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Quick story: The other day we were at the beach, and there was an older man (grey hair) sitting on a bench putting on his shoes. Asa looks over and says “Old Man, Bench!”, which was slightly embarrassing, but we were impressed that he knew how to distinguish and say “Old Man” as opposed to just “Man” (which come to think of it, he never said before either).
Anyway, over the last few days we’ve learned that Asa calls ANY adult male “Old Man”…Including ME. Oh well…I guess I can’t hide from the facts any more, I AM an old man (at least compared to him…)
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Olivia managed to put together not one, but TWO costumes for Asa this Halloween! And both very cleverly make use of a bandana 🙂 The first one he wore to his Waldorf class in the morning – he is really into trains, and was pretty excited by it.
And then for the evening, he changed into a cowboy!
We went out for a walk around our neighborhood, which as it turns out is a famous neighborhood for Halloween, and people come from all over to trick-or-treat. There are some houses who really do their houses up (the “Alice in Zombieland” down our block was AMAZING with full size zombie figures, giant playing cards, and people dressed up in gargoyle costumes who stayed perfectly still and then scared the pants of onlookers by moving once in a while!), many even with beer, wine, and even cocktails for the adults! It is kind of a crazy street party, not quite the place for a little child, but we just walked through it quickly and stopped at our friend’s house to say hi, then came home.
Here he is in his stroller, out past his bedtime, with flashlight and raisins (from my traditional “healthy candy bowl” – I can’t believe kids still come to our house!)
We also scored a bunch of glow-stick/bracelet thingees, which he had fun with (they even helped us get him to wash his hands, it worked at least once…). All in all a great Halloween!
BONUS: I just back-posted some pictures from last Halloween. Click here to see how much he’s changed in a year!
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So, we can’t remember the last time (if ever) we’ve been to a pumpkin patch, but we’d been hearing other people talk about them for a few weeks, seeing pictures on Facebook of our friends with their children at pumpkin patches, so it seemed like the parent-ly thing to do in October. We looked it up, and the most famous pumpkin patch (I never knew there were famous ones) in our area is called Lemos Farms, in Half Moon Bay, about 45 minutes from Oakland. Besides pumpkins, it promised pony rides, hay rides, haunted house, a petting zoo, and most importantly, train rides! What’s not to like? We still never really committed to going, but it finally got down to the 2nd last weekend before Halloween, so we figure we’d better go. Asa had been dying to go on a train ride, since he’s obsessed with them right now. So we drive over there on a Sunday, cleverly going down Highway 1 to avoid the crazy pumpkin patach traffic on Westbound 92.
There were a number of pumpkin patches all around Lemos Farms, they all had a different look, some of them had pony rides, haunted houses, etc, but EVERYONE seemed to be just going straight for Lemos. We parked in an unmarked dirt lot, and headed over. There was a long line of people waiting for some traffic cops to stop traffic to let people cross the road. I briefly considered if we really needed to go to Lemos, since the one on our side of the street (Pastorino’s) seemed pretty nice. But I figured we had come all this way, we should probably at least see what this Lemos hype was all about – maybe they were just THAT much better than all the other pumpkin patches?
So we head on over, and the place is crazy (as usual, these are just some of the pictures from our day – to see the full gallery, click here – for the techier of you, I finally decided to switch to Google/Picasa Web Albums, just easier to upload stuff, and a nicer, more reliable UI, let me know how you like it) :
Swarming with people. Lines everywhere, we didn’t know where to start. We had to go find a concession stand to buy tickets for each of the rides, and then go wait in those lines individually. We got tickets for the train ride (the main attraction for us), but went to check out the petting zoo first. For $1 you get a dixie cup full of pellets to feed some goats in a pen. The poor things are so stuffed from hundreds of little hands being stuffed in their faces all day (probably all month), none of them eat any of our pellets. Asa’s also a little shy of the goats at first, but he eventually warms up:
We give our cups of pellets back to the “zookeepers”, and head down to get on the train. Turns out the line takes 45 minutes to an hour! We didn’t think Asa would have the patience to wait that long, so we decide to take him on the pony ride, which had a much shorter line. I went back to the concession stand to get tickets while Olivia and Asa waited in the pony line, but now there was a long line for tickets, and by the time I got back, Olivia had been around the line twice and had just made it to the very back of the line…Oh well, maybe still faster than the train line…
We weren’t entirely sure he’d get on (or stay on) the pony – parents aren’t allowed to walk next to the children, you have to sign a waiver, hand your kid over to one of the handlers, they stick them on a pony (sometimes they don’t even make them stop) and away they go. But Asa seemed really eager to get on a pony, he was watching all the other children very carefully, and kept pointing at the ponies and saying he wanted to ride the black one, etc etc. So we thought, maybe there’s a chance. When it finally came to our turn, he actually let the handler hold him while his pony came around, so we thought maybe he’ll really get on!
His pony came and they lifted him up to put him on, but at the very last second (neither of us really saw what happened) Asa must have flinched or pulled away or something, but back he came, they just handed him back to me. They ran a tight ship there, and I guess if there was any hesitation at all, they just “abort” and move on to the next child. Oh well, so no train, and no pony. It’s starting to get close to his nap time, and we are getting hungry and worried that this will end up being a total bust. We take a few pictures of him with the pumpkins, wait in another line for popcorn, and then wait in line again to cross the street back to Pastorino’s.
What a difference! There are 10x less people here, but the place is actually nicer than Lemos! They have all the same rides, much more open space, and most importantly, no line for the train!
It was a pretty interesting “train” ride (on wheels), it went through a couple of their greenhouses (good advertising), and also a quick “sneak preview” of their haunted house (we tried to avert Asa’s eyes). But Asa was happy. Asa rode on a little wagon, we had a little snack break, and thought about getting some pumpkins, but it was way past his nap time and he was starting to get a little frustrated.
So we walked back to our car, and the entrance to our lot had been cordoned off – a man told us that it belonged to the 4-C’s pumpkin patch just next door, so we felt obliged to go check it out (Asa also decided he definitely wanted to buy some pumpkins, so we thought we’d just go get some from there). They had a huge field full of pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors:
But more importantly, they had FOOD!
We did some quick pumpkin shopping, then had some tacos for lunch.
Asa does this cool thing where he pretends to be a bee and flies from thing to thing, he sort of crouches down and lifts his arms up. He did it between pumpkins, it was pretty cute.
The tacos were the most delicious food we had ever eaten (in the last 8 hours)! After that we got in the car, and Asa was out like a light! All in all it was a fun time, but next year we’re definitely not going to fall for the Lemos scam…
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Asa’s in the midst of a “language explosion” right now – pretty much every word you say to him, he can say back (his latest word is “Velcro”!). He’s learning about 2 new words a day now, and I imagine it won’t be long until he is a master orator. Just so we can remember him in his cute formative verbal days, here’s a list of the first set of words he’s been able to say (or sign) in the past few months:
Kitty: Started out as “Tee-tee”, but is now “Mao!” (he sometimes makes it very loud), and is merged with “Cat”.
Dog: (Sticks his tongue out)
Chicken: This started with “Cock-aaaah!” (his version of Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!) in Hawaii, but now he says “Bok-bok”
Fish: “Buh-buh-buh” (like the bubbles sometimes shown in pictures of fish in books – he also knows that this is the same thing that we sometimes eat, he’ll make the sound when we’re eating fish for dinner)
Bird: “Teeet-teet!” (high and loud)
Frog: “Grruhh” (a really nice back of the throat croak – he learned this in Singapore when we were walking around a pond at Bayshore around midnight, his first ever encounter with frogs)
Tiger-Frog: “Grraahh!” (seriously!)
I Want To Go Somewhere: “Go Go!” (Loud, and usually pointing somewhere) – His first word used as a directive.
I Want That: (Points at thing, then points to the middle of his palm)
Eat: (Points inside his mouth and makes smacking sounds)
More: Used to be clapping his hands together (his first sign), but now he can say “Moh!”
I Hear Something: (Touches his ear)
I Want To Go To Sleep: (Turns his head sideways, resting on his palm)
Where?: (Folds both hands outwards)
Dance: (Bounces up and down and swivels his body side to side with his arms slightly tucked in – exactly how I dance)
Ball: “Boh!” or “Ball”
Bath: (Brings both hands to chest and mimics washing)
No: “Naow Naow” (he says this when he knows he’s not supposed to do something – he’ll still do it, but says “Naow Naow” and looks at us) or just “Naw!”
Water: (Squeezes hand into fist a few times)
Flower: (Sticks his finger in his nose and sniffs)
Peach: “Momo” (we taught him the Japanese word because it is so cute!)
Star: “Tahhhh!” (He learned this from his friend, Adi)
Rain: (Raises his hand up and brings it down while wiggling his fingers)
Motorcycle: “Brrruuum” (He’s kind of obsessed with them)
Train: “Toooo-toooo!” (REALLY high and REALLY loud – he gets really excited by trains)
Truck: “Tuck!” (Also bounces on his feet like “dance” – this is from the Train Song from Music Together)
Airplane: (Waves his hand back and forth in the air and blows)
Hat: (Pats his head – also used for Helmet or any other headgear)
Guitar: Says “Goo” and strums his hand in the air like he’s playing air guitar – he doesn’t do this anymore, though.
Bye Bye: “Bah bah” (This is a little more recent, but had to mention it because it sounds like he has a proper southern accent!)
Bye Bye Ba Ba/Work: Also recently he has started blowing kisses to me when I leave for work – now the sign is almost synonymous with “Work”.
Just wanted to get these down in writing for posterity, I’m sure it will be hard to remember these in a few more months.
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This May, Auntie Katie visited us for the 2nd time (the first time was last June, but I shamefully never got it together to make her a post until now…) Even though she was just coming off off a busy work season and massive conference in LA, she immediately switched into “Auntie” mode, and proceeded to entertain and educate Asa like the wonderful Auntie she is! When she walked up the stairs to the door, Asa and Olivia were having dinner. She peeked in and rapped on the window, and Asa’s face lit up! For the next few days, Asa would point to Katie, then point to the window.
All the pictures are in the gallery, but here are some of her entertaining:
We also had a good time going out to the gourmet food court in Berkeley.
We sat outside and ate, and when Asa was done with his food, Auntie Katie kept him company running around the garden and keeping him out of trouble. We capped it off with Asa’s first sorbet (he’s eaten bits of sorbet before, but this time he basically ate Olivia’s whole cup!)
Auntie Katie also taught Asa a lot about his body parts, like his tongue
His belly button
And a little more complicated was his elbow. Here she is showing him where it is:
We weren’t sure he’d be able to pick it up, but sure enough, now when we ask him where his elbow is, he points here:
(Close enough for 16 months!) and even says “bow!”
Everyone was sad to see her go, but we are all looking forward to her next visit. You know he’ll be waiting for your knock on the window!
And as a special addition, because Katie never got her blog post from last year, here are some precious pictures of the two of them from last June…
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To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we went for brunch at Gather, one of our favorite restaurants (it’s also where we went last year – a tradition in the making).
Asa has been having really tough teething pains for the past few days, it is getting better, but he doesn’t have quite the appetite that he usually does. Still, he managed to enjoy some brunch (especially some mushrooms!) before going back home for a late nap.
After his nap, we had a quick “ba-bump”-ing (what we call a piggy-back ride),
and headed out to the Merry-Go-Round in Berkeley’s Tilden Park.
I guess a Merry-Go-Round is a pretty intense experience, with all the lights and the music and the giant animals. Asa was really quite excited to get on a giant rooster.
But once we started moving (it was a lot faster than we were expecting), he wasn’t so sure…
Poor thing started shivering when it started moving, but he braved it out, and as soon as we got off, he signed for “more”! We decided not to risk it again, but instead spent some time outside on the awesome lawn. We’ve been having great weather for the past week or so, and it was around 5 o’clock (“Golden Hour” for photographers) in Tilden Park, so we got some great pictures! (Many more in the gallery, as usual)
We finally made it home, where Happy McAllen, the neighbor’s cat who is a frequent visitor to our house and one of Asa’s good friends, decided to go attack mode on Asa 🙁 Got a few good scratches right across his face (so glad he didn’t get his eyes), which was pretty frightening for Asa. Happy actually scratched my arm pretty bad just the other day when I tried to pick him up, and Asa’s gotten scratched by him before when he was much smaller, so I think no more visits for a while.
After a bit of calming down, Asa was back in a good mood, and we Skyped Mombi and Grandy to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day.
All in all, it was a really nice day. Asa and I are lucky to have such an incredible Mother in the family, thank you for taking such good care of us! Happy Mother’s Day Olivia, it’s your holiday! 🙂
Oh, and here are some pictures from last year, to see how much Asa’s grown!
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Well, this is kind of embarrassing, it’s been months since my last real post. BUT I just realized I can back-date my posts, so I’m going to try and keep you up to date starting now, and try to fill in the last 6 months as soon as I can!
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One year ago, you blessed us by joining our family here on earth.
Today we had a great time on Kauai, getting a smoothie in Kapaa, and playing at the playground and beach at Lydgate Park. We also tried taking some “glamour shots” with Asa in his birthday suit (a Lei and headpiece). What a difference from a year before!
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In October, Asa took his first airplane ride, to attend his Auntie Laura (or Auntie Awesome as she prefers to be called) ‘s wedding in North Carolina (his ancestral home, as I like to call it :))! Too many pictures to post right here, so as usual, here are some of the highlights, you can go to the gallery for the full album.
Here he is at the airport, waiting for us to board.
We were very scared of how he would do on the flight: would he be able to sleep, would his ears hurt, what were we going to do with him for 5 hours, etc… He ended up falling asleep right after takeoff, we were both shocked and wondered if we were going to get lucky on our first trip. Of course, as soon as we reached cruising altitude, the captain’s voice blared over the PA system, and he woke up. And didn’t sleep for the rest of the flight. But he maintained his usual positive attitude through most of the flight. We had brought a whole bag of new toys for him to play with, and he was fascinated by the TV screen and the tray table, and we had a friendly seat-mate who he played with for a little while. So all in all his first flight was a success. Though he was happy when we were on the ground again:
One notable achievement on this day was that he learned how to clap his hands! I first noticed it before we took off when we were in the bathroom (he clapped at his reflection in the mirror), and continued to clap, or play patty-cake, throughout the trip (and to this day!) It was almost impossible to get a video of him doing it, but you can see a tiny snippet of it at the beginning of this video (before he almost kicks himself out of his high chair):
We spent the first few days at Maw Maw (Asa’s great grandmother)’s lake house. He really enjoyed meeting Uncle Joel and Aunt Judy (some of the biggest fans of his blog – a couple more pictures of you in the gallery!):
And shared some special moments with Maw Maw on the couch, including when he basically sat there quietly and ate a whole apple! (a special “Magnabone” apple they get from the mountains every year)
Of course, the “main event” was Laura and Phillip’s wedding. Here’s Asa at the rehearsal giving the groom a honk on the nose for good luck:
And on the special day itself, posing with the beautiful bride “backstage”:
We took a little walk to the beautiful river outside the old mill where the wedding was being held, and Asa found a little Asa-sized pumpkin, presumably from a previous event.
And here’s an awesome shot that Paige (the official photographer) got of Asa in his full regalia (yes, that is a peacock feather in his cap!), meeting Aunt Amanda for the first time. I think he looks like a train engineer – a super-cute baby train engineer:
He had lots of fun at the wedding and reception, what a beautiful venue, especially after the sun went down and the lights came on. Here’s one of him with Olivia, also all dressed up for the occasion:
He stayed up past his bedtime, but it was all worth it. Congratulations to Laura and Phillip on their wonderful wedding and marriage! And Asa is looking forward to the day when he will have more cousins to play with! 😉
We got home so late, we went straight to bed without washing up. So he had to have a sink bath the next morning. He seemed to enjoy it!
Other than the wedding, we also took a couple of quick trips to visit friends (which I’ll write about in the next post), and spent some quality time with the family:
Eventually we had to leave all our family and friends and come home to California- on the flight back he slept a little bit longer, and learned how to wave to people – but we would be back to North Carolina in just a couple of months (and in a few more blog posts)!
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