Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fiesta of Thanks

Yes, that's right.  It's the last day of November, and I am just now blogging about the biggest day of Thanks.  IT WAS AWESOME!  The days that followed were a bit dodgy, but the day of thanks itself totally rocked.  I was thankful for so many things!

I was thankful that I discovered the cat hiding in the crock-pot bag BEFORE I put the crock-pot in.
(Hippo REALLY wanted to come to Thanksgiving dinner.  Apparently, no one CCd him on the memo that informed everyone this was a kid friendly event.  I would have brought him, just to teach him a lesson, but I don't think that would have flown with Grandpapi).

I was thankful that all our travelers made it here and there safely.  Maria, Paul, Eva, Charlie, Gene and Sue all traveled from Iowa, and Joe came from Western Nebraska!
Here, Vivi gives Charlie the stink-eye for intruding on her ex-turf.  Apparently she is a little territorial about the exersaucer.  Shortly after Charlie exited the contraption, she insisted on being put into it, despite the fact that it made her look like a character from those creepy Giant Baby advertisements from the 40s (google it.  They are super spooky).  She also then climbed into Charlie's carseat and took a nap.  Awkward.

I was (and still am!) thankful for the beautiful wall-hangings and table toppers Sue made for me, my mom and my sisters.
And here we are showing them off.  So beautiful!

And I was thankful for--wait, what's that?  I'm sorry, what did you ask?  Oh.  What the heck are we all wearing on our heads in that picture?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  It brings me to my next point of thanks.  I am glad that I wore a shark hat for most of Thanksgiving day, and no one blinked an eye.
In my defense, I only put it on because Eva insisted.  In fact, she assigned us all hats and insisted we wear them.  I was "the leader of the shark people."  Shark people, nation of one.  Hm.  Fortunately, everyone else was also okay with taking directions from my four year old niece. 
Here, Bird-Woman, the Pony Princess, and our Lady of Ladybugs calmly browse the Black Friday ads.

Sue "The Scary Pumpkin" Otto, and Doug "Leapin' Lizard" Carey.

Beetle the Bard Otto, and Eagle Eye Otto made an appearance as well.

We later realized that Eva herself never wore a hat, just directed us to run around wearing felt caps made for children for the entire day.  And we willingly complied.  And we were all sober.  You see, we...um...well, I think it was because she....er...yeah.  I got nothing.  Well, it was fun, anyway!

Happy Month of Thanks, all!  On to the Christmas Season!  I cannot wait to see what it brings for our cute little elf.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Evenings at Chez Otto

I was thankful yesterday!  Really, I was!  See, here, below.  That was my post.

BUT RUSS'S STUPID COMPUTER WOULD NOT UPLOAD ANY PHOTOS.  I figured, what the hell.  This post isn't nearly as cute without photos.  So I'm not going to post it.

Today, needless to say, I am thankful that Russ's computer is over it's pique.  And as for yesterday...

Today, I am thankful that I do not have any night-time or weekend events this month.  That doesn't happen to me very often with my job, and I am loving the chance to spend the evenings at home!  It's amazing to see how Vivi's evening can progress...

First, she had to put Jack to bed.  I think he may be teething as well, since he certainly got sent to bed early...
...and in the tupperware drawer.

Next, it was off to peruse the Black Friday ads...

No time to sit, though.  One can multi-task!  A few crunches, a little shopping...

...and last but not least, a quick bit of modeling practice in front of the fireplace.
"Flowers are all the rage this year, dahling, accessory-wise."

Busy evening!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Today, I am thankful for Vivi's winter coat.  It's been an average of 30 degrees out this week when I leave to take her to daycare, so I am most grateful for its warmth.  We had a hard time finding one I deemed warm enough for her!  We looked quite a few places, and finally found a very cute, very warm winner!  Russ and I were thrilled!

Vivi, not as much.  I also decided to get her the 18-24 months size, figuring that she turns 18 months at the beginning of January (!), and it stays colder much longer than that here in lovely Nebraska (oh, to live in Arizona or somewhere like that, where snow is not a problem). 

This might have been a mistake, in retrospect.

As it is nearly that time of year, I will use one of my all-time favorite movie references..."Randy lay there like a slug."  Yes folks, that's correct.  The coat is so big that Vivi is rendered immobile the instant we zip her into it. It makes her REALLY mad.

I'm hoping the rage will help keep her warm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby, there's no other super-star

Today, I am thankful that Noah left his sunglasses here.

Future starlet, caught in the kitchen!

When we caught up with the fabulous Vivi Otto, all she would say was, "No comment, dahling, no comment."  I am so glad she handles the press with grace and aplomb, not like all those scary teeny-bopper starlets you see running around these days...
"I'll have my people call your people.  We'll schedule a play date!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One More to Go...

Today, I am thankful for traditions.  
Every family makes them, intentionally or not.  My family has tons, like playing pitch, or Christmas Eve Mass, or Mom and her Candy Cane pens, or hauling out everyone's most embarrassing stories when  we're all together (Carey family--Kate's got a new one by the way.  Reference The Goblet of Fire when next we meet).

Russ and Vivi have a Hawkeye Tradition!  Every football Saturday, they hang the Iowa flag together...

...and then go and make our Hawkeye windchime swing...

...and yell, "Goooooo Hawkeyes!"

Traditions are the silly little things that help connect you, that make you smile, that make you feel like part of the family.  And while I am betting that she is the only person ever to hang a Hawkeye flag while wearing a pink hippo hat (it's cold here, yo!), I know she is not the first one to enjoy a tradition with her family.  I am excited to see what other traditions our little family forms!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Only Man a Girl Can Count On...

...is her Daddy.

Today, I am still thankful for Russ being home. m Vivi has missed her dad very, very much.  So they celebrated by playing...um...well, to be honest, I have no idea what this game is.  It entailed Vivi running into the blanket Russ was holding...

...then him wrapping her up in it and falling over on to his back...

...and then the two of them laying there and laughing before starting all over again.

Really, I'm not sure what it was all about.  But it made all three of us very, very happy.  Vivi is so happy to have Daddy back home!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homeward Bound...

Today, I am thankful that Russ is coming home! Vivi and I have missed him very much. Get here quick, Babe!!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's the little things...

Hola, Blog world!  My apologies for my two day haitus.  But lest ye think me lazy (or worse--thankless), let me fill you in on what happened.  I popped a rib out.  ARGH!  In fact, I did it with some authority.  So on Monday, I was glad that I have a sister who was willing to leave work and drive me to the chiropractor.  I was also glad to have such a great friend for a chiropractor, as he was able to see me immediately and pop it back in to place.  VERY PAINFUL.  Coincidentally, I was even more grateful at 6:30 that he is my good friend and would make a house call to POP IT BACK IN AGAIN.  And once more on Tuesday morning, when the inflamation in my muscles had gone down enough for it to stay in place.  Boo.  Hiss. 

On Tuesday, I was grateful that I have a sister willing to take the day off and care for me and my child, as I was not allowed to lift Vivi on Monday or most of Tuesday, and my daycare was closed (with Russ in San Diego--awesome!).  Thank you again, Kate.  You are truly, truly the best.  I would have been unable to cope without your help.

Today, I am grateful to be able to go back to work!...and for Vivi's double cowlick.

I can't help it.  I have the exact same one.  I know that some day I will tire of hearing her moan over the fact that her hair just won't lay right, but for now I love the Cindy-Lou Hoo quality it gives her.

Besides.  It's one of the little things that makes her mine.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Two Towers..

Today, I am thankful that my furnace is working...because Aunt Kate's furnace is not.  So Noah (or No-nah, if you're Vivi) are staying the night!  Cousins are great teachers, and Noah was quick to help Vivi learn how to build a "really, really, REALLY good tower."

Unfortunately, no matter how great Noah's tower was, Vivi was really, really, REALLY good at knocking them down, as she does not quite yet grasp the finer, more permanent aspects of architecture.  

So, we divided the blocks equally (sharing being a good lesson as well), and like Sauron and Sauroman, they separated and built their own towers, each keeping a watchful eye on the other.
"His tower is totally better than mine.  Crap."

Saturday, November 13, 2010


So..on Tuesday (yes, four short days ago), I blogged about halcyon days, and how wonderful the weather has been.  Last night, it snowed enough to accumulate and stick.  ARGH.

So today I am thankful for the fact that while the snow was still there when we went outside after breakfast, it was gone by noon.  And wherever it went, I hope it stays there.  

So, here's our little snow bird's maiden voyage of this winter's snow...

She was fascinated.  Clearly, she did not get this trait from me.

She even managed to liberate her purple hippo from a chunk of snow and join him for a moment of quiet reflection...

Funny story about the snow suit, PS...Vivi REFUSED to let me put the pants on first, insisting "Jacket.  Outside.  Jacket."  For those of you who have never tried to dress a 16 month in snow pant overalls AFTER putting on their fluffy jacket...well, let's just say it is challenging.  Something to look forward to for the next four months, I suppose!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"You Distract Her...I'll Go Get the Net..."

Today, I am thankful for our cat.

Stop laughing.

Seriously.  Russ left on Monday.  He doesn't get home until next Thursday, AFTER 10.  This means I am a one-woman band, and getting ready in the morning has its ups and downs.  Fortunately, I am able to get most of what needs to be done done before Vivi wakes.  And for what I can't get done...well, the cat's there to distract her.

Vivi LOVES Hippo.  She chases him all around the first floor, calling "Kee-tee. Kee-tee." as he runs in abject terror, trying to find a place to hide.  She is totally content to chase and never catch, and while Hippo may be acquiring a few gray hairs in with the black, I can get the dogs kenneled, throw my lunch into a bag, and find my jacket (according to Russ, if I hung it up this would not be a problem.  Hmph.).

I would love to show you a picture of Vivi with our cat, but Hippo ain't no fool.  So instead, here is a picture of Vivi with Baby, the cat who lives next door and is young enough to be naive and to want to play with Vivi.
Gracias, Gatitos.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today, I am thankful that Porter (or Poh-Toh, if you're Vivi) is patient.

She really is a sweet, patient dog (aside from that whole thunderstorm behavioral quirk), willing to put up with dang near anything.  Observe...

Here she sits, happily, with one of her most favorite things in the world: an empty soda bottle.

Unfortunately, Vivi also thought the empty soda bottle was quite cool, and that she should have it instead.

Now, Porter does have a tend to fixate obsessively on toys (which you are aware of, if you have ever played ball with her), and occasionally we will have to remove a toy from her sight so she will be able to break focus and do things like, oh, say, eat.

I will assume that Vivi was trying to help her, not tease her mercilessly, when she stole the bottle, and ran in a giant circle around the first floor waving it over her head.  Poor little Porter just followed patiently behind,waiting for her to drop it, even though she could have bowled Vivi over and taken in it back in about two seconds.

Eventually it ended in a very one-sided tug of war, as Porter allowed Vivi to "play" with her.

I do not think Porter was tugging very hard.  Eventually I rescued her bottle and gave it back to her, and then Vivi and I shared a very special lesson on washing our hands after playing with the doggies because GROSS.

Bless your heart, little black dog!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mi Familia(s)

Today, I am thankful for my family.  Seems so obvious,doesn't it?  But I have so many families!  The family I was born into.  The family I married into.  The family I am creating with Russ.  My family of friends.  My work family.  There are all these different relationships and ties and interactions that will help teach Vivi what it means to be a close family and a close friend, be you tied by blood or just by love (or both!).

I really value that.

Families are always there to pick you up when you are down, to give advice when you need it, or make you laugh...or just to sit and read you a book about kitties.  (Please do take time to note the awesome Cindy-Lou Hoo hair in this photo--stellar!)

Sometimes, your family members will even loan you highly coveted driving toys...and not be TOO offended when you try to hide them as they are getting ready to leave (sorry about that, Noah!).

Viva las familias!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halcyon Days...

Today I am grateful for this unexpected nice weather.  It has been in the 70s for the past four days, and while it does get dark early, it is still totally lovely when I take the dogs out at 10 pm.

We've been making the most of it.  Vivi is becoming very interested in plantlife...future botanist, perhaps?

Or...uh...future vegetarian.  Hm.

I cannot help but think though, that these are our halcyon days, not just weather-wise.  Once it finally gets cold, the next time it will be nice enough to go outside in short sleeves, Vivi will be a different kid.  She may be long past the toddling stage, able and desiring to walk around under her own power instead of being carried.  She'll be able to do stairs and climb into her castle unaided. She will be almost two!  

We've spent our summer out on the porch and the drive way soaking up the sun, learning to walk and talk by observing her very big world.  NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING TRAPPED INSIDE. Damn you, pending snow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pirates, Ye Be Warned

Today, I am thankful that somethings never cease to be fun...like a fort made out of a blanket and a laundry basket.

She and Jack-Dog sailed off for quite some time in her basket/pirate ship (heck, if she's not able to tell me exactly what she thinks it is, I'm going to decide for myself.  Vivi's not the only one with an imagination.)
"Careful, Jack.  We're off the map.  Here there be monsters!"

"Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of milk!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Adventures of Jack-Dog...

Today, I am thankful for Vivi's burgeoning imagination!  Jack-Dog, however, is probably not.  As Little Miss is beginning to realize that the things she does in her day can be acted out by others, poor, stoic Jack is frequently the subject of her imaginary play.

This morning, for instance, we heard Vivi's trademark giggle coming from the kitchen.  We looked in to find this:

Upon being discovered, the little mastermind fled the scene.  Can you tell what's going on?

Poor Jack has been kenneled.  Naw-tee.

And later?  More giggles from the dining room.

Vivi had placed Jack in her booster chair with a bib, and then convinced Daddy to put the tray on so Jack-Dog could "EAT!  EAT!  Jack-Dog!  EAT!"  She is apparently quite worried that he get his three square meals a day.

Have no fear.  Jack was served a beverage as well.  Vivi is the consummate server!

Fine dining, Vivi style!  Poor, long-suffering Jack-Dog.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thanks, Volume Two

So.  In keeping with my earlier post...

Today, I am also thankful for the fact that Vivi likes to read.  I cannot go to bed without reading for at least half an hour, and so I am really, really hoping that Vivi continues to love to pick up books.  She likes to wander off and "read" to herself or Jack-Dog, and we frequently hear, "Book?  Book.  Reed eet!  Reed eet!"  after which she plops down into our laps.

This morning, she was so excited about reading she could not pick just one book to read.

"No, Dad, I've got this.  You read that one out loud, and I'll read this one myself."

She was shocked that we didn't think this was a great idea.  I am so thankful she loves books!

Multiple thanks

All right, all right.  I know.  I didn't blog yesterday.  I'm sorry.  I didn't get home until 12:30 am, which is technically today.  Soooo...I'll post twice today!  An excellent compromise, I think.

Yesterday, I was thankful for football.  Stop laughing.

I got to go to my brother John's playoff game (very cold, btw), and I was just so proud of how hard he has worked to become a great football player.  It's not easy to excel at a sport and to start every game your senior  year, and he's done it.  The Bolts may not have won, but they played one heck of a game, and I was proud to be there and cheer them on.

And no, the world's cutest cheerleader did not come with me.

It was way too cold!  She did have a lot of fun trying my hat on, though.

More thanks to follow!