Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baby Steps away from Babyhood

As predicted, Viv has reached the milestone of biped ambulation.

Two weeks ago we tried to get her to walk a few steps between me and her dad. Her best was four steps, which is notable for a nine month old. The next day she took eight steps completely independent of me. She just decided to walk from a window to a chair, no cajoling or bribing at all. I was stunned, but I can see now that this might be her way. When she figured out the stairs, there was a period of her playing around/on the bottom one and then one day she went all the way up as if she'd done it a hundred times before. Same with the sizable drop -off of our back deck into the yard. She had played near it dozens of times before with little interest in trying to climb it, but then one afternoon she went to the edge, turned around, lowered one leg and then the other, and crawled away on the grass. Not only was she proficient at the physical level, she was even graceful in her movements.

Steve has gotten a couple of these "You won't believe what the baby just did..." calls and texts followed by "WHERE DID MY BABY GO?". I know all kids grow up and I'm really OK with that and look forward to watching them develop into little big people (they'll always be a little bit little to me, I think). But why do my kids grow up so fast? Even in the womb, my midwives tell me I felt my first kicks weeks before the average mom. I'm convinced they just don't want to be babies. We make adulthood look so fun they are dying to be old (I'm 25 now so I can say stuff about being old).

The next day she did it again. Independent of me and apparently just for fun, she walked across a room to her favorite dancing spot in front of the TV stand. She is really wobbly, holds both her hands up above her head as if grasping someone's fingers (C says she walks like a monkey), and tends to take big steps with her right foot and tiny catch-up steps with her left, resulting in a sideways trajectory, but she can most definitely be deemed a walker. Every day since, she goes farther and with more surety.

I'm curious what these pattern of development means for her personality. She is pretty fierce when you take away the toy she just took from her brother (who had already taken it from her while trying to trick her into swapping it with his inferior toy), and will often bite the offending hand. C, bless his heart, is still very sweet with her and usually plays gently and respectfully of her, her space, and her things. He growls and grumbles a lot, but he calls for me to "put her away" and doesn't shove her off his books. She is also very cuddly with me and likes to twirl hair- my hair. She also fake laughs and for the camera. One flash and she is all squinty-eyed-grins until the camera is put away.

Besides walking, her other latest developments are imitations of real life. She has loved playing with bags, purses, wallets, bank cards, etc for months, but it wasn't until yesterday at the grocery store when I saw her trying to swipe the card she was holding in the card-reader that I realized she knew what to do with them. She also has picked up on the pretend phone thing, where all things phone-size occasionally are held up to her ear. While folding laundry today, she kept picking up a pair of C's Yo Gabba Gabba underwear and putting it on her head as if she knew that clothing belongs on bodies. What?! I know. She is just too much sometimes and I just want to squeeze her and hold her and go Granny Wendy on her with squunches and "Stop growing up!" ultimatums.

Creedo is great, too. I'll feature him next time. Stay tuned for tales of the jungle, painting projects, declarations of rights, pint-sized shopping carts, trips to the Dark Side, and zombie get-aways.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ghostbusters or Bust

For the ward Halloween party, Creedence was Tin Tin and Vivian was his trusty sidekick, Snowy. Steve was Captain Haddock for a three minute span during which I took pictures. I was everything else, as usual.

For the actual Halloween day, it somehow ended up with me in zombie make-up and Vivian in a skeleton onesie. I don't have control over what the rest of family wears, and they chose not to participate. In fact, I dragged the kids to do trick-or-treating at the grocery store and that was all I could get Creedo to do. He didn't want to go out door to door. He wanted to eat treats and watch Halloween movies at home, so Ghostbusters and Dum-dums it was.

I'm not sure what Creedo thinks Halloween is. Since the first time he saw a soda display that involved Frankenstein's monster printed on the cartons in a store in early October, he's been saying, "It's almost Halloween." We made a paper chain to help count down the days. We've watched hundreds of Halloween jib-jabs, we made pumpkin-everything-edibles, we listened to the Monster Mash on repeat for hours.  But sometimes he would say that it's Halloween in the back yard, or we just passed Halloween, or that he's going to hit the bad guys with Halloween. Not sure where I got off teaching him that one...

Is it really bad when you live next to a super busy day care and across the street from an elementary school, two clear signs of lots of local kids, and yet not a single trick-or-treater comes to the door? Everyone apparently goes to a ritzier neighborhood a few minutes away instead of staying around here. The point is that now we have so--- much candy. And so little time.

In other news, stay posted- Viv is going to start walking any day now. At least, Steve's trying really hard to make it happen.

 He played doctor the whole time. He did not want to touch the insides of the pumpkin. I pretended to get my hand stuck to see if he would reach in to pull it out for me, but he offered to go get Dad instead of do it himself, 
 Snowy and Capt. Haddock
Camera-shy TinTin. Today, he tried to re-create his Tintin hair with hand soap. It sort of worked... 

 This is what Creedo wanted to do on Halloween, despite a month of preparation, casing houses practicing innocent faces to elicit extra treats
She's a natural

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our New Street: More Holes than Sponge-Bob at a Donut Shop

I'm not even kidding. The worst ones happen to be right in front of our house. Creedo, Viv and I have sat on our porch in the afternoons watching drivers freak out as they drive by because they think their rear bumpers just fell off.
It is just one of the interesting things about our new place. At first glance, I was thrilled. It is spacious and not terribly junky and it turned out that we have a deck in the back yard, which was a surprise. But as we started unloading the truck an hour later, it became more and more evident that the place had not been cleaned well after the previous tenants. An hour after that, we had become aware the place probably hadn't been cleaned at all after the previous tenants. By the end of the third day of just cleaning, it was obvious the place probably hadn't been cleaned well, ever.
The good news is that we had lots of help from Steve's parents those hardest first days (and on the drive out here, and on the Provo end of the cleaning/packing. They are fantastic people). The other upside was that every issue was more or less fix-able, even if that meant painting over popcorn ceiling in the living room and completely re-painting the downstairs bathroom (thanks Steve's mom!). I still haven't gotten all the white residue off the sink cabinet in the master bathroom stubbornly left over from where I had to peel off velveteen stickers depicting each of the Seven Dwarves (why...?), but I'll get to that. Our landlord is a whole 'nother story, but I'll save that for a different day.
My Mom and youngest sister came out the second week and helped organize all of my storage (labels and everything!), clear out the miscellaneous boxes in the garage (read: those incredibly taxing boxes of odds and just barely useful things you just don't really want to unpack ever), hang pictures, and enjoy some Columbia fun. We took Creedo fishing, saw an outdoor movie in a park, did Steve's back-to-school shopping, and enjoyed how fun Vivian's new squinty-snorty-smile quirk is. It was great.

But then everyone left, and school started.

That was rough. We've had Steve around all summer more or less and then to have him just go off and abandon us...  not. nice. but necessary (he says). Luckily, our ward has eight other toddler boys in the 2-3 yr old age range and we are having fun getting to know them. We trek through the jungle, Creedo's title for all the nature trails. Steve and I have also been re-watching all of Arrested Development. So, so good.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Not the country. Not the city in South Carolina. Not Ohio either, you're thinking of Columbus. It's Columbia, MO and we are headed there in a week and a half. Steve has achieved his MFA in Creative Writing and now he is going for a PhD at University of Missouri in Creative Writing and Literature. It's a five year program. I still don't understand what could possibly take five years, but then again, if I made the rules, cookies wouldn't have to be a "sometime treat." 

The crazy thing about moving is that it all comes down to the end. We've packed a little but there are only so many boxes I can tolerate in the house while we are still trying to live here. I'm choosing to spend a lot of time with kids, Steve (who has been home and free this month and I love it), and the Utahns I'll miss the most. I feel like now is the calm before the the storm, before school starts up again and I'm busy with the adventure of exploring CoMo and setting up house. I'm one of those people who actually enjoy unpacking so I'm looking forward to that part of a fresh start.

Speaking of fresh starts, Vivian has just transformed over the past three weeks. She went from figuring out how to roll over both ways to a funny face-plant caterpillar forward movement in the course of about a week; then suddenly she started army-crawling. Fast. Until this point, I had been in denial about how mobile she was, telling myself she's just a rolly-polly, not really in control of her movements. Then she started making purposeful 90 degree rotations and avoiding obstacles and using turn signals and stuff. She's really good at focusing on whatever Creedo is playing with and trying to get that into her mouth. He is tolerant in a two-year-old sort of way and mostly just yells "Vivian!" a la Ricky Ricardo and moves over a couple feet to a new spot. She pursues, and I pretend they are playing together. 

She can also sit up unsupported for a little bit, although she looks supported by her tummy and thigh girth. She's ahead of the curve in her motor development, just like Creedo was, and appears to be nowhere close to interested in giving up night-time feedings no matter how much solid food she eats (also a Creedo behavior). I guess that's the trade-off for having super skills. She also picked up this funny quirk where she quickly pumps her arms when she's excited or growing agitated, and she likes to bob her head frequently to real and imagined music. 

Both of the kids love the water. Creedo is pretty fearless, so when we go to Seven Peaks I strap on Vivian in a mesh water wrap so I have both hands free for him. He wears this adorkable floatie that goes over his chest and straps under his legs with a tube floatie across the chest. Accessorize with bright blue water shoes, red Spider-Man shades to match his Spider-Man trunks, a high-neck rash guard and a floppy hat, and now you've got a combination for some of the most bizzare tan lines you've ever seen on a toddler. Steve's skin cancer appears genetic, so I try to keep Creedence protected. Vivian loves the wrap and will splash her legs and people-watch the whole time. The best part about the whole thing is how great they sleep afterwards!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Solids and Spider- Man

She's a rolly-polly, scooting and turning and somehow getting herself across rooms. I'll lay her down on the floor on a blanket and find her on the other side of the room a few minutes later. She's also discovered her toes, which is seriously too cute. She started to notice them while sitting in her Bumbo, and now when she lays on her back she reaches up for them and either just likes to hold her toes, or she tries to eat them. But she has really chubby legs, so they don't quite squish up to her mouth as well as she'd like.
She's also started sampling solid food. Still won't take a bottle of any kind, and binkies are chew toys, not for sucking or soothing, Her favorite is frozen yogurt, chocolate flavor. 

 Sometimes I match them accidently on purpose.
 Siblings, no?
 Bad guy face. He's actually looking at the camera.
She can be moody.
 Oh, how she likes to eat faces!
 Not this one though. He's too fierce.
 He climbs like Spider- Man, but then he reaches for a stair and hangs by one arm "like King Louis" from Jungle Book
 You've just had web shot at you. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

I don't mean to compare, but...

Vivian does this really great thing where she sleeps in her own crib. She whimpers and shrieks and rubs her eyes when she is tired. It's amazing- it's like she's communicating with us. All I have to do is swaddle her and let her work through her seriously adorable chatty-ness phase. She gargles and gurgles with her eyes closed, as if she is so tired she has to tell me how tired she is before she can go to sleep. Then she gets quieter, sleepy, and on good days I can put her in her crib like that and she'll drift off on her own, softly murmuring. Most days I can put her down in her crib, gently rock the frame for a minute while she settles, and then I'm good to go. Bad days mean a couple rounds of putting her down and picking her back her up before she'll settle for sleeping out of my arms. Even on those days though, from start to finish it is usually less than 15 minutes. No bouncing and jostling and shhh-ing for hours, no guessing about if it is time for a nap, no nursing endlessly, no spending every nap time in absolute silence, frozen still, for fear of waking up the baby who finally dozed off on my chest as I'm sitting in a terribly uncomfortable arm-falling-off position. It's nice to sit in bed and flip through parenting books, nodding knowingly, finally understanding what they are talking about when they say "when your baby shows signs of being tired..." and "babies thrive on predictable schedules." Then I look over and pat Creedo's lovely soft head, nuzzled right into my back, taking over my pillow, and repeat to myself a series of comforting mantras. It starts with "At least he's sleeping," then rises not very calmly to "I just want my bed back," oscillates back and forth, and ends with "Let him be little and sleep in the middle" over and over until I fall asleep. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Look, look, look at us!

I've been trying to get family and sibling pictures taken care of since Vivian was born. It's hard enough to get Steve to smile, let alone Creedo and Vivian. This was our latest attempt, and probably the best we've gotten so far because at least no one is crying. Credit goes to the photographer, a friend in my ward, who volunteered her services and the train track idea. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Creedence is two! Can you believe it? I can. He's a loveable handful.
He is interested in everything right now, from superheroes and bugs to dental floss and shoes. He has an incredibly sharp memory and learns new words daily. He is as strong as ever.  He wrestled the doctor and I so intensely at his two year checkup that we three were all sweating by the time we pinned him down. He wasn't even getting shots, just a routine abdomen examination! He is a hunka hunka chunk of toddler at 31 lbs, and remains taller than average with an exceptionally fine, large head (since birth it's been in in the 95th percentile or higher). He is thinning out a bit, but he still had deliciously chubby cheeks and legs.
At this time last year, had I known that a year later he still doesn't sleep through the night, I would have probably felt sick to my stomach. His current tally of all night slumber remains at only seven nights ever. Yet somehow, even with a newborn, we are all managing. Who knows when he'll get it. Right now, I'm counting my blessings and glad that at least he loves his sister. Two months in, and he is still all hugs and kisses for her. Speaking of kisses, he's gotten into making a game out of trying to give mouth kisses. I'm not a fan of parents planting a big smackeroo on the lips of their children, so one of our family mantras is "Only Mommies and Daddies give mouth kisses!" (others include "Baby only drinks milk!" and "Only Mommy and Daddy drive the car!"). He'll grab your cheeks and try to pull you into his adorable puckered mouth, then laugh as you try to squirm it into a beso instead.
I know I'll miss those kisses soon, but for now he's gotten a bit more cuddly. When I'm nursing Vivian, sometimes he'll come snuggle up with me and we'll watch a "funny show" or as a treat before bedtime, we sometimes watch his one of his favorites, "people falling!" which is America's Funniest Home Videos.
We really love talking to him. There is no reasoning with him, but it is great to communicate with him. Even when he is mad it is nice to understand him. His most common requests are for more milk, the iPad, going outside, ice cream, apples, Fantastic Mr. Fox, more jumping, more throwing, more play. At times he gets a kick out of calling me Maria and Steve Stephen, or as of late, calling me Mommia.
He still rubs his stomach every time he drinks from his favorite blue cup, which reminds me of his nursing and bottle days of yore. He's still just a big baby in some ways, and I cherish those moments when he needs me in a sweet simple way. Other times, like when he's screaming "More Temple Run!" or "I don't like it!!" I sometimes am taken aback at how much older and independent he seems. I'm excited to watch him grow more and more into his own person. Happy birthday Deedo Boy!
Candles! He still loves lighting them and blowing them out.
 This lucky duck had lots of family in town around his birthday and Vivian's blessing. His birthday dinner was at Steve's Uncle and Aunt's home in Heber, where he was presented with a very exciting remote control car. Some of his other favorite presents include an awesome scooter, some fabulous nerf guns, and lots of super superhero gear.
 Angry bird face while eating his birthday brownies and ice cream. The angry bird walk is even better. I'll try to get it on camera some day.

 Creedo adores his neighbors and this little friend (remember the Superman from the Little Boo Bash?) who came over for Creedence's rockin' birthday party. Creedo and his good friend Eli are a day apart in age, and they had a combined friend party that included a tour of the fire station and home made ice cream.
 The best pic I got of the two birthday boys during the party, ha!
 Friends and neighbors around our sweet and simple yet incredibly legit hand made ice cream created by Eli's mom (in white shirt).
 Playing pin the spider on Spider-Man's web. 

The party was a huge, loud success. These two little boys are well loved.