Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Sounder

Theo loves trains. He has tons of toys, and most of them don't get used every day. Heck, most of them don't even get used every week. There is one exception, however, and that's Theo's wooden train set. He will lay on the floor (to get a better view of the train -- well, perhaps not better but more realistic were it a full size train). We've taken him on the light rail to the airport and to downtown many times -- he's somehow even learned which bridge over the interstate is the train, and points it out each time we go under it. However, there's one train ride Theo had never been on, until last Tuesday: The Sounder. This is Seattle's commuter rail, and it really only runs in the mornings and evenings on weekdays only. So I took the day off work, and we worked out a schedule that allowed us to take a train south out of Seattle and catch one of only two northbound return trips (and had we gone North to start with, there's no return trips at all -- that's how infrequent this service is!) We just missed one train outbound, so we got on the very next one with 20 minutes to spare; we were pleasantly surprised to hear the same sort of warning announcements we use with Theo when we're switching activities: "This train will be leaving in 5 minutes"... "This train will be leaving in two minutes"... "This train will be leaving in one minute". Theo had an absolute blast; pretty much the entire ride was like this video (and at the 1:10 mark, we pass Boeing field and he gets even more excited!). Most surprising of all? The light rail bridge over the highway also crossed over our track, and, yep, Theo pointed it out, despite never having been on the train before. I have no idea how he knows! We of course took Vivian as well, and she had a great time as well, though her attention started to wander a bit on the return ride (which is understandable -- this was a 40 minute trip out, 15 minute layover, and 40 minute return)

Since we've returned from the trip, Theo has taken his three-trestle bridge and now places it alongside the track and calls it a station. I suspect this is because the main station in Seattle is below grade:

See all the photos from the trip! (There are a few from gymnastics earlier in the day mixed in as well.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

January's Best Photos

Following up on  my promise to post the backlog of photos, here are January's photos. And a selection of my favorites:

Vivian training to sleep unswaddled with one arm out. She put it at that angle, not me.

Theo with his busted nose from New Year's Eve: It was clearly an awesome evening.

Vivian playing with one of her hundred mega-watt smiles.

Theo fresh from a bath wearing his crab pajamas

It turns out pianos make excellent runways, too.

A very sad girl, probably because I just changed her clothes. She hates getting dressed. I have very few photos of Vivian crying because it doesn't happen that often.

Vivian's days generally look a lot more like this one.

Theo is obsessed with bridges and tunnels since our big drive in Europe last fall. Here's one of his many creations.

Vivian wearing Theo's new hat from Grandma in a failed attempt to convince him to put it on. He will continue to wear the (too small) moose hat for the remainder of winter.

Vivian and Theo riding in the canoe at REI.

Theo, Daddy (the offspring sherpa), and Vivian at the park on a gorgeous sunset afternoon in January.

Theo made a train from his blocks. And he organized them by color all on his own. It makes my little color-coded heart go pitter patter!

Theo's joy is contagious after dinner. I'm pretty sure he's asking Grandma for Kindle. Grandma came for a ten day visit and I got zero decent pictures. Sigh.

Theo, Daddy, and Vivian ride the train at the science center's model railway festival. We attended to help alleviate the sadness of Grandma's departure.

Theo cooking up something with his orange play-doh.

Stomach flu has invaded our house, so the furniture is covered in sheets. After the fact, of course. I'm not that smart to start with. Theo said he had a boiler ache right before he barfed all over me. On the plus side, the furniture came out unscathed in that instance.

Vivian riding in the orange stroller. (Yes, all our strollers are orange. This is the one that stays in the car.)

Bedtime routine with Daddy.

Theo playing the piano

Theo's stomach looks distorted here because he shoves Jez into his pajamas every single night when we change him before bed

Mama and Vivian

Theo received this train blanket in the mail from Grandma. It's hard to tell from the photos, but it's got hundreds of locomotives on it. Theo's first response to receiving a train blanket was to drive the trains on it. Of course.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Photo Update: December's Best

Hmmm, I've no idea when I last posted the photos from the previous month. I used to do it on the first of the month fairly consistently. Then I got swamped and behind uploading photos. Then I got them uploaded and sorted (whooo-hoo!) but apparently not posted. So I'm going to have a few posts in the next few days/weeks with groups of photos. We'll see how far I get.

Since I don't know where and when I last shared photos, we'll start with December. See all the photos here and here. Otherwise here's a selection of my favorites.

Vivian in a little knit hat almost as sweet as she is just before we headed out one day

Theo opening his and Vivian's advent calendars after dinner. He got to eat all the chocolate as it's not on Vivian's menu options yet.

Vivian enjoying her winter squash

Theo and Mama riding the holiday carousel downtown

Vivian and Mama waiting for the "snow" to begin downtown inside the mall

Vivian after the snow fall

Theo wearing our Christmas tree skirt before the Christmas tree has a turn

Theo after kissing the pig outside the library once story time concluded

Number two. Literally. As marked by Theo during bath time.

Tetley looking concerned (and rightfully so I'd say) about one of Theo's kitchen creations

Christmas loot acquiring. This stack is maybe half of the boxes, and several boxes had three or more items inside.

Vivian ready for the neighborhood festivities the weekend before the holidays

Vivian and Daddy post-parties

Vivian with one of her first Christmas presents

Vivian in a stocking: almost as cute as Vivian in a pumpkin

Theo enjoying multiple Christmas presents simultaneously: a new fleece which he wanted to put on from Aunt Jo, more train tracks from Grandma, and miniature Thomas trains from the Bentleys

A terrible photo of our awesome new player piano

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Vivian's Nine Month Update

Vivian had her nine month checkup on Friday. She tipped the scales at 16 lbs and 11.5 oz, which places her in the 13th percentile on the CDC charts and the 24th on WHO charts. She measured 28.5 inches in height, which put her squarely in the 78th percentile on both scales. (I don't think I've seen them overlap like that before - kind of fun.) Her head is 17.62 inches (they measure in centimeters which is how we get such random numbers when it's converted to inches), which is the 70th and 73rd percentiles on CDC and WHO respectively. Interestingly, on the doctor's note that get sent home with us, her head measures 44.75 cm which is in the 90-95th percentile according to their charts, so apparently Vivian has a big head. Hmmm....

The doctor was overall pleased with her progress, especially as her iron test came back at 11.5 (it needs to be above 11). That was a nice relief for me, as well, because she hates taking the multivitamin liquid supplement and I hate giving/forcing it to her, so we don't do it everyday as instructed. Otherwise, she is moving but not technically crawling, which is fine, and her leg strength impressed him thoroughly - nothing but balance left to go and she is off and running.

Vivian did not notice the prick for the iron test and otherwise was not bothered in the least by the visit with the brief exception of the doctor trying to get her to open her mouth. She didn't cry but she definitely resisted. He had to lay her down and even then didn't get a good look. Maybe she thought he was going to try and spoon feed her.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vivian at Nine Months

For the first time, at nine months, Vivian's birthday fell off the calendar. (More photos from my crappy cameras here in the first year gallery.)By that I mean that since she was born on the 29th, and February only has 28 days three out of every four years, this year her nine month mark fell on March 1st. Or February 28th, if you're an app on an iTouch that tracks our kids. But I prefer the first. We were still traveling on the first, although we returned the following day, so we actually (gasp!) took her monthly giraffe photos a day or so late.

In any case, Vivian was not the least bit bothered by the fact that her nine month anniversary fell on the first of the month, nor by the fact that's she'll get two updates this month as a result. She couldn't care less about either. She does, however, love cheese. All cheese, as far as I can tell. She can eat half a bag (4 oz) of shredded cheddar in one sitting and then we cut her off because we're tired of sitting around. She has also been introduced favorably to meat. She likes meat. And cheese. And potatoes. I'm not saying she doesn't still eat her veggies and her previous favorite, banana. But she is much more into the heavy hitters. Macaroni and cheese is also very big popular. On average I would guess she eats three times as much in a meal than Theo, who still also loves macaroni and cheese. In the past month, Vivian tried her first broccoli (she felt fine about that), her first beans (in mac and cheese, so she loved them), and her first eggs (scrambled by grandparents on our vacation). Since we were in the land of BBQ, she also scored some BBQ chicken, which she appreciated very much. In any case, Vivian still has a very strong preference to feed herself since that bout with stomach flu. She is now willing to be assisted depending on what's on offer and how entertained she is during the meal. For instance, she will accept a pouch of baby food, as it's a joint effort. I hold it and she gets to suck, chew, and squeeze it, which apparently fits the requirements of self-feeding. I can get some yogurt or fruit or other mushed food into her at times, but by far and large I just dump bits of food on her plate and she eats it. She adored Kristine's meatloaf while we were in Fort Worth, so Michal made her some once we returned. Today's lunch menu consisted of mac and cheese with peas, meat loaf, and banana. She ate it all. Breakfast was an egg scrambled with cheese. Snack is always finger food. Monday it was half a pack of graham crackers. In comparison, Theo ate one cracker to Vivian's five or six.

She's still nursing regularly as well. She gets one feeding overnight (more on sleep in a minute), and then nurses again when she gets up for the day. Breakfast is as soon as anyone gets around to feeding her, usually between 8 and 8:30. She nurses again before her first nap, and I've started supplementing that feeding with a bottle of formula or pumped milk. She usually takes 1.5 to 2 ounces on top of the nursing. She nurses again around 11:30, gorges herself at lunch around 12:30, and goes back to nursing before her afternoon nap with another supplement of roughly similar size. She eats a finger food snack around 4 or 4:30, then most days will nurse again before dinner occurs around 6. Dinner is still one of the best meals of the day, and then she takes a bottle (3-4 oz) before nursing at bedtime.

As for sleep, oh how sweet it is! Since the daytime bottle supplements have started, Vivian has returned to sleeping through the night. She rarely needs anything before about 5:30, which is a nine or ten hours stretch depending on the exact bedtime. She definitely goes at least six hours and I can't really recall the last time she needed an 11 or 1 a.m. snack, although I am certain she did both while we were traveling. During our trip, she cemented the get up at 5:30 for a feeding and go back to bed procedure and it's continued to stick, for which this mama is extremely thankful. I'd forgotten what four and six hour stretches of continuous sleep felt like. In case you have, too, it's utterly delicious.

As for naps, she's on a regular schedule of two per day. She prefers them at roughly the same time each day but remains in a great mood even if we are out and about during her first nap. As her second nap coincides with Theo's only nap (and mama's only break), we are never to rarely out and about during the second nap time. Her first nap is typically around 9:30 a.m., a little shorter or longer depending the exact time she woke up for the day, which is usually 7 or 7:30. Her second nap is right at 2 most days. Sometimes she'll sneak a third nap in if she is napping on the go for the first one, as that process results in a 20-30 minute nap instead of the at home version, which lasts one hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.

By far the biggest development this past month is in the teeth department. Vivian now sports two front and center chompers! The first tooth came in just a few days past her eight month birthday. We first saw it on February 2nd, and it came through the gum by February 3rd. She had no complaints, and it didn't bother her sleep patterns more than usual (that was before the supplements started, so hard to say). We haven't given her anything for pain as she hasn't appeared to be in any. Her second tooth came in as predicted, on the four hour plane ride. We had actually assumed that one would be her first, but we were off by one tooth. It became visible about three days before our flight and popped through the gum right on time while we were on the plane. She gnawed on a bunch of stuff which clued me in enough to stick my finger in there and sure enough! There it was biting me.

In other big news, Vivian has discovered she can move herself around. She has no real idea how to do this motion thing yet, but she knows it's possible. It's all incidental right now, but since I expect that to end any day now, I'm enjoying every second of her immobility. There's nothing like finding a baby where you left her. All of her movement occurs while sitting upright on the floor and she moves around without an intention of movement when reaching things and spinning around to check out sounds and sights. She can rotate quite nicely but rarely moves more than twelve inches or so from where you put her down.

She has also grasped the concept of pulling up, and will yank on just about anything, so she is usually in the middle of what floor space we have. That's not the best scenario as floor space is in high demand for other household members to get around. But so far no incidents to report in that department. As for pulling up, she can do it when holding onto someone's hands, but needs the extra pull and guidance to actually get upright onto her feet. She can't do it with an inanimate object. Yet. It's only a matter of time, possibly even days.

Vivian adores standing up. She's very steady in the sitting position and I don't bother to prop pillows behind her or anything of that sort anymore. Standing, she's fairly steady even on her own, but in that way where I would never be out of touch, much less leave her. I can put my arms on either side of her without actually touching and she can stand no problem by herself, but she has no concept of falling yet and will just bump into my arms willy nilly as she reaches for things and moves around in the confined space I've created. She can also stand between my knees with complete success but the same results. Sitting, she can get herself back upright from just about any loss of balance, even on the slippery surface of the wet bathtub.

She spent about ten minutes on her belly moving around the concrete floor with her granddaddy during our travels. That was the only time she hasn't actually hated it. She does not get up on all fours that I've noticed, so she may follow in Theo's footsteps (or butt prints might be more accurate) and learn to scoot rather than crawl. We shall see. I imagine whatever she does it will be before her next month's birthday at the rate she is going. When she sees something desirable, she throws herself toward it with her entire body heedless of the consequences. She will twist, turn, and stretch to acquire anything of interest.

And her interests are quite varied. Anything that Theo plays with has tons of appeal, as do things like electronic devices and eating utensils that aren't meant as toys. A crinkly wrapper will still entertain her for ten minutes, but by far the most desirable things are Theo's curls, his sippy cup, and his jez, pretty much in that order. She gets the first one when she snatches a chance, the second one never, and the third more often than the other two (both because she grabs it when there's an opportunity and because Theo will actually share his most prized possession with her from time to time).

Vivian still loves the ball box but really any container filled with stuff that can be removed one at a time and investigated thoroughly will do. She takes items out one at a time and inspects each one for several minutes or more before proceeding to the next item. She does also like the foam letters, enough that her aunt bought her a set of her very own (so she doesn't have to gnaw on Theo's rather well loved supply). She still absolutely adores drinking water, and generally gets so excited by it that she flaps. She loves people, loves to wave hi, will also wave goodbye, and signs all done. She hasn't been signing milk much lately, but may have picked up the eat sign. She does not use more, will use changing, and seems to use all done as "my plate is empty" rather than "I'm finished". When she's very excited, which is usually by something her brother has done, she will still occasionally make that awesome happy noise as she takes air in. She loves to go "luh luh luh" by moving her tongue from side to side while sticking it out, and still uses her "m" sounds regularly. I haven't noticed her "d" as often anymore. She used to say "dada" pretty much every time her daddy came home, but must be on to practicing new sounds now. She likes to talk, especially to her food and people she knows, but she is also friendly with complete strangers when the mood strikes her. Very little phases her, with the exception of being set down and walking away from her. She is not in the least disturbed by loud noises or new situations or places, and is generally up for wherever we take her.

As always, Vivian is a complete delight to be around, although I am bit sad that her baby days are more in the past than the future. She has her official nine month check up at the end of the week, so I'll try to weigh in with her stats this weekend.