Pi(e) Day

The less geeky readers of this blog may not have realized that today was Pi Day (pi rounding to 3.14, noting also that this year’s was extra special because of the bonus digits). It wasn’t planned at all, but Vivi and I wound up observing Pi Day in quite a unique and fitting way.

See, this is Vivian with her “pie.”


You may know it as “binky” or “paci,” but in our house the pacifier(s) are called pie. And I’ve been trying to work up the willingness (on her end) and the courage (on my end) to ditch them. A couple months ago, we got this book about a little girl who happily lets the Pacifier Fairy take all her binkies off to Fairyland, where the fairies all use them in bizarre and unlikely very clever and useful ways, plus the Pacifier Fairy leaves the little girl a doll as a bribe or whatever. We’ve read it often, not oppressively or anything, but enough to have had a few conversations about the idea. About on a weekly basis I ask her, “Viv, are you ready to give the Pie Fairy your pies?” and she inevitably says, “No, keep.”

Well, a couple of times she’s said “Yeah,” but then immediately changed her mind, because she’s fickle (or maybe she’s just two).

Recently I started reading the book calling the main character “Vivi.” Maybe that helped. I also started to introduce the other part of my pie-eradication scheme. Still, I wasn’t expecting a yes today when I asked her, as we were driving back from errands…

“Viv, what if we took your favorite pie and turned it into a bear, or maybe a doggy or a kitty, or whatever kind of friend you want?”

BUT – Pi Day Miracle! – today she went for it. I tried very hard to make sure she understood the implications (a, that it would only be a toy friend, and b, that once it became a friend, it couldn’t be a pie again), and I told her the rest of the deal was that the other pies all had to be given to the Pie Fairy. She agreed and told me she wanted a puppy. Well, cool.

So after her nap today, we put all but one pie into an envelope and then we went to Build A Bear. They only had one dog, and she didn’t like it, but they did have this totally Lisa-Frank-flashback rainbow tiger, which she flipped out about. So the nice Bear Elf, or whatever you call them, helped her plump up her jazzy tiger and Viv stuck that pacifier in there herself with no hesitation. I was so proud.

IMG_4418She didn’t want any clothes for her tiger, but she did want a brush. Works for me.

IMG_4416There was one short bit of “Get pie out!” and crying during the drive home. I admit I had imagined she might bite and claw at the thing’s seams once she realized what she’d done, but that wasn’t how it played out at all. She calmed down pretty quickly, and I told her that the pie couldn’t be in her mouth any more, but having it inside the tiger meant it would always be close by.

Viv didn’t protest one bit when we set the envelope with the other pies outside her door at bedtime, for the fairy to pick up. She didn’t protest at not getting a pie while I read her stories – we read the Pie Fairy book, among others. She didn’t protest when we turned the light off and she climbed in bed without a pie. I sat in the chair in her room waiting for her to go to sleep, which I don’t usually do (though she lately always asks me to). She did take forever (about 45 minutes) to go to sleep, but she never cried or even asked for it. Well, okay, after she’d been laying there about 15 minutes in the dark, I thought I heard one tiny whisper of “Want pie”; I whispered back “What?” and she didn’t say anything else. Other than that she just sighed and shifted around quite a lot until she finally went to sleep. I had braced myself for a huge meltdown and horrible night, but she was awesome.

Tomorrow she’ll wake up to find another friend from the Pie Fairy, with a special magical note and everything.


Posted in Milestones | Leave a comment

Two Year Checkup

Vivi’s 2-year well visit to her pediatrician was this week – a whole month behind. “We’ll call you when we’re putting the schedule together,” they said. Yeah, right. And by the time I called them, well, the appointment was a month behind.

Anywho, at age 2 years + 1 month, V is 32 lbs and 37 inches tall. That’s (still) 99th percentile for height relative to age, and 95th for weight. Giant baby becomes giant toddler!

At her 18 month well visit, there was some worry about a speech delay because her vocabulary hadn’t progressed much between 15 months – 18 months. We even had an in-home visit last summer to see whether a full evaluation was warranted en route to speech therapy. But the counselor advised against a full evaluation, and said it was likely just a matter of stubbornness. Long story short, since then and especially in the last 2-3 months, her speech has been advancing tremendously, and at this week’s checkup the doc was happy with where she is in that regard.

And speaking of speaking…

(Yeah. Still haven’t fully dealt with the pacifier problem…)

Posted in Doctor Visits, Milestones | 1 Comment

Vivian Turns Two

Friday was Vivian’s birthday!

(She has, by all accounts, been in “terrible twos” mode for months now. I’m excited that we finally have a new digit to show for it.)

Behold the photo recap of the festivities.

eating ice cream in pajamas

Vivian got to continue our crazy tradition of ice cream for birthday breakfast. It went over much better on birthday #2 than it did on #1.

spreading frosting

Vivi’s babysitter helped her decorate cupcakes.



eating soup

In honor of her Japanese birth, dinner was at our favorite sushi place. Viv enjoyed “noo-noo soup” (udon noodles and plain broth) and edamame.

kiddy kitchen

Mommy and Daddy surprised her with her very own kitchen.

We had to open, play with, read, put on, etc, every gift as it was opened!

We had to open, play with, read, put on, etc, every gift as it was opened!

Viv got a new doll... and the doll got a bunch of stuff, too.

Viv got a new doll… and the doll got a bunch of stuff, too.

Brand new princess castle!

New princess castle and new kitty shirt.

pink hat and mittens

Favorite words of the moment are “hot,” “cold,” and “warm” — so the new mittens and hat are perfect conversation starters.


We also went to a bounce-house-park on Saturday.


Vivian had a little bit of fun…


…and we got a few good pictures…


…but actually she found the whole thing loud and intimidating, and she mostly played with the non-inflatable toys with this look on her face!


And then we watched Finding Nemo.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into Vivi’s birthday celebration, and thank you to all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles (the “great-” ones, and the just-regular-old good ones!) for all the excellent gifts you all sent! Er, sorry if yours were not pictured; we still appreciate them!

Posted in Baby Pictures, Milestones | 1 Comment

Twenty Fifteen

Hi friends, family, and total strangers! It’s been a while. So long, in fact, that I basically forgot this blog entirely. Oops.

Let’s catch up a bit! It’s 2015 and life is just crazy. Seriously. Things are in a total state of flux. Our household on February 1 will hardly resemble our household of January 1.

Let’s see, where to begin… Not long after my last blog post forever and ever ago, I got a job. (That’s been the biggest culprit in my blog-neglect, by the way.) By the end of January, I’ll be changing jobs. There’s a little bit of “TBD” with the whole situation, so, more to this story as it develops. Regardless of how it plays out, it should be a very positive change!

Next item. Just before Halloween, a good friend of mine who had hit some bumps in the road moved in with us temporarily. We’ll call her “Fah,” which was Vivian’s name for her. Fah took took over some of Vivian’s care and generally added some excitement to the house. Well, Fah got a job 1700 miles away, so last week she packed up her car and she struck out westward. Good for her, all the best to her.

Thirdly, depressingly, B is leaving on deployment. Details aren’t for the internet, but this will be by far the longest he and I have spent apart. We’ve been trying to explain it to Vivian, but I don’t think it’s a concept any two-year-old* could quite wrap her brain around. Concepts like “months” and “the other side of the world” just don’t really connect for her. I know she’ll miss him a lot, though, and so will I.

The good news for you guys is that the deployment gives incentive for me to do a new blog revival. Hopefully one with better staying power than last time. Writing – or more to the point, making myself write – gives me both structure and accountability. I think both will be useful in keeping me sane. I hope you’ll be willing to indulge my sharing some things here besides just cute baby updates, because I’ve got a bunch of projects and stuff to keep me busy through the whole deployment. Whaddaya say?

*Oh, and about that two-year-old comment up there: Vivian’s birthday is on Friday! See? Changes everywhere!


“Bring me ALL the noo-noos!!”

Posted in Announcements, Baby Pictures, Deployment, Projects, Working Mama | 1 Comment

A Budding Engineer

I love the little head shakes and nose wrinkles she does when she’s like “No, that’s not the way I want it” and starts over.

I skipped the last couple weeks of posting because I got distracted by visitors. Whee! My family came for my birthday and then my mom stayed extra. Vivian had a great time, with all the added attention.



Posted in Viv on Video | Leave a comment

Moo-Cow Milk


I like this picture from a couple of weeks ago. Baby, cat, and – look closely – you can see the dog’s ears there behind the cat, too. I have a popular lap, especially on chilly mornings. Anyway…

Vivian is 13 months old and she is officially weaned, from both breastmilk and formula. Yay! Just plain (ok, organic) whole milk for this girl.

In some ways it would be nice to keep nursing her another few months. Then again, I also would have preferred that she never had to have formula. Unfortunately the breastfeeding thing didn’t go the way I expected, from the very beginning. And you know what? I kind of hated it. There, I said it. Mostly the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy it caused me, but also how fidgety Vivi always was while nursing. She’s very restless, and precious baby fingers forcing their way into your mouth while her cute little feet push on your ribs really loses its charm after a while. She is not nearly as bad with a bottle. I’m glad that I was able to breastfeed her at least part-time for her full first year, because I know it’s so good for her – but I’m happy to be done with that chapter.

Now, Daddy can put her to bed sometimes! Or Grandma! Or a babysitter! Oh, the date night possibilities! Plus, possibly coincidentally, since she’s been getting a bottle instead of nursing before bedtime the last couple of weeks, she’s suddenly sleeping later in the mornings. Occasionally as late as 8:30! It’s like a miracle.

The next challenge up is to convince her that it’s okay to drink milk out of a cup instead of a bottle, and after that to convince her that it’s okay for milk to be cold. For some reason, water or juice are fine in a sippy cup, but milk in one is cause for a major tantrum.

Bonus milestone today: She is walking basically all the time, but not all that skillfully; Vivian suffered her first scraped knee this afternoon. She took it like a champ though.

Posted in Milestones | 1 Comment

Pearly Whites


The baby’s drool the last couple weeks has been like a fountain. Sure enough, a couple of days ago one of Vivian’s bottom canines broke the surface. The other side looks like it’s just below the gum line, too. Canines! The internet says to expect those to come in at 16-20 months. So she’s three months early.

Poor girl. She just got through the ordeal of the first molars, too. She was pretty cranky and had lost her appetitefor several days the week before last, but thankfully she got back to normal well in advance of the new teeth actually poking through. I know canine teeth tend to be one of the worst sets for teething pain, so we seem to have gotten off relatively easy. After these, just the second molars remain! Think she’ll get her “two-year molars” by 18 months? Hm??

Posted in Milestones | Leave a comment

Chores + Vocabulary Confusion

Vivian is a handful. I haven’t spent all that much time with very many babies / toddlers, so I can’t really say whether she is more demanding of attention than an average kiddo her age. What I can say is this: the last time my mother-in-law visited, she declared that taking care of Vivian was a two-person job. Or at least, taking care of her and also myself and my house and so forth. And yet, most of the time, it’s just me and her, but all those other things still have (ok, let’s say “ought”) to be done. Fortunately I’ve developed some tricks to make life easier and reduce the overall amount of crying and frustration.

Dishes are a fun one, and never-ending. Now that she stands and walks, she’s obsessed with the dishwasher. She loves the dishwasher. The dishwasher may be her favorite thing in the world. She particularly likes to take all the spoons out of the utensil holder thingy and carry them around the room. If it keeps her occupied and lets me get through washing dishes, then I let it go. Until she starts turning her gaze toward the knives, and then the party is over. I make sure the spoons are pretty well rinsed before they go in the dishwasher… Anyway, she also is interested in the other neat things that sometimes appear in the dishwasher, such as whisks and colanders. The dishwasher is a powerful entertainment tool.

Now, hold that thought for a minute while I tell you about a seemingly totally unrelated thing. Then you shall be rewarded with a cute video that unites the two.

We have been working on Vivian’s vocabulary. She isn’t saying any words yet, but she recognizes a few dozen nouns and will point to things when they are mentioned: her belly button, my belly button, the table, the cat, certain toys, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes things are called by similar words, or even the same word, but they aren’t the same thing. For instance, I asked her where the “mouse” was in one of her books recently, and she pointed to her mouth. It must be very confusing learning how language works.

Ok, so those are lovely and informative tidbits about life with Vivi – but mostly, they were buildup to this week’s cute video. This morning as I was unloading the dishwasher:

Posted in Language, Life + Baby, Viv on Video | 3 Comments

Snow Day

We got hit pretty hard with that winter storm here in southeastern Virginia last night. Hard enough that I had to dig a trench for the dog to go do his business. No worries though. Vivian and I didn’t have anywhere to be for the next few days, and the heat’s working just fine in the house, so we’re good.

I took Vivian outside to “play” in the snow. We got a pretty good snowfall last week as well, so this is her second time seeing snow. She didn’t particularly do much, but here’s the footage anyway. At the very least, you can see how cute she is in her snow suit.

(Or if you want to save yourself a minute and a half, you get basically the same effect from this photo.)


Speaking of her snow suit, she had a major meltdown while I was getting her ready to go out. This is a kid who pretty much hates getting dressed anyway, so add bulky layers and something as offensive as mittens?!? Awful! And yes, she has grocery bags rubber-banded over her mittens, because I never bought her any waterproof hand gear. D’oh.

I tried to get her to actually play a little more after I stopped the video, at which point she promptly went back into meltdown mode and we had to go back inside. But for a whole minute and a half, she sort-of-kind-of-maybe enjoyed herself in the snow.

Posted in Life + Baby, Viv on Video | Leave a comment

We are still alive! … and Vivian is one year old!

Hi there! How are you? We’re great.

IMG_2951Somehow, we landed in the US and I immediately dropped the blog. I could go through the whole ‘why that probably happened’ thing, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? And then I got so behind, and had so much that I felt I should probably write about, and it was just so overwhelmingly daunting that I put it off and put it off and it only got worse until I was never, ever going to be able to catch up.

So, if I (and you) want to bring the blog back, I (and you) need to come to terms with just picking up with right now, and not trying to go back and cover everything for the last 6 months. I might hit some high points; we’ll see how it goes. But I am going to try to get it going again. Hopefully weekly posts. Wednesdays. (Let’s see how many weeks before I miss one. Ha.)

Anyway, right now, where we are is: Vivian turned one year old last week! Amazeballs.

B was out of town doing training, but he got back the following day. We waited for him before we did presents. Her Grandma came to visit for the whole week, and good times were had by all. On her birthday, Vivian got to have ice cream for breakfast (because I had ice cream for breakfast the morning I was induced, and therefore it shall be her birthday tradition). She did not like it, even though she has liked ice cream previously.

IMG_3027We went out for a sushi dinner, because, you know, she’s Japanese. Also, Vivian is totally in love with the waiter at our sushi place.

72937_10203135998629435_1580942772_nBefore you say anything about the Big Birthday Cake Smash, we did that at Christmas when my family and B’s mom were all here together. I made these amazing strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. With a marshmallow on top, because marshmallows are her favorite thing. (Seriously. I threw away some stale ones, and she saw me do it and cried and later tried to pull them out of the trash and eat them. I managed to thwart her, but it was close.)


I took a video of the cupcake smash, but a) I did a really bad job managing the camera and also the baby; b) she did a lot more picking than smashing and barely ate any of it, so it was boring; and c) she had a cold at the time so she was blowing ginormous snot bubbles. Yuck. But here is the aftermath, anyway.


Thanks to everybody who sent her lovely birthday cards and gifts!

Vivian had her 12 month well baby doctor visit — with her non-Navy, very likable and competent new doctor — this week. She is healthy and developmentally great, and she continues to be a GigantoBaby at 32″ tall and 25lb 8oz. The doctor came in and said “How’d you get so tall?” Since I missed writing about it, I’ll tell you from her 9(ish) month appointment that’s a two-inch but only about a half-pound gain. So maybe she’s starting to stretch out.

To close out this post, the biggest news in Vivian’s life lately is that she has started walking! Not full-time, but she’s getting better at it. Grandma got a video of one of her longer strolls on the night before her birthday.

Ta da!

Ok, see you next week.

Posted in Baby Pictures, Doctor Visits, Milestones, Viv on Video | 1 Comment