Thursday, December 26, 2013

Model Train Festival

Just like last year, the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma has a model railroad festival for the holidays. It consists of 8 or so displays in various scales. It's surprisingly not crowded, and if I ever have concerns about Theo's attention span, they are assuaged by his ability to watch a single display (albeit from multiple angles) for over half an hour.

We finished about 3 hours later in the lego train room, where the kids could build their own trains. There was also a lego display, with a motorized tram which despite a lot of internet research, I have been unable to find -- it appears to be a custom modification of discountinued Lego City Public Transport Set #8404.

Check out all the photos. Afterwards we went to a nearby brewpub with an excellent Sunday deal: kids eat free and $3 pints. Best of all, the kids didn't fall asleep in the car on the way home, and so still managed to get their proper afternoon naps! The entire experience was so great we're going to do it again this Sunday.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Spirit

We took Theo and Vivian to the toy store tonight to give them the option to buy gifts for each other. It posed a risk as the store had a train table and thousands of desirable things and we had a bit of a schedule to keep (to see the "snow" fall indoors and eat dinner).

But both kids aced it. We left the store with zero fits, kicks, or screams - and the items pictured above. Vivian put a bit more effort into the endeavor. She actually left the train table to peruse the shelves. She picked up both the plane and the orange helicopter for consideration, but ultimately decided on the airplane. She also took it over to Theo, who immediately ok'd it, so we know she understood what was happening.

Theo never moved away from the train table but did look up and pick from what his glance fell upon. He chose a bigger giraffe puppet to start but settled on this smaller cat puppet after another round.

I'm super impressed with both of their abilities to shop for each other and curious to see how their selections stack up with the bounty of the holidays.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snow Day!

It snowed in Seattle for the first time in 2 years on Friday. As much as I love snow, I had actually been hoping there would be no snow on Friday as Theo's coop is cancelled whenever public schools are delayed or closed (and as it turns out, schools were delayed on Friday) -- Theo was very much looking forward to the planned pajama party at coop. Needless to say, we went to NannyBoo's after playing in the snow.

Lots of fun was had by everyone. Check out all the photos and videos.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Theo's Holiday Concert

Today was a momentous day. Sarah and I had a major parental milestone: the children's recital. Namely, Theo's preschool held their annual holiday concert. It was absolutely wonderful! The video is split into two halves, and check out all the photos too! Of note, all the kids had the opportunity to introduce a song by speaking into the microphone, but only 3 or 4 (out of the class of 12) were willing to do so, one of which was Theo!

Part 1 [youtube link]:

Part 2 [youtube link]:

Monday, December 16, 2013

September's Favorite Photos

I'm a wee bit behind on photos. Here are my favorites from Septemeber. You can see all the contenders in the gallery here.

Vivian loves hats. She put on two this time. I guess she couldn't decide which one, so why not both?

Vivian sporting Daddy's glasses.

Vivian is ready to bail on this double tricycle ride but the matching shirts are still adorable.

Theo and Daddy riding at the back of the train at the state fair. Theo rode multiple times.

Theo riding the canoes at the state fair.

Vivian rocking with the dinosaur and meercat.

Vivian riding the pig in the backyard.

Theo and Vivian reading books together.

And playing together.

Theo masquerading as a package.

Vivian in the bath.

We moved Vivian and Theo in together in the middle of the month. Here is Theo doing some acrobatics to get from his bed to Vivian's and back on their first afternoon napping together. They both love the arrangement, although a "stay in your own bed" rule has been established for sleeping times.

Theo soaking in the view when we went yurt camping with friends.

Vivian reading Horton Hears a Who to herself.

Vivian wearing her fox hat around the house for fun.

Vivian's attempt to dress herself in her penguin pajama top. She wore it around this way for quite a while.

Vivian and Theo with Daddy at the gym for a friend's birthday party.

Theo is still able to squish himself into this monkey Halloween costume from last year.

Vivian in the monkey costume and Theo in his clownfish costume.

Vivian is extremely pleased with her take out dinner.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Theo's First Haircut

Theo got his first haircut today!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Vivian at 18 Months

Vivian had her 18 month check up last week. You can see all her 18 month giraffe photos here.

It's obvious what a happy girl she is, especially when she has Mama's itouch, which does not happen often. She's grown too, although I swear she's getting skinnier, and the doctor's measurements don't contradict that. Her cloth diapers, which have not changed size (she hasn't been fat enough to size up yet), need to overlap the velcro again. But she's definitely taller. She weighs in at 20 lbs 4 oz, which puts her in the 4th CDC and 18th WHO percentiles. Luckily the doctor uses the WHO growth charts, and he's not at all concerned about her weight or lack thereof as she eats well and is tracking the 25th percentile line without a lot of variation. She has grown 2.5 inches in six months, to 32 inches - 60th CDC and 56th WHO percentiles. And lastly her head is bigger, too, at 18.70 in, 76th CDC and 81st WHO percentiles.

Vivian loves to eat, and often out-eats her older brother in any given sitting. She eats at least five times a day, perhaps more: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. When Theo is all done eating, she loves to inherit his food and polish that off as well. As far as I can tell all that food is going straight through her because she's definitely not adding on any pounds. She loves cheese still, and it's by far her favorite food along with macaroni and cheese, which she calls "mac mac." She also still likes scrambled eggs in the morning but doesn't get them as frequently. The most desired food items are always the ones on someone else's plate or in their glass. She still likes meat much more than Theo, but has grown suspicious of food that looks different. For instance, if there is a speck on her pasta or cheese she will have you remove it before she's willing to eat it. She's very open to smelling and tasting new things and generally once she tastes something, she's all for eating it.

Vivian is still nursing at least once a day. In the morning when she first wakes up, she likes to get into bed with me and have a big nursing session. If she isn't feeling well or wants to have Mama to herself she will also nurse periodically during the day, but those sessions are much shorter. She definitely finds it soothing and will nurse after a big bump to feel better. She doesn't drink very much cow's milk, no more than 5 ounces a day, but does like water quite a bit and has it with most meals and snacks.

The biggest milestone for Vivian in the past three months has been moving into a shared bedroom with Theo. Both kids adore it, and it's super cute to watch them playing together (instead of sleeping). I think it has affected their sleep patterns some, but we've got it mostly downpat now. They take turns depending on mood with who changes and reads books first, and the other is generally quite happy to play or read books on their own while they wait. We've added some levels to the bedtime routine, like tickling Vivian who always cries when we put her sleep sack on, playing "squeak" in the bed which consists of jumping up and down in the bed and making it squeak, and touching the fragile hedgehogs which live up on a high shelf normally out of reach. They often play peek-a-boo, which Vivian calls pop, when we leave them alone in the room.

Vivian is still taking two naps, each one at least 35 to 40 minutes and the later one often an hour and ten to fifteen minutes. She goes to bed later because her bedtime coincides with Theo's now that they are in the same room, but seems less affected by the variations in bedtime, which can range from 7:30 to 8:00. We usually start the routine between 7 and 7:30, closer to 7 when we are at home, and she's asleep by about 7:45 if we have completed the routine by then. She wakes up a little after 7 a.m. most days, sleeping straight through the night for about 11 hours and 15 to 30 minutes each night. She does tend to make up sleep that she misses from day to day, and also does not absolutely require the morning nap anymore. During our Thanksgiving travels she skipped her morning nap both times we had long driving days, but at home she definitely still takes it. The later start to the morning is new and super nice. It began just before the time change at the beginning of November, and got interrupted by the switch. Now it's settled back into the norm again, and usually the kids are talking and singing in their room fairly quietly in the mornings.

Vivian gets changed anywhere from three to six times a day, driven mostly by how often she poops. She can tell you when she is going, and frequently signs for changing when put in her crib, which is also where she often poops. She loves "using" the potty in imitation of Theo who is also practicing that skill. For her that consists of sitting on the little potty and then getting her one M&M reward. She absolutely adores washing her hands and would do it all day long if allowed. She talked the doctor into helping her at Theo's three year check-up since there are sinks in all the exam rooms.

She is generally still sociable with new people, but has definitely picked up on routines and stranger awareness. She knows when certain people arrive (sitters like Ms. Margo and Ms. Lizzie, as well as friends like Ms. Debbie) that Mama is leaving and she does not approve. With most people who come to the house, she is concerned about being left behind with them rather than actually worried about their appearance. Once she's certain no one is leaving, she's quite happy to interact. She is less forthcoming in larger crowds and out and about.

Vivian loves to ride things still, and can get around on the rocket toy we have fairly well. We also acquired a wagon and she loves that as well, but isn't picky. She will sit on top of a box or person or anything and ride it. She also dances with a lot of hip motion which is fun to watch. She loves music and things with buttons especially those that have a reaction to her actions. She has also taken a big liking to the glittery clownfish, "Ryba", and sleeps with him every night in addition to her two small blankets and Lis. She discovered her baby doll in early fall, and loves to put shoes on it and take them off, but is frustrated that the baby's hat won't fall off. She likes watching Daddy leave in the mornings, but is always concerned when he "forgets" his hat, and tries to tell him by signing out the window. She has very specific preferences for shoes and hats and it is not always the same ones on any given day. I can't be certain she is color coordinating, but when I let her pick her outfit she definitely puts together combinations I wouldn't have thought of. And it works really well on her every single time. She's definitely got flair in the clothing department. She can still fit into her brother's 12 month hand-me-downs without a real issue, although in the girl-sized clothes I've had to retire long sleeved shirts and pants smaller than 18 months. She can wear 2T leggings without an issue - unless we are traveling and she is in disposable diapers. Then, as it turns out, she is too skinny for some brands and they fall down. She likes bright colors and patterns like stripes and polka-dots for sure, and almost always picks the pink pants. If you ask her what color of something she wants, she is likely to say purple, unless it's Play-Doh, where we don't have any purple.

She can say so many words. I estimated it at over 50 although most people wouldn't understand the vast majority of them. She is very good about using signs and motions in addition to spoken words to communicate her needs and wants though. Most of her verbal words consist of a single syllable repeated, such as "wa-wa" for both water and wagon. Off the top of my head here are other words she can say: Mama, Dada, "Thew" for Theo, Tet-tet for Tetely, Rock-Rock for Rocket, Rocky (the neighbor's dog) and Rocky (the stuffed animal at Theo's preschool), Grandma, Granddaddy, Ja-Ja (for Dziadzius), Ba-ba (for Babcia), mac-mac (macaroni), boat, car, meow (for cat), dog or woof, shoe or buty, boot, eat, ball, red, yellow, green, purple, star, cracker, melon, walk, pasta, bowl, moo (for cow), quack (for duck), jez, brown bear, polar bear, baby, crash, jack-jack for both jacket and our friend Jack, hat, Blah for Auntie Blah, pillow, blankie, art, mat, poop, Play-Doh, one, two, three, four, bird, bunny, boc-boc (for chicken), candy, gar-gar (for garbage truck), and tractor. I'm sure there are more.

Vivian is still fairly easy in that she is quite content to play on her own and entertain herself. She likes going for walks in the stroller and getting out and about but is also quite happy to stay at home and enjoy herself. She has entered a jealous streak of things she doesn't want Theo to have, and the most common culprits are Mama's lap and cherished books like Brown Bear. Today she had a fit when Theo came home from school and started playing with the Legos she had assembled before we left, so she's either feeling more possessive or, more likely, learning from her big brother's antics.

She loves lift the flap books and puzzle books right now, as well as books with sliding pieces. She still enjoys some of the peek-a-boo cloth books and just discovered the joy in Goodnight Gorilla last week. Vivian loves reading and will read indefinitely in a lap or sitting on her own. She's also fascinated with containers now, taking objects out and putting them back in. She's gotten quite skilled with both a fork and spoon during mealtimes, and can drink from an open cup without much trouble and only occasional spills. She adores climbing things, be it the furniture like sofas and chairs, people, or outside on the playground or even just rocks and other natural items. She can go up stairs mostly unassisted but I still wouldn't let her walk down a flight of stairs without a hand. She loves to jump down a step. She still loves the water though I haven't gotten her into the pool as much as I'd like despite the new indoor heated pool that opened close by. She loves bath time though it is less frequent than intended (twice per week) because of outings, and also excited about brushing her teeth multiple times a day. She likes candy and sweets for sure, especially chocolate and gummy things like bunnies.

She still has very little hair, even less than Theo at this age, which I wasn't sure was possible. Her eyes are darker, much more brown in the hazel shade, and in the green bathtub even still look dark gray at times. She has twelve teeth - four in the front on top and bottom and four molars so far.

Overall Vivian is very happy go lucky and open to suggestions. She understands not only everything we say but also everything Theo tells her and is most often content to go along with his suggested activities such as chase, other running games, making trains from objects, riding or pushing him in the wagon, and much much more.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Vivian Says "Theo"

For a while now (about 3 weeks or so), Vivian has been able to say Theo's name. Only, not quite. It's incredibly cute, and we finally managed to get it on video in a pitch black room during Thanksgiving. She's trying to get Theo to get out of his bed and come play. (It's dark because Theo wanted to get in the bed and turn off the lights and close the door).

Holiday Wishlists

If you're looking for some great gift ideas for us this year, feel free to make use of these lists:

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This is what bedtime looks like at our house:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Theo's First Swim Lesson

Yesterday Theo took his first-ever swim lesson. We didn't even have the required pre-requisite "tot swim" which is a class where the parents go in the water with the kids. (We had, however, been to the pool with Theo a few times). I was prepared to go in the water with Theo, assuming he wouldn't be happy with any sort of forced separation. It turns out I did have to dip my feet in, but he was quite happy to participate fully in the class. See all the photos and videos.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orange Tea Party

In between all of the other halloween-related events and PEPS birthday parties, we still managed to host the annual Orange Party last Sunday, this year in the form of a Tea Party. See all the photos.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Atlanta in August

We visited Atlanta at the end of August, and I am finally getting around to sharing the photos. Here are some of my favorite shots, but you can see all the photos in the complete gallery.

Waiting for our flight to depart.

Theo has Kindle and is set for the flight.

And Grandmama met us at the airport.

Using the dwarf door at Chick-Fil-A. Strangely enough, it was Vivian I had to convince to come inside.

Enjoying the foam blocks at the Forest Park Library with Auntie Blah.

Swinging with Granddaddy

Theo specifically requested a visit to the crashed airplane near my parents' house. He got it. I have no idea how he remembers these things, but he definitely does.

I'm pretty sure this is when we tried watching The Little Mermaid.

Meanwhile Theo has his dog in his lap, too.

Labor Day with extended family. We kept adding Granny's great grandkids (there are five total, ranging in age from 5 to 1) to the hammock. Xander and Theo started it. Then Evy jumped in. Then Xoey joined the fun.

Xoey enjoying one of the swings.

Homemade ice cream for everyone.

More family. I have no idea how Will fit into that tiny chair. More importantly, I have no idea how he got out of it.

A slew of cousins.

Back in the hammock again. This time Vivian got in on the action.

Still more fun to be had in the hammock.

Evy actually took this awesome action shot when she had my itouch.

Evy and Theo lounging.

Theo and Xander

Theo went fishing for the first time with Granddaddy! We went to Granny's pond to try our luck, not expecting to get a nibble.

And guess who reeled one in almost immediately? Theo! We caught them almost back to back as soon as we baited the line and put it back in the water. The first (biggest of course) one actually got away because Theo had no idea what to do and we didn't expect anything to happen.

 Touching the fish.

Reeling them in.

Another catch.

Getting ready to feed the fish.

And feeding herself from the penguin bag.

Piggies at the farm running in and out of their house. You can't tell from this photo or by being there, but in another few minutes it will rain buckets.

Climbing the hay bales during the pouring rain. Vivian kept running out into the downpour and climbing a set of steps nearby.

Playing with toys

And riding the footstool at my great-aunt's house (Granny's last living sibling - there were 12 of them).

Checking out the topiary troll at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with Grandma. It was super cool but we had a lunch meeting to make and not enough time. We thought we would come back after lunch but it turns out there's no re-entry.

Topiary fish fountain.

 Lunch at the Varsity complete with hats.

Cooling off in the sprinkler back home.

And filling up the wash tub for more cool fun.

Petting the burrows.

They loved being fed.

Riding tractors

and firetrucks.

Enjoying long walks.

And more things to drive.

Playing in the hay.

More rides to take.

Vivian adored Riley's sunglasses.

While Theo adored his trains.

Theo did not forget about Granddaddy's trains.

Both kids loved running back and forth from their quilts.

 Back to Daddy waiting at the airport.