Monday, October 29, 2012

Play Time!

Vivi had a good time hanging out with Aunt Becky and Uncle Jake.  She was not, however, in love with the idea of "home work."  She sat with the two of them for quite some time, trying to get a sense of the appeal.

It wasn't happening.  So, she broke out her own backpack.  Instead of homework, however, it contained dinosaurs.  Aunt Becky seemed to think they were cooler than homework, too.

Soon, Vivi overtook the table with a giant line of dinosaurs, leaving poor Uncle Jake very little room for his poor homework.

Later, we came into the living room to find Vivi dressed up like a tiny hula dancer.

When in doubt, play dress up.  It's the way to go!
We had such a good time in Minnesota.We can't wait to hang out with those guys over Christmas!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bubble Time!

So, at the fabulous restaurant we went to, all small children get to sort through a "treasure chest" on their way out and pick a prize (brilliant).  Vivi, being an eagle-eye, spotted a bottle of bubbles and latched on to it with a kung-fu grip.  She had to be dissuaded from blowing bubbles in the car on the way home, and once she realized that wasn't going to happen, she spent the entire drive telling us that she was "really good at blowing bubbles," and giving a step-by-step tutorial on how to do so, as we were (clearly) not the experienced bubble blowers she was.

The next morning, she couldn't even bother to get dressed before rushing out to the deck to blow bubbles.

"Mom!  Aunt Becky!  Come on out here!  I'm really good at this!"
Mom and Aunt Becky were aware that it was late September in Minnesota and therefore bloody freezing, and were hovering in the doorway.  Unacceptable.  We were quickly ushered out on to the deck to witness some awesome bubble blowing.

But you know who had an even better time with the bubbles than Vivi?
 That's right.  Sugar.  She was FASCINATED.

She would wait, oh so patiently for Vivi to blow a swarm of bubbles and then....

...she would chase them down and catch them.  It was awesome.  The two of them would have done this all day.
We'll have to see what Christmas brings.  According to Pinterest, if you blow bubbles outside and it is lower than 32 degrees, they will freeze in mid-air.  Imagine the fun those two would have with that!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I'm Afraid of Americans

...the MALL of Americans, that is.  

When we went to Minnesota, it quickly became apparent that the four adults in the group were not savvy to the mystery of the Great Mall of America.  There is a giant kid-themed amusement park in the center of the mall.  At least we thought there was.  The interweb suggested it was so.  But we were woefully ignorant.  Russ had never been.  I hadn't been since high school.  And, as Uncle Jake aptly put it, "I can get you to Nordstrom Rack.  Other than that...we're pretty much on the same page."  Apparently, we are bad Americans.  We have neglected the mecca of consumerism (though I would have been QUITE WILLING to make up for lost time).

So we decided to brave it, assuming a Friday night would be slightly less busy.

Despite being able to see a 20 foot tall Dora from the food court (terrifying), Vivi was not sure she believed Uncle Jake.
"Buddy, there are no rides in here."

However, she was quite wrong.  Not only were there rides, they were, for the most part, Nickelodeon themed rides, which meant she got to hang out with all of her favorite buddies.

She got to ride in the Wonderpets Fly Boat.

She and Aunt Becky zoomed around in the Swiper Cars (which went surprisingly fast for a child's ride).
Love, love, love this picture.

We all rode together on the Dora ferris wheel, which was actually three stories tall and pretty cool.

She and I drove Diego's bus to "save some jungle animals!"

And, for the most awesome experience of the entire mall, Russ took her on the carousel, and she got to ride...
...a dragon.  She was SO SO excited for this.  We had to wait in line for the carousel, and she spotted it right away.  There was no dissuading her.  I think she would have fought any other child for that dragon.  It was hers.  And, as Hiccup tells us, "Vikings have stubbornness issues."  It pretty much made her day.  And, to cap it all off, Aunt Becky and Uncle Jake knew of a restaurant which not only had some of the best adult food I've ever had, but they had for-real Mac'n'Cheese that rivaled that of Fireworks here in Lincoln.  All in all, not a bad day for everyone.  Even if we are bad Americans.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our Ames Buddies

Last month, we took a little mini-vacation to see Aunt Becky and Uncle Jake!  And, because the Grooters are saint-style people, they let us crash with them over night to help break up the drive on the way there.  We hadn't seen then since July, so we were feeling pretty over due.

I CANNOT BELIEVE how big Kella is getting! And so stinking cute!  After breakfast the next morning, Russ and Derek took Kyler off to school, and Dawn, Kella, Vivi and I hung out and had girl time.  Kella was quite interested in Vivi and what she was up to.  She crawled all over the place after her, checking out her interest in various things.
She helped Vivi read various books (how cute are her pj's by the way?  would totally wear them in my own size).

And then Dawn brought out something that was sure to be a crowd pleaser...
...the dino.  This is one of those ingenious toys that allows a kid to learn to walk behind it, then converts to a ride-on toy.  Vivi was enthralled.  And because Vivi was enthralled, so was Kella.

They both did a really nice job taking turns.
Quite impressive, as Kella is not yet one, and Vivi has a tough time giving up anything dino-related.

Kella also took a moment to pause for a photo with Russ once he and Derek returned.
She looks awesomely worried here.  I love it.

Sadly, that will be our last stay in that little house.  Derek and Dawn are building a new house, and should be into it by the next time we pass through.  It's bitter sweet.  More so for them, obviously, but we Ottos have our own set of memories tucked into the house on Emerson.  For me, it's the place where I really got to know Derek and Dawn, their children, their families, and the Iowa State crowd.  We've had so many experiences sitting around in that kitchen that I will always hold dear. They are very much in my thoughts and prayers this month.  But, we are so excited for them to have their new home, and we can't wait to make new memories!  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Weeee're Baaaaack!

Hello, blog world!  I apologize for my hiatus.  You see, Russ had surgery on Tuesday.  Yes, that's right.  In a weird ying-yang reversal of last fall, Russ had knee surgery and is on crutches/unable to move and I am running the show.  The Ottos seem to be reaping some weird karmic what the heck.  Not sure why.  While I don't REMEMBER selling puppies to Colombian drug lords, or anything so nefarious, I also don't remember what I had for lunch yesterday.  So. You know.  Anything is possible.  At any rate, if we keep this up, Vivi is going to assume that crutches are the hot accessory for fall.

Anywhoo, forgive me for these next few weeks for any sporadic blogging.  Nuff said.

Back in the day, when we all had two good legs, Uncle Joe and the boys came to town!  And where did we all meet up?  At the museum, of course.

Russ thrilled Vivi to no end by letting her set up by the giant mammoth statue.
Pretty sure the museum was NOT OKAY WITH THIS.  We did it anyway.

She assisted Ty and Shawn with a very intense fossil dig.
The fossil dig's touted authenticity was somewhat lessened when we found a nickel, a purple plastic flower, and what appeared to be the hinge of someone's watch.  Oh well.

We got to see how Ty measured up to an Allosaur's thigh bone.
He's getting so tall!

Vivi of course played teacher, schooling Uncle Joe about bird-thing (what?  You want to know what it is?  Ask her).

And she "educated" Uncle John about the Stegosaurus...
...despite the fact that it is his favorite dinosaur and he already seemed quite knowledgeable.  Never miss an opportunity to teach!

And lastly, she and Noah set up a dino-opolous in the encounter center.
I was just glad not to have to brush shredded rubber out of her hair.  Again.  Thanks for hanging out with us, cousins!