Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lillian & Dan Visit

Our son needed to work a construction job in Pleasant Hill, a town about 30 miles northwest of us. He decided to drive up with his 2 year old daughter Lillian and family dog Snoopy. They arrived Thursday evening, July 19th. Bringing Lillian would give Frank and me some one on one time with our granddaughter while giving her mom a bit of a reduced load from being home with Lillian's 4 year old sister Vivian and 3 month old brother William. Bringing Snoopy would allow some back yard landscaping they were having done to be performed without canine interference. Lillian was very happy and accepting of this arrangement from the get go. Her first day she settled in with some book reading. This is a book about dinosaurs with small finger size bubble spheres that pop in or out when poked with a finger tip. These Poke-a-Dot books are really fun - kinda like popping bubble wrap but each hemisphere is reversible.

Her first day here Lillian also surprised us by asking to go potty and being successful. She is quite proud of herself and especially happy with her Hershey kiss reward. This little girl loves chocolate. Lillian's potty training is in its early stages. This happy happenstance was one time at-a-girl occurrence and did not repeat during the visit. That's OK. She is only two and we did not push.

When you are relaxing you wear slippers, right? Even if they are a bit too large for your feet and meant for your daddy. At least she got them situated between her toes... sort of.

Although we set up a Pack 'n Play for napping and night time, Lillian decided she was going to sleep in a big girl bed. We went to Big Lots and bought two large diameter orange noodles. Lillian loved the outing, riding in the cart, and being in charge of managing the noodles on the way to the register.

By slipping these under the fitted sheet at the edges of the mattress they are a convenient, and cheap, pair of bed rails. We had bought bed rails for her older sister Vivian when slept here on an earlier visit, but they are a pain to put on and a pain to make the bed when they are in place. These are a much better solution.

On Friday, Frank and I took Lillian went to Livermore's Aquatic Park while Dan was working. She is certainly well protected from the sun. We followed her mom's instructions to the letter.

Water play is one thing but sharks are another. Lillian has a fascination with the song Baby Sharks, an extremely favorite pop culture fad right now.  Info on it is available on Wikipedia. The lyrics are very simple and the tune is catchy, truly an ear worm that rivals It's A Small World You can find the Pinkfong version on YouTube or a 30 minute extended version also on YouTube (Lillian's preference and the one in the following photo)
Baby shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo,
Baby shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo,
Baby shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo,
Baby shark.
Mama shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo...
Daddy shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo ...
Grandma shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo ...
Grandpa shark doo doo, doo doo doo doo ...

On Saturday we went to Art Under the Oaks, an outdoor tented event hosted by our local nursery where artisans display their wares and talents for viewing and for sale. There is musical entertainment to enjoy and carts to ride in. Here Lillian has a front row seat for a Hawaiian Hula and Luau type  performance.

One of the performers took a liking to Lillian and brought over his ukelele for her to try.

The name of this booth was Garden Faces. I posed Lillian to be one of those faces.

She rode in the cart some of the time but most of the time wanted to walked beside it and Grandpa, wearing her backpack.

These gargoyle stone sculptures are just about Lillian size. I think she is far cuter, though.

Lillian loved just wandering around our backyard exploring. Forget about Where's Waldo. We played Locate Lillian, a speck, far out in the reaches of our landscaping of bushes and trees and dry river beds. She loved walking along the smooth rounded rocks; I would have twisted an ankle had I attempted that.

All that exploring can work up an appetite. Can this girl ever eat!!! She loves corn on the cob and broccoli trees. But of course, though, it had to be the yellow dinosaur fork.

On Sunday Frank and I went with Alex and Lillian to a matinee performance of The Little Mermaid musical.  We already had three tickets but needed to purchase a fourth and it was nearby but not adjacent. No matter. We all sat together. Once the show began Lillian watched all of it from her vantage point in my lap. She is wearing her top with the sea horses. She picked that to wear to The Little Mermaid. Pretty smart association, huh? Yep. That's my granddaughter.

I was very glad for an intermission break to get up and walk to the lobby for a snack. As we waited on line the choices were gradually getting depleted. Once we got up to the front I showed Lillian what was left as options. She insisted in the very clear, loud, strident voice of a two-year old "I WANT CHOCOLATE!" The clerks scrambled quickly and did dig up another carton of packages of chocolate chip cookies. Lillian enjoyed them thoroughly.

Frank and Alex enjoyed the show, also. It deviates from the movie story somewhat and has a few additional songs. Actors were on wheeled heel sneakers so they appear to float across the stage as they flip their fins. Travel to the water's surface is portrayed by a series of aerial flying scenes on wires. The colors were bright, costuming was creative, and it was a lot of fun.

We trekked on back to watch the second act. Lillian perched on my lap again. Grandpa's lap was apparently not a viable alternative per Lillian. Both my legs were numb when it came time to leave at the conclusion of the show.

On our stroll back to the parking garage, both Lillian and Alex posed for pictures by Livermore's famous statue by sculptor Susan Geissler titled Sunday With Jessie. We used to have a black Germador (German Shepherd Labrador mix) named Jessie so this statue has extra significance for us.

It is bemusing how the pink paint on the boy's face is worn off by people continually patting the statue. Apparently the crowd is more efficient than the dog is at licking off the ice cream.

Once home, Lillian sets about her serious job of building towers. "Ta-Da!" she says.

She is quite adept at puzzles, also.

Monday our outing was to the grocery store. Nob Hill had two cart sizes, large red ones or smaller black ones. This was not to be a major shopping expedition and so I asked Lillian which cart she wanted. She picked a third option I had neglected to offer, a cart with a sports car affixed to the rear. I tried to convince her that sitting up higher might be better for seeing all around but she had made up her mind. I inwardly groaned but bent over and painstakingly adjusted all the straps to her tiny frame. She would have it no other way, she has been well versed in safety first. 

Well, one and a half aisles into the store she changed her mind and wanted to sit up high. I was left to push this long unwieldy "stretch limousine" about the store with her three arms lengths away. She is clutching a box of sausages. Lillian developed a taste for this particular brand from Grandpa.

It appears that not only Lillian wants to change where she sits. Snoopy decided the cat bed was to his liking, even though he could fit only the rear half his body in it.

On Tuesday morning the library was hosting a music and story time. Lillian eagerly awaited us leaving to go there, back pack in tow.

After story and music time she picked out a book and checked it out.

The book is just about as big as she is. It was called Everything but the Horse.

Once home Grandpa read to her from it and from other books in our home library.

Lillian can "read" to herself, also. This one is about the Little Mermaid.

Lillian loved petting our cat Wima, and Wima extremely tolerant and accommodating. Her feline  peaceful world had been rocked by the arrival of an active 2 year old and a nosy part-pit-bull pooch. She held her ground and her self-proclaimed rightful place on the couch for napping. Frank and I are still working the dilemma of Wima's food being poached by Snoopy. Initially Snoopy did not like tuna fish, but he acquired the taste quite rapidly.

Lillian also made sure that Snoopy was comfortable and covered with a quilt for his nap. Snoopy relished the attention.

Making sure she gave some of her attention to everyone, Lillian kept Grandpa company while watching his trains run on the layout in the garage.

Our friend Vickie dropped by to say good bye to Lillian, who was surprisingly friendly and at ease with most folks she encountered at our home or on outings. She would be leaving with her dad on Thursday to drive back to Southern California. By the way, there are no pictures of Dan in this post. He was always working!

Wednesday was a laid back day with water play on our deck and backyard exploring. In the evening Frank took her with him to Home Depot and Lowe's for a cart ride and to make sewing time for me. While she napped and while Frank was with her at the home improvement stores, I finished sewing up Goldilocks and Baby Bear for Lillian to take home with her. I did not get to finish Mama Bear and Papa Bear but promised I would send them along when I did.

Thursday, July 26th was departure day. To make sure Lillian had used up some energy before the start of the long car ride, we played ball with her a lot in an attempt to run her ragged. Her tiredness factor did not seem to be on the rise. The same could not be said of Frank and me. When it came close to nap time, we kept her awake by putting on the DVD Frozen. Lillian loves Anna and Elsa. She watched intently, tucked under a quilt of her choice, in the company of Goldilocks and Baby Bear.

Dan took our traditional "just before you take off" photo on the living room couch. Note that Wima got in the act.

Snoopy was staying behind with us in Livermore. The landscaping schedule in Southern California had slipped (...a likely story....) and the sweet but needy and challenging pup would be ours to care for, for the next few weeks. Lillian is telling Snoopy good bye, too.

The visit was great. Although I am not well-conditioned for changing table ups-downs, carseat manipulations, extended lap seating, and continuous feedings, the minor aches and pains and semi-exhaustion I accumulated will fade within a few days. However, the awesome memories of Lillian will linger. We got to know Lillian much better. She is such a smart, lovable, confident, determined, little charmer. Frank and I are walking around the house repeating her phrases:  
"Grandma do it." "Sausages." "Watermelllah." "Baby Shark." "I got it." "Wima." "Blue plate." "Ice cream cone?" "Anna and Elsa." "Chocolate!" 


  1. What a great trip, and what a great chance for some grandparent/grandkid bonding! I'm impressed Lillian is already potty training (Isaiah still resists), she's definitely a girl after my own heart if she loves chocolate, Shark Doo-doo-do-do-do-do is big in our house too (did she teach you the hand motions?) and that Goldilocks and Bear set is adorable.

    I'm also pleased to see Lillian getting in some grandpa reading and train time, and to see Uncle Alex wearing his handmade doggie shirt! Looks like a fun visit for all (except maybe Dan), and I'm glad (and slightly jealous) that you guys had the opportunity to bond!

  2. I can't believe that I never commented on this post! I blame it on maternity leave. Lillian has a very special connection to you and I'm glad that she got to spend seven nights with you (I still can't believe that she was away from me for that long - ah!). Both girls are anxiously waiting for our next trip to visit you!