Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vegas and a Road Trip! Part 1

Laurel and I went on a road trip from September 7 through 14th. This was some of Laurel's longest times in the car and she was such a good girl! On Monday, Megan, Laurel and I drove to Las Vegas to meet the Ondercin relatives who vacation there every September. We may be turning it into an annual reunion of sorts. We stayed at the Flamingo and had a room with a shared door into the room where Dad and my Grandma slept. Our days were fairly "scheduled", pool time in the morning, lunch/snack, upstairs for nap, afternoon activity after nap, meet up for dinner, clean up and bed time.
The pool at the Flamingo was very nicely laid out, very pretty...but freezing! Laurel loves the pool and always wanted to go in. We had to drag her out when her lips were turning blue and her teeth were chattering:).

I later found out that I left both my swim suit and Laurel's in the hotel room! Argh!
Laurel loves to jump into the pool. She is becoming more and more fearless. Most of the time she waits for me to hold hands and then take the leap...most of the time, so we have to be very aware! After our pool time and nap, we went out on the town for some afternoon fun. One day we went with Marie down to MGM Grand to see the lion and ended up staying around the area to go into the M&M store and walk through the Rainforest Cafe shop. I bought her some sticky tree frogs which became another character on the trip.

We then went across the street to eat in New York, New York at a mexican restaurant. Laurel has fun with wiki sticks:).

Another afternoon outting took us to the Mirage for Sigfreid and Roy's Secret Garden - aka the place where you see the white tigers. Plus other large cats, dolphins and some birds. The habitat was really nice, and the animals could be viewed from an extremely close distance! As usual, Laurel growled at the cats and really enjoyed looking at the dolphins. She's an animal lover for certain.

Laurel took a liking to the Bellagio fountains, just like me. We could stand there for show after show! We visited the conservatory at the Bellagio as well which is a visit I always make because of the beautiful flower display. The rest of the time for everyone else was spent at the tables or machines. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed on the gaming floors, but sometimes I was able to make it out during Laurel's nap or at night if someone else decided to stay in the room. Grandma would occasionally decide not to pull a late night and so I went down with Megan and Dad to try some tables.
Laurel had a great time getting to know family. As usual, she was shy, but eventually warmed up and even gave her own names to them. Judy was "Jewey", Grandma was "Gee-Gah" and she said Marie pretty well.

Laurel also became a little paparazzo on the trip:) Anytime she could steal the camera and take "artistic" shots, she would! Here's some of her funnies.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Laurel turns 2!

Our baby is now a 2 year old! We had a very full weekend of activities and celebration.

On Saturday the 29th, we went down to Laguna Beach for the day. We stopped at the printing museum's print fair which was very interesting (of course for me!) and then continued on to the Sawdust Festival. Pretty much a large collection of artisans and craftsmen in a very rustic and wooded setting. Lovely! We watched a very intricate glass blowing and then walked down to the water. We had dinner with Alex's parents and then came home to a startling view on the 405 of the fires that are burning the hills near Glendale.

On Sunday, the 30th we had a more official celebration of Laurel's birthday since her actual day was on a weekday. In the mid afternoon, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium for some time with friends and family. Rob, Cyndy, Sierra and Amber met us there, along with Ryan, Brigitta and Lauren. About half way through, Ryan and Ryder joined us. The kids had a blast together. Mostly calm, but eventually ran about, giggling, squealing, being kids. Laurel had a wonderful time. I made an aquarium themed cake and we all went across the street to Bubba Gump's for dinner. Alex's parents, Leora and Delaney joined us for the dinner. It was definitely noisy having 5 little children and a baby at the table, but it was a lot of fun.

On Laurel's actual birthday on Monday, Megan and I took her to Knott's Soak City for some water fun. She loves the pool so much, so we hoped this would be a hit. There was a small section meant for tiny kids that she didn't actually like. She did really like the wave pool, so we spent more of our time in there. We also did a couple of laps around the lazy river. We saved a slice of cake from the night before and sung to her once again at dinner...and then it was over! She's 2 now!

Reflecting on the past year, she's changed so much. She went from barely walking to running. Making baby talk to knowing countless words and knowing everyone's names. She's out of her crib and off of the changing table. Out of a baby tub to a large tub filled with bubbles and the letters and numbers she's learning. She went from unbelieveably clingy to enjoying her time away from me at school. Her hair has grown from slight wisps to beautiful soft curls. Her play has grown from playing next to another child to interacting, tickling, chasing, and calling after them. She's learned basic manners but also learned to throw a temper tantrum. She's grown tastes for certain foods, colors, movies and activities. Toys have been replaced with coloring books, sticker books, puzzles, story books, dress up clothes, and make believe. She went from sleeping well to deciding she wanted sleep options and now sleeps on a mattress on the floor...for now:). Her constants continue to be her blankie, sucking her thumb, and loving elmo and shoes. Imagine what the next year will bring!