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Hoggle Zoo

I learned last week that you should never use the word zoo around Ava unless you’re ready to go to the zoo right this minute.  I asked Ava if she wanted to go to the zoo last Sunday and she kept asking about it every five minutes for the next hour.  I think she likes the zoo.


The zoo has a train that goes through about half of the property and Ava did her usual thing of saying goodbye to all the animals.  She also feels that the train is too loud.


I think she liked the zebras the most.  But the ostriches and the donkeys were pretty exciting too.


Ava was most obsessed with the carousel.  We had to go three times because she wanted to sit in the peacock chair.  She was very serious about the process the whole time.  When she concentrates, she almost looks upset.  I remember feeling like people wouldn’t take me serious when I was little and were often telling me to smile.  So I try to respect Ava’s seriousness.



It’s funny how big the zoo seems when you’re visiting with a toddler.  We went right after lunch until Ava clearly needed a nap.  But Ava was devastated when we were leaving because she wanted to see the “fishies” so after her nap we went back to look at the fishes!  Ava really liked this fish below because “He’s a mad fish.  He doesn’t like me.”


After the aquarium Ava chased magpies, hoping she could catch one.

Love Trumps Hate

I have been disappointed in elections before.  When we moved to San Francisco in 2007, the following year they passed Proposition 8.  I was so disappointed to live in a state where a majority of the voters believed that marriage was only between a man and a woman.  But man, that election was nothing compared to the devastation I’ve felt in a country that elected Donald Trump as President.  I can’t stop crying every time I think about it.


I’m trying to take solace in the fact that there were many reasons people voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, including a reaction out of economic insecurity.  I’m trying to ignore the fact that we elected a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, a man who thinks Mexicans are rapists, who wants Mexico to pay for a fucking wall to keep out Mexicans, who thinks that Muslims should be banned from entering this country.  That people have such disdain for Hillary Clinton that they’d rather elect a man who has never held office, a man who is a business failure, a man whose said on national television that his only hope for his daughter was that she develop the same huge breasts that her mother has.  The list goes on and on.



I don’t have a great hopeful conclusion, I’m still at a loss of what to do.  My greatest hope is that Trump creates so much in-fighting among Republicans that nothing gets accomplished.  I’ve never felt a stronger desire to move to the most liberal place we can find.  If you have any ideas, leave it in the comments!

Ava is 2.5 Years Old


Ava does not want to grow up.  She’d probably be unhappy to know that she’s 2.5 years old.  The other day she was on her swing and I told her she was so big that she was growing out of the swing.  Ava said, “No!  I tiny!”  Since then she’s gotten very upset if you call her a big girl or in any way imply that she’s anything but tiny.

Independence/Motor Skills


  • Ava is totally fearless.  We went to a playground at the zoo last weekend and Ava went on all the slides and climbed up this huge rock structure.  I had to climb the rocks myself because I was scared she was going to dive off.
  • Ava is regressing when it comes to potty training.  She refuses to use the potty in the morning, and she will hide from me when she’s pooping because she knows I’ll push for her to use her potty.  I don’t understand it, but Ava is a willful girl and pushing the issue would probably make things worse.
  • Ava’s taken her play to the next level – she wants you to play with her now.  Ava really enjoys acting out scenarios with her stuffed animals.  Since everything is always about a mommy and a baby, her play is about a mommy rescuing a baby.

Foods and Liquids


  • Food is the same.  When I’m making a dessert, Ava will come running asking to try some.


  • Four days a week we’ve been driving Ava in the car at night to get her to fall asleep.  It helps her fall asleep earlier and it’s nice for variety.
  • But the best change has been daylight savings.  Ava has been falling asleep by 9pm, which is waaay better than 10pm.  It means she gets up at 7am instead of 8am, which is hard for me, but it’s also great because I can get stuff done before the nanny comes.

Language Skills


  • I love all the little stories that come from having a verbal child.  Ava is such a delight.
  • We had a repairman at the house to fix our washer and Ava was so curious about him.  She kept trying to tell him about her little ducky.  I was talking to the repairman so Ava came up with a feather and asked me to clean the ducky.  When I said she could do it herself, she said “No, mommy, you do it better.”
  • Ava has been telling these long stories that are somewhat hard to track but they’re pretty involved.  Sometimes they’re about how Teddy made her fall and she got a big bump (which happened last month, and other than a small cut on her lip was not a big deal), and Ava ends the story “The end!”
    • Ava really enjoys injecting drama into her retelling.  When I ask her what she did with her nanny during the day or even what she did the hour with Jon while I was exercising Ava will tell me what happened, but she likes to add “And I got hurt!” so I will be concerned and give her kisses.
  • When Ava would sit on the potty, she developed a habit of saying “Oh doh, oh no, oh yes” where I was supposed to repeat each part.  The way she said it reminded me of the lyrics from “The Man Who Sold the World,” where Kurt Cobain (or David Bowie if you’re old school) would sing “Oh no, not me…”  So when Ava would start with “Oh doh” I would sing “Oh no, not me, we never lost control, you’re face to face with the man who sold the world.”  Now Ava will sing that whole clip when she’s on the potty.
  • Ava’s play has been increasingly more complicated.  She plays long games with her animals, which must always be paired with at least a mommy and a baby, and preferably also with a daddy.  She creates voices for the animals.  There’s often a complicated cover routine.  At night Ava likes to sit in my lap on a chair while Jon covers us in blankets and animals.  Ava especially loves it when Jon throws the animals on us.
  • When Ava is in the sun she says very dramatically, “The sun is burning my eyes!”  Jon hates sunlight too, so we’re very sympathetic.
  • Ava likes to take a pen and make little dots and dashes on paper while yelling, “It’s raining!”
  • The other day Ava declared that her dinosaur was sick and needed to go to the doctor.  She pulled out one of her magnet sticks and pretended it was a syringe that she used to give the dinosaur a shot.


Ava is a big fan of Halloween.  She takes her costume very seriously.


She is also a huge fan of candy.  When we went to the first house, Ava didn’t quite understand what was supposed to happen.  But as soon as the first piece of candy plunked in her bucket, she realized there was candy and she could eat it.  Each time we visited a new house she wanted to try the new piece of candy.


Ava was pretty good with saying “Trick or treat” when seeing a person and “thank you” after getting the candy.  One problem, though, is that she kept trying to walk inside peoples’ houses.   She actually went into one house and sat down in a kid’s chair they had set up in their foyer.  Fortunately we only visited houses on our street so most people knew her and everyone was nice about it.


Although Ava had a ton of candy on Halloween, we haven’t given her any since and she hasn’t asked.  Don’t anyone tell her that we still have her candy!




Ava Is 29 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Most mornings Ava asks for pictures or videos of various animals.  She loves seeing kitties and puffins.  Sometimes she requests videos of animals pooping.  we watched a video of a puffin that poops at the end and then we spent a whole evening finding videos of puffins pooping.  The next week Ava wanted pictures of horses pooping, which I must tell you is quite gross.
  • Ava has progressed with potty training.  She almost exclusively poops in the potty now and we’re working on peeing.  There were a couple times where she woke up asking to pee in the middle of the night, which was less than ideal.  She also uses peeing as a delay tactic at night.
  • Art is still incredibly important to Ava.  She’s really interested in different techniques, such as Pointilism, and she was fascinated when I showed her Seurat paintings.


Foods and Liquids

  • It’s easier to list the things that Ava doesn’t like than to list the things she likes.  She dislikes leafy greens, farro, watermelon gazpacho, and anything that is spicy.
  • Right now she’s really obsessed with sweets.  She thinks all cakes are birthday cakes.  Anytime I make cake or bread, Ava hones in on it.  There was one day that I bought a baguette.  Ava grabbed it and started gnawing on the end.


  • We’ve gone back to trying to get Ava to nap during the weekends at all costs.  She doesn’t like to fall asleep in her bed, but she’s willing to sleep in a swing or the car.  So we started driving south on a major road until she falls asleep.

Thank you Tiffany!


Language Skills

  • Ava knows the names of her favorite books and she’s learning all the words in them.
    • Tonight we went through Dino Bites almost ten times and by the end she was reciting most of the text.
    • Ava also has a book called “Where Is Huggle Buggle Bear?” and Ava talks about Hubble Bubble Bear.  It’s so cute.
  • Ava is great at telling you about important events.
    • Ava was taking Teddy on a walk with her nanny and Teddy got so excited by another dog that he ran away from Ava and knocked her down.  All day Ava talked about how she had a “big bump!”
    • I went shopping with Jon and Ava.  Jon took Ava out of the store for 10 minutes so I could finish shopping.  When I got out and found them, Ava said “Mommy, I got stuck!  I got stuck!”  Jon explained that they walked up to the water tower until they reached a gate.  While Jon was trying to point out the water tower to Ava, she tried to slip through the gate and got stuck.  Ava eventually got unstuck, but she was traumatized.  All day and the next day she kept saying “I got stuck!”
  • Ava continues to say phrases that I’m not familiar with, such as “Don’t you dare.”
  • One cute phrase includes “Good job kitty!”
  • Every time Ava sees a baby anything (cat, human, etc.) she says it wants its mommy.
  • Ava pairs everything up with a mommy and a baby.  There’s also a daddy if there’s three.  This even applies to inanimate objects likes leaves.

Doesn’t she look like a JCrew ad?


Wheeler Farm

Ava is so much fun.  She has all these funny phrases and she speaks constantly.  My favorite right now is when she says “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”  She’s also started reciting the text in her books.  Before she would point to books and name them, but now she can recite half of Goodnight Moon.


A couple weeks ago I took Ava to Wheeler Farm.  Her favorite part was taking a ride through the farm.  She kept yelling at each of the animal pens “Bye bye chickens, bye bye sheep…”


Bye bye horses.


Ava enjoyed the horses because they allowed her to pet them.  I was happy to see that when a horse put his giant face right in front of her, she was cautious about petting him.  Ava is so fearless about so many things, it’s great to see one area where she displays some caution.



She had a lot of fun in an area full of chickens and roosters because two roosters were having a crowing competition.  But her favorite animals were the donkeys because they let her pet them and they ate grass out of her hand.  Plus, their “hee haws” were deafeningly loud.


Ava is 28 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can climb all the playground equipment now with little hesitation.  She loves it.
  • Ava has been potty training for the past few weeks.  It’s a very slow process that so far involves getting her to use the potty.  Instead of the classic motivator of candy, her reward is a squirt of lotion.  She’s obsessed with lotion.  Sometimes she keeps it in her hand for an hour.  If it accidentally comes off, she yells, “Oh, my lotion mommy, my lotion!”
  • This week she actually told her nanny that she needed to use the potty before she started pooping so we’re making progress.  The funny part is she’s very invested in the poop.  She asks what the poop is doing and she always says goodbye to it.  She even sings it a song sometimes.


Foods and Liquids

  • Ava still eats very well.  She loves sushi, onion rings, and ice cream.  She’s a bit too obsessed with ice cream so we’ve been trying to deflect her with fruit instead of ice cream.


  • Ava has a very complicated nighttime ritual that involves wrapping up stuffed animals in blankets.  She’s also so tall now that she can’t get comfortable enough in a chair to fall asleep in my arms.  As a result, she goes right to asking to fall asleep in “mommy’s bed.”  She brings all her animals with her.  After she falls asleep I transfer several of them back to her room.  After all, it’s difficult to sleep with an ape, a duck, a seahorse, a dinosaur, a kitty, an Iron Man, George, and a bunny.  Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and demands additional animals.  The other night she woke up at 4 a.m. and insisted that I grab her plastic owl.


Language Skills

  • Ava has been confusing the word “acorn” with “popcorn” so she’ll ask us to make acorns, which is super cute.
  • Ava’s books have been taking on a different interpretation because she’s very engaged in the stories.  On Saturday we spent about 10 minutes talking about a book with a dog that wanted to eat salsa, but the salsa was too spicy.  She wouldn’t let me turn the page because she was so worked up about the dog.  She kept saying, “No doggie, go away.  Too spicy!”
  • If you need to teach Ava a concept, such as a new word, she often wants you to repeat it several times.  I find it so interesting to see how she learns language.
  • Ava has been using “I can’t do it,” “I like it,” and “I don’t like it” lately.  The can’t do it is used often in times of struggle, like when she’s climbing a ladder at the playground.  Telling us that she likes or doesn’t like something is very helpful.
  • When Ava wakes up in the morning, she always wants to play in the bed.  I can get her downstairs by asking if she wants to see the birdies.  One time Stonewall let her kiss him, so now every morning she says “I kiss Stonewall?”



The garden had an aphid problem this year.  Instead of spraying pesticides on the plants, Jon had the great idea of releasing ladybugs.  Did you know that you can buy them and have them shipped in the mail?!  Ava was a huge fan of releasing the ladybugs.  She loved it when they crawled up her arm.  For days after the release we would go searching for ladybugs to put on her arms.



In total we released over 10,000 ladybugs, but they didn’t stick around for too long.  I kept expecting neighbors to comment on how their yards were covered in ladybugs.


Also, can we talk about how insane the garden is this year?!  I’ve been making so many amazing meals with food from the garden and our CSA.  We planted eight tomato plants and they’re all producing at least some tomatoes.  There’s one we call Hercules that produces heirloom tomatoes.  It tried to take over two adjacent tomato plants and all the pepper plants in the back.  So far I’m keeping up with the tomatoes, but I’m on the precipice.  It helped that I made stuffed tomatoes from 12 tomatoes on Friday.

These pictures are from a month ago.  It’s even more extreme now.  The tomatoes in the second picture have crawled up the tree and and taller than nine feet tall.



I’ve been experimenting with pruning, but I don’t think I’m doing enough of it.

I share an office with the cockatiels.  Most of the time it’s great because I have company during the day.


For the past few weeks, the cockatiels have been ridiculously nesty, though.  Trevor and Stonewall will fly to the floor to try and find a place to nest.  Conner will join them later if I haven’t put them back on their cages.  This might be okay except they get territorial.  Stonewall will fight with Trevor.  Trevor has decided that his nest should be under my desk.  He started attacking my feet.


Conner would love to sit on my shoulder all day, but since Stonewall and Trevor will fight for his attention while he’s on me, it becomes chaos.  Stonewall will let me cuddle him a little bit.  Trevor occasionally likes to fly over and preen my hair.


The main struggle with sharing my office with the birds is conference calls.  I frequently have video conferences and I don’t want to talk to clients with birds flying around in the background.

Ava has been really interested in the birds lately.  Her first request in the morning is usually, “I see birdies?”  She loves to look at them and she would love to hold them, although that won’t happen for another few years.  Ava has learned Stonewall’s name and identity, but she has trouble distinguishing between Trevor and Conner.  Sometimes Ava will sneak away from her nanny during the day and will try to get to see me in the office.  She’ll knock on my door, saying “Knock, knock, helloo!”  It’s really cute and sometimes problematic if I’m on a conference call.

Ava is 27 Months Old

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava’s experimentation with fear is lessening.  She’s scared of thunder and lightening, but she has no problem with slides.
  • She’s getting very bossy.  She’s always asking me or her nanny in the mornings first to go outside, then to drive her somehwere.  I keep taking her to the same park up the hill because it’s more shaded than our nearby park.  Also, it’s in the fancy part of town so the kids are more well behaved than our local park where parents often send their kids because they don’t want to parent.


Foods and Liquids

  • Ava is such a great eater.  She will generally eat anything except leafy greens.  She may not like the food, but she’s at least willing to try it.
  • Right now Ava eats a poached egg for breakfast; a lunch of various things like yogurt, fruit, and pasta; and a dinner that is similar to ours, but often toned down so it’s not as spicy or flavorful.


  • The same.  Sleep in your own bed, Ava!  If Ava goes several days without taking a nap, I do anything I can to get her to nap because she starts tantrumming around 4pm.  She will get mad over nothing and throw herself on the floor, screaming.


Language Skills

  • Ava is able to identify 14 types of birds: macaw, duck, chicken, goose, peacock, flamingo, owl, crow, penguin,  turkey, woodpecker, seagull, toucan, and puffin.
  • She is starting to connect concepts together.  Tonight we were talking about the sunset and Ava said “Night comes after the sun goes down.”  Also, her nanny taught her that “Bees make honey” so she yells that every time she sees a bee.


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