Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Orange County Book Nooks

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When I was a little girl I used to look forward to trips to the Huntington Beach library with my mom.  It meant new books, story time and afterwards a picnic in the park while we fed the ducks.

As I got older I would wait until my parents tucked me into bed before I crawled under the covers, turned on my flashlight and pulled out my book.

Over the years my love for books has only grown and I hope to share just a smudge of that with Peanut.

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If you're local don't forget to go to the OC Children's Book Festival this weekend!!  I'm going to be out of town but I'd love for you to tell me how it is!  There is tons to do there, including author and illustrator signings, and loads of activities.

There is also the Mission Viejo Readers Festival this weekend for readers young and old.

Read more about these events and my favorite OC Book Nooks over HERE.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Brunch in Paris

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Yesterday we had another book club, this time hosted at Alicia's house.

The book was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, so Alicia and Courtney went with a Paris theme.

Blown away is an understatement.

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Alicia's house is really perfect for this kind of theme. 
She has a sort of eclectic style with some old world charm and loads of personality.
I'm not quite sure how to describe it but it's incredible.

The table was set gorgeously and there were so many details to be in love with.

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In the background there was post-war music playing to set the mood
and plenty of good conversation.

Speaking of music, they made us CD's to take home.
Can you believe that?
Me neither.

I haven't stopped listening to my CD since.
I love music from that era.

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We had croissants and quiche and they made apple beignets.

Of course, we had to finish off brunch with this cake.
Chocolate cake that was light and moist and rich all at the same time.
A touch of cinnamon, some banana and the whole thing covered in creme anglaise.

I wish I had more right now.

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We all liked the book, as frustrating as it seemed to be for various reasons.

We talked about Hadley and what we thought about her,
the way she handled her marriage,
Ernest Hemingway and how he was awful and tragic and I wanted to strangle him.

We talked about relying on other's for your happiness and
having a sense of self in relationships.

We talked about a million other things,
like Connie's engagement
and so many things that had nothing to do with the book at all. 

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It was the kind of day that as a child I always imagined having as a grown-up.

Only it made me giddy like a little girl.

In my visions of future me I arrived in my '59 Cadillac 
and wore a dress and heels, maybe even a hat.

I mean, besides arriving in jeans and a shirt covered in drool and bits of Peanut's breakfast,
my Subaru Forester filled with various baby gear,
it was pretty spot on. 

Thank you Alicia and Courtney, it was incredible!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Pumpkin Fairy


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'Twas the night before Autumn, when all through the house
not a pumpkin was baking, so I yelled at my spouse.

Well it really is Autumn Eve and although I didn't yell at B,
he has heard his fair share of my pumpkin rants.

Did you know that I've been to 8 different stores looking for canned pumpkin?
Everyone has canned pumpkin pie mix but not plain pumpkin.
What on Earth is that about?

I received a tip yesterday about some canned pumpkin at a store in Huntington Beach,
and I meant to stop by today but didn't have the time.

I was really hoping to kick off fall with some pumpkin baked goods.
And I was pouting about it.

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Did you know that if you wish hard enough for a bit a fall,
that the Pumpkin Fairy will deliver a gift on Autumn Eve?!

It's true!

We found this on our doorstep when we got home.

I can hardly believe our luck.

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There are so many recipes here that I can't wait to try.

I barely know where to start.

Thank you mysterious pumpkin fairy
for helping spread some fall cheer,
just in time for the Autumn Equinox!

Happy Fall Everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's in your mouth?

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Have I mentioned that my baby is a human vacuum?

Actually, now that I think about it I did.

It was in that post about breastfeeding and my infant Hoover sucking the life out of me. 

Well, those Hoover tendencies have grown as he's gotten older.

He crawls around the floor just looking around for things to put in his mouth.

Lint, string, grass, someone's shoe, any and all toys, 
whatever he can find in the tracks of the sliding glass doors,
dried remnants of food he's thrown into far corners of the apartment....

I say, "Peanut, what do you have?" and he shoves it into his mouth before I can take it.

He likes to eat paper.
Half of our board books are missing corners.

I'm telling you, we spend so much of the first months making sure that things are clean,
it's quite a shock when you turn around and see him licking the bottom of your shoe... 
or the stroller wheel.

Are you totally cringing right now?
I know.

He really just sucks on this stuff but does't seem to swallow it.
At least, I haven't been finding any treasure in his diapers.

A few weeks ago he was playing in the corner of the room.  
I checked and there was't anything for him to get into so I just let him be.

He had a toy that he was squishing against the wall as he babbled quietly to himself.
When he turned around I could see something stick out of the corner of his mouth.

Do you know what it was?

A CARPET STAPLE!!!!

You know, those staples that are like 2 inches long with sharp edges that could do 
unbelieveable damage to little mouths and digestive systems.

He just opened his mouth and smiled while snagged it off his tongue.

Ugh.  

He must have pulled it from the carpet in the corner.
Stupid craptastic apartment carpet. 

It still freaks me out.

Oh baby Hoover, what am I going to do you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Baby

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Every night gets better and better.

I'll give a more detailed account of our sleep training soon... how I feel about it,
whether I would suggest it to anyone else,
whether or not I feel it's helpful or harmful for baby and parents, etc.

I will say that the other night Peanut woke up, stood in his crib and started to cry.

2 minutes later he decided to lay back down and go to sleep.

B & I were in bed, watching and holding our breath.

And then we did a silent jig.

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Yesterday we went to 2 different birthday parties, 
for a 1 year old and a 2 year old.

We spent the first half of the day in Orange County and the second half of the day in Palm Springs.
Peanut held up wonderfully with nothing but car naps.

This week we're getting ready for Peanut's baptism on Saturday and 
I'd like to do a little fall baking to kick off the solstice on Wednesday.

That is... if I can find any darn pumpkin puree.
All the stores around here seem to only have the pumpkin pie mix...
and not a baking pumpkin to be seen.

I'll be back soon to catch you all up and to see what you've been doing too!

Friday, September 16, 2011

We're still here, still trying to get some sleep

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It's been a crazy week around here.

I've had my hands full with sleep training and a very active boy.

B brought his laptop over so I could get a bit of computer time while Peanut sleeps (or screams).
I miss the computer!
I need access during naps and such because I'm too busy while he's awake.

Sleep training has gone over pretty well.

Now is not probably a good time for me to write about it because 
Peanut has been up crying for an hour but tonight was the first night without any kind of bottle.
He did sleep 8 straight hours before waking and now won't go back to sleep.

That being said, after all the crying the first night
he went to sleep after 30 minutes of crying the 2nd night (which was half the time) and 
fell asleep after 2 very small bottles in less than 5 minutes each time.

I was shocked by how dramatic the difference was.
Shocked and relieved.

The third night was even better, with only one 3 oz bottle in the middle of the night,
the longest amount of crying lasted about 20 minutes.

Last night he barely cried at all before going to sleep (B didn't even need to check on him)
and slept for 8 hours but has now been crying for an hour.
I suppose that's to be expected for the first night without any bottle.

How long should he be able to sleep?
What time do your kids sleep from?
He's 10 1/2 months old, I want to have realistic expectations.

He keeps dozing off and then waking and crying.

I'm starting to get stressed about taking him back to the apartment.

My parents come home tomorrow but we'll be staying tomorrow night anyway.
Then we really have to get back home.

I'm wondering if I should write little notes to some of the neighbors?

Anyway, thank you for all the birthday wishes!
I had a fantastic birthday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

In which I need a martini, a cigarette and possibly a quaalude.

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This post is rushed but I suppose my brain isn't functioning enough to do otherwise anyhow.

The computer at my parent's house is in the same room as the crib.
This has some major disadvantages, like being able to write
when I don't have a fussy baby climbing on me.

Day 1 of nighttime bottle weaning/ sleep training started last night.

I feel like we both deserve some kind of purple heart for making it thru.
Although I don't really feel like I made it through in one piece.

I'm so tired I have that jittery feeling of partying all night and getting no sleep...
that is if by "partying all night" is code for Chinese water torture.

We started a little after the time he's been falling asleep normally (so 10 pm)
and then he cried for an hour, with B checking on him regularly.

I was at the other end of the house,
next to the TV speaker, trying to read a book and not listen to the crying.

When he finally fell asleep I thought that maybe I was going to survive this.
At 10 months old I could deal with some crying.
We could do this!
Think about the nights of sleep we'd get in the future!
Hooray!
I see rainbows in the future!
Tra La La!

About an hour later B & I were in bed.
It's just not the same rest in a bed that isn't your own, you know?
And there was the dog.  Snoring.  Loudly.

And then there was this whole reverse sneezing fiasco.
O.M.G.
With me trying to stop Gingerbread from waking Peanut.
And it kept happening.
Over and over again.
If you don't know what I'm talking about check out THIS video.
Now I want you to picture a silent house around 12:30 am and then around 1:15 am
around then sometime in the 2ish area.
Add some frayed nerves. 

And the bed was too soft.
And the house was creaky.
And Peanut's mattress squeaks whenever he moves.

And then he woke up and I went to get his bottle.
I wasn't really worried about this part of the night much.
He had slept about 4 1/2 hours and I thought we were past the worst.

Oh but I was wrong.
After the bottle he cried for 2 hours.
Two. Hours.
2 hours and I had to stop going in to check on him because he would get even more hysterical.
He was dripping sweat and screaming.
Heck, I'm dripping sweat just thinking about it.

Honestly the angrier he was the better I felt.
It was the whimpring and desperate crying that had my nerves exploding.

Eventually he was ready for the next bottle and I woke B up
(who at this point was sleeping peacefull upstairs!!)
I know, can you believe it.
Oh to be blessed with selective hearing.

He took an ounce, cried and screamed some more, while I toyed with the idea of leaving and going...
well to Hawaii or something.
Anywhere with silence and cocktails and without a child I'm torturing.

Eventually he fell asleep for about 30 minutes which was just enough time
for me to remember what it was like when all the muscles in your body unclenched.

I think B & I both sighed in relief.
A great big sigh.
Said sigh must have been so loud it woke up Peanut.
All the muscels in my body reclenched.
I broke out into a cold sweat.

He cried for another 30 mintues and then it was morning!
Good morning!
I'll take 1 pot of coffee via IV please.

I got him up and he played happily for several hours before his first nap.
Like the day was bright and happy and full of new discoveries.

Like he hadn't gotten a mere 5 hours of sleep.

Not that I would know because I had about 4 hours, broken up and fitful.

All I have to say is...
pass me the quaaludes.
Are they for me, for the Peanut or for the damn dog?
Perhaps for all of us.

No, B doesn't need any but I'll take two thanks.

I have to go now.... round 2 is here.

PS My birthday is tomorrow (Tuesday) so please focus all your birthday wishes into a miracle that involves sleep and dreams of puppies and chocolate motherlode cake and wash board abs.

Thanks.

If I make it until morning

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I'll come back here and give you an updated post.

We're house-sitting for my parents this week which means that
we are also sleep training (ugh, I'm still not sure of my stance on sleep training)
and weaning from nighttime bottle.

Peanut has gotten into this awful habit of drinking all his bottles during the night.

As in no bottles (or liquids really) all day and then drinking all night.
It's like a baby party binge.

I figure it's now or never.
We won't get evicted from our apartment or confused with people who beat their baby.
Although my parents normally super-quiet neighborhood might be disrupted.
At least they aren't here to lose sleep either.

Add the binge bottle drinking at night (and subsequent diaper changes)
 to a new phase of "only mommy can put me to sleep"
and I'm a zombie.

I can't spend another night up every hour.
So we start (or started) Sunday night.

Let the games begin.
And may the odds be ever in my favor.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Savvy Source

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I haven't had a chance yet to tell you what I've been doing lately!

Have you been to The Savvy Source yet?

It's a website created by a mom (and lifelong educator) after searching for information on 
sending her daughter to preschool.

She found there weren't a lot of resources out there to help parents with this big step
and even she needed help with the task of finding the right preschool.
She realized (like we all do) that she received the most fantastic information from fellow parents.

Shortly after the Savvy Source was created as a way of sharing information on choosing, gaining admission and ratings on over 100,000 preschools across the U.S.

Since then the site has grown to include sooo much more than preschool information.

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Now there are tons of different ways for parents to share information with each other.

Savvy Source users can create and join Groups, 
follow their favorite parenting bloggers, 
publish updates and a family journal, 
share favorite books, toys and gear, and much much more. 

We have articles from leading child development experts, 
and hundreds of educational activities that you can do at home with your preschool aged children. 

We also have unique local information from our city editors (that's me!)
about fun things to do with kids in major cities across the country.

The site is area specific and I love this.  
When I pull it up I get events and information for our area.

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You know we love to find fun things to do and the Savvy Source has 2 pages that are perfect.

The places page lists, well, places for us to go but by far my favorite page is the events page.

There is a list of events and all the pertinent info broken down in to day (and even time of day).
You have no idea how many events, story times, and festivals I've found out about.

I'm really excited to be part of this site!

I'll be writing articles a couple times a month on things to do in Orange County.
Links to my previous 2 are under the pictures.

So stop on by and give me a visit!

P.S.  If you are in OC and know of events I could include, then send me an email at dandy7321@yahoo.com  We're looking for anything family friendly.

P.P.S.  Thank you to all my Facebook friends for responding to my constant questions 
about specific things to do in OC. 
I've been taking B and Peanut all over the place, exploring the suggestions you leave.
No doubt you'll be seeing some of them in my articles :)


P.P.P.S.  I should add that even if you aren't near me, there might be information for events near you.  
Check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Picking up the pace

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For a few days the weather was cool and I could just feel fall around the corner.

I'm ready for it, although the heat today was just mocking me. 

It seems that now we're really picking up the pace and I have a feeling we'll be busy, busy.

Busy in a good way.  I hope :)


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Autumn Party-  if I had this space we'd have a party for every season

As always there are a million things I want to do and a million plans I have.
A million memories I want to make.

Next week we'll be house-sitting at my parents while they are out of town.
I'm sort of dreading it because it looks at though, if we are ever going to attempt sleep training,
then next week is our one chance.

But don't quote me on that.  I had a hard time just typing the words "sleep training".
Can I just say that we'll be letting him cry more than we are able to at home?
~wrings hands~

This month also marks a birthday for me, several of my friends and my mom.
We also have 2 baby birthday parties to go to.

We finish off the month with Peanut's baptism.
I'm planning for that now and am really excited about it.

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Somehow I'll be making time for some fall treats.

It's one of the things I look forward to most.

Pumpkin, apples, spices, root veggies.  
Oh I love fall foods.

Can you feel the comfort?

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At the very end of this month we'll head up to Sacramento for a little vacation
with family that will stretch into the first few days of October.

I seriously can't wait to bring Peanut up there. 
He hasn't been since February and he has changed so much.

Although we've been able to squeeze some family visits in since then,
not all the family has been able to see him and not for as long as this visit.

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Shortly after is B's birthday and then 2 weeks later is.....

Halloween and the birth of our Great Pumpkin/Peanut/Moose. :)

We're already in full party planning mode.

There is something special (and big) about the 1st birthday.

It seems to be the biggest celebration.

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We're doing a Halloween Cupcakes and Costume Party.

Although I know eventually he won't want a Halloween party and 
eventually he'll want a say in his party....
I'm going to plan this for as long as I can.

I've been pinning away and my mom and I have been scribbling plans.
We've been sewing and have come up with enough ideas for several years worth of parties.
The goal is to get a little done at a time, so as not to be scrambling at the last minute.

That's the goal anyway.
I've always found that the more time I have the more I plan.

~~~~

ALSO, I just have to share....
I am holding in my hand a check....
made out to me....
for an article I wrote.

My very first check for writing.
Does that make me a writer?

It's quite small but it has my name on it.
I think I'll take a picture.
Then I'll check that off my bucket list.

I know it's just a little thing, but I really am proud.
I'd be writing anyway so it's icing on the cake.

Now I'm off to do some online birthday shopping.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Running on Empty

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This sweet little boy, so full of curiosity and wonder,
sometimes quiet, sometimes brimming with excitement,
this boy that has never had a meltdown while we're out,
who loves to sit for story time,
this boy that plays happily by himself,
chatting noisily, laughing randomly,
this sweet little boy,

is going to be the death.of.me.if.he.doesn't.start.sleeping.soon.

Dear. God.  Help.  Me.

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He has never been a good sleeper.

Even as a newborn when everyone said that he would be sleeping all the time... well he didn't.

And naps?  Naps are a whole different post.  A series of posts.
Naptime is a battle unto itself.

He hates sleeping.  He hates naps the most.

The thing is, he never gets all that grouchy.
But he needs them, you can see it in the bags under his eyes and 
when we don't get enough napping in, well bedtime is a nightmare.

He's never slept thru the night really.  
He would wake twice to drink a bottle and then go right back to sleep.

Getting him to drink a bottle during the day is nearly impossible.
He'll take in a few ounces of fluid a day, no matter what I'm trying to give him.

It didn't matter much because he was relatively easy to put to bed and 
wasn't up for long those 2 times a night.

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In the beginning of July he slept for 9 hours straight which was the longest since birth...
 and he was 8 months old.

That week he slept 8 or 9 hours a night, once was actually 10 hours and I nearly threw a party for it.

Then the teething started.  He cut 5 teeth in less than 2 weeks and gave up sleep.

I thought that after the teeth thing settled then we would go back to sleeping.

Only we didn't.

Saying we didn't is an colossal understatement.

The child's sleeping pattern is getting worse.

At first he would just wake every 3 hours or so and want to down a bottle.

Right around that time he learned to stand, waking, standing and screaming for me to come get him.

Before this he would just roll around until he went back to sleep.

Standing really threw a wrench into things.

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Now the kid is up ALL THE TIME.

Oddly enough he's started taking in 12 or so ounces a day but still wants at least 2 full bottles a night.

 Either way he is still up constantly.

He has completely lost the ability to put himself back to sleep.

Sometimes he takes a bottle and goes right back to sleep but I'm still required to get up and get him.

Yes, I know that bottle will rot his teeth.

If he's had enough formula for the day then I just give him water.....
not that I care because when I'm up for the 30th time in a night I would give him vodka if it meant I could sleep for 2 straight hours.

This last week he's been up every 45 minutes to an hour.

And he gets up screaming.  It starts with a cry and escalates to a scream faster than the speed of light.

Occasionally he falls asleep the minute I pick him up.

He just wants to be held and often wakes the moment I put him down.

A few nights ago he even fell asleep on the changing table as I was changing his diaper.

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And yes, at this point I think crying it out would be a darn good idea.

The thing is... I live in an apartment and we share 2 walls and a floor with neighbors.

If it even crossed your minds that they would be understanding then you are sadly mistaken.

I mean, hey, I'm tired of waking up too 
but the downstairs neighbors can't even take the daytime pre-nap crying.

I'd been letting him cry at nap time when it didn't stress me 
that the neighbors were being tortured out of sleep.  

Someone else shared with me a that a week or so ago when Peanut was crying,
the downstairs neighbor proceeded to slam the windows shut whilst screaming
"Shut the @%&# up!".  
Not that I heard her, or that I've ever had a conversation with her, or even know her name...
but really?  She couldn't talk to me?
She thought that screaming profanities would make things better?

We've lived here for years and never had a problem, although they just moved in last year.
I should've known something was up when I noticed her dart for her door as I was coming up the walk.

None of the other neighbors have any complaints and apparently have told her that Peanut is just a baby and baby's sometimes cry.

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Anyway, I don't think crying it out is an option.

Unless you want to let me come live with you when we get evicted.

I should add that he would sleep longer in bed with us.

In the mornings he wakes around 5 or 6 and I always bring him back to bed with us, 
where he sleeps happily for another couple hours.

I just don't want him in bed with us all night.
Mama needs her space.
I never sleep that well with him up against me, sweating and kicking and making noises,
while he and his daddy take up the whole bed,
and I hang on for dear life on the edge.

A night here or there is fine.  It's nice even.
But it's not something that I want to do when he is freaking out every hour.
I don't want it to be a reward for his constant waking.

But I need sleep and B needs sleep
and I suppose Peanut needs sleep but he doesn't seem to be bothered by this new arrangement.

It's like having a newborn again... only worse because I have waaaaaay less patience.

We're running on empty here. 

Pray that Peanut will start sleeping so I'm not forced to leave him on some doorstep.
Baby for sale!

And then sometimes in the mornings, after a particularly rough night,
he will wake up and pat my face and give me kisses and pull my arm around him to snuggle some more.

I'll look at him (through my stinging bloodshot eyes) and think about how God knew what he was doing when he made this kid so cute, because really if he weren't, oh man, we'd be in a world of trouble.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mr. Pickles Sandwiches (and some sharks)

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What do sandwiches and sharks have in common?

Absolutely nothing,
except for the fact that we had a picnic of Mr. Pickles outside the aquarium.

B found out that morning that he didn't have to work and we decided to head to the aquarium.

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I've been hearing about Mr. Pickles sandwiches for a while.

In fact, there is a list of sandwiches that I want to try but I needed to pick one that would travel well.

When we have time to sit I want to try The Hot T 
which has hot turkey, melted pepper jack, baja sauce & cranberry sauce.

I love cranberry sauce on a sandwich.

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For the first time in months we were able to see the sharks 
because their wasn't a huge crowd in front of the windows.

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I kept focusing my camera on the sharks in the middle of the tank.

I would only be looking thru my viewfinder and then
one of these guys would pop up in front of the camera and scare the bejeezus out of me.

It's unnerving. 

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Afterwards we sat on the grass outside, overlooking the boats and the lighthouse 
and enjoyed our sandwiches.

Man those sandwiches are good... and huge.. and hardy.

I mean, the BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado & tomato) is a double decker!

Peanut and I shared the turkey, avocado and cream cheese, 
which you would be able to see if it weren't so blown out.

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Although I was pulling out the things that he could eat,
Peanut really wanted to bite it like a big boy.

It was really weird sitting on the grass with our little man, 
sharing grown-up food with him,
watching him crawl around.

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It was one of those perfect gorgeous days.

Impromptu picnic, happy baby, good food, fun exploring, happy parents.
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