Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fun At The State Fair

I've been to tons of County Fairs growing up, and I always loved them.  I used to especially love the rides and yummy treats like corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes!!  And I always loved playing the game where you win a real live gold fish by throwing a ping pong ball into a cup of water.  One of those gold fish I won actually lived for multiple years when I was a kid, until one of my cats decided that it would be fun to scoop it up out of the water and bat it around until it stopped moving.  That is totally beside the point of this post, sorry.  Anyway, as much as I love fairs Jeff and I, as a couple of almost 8 years, have never been to a fair together!!  Maybe it's because the rides we used to love as kids now make us nauseous and give us headaches.  Or maybe it's because eating a boat load of fried food makes us feel like crap for an entire 24 hours.  I don't know, maybe we're just too old for fairs, if that's even a possibility.

Thankfully though, now we have Renee and we get to enjoy everything life has to offer through her eyes, as if it is brand new, and it makes things so much fun.  And because I'd never been to the California State Fair I bought tickets online and told Jeff that we were going, no excuses!!  Not, really, he was on board with the idea too :D

We actually went two Saturdays ago (like always, I'm a bit behind on my blogging) and got there right when they opened at 10am to avoid both the crowds and the heat as much as possible.  It turned out to be the perfect plan of attack for us.

Our first stop was the livestock barn to see all the 4H and FFA cows, pigs, sheep and goats which are always a big part of the fair for me :D  Renee was a little overwhelmed to see all the full size cows.  They must have seemed humongous compared to the pictures she's used to from her books.  We still had her in her stroller at that point, and she was quite content to just sit and observe the giant animals from a safe distance.

Then we went to the petting zoo so Renee could actually interact with and pet some of the farm animals.  She was a little apprehensive at first, there were animals everywhere, but she warmed up quickly and then didn't want to leave.  Just Renee and I went in and Jeff stayed out to take pictures of us.  We also bought $1 worth of food to give to the animals, but I forgot how forward they can be and a donkey and goat pretty much stole all of it from us as soon as we walked in the door.  Oh, well :D

There were lots of goats.

A little pigmy goat and a baby deer (fawn?).

A sheep, taking a rest from all the annoying toddlers.

And a kangaroo, they were so cute, but they didn't stay still long enough to pet.

After we all got a good dose of livestock, we went over to the food section to get a snack.  Jeff let me choose our first fried food adventure of the day and I picked a Jumbo Corn Dog and a lemonade that we all shared.  I'm pretty sure it was not only Renee's first corn dog, but her first hot dog of any kind.  She loved it, of course, and could hardly wait for her turn to take a bite as it went around from Mommy, to Daddy, and back to her again.  She also love the lemonade, another 'of course'.  I never give her sugary drinks at home.  She only ever gets water, milk and freshly pressed vegetable/fruit juice from our Jack LaLanne Power Juicer (sorry for the plug, I love that thing!), so the lemonade was quite a treat!

Next on our agenda was the Big Bug exhibit.  And no, for those of you who are squeamish about bugs, they weren't real.  It was a room full of giant robotic bugs that made us humans seem tiny, like we were the insects.  It was pretty cool, but I think Renee was a little too young to fully appreciate it.  If it had been a room full of giant kitty cats and dogs she might have thought that was cool, but she doesn't really know what bugs are yet.  Jeff and I liked it though!

I think that was the grasshopper.

After the bugs we had a craving for some more fair fare (sorry, couldn't help myself) and opted to share a plate of fried zucchini.  Renee was happy that she didn't have to share with Mommy and Daddy on this snack and greedily munched away on her own zucchini stick.

Mmmm, fried bread.  Hey, wait a minute, there's a vegetable in here!!

With fried zucchini in hand, we all went over to the mini zoo they had set up.  It was really cool with lots of interesting little animals.  There was a kangaroo, an emu, some hedgehogs, porcupines, parrots, and one weird sloth-like animal.  Now I can't remember it's actual name, but Renee thought it was a cat and just kept saying, "meow" to it.  That's pretty much what she does with most animals that she doesn't recognize; they are either a dog, a cat, a cow or a bird.

Saying hi to the kangaroo.  She really wanted to stick her fingers in the cage!
Renee was getting pretty sleepy at this point and Jeff and I still wanted to explore the fair a bit more, so we strapped her back in her stroller and hoped she would fall asleep.  It didn't take her long and she was out by the time we got to the next exhibit which was The Farm.  Jeff and I only garden as a hobby, but this was a serious farm set up, very cool.  

Sleepy baby.

Very cool, and very large farm exhibit.

Then we went to see the CA Counties exhibit where every county set up a very elaborate display to showcase the things they produce or are known for (i.e. wine in Napa county).  We were happy to see that Yolo County won.  Woo hoo!!!  Go Woodland, Davis, Winters and West Sac!!  You know we didn't really care, but it's like that tee-shirt that says, "The sports team from my local geographic region is superior to the sports team from your local geographic region!"  Us silly humans, we always gotta pick sides :D  And finally we went over the Creative Arts exhibit so I could see all the beautiful needlework entries.  Jeff wasn't interested in this exhibit at all, so he just sat on a bench and watched Renee (still sleeping) while I marveled at all the amazing knitting, crochet and quilts on display.

 After all that walking, Jeff and I were hungry again.  I know, I know, but that fried food really has no nutritional value, so you have to eat a lot of it to compensate.  That's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it :D  Renee was still sleeping, so I went and found us a shady seat while Jeff waited in line for a lamb gyro.  He had hinted at getting the giant smoked turkey leg, but I steered him away because I didn't think it sounded very good.  But when we were sitting there eating our gyro, another guy sat down next to us eating a turkey leg and it smelled soooo good.  Oh,well.  The gyro was really yummy too :D

Renee finally woke up and just in time to get a balloon animal from the clown that was near us.  I asked him for a pink dog and he quickly whipped one up and handed it to Renee who was staring at him with that I-just-woke-up-so-I'm-still-grumpy look on her face.  But, he was about to leave and we didn't have time to wait for her to get in a better mood.  Plus, I knew a pink balloon dog would cheer her up likity split!!  Which it did.  Although, the clown kind of scared me when he cautioned me not to let Renee bite the balloon.  I thought he just meant that if it popped it would frighten her, but then he explained that she could accidentally inhale it!  Who knew?  Needless to say, I kept a very close eye on her and her new pink doggy friend after that.

There is a LOT of pink in this picture!!

After Renee had her lunch (from home, not fried) we walked around a bit more.  Jeff is a sucker for Kettle Corn, so he got a bag of that and we decided to go back to the children's section so we could munch on our popcorn while Renee played.  They had a sand-pit that was filled with corn kernels instead of sand and Renee loved it!!!  She must have played in it for at least 45 minutes before we had to forcibly remove her.  That was fine with us though, we just sat on some hay bales, ate our popcorn and chatted with the other parents.


One last little visit with a cute baby cow and Jeff and I were done.  

We had such a great time!  I think that going to the State fair is going to have to be a new Summertime tradition for us.  And I can't wait until Renee is old enough to throw ping pong balls into cups of water so she can win a gold fish for Mommy :D

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poo Poo?

About 2 or 3 months ago Renee started occasionally telling us when she had a poopy diaper, and she would sometimes even tell us right before she was about to go.  I hadn't (and still haven't) read anything about potty training, but it seemed like she recognized when she was going to the bathroom.  So, a few weeks ago I went to Target and bought her a training toilet.  Not just any training toilet of course, it's pink, it looks like a princess throne and when you drop something in it (i.e. pee or poo) it plays music!!!  It was actually cheaper than the basic one though, so don't judge :D

We started out just letting Renee sit on it with her clothes on and now, before her bath every night, after we take her clothes and diaper off, we have her sit on it for as long as she wants.  Jeff and I usually make a big deal about her just sitting on the toilet, even if she doesn't go to the bathroom, since we want it to fun and exciting for her.  It seems to be working and so far she's gone poop in it once and pee in it once.  Woo hoo!!!  I'm pretty sure both times had more to do with good timing and luck on our part than with Renee actually choosing to go to the bathroom on her toilet.  We don't care though, they still count!!

She can't say potty yet, p's are hard for her, so she says, "bobby" instead.  But as soon as she says, "bobby" I rush her over to the bathroom, take off her diaper and put her on the toilet.  Almost every time she just sits there and smiles at me for a few seconds, then gets up and walks away without doing anything.  But this morning she just kept sitting on the toilet and smiling at me.  She even reached over and grabbed one of her bath books and handed it to me to read.  It felt way too cliche for a 17 month old, but I went with it and read her the book while she sat on the toilet.  She sat there so long I almost got up to go get the camera, but I was afraid I would distract her from her mission so no pics for this post.

She had to have sat there for at least 5 minutes (a long time for a toddler) before she finally stood up, reached back, spread her butt cheeks apart, looked at me questioningly and said, "poo poo?"  It was like she was saying, "Mommy, I've been sitting here forever, how come the poo poo hasn't come out yet?"  It was so funny and so adorable.  I didn't know what to tell her so I just asked her if she wanted to sit back on the potty, but she said no, so I put her diaper back on and got her dressed.  She ended up pooping in her diaper a few minutes later, but I give her an A+ for effort anyway.

Next month she'll be moving up to the older toddler room at her daycare and they have toilets for the kids to use, so I have a feeling it won't be too long before we're done with diapers.  I'm knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, and definitely not counting my chickens though!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Swimming Like A Fish

We signed Renee up for swim lessons this summer and for two weeks in the middle of June, we had a lesson (more like guided water play) from 5:30 to 6pm Monday through Thursday night.  When I first signed her up for the class I was like, "no problem, it's only a half hour, and the pool is only 3 blocks away from our house, we can handle that!"  But, in reality, it was getting Renee home from daycare, letting the dogs out to go pee and stretch their legs, feeding a very hungry and cranky (normal for 5pm) Renee, getting her changed into a swim diaper and bathing suit, getting myself changed into a bathing suit, putting sun block on both of us, gathering towels and hats, locking the dogs back up, and finally getting into the car to drive the 3 blocks because it was way too hot and we were running late anyway.  Then came the half hour of swimming, which was fun for the most part, but it was sooooo hot out and the sun was just beating down on our heads.  

The worst part of it all though, and this is entirely my fault for not planning ahead, was that when all was said and done, and we got home a little after 6pm, Jeff and I were starving.  But, our normal make dinner time had been spent swimming, so we had no dinner!!  You would think, being that Jeff and I are relatively intelligent people, that after a day or two of this problem we would plan ahead.   But no, no such luck.  We were both exhausted from working all day and going through the above described scenario, and so we just ended up having simple dinners like sandwiches, salads, or going out and getting a burrito.  One night, out of desperation, I made "pizzas" with some naan that we had in the freezer, left over spaghetti sauce and jack cheese.  That might sound decent to some, but it wasn't, it was gross (it was the naan that ruined it) and not very healthy or filling at all.  Oh well, we lived.      

Okay, enough of my complaining and on to Renee and swimming...

Before these lessons, Renee had only been in my parents' pool, and only once last summer and once more this summer.  Both times she was not at all happy about the situation, and so we didn't expect her to be much different at the lessons.  We were right.  The first couple of days she only wanted to cling to me.  Jeff and I would pass her back and forth between each other, but that just made her upset and scared.  

The teachers instructed everyone hold our babies by supporting their chest while letting their feet dangle, and Renee wanted nothing to do with it.  So, I just let her cling to me and tried to make the experience as fun and exciting as possible.  Jeff tried to be a little more adventurous with her and he actually dunked her under the water a few times.  She was even okay with it for a while, but as soon as she saw me she cried for me to hold her.  I guess I still baby her a little too much, but how can I deny her the safety of her Mommy's arms?
That's Jeff and Renee (pink hat) by the edge of the pool.

By the end of the first week she was at least smiling a little bit, as long as we didn't do anything too scary like hold her out away from us for too long.  The funny part was, that at the end of each lesson as we were walking back to the car, she would excitedly point back to the pool and exclaim, "wah wah!" as if she wanted to go back in.  I think she really wanted to have fun, but was just a little overwhelmed at how much water there really was.

After this picture was taken all Renee hell broke loose, as I was no longer in the pool and she was!

By the end of the second week she was much more comfortable with the whole thing.  We were able to zoom her around in the water while she smiled and laughed, it was really cute.  And she would happily allow us to pass her back and forth between us, no problem.  She still wasn't nearly as comfortable as all the other kids in the class, they were jumping off the side of the pool and into their parents arms by this point, but they were all a little older than her.

Anyway, Renee looked way cuter in her bathing suit than any of the other kids!  No competition :D

Since then we've taken her swimming a few times in the pool at my parents' house and also at a family picnic last weekend.  And although she isn't (as the title of this post suggests) swimming like a fish, she does have a good time in the water now.