Monday, June 30, 2008

Reunited and it feels so good

While I didn't weep for Mom while she was away on her business trip, I was still incredibly anxious for her to come home.

And when she came back and I saw her yesterday morning, I was not going to let her out of my sight! I spent all day yesterday being super-clingy. I was so happy, in fact, that not only did I kiss her for the first time in awhile but I even had a smooch to spare for someone who never gets kisses from me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I left my Mom in San Francisco

My Mom has been in San Francisco since Wednesday, so this is the longest I've ever gone without seeing her. She comes back late tonight. So far it hasn't been too bad; in fact, I had my first sleepover at Babcia and Dido's on Thursday night. What a blast! Today will be the big test, as I'm spending the whole day just with Dad. I hope he can handle me!

I'm doing a bit of house cleaning today, posting a bunch of photos that I've overlooked during the last couple weeks. Here's a cute photo of me and Isabella, who came over with her brother Alec for dinner last weekend.

Here I am with Aunt Jess two weeks ago. She's moving up to Connecticut to start her orthodontics studies at UConn; I'm looking forward to visiting her later this summer.

This photo will be particularly interesting to Grandma and Grandpa, as Dad says this is the first time that I've looked exactly like he did in one of his baby photos. I assume he's referring to the face and not the outfit.

And I'll end with one of my irresistible smiles.

Wish me luck with Dad today, and I'll talk to you after the weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Name that body part

Dad posted a video a few weeks ago where I correctly identified a few of my body parts before losing interest. Thanks to Babcia and Dido's great tutoring, I've learned so much since then, both in Ukrainian and English. That's why I aced Mom and Dad's latest quiz.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ask Julia: 6/26/08

The Ask Julia questions are piling up, so let's get down to business. First up is Aunt Rebecca, who has been on fire these past couple weeks with great questions:

Do you have any baby dolls yet, Julia? I remember that Diana used to love to cut their hair, and I suspect that if you ask Aunt Paula, she can tell you stories about her dolls too.
The only real doll that I have is that Corolle doll, and I react to it the same way I did here back in November—by pulling a Hannibal Lecter:

If you like both bananas and ice cream, ask your mom to make you a banana split one of these hot summer days. Have you ever been allowed to drink soda pop? You can put ice cream in a glass filled with soda and have another great drink. I have a feeling, though, that these are not on your mom's approved list.
Babcia and Dido have already let me have fruit and ice cream together, and you're right, it's very tasty! No soda yet, though. I'm sure my head would go kaboom.

Any chance of getting a pet?
Given Dad's allergies, and the chance that I might have them too, I don't think so. And that's okay, because I still get nervous when I see animals up close.

Which parent do you prefer riding with in the car?
Mom of course, just because I prefer doing just about anything with her. But my driving experience is about to change dramatically, because as of yesterday my car seat got turned around and I'm now facing forward. It's a whole new world ahead of me!

You look like you've grown. What size are you wearing now?
I wear some 24 mos. outfits and some 2T.

When you go to church, do you have to go to the cry room, or are you well enough behaved to sit with the rest of the congregation?
I go to the cry room now, but Mom and Dad are toying with taking me out one of these Sundays. We'll see if I can resist the urge to start babbling.

What is your favorite flower?
I don't have one yet, but Dad let me smell the flowers in the back of church last week, and I made him take me back to the roses at least a dozen times so I could keep sniffing. So for now, I'd say roses are pretty high up on the list.

Here's what Aunt Paula wanted to know this week:

You seemed to be walking very well. When you go out with your parents or with Babcia and Dido, do you do a lot of walking?
I do! Every day I walk more and more. Then I get tired out and make them carry me. Dido has noticed that I keep trying to walk to the pharmacy a couple blocks away. Maybe I want to be a pharmacist like him!

I just love your little swimming pool. I really like the way you get into it. Do you think that your pool classes have helped?
Perhaps, but the water is so shallow, I'd say that it's more like my baths and less like being in the swimming pool. But the classes helped me feel comfortable in the water, just like Music Together helped me find the beat when I listen to music.

I know by the video that you say mommy. Do you say daddy? Have you given your dad a kiss yet?
I say "Daddy" all the time. I haven't given him a kiss, but I've allowed him to give me a kiss, so that's progress. But I haven't really kissed Mom for awhile either, so maybe it's just part of a more general "no kissing" phase I'm going through. .

Do you have something planned for the 4th of July? Are there going to be any fireworks for you to see? Maybe you could talk your mom and dad into letting you stay up. Take an extra nap!
I think I would enjoy them, but yes, it would interfere with my bedtime, and Mom and Dad don't like to do that. But the fireworks are basically in our backyard (they set them off in the park a block away), so I don't know if I'll be able to sleep through them. Although I've been sleeping through several loud thunderstorms over the past couple weeks, so who knows.

Thanks for the always-great questions. I wish other people would write me questions too, but I guess only Aunt Paula and Aunt Rebecca love me. I'm sure I'll get over the rejection...some day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lucky thirteen

My 13-month birthday is today, though now that I'm 1, these month-to-month birthdays aren't quite as monumental as they used to be. However, Babcia is having a real birthday today, so Mnohaya lita, Babcia!

One thing I've outgrown since my last birthday is formula, which I've been off of for a couple weeks now. Mom and Dad began transitioning me over to milk shortly after my birthday, and now my formula is a distant memory.

And since it's now been one day short of a month that I took my first steps, here's a look at how much progress I've made. I'm walking around everywhere these days, and while I don't fall as much as I used to, I do wipeout from time to time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sesame shirt

Dad is funny. Before I was born, he swore up and down that he'd keep his kids away from Elmo, and then after I fell for the red furry guy in Turks and Caicos, he went out and got me pajamas with Elmo (and Abby Cadabby) on them. I was overjoyed...and very puzzled. How did Elmo get there? But I soon got back to business: rifling through Mom and Dad's stuff. And Dad kept asking me the same question—are you deaf and blind? I already told you, Elmo's right here!—so I took off to look for someone more interesting to talk with.

As a funny postscript to this, the following night I wore Elmo-free PJs and kept searching for him on my shirt. Where'd he go?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pool party of one

We're still without central air conditioning (hopefully the replacement part will be in this week and we'll be back in business), so when it's not thunderstorming—which has become a daily event—I'm keeping cool by heading out to the backyard and shuttling back and forth between my wading pool and my "water table."

Here's a video of me in action. This was taken a week ago, and I've become a bit more sure-footed since then (more on that later this week).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Attack of the 50 ft. Julia

Everyone run for your lives! There's a scary monster on the loose! It's not Godzilla, it's...the attack of the 50 ft. Julia!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stop and smell the flowers

I've been able to locate my nose for a couple weeks (I know both the English and Ukrainian words for it); now I can also use it. Mom and I sniffed around in the backyard and admired Babcia and Dido's handiwork. What beautiful landscaping they do!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ask Julia: 6/17/08

My mailbox was stuffed with Ask Julia questions, which is always nice—and increasingly rare. First, we have more queries from Aunt Rebecca:

What do you do during the day while being cared for by Babcia and Dido?
The better question is, what don't I do? There are walks, storytime (at the library and at Barnes & Noble), reading, working on my Ukrainian vocabulary, strolling around town, visiting the park, going to the mall, napping, eating and watching Babcia and Dido do work in the yard...and that's just the stuff off the top of my head. They keep me busy—and happy!

What are your favorite foods? Your least favorite foods?
My favorite foods right now are "bahn" (bananas), ice cream (though I only get a small amount of it) and yogurt (which is a lot like ice cream). My least favorite food, without a doubt, is anything with cinnamon in it. Yuck!

Do you have a tricycle, big wheels or whatever they're called today? What about a little car? Those can be fun to ride/drive and it's yet another way of being mobile.
I'm not coordinated enough to operate something like that yet, though I do have a "starter"-type wheeled contraption that I push around the house and yard (you can see it in the photo above, and the Deleted Scenes video from over the weekend).

What books have you been reading lately? Television shows and videos?
My favorite books include Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and Baby Words. Still no TV. Don't get me started on that one!

Do you help mommy cook?
I help by "organizing" one of the kitchen cabinets, the only one that's not babyproofed. It's almost like she wants me to play in there!

When you go to NYC, what is your favorite thing to do?
I have not gone in a long time, so I forget what I did the last time. I hope Mom and Dad take me back soon.

After the Yankees swept her Houston Astros over the weekend, Aunt Rebecca wrote again to mention that she attended Sunday's game, when the Yanks won 13-0 (but we lost our ace pitcher, possibly for the season). She also noted that "Yankees fans are extremely rude, even in Houston." If you think we're bad, try hanging around Red Sox, Phillies or Mets fans sometime!

And Aunt Paula chimed in with these questions:

It sure looks like you had a fun time at the Pet Project. What was your favorite animal? Did they have ponies there for you to ride?
The "baa baa" (lamb) was my favorite. There were no ponyrides to be had, alas.

I really liked the picture of you ride the carousel. Do you think that you will be going to a amusement park anytime soon?
I think that would be so much fun, but Dad says I might have to wait another summer to be old enough for that. We're going to Sesame Place this summer, and I know that place has rides, but I'll still have to wait a bit for my first roller coaster!

Are you still going to pool appreciation classes?
I'm between swimming semesters right now, though I'm going in the pool almost every day (more on that later this week).

Thanks for the questions. I sure wish some of my other readers would send in questions too. Hint hint!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pet project

I got up close with lots of furry friends over the weekend. Mom and Dad took me to a big sidewalk sale downtown, and the festivities included a petting zoo for kids. There were so many animals to visit with. Let's see, there were ducks, pigs, "baa-baa" (as in, one of my favorite books, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep), a turkey and...what else?

Oh yes, chickies too! Plus lots of other animals. I was very curious about all of them, but in most cases I didn't want to get too close. Take a look:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad's day

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I was lucky enough to spend time with not only my Dad, but also Grandpa and Dido.

And what did I get Dad? I made him this very special video:

I'm pretty sure he liked it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The debut of Deleted Scenes

Today I'm kicking off another recurring column: Deleted Scenes. I know that my readers are a mixture of casual fans, who check in weekly or monthly to see what I'm up to, and die-hard fans, who visit the site multiple times a day. This Deleted Scenes column is for those die-hards, who are happy to watch pretty much anything that features me. So from time to time (weekends especially), I'll post a "deleted scene"—a video of me that isn't entertaining or novel enough to make the regular blog. Like the deleted scenes on a DVD, it's an additional treat for hard-core fans, but the rest of you won't be missing anything important if you skip it.

This is a good idea of what I'm talking about. Here's a loooooong clip of me playing in the backyard two weeks ago. There's some amusing stuff in here—count the number of times I stop to drink from my sippy cup—but I would normally never post it because it's a long walk for a short beer, as one of Dad's editors used to say.

So casual fans, I'll see you next week. And die-hards, here you go:

Wondering which camp you fall into? If you were able to watch the whole thing, you're a die-hard. If you bailed out before the end, you should probably skip the Deleted Scenes columns in the future.

Whichever type of reader you are, have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carousel of progress

After riding a real pony two weeks ago, you might think that the carousel at the mall wouldn't have the same thrill anymore. But you would be wrong. In fact, I love riding it more than ever. And thanks to my newly-honed tantrum skills, I can usually make Badcia or Dad take me on it more than once.

And no more sitting in the seats that don't move up and down, like we did the first time Dad and I went on the carousel. Now I get my very own horse!

Here's a video of my carousel visit with Mom and Dad last weekend. I watched it, then rode on it with Dad (I'm already bouncing up and down on the horse before the ride even starts!), then rode a second time, then watched it some more and said goodbye.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ask Julia: 6/11/08

It's too darn hot! Especially at home, where our central AC is on the fritz (apparently a coil froze, which is pretty ironic considering how toasty the house is). So let me take a break from riding out this heat wave to answer some Ask Julia questions from Aunt Rebecca.

I was going to ask you if you were planning any playdates, and lo and behold, you show pictures of a playdate. So, I'll amend my question. Are there any little babies/children in your neighborhood with whom you can have future playdates?
There isn't anyone exactly my age on the block, though the older kids a couple doors down are starting to take an interest in me. A lot of girls live right next door, so when I start walking and talking more I hope we can play together. And my friend Isabella doesn't live too far away; we meet up for playdates once a week or so.

Are my eyes deceiving me? Are the New York Yankees really in fourth place in their division? Have you forgotten to watch the baseball games with your dad? Have you forgotten to cheer your team on? What's up with that, Julia? My own Astros aren't doing any better, so don't feel that I'm rubbing it in. What is the problem with the Yankees this year? After all, it's not that their payroll is bad or anything? I think the problem is that you haven't been watching your favorite team and cheering them on. When was the last time you even mentioned them in your blog?
I think you hit the nail on the head, Aunt Rebecca. I haven't been watching the team, so that's probably why they're not doing too well. I head upstairs to get ready for bed by 7:30, so I don't see any night games. I do catch the occasional snippet of afternoon games on the weekend, but I'm more interested in my toys and books. However, I still smile everytime Dad does the "Job-a! Job-a!" chant with me. How can I resist?

Are you planning to go to the All-Star game? Kathy and Diana went when the game was in Houston in 2004 and had a great time. I went to the homerun derby and had a wonderful time as well. How about you and your dad? Any plans?
No All-Star plans for Dad, who has an early crack at tickets as a partial season ticket holder. As he said, the prospect of watching a bunch of Red Sox players play the All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium isn't too appealing. And it's looking like I won't be going to any games at the old Yankee Stadium; it's too much of a hassle to try and get me all the way up there. But I hear that Mom, Dad and I are going to watch the minor-league ballclub in town this summer, which I'm sure will be even more fun (and much cheaper!).

Any favorite designers, yet? I see you have some beautiful dresses, and can't wait to see you in a fancy Jessica McClintock design when you're older. You'd look really sweet in a creation like this, for example. At $85, it's a real steal!
While I love looking at myself in the mirror after Mom or Babcia dresses me for the day, I don't have a favorite designer yet. That said, I'm loving the Carter's satin pajama pants that Mom and Dad got me to sleep in during the summer (it's too hot for sleep sacks!). I can't stop touching them. But I agree, that dress is very pretty, and Mom is good about finding cute dresses on sale for me to wear when I grow into them.

Are you planning any more vacations this year?
We'll be close by you in Austin next month for Dad's family reunion (maybe we'll get a chance to meet?). And Mom is talking about taking me to the Jersey shore for a couple days in August–Dad won't be able to make it because he'll have to work. Beyond that, I know that both Mom and Dad will have lots of vacation in the fall, so I'm hoping that I can finagle another trip, ideally to see my Sesame Street pals.

Is your mom planning to put you in pre-school, or is that still a dirty word in your household?
That's still a bit away, but yes, I will be going to preschool in another couple years. But let me master walking and talking first, then we'll move on to the bigger stuff.

That's it for now. Be sure to send me more questions. I'm hoping to catch a breeze from the emails flying into my inbox. Anything to beat the heat!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fed up

So I've been pulling one over on Dad for a week or so, but he found me out. He's been feeding me baby food as usual, but over the weekend he learned that not only am I starting to eat table food...but I've been feeding myself!

Of course, I can't do it all myself. I do need a little help—and inevitably things get a bit messy— but I do pretty well.

I sort of felt bad about keeping this from Dad, but as he pointed out, this was just the first of many times in my life that I'll be less than truthful with him.

For dessert, I had my favorite food: "bahn"! (You know them as bananas.) I ask for "bahn"s at least once or twice a day, and I get really mad when I don't get it...and sometimes even when I do!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Getting the hang of it

Since we got our new camcorder, we don't use the camera as much anymore (the camcorder also shoots pictures), so I decided to take the camera case for my own use. Then everything got a little tangled up...

I know it sounded like I was choking myself, but don't worry, I'm fine! By the way, you might have noticed me crawling from more of an elevated position. It's all part of my transition to being upright fulltime. But for now, that project is still a work in progress.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My playdate with Tayrn

I don't usually share the spotlight on my blog, especially not with another baby, but I made an exception for Taryn, the four-month-old daughter of Mom's friend To-dao, who visited us last weekend.

She was very nice (and so were her parents. Her dad entertained me with my "Five Little Monkeys" hand puppet), but I have to say, she was kind of boring. No talking, no walking, no crawling...what's up with that? Mom and Dad said that I used to be that way too when I was her age, but I don't believe them.

Here's some video from her visit. Taryn makes some cute faces and sounds, while I flash the patented "Abby face" (i.e. scowl) from time to time.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fists of fury

Today's post is dedicated to a loyal reader who is in need of some cheering up this week. And I've got just the thing: an adorable video of me browsing through one of my favorite books, Ten Little Fingers. With Babcia's encouragement, I dramatically reenact a scene from the book in which the kid makes fists with his ten little fingers. (Dad also included what happened right after, when Mom, Babcia and Dido tested me on recognizing Ukrainian words for different body parts. I do okay before I lose interest.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I scream for ice cream

A year ago, Mom and Dad took me to Applegate's ice cream and taunted me with some ice cream that I was far too young to sample...

How times have changed. I've been to Applegate's dozens of times since then, and after finally getting a taste of what I had been missing about a month ago, I began insisting that Mom, Dad, Babcia and Dido share their treats with me.

And once I turned 1 and was able to eat more "real" food, Mom started buying ice cream specifically for me. Oh happy day!

And as you can see, I get very impatient when Mom doesn't keep that yummy banana ice cream coming my way!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ask Julia: 6/3/08

As I've gotten taller and smarter, I can get into even more trouble these days. Look, now I can reach my iPod!

We haven't done an Ask Julia for awhile, so here goes with a couple questions from Aunt Paula:

It sure looks like you had a wonderful birthday. You sure enjoyed the tunnel that you got from your mom and dad. It looks like fun. Can adults fit in that?
They could squeeze in there if they really tried, but it's meant for kids.

I heard that you got lots of great toys and clothes. Will you be modeling any of your new outfits soon? The dress that you wore on your birthday and the one on the day after were beautiful. Who were you wearing? Do you have a favorite designer yet?
Thanks. My birthday dress was purchased by Mom and Dad; the dress that I wore the next day to the iris gardens was a gift from Grandma. I'll slowly start wearing my new outfits. Over the weekend I wore the dress that Aunt Ileana and her family bought for me:

But I still don't have a favorite designer yet. I like anything that looks cute on me, and that includes a lot of things these days!

If you guys have other questions for me, send them along as always.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pony express

Yesterday brought an unexpected treat—I rode a pony! Mom, Dad and I swung by our church's parish picnic, and while my parents thought I'd love seeing the pony close up, they had no idea I'd actually be able to ride it.

So Dad, now that I'm big enough to ride a pony, when are you going to buy me one?

By the way this video contains the happy ending: my sweet, contented reaction once I got off. What you didn't see was the real ending an hour later, when we left the picnic and I was sobbing hysterically because we were leaving the ponies behind.