Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little Memory Lane....

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. And though I never was a big NYE celebrator, since I've lived in Downtown San Antonio, I kind of have to be, since we have a spectacular view of the city's fabulous fireworks display.

That means we have a party. Even if we don't plan one ;)

And that's what makes me nostalgic. I really love planning parties. I inherited that gene from both my mom and my dad, party planners extraordinaires.

Why nostalgia? Well, in every city I've lived, I've hosted parties and now I'm remembering all the fun of preparing them with roommates and friends. Oh the fun of knowing "this" dish was the favourite of one friend (baba gahnouj for Ian), while another dish was the favourite of another friend (roasted red pepper yoghurt for Jacintha). And then there are the dishes I've borrowed from friends over the years: Pate de Crab from Coralie. Artichoke dip and crab dip from Brandi. The tapenade I first made for the 98 France vs. Brazil World Cup Final. And the all time favourite California 7 layer dip that a few friends would fight over. The fiery enchiladas I made for Siew-li, Jonathan and Luis in Oxford.

I change the menu all the time, bringing in new things and keeping some old standbys. But the fun of preparing never ends, except that I miss my friends, now scattered across the globe. Fortunately, I have new friends in San Antonio, giving me the opportunity to plan another party.

So for tomorrow, we'll have:
Paté de crab w/avocado mayonnaise (homemade)
Albondigas w/garlic mayo (homemade)
Spinach + artichoke dip
Tuna stuffed jalepenos (thanks to cousin Susan!)
French herbed cheese
California 7 layer dip
crudité with Fredo's herb sauce
and a few things some friends will bring.

And don't forget the drinks:
Fredo is usually the master sangria maker, but as it's winter, we'll try something else - mulled wine and for the non-drinkers (and kids) jamaica flower water (with some rum nearby should anyone choose...)

As for Angelina, she already helped me make the hummus. And unless lightening strikes tomorrow and the world changes, she will be up until Midnight, being the life of the party. Try as we might, this child will NOT sleep if there's a party going on anywhere in the vicinity. She doesn't want to miss out. I blame Nanny and Opa for passing on THAT gene.

And not to be forgetten, the other girl in the family

Poor thing, she's been neglected lately, due in part to my developing allergy to cat hair. It's not that bad, but I have to wash my hands as soon as I pet her and I can let her lay to close to me or I have a sneezing fit.

So she's taken to occupying Angelina's chair whenever possible. Perhaps that way she'll get more love?

And then there's the devil...oops, angel child.
I should fix these photos, because they're actually quite sweet. Angelina was playing Grandmaman Gisele's old guitar and was very cute about it.

But I think the flash captured something else, something which often lurks in this child.... she's the sweetest Angel one minute, and then she seems possessed by something very un-angel like. I don't know where she gets that.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Little Daredevil

Since it was such a nice day, today we went to Palmetto State Park for a little hike along the San Marcos River. Angelina had mixed feelings about it all. She loved riding in Papa's sac à dos (backpack), until he took out his binoculars to look at birds. Then she went insane wanting the binoculars. We eventually managed to calm her down, partly by distracting her with my camera.

However the highlight was not seeing woodpeckers or birds of prey, but the slide at the parking area. We lost track of how many times she went down; 100 would be a fair estimate.

But then she started going UP:

Don't be fooled by Papa "helping", she'd already done this on her own a few times by this point.

Christmas in San Antonio

Not exactly a white Christmas, unless you count the blinding sun reflecting off the white sidewalks....it was HOT! However, Angelina insisted on wearing her "Snowman" - apparently that's what a hat, scarf, mitten ensemble is called. Our neighbors, Gloria and Fredo, got a set for her and she wouldn't take it off, even if it was 82F (28C).

It was pretty funny seeing her face when she first saw the presents under the tree. She didn't realize they were all for her. She was excited for the first one - a horse on a stick that Papa made and started handing the rest of the presents to us to open. We said "No, these are for YOU!" She hesitated through the first few, but got the hang of it and decided this presents thing was pretty fun after all....

Angelina certainly enjoyed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, even if she didn't have all her cousins to play with. Christmas Eve was spent with friends, including her favourites: Wiley and Felice, and Christmas Day was a Dora Marathon AND a bike ride on the Riverwalk. At one point along the Riverwalk, we had stopped to turn around when one of the boats came past and stopped as well. The guide said something about Angelina and the cameras started flashing. I wish I had a picture - she was sitting on the back of the bike in her helmet and green sun glasses. She didn't pose for a change, instead she just gave her movie star look as the papparazzi snapped away. So though I have no pictures, there are a ton of pictures out there somewhere....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Our visit with Santa and why I love Lavaca, part XIV

Let me preface this by saying Angelina doesn't really "know" Santa Claus (Pere Noel). Not for any philosophical reason, we've just never gotten 'round to talking about him. Maybe that makes us lame-o parents, but in any case, Santa Claus is a foreign concept. Of course, if I thought threats of Santa not coming would help her behave, I'd be talking about Santa left and right....

So on to why I love Lavaca. This wasn't actually in the 'hood, but close enough to ride our bikes, so it counts as a reason to love it. The city hosted a Winter Holiday Spectacular! at HemisFair Park. Santa was there for pictures (and no waiting in line), there was a snow slide, then in the evening Movies by Moonlight (aka Slab Cinema aka Angela and Rick, our neighbors) showed "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "A Christmas Story," and "It's a Wonderful Life" on the lawn. One of the great things about San Antonio was that it was 75F (24C) during the day and only a little cooler once the sun went down. Great for watching outdoor movies! (Not so great for snow...the environmentalist in me cringes at the idea of trying to create a "Winter Wonderland" when it's in the 70sF, but the mom in me admits it was kind of cool...) Of course, today it's 46F (8C) and super windy. Then later in the week it'll be in the 80s again.

So back to Santa. Angelina is normally quite happy to talk to any random person. Wherever we go she says "Hi" to everyone she sees. Apparently the big red suit and white beard threw her off and my arguments of "He's just like Opa" didn't fly. We walked up slowly, she ran behind me and clutched my pants, afraid to even look. Santa was wonderful and chatted with her and did everything to make her comfortable, but she wasn't having it. We stuck around for awhile, she took my camera (as usual), and started taking pictures. So we now have about 20 pictures of Santa, and some of Santa with a little boy named Raymond, to whom Angelina kept saying "Smile!" as she clicked away, but none of her with Santa. She even told the other kids to go sit with Santa. But not her.

To be honest I'm kind of glad she doesn't know to "ask Santa" for presents. But I don't know how long that will last. For now, I think she'd be happy with a huge bowl of tortellinis.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crazy Child

I have no idea what this is, but for awhile she insisted on pulling her sweatshirt over her head. Note, she wouldn't wear an actual hood, just this.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A weekend of vaccines

Angelina finally got her flu "shot" yesterday. A bit late in the season, fortunately the flu season hasn't been too bad this year so far. It wasn't really a shot, she's old enough for the flu mist so that's what we did. Nancy, our nurse at work gave it to her and both Nancy and Angelina did great! Angelina doesn't like to be fussed with and especially has issues with anyone touching her nose, so I wasn't sure how it'd go. But she blew her nose and let Nancy squirt and we're good to go! She was just happy showing off for everyone at the office.

Next up was Chakapu. I'm a couple of months late for her annual shots, and given the rabies human post-exposure vaccine shortage (I'm vaccinated but Angelina and Fredo are not) and the fact there have been a couple of cats positive for rabies in our county, I knew I'd better not take any chances. So off we went today for her yearly pokes. Poor cat, as soon as she went into the car she started the most horrible cry and at the office she cowered in the corner. But the staff is excellent and she was done in no time. All healthy!

but now she's disappeared....she'll be back, but she's probably mad at me :(

oops, I spoke too soon. Not long after I wrote this Angelina spiked a fever. She'd been cranky all day but we just chalked that up to lack of sleep. It's likely due to the flu mist and expected, but I don't like seeing my little one feeling ill!

Sunday Update: Last night was rough. Angelina had a lot of screaming sessions and fever, but now seems ok. Chakapu is another story. I thought she was out all day, but in fact she was hiding inside. She's laying very still and quiet...I hope she's ok.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More fun witth photography

Try as I may, I can't convince her to turn the camera around. At least not very often.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Look at Me! Look at Me!"

Is this a sign of what's to come? This is her favourite phrase: "Look at me!" And now it's not just Maman and Papa, but the neighbors too. Poor Fredo (next door Fredo) was trying to work on his house, when Angelina kept shouting "Ick* look at me!" He'd turn around and say hi, she'd do it again, and again. I finally told him it was OK to ignore her, as she'd do it all day.

*Ick = Rick = other next door neighbor whom she used to call "Daddy." Now she knows his name is Rick, but can't quite get the R, so calls him "ick." But now instead of thinking all men are called "Daddy", she thinks all men are called "Rick." I kept telling her, "No, that's Fredo" (which she can say perfectly as she tends to call Papa that**). So she'd say "Fick."

And now our neighbor Angela is no longer called "Mommy" but "Gela." Much to her delight, Angelina has taken to calling "Gela! Gela! Gela!" with nothing to actually say when "Gela" turns her attention to her. She just keeps saying it over and over.

Good thing we have such great neighbors!

** I hate the idea of a husband and wife calling each other mom/dad (or Maman/Papa). I can kind of see why that evolves though. Angelina has taken to saying "Fredo" instead of "Papa" which drives us both crazy. We need to find other nicknames for each other.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I gave birth to a choco-holic

How did that happen? Has to be the Swiss genes, certainly not mine. I like the stuff ok but if I never had it again I wouldn't be too disappointed. Angelina, however, has a nose for chocolate. She can find it anywhere. She now knows where it's "hidden" (locked in the wine fridge) and likes to turn on the light staring at it longingly.

The other night we had friends over for dinner and of course Frédéric brought out the chocolate. Then she saw it. She kept climbing up and sneaking away pieces. And what did she ask for as soon as she woke up on Sunday morning? "Maman! Chocolate please!"

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Our little bilingual kid....
She loves to say "Apple" over and over again. All fruit is an 'apple.' For weeks, months, Frédéric would say "Pomme" and she would ignore him.

Today, she kept saying "I want apple!" Then she looked up at Frédéric and said "Pomme, Papa!"

She's begining to distinguish the French and the English! Finally!

Now if Maman could only learn French too.....

And yet more of Angelina's photography skills, here

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