DSC02700aSo I’ve been bad about posting. It’s been a little bit me being lazy and enjoying the downtime, and a little bit me being busy with career-oriented things. Plus, Jia is finally NOT SICK. It took her a good two whole weeks to get over this last cold, full of snotty and congested sinuses, lots of phlegm, and that Nose Frida Snot Sucker was really going to good use! Getting down to it:

Jia’s been doing this lately:

  • The cliche toddler tantrum: Throwing body down on the floor, thrashing legs, flipping to belly on the floor and shaking fists. Yup, here come the Two’s! I find myself (most of the time) melting for her, finding it endearing that she is just mentally completely developed, but her communication isn’t effective, and she realizes this and gets frustrated. Poor girl. 
  • 4 word sentences. They’re all over the place that I can’t even remember one to provide as an example. 
  • Peeing on command. Well, this happened once, but I’ll take the victory. 
  • Playing Pretend: While my in-laws were in town for Thanksgiving, she learned how to give and take invisible “pennies” out of her Hello Kitty coin purse and hand them over to us. She starts counting them and even holds on to a “penny” if she doesn’t want to give it to you right away. 
  • Counts “one, two, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!” We just have to work on three and four haha! 
  • She sings her mealtime prayer. At school, they all sing a prayer with hand gestures before all meals and snacks, and like her teachers promised, she now sings it in the car on the way to school or on the way home, and during meals, basically whenever! Gotta love her daycare and hand it to them – they are working some wonders!
  • Insists on sleeping with a blanket ontop of her, and with her new toddler pillow, called “new pillow” – and sometimes Minnie Mouse. 
  • We went to Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland the weekend my in-laws came for Thanksgiving. She met Goofy (did not like, too tall and scary), Chip and Dale (loved them from far away, learned to love Chip when he kneeled down to her level and she gave him a hug!), Minnie (her favorite from afar and up close, she gave her lots of hugs), and Pluto (liked him from afar). Even though 7 foot tall Goofy freaked her out, she looks at the souvenir photo of us all, fondly, saying affectionately, “Goofy!!”. I placed it in a frame and now it’s hung above her bed. 
  • We met Santa for the first real time. Last year she was only 9 or 10 months old so she just knew it wasn’t mommy or daddy’s lap, and it was a strange man. Now she can identify Santa and says “Santa Claus?” and “Santa’s House” when she sees him (photos, in person, in a cartoon, stuffed version, picture of Santa on an advent calendar). Same goes with snowmen and sometimes reindeer. She didn’t cry when we sat with Santa, but she wasn’t pleased. It’s still an improvement!
  • The Grove LA: We took her to The Grove, where they had The Top Hats (this Rockettes-type of dancers dressed up in holiday gear) performing on a trolley at night, and fake snow would fall after the performance. She loved it and didn’t want to go home even though it was way past her bath time while we were still nearly an hour away from home. She had her mouth open and was just smiling ear to ear, too bad she’s likely not going to see real snow for a very long time! 
  • Screens. Yeah, I’m guilty of too much screen time. How guilty? Not telling. Let’s just say, it’s really nice that she’s in daycare where they do arts and crafts, music, dramatic play, etc. all day. But guilt aside, what I find adorable is that she actually laughs at the stuff she sees in these Disney cartoons. Her grandparents showed her old school Mickey Mouse and she loved seeing them act out non-dialogue scenes. And with current cartoons like Doc McStuffins, she cracks up (appropriately) to things like when the Lemurs fall off the bathroom sink. 
  • The Aquarium: We took her to the Baltimore Aquarium back this past Spring, but what was really cool was seeing her absorb the aquarium as an almost-two-year-old. It gets me really excited and eager to show her different exhibits and seeing her vocabulary grow right before my eyes, with things like “crab”, “seahorsie”, “octopus”, “sea lion”, “shark”, etc. We bought a one year family membership, and as we continue to visit, she’ll continue to get more and more out of it! 

I’m really finding myself saying corny things like, “wow, this is what Christmas really is all about: the kids and seeing their faces light up with joy” or “this is what life is about – taking your kids to places like the aquarium and just watching in amazement at how much they’re learning from it!” but it’s so so true. I’m so excited to take her to places like the zoo or aquarium because I know she’ll love the crap out of them; that she’ll put together what she hears in her books and sees in photos, and connect them to real life experiences and learn even more because it’s exciting to see things play out in real life.

In reference to Christmas (or Halloween, or Thanksgiving, etc.) it’s even more exciting to share the holidays with a toddler/young child because you’re creating those traditions in that moment and how they view those holidays is being molded at that exact time. Also, I mean, my entire closet is packed with presents I’ll be wrapping for her to go under the tree. There’s not a single gift in there for my parents, Jia’s other grandparents, Jeff, or anyone else (those fewer things are scattered around the apartment or still on a to-buy list). It’s literally all about this little ball of joy. I can’t wait to see how excited she’ll be to open her presents this year. And for the record, last year we didn’t buy her any Christmas gifts. I didn’t feel it was necessary. I knew her grandparents and other family members would get her a few things that she would “enjoy,” but she was still pretty young to understand what was going on, so I felt no pressure to shower her in gifts galore.

This year things are different and that game has changed. But it’s so fun and I’m sure almost every parent can relate or remember. And I get it now. Our Christmas tree was overflowing with gifts for myself and my brother as we were kids, with only one or two gifts wrapped from one parent to the other. But now I get it. I don’t need anything, I don’t want anything. I just want to see her excited and enjoying this happy holiday. So that’s what this post is about. So here are some pictures to go with it!

Since we moved to CA we lost our amazing family photographer friend Sara, so I had to jump on some “holiday mini session” deals that were being advertised. We tried out Lads and Lasses Photography, since it was $50 for a 30 minute session and permissions to all of the digital files we liked, and didn’t have to pay for the session if we didn’t like any of the photos, so it was a steal. I can’t say that I’m completely happy with them, but they were good enough considering for $50 we got all our files! 

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little known fact: I had to tickle her thighs to get her to smile like this

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Photo Credit: Lads & Lasses Photography