Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No more milk at night

Last week, we had out first dental appointment. At first, we discussed, his meal habits: what he eats, how many sweets, if any, how do we brush his teeth, how many times at day, does he still drink milk from a bottle at night etc.
Bryce was still drinking milk from a bottle at night, approx twice every night. I knew this would be an issue and the dentist would tell us/ advise us to let it go. And she did.:)
The best way would be to just to cut it short and put water in the bottle but if the little one does not like such a dramatic change then it would be a graduate process where the the milk would be diluted with water 'til the quantity of water would replace the milk.
We knew eventually this milk situation needs to end, we were just not sure when to do it exactly. So, this dentist appointment gave us at least the impulse to try it. So, that night we started giving him a bottle full of flat water and guess what, to our surprise, he didn't complain at all and over the course of few nights he didn't bother to wake up just to drink a bottle of water.:)
So, it's been more than a week now and he doesn't seem to be bothered at all. I hope it's as easy as it's been so far and I don't write an update where he'd ask for the bottle back.:)
Sometimes, it takes just a little visit to the dentist office.:)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Funny associations and more about bilingualism

It is so interesting to watch the way his vocabulary expands. Every day new words, new sentences, new associations.
There are some of the latter which I find very funny:

- Cai (he repeats this name every time he sees a dog in association with Cali, his grand parent's big, black dog)
-Myna ( he says every time he sees a big SUV just as the one his grand parents have or when he says somebody playing an instrument, just as Myrna's husband, Dan is doing)
- Mami (every time he sees a woman saying something on youtube or when he sees a PT cruise, the car his "mami" is driving
- same for "Tati" ;
- "two" for every number we're counting;
In terms of bilingualism, he still chooses to say the easiest words from each language: he will say "blue" but not "albastru". LOL, it's kind of hard.
I'm thinking going to pre-school 3 days a week/ 4 hours a day helps in acquiring more English language skills: all his sentences are so far in English and none in Romanian.
He says: "I want apa", I want eat", "I want house", "I built house", "I want hat", "I want mami", "I want car"(car) etc
Although, there's no palpable evidence of actually saying more Romanian words, I feel his Romanian vocabulary evolved as well, especially at an understanding level, as I talk to him in more elaborate sentences than before and he answers positively by letting me know he understands what I'm talking about.
My strategy is to obviously continue talking to him in Romanian and every time he asks something in English, I ALWAYS reply to him in Romanian.

Edit: this week our friend,Sho, came by for a playdate. He also comes from a bilingual family: his mother is Japanese and his father is Afro-American. I remember reading in the bilingual books I've mentioned earlier in my posts, that there is no evidence bilingual kids would start talking later than monolingual kids. I have to say I was skeptical about it, as all the bilingual I've met so far started talking way later than their monolingual peers. Well, Sho changed my opinion, as he's not even 2 yo and he already speaks a lot of words in both English and Japanese. He's not yet fluent in any of the languages, nor does he make any sentences but he says way more words than Bryce, my son, for example says at 27 months.
As I wrote before this is an on going process, so I'll keep updating as the days, weeks go by.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sentences

Bryce: "Mommy, I want hat", "Mommy, I want juice", "Mommy, I want jos", "Mommy, I want apa".

Mommy: "Bryce, poti sa spui " te rog sau please"

Bryce keeping his teeth together: "Piiiiiiizzzz".:)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We will be 4

It's official!! Baby no 2 is on his/her way! 12 weeks and counting, due date, May 7th 2012. For an obvious reason this blog will not be called anymore "My life with Bryce" but "My life with Bryce and..." will fill in the blanks later in the journey.
Not too many differences from the 1st pregnancy: same nausea which will not leave for weeks and put a hold on my body from morning 'til down, more vomiting this time than the previous time, wakings up in the middle of the night, some varicose veins and that's it so far for the 1st trimester.
I'll keep the blog updated as more news will come in.
So, welcome in our life little one!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Raising a bilingual child

I'm sure a lot of parents have gone through this process, for some, I'm sure it seemed easy, for others challenging.
Even since I said my "I do" in front of my future hubby, I knew I wanted my kids to know Romanian. And when I say "know", I mean: understanding it, speaking, it, writing it, reading it. Even if I'm way too early in this process to say: "I'm gonna be there" or " I will succeed", I just hope our kids will not be only fluent in Romanian and English but also French and at least Spanish.
I strongly believe "bilingualism" and further more "multilingualism" has more benefits then generally people realize.
Because I'm not only a first time mom but also a first timer in raising my baby bilingual, I wanted to have a different view of this matter from the point of view of 2 professionals and mothers in the same time whose kids are already bilingual. That's how I came across and read 2 books:

1. Raising a bilingual child  by Barbara Zurer Pearson, PhD

2. 7 steps to raising a bilingual child by Naomi Steiner, MD

As you may have already noticed the first writer is an academic teacher, the second is a doctor, but both of them are mothers and have raised bilingual kids.

The books are different in approaching the subject but at the end of the day, they draw the same conclusions: how important bilingualism is and that the best way to approach it is by being persistent and consistent.
Basically, the one important method to raise your kids bilingual is OPOL (One Parent One Language), meaning that, for example, in our family's case, I only speak with my kid in Romanian and my husband talks to him in English. It's also important to keep talking to him in the minority language as much as you can during daytime (even if you're out doors or indoors) Pearson would suggest an average of at least 4 hours a day in the minority language. Extra material (like books, songs, Tv etc) in the minority language also helps a lot, as well as the exposure to other people talking in the minority language (like grand parents, cousins, aunts etc)
Always keep in mind that your kid will always be more advanced in the community language (ex. English) than the minority language he/she hears at home.
And also, in the first years of life, it is very normal for the bilingual kids to mix words from both languages. (my son, who is 25 months, mixes words from English and Romanian, having a tendency of learning the easiest words from both languages, but he is perfectly understanding both English and Romanian).
Don't get intimidated by people telling you to stop talking in another language 'cause it will confuse the kid. There's not such thing as that because the human brain is set up in such a way as to absorb as many languages from an early age without any problem.
Bottom line, having read the 2 books, I can not tell I got the winning recipe or the right way to do it! I believe every experience is different as every situation is different. But, by reading the books, I got to understand some situations that I would't have otherwise and I also became more confident I was doing the right thing.
If you want to raise your kid bilingual, first you need to commit yourself to it, stick with it and be persistent. Reading these books or some other material about it also  helps a lot.
As our bilingual journey continues, I will write more about it.

Pre-schooling days

My little one started preschool. 3 days a week, 4 hours a day. It's his 3rd week already and things are getting smoother.
If in the first week, my husband had to stay with him all the time, now we bring him in the morning and leave after about 30 minutes. He still cries a bit after we leave but it goes away really fast and he starts playing with the kids or miss Monique with no more drama.
When we go to pick him up @ noon, he is both happy to see us but also very proud of himself and his accomplishments. He shows us what he did, what he painted, how he played. He really likes his little preschool.
More to write about it...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

24 months check-up

We were a bit late for the 24 months check-up. Let's say 24 months and 2 weeks check-up:

Height: 36"
Weight : 25 lbs

We need to come back in 2 months as mr. Picky right here didn't gain any weight. He's healthy and all but sometimes I have the feeling he's living with air.:)

We also did the chicken pox vaccine. No fever, no problems.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toddering in Cancun - part 2

Ok, let's continue our adventures:

4th day:

-we've decided to stay around the hotel and just relax after the exciting day at XEL-HA and TULUM (I believe everyone who will go there, will need a day off after).
So, after some splash, splash in the pool and the Caribbean, we've decided to shop some traditional items; apparently, the best place to go for these kind of souvenirs is called Mercado 28. We got there by cab and got sucked up in the shopping vibe. The place is not that traditional but amid the usual, crappy, souvenirs, you can find some little goodies. Personally, I found a little store with handmade shirts and dresses (very beautifully sewn) where I've purchased two darling shirts for my son. And in the craziness of silver jewelry, I actually found a place where I bought a beautiful, amber and silver bracelet, a bit different than everything else you'd see in other shops.
Anyway, overall, I didn't find it being the best place of traditional items, it's filled with a lot of plastic, cheap shit, prices are overall expensive, you get to negotiate but they start so high, there's no way to get a good deal, but if you are in the neighborhood, and have some time to kill, go and visit it!
One little advice for the family with kids! We took the cab almost everywhere we went. Cabs don't have car seats and sometimes the cab drivers can be a bit "loco" when driving. Tell them to slow down and hang on to your kids, that should do it! Generally, the distances are not too far away one from each other so the cars don't get to go that fast.

Restaurants in Cancun

If you don't go for an all-inclusive kind of deal, there are some good restaurants in Cancun that are worh trying. My favorite is, by far

1. The crab house - the seafood is fresh and to die for. Service is great and the restaurant itself is very cute and with some amazing views towards the golf;

2. Argentinian Steak House - if you like beef, then this is the place to go. Big, amazing, juicy steaks. Great side dishes. The food is to die for. Very kids friendly.

3. The Habichuela restaurant : this place is especially impressive by the interior and exterior design. It sits on Maya ruins so the moment you come down the stairs, your feet will touch the glass floor that protects the beautiful ruins beneath. The service was good and the food although interesting in taste did not impress me otherwise.

4. Ruth's steak house : good steaks, nice sides, nothing too impressive.

5. Cenacolo restaurant: although this restaurant seemed to have the right ingredients for being a good one , for some reason it's not. The food selection is scarce, apparently their thing is homemade pasta but even so there's not too much to choose from, the salad I've ordered didn't even remotely came close to the presentation and the price tag so, this place should either revise their menu or just redefine itself.

6. Mocambo restaurant: kind of a cheap, bad mexican food although the view is pretty amazing.

5th day:

We decided to go by ourselves (no more organized tours) to see Isla Mujeres. To get to Isla Mujeres you need to take a boat. There are special places where you can buy the tickets and from where the boats live. The tickets costed around 30 USD and then we also rented a golf cart for the whole day which was an extra 50 USD, that put us to a total of 80 USD.
Isla Mujeres is a very interesting place. You finally get out from the all pampered, nice and shiny hotels and malls and meet some kind of reality: abandoned houses, stray dogs, simple people selling their stuff on the street in order to make a living. But beside this, there was something magical about this island. The raw life, the white sands, the blue and clear sea. We drove up and down, visited the turtles farm, enjoyed the wide almost deserted beaches and then shop in those shaky, little stores.
When it came time to eat and having a toddler on board, we searched for a clean, nice place and we found it in:

- Villa Rolandi - such a cozy, nice place on the shore of the sea with spectacular views and a beautiful layout. The food was great and the service quick and efficient.

The Cancun vacation definitely set up the bar for our future traveling destinations as a family. Overall, it was a great experience, full of fun, sun and great memories and pictures, too. If Cancun is on your waiting list, don't hesitate to go there, you will not regret it!




Friday, August 12, 2011

Toddlering in Cancun, part 1

This year, we decided for a family vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Since it's only 4 1/2 hours away from Los Angeles by plane, we figured it will be the perfect family get away. And it was.
We got to the Intercontinetal El Presidente hotel around 8 in the evening (it was already dark, we couldn't see much outside, except for the amazing pool and the unbelievable warm water of the sea).
Facts about the hotel:
-El Presidente is most likely not the most beautiful, awesome hotel I've ever stay in, BUT we had a very nice suit with a big bath and shower and a big balcony looking towards the Caribbean (the view was breathtaking):

-because we were having an upgraded status, we were getting in the morning complimentary breakfast (a nice buffet- fruits, cereals, omelet bar, pancakes, fresh orange juice or mixed fruits juice, coffee, milk); it was not a big buffet but big enough to satisfy any morning hunger and with lots of options to feed a toddler (my son, 23 months will have fresh fruits, cereals, omelet, fresh orange juice). If you want a bigger, better breakfast you can go to the restaurant downstairs where you could have a bigger buffet selection and you could order an expresso (the only place to order an expresso) which was a big plus for me. Also, you'd have to pay for this one (generally around $50 for 2 persons, tip included)
Overall, I wouldn't say the food at this particular restaurant was that great. If I'd have to give them some stars, it would be somewhere between 2 and 3 stars.
The service overall was good (especially the room service and the servers in the restaurant). We didn't find particularly helpful the people from the reception desk (they either didn't understand our request or they were very slow in processing the information or they would just not help). 3 stars as well for the service.
Now, for the sand and the beach. I believe probably El Presidente has one of the nicest beaches on that strip. Meaning is long, wide, you have enough space and you don't feel particularly clutter by anything or anybody. The sand is to die for: soft and white and the water is absolutely the BEST.
Things to do in Cancun with a toddler:
Look, this is not a MUST SEE, MUST DO list while in Cancun. If you don't want to spend all day long by the beach or the pool (which for us it's boring), if you want to get something out of the vacation but not go too crazy 'cause you have a little one, then you can try one of the following or try them all. It's a lot of fun!
-in the second day of our stay, we just wanted to enjoy the beach and the pool of the hotel but in the same time, we wanted to do something fun so we booked a trip on a sailing boat (it was $35/ person); it was divine; the wind was just perfect, the water just blue and clear, the sea views breathtaking; So, if you want to be GREEN, choose a sailing boat and adventure yourself in the sea;


3rd day was:

XEL-HA
-it's a natural aquarium combined with a man made park; it's an absolutely beautiful place;
-to get there you can either go by bus (there are tours organized through the hotel you live in or you can rent your car and be the master of your time); because we didn't know we had other options, we choose the hotel tour and we didn't like it that much (hey, but that's just us, we're a bit picky); first of all, the transportation sucked (excuse my language); The first bus picked us up @ 7:15 am, after making the tour of the hotels to pick up more people, then we end up to another bus station where we had to took another bus to take us to XEL-HA. Total of hours spent in the bus: 3. And this is a 1 1/2 -2 hours kind of trip. So, if we'd have to do it again, we would totally rent a car and be in charge with our own time.
-secondly, once you subscribe for these kind of tours, you have this all-inclusive kind of situation: all you can eat, drink, etc. The food was not good! So, we didn't end up eating that much and we don't drink (alcohol) anyway, so, again, we didn't feel gaining anything.
But once you get there, as I said, the area is very beautiful, well kept and clean. Even if they are areas where little toddlers could hurt themselves (if you are careful and aware of them) then you can have a good time. Once your kid is 5 and older, this is the perfect place to visit and have fun!
In the same tour, there was also included a tour to
TULUM
OMG- what a magical place! The Maya ruins are just beautiful and breathtaking, the whole site is very well kept, the tour guide (or at least the one we had was very, very knowledgeable and funny) and you can totally walk around with your stroller if you have to 'cause there are handicapped built pathways.
BE AWARE of the mosquito bites!!!! They are horrendous!!! I was so annoyed because I packed a mosquito repellant but forgot to put in my backpack so I ,especially, end up with a lot of bites which turned up to be very itchy. So, if you plan to go there, don't forget to use some on your skin!!!

TO BE CONTINUED....


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

He's running, man!

This is what's happening in our recent walks.  We start with Bryce in the little car which he still loves, by the way, then by the middle of the walk, he asks me to let him get down and after that the marathon begins.:)
Gone are the days of the quiet walk. I'm running and running to keep up with my little one.:)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mornings & Mickey

Lately, that's his new ritual: the mornings are spent in the Mickey Mouse Club House. :) It's funny how captivated he is with these characters. He sits quietly in his little chair and watches them, dances with them, jumps with them, claps his hands etc.
I love the way these cartoons are made: very educational and fun. In each episode, they teach them something about sizes, colors, shapes etc and it's interactive as they are asking their viewers if it's right or wrong.
Oh, and I save the best for the last: he got accepted in the Doheny pre-school!!! We're so excited!!!

DA & NU - very clear

I believe he was confused in between languages but now he knows:

- DA is DA (yes)
-NU is NU (no)

He uses them perfectly and he doesn't abuse of the word "NU" yet.:)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swimming lessons

We've noticed how much Bryce enjoys the water plus we have a big swimming pool in our backyard, so safety + fun = swimming lessons.
How to find the best swimming school? How do you know what to expect in a good swimming school? Thanks to the good, almighty internet, we did our research and found the Water whisperer . Good reviews, close to our house. Let's go and contact them.
I called them and started to make the arrangements to begin the swimming classes. Although, the whole process of paying and signing the contract seemed a little bit too strict, we thought we're enrolling for the Academy of swimming, I have to admit the program is pretty awesome and the instructor is amazing!
We got to swim with Brandon! What a great instructor with great energy and instant bonding with the kids! I mean all the kids who are his students absolutely adore him.
Because Bryce is only 21 months old, I have to be in the water with him, but let me tell you, apart from the first 2 minutes of the first class when he cried a bit, after that my baby boy was totally in his element and enjoying every single minute.
The class for the small kids is very well structured: with songs and funny learning skills and we can already see the results: he's kicking, paddling, doing submerges etc. We still have 2 more classes and I'm pretty sure he will not know how to swim but the end of this, but it's a GREAT start and we'll continue 'til he'll get the swimming down.
One more important thing I have to mention: your attitude as a parent NEEDS to be reassuring, rewarding, positive! Our kids mirror our feelings! If we are scared, they will be scared! If we are insecure, they will be insecure! You NEED to show them confidence and believe in their accomplishments!
So, little ones and boys out there who are living in the neighborhood or not come and swim with the Water Whisperer!
I don't have any liaison with the school owner, I'm just a happy mother and client.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

21 months check-up

Height: 34"
Weight: 25 lbs.

Healthy and no issues. Next one is the BIG 24 months! :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

By 20 months

There are so many things happening in these months. So many changes and learnings. If I'd had to summarize the skills he's developed thus far:
-he understands both languages (English and Romanian) perfectly; he responds to our questions, he acknowledges the actions we're asking to
-his vocabulary is growing day by day with words from both languages (although I tend to notice he learns the easy words from each language :)
-he's very quick and receptive (if you show him something he does it right away very precisely)
-he's still very, very focused
-he climbs and gets down the stairs with confidence
-he's very physical and takes on challenges a bit over his age bracket
-sometimes, he sits and invents all kind of cool games all by himself
-he's engaging more in group play ( ex.he takes a car and then brings another one to his papa and asks him to play together a race car game)
-he starts to recognize and play songs and games from the Gymboree lessons
TO BE CONTINUED....

Monday, May 2, 2011

More skills

Me: Bryce cum te cheama? (what's your name?)
Bryce: Bais.
Me: Bryce citi ani ai?
Bryce (showing one finger): Una.:)

TO BE CONTINUED.....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

People have names

Every day there's something new in his vocabulary. But today, in particular, I just found it so awesome that he started saying people names:

Bryce is Bais
Myrna is Mana
Dan is Nan
Rica is Ica

Toddlerhood is becoming even more interesting.

FREDO, the lion

I never thought my baby would get attached to something like a stuffed animal. :) But he did. His best friend for the last 3 weeks is FREDO, the lion. FREDO, the lion is a cute, little stuffed animal that became a member of our family last year when my best friend from Romania, Gabita, brought it as a present for my son.
For months, FREDO, the lion just sat all by himself either on a shelf or a into a bin, but for the last 3 weeks he is the most desired toy from all the gang.:)
He is going everywhere with us: to the island, to the store, in the walks, at bedtime.
And my son just loves him so.
So, welcome to the family: FREDO, the lion.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My baby is bilingual

Yes, it's a fact. I know he's almost 20 months old BUT I also know for sure he's bilingual. He understands both languages and he's saying words both in English and Romanian.
I will keep you posted how this evolves but, for the moment, YUHU, my baby is bilingual.:)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The preschools tour

Well, I guess I never thought this time will come so quickly and it did. It was time to look for a preschool for our son. He's 19 months right now and we would like to start something short from 2-3 years old and, like a transition phase, then move towards 5 days/ week, half a day kind of thing.

But where to start? Especially in a city as big as LA? What to look for? What do we actually want in a preschool?

We knew for sure we didn't want strictly day care. For us, it's not important how long the hours are but what he learns and discovers in those hours. I don't want to get back to work yet (yes, it's a choice and I'm happy we can afford to do it) so finding a place to take care of him was not an issue.

We knew we didn't want huge preschools that were also elementary schools; the kind that starts at 2 y.o. and go all the way through 5th grade or 8th. We just didn't feel we'd want to decide for such a long term, as they say, one step at a time, plus we just wanted a very cozy, comfy feeling, just like he would go from our house to a bigger house full of kids and big playground.

We wanted a place where our son would learn through play (it's the best way for his age), and through discovery, where his creativity would be nourished and challenged, where he would have the freedom to roam with older kids and learn from them.

And again, where do you start your search?

Well, the first thing we did was to buy The Whitney Guide. It is truly a vey good point to start with. It has a good selection of preschools from all zones of Los Angeles and it's very well written, pointing out the questions and answers a parent should get. Plus rating the schools was an amazing tool to have an idea about that establishment.

After we read the guide, we started making a list with the pre-schools we wanted to visit (the ones which  came close in the philosophy and curriculum we've wanted and also the ones near to the place we are living).

I called each and every school we wanted to tour and set up appointments over the course of a month and a half (February through March).  One recommendation would be to start sooner as some schools have a very long waiting list.

And here's our journey.
First, I'll list the pre-schools in the order we toured them:

1. The Country school- is situated in North Hollywood. Their philosophy is: "all children should be given the opportunity to grow socially, emotionally and cognitively in a supportive, nurturing environment at their own pace". You can enroll your little one of he's 2 y.o., but first you will go through a transition phase where you would come with your toddler and stay with him and then gradually move away from him.
We loved the layout of the school and the outdoor space. The preschool classes are well appointed and the kids seemed genuinely happy and interactive with each other. The teachers were interactive very well with the kids. We loved they had a music room and the opportunity for the kids to learn other languages. They also have a library and a science class in the campus.

We didn't like that much that it was on the larger size of what we were looking. Here, kids can go til' 8th grade if you want them , too, so the campus seemed a bit too big for a toddler and too small for having all these different age categories together (although the outdoors space is set up for each age group).
The tuition is on the higher end, as well. They are not a year round school, so basically you would have to pay starting from $9,300/year for 3 days a week and going up to $16,720/year for Pre-K.
I don't want to be mean or judgmental  but when you ask this kind of money you expect the BEST of the BEST, the Sorbonne of the preschools and Country School does not fall in that category.

If I would give them stars ( * - being WORST and *****- being BEST ) I would give them ***.

2. A,B,C Little School - situated in Sherman Oaks. Their philosophy  is "on the Whole Child". Well, A,B,C Little School is a clean school. That's the first thing that stroke me to the chore. Everything is very well taken care of, organized and put in place. The outdoors space is not too grate; they are like 3 different play areas for 3 different category of kids, but no green or sand space what so ever. I didn't get the feeling that kids are too creative or challenged to be creative. It was more like a " laisser faire" kind of feeling.  It's a year round schools and the tuition starts at $155/week (for 2 days/week) and can go up to $195/ week (for 5 full days).

For us, it did not bring anything we were interested in, except for being clean and well appointed.
Stars ranking: **

3. A,B.C Little Schools - I know it's confusing. It's not the same one, but as far as I understood, the owners of the schools are in the same family, that's why they kept the same names. Anyway, this preschool is situated in the Studio City area but they have some other branches.
The same kind of vibe and attitude as the one above but far more dated. Tuition about the same as the one I've mentioned above.
Overall impression: not so good.
Stars  ranking: *

4. The Doheny School (they don't have a website)- is situated in West Hollywood. Their philosophy : "Only a secure child learns at a pace approaching his full potential." The moment we stepped in the school, we were welcomed by a bunch of happy kids working like busy bees around the tables. Then, Paula Carter, the director, came and showed us the school. And let me tell you, she knows exactly how to win you over. The size of the school is just perfect: 3 class rooms and a very nice backyard with a transformed garage that serves as an arts and crafts workshop. The kids interact with each other and we loved the multicolored, multi cultural diversity. It gave you the feeling that yes, we can live in peace and harmony.
The tuition is quite acceptable: it starts from $650/ month for 3 half days and it can go to $985/ month for 5 full days and it is a year round school.

We loved it, loved it, loved it!! In fact, we even put an application! See what will happen!

Stars ranking: *****

5. Chalk Preschool - is situated in the Westwood area. It's a pretty new preschool, they've opened it one year and half ago. And by being a new school, it comes with those benefits: bright newly painted walls, fun and colorful designs, everything is clean and organized. The outdoor space is quite acceptable and fun.
Overall, it seemed a nice place where kids and teachers interacted very well together and the stuff is very nice and helpful.
We didn't like the fact that it seemed different age kids would not interact too much with each other : the twos would be outdoors only with the twos etc.

Stars ranking: ****

6. The Caterpillar cottage - is located in the Encino area. It's a home based kind of preschool for the moment but its founder, Heather, is absolutely an unbelievable teacher. She's started as a Montessori preschool teacher and after obtaining her Bachelor's degree, she spent eight years of work as an early education researcher and program evaluator. Her house that became the Caterpillar cottage is fun, well organized and kids are really, truly unbelievable happy and thriving.
Her approach of intentionally mixing 2/1/2 y.o with 3 and 4 years old makes this place even more special as the little kids have a leader to follow and the older kids have the opportunity to be responsible and take care of the smaller ones.

Stars ranking: ****

7. The Pinecrest preschool - the one we've visited is situated in the Van Nuys area. Mostly, I was not impressed by anything they showed me. I believe if you're actually looking for a little more than daycare but we the emphasis on the daycare aspect, then probably, this would be a good fit for you.

8. The children's circle nursery - for some bizarre reason, we've scheduled to tour this preschool at the end of our list. And good thing, we did. It gave us the chance to appreciate it even more. When we got to the Children's circle nursery, it was around 9:30 am and all the kids were outside playing. And what an amazing place to play in. Absolutely the best play area I've seen so far in a preschool! The kids were filled with joy, genuinely happy, thrilled with happiness and full of creativity.
Tim, the director of the school, told us that "infants and toddlers learn best by doing rather than by being shown or told. And at Children's circle " we do not so much "teach" them as we help them to learn."
And I believe another's parent review about this place tells it even better:

"If you believe that pre-school should be all about academics, this isn't the place for you. CCNS is a developmental pre-school teaching kids how to communicate and how to work as part of a community and I couldn't imagine a better education for a 3 - 6 year old. The classes are mixed ages so the little ones learn from the older ones and the older ones learn how to deal with the little ones. It's an amazing community and feel very lucky to have had a chance to be a part of it personally and for my child. "


After watching the kids at play, we had the chance to go in the classroom and watch them being creative in a circle time or drawing pictures, building farms etc. There was this unbelievable connection between the kids and teachers that just felt so natural and right.
All in all, it just seemed the right fir for our son's personality and our philosophy about how we would like the school for our kids to be.  Can't wait for him to be a part of that amazing world.

Stars ranking: *****

Well, my friends, this is our journey. I hope my post will help future parents who will start their journey into the world of preschools. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

18 months check-up

It was not quite 18 months, more like 18 months and 2 weeks. But here are the results:

weight - 24.4 pounds (aprox. 11.1 kg)
height - 34" ( aprox 86.4 cm)

We redid the Polio and Pc. No side effects, no temperature, no weird reactions. We're done with the immunization for a while. We'll probably do the MMR when he would get closer to school.

Monday, February 28, 2011

FUNKY GAVROCHE IS HERE

Hello all my friends,

FUNKY GAVROCHE is OPEN.
We have a great selection of fun(ky), chic, unique garments for your little ones!!!
Please, come and visit us and become a part of our world!!!
Welcome and have fun!!!!

FUNKY GAVROCHE

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weight loss

Well, I have to write something about it. Just few words.
Almost 18 months ago, just before delivering Bryce, I was 174 pounds. I basically gained 47 pounds during my pregnancy (I've started at 127 pounds). And I'm a 5'2" gal. Sooooo, I was huge. :)
After delivering Bryce, I was down to 147 pounds (kiddo was big 8 pounds 8oz and then whatever other stuff I've eliminated that day).
So, then I had to get rid of 20 and something pounds. First months were not that successful (breastfeeding, sleepless nights, you don't feel quite the urge to go out and start running-LOL).
When Bryce was about 7 months old, so basically almost a year ago, I found Stroller Strides. That was the big booster for me. Very, very good workout and I could feel shrinking. The real loss came when I started doing the Atkins diet, for about 2-3 months the real deal (meaning no carbs what so ever) and then reintroducing them just a little bit and working out every morning at Stroller Strides.
Today, I weight 125 pounds. And I feel great. Ready for another baby. LOL

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And another 2

OMG!!! This little kid is so brave!!! Two more teeth are coming out (one molar down right and another one up right) so 4 teeth coming out at once and he's laughing and playing all day long!!!!
What an amazing kiddo!!!
17 months 3 weeks = 10 teeth

Monday, February 7, 2011

Latest news

In the last week or so, he's become more verbal day by day. 
And all those Gymboree classes show their results: he's remembering songs and games he's playing in there and reproduces them at home. Pretty cool!!!
He IS pretty cool!!! 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two more

Hallelujah!!! Finally two more teeth!!! One right next to the two in the bottom and a molar in the bottom as well!!! I didn't even know he's teething!!! No temperature, no fussiness, maybe some extra saliva but other than that just a generally good mood. I found out by feeling your gums every day in search of THE TOOTH. :) I'm so proud of you 'cause you're so strong and healthy.
So, at 17 months and 2 weeks total no of teeth: 8
Still a while to go 'till the mouth will be full!!! LOL

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Little Blake

I know that we, as parents, and especially me, as a mom, a first time mom, we tend to see our kids as the BEST ones, the NOBODY is like you ones etc, which, generally is true, 'cause they are unique and so different, BUT, when most of the people around me tell me how smart, outgrown, unbelievable for his age Bryce is, I try to keep my grounds, look around and be realistic for what it's to come.
I know Bryce is special and I'm not saying it just because I'm his mom (trust me, I was born and raise in Romania, where we don't appreciate something just because that's the trend, you have to work at it), so even my little Bryce worked at it to impress me: first time when he started crawling at 5 1/2 months then developing skills and knowing what to do with things; he challenges himself every time we go to the park and takes on with no fear all the big, tall toys made for older kids, he puts the two and two together, makes connections, he talks a lot but still in his own language (which is cute).
So, that's how we get to the core of this story. You hear about those little toddlers who say all kind of things and you more or less believe it. That's until you meet one of them in person:
Yesterday, while we were playing in the sand this little cute, fair hair, blue eyes little girl comes to us and says:
"Hi"
Bryce looks at her and smiles while I answer back:
"Hi"
And then I ask her:
"What's your name?"
She says :
"Blake"
Although I completely understand the name, I just thought that maybe I just didn't get it so I looked at the nanny and she nods that's the name.
I continue my dialogue:
"How old are you? "Two"
She nods "No"
Then she says
"One - Seven"
I'm thinking to myself:
"17 months?? OMG, she's like fluent in English.
And then she confirmed it to me how fluent she was.
Perfect English in everything she told me or I asked her to tell me.
"Cup, sit, brown, fingers, red, spoon etc", I was just blown away.
Both of the parents were working, breastfed only the first 3 months and she was taking care by a nanny who barely spoke any English
Later that afternoon, I met this cute 8 years old boy who was fluent in English, French, Russian, Japanese, Spanish. Such a well spoken young man. I started speaking with his mom (a Russian) and asked her when he started talking being a bilingual kid. And she answered me " Later than the other kids. I thought I was doing something wrong". But she was not, as it turned out, the boy is absolutely fluent in 5 languages. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
So, when I got to be all by myself and reflect a little bit I kind of realized that all kids are different and so unique. That, you, as a parent, are here to guide them and support them but that there are so many things inside of them that will concur to whomever he will be in life.
And as long as your feet are deep in the ground and you look around and recognize the best in others, you will be able to channel his goals to greater achievements.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Foodo-maniac

I don't want to jinx it but for the last 4 days or so he has a completely attitude towards food. It's like he had a revelation: I know what food means and what it is for.
He asks me for food by pointing towards the pantry. And I don't have to give him necessarily something from the pantry, I generally open the fridge and hand him some fruits and he's super, uber duper happy. Then, when I tell him we're preparing to have breakfast or lunch, a smile appears on his face and he's heading towards the sink to wash his hands preparing for the meal. In the morning, he's devouring all the oatmeal plus some fruits. When I ask him if he wants some more, he now shakes his head for yes. He doesn't know to do it for "no" yet, he just cleans his hands for the sign of "gata"= all done.
He's kind of done with his straw cup and loves, loves to drink from his little cup. Plus spoon and fork, of course. The watermelon is so delicious when served with the fork.:)
Like probably many other toddlers, he still does not love vegetables. He eats them though from all the soups I make for him (especially the carrots).
Blueberries remain his top choice. He could eat them forever. He likes the yogurt but not too much the cheese. He likes chicken, beef and salmon.
Hmmm...I hope this food mania lasts for longer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Funky Gavroche

I know this blog is all about you and your future brothers and/or sisters.
But, just in case this little project will develop into something bigger or will just stay as little as it is now, I just thought would be a good thing to record it here. After all, you were and are my inspiration. :)
So, why Funky Gavroche ? Well, "funky" because I love to do cooky and chic styles, I love to dress you a bit unconventional and out of the ordinary. Gavroche - because, just to keep it simple, is for "the brave, little tots" out there.
The name of the website is in place. It's not ready, papa is working on it. Plus grand ma' will help with the logo, taking some nice picture and grand pa' will do the music.
Meanwhile, we've ordered the labels, and I'm still working in finishing up the designs. So far, I have 3 dresses, one skirt, 2 vests. I'm planing in starting with a 10-12 pieces mini-collection.
The plan is to launch a little on line boutique somewhere at the beginning of March and maybe to go into some stores as well.
As I mentioned before I don't know how this will evolve. But what I know for sure is that I do what I do with a lot of passion and so much love.
I will keep you posted as I go.
Below, a sneak peek into my collection:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Finding solutions

It's interesting to watch how his little brain is at work. He's like a little engine during day time, working and absorbing and working some more.
What I particularly admire at this point is his ability of coming out with solutions to solve problems:
- I remember this one: we have a little trunk by the wall; he sometimes likes to climb on it but other times he just likes to drop little books or pens behind it; after that, he wants to have them back so, instead of calling for my help, he takes a toy with a long handle and tries to shovel it behind and rescue the books fallen in there; Sometimes, the handle is too big to fit-LOL-but the intention counts.

Edit: another example: buni Myrna gave him a little bottle and some little fish crackers. He looked at every fish and put every each of them in the bottle, with the slimmest part facing down.

Changing schedule in 2011

First of all, the most pleasant one:
- he wakes up around 7:00 am in the morning and plays in the crib by himself for another 30 minutes or so, which gives us a little bit more time in bed in the morning (Sweet)
Second of all:
- less milk at night - from 400 ml to 500 ml, a drop of 250 ml from the previous 750 ml a night;
- only 2 little milk bottles a day (200 ml before his morning nap and another 200 ml for the afternoon nap)
Other than that, active and healthy all day long. :)

Farewell 2010-Welcome 2011

It's really unbelievable that a whole year went by.....just like this!!!
Lots of stuff happened in 2010, let's highlight some of that:
- papa's double nomination for Outstanding VFX at the VFX Awards and Emmy's (way to go papa, we love you 'cause you're so talented and hardworking)
- lots of traveling: Santa Maria, Solveng, Sofia (Bulgaria), Torch Lake (Michigan), Catalina Island, Ottawa, Montreal;
- my mom visited for the first time;
- Bryce's first time at Disneyland and the Wild Animal Park;
Fot the end of the year, we went to Northern California, Los Gatos, to celebrate New Year with buni Myrna and Dan, Lauren, Curt and Jake plus the doggies.

Farewell 2010 -welcome 2011!!!

I work on movies-I love movies

  • 21 grams
  • 4,3,2 - Mungiu
  • Age of innocence
  • American Beauty
  • An Education
  • Apocalypse now
  • Atonement
  • Blind Side
  • Burn after reading
  • Casino
  • Gone with the wind
  • Good fellas
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Hereafter
  • Inception
  • Julie & Julia
  • Kill Bill - vol 1
  • Kill Bill - vol 2
  • La Vita e bella
  • Mar al dentro
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Million Dollar baby
  • Mystic River
  • Nine
  • Orient, Occident
  • Panth's Labyrinth
  • Slumdog millionaire
  • Some like it hot
  • Sophie's choice
  • The bridge of Madison County
  • The departed
  • The English Patient
  • The Godfather
  • The Hours
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Train de Vie
  • Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona