Monday, March 12, 2012

Gubs and Neeks!

We stuck close to home this weekend and kept it pretty low-key, except for a couple of quick outings. 

On Saturday, my company held an open house for their child care centers. They've just started part-time programs and we're considering enrolling Alice for some structured social and developmental learning. We were all really, really impressed with the facilities and the activities - Alice definitely didn't want to leave! Unfortunately, the center nearest our house doesn't have a part-time program for 2 year-olds, so we're working on a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether driving to the next town over would be worth it for now or if we should just wait until she's old enough for the preschool classroom at the center down the street.

Sunday morning, we took a quick trip to the LA Zoo for the opening weekend of The LAIR. Alice has suddenly become quite interested in bugs and snakes. Or, as she calls them, "gub" and "neek." We thought she'd enjoy seeing some real live "gubs" and "neeks" up close, in person. Let me backtrack.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a tiny little moth thing hanging out on a wall in our house. I think Alice said "yuck," and was all concerned about it, so I explained that it was a bug and showed her the sign for "insect."  She picked up the new word immediately, except she inverted the consonants and "bug" came out as "gub." After the moth flew away, she kept pointing to that spot on the wall saying "gub" and signing "all gone." Now, she points out any "gub" she sees. She even calls butterflies a "gub," which I think they might find offensive.

Alice got a great alphabet book for Christmas from her grandma. The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z by Steve Martin is the kind of book that parents can enjoy reading over and over with their kids. It's totally over Alice's head but has really detailed drawings that she loves to look at and has new things to discover on every page, every time you read it. Anyway, the 'E' page has an eel sitting in a chair, and somehow Alice decided that it's a snake. We're not even sure where she learned to say "snake," or how she even knows what they are, but she turns right to that page of the book and says "neek." When she wants to read that book, she says "neek," and has started pointing out every other "neek" she sees. One of the classrooms at the open house yesterday had a plush rattlesnake, she went right to it and told me it was a "neek." So in addition to airplanes, we can count "gubs" and "neeks" among Alice's main interests right now.

And that's how Jon and I found ourselves planning a visit to the zoo specifically to see some creatures that make our skin crawl a little bit. This was sort of our first experience doing something solely inspired by our child's interests. I imagine there will be many more such experiences.
Because how can you resist this face??
The LAIR was a bit crowded and Alice got a bit overwhelmed with all the feet and knees and kids (I hung out at her level, so I can vouch for the feet and knees and kids). But she still enjoyed all of the lizards and turtles and "neeks." The first snake she saw was doing a particularly charming dance that made the rest of the sleeping snake piles look especially tame. There was also a Gray's Monitor lizard that was very enthused to make Alice's acquaintance. 

In line for The LAIR. She's looking at the carousel.

There was a small line to enter The LAIR that snaked down below the carousel. Somehow Alice spied that while we were waiting and she made sure I knew that there were horses up there and that she wanted to ride them. Luckily, The LAIR line wasn't very long or we would have had to amend our itinerary... So after we saw all the "neeks," we headed straight to the carousel with a couple ride tokens in hand.

Alice initially chose to ride the gorilla, but the ride didn't start quickly enough before she wanted to switch to the neighboring "araffe." Of course. She loves carousels but this time, started crying as soon as it started moving. We were able to convince her to get back on the horse giraffe to finish out the ride and then she cried when we had to get off. So we got right back on. And she wanted to ride the giraffe, again. Of course. And then she cried, again, when it started moving. It's hard being a toddler.
I know I picked the gorilla, but that araffe looks pretty nice... Yeah, araffe.
I don't think this photo needs a caption.

getting back on the horse.

We said hello to all of our other favorite animal friends before Alice ran out of good and we had to head home. We stopped at the gift shop on our way out to see if they had any "neeks" that wanted to come home with us. And surprise, they totally did!

nigh-nigh, neek.
And because I didn't get a chance to write a proper post last weekend, here are a few pics from those adventures as well.

Mama and Alice went to the optometrist. It was Alice's first official visit, and she got dilated. They think she's nearsighted and has an astigmatism, which is no surprise, since that's the case for both Jon and I. No glasses yet, but I'm guessing she'll definitely need them down the line. She did get nifty roll-up sunglasses to wear until the dilation wore off. That lasted, like, five seconds. Now we all get to wear them at her command, including her stuffed friends.

We had a playdate at a local park with another fellow, local mom-blogger who discovered some very small-world similarities between us (workplace/home town connections). I took a few photos of Alice before they arrived and then forgot to take any more because we were so busy chatting and eating and chasing after our little ones. We really enjoyed meeting them and making friends with another family - and such a nice one! I hope we can arrange another rendezvous soon!
Then we powered through the last steps of a much anticipated, long-awaited DIY home improvement project. I've been dreaming about such shelves for a year at least, if not more, and Jon totally made it happen. He used these plans from Ana White and made a slight modification to use trim moulding as the front lip, which I think is quite a bit more elegant. 

Alice totally approves.
The first one was easy. The next one, not so much. Alice spent some time reading in her crib while I helped Jon, because she just couldn't keep her hands off the drill. I don't know how those Young House Love kids get anything done with a toddler underfoot!!
But we bested that second shelf and got the other six up by the end of the day Sunday and STILL managed to finish our iTunes movie rental (Hugo, you really disappointed me). So the useless wall in our dining room went from this:
naked and useless
To this:
awaiting a coat of paint and bunch of books
 To this:

We still need to paint, and finish arranging the books to our satisfaction. But I'm pretty much in love, and so is Alice. Hopefully I can get a better "after" shot one of these days, but I was just too excited to not share a little bit! Now we just have to decide which project we'll pick next from my "For Our House" Pinterest board.

What about you? Done any awesome home improvement projects lately? Have you indulged your kid's strange interests and requests? Do anything or meet anyone fun over the weekend? See any gubs or neeks? 


  1. A) We have that same exact "neek" toy from the gift shop too! It gets a lot of snake-y play action around our house.
    B) I can't say enough how great it was to meet you guys. Our weekends are starting to fill up with this whole house hunting adventure, but we'll be sure to take a break soon so we can meet up again.
    C)I LOVE those shelves! And I love the collection of fantastic and inspiring cookbooks too!

    1. It's a great snake! He already loves to do yoga with Alice, and curl up to read with her =)

      Our weekends are getting full with all kinds of stuff, too, but I'll let you know if we do anything casual and kid-friendly! Good luck with the house hunting!!


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