Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dolls and balls

I spent some time at Grandma and Grandpa's a week ago. In no time at all, I made sure that my play area there was just as messy at it is at home.

Did you notice the handmade Sesame Street dolls on the step? (I also brought one or two of my dolls from home.) What fun! Dad played with those when he was my age. I also spent some time outside, tossing some balls around.

I think I could have helped the Yankees out this year!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Taryn up

Since I blogged so little last week, I never got a chance to tell you about my latest visit with Taryn, the eight-month-old daughter of Mom's friend Todao. She stopped by last weekend for a visit. What a cutie she is! She smiles a lot, and she likes balloons just like I do! I was trying to show her my dolls but she didn't seem too interested.

After lunch, we bonded by touching hands. She likes munching on stuffed animals too!

The one odd thing is that she kept drooling everywhere. Mom and Dad told me that I did the same thing for months and months, but I have absolutely no recollection of that!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ask Julia: 9/26/08

I know, I know...I've been a bad blogger this week. But I've been spending time with Dad, who was on vacation all week, and he's kept me so busy that I haven't had time to write (even to point out that yesterday was my 16-month birthday!). I'll fill you in next week on everything I've been up to, but today let's dig into what is a very full Ask Julia mailbag.

First up is my pal Audrey:

Have you been drawing any pictures lately? Do you like crayons or markers? What do you draw? Have you experienced the permanent joy of drawing on furniture yet?
I've been "drawing" for months at storytime (Babcia does most of the work), but in the past few weeks I've started taking a real interest in it myself. I've used markers once or twice, but for the most part I'm a crayon fan.

These are special crayons for made smallfry like myself, but I also use "real" crayons from time to time. Right now I'm just scribbling and making lots of lines, but I expect to branch out shortly into more experimental work. And I didn't realize that you could draw on furniture. I'll have to try that sometime, especially if I get my hands on some permanent markers!

Isabella, whom I missed seeing at the park this week (I guess Dad doesn't know the way — but at least we still saw each other at swim class!), also had some questions:

How's your gym class going? What's your favorite activity? I can't wait to go too!
I will write more about this in a future post, but yes I've been going to class at the Little Gym with Mom and Dad every Saturday morning. I get to run around, play with a parachute, play with bouncy balls ... every few minutes there is a new activity. Right now, my favorite thing to do is run around by myself on the equipment. I'll have to bring a camera one of these days so you can see me in action.

And to close, we have several queries from Aunt Paula:

Have you been watching any of your videos lately. Do you still have the same reaction when they are over with?
Yes, I still do watch my videos once or twice a day. And when one ends, I immediately point and whine for another one to play. I do throw a tantrum if Mom and Dad don't stick to the routine, which is to show me just enough videos that I feel like I've had my fill and I'm ready to do something else.

It sure looks like you enjoy reading. After you are done with all your books, do you put them away or does the maid do that?
My version of putting them away is what you saw in the video: just throwing them down. I just assumed they magically returned to their rightful places — isn't that how it works?

I understand that you were at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Did you do something special with them?
Yes, I was down there for a couple days, after they came up and visited last weekend so Mom and Dad could go to the last Yankee Stadium game (and by the way, thanks for taking me to see it before they tear it down, Dad!).

How was the Discovery Museum? I bet you had fun. Were there things for you to play with there?
I'll write more about this next week, but it was terrific. There's a kids museum just a few miles away from Grandma and Grandpa. Dad took me this week and I had the best time. It was even better than the Austin Children's Museum!

Do you have any more trips planned for the fall?
Not that I know of, but Mom and Dad don't really keep me in the loop on those things. I just know that every once in a while, they'll wake me up really early and whisk me to the airport for another adventure.

Looks like we're in for a soggy weekend, so stay dry everyone and I'll be back to my usual blogging self next week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Go speed reader, go!

When visitors see all my books, they always want to know if I actually read all of them. I sure do! I have my favorites (at the moment, I read Good Night New York City at least a half-dozen times a day), but sometimes in the mood to go through all of them at once. That means it's time to speed read:

Friday, September 19, 2008

A sound sleep

Shhhh! My dolls are sleeping...and snoring. (Hey, some weeks I learn to say new words; other weeks I learn to make new sounds!)

So that does it for another week. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dynamic duet

In the tradition of The Judds, Mom and I are going to become the next mother-daughter singing sensation. But we have a twist: instead of singing in English, we use my own special language.

(And you heard right, I do begin reciting the alphabet in the middle.) Look for our debut album...coming soon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Slip sliding away

Remember back when I needed Mom and Dad's help to go down the slide? It took me the whole summer, but I can do it myself now! Well, I still need a little help to get up there, but once I do, I'm all set.

I think I might actually be bigger than the slide now. Dad, you'd better have an upgrade for me next summer!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ask Julia: 9/15/08

Before I get to today's Ask Julia questions, I wanted to send some good thoughts in the direction of my loyal reader Aunt Rebecca, who along with Uncle Dan is cleaning up after Hurricane Ike, which has made a mess of things for them down in Houston. I'm glad to hear you guys made it through, and I hope you're up and running again soon. Hang in there!

I finally have some new Ask Julia questions to tackle, thanks to Aunt Paula. Here we go:

First, with all the dancing and spinning around that you do, do you ever get so dizzy that you have to sit down?
You would think so, but no. I don't stagger any more than usual after a spin session.

I like your new rain boots. I like the MEOW on them. I have a cat too. Do you think that you might get to see my cat at some time?
I would love to! I really love seeing cats and dogs, and I start squealing every time I spot one. Yesterday, two of the neighborhood dogs were in my front yard. I was so happy!

You move about the rooms in your house very well. Have you been able to open any of the doors or gates yet? I sure hope not.
Not yet, but I've begun to understand how they open. I can reach for the doorknob and the latch for the gate, but I just haven't put all the pieces together yet to get the job done. Give me time.

Do you think that you are able to pull the wool over either of your parents eyes yet? Which one of your parents is the push over?
I try, especially now that I know how to say the word no. For example, when Mom and Dad ask if I have a dirty diaper, I tell them no and hope that keeps them from changing me. But unfortunately the smell gives me away.

No question, Mom is the bigger pushover, along with Dido. Dad and Babcia are the taskmasters. That's not to say that I can't manipulate them too, but it's tougher.

That's it for today, so how about you start filling up my inbox again?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kooky monster

I had hoped to do an Ask Julia column today, but aside from Isabella's update about Kenni's whereabouts, I haven't received an email in more than three weeks. As Culture Club once sang, do you really want to hurt me?

Ever since early summer, Mom has been taking me to the local toy store during our walks into town. I have developed a routine where I methodically go through the store, stopping to play with specific toys. And my first stop is always at the Kooky dolls, which never fail to delight me. Well guess what Mom and Dad got for me the other day?

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dancing with the Ukes

A few notes on yesterday's post. In the second video of me playing around at Isabella's, you see me do two new things. First, I crawl backwards to get down the step (and I start from way far away!), and then, for the very first time ever, I went back up the step normally, just like a big girl. Also, Isabella wrote in last night (at least someone has remembered my email address) to say that she finally located Kenni — the cat I spent my whole visit searching for in vain — in the attic. Next time I'm over, that's the first place I'm looking for her!

Now on to my other big outing of last weekend, to Babcia and Dido's Ukrainian church picnic. There weren't pony rides like at my church picnic, but there was something almost as good: one of those inflatable playgrounds that you can jump around in. Because I haven't mastered jumping yet, I was content to just stumble around instead.

Then Babcia took me to watch some Ukrainian dancing. But instead of doing traditional Ukrainian dances, these kids were doing more standard ballroom moves. They were really good, especially for that age, and by the time they finished up I couldn't resist showing off a few steps of my own.

I hoped you enjoyed that kiss! And did you notice me walking backward? I've been doing that lately — I just discovered that I can walk in that direction too!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Candle holders

I see Isabella a couple times a week at the park, but we haven't had an actual playdate at one of our homes all summer long. So over the weekend, I went over to her place for the first time since I took my first steps in May. We had a good time playing (kind of) together.

Even our disagreements were quite civil. But before I could play with Isabella, I tried my darndest to find Kenni, her cat who delighted me so much during my last visit. Here's a video of my bilingual search for Kenni, as I searched every inch of Isabella's house (on the ground floor, at least). Did I find her? Well, you'll have to watch to find out:

So no, I didn't ever find Kenni but I discovered something even better: lunch! I did keep looking for Kenni, but I eventually came up with other stuff to do, like clean up after myself!

Here's a look at my afternoon at Isabella's. We clowned around a bit together (and her brother Alec was acting silly too), then I picked up that mop and went to work!

Monday, September 8, 2008

These rainboots were made for walking

What a crazy monsoon we had on Saturday! It's a good thing I had my new rainboots...I mean, I didn't actually go outside in the rain or anything, but it's still a good thing I had them. Mom bought them for me a couple weeks ago, and I love them so much that almost every day I convince someone to put them on me so I can go stomping around the house.

They are a size too big, so I'll have plenty of room to grow. Dad caught me in a perfect supermodel pose as I showed them off.

America's next top model? Not if Dad has anything to say about it!

When I wasn't inside escaping the rain, I was on the go again over the weekend. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Going for a spin

It might be a rough day for me, as I recover from my latest round of vaccinations (including the flu vaccine, which really throw me for a loop last year). Yes, today was my 15 month checkup at the doctor's. My latest stats: 34 inches (99th percentile) and 27 lbs. 8 oz. (95th percentile).

While I'm sleeping it off, here's a new video for you. Because I've been spending so much time on here recapping my various excursions, I've had to leave a few videos on the shelf until I could finally get around to uploading them. Now that things are a bit quieter, I can share one of those "greatest hits" type videos that recap several things I've learned over the past month.

So let's see: I can now spin around in a circle, take all of my clothes out of the hamper and put them back in, tell everyone how old I am (in English and Ukrainian), play the yes/no game with Dad (asking him if it's okay if I play with the Diaper Dekor — always a no —and the hamper — a yes) and recognize that my reflection is in the mirror (and that I am Julia). And finally, I know how to respond when Mom asks if I want a snack (in this case, milk and Zwieback): head downstairs to the kitchen. Not too shabby!

And just like that, it's the weekend again. I've heard that I might be having a sleepover at Babcia and Dido's!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Julia's Jewels

As you know by now, Mom and Dad take lots of pictures of me. In fact, they've probably taken thousands of shots (maybe even tens of thousands, thanks to the digital camera) over the last 15 months. And every so often, they create a shot that's so adorable it rises above the others. Those become part of Julia's Jewels (at least, that's what Dad is calling it for now), a collection of pictures that are so precious they'd melt even the Grinch's heart. Here's a sampling that you're probably very familiar with. All together now: "Awwwwwwwwwwww!"

Now, there's a new addition to Julia's Jewels: this irresistible shot of me that Mom took during our Wildwood trip.

Couldn't you just eat me up? Dad says it reminds him of Drew Barrymore, who used to make faces like this on the red carpet.

Speaking of Dad, he was supposed to be in Toronto right now for work, but at the last minute he ended up staying put. I'm not sure why, but I'm happy to have him...otherwise who would I be able to watch my videos with?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ask Julia: 9/3/08

My requests for more mail over the holiday weekend went unanswered, so we've got a tiny Ask Julia column for you today (you have no one to blame but yourselves, so start sending questions!). Grandpa sent me a couple questions two weeks ago after watching the video of my temper tantrum, so let's tackle those.

Did Mom/Dad relent and let you watch a 2nd or 3rd video?
Not that day, but since then we've come to more of an understanding with the videos. They let me watch a few at a time (usually first thing in the morning and at night before my bath) and eventually I either lose interest or I agree to say "bye" for now and move on to something else. But I do whip up some tears from time to time when they refuse to show me more.

Do they now show you the Perfect Fit video and how do you react to seeing yourself like that?
They do from time to time, and I don't really have any reaction. I just see a girl who did what she had to do. If I were in her shoes, I'd have reacted the same way!

In the last Ask Julia column, I promised Grandma that I'd post some photos of me using the popcorn popper toy that she bought me.

I also put together a video of my popper prowess, using music from one of my favorite songs.

The tune is "Popcorn," off of the new Barenaked Ladies kids CD that I love listening to. Whenever we're in the car, I whisper "pop-pop" so that Mom and Dad put it on. When I went to Wildwood with Mom, Babcia and Dido, I made them play the song over and over again during the whole trip!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sixty candles

Happy birthday Grandpa! Mom, Dad and I went down to visit him over the holiday weekend to help him celebrate his BIG birthday. It was my first trip down there since May, way back before I could even walk, so I had a lot to catch up on. Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jess was also there and couldn't believe how much I've changed over the summer: running around, babbling up a storm, feeding myself, etc.

As an added bonus, I got to run around in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard. Like Babcia and Dido, Grandpa takes really nice care of his landscaping (since my grandparents are so skilled at that, how are Mom and Dad so awful at it?). Here I am having fun outside with Mom.

When it was finally time to leave on Sunday, I said "Bye Grandma!" as we were going out to the car. I think I made Grandma's year!