to open up my baby-proofing manual.  I am such a virgin...;-)

3.
Favorite exercise music
Here's to getting healthy and in shape!!  Consider the following songs when you want to up your heart rate a bit.  Well, you have to do a bit more than just listen to these songs, but at least they'll get you going:
All The Single Ladies ~ Beyoncé (Megan's choice)
Big Yellow Taxi ~ Counting Crows w/Vanessa Carlton
Keeps Gettin' Better ~ Christina Aguilera
Renegade Master ~ Fat Boy Slim (
PinkPowerRangerMom's choice)
Boom Boom Pow ~ Black Eyed Peas
Fergalicious ~ Fergie

4. Favorite
stain remover

Can you tell I need advice?  I do.  Kai has stains in shirts that I have not managed to remove, even with the magic stain remover that my mom brought over from Europe (the one she used when I was growing up).  I don't even know what the substance is that created the beautiful round stain on his lime green shirt.  I'm bummed though as I love that shirt. [sigh]TV recommends soak, scrub, soak and always pre-treat.
Shout and Spray and Wash were mentioned as well, but I think I used a bottle of Shout in total on the stain and it (the stain) still exists. 
Megan also mentions Melaleuca Oil.


5. Favorite
clothing brand

Ah, my favorite.  There are some local little stores here in Los Angeles that I love to shop at, but the bigger ones would be Urban Outfitters, Anthropology and I have to mention the Peace Store that I discovered while in Santa Barbara.  Loved that store.  Found the perfect pair of jeans, only with a less than perfect price tag on it.  I seriously am not willing to pay $275 for a pair of jeans.  However, it was cheap in comparison to the $310 pair of jeans I saw at True Religion.
Anthropology, together with JCrew and Banana Republic are on
TV's list of faves.  Megan and PinkPowerRangerMom go for comfort and mention L.L.Bean, Land's End and Eddie Bauer.


For next week, I would love to hear about your Favorite:
1. ...healthy, take-along snack
2. ...foot scrub
3. ...online shopping portal (other than Amazon)
4. ...baby shower favor



Have a great Labor Day Weekend everyone!


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Good Old Times


Before I had any children, I remember that I frequently complained about the fact that I was "so busy". 

Then I had Kai.

And as I looked back at those child-less years, I'd marvel at how much time I actually used to have.  Now with a child, I was "busy".  What had I been complaining about before?  Having a kid ate up your time and left you with hardly any for yourself.

Then I had Ryder.

And I looked back at those relaxed and luxurious years of having only 1 child.  Oh boy, did I have time back in those days!  Having 2 kids consumes pretty much all of your time, especially since neither one of them is in school yet.

And then I went back to work.

That was this past Monday.

And though it is only part-time (I teach at a local college), I vividly remember last week when I thought I hardly had any time to .... [fill in the blank].

This week: I went back to work, I met with my friends to plan another friend's babyshower, I baked devilish amazingly yummy absolutely the best-I-ever-tasted CRIMINALLY good brownies, cleaned my house in preparation of a house guest who is arriving for the weekend, did groceries and...it's only Wednesday.

I need more time. 

In general.

Especially to sleep.

And to blog.

I have defaulted on my blog.

But I'm writing now.  And that's what counts.

So, I am not going to write about work and how my classes are ridiculously large for the performance class (Public Speaking) that I teach, how much I hate large groups and all the things I will do (within my power and within the boundaries of the law) to decrease the size of my classes and therefore increase the quality of what my 'kids' will actually learn.  No, I am not going to write about that.  I am also not going to write about the ridiculous time my alarm goes off in the morning and how last night I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep because Kai woke up screaming when he couldn't find his lovey and a few hours later Ryder woke up because...well, I don't know why.  He just did.

I don't know exactly what I am going to write about.  I do have some photos that sum up the last week, before returning to work.

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We had a series of hot days last week; perfect to go to the beach one morning and spend a few hours in the sand.  No, we don't swim in the Pacific here.  We're in SoCal, the water is freezing down here.  Up to my ankles, that's as far as I will go. 

While Ryder was stylin' in his very own way, Kai was completely engaged in play and fun with his girlfriend.  Girlfriend and beach.  It hardly gets any better.

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{Photo by my friend Amy}
After I had Kai, I often wondered what any additional children would look like.  I know that sounds funny, but when you have one little-me version of your husband walking around, that's all you know.  Brown hair, brown eyes and stubborn (David would argue that Kai got that from the both of us.  Don't know where he would get that from. My husband's got such an imagination...) .  That was the type of child that I had managed to create.  Imagine how surprised I was when Ryder had strawberry blond hair and blue eyes.  I am often still amazed with the idea that I can also make blond babies.  How cool is that?  I'm so versatile!

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And my beautiful blue-eyed, drooling, teething, massive amounts of food-consuming baby just loves his feet.  I think it's too early to call it a foot fetish, but he certainly is excited to have these wonderful pieces of play material attached to his legs (and within reach).

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Oh, the joy that feet can bring to little ones.  It's a delight to see and I simply can't get enough of it.

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