Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The past 5 days have been really hard.  Really, really, really hard.  I know every aspect of social media has been inundated with this tragedy, and I can't log onto Facebook without crying.  I look at my amazing, funny little girl, and see the potential shining from her, and the joy, and the plain old vibrancy of being a kid, and I think of the awful, awful amount of joy that was snuffed from the world in such a heartless, cruel, selfish manner.  It makes me ill.  I have been crying on and off since last Friday.  My heart breaks for those families, that community, and for the world we live in that such things could happen. 
Our little circle also lost someone on Friday.  A family we know lost their mom to cancer.  She and her husband have 6 kids.  It seems unreal that she is gone.  Moms just a few years older than me are not supposed to leave their children, just as children are not supposed to go off to school and not return.
I know that the innocent go directly to God's side, and that is a comfort.  But man, is it hard to wrap your mind around.
But, that's why things like this are so important.  I love that I have the time to do things with my daughter, and to share them with you.  I love that you all love her enough to read about her (many) antics on a regular basis.  And things like this remind me that it is important to build as much family time together as is humanly possible.  To sit back and watch her learn, and grow, and develop and take joy in the simple little things that make life very exciting in the eyes of a three year old.
This year, we made Vivi's first gingerbread house.  My great-grandmother, for whom Vivi is named, used to send a gingerbread house kit to us every year, and I LOVED making them (and eating them afterwards).  So  was pretty excited to start the tradition with her.  The box gave several "examples" of houses you can "easily make," and Vivi eagerly made her selection.
I would like to mention that while you cannot really see this picture, you would have to be the freaking PICASSO OF GINGERBREAD to make any one of these houses.  This did not dissuade her.
However, once we opened the box, she was mightily confused.  Where was the house?  What were these funny looking things?  Why weren't we eating all this candy?
It took some explaining (and several gumdrops) for her to get the picture.
While I struggled to get the bomb shelter spackle (I mean, frosting) to fuse the gingerbread together, she remained cheerful.
This could have something to do with the gumdrops.  You can tell by the tension in my neck that I had NOT had any gumdrops.
Russ, luckily, turned out to be a whiz with the pastry bag.

And he and Vivi gave great attention to the roof, making sure it was balanced with both color and different kinds of candy.
And that Vivi did not steal the remaining gumdrops.

While not the showpiece on the front of the box (those lunatics sent along instructions involving slicing the gumdrops into quarters and then rolling them out, then baking them slightly, for a "transparent look."  have they no idea that we are simply trying to ensure the gumdrops wind up on the house, and not in the stomach of our toddler?), it did turn out quite cute.

And this is it, folks.  This is what we fight for, this is what we have to protect. 
Although this is a smile slightly terrifying in its intensity, this is why we keep going.  This is why you hug your littles closer, teach them kindness and show them how to treat others.  And she is what will help me rebuild my saddened heart.

PS--I know you are all wondering.  Did we eat that monstrosity that has been sitting in a cardboard box for heaven knows how long?  Damn right we did.  And it was delicious.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I know, I know.  I should be blogging about all the wonderful Christmas-y things we are doing right now.  Or, I could blog about this.
Yes, that's right.  That is a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Riding on a pony.
Here, Vivi assists him with his reins.
So he can "hold on really tight."
Having a three-year old is awesome.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Story of Pants....

As we were decorating our house like the busiest of little bees, Russ and I suddenly heard a giggle.  It's the kind of giggle we only hear when Vivi is simultanously being slightly naughty and amusing herself.  So we turned to find her wearing...pants.  Of a sort.
While we were digging around in boxes of ornaments, Vivi decided to wear her coat as pants.
And boy, was she cracking herself up.
She seriously wore coat pants for a good long time.
Here, she is reading one of her books, laughing, and wearing coat pants.  Awesome.
She soon gave up the silly pretense of "reading," and just laughed at herself.
...and when the novelty of coat pants began to wear off, she decided to take it up a notch by accessorizing.
Nothing screams the holidays quite like coat pants and a garland scarf.  And no one can take a break from decorating quite like my baby.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

By the Chimney with Care...

Decorating for Christmas was really fun this year.  For the first time, Vivi was a very active participant.  She was thrilled to be involved with putting up the tree, choosing the perfect spots for the decorations, and, of course, hanging the stockings.
She choose which stocking hung from each hook.  Very carefully.
Hers, of course, took the lead hook.
Just to make sure Santa didn't miss hers, I'm guessing.
She was most proud.
Not so happy about having to share the limelight with others, however.
December at Chez Otto...always with the true Christmas spirit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

In a Flash...

So, November happened.  Probably for all of you, too.  I worked 6 days a week all four months, which was...lame.  Vivi spent a lot of time with Russ, which she loved.  And it got colder.  Kind of.  Vivi did a lot of hanging out, all snuggled up...
...which Ollie loved.  I sucked it up again, forgetting my camera over Thanksgiving.  Which was too bad, because it was a blast, and everyone had a lot of fun.  One of these years, I'll remember to take my camera to the holidays...

At any rate.  November.  We're over it.  On to December!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Last October Post, I promise...

We did paint pumpkins.  I promise.  Inspired by her costume, Vivi asked me to draw a snail on her pumpkin so she could paint it.

She took the whole thing very seriously.

The whole "staying inside the lines" thing, not so much.

Of course, Russ and I carved our own pumpkins.
Vivi picked Russ's design of a "really spooky witch," while I did a Hello Kitty Vampire.

Ah, October.  One of my favorite months.  But, on we go!  To the holiday season!