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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rowwwr! The Raffamonster has his first Halloween

Simply put, I love holidays. Any excuse to have a party works for me! One of my Parisienne friends is a big fan of Halloween, so she organized a Gouter for 5 sets of parents and 6 kiddos ranging in age from 18 days to 2 years. We had an absolute blast! All of the babies came in halloween attire- we had a little cow, a skeleton, a pumpkin, a superhero, daddy, and of course Raphaël came as Godzilla! We look forward to more parent-kid parties in the future. I have a feeling there will be sports in all of our future though, as almost all our friends here in Paris have little boys! Maybe next year the parents will dress up as well...

Being in the US prior to Halloween also allowed me to go nuts on Halloween shopping. In addition to Raffa's Godzilla outfit, my mom and I were able to pick up a cute trick-or-treat onesie and some awesome Halloween PJs. (We also got to stock up on a variety of peanut butter related Halloween candy. Yum!) Baby boy got to play Godzilla in Pittsburgh as well when we went to dance rehearsal with Lauren and Natalie!
"Trick or treeeeeeeeeeeeeeat! Godzilla and mommy love Halloween!"
"Hee hee! I am super cute and such a flirt! Thanks again Marissa for my awesome Nessie booties!"
"Did someone say CANDY?! Where is the candy? Gimme the candy!"
"So exhausted after all the Halloween Festivities! Time to snuggle with mommy! Big stretch!"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our last stop on the Raphaël's US debut tour was the home of the black and yellow itself- Pittsburgh, PA! Mama wanted to give Raffa a taste of his Western PA roots and catch up with both the Merz family and one of mama's best friends and her family.

We started by visiting with the Merz family over some yummy Mexican and visiting their home (which mommy knew as Grandma Merz's house and visited 2-3 times a year as a kid). It was nice to catch up with the family and see all the house rennovations!

We then spent Friday and Saturday with Lauren, Natalie, and Ben. Mama and Lauren met at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, Delaware when they were little kids and they were happy to talk about all the fun times there. While we were there, we were spoiled with some awesome home cooking and great company. We also got to check out the Science Museum. We also went to the Strip District so we could stock up on Steelers gear and go to Primantis!

We weren't the only ones wanting to have some of Pittsburgh's finest sandwiches, a bunch of the Redskins staff had tables in the other half of the restaurant. Sporting other football team gear is not the safest choice in the strip district, which is probably why they chose to come for lunch as opposed to after dark! Of course the Steelers reigned victorious Sunday.

"Wow mama! Look at all the awesome Pittsburgh sports stars all over the walls!"
Mommy is excited to be in Western PA again!
"Why are the Pirates staring at us daddy? Will they have a winning season in my lifetime?"
"I think I want....  EVERYTHING!"
"I got to eat while mama ate! Woo!"
"Mama says yum! Iron City cheers!"
"Ew! Girls have cooties! Even though Natalie is a cutie!"
"Daddy, why are mommy and Lauren staring at me? I am getting bored of all these photos!"
"Do we really have to go home?"

We hit the road back to Philadelphia airport to catch a plane to Paris early Sunday morning. We took off literally right before super storm Sandy hit. We were sad to leave all our friends and family in the US, but had a great time with lots of fabulous memories! Love and face eating kisses to everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Aaaaaaaaaah! Mommy cut her hair all off!

For those who know me well, know I pride myself on my long hair. It has always been my sign of rebellion, the first thing I fought for. Until three years old, I shared the same Mrs. Brady pixie cut with my mom. I cried and cried and begged to have pigtails and wear cute ribbons in my hair and dresses! (Please note, if I have a girl, I bet she will be a tomboy like my mother to get back at me for being so girly) So, with the exception of a very unfortunate trip to the barber with my father at age 5 and an even more unfortunate chin length monstrosity I suffered in 8th grade, my hair has never been shorter than shoulder length since then and has at times been long enough to sit on accidentally and cause excruciating pain. Cutting my hair is thus a very very big ordeal that takes a lot of courage (and sometimes sedatives and/or alcohol) and must be done on a whim before I lose my nerve. It usually takes my ends being very broken and/or the need to sport a ponytail. This urge happens every 6-12 months. I often leave in tears, as I don't handle change well and have had some traumatic long haircuts (who can forget the Farrah Fawcet femlet gone wrong of 2002 or the "whoopsie" centimeter long bang that took forever to grow out in 2007?). So now I pay an exorbitant amount to get a haircut here in Paris and- knock on wood- have not had a bad haircut yet.

Today was one of those days when I decided it was TIME. I had planned to cut my hair prior to Raffa's arrival; however that never happened as I spent the last six weeks of pregnancy trekking to the hospital for tests and feeling like death. Heh. So it has been about a year and a half since my hair was cut last, and to say it was in bad condition is putting it lightly. The only way it has looked halfway decent during the last month requires me to curl it, which is a challenge for the mother of a very small child (although I have learned to throw Raffa in the carrier while I do hair and make-up when needed). However, I now have a small copilot to accompany me on any mission out of the house. Luckily my little Godzilla is the best behaved baby ever- he slept/nursed through my entire haircut and shampooing at the Galleries Lafayette. I also had a hairdresser who had children and understands the art of wrangling small babies when trying to accomplish things out of the house. Raffa also sat (and nursed) through a lovely Korean BBQ and bubble tea experience with Bear and I. Best behaved kid ever. It is really awesome to be able to go to restaurants with him and have no problems.

"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! Mommy chopped a foot off her hair! Hehehehe just kidding mommy! You are beautiful to me and daddy!"

"However, I am not a fan of the skullet I am currently sporting. Please tell me I will get hair back on the top of my head soon?"

"Really? You are going to order food from this nice waitress? And I can have dinner too? Woooooo!"

"Mommy you really find creative places to change my dirty diaper! This tiny room is fascinating!"

"I love you mommy! I love being home with easy access to the boobies!"

"And now I will sleep like this for an hour because I love sleeping in odd positions on mommy's lap. Apparently this is how I chlled out in mommy's womb for the majority of 8 months..."

And now to give the batty bat his bath while fluffmonster pet whores himself on the desk, preventing daddy from playing his video game... :-) Love and face eating kisses!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baby Carpet Overload!

Now that Raphael is discovering the world and taking more interest in interacting with some of his toys, I decided that he needs a baby carpet kid gym thing (no idea what they are called officially in English, chalk it up to living in a foreign country). I have something cool from Maria, but it is better when baby is sitting up. I also felt like Raffa needs something comfier than the kitten furred couch or the cold, hard tile for tummy time.

So I threw Raffa in his carrier and trekked an hour to a big French toy store. Man, did I feel overwhelmed! There are so many choices for baby toys and so many of them are high tech! It seems everything is meant to develop babies into super humans. Heaven forbid you choose the wrong toy- your child will be permanently behind all those in the same age range! I felt like I would totally be a bad mom if I chose the wrong activity carpet! Some had all kinds of high tech bells and whistles (literally), while others were just pretty and plushy. As an indecisive person to begin with (I have been known to call Thomas while at restaurants to ask him what I want to eat, I felt a bit lost. I had a hard time deciding whether to buy the really pretty but low tech carpet or the somewhat cute but highly advanced carpet that had music and motion and was meant to turn your child into a highly advanced creature. So after sitting on the floor of the toy store for a half hour staring at both carpets and trying to decide, I called Thomas. He told me to take the one that looked the most comfortable, so we ended up with the pretty one. I have to say that we made the right choice- Raffa absolutely loved chilling out on the carpet after we got home!

"Woooooo! Woooooo! I love my new toy mommy! Look at the pretty bunnies and the pretty colors!"

"I am exhausted mommy! The carpet is too much fun! The plushy texture is so soft and snuggly I think I will sleep right here!"

"Check it out! I match the bunny carpet with my pirate pjs!"

"I love touching the crinkly bunny ear! Mommy loves bunnies!"
Sometimes I just need to remind myself that all babies (and people in general) really need is a warm place to sleep, food, warm clothes, and lots and lots of love. Raffa won't be developmentally challenged if he does not have the latest technology advances and I am not a bad mommy if I don't try to turn him into superchild. He will discover the world at his own speed on his own time and we will get to enjoy every step of that journey. If he wants to be a rocket scientist, great! But I will love him just the same if he is a waiter. All I want is for him to be happy and healthy.

"Teddy, I have deep thoughts today. I think the Beatles got it right- all you need is love!"
As the Asian food store was on the way home, we also loaded up with groceries. Cheapest food in Paris and great quality veggies. I am sure I looked awesome dragging my barbie pink shopping cart, a massive baby carpet, and the Raffamonster back home (while listening to some old school Snoop Dogg).
Now to try to wrangle a cat and a two month old to the vet... Fluffmonster needs his shots before checking into the kitty hotel. Love and face eating kisses!

Friday, September 21, 2012

An American Citizen in Paris

The Raffamonster is now officially American! We went to the embassy to register his birth and sign him up for a passport in anticipation of our impending US trip. Unlike the French administration, even though our paperwork was not perfect (Raffa's photo background was not entirely white and my proof of living in the US for 5 consecutive years was not perfect) instead of making us come back, they just made Thomas and I solemnly swear to tell the truth and they submitted the forms. Little Godzilla got his very own American flag to celebrate his citizenship.

Raffa and I spent the rest of the morning walking in Paris. The Champs Elysees is dangerous, especially when there is a sale on at Baby Gap and Petit Bateau... needless to say the kiddo picked up a new outfit. :-) We then met Papa Bear for lunch in little Tokyo, where the three of us were able to enjoy a meal ensemble (including Raffa who nursed discretely in my new carrier). Good times. And of course I subjected him to a photo session in his new outfit (his first big people clothes!) with the fluffmonster supervising...

"I pledge allegiance to the flag... see mommy, I take this whole American citizenship seriously!"
"Fluffy here bears witness that I solemnly swear to adopt some American culture. For example, Sundays from September through February are reserved for watching the Pittsburgh Steelers!"
"My country tis of thee, mama give me some liberty! Can I go sit in the swing now?"
"See, Paddington? I still support daddy's sports too! Check out my Paris SG shoes! Paris SG, c'est magique!"
"Hah hah fluffmonster! I will use my kickass ninja moves on you! Check out my crouching snuggle bug, flying baby bear! Hah hah!"
And now, to attempt dinner without burning the house down... Love and face eating kisses!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Haha mommy! You want photos of me in the bath? I pee on this idea!"

So today was another one of those days when my baby blues raised their ugly head again and I got ridiculously sad that my little Raffa was visibly bigger again and time is passing too fast. So I resolved to document more precious moments, including bathtime. Raphael no longer flails and has plumped out significantly since those first few days... He doesn't resemble a little batty bat anymore and although there usually is some significant screaming during the soap time and the dressing time, bathtime is no longer quite so stressful. So I thought, what the heck. Let's get some photos so I can shame Raffa during his tender teenage years. As Tom was snapping a photo of me carrying Raffa in a towel en route to the tub, Raffa takes this opportunity to have a massive pee all over me, his only clean baby towel, and our living room tile. We had to laugh and fluffmonster watched the whole thing in interest. Bear's first words? "No kittenfluff, we will not rub Raffa's face in it!" Hopefully the cat will not take this as an invitation to mark the tile as his territory. And we got some bath photos... So my little Godzilla, when you see this one day, know you have already retaliated and that mommy is laughing in the photo because mommy's dress is soaked in baby pee! :-)
In other news, Tash brought over our brand new carrier! Woo! Pictures of its maiden voyage to follow soon.
Enjoy our batty bat's bathtime...

"I am soooooo angry you are taking this photo mommy! I just know you will use it to embarass me  in front of girls when I am a teenager! Also, I hate being naked."
"Wooooo! I am floating! Woooooo! I like to float! Each time before I get in the water, I scream my head off. Then I remember how much fun it is to floaty float!"

"Mommy I don't want a bath!!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!! I am going to escape using my super squirmy Godzilla skills!"

"I don't get it, mommy! Why are you laughing? I just peed ALL OVER YOU! You are supposed to not want to give me a bath now!"
I should also mention that each time I give our little Raffamonster a bath, we sing the batty bat bath song. "It's time for batty bat to get a bathy bath! It's time for batty bat to get a bathy bath! It's time for itty bitty bat to get his batty bathy baaaaaaaaaaaaath.... It's time for batty bat to get his bathy bath!" Heh. And now to clean up the baby pee... Love and face eating kisses!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1 Month, 1 Awesome Series of Adventures...

Wow. I cannot believe it has already been a month since the 65 hours of labor and the arrival of my sweet little angel! He has grown so much and is now too big for newborn size! This was his first outfit in the hospital which he was swimming in. Now he has maybe two weeks left of being able to wear it! He has changed sooo much- it is really amazing to watch. Part of me wants to stop time and keep him as a sweet cuddly newborn forever, while the other part looks forward to every step and change on the upcoming journey. :-) Soon he is going to be too big to wear this too! And to think that two weeks ago I was thinking to buy more 1 month sized clothes because I thought he'd only fit 3 month size stuff at Christmas! All I can say is that he may not have been Godzilla sized at birth, but Raffa is on a Godzilla sized growth spurt! And speaking of said growth spurt, today I was slightly (read extremely) concerned (read panicking) because Raffa had an insatiable appetite and did not seem to be satisfied no matter how much he was eating. I broke out the emergency formula, but Bear convinced me to check if my boobs had truly run out of milk. Turns out that this was not the case, as I managed to accidentally send breastmilk squirting across the room and all over my dinner. Awesome. Am thinking it was just gas (my son's solution for everything is to eat.). That or Godzilla has a bottomless pit of a stomach! Even though I have resisted the urge to buy more adorable outfits, I could not resist getting these slippers. I used the whole one month birthday of Raffa as an excuse. Here is a lovely series of photos I subjected Raffa to pose for today. The gorgeous Armani hat- Raphael's first piece of couture- was a present from his Finnish godmama Anna. Godzilla will be stylin' this winter! :-)

"I wish I could wear awesome shoes like little Godzilla... Being a fluffball is just not cute enough anymore!"

"Mommy I am dreaming of all the couture you are going to dress me in before I can actively protest...."

"Kitos Godmama Anna for my awesome hat! I can't wait to spend a summer with you, Markus, sauna, summer cottage, and the hot Finnish girls! Hehehe.." 

"Paddington is totally jealous of my awesome new teddy bear slippers. Mommy  is glad to have something cute to replace the bunny slippers I grew out of! They also have a rattle in them so they work as an early warning system for mommy to come get me when I wake up!!!"

Aaaaand it is bath time. Love and face eating kisses!