Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?!

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We’ve doped her with myriad cartoon shorts along with occasional full-length animated features for months now. She invites us to do the “Mee-key Gonald?” round and round the nursery (see video below). She’s got her princess dresses ready and has been asking to wear her Minnie polka dots to school. Minnie herself has been lovingly smeared with yogurt, milk, cookie crumbs, and various other toddler foods. Yep. At long last, we are going to meet the Mouse and the rest of the Gang.

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M gathered Mom and Dad in her room for a jam session to the Mickey Mouse Club March. She added in her favorite electronica beats.

Karla and Rob’s wedding

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My dear friend Karla married her longtime beau Rob in a beautiful ceremony and reception that reflected their cozy laid-back vibe perfectly. They were wonderfully accommodating to us with regard to Madeline, even welcoming her with a bucket of toys! They are going to be wonderful parents 🙂 Congratulations, newlyweds!

On another note, we discovered the following:

  • A wedding full of pediatricians makes the best baby entertainment/childcare ever. Period. For your tot’s next birthday, forget the magician, the balloon artist, and the live appearance by Elmo. Just hire a cohort of pediatricians.
  • Madeline LOVES to dance. We thought she might be overstimulated with the party and loud dance music, so we took her off to the side toward the trees and pond. She shrieked to be put down and toddled a beeline straight back on to the dance floor, where said pediatricians had previously been twirling around with her. We tried reigning her in at least twice, and each time she toddled back to the party. On the dance floor, she would bounce and sway and clap. Here’s hoping she has more rhythm than either Chris or me.

Toddling, exploring, and meeting Danielle, who would become Madeline’s best friend for the evening:

Roaming amongst the pants and skirts:

Playing with Danielle and meeting the rest of the pediatricians:

The bride and groom during their toasts:

By 7:30pm we thought Madeline might have been tired, but she protested leaving the party and headed straight back to the dance floor:

She ran back to the dance floor whenever we tried to carry her away.

We realized after several attempts to head home that we have a party girl, and she had several dance partners to bounce-twirl her around:

The next morning, she slept in:

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Zucchini bread

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This recipe is a slight variation of one that my friend Alli makes — so good! I made some for our road trip to Pittsburgh, and Madeline chowed down in her “trough,” as Anittah says.

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Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 2 small or 1 large), drained (I leave it to drain in a sieve overnight in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap and weighted with an apple or other round object, and I also blot with towels just before adding to the batter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (I use the butter wrappers — less mess!). Sift together the dry ingredients (the first six) and set aside. 
  2. Beat together the butter, oil and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs.
  3. Add in the dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to blend.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together the zucchini, lemon juice, and chocolate morsels. Fold into the batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for about an hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Babymoon at Disney World: Around the Resort

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Babymoon part 6 of 6. Besides visiting the parks, we spent a lot of time at other resort attractions. It was nice to do everything at a leisurely pace and made for a great vacation 🙂

 Brunch, then Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf

The Boardwalk

Downtown Disney

Disney Quest

Babymoon at Disney World: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Babymoon part 5 of 6. The best part of DAK is the safari, and the best time to go is in the morning. The animals are active then and give you plenty of photo ops. In fact, half of our images came from Animal Kingdom. Whereas motorized attractions and themed settings are reproducible and practically perfect visuals every time you see them, animals choose whether to cooperate for your camera. And they are just so darn awesome.

Babymoon at Disney World: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Babymoon, part 4 of 6. By a small margin, the Studios is our favorite park. It feels old-timey and nostalgic. It has great live-action shows with talented performers and fun rides. Unfortunately with the pregnancy we didn’t go on my favorite, Rockin’ Roller Coaster. That just means we’ll have to come back!

Babymoon at Disney World: EPCOT

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Babymoon part 3 of 6. The day we visited EPCOT was very cloudy and drizzly. The weather made photography and visiting the countries less than ideal, but on the plus side, it wasn’t crowded at all, and we managed to hit our favorites 🙂

Babymoon at Disney World: Magic Kingdom

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Babymoon part 2 of 6. The first park we visited was Magic Kingdom, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the holiday decorations were still in place. Holiday hours were also still in effect, and with the drop in attendance that comes after the new year, we had an easy time navigating the mild crowds. One cool thing that is probably really hard to find anywhere else is the mutoscope — and the Main Street Station has several. Here’s a video of one called “Rodeo Time” in action:

Babymoon at Disney World: Port Orleans Riverside

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Babymoon part 1 of 6. Chris and I needed a vacation. When we found out we were pregnant, we decided to take our babymoon at Disney World. It would be the last time we could go and be kids ourselves and be responsible only for ourselves. Having worked there for a year, I knew I wanted to go during an off-peak time — I no longer have any patience to wait in ridiculous lines! Neither of us had visited for over 10 years, so we planned to stay a week just after the new year. I would be seven months pregnant, ready for a vacation but not so uncomfortable to travel.

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside Resort, which had a quaint, relaxing Tom Sawyer-ish theme. For the first few days of our stay, it was still adorned with pretty holiday decorations. It has ferry service to and from Downtown Disney via the Sassagoula River Cruise, which has a fleet of boats with fun southern names like Magnolia Blossom, Memphis Miss and Saratoga Queen. I have to admit that I was rather impatient with the boat sometimes, but in a way, the slow pace and southern feel also helped me relax and remind me that we were there to unwind, not to rush 🙂

Picnic under the redwood canopy

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Fifteen minutes away from the beach, we found ourselves a picnic spot under the redwood canopy. We found a barbecue place that turned out to be a favorite among the locals, the Aptos Street BBQ. We had gone to get some ribs the night before, and tonight we came back for more. The ice cream root beer float was the perfect ending.

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Ingrid and Sol are married! Part 2

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Sol’s family hosted brunch the next morning at his sister’s place. They have a neat property that includes a barn and vineyard. Brunch was delicious, with the highlight being menudo. Chris and I had never tried it before. Now I’ll have to go looking for it whenever I crave a fix.

Ingrid and Sol are married! Part 1

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Our dear friends Ingrid and Sol had a beautiful wedding in perfect California weather at Aptos Village Park. True to form, they planned their day around food and friends.

A quick stroll down the aisle:

20120630 IngridSolWedding 035 from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then on to the celebration:

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Seacliff State Beach

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The morning of their wedding, Ingrid and Sol were relaxed. We asked if we could help with anything, but they had no chores to assign to us. They suggested we go exploring, so we did!

The morning was foggy. We headed north along the bay and saw a cement ship, the Palo Alto.

Then we came across the Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center and poked around a bit there. Among other things, they had a nice tide pool exhibit!

I took a video of a mollusk doing its filter feeding thing:

20120630 Mollusk from Christopher Butz on Vimeo.

Then we headed back to our room to get ready for the wedding.

Aptos, CA

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We arrived at Aptos the day before Ingrid and Sol’s wedding with some daylight to spare. So, we explored the beach a bit, and then we drove around looking for dinner. Aptos is quaint and quiet, with lots of hills and interesting architecture.

Stanford University Avenue

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We took a detour in Palo Alto to get lunch. Of all the things we could have eaten, Chris decided he wanted pho at Madame Tam.

University Avenue is a nice area I’d like to visit again.

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