February 2008

Monthly Archive


Posted by lynn on 29 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina

Cousins in a Tub: Kai, Lucas, Noah, Meli

How many adults does it take to dry a toddler?

Last weekend Stacie and I helped our mom host a baby shower for a family friend – then we stuck around, full families in tow – for the rest of the weekend. With the festive air and all the kids running (the three boys) and rolling (Meli) around, it almost felt like Christmas.



On the ride down to San Jose, I told Kai that if everyone was in a good mood all four kids might be able to take a bath together for the first time. Kai spent a large part of the afternoon reminding me about the proposed communal bath. Luckily, all the toddler stars aligned and with nary a meltdown in sight Kai got his wish. Grandma and Grandpa got a kick out of watching four parents try to keep four wet kids in check!

Three Generations: Mama, Meli, Grandma, Auntie Stacie

Balloons w/ Bro Bro

The kids, for their part, are starting to play together. Kinda. Kai took toys from Lucas, Lucas took toys from Melina, and at one point Melina started sucking on one of the twins’ sippy cups. And then they all followed each other around. Isn’t family fun?


Posted by lynn on 22 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina

Bath Hat for Sis

Bouncy Hair, Cedar Rose Park

It’s amazing to watch the bond Kai and Melina have developed at such a young age. Even when I was pregnant, Kai would make funny faces for Melina to “watch” from her blind haven in my belly.

Now that she’s an interactive little person, he loves to hug her and shower her with kisses, and will sing or make silly sounds and faces to cheer her when she’s fussy.

Kai on See-Saw, Cedar Rose Park

Hoodie Swing, Cedar Rose Park

A friend recently saw firsthand how Meli’s face lights up when her brother approaches. I’ve noticed it for months!

On the flip side, the other day when Kai wasn’t feeling well I brought his sister to him. “I feel better already” he said, and gave her a big, smiley hug.

stop aerial spraying for light brown apple moth

Posted by lynn on 21 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: community

I haven’t written a letter of protest in years, but the thought of a government agency dropping little capsules of an untested synthetic hormone from the sky – onto the playground equipment that Melina and Kai use daily – once a month for the next three to five years scares me to no end.

Below is a letter I sent to East Bay assemblymember Loni Hancock and Governor Schwarzenegger.

Please help keep this on their radar, and push for full testing of any substance sprayed on such a dense urban area – or better yet, to use a different method altogether.


February 20, 2008

Dear Loni Hancock,

I am a Berkeley mother urging you to help stop the scheduled aerial spraying of synthetic pheromone intended to eradicate the light brown apple moth in the densely populated Bay Area.

Spraying that occurred in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties late last year resulted in hundreds of reported cases of sickness following the application of the pesticide. These included burning eyes, scratchy throats, shortness of breath and stomach pain, as well as asthma attacks and symptoms as disturbing as interruptions in menstrual cycles, indicating that the reproductive system is affected.

I am seriously concerned about any number of frightening consequences for my young daughter and stepson, my family, my neighbors, and our community at large.

While I understand that the formulation of the pesticide has been changed since last year’s spraying in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, I am appalled that the USDA so easily earned an “emergency exemption from registration” and is allowed to spray the new pesticide without sufficient testing for immediate let alone long term health effects. I am equally disturbed that similar aerial spraying efforts have not been successful at eradicating the light brown apple moth in other regions, and the possibility that our government would put our children and our community at risk for naught.

Please force the CDFA to forego the aerial spraying for the light brown apple moth in dense Bay Area neighborhoods until the ingredients and their properties are fully disclosed and shown to be safe, the reports of illness in sprayed areas are investigated fully, and the threat to the ecosystem and feasibility of species eradication is proven. Urge them to proceed instead only with the less invasive measures currently in place in other counties, such as pheromone-soaked twist-ties, traps, and Bt applications.

Let our children play safely outside this and every summer.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Laralynn W Rapoza

little farm picnic

Posted by lynn on 19 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: family, friends, kai, melina

Wait Mama, Let Me See the CowHello, CowGotta love these long, sunny weekends. We took advantage of the latest spring-weather tease and headed to Tilden’s Little Farm on Presidents’ Day for a group outing with my East Bay Mommies group.

Don't Bite Me! Kai Feeds the SheepMeli Considers Feeding the GoatKai fed a big bunch of celery to the animals within 10 minutes. Melina would have preferred to chew on a piece herself rather than give it up to a goat or cow. She had to settle for a bagel half at the picnic instead.

Watching the Pig: Roy/Connor/Meghan, Melisa/Tavi/Mark, Meli & MeGroup Picnic, Tilden Little FarmA related aside: Both my moms groups are still going fairly strong. Yoga Moms try to meet monthly for a moms night out, plus we have semi-regular play dates with Suli or Raycer. East Bay Mommies meet once a week for a moms/play group, plus we have a monthly potluck for the families.

Lily Eats a ChipConnor & MeghanKai now knows all of Melina’s little friends and their parents, and the parents all get a glimpse of what their kids might be doing in four years… hopefully (for their sakes) with all the humor but a fraction of the energy of my spirited stepson!

kitty cat + the queen’s wave

Posted by lynn on 15 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: melina

Kitty Cat 1These days, Thor the cat runs a close second to Kai as Melina’s favorite living creature – outside MamaDada of course! She recognizes Cat by name and often says “k” when she sees him. Thor is also a great inspiration for her nascent crawling abilities, as she really really wants to grab his tail and he’s often just out of reach. Kitty Cat 2Usually, she ends up scooting backwards and complaining loudly as Thor gets further and further away.

As for interacting with humans, Meli now has her own version of “bye bye,” complete with a royal wave. Kitty Cat 3She says “baba bababa” while holding her arm out and moving her hand slowly from left to right and back again. She did this unprompted as we left a play group on Monday, then again as we left her daycare the next evening.

Kitty Cat Won't Play :(Melina and her little friends in my moms groups are also starting to interact more and more. At Monday’s play group she had an all-out tug-of-war over a big wooden toy. My little girl didn’t say a word but refused to back down. Mama was proud though we need to start working on sharing.

sweater girl

Posted by lynn on 14 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: melina

Ready to Crawl

It’s hard to know what to do with the clothes Melina so quickly outgrows. Like most babies, she has infant outfits she never even had a chance to wear, and on the opposite end, some favorites I don’t have the heart to part with.

Big Sweater Smiles

My own mom held onto a few special treasures of mine and my sister’s, and has given them to her first and only granddaughter to wear. These include dresses I see in my own baby pictures, a velour 1970s swimsuit, and several sweaters, including the yellow one my grandmother knitted and that Meli proudly wears here. Thanks, Great-grandma!

For now, her own outgrown clothes sit in a box in the basement.

twins make two

Posted by lynn on 11 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: family, melina

Twin Cakes

Hangin' With Grandma Over Happy Birthday

Yesterday my twin nephews turned two. My sister held a big celebration with pizza and twin train cakes at their Roseville home on Saturday. I’m not sure Lucas and Noah understood that all the fuss was about them, but they had fun traipsing around the yard with other kids and Noah enjoyed singing “happy birthday” then clapping at the end of the song.

I Like Your Necklace

Great Auntie Tille + Great Uncle Gil

We made the three-hour round trip in just one day, and even managed to squeeze in a visit with Joey’s Auntie Tillie and Uncle Gil. They loved meeting Melina and seeing how much Kai has grown (and, er, matured) since our wedding two years ago. Grandma Rapoza will be jealous that her sister got to hold our nearly 20-pound baby!

Time for a Diaper Change in the Trunk

Daddy's Full Lap

We had a yummy lunch at a Mexican restaurant, and Melina got her first taste of Spanish rice and refried beans on her “baby plate” (free for kids under 3!) Daddy tried to feed her pork but she promptly turned away. That’s my girl. 80-something Auntie Tillie didn’t have to twist my arm too hard to join her in having a margarita over lunch. Probably my first since my pregnancy. Mmmmmm… goes well with burritos….

where’s the doc?

Posted by lynn on 10 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: melina

Waiting for Dr. A Melina had her eight-month wellness exam on Friday, which was relatively painless save our 30-minute wait for a last-minute doctor. Hers had to go home with a sudden tummy ache! We passed the time playing on the exam table and taking pics with my iphone. Oh yeah – the shots were a bit painful for the Jelly Bean, too, but she recovered quickly.

eight-month moves

Posted by lynn on 06 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: melina

Produce Aisle

My Favorite Girl

Our monthly update is full of new moves and old friends. Enjoy!

Melina is addicted to Puffs, little, easily-dissolving bites of puffed rice and wheat flour in flavors like peach, banana, and sweet potato. She’s gotten really adept at picking them – along with Cheerios – up and chewing them enough to swallow without half-choking. She also loves teething biscuits, gnawing on a banana half or pear slice, and, for the time being, pureed fruits and veggies.

I Like Books


Her second tooth popped up about a week after the first. They’re still emerging, but pretty soon she’ll have two full bottom teeth. No biting mama!

Meli moves easily from sitting to her belly and once there around in circles and backwards – at least until she gets stuck with a chair or coffee table leg between her own. If she bounces on her butt on a hard floor she can scoot a few feet forward. She also rolls for transport, and can make it slowly around the living room this way. Sippy CupSwinging @ Thousand Oaks ParkIn recent days she’s discovered the carpet fringe, the doors on the window bench, the TV/receiver volume knob, and the cool way the glider ottoman rocks back and forth after a push. Time to get serious about babyproofing.

She loves to splash in the tub and swing at the park, still enjoys play dates with friends, wishes she could chase the kitty cat (it won’t be long, Thor!), and spends countless hours babbling in a way that sounds like real but meaningless sentences. Joey claims she said Dad today. Aaawww.

New Stroller @ Sweet AdelineThis Car Seat Tastes Good

Melina’s still a not-so-great napper and her fabulous night sleep has been interrupted by ear infections, teething, and newfound movement skills. One thing’s becoming clear, though: Our little girl likes to sleep in. She’s slept as late as 10am, and sleeps til 8:30 or 9 on a regular basis. Doesn’t bode well on the days she goes to daycare!

We have to give back our loaner Snap-n-Go stroller soon so have a new toddler stroller and car seat ready to replace the infant carrier.

But Mama’s not ready just yet… my little girl is growing so quickly!

good bye griffon

Posted by lynn on 02 Feb 2008 | Tagged as: community, family

sign_logo.gifYesterday ended a mini-era for our family: After just a year and a half in business, Joey closed the doors for good on Green Griffon Games.

It was a tough decision that he came to by himself, though I’ve known for a while it was the right thing to do. Maybe if we lived in Anytown, Middle America – where store rents are reasonable and one income can provide the necessities for a family – we could make it work. But we’re not planning on leaving the Bay Area any time soon.

Ironically, he opened the store right after I found out I was pregnant. He set up shop as I lay nauseated with first-trimester sickness on our couch, and I have many fond memories of walking newborn Melina around neighboring gourmet ghetto while Joey worked Saturday Magic and Pokemon tournaments at the store last summer.

I’m so proud of my husband for following his dream and making it a reality, even for such a short time. Next time, though, he’s promised to collaborate with me more fully on such a large undertaking, and make it a joint dream-come-true. Hmmm… Neighborhood cafe/bookstore? Volunteer venture in South America? Ooooo, the possibilities! But first, let’s get through kindergarten for Kai and toilet training for the Melina Bean.