Monday, January 31, 2011

Baby Burrita

And how best to dry off from a nice relaxing (and slightly gross) bath?

With one's very own Donkey Hooded Towel, of course!
This stylish little gem was personally made for Vivi by her rockin' Godmother, Aunt Maria.  The fabric is something you all may recognize from the much-loved donkey dress made by Grandma Otto.  The pattern was such a hit that it lent itself to the entire party theme for Vivi's first birthday!  (Cousin Charlie also has crib bumpers made of the same BECAUSE IT IS THAT AWESOME)

Vivi loves getting out of the bath and getting all snuggly warm!
I love it because it is so adorable, and so elvin/hobbitesque...if the fair folk were to wander around in cloaks covered in primary-colored burros.  And why shouldn't they?  I'd totally use one if they were made in my size.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Splish, Splash!

Vivi loves her bath.  With the exception of getting her face washed.  Other than that, Vivi will stay in the tub and play all night.  She is a water baby!  

Last night, she invented a new game.  It consisted of getting a bowl full of water...
...tilting it up to her face while shrieking "Gross!  Gross!" (we were encouraged to do the same)...
...and then spilling it down her front while pretending to drink it.
We did this for a good ten to fifteen minutes.  Not sure why this was so funny...
...but she was really cracking herself up!
We're relatively certain only a minimum amount of bathwater was actually consumed.  Gross!  Gross!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kael!

On January 7th, our friends Derek and Dawn lost their little boy.  I haven't written about it yet.  How do you give voice to such sadness?  I have never gone through something so hard with someone else.  And yet our friends have grieved with such faith, and such strength. I am so very proud to be their friend.  I think about the day of Kael's memorial service, and how they were crying, and at the same time so certain in their faith and the knowledge that they will be with Kael again, and that he is being watched over so closely by God right now.  

At the end of Kael's memorial service, we were all given a balloon.  We went outside and Kyler, their 4 year old, led us all in the "Johnny Appleseed Prayer," his favorite prayer, which Kael loved.  Then we all released our balloons as a message of love to Kael in heaven.  It was so sweet, such a beautiful ending to a memorial service filled with love.  
Today is Kael's birthday.  Derek and Dawn asked their friends and family to release a balloon up to Kael today to celebrate this special day, and the 11 wonderful months we all were so lucky to spend with him.  Russ and I very much wanted to do so.
So we all gathered together and said a prayer, then sent our balloons up to Kael with all of our love.  We asked God to continue to watch over Kael, and asked him to send His love and blessings to Derek, Dawn, and Kyler.
And as we watched the balloons float up to heaven, I hugged my little family to me and said a quiet prayer of thanks.  I thanked God for the days he gives us.  I thanked God for the fact that Derek and Dawn have the gift of faith.  And I thanked him for the beautiful blue sky that was the back drop for our balloons, floating up to one little boy who is most loved, and will be missed every day until we can all see him again.
I want this to be an important tradition for our family.  Not only to celebrate the birthday of such a wonderful little guy, but to remind us that our days are gifts.  To slow down, hug each other, pray, and take the extra 5 minutes to read "Moo Baa La La La."  Again.

Happy Birthday, Kael.  In your 11 months, you touched many lives and many hearts.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eat, Drink, and be Healthy!

When it comes to things we want to teach Vivi, Russ and I both feel strongly on the importance of friends.  There comes an age when your friends become your family, and your family becomes your friends, and it is a beautiful, wonderful thing.  To have a group of people with whom to celebrate your triumphs, mourn your losses, and laugh hysterically when you're not sure why you're laughing is a wonderful, very important thing.  And we take our friendships very seriously!

So tonight we gathered to celebrate our friend Regina, who has been healthy for a full year this month.

Regina is the younger sister of my best friend, so I have known her since I was sixteen.  She is a big part of the "friend group," and we love her very much.  She is a witty, quirky, thoughtful friend, and is always there to laugh with you.  For me, she is someone to share a glass of wine with, a fellow mom to bounce ideas off of, and someone whose humor always makes me giggle.
We went to Fireworks tonight, all of our friends and their kids, to celebrate
Gina beating a disease that is not always beaten, called aplastic anemia.  
Everyone was clearly very excited to be out celebrating her victory!
Even Jack-Dog got into the celebratory spirit (really, who doesn't love Vanilla Porter).
We are so happy that Regina is happy, healthy, and part of our wonderful little friend group.  I think the cake Brianna brought says it best--We love you, Regina!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Royal Tweetment

Today our daycare was closed, so I stayed home and worked/hung out with Vivi.  We had a really great day hanging out and reading, playing, and spending some quality Mommy/Vivi time.  But you know who else was having a great day?  Penguin.  Vivi was totally in the mood to pamper her little webbed friend.  When he went down to nite-nite, he got not one, two, but three blankies.
And not one, two, but three snuggle buddies to nap with!
She read him his favorite book...
...and gave him a nite-nite drink.  Penguin was having a very, very pampered afternoon.  Vivi is a very good mommy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Addition!

Put your hair back on.  I'm not pregnant.
Everyone regained their breath?  Good.  Now.  We have a new addition to our household.  One about which Russ and I are very excited and hopeful.  One which may change our lives for the better.  His name?

Frog Potty.
I know, I know.  She's pretty young to be starting such efforts.  But she stays dry through naps, frequently announces when she's about to do the deed, and is very interested in when we use the big-person potty.  So we figured what the hell.  Diapers are expensive.

So, we brought Frog Potty home and had him sitting innocently in the living room, letting Vivi get used to him.  She soon took to sitting on him fully clothed and reading books.  All right.  Then we moved up to her announcing she needed to go potty, disrobing from the bottom down, and then hopping on and off of the Frog Potty without results.  Everyone I know tells me this is a step in the right direction, which is what I was keeping in mind as we scrubbed the resulting potty from the carpet, instead of the removable part of the Frog Potty (number one, thankfully, as I do not know that I am mentally equipped for a number two on my living room floor, on several levels).

Much to my amusement while I was making breakfast this morning, I heard from the living room, "Monkey.  Big-guhl.  Potty."  I glanced around the corner to see Vivi assisting Monkey in daily bathroom detail.
Sure enough, she encouraged Monkey very kindly, telling her "Big guhl, Monkey.  Vee Good.  Potty."  She then abandoned Monkey on the pot (perhaps the Big Job was pending?  I don't know) and wandered off. 

I watched as she went and got Sock Man-key and smiled to myself, figuring that she was going to teach all her little buddies to use the potty.  But Sock Man-key didn't fare so well.  She held him out in front of her and said, "Nope!  Monkey.  Cheenge diaper.  Stinkee Poop."  Then she flung him down on the couch (NOT where we change stinky poops, btw) and ran off and grabbed the Lily (our changing pad) and a spare diaper.
Poor Sock-Mankey.  Well, I've always been told that boys are more difficult to toilet-train than girls.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BIG Week!

This has been a BIG WEEK in the Otto house!  Vivi is all over the place!

Today, we had her 18 month check up.  Turns out we discovered a few things.  1) Vivi is smart enough to have place recognition, and unfortunately has mentally earmarked the doctor's office as a place she DOES NOT LIKE ONE BIT.  As soon as anyone who was not me or Russ entered the room, the screaming commenced.  Our pediatrician, thankfully, has a sense of humor, and says that this behavior shows above average intelligence for her age. I think he may have been trying to be kind. Hm.
We also found out Vivi is in the 30th/33rd percentile for weight and height.  Since they stop taking "gestational age" into account at 18 months...this means she will likely follow in her cousin Eva's beautifully petite footsteps.  Shrimp-shrimp ago-go!

Vivi also astounded us by counting to 10.  Then she did it again in front of Aunt Kate (and we were so very grateful, as we kind of felt like those psycho people who claim their kids can do ridiculous things like change a car battery whilst still in it was nice to have a witness).  We later tested her to see if she could actually count, not just parrot back numbers, and sure enough, when we place different objects in front of her she will count them (if she feels like it).

And, on Tuesday, she started basic pre-school!  Ellen (our daycare provider) came to us and said that she wondered if we would mind if Vivi started pre-school early.  Normally she waits until kids are two, but on Monday all of the older kids were home for Martin Luther King Jr Day, and they were doing an activity centered around that while the little kids were doing free-play.  Viv ignored the free-play, and wanted to do the activity.  So, here is her MLK booklet, and her first "coloring sheet" from daycare!
Ellen is going to start helping her with numbers, colors, letters and shapes.  WE ARE SO EXCITED!  And I am, ps, super excited that Ellen actually has a pre-school program, complete with themes, activities, and what not.  I have learned from family and friends that just because someone advertises they offer pre-school it does not mean that it will be pre-school as you envision it.  Ellen is awesome.  I can't wait to see what Vivi comes up with next!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Family Photo-trastophe

Every once in awhile I attempt to get a candid family photo, as we constantly keep the camera on hand.  You may have noticed that none of these photoshave made it on to the blog.

Because they frequently look like this.

 Here, Vivi shows how she can be "nice to Mommy" by poking her in the eye.
Sadly, the patience of an 18th month old does not last long, and the photo session disintegrated even further.  
If that were possible.
Perhaps next time we'll succeed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Markers, revisited

So...we learned an unfortunate side effect of markers.
Sometimes, when you are trying to put the cap back on... "ass-i-denwy" (accidentally) stick the marker up your nose instead, resulting in the unfortunate "Smurf-Booger" look.  Oh dear.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Graffitti Artist

Lest ye think the wonderful world of Vivi's Christmas gifts had been exhausted, let me present our final exhibit...markers.
We were wanting to encourage Vivi's artistic talents, and I was very wisely advised by my sister to go the route of markers over crayons because a) you barely have to apply any pressure, b) they are larger and easier to grasp, and c) they so rarely result in the unfortunate "Multi-colored poo" incidents so popular amongst the Under 3 set.

But where to color?
Why, on one's house of course!  What better, bigger, blanker canvas exists for a little lady's first great art project?  We uncapped and let Vivi have at it!
Aided and abetted by Mommy, of course.  I wasn't going to miss out on a chance to draw on the walls.
The first scribblings of our little artist!  Eat your heart out, Jackson Pollock!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

So, we bought Vivi a kitchen (as you might have noticed).  And she likes it.  She plays with it.  But you know what she REALLY likes to play with?  The box the kitchen came in.
Russ carved some windows in it, set in front of the fireplace, and she cackled with glee, lounging in there with Jack-Dog every chance she gets.  For reasons unexplained, she INSISTS that her penguin, who had been lounging in the corner unnoticed for several months, be in the house whenever she is (you can see his blue tummy in the background of all these photos).
Here she combines a few of her favorite things--her house, Jack-Dog, and "Groger-Pages," also known as "The Monster at the End of this Book."
I guess everyone needs a place to call their own...Russ and I can just start shopping behind dumpsters, I guess!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic...

...and the training of a future one, I suppose.
When we bought Vivi her kitchen, I figured (correctly) that she would need food for the kitchen.  And one cannot purchase food without shoppink (shopping).  Well...unless you live in New York City.  Which we don't.  So. Training necessary.  

There seems to be some shoppink cart/strollah (stroller) confusion, however, as it seems to be mostly used to give rides to Baby (a gift left by Santa in Lincoln--he was no slouch in this state, either).
Tragically, this little shopaholic does not feel it necessary to make Baby wear a seat belt, resulting in this unfortunate photo.
My only saving grace is that she is not COMPLETLEY covered with food.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Julia Child in the Making

We were so excited to get home and give Vivi the present we chose for her.  Russ and I had been plotting for quite some time as to what to get her.  After one mad dash to Target (you're welcome, Vivi), we were in possession of one sweet mutha-scratching kitchen.  However, after the gift debacle in Durant, we learned our lesson.  We were NOT giving her this gift in the box.  So after she went to bed we set it up in the dining room.
She woke up and was stoked!  She immediately began exploring, opening all the doors and cupboards.
Then, wisely, she proceeded to make "cau-see" (or coffee, in the English).  Who is so smart and loves her mommy?  I am so pleased that she has her morning priorities in order.
After we had been plied with massive amounts of cau-see, she proceeded to make us breakfast.  No telling what was on the menu, as it involved two pots, a coffee pot, and, inexplicably, a handful of silverware.
And then she cleaned up (note the dish i the sink)!  My child has better kitchen habits than I do.  So embarrassing...and AWESOME!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Carnage

So last year, Vivi was not really able to open gifts.  She kind of stared while Russ and I opened things, and then played with them.  Kind of.  So we were really excited to see if she would be into opening presents this year!  I LOVE giving people presents.  I really love giving kids presents.  Their reaction (while not always the one you'd expect), is usually priceless.

This year was pretty good.  Vivi started with gifts from Aunt Becky and Uncle Jake.  She opened a very glamorous pair of striped tights, and then this gift followed!
While I was super excited about the purple sweater dress, Vivi seemed unsure.  However, the next gift garnered an awesome reaction!
This is a book that reads itself.  You record your voice reading the story, so the kid can listen to you read to them, no matter where you are!  Vivi has one read to her by Grandma Otto, one read to her by Grandpa Otto, and now one read to her by Aunt Becky and Uncle Jake...and it is about MONSTERS.  

It may or may not roar.
As Vivi discovered.  She was most pleased!  We read this book A LOT.

So here's the thing we didn't really take in to account.  While Vivi may have been content to leave the presents more or less alone while they were wrapped (seriously, she didn't even mess with them at all), once they were unwrapped and she figured out they were for her, she demanded that each one be removed from the box so she could play with it.  Then she would totally forget about the rest of the gifts because she was so excited about playing with the unwrapped ones.

Gift opening took awhile (this awesome farm set from Grandma and Grandpa was particularly popular)!
That being said, a farm,a jungle, a book, and a lot of laughs later, it was a pretty dang good day.  And no matter how long it took, there was still quite a bit of this face...
Love it!  Merry Christmas to all!