Monday, May 22, 2017

Vivian's FOURTH Birthday

I wrote down a nice summary of Vivian at four years old, but clearly failed to ever post it. So now, almost a year later, here's the update. (Might as well make way for me to get the five year update done late, too, right?)
Vivian has hit the big four-oh - four years and zero months that is. I'm in denial, as usual, that our sweet little girl is already four years old. Where does the time go?!?

Vivian loves her baby brother and her baby doll pretty much in that order. Here's what I wrote on this year's birthday party invitation: Vivian loves diggers, horses, biking, and the colors pink and green. That pretty much sums her up nicely.

She choose to have a pool party at the community pool again this year and invited all her friends. The local spray park also opened right around her birthday, so we spent some of her birthday weekend there. Neither Theo nor Vivian seemed to mind playing in cool water while wearing fleeces because it was only 60 something degrees outside.

In the biggest news, Vivian finally potty trained back in November. I can't remember if that was before or after her half year update, but it's big news around here. We are down to one child in diapers. And boy how she loves diapers. She loves to help change her brother and all the kids at school. Speaking of school, she is enrolled in her last summer session at her preschool and will graduate in August. During the summer, kids are mixed ages, unlike the stricter age range during the school year. So the kids range from brand new two year olds to the over four almost graduates like herself. She loves the you get kids wearing diapers ("we changed nine diapers today!").

She not only loves to help change diapers, but loves being a big helper in just about anyway. If you ask for a helper, she's first in line. I can also frame things so that she's helping me and she gets right to it. Otherwise, though, she hates being told what to do. She also hates Theo's commands, which are a regular occurrence in our house.

She loves, however, playing school and bed and time out. Her favorite activity during Katie's month long visit with us was to put her in jail. Katie didn't seem to mind, especially if she had a book. I personally prefer the bed game, though it never lasts nearly long enough.

Vivian also likes to speak "in Polish", ie she makes up words and says she's talking in Polish. I find that irresistably cute.

At her four year check up, Vivian measured 30 lbs and 8 ounces, which means she topped 30 pounds for the first time! Way to grow Vivian! That puts her solidly in the 13th percentile for weight, whether you ask the WHO or CDC for stats. She is 39 inches tall (34th percentile for CDC, 19th for WHO) and they don't measure her head anymore. She got several vaccines, but remained completely stoic for that experience, which is a pleasant change from her sibling's drama.

Vivian likes "reading", where she finds words she recognizes and reads them to me. I pay a penny per word, which started as part of Theo's school read-a-thon, but of course Vivian is the one who's completely taken to it. She also loves spending her money. She took her Easter money and bought a pink stuffed rabbit (on clearance after the fact) called Easter buns, a Helly Kitty toothbrush that came with a keychain, and a small bumpy pink light up ball, plus a lollipop for her older brother so he wouldn't "be sad."

Her favorite foods are shells and cheese or any pasta really. For her birthday lunch, we took her to the
Spaghetti factory.

At her birthday party, she had a cake with ponies, ponies, and more ponies, and they featured prominently in her balloons as well. We got her a pink backpack which she adores.

In the last few weeks, she's dropped her nap. She's definitely not a morning person, which she comes by naturally. If we are at home, she has quiet time in the afternoons followed by half an hour with her Kindle. At night, she's in bed around 7:30 most nights. For her birthday, she got her very own "big boy" bed, which is a loft bed built custom (it had to be, to fit in the room with Theo's). She got to the choose the paint colors and went with pink for the bed with a green ladder. That also freed up a crib for Xavier to move into the kids' room, which Vivian mostly loves. She's not a huge fan of the crying but loves having him close by otherwise.

Vivian's gotten very good at riding her bike, both the balance bike and her new bike with training wheels, which she won as the grand prize at the Easter egg hunt at our local grocery store. She's so pleased with it, and can really go. She writes very nicely for her age, and enjoys any and all art projects, like writing, coloring, and dot to dots.

Overall, she's a sweet fun loving girl and we couldn't be happier with her! For all the photos, go here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

St. Louis

We just returned from a whirlwind four day trip to St. Louis. I haven't set foot in the city since I graduated so there was lots to see and do. We arrived Tuesday evening and settled into an AirBNB on the south side. We ended up splitting activities into two per day, and we kept the kids on pacific time so they were on a 9am wakeup / 9pm bedtime routine.

We started our journey on an 88-degree day with a visit to the Museum of Transportation. It was mostly focused on trains which was very much to Theo and Xavier's liking. The visit started with a 20-minute ride on a train followed by exploring a lot of the train cars and locomotives on display.

The afternoon consisted of a visit to Forest Park, with a stop at the Jewel Box, a fancy conservatory built for the World's Fair in 1904 (it was closed when we got there) and a visit to the playground.

After the kids were in bed, Sarah and I snuck off to Ted Drewes for some frozen custard.

We got word that the Gateway Arch tram opened on Wednesday (it had been closed since November for renovations) and we hightailed it to the arch.

In the afternoon we left Xavier with the grandparents for his nap and took Theo and Vivian to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, which had a special photo-op with a Clydesdale horse for an hour at 3:30pm. Vivian particularly enjoyed it, and we got to see the stables on our tour.

A final free sample in the biergarten and we were all done with Bud!

It's important to note Sarah's birthday which of course we celebrated.

Finally we wrapped up the evening with a game of freeze tag in a nearby park.

And I snuck out to WashU to take a look around:

Friday morning we set out for the City Museum, which was overwhelming to most adults (who left immediately) and also to Xavier (who left with the rest of us but I took Theo and Vivian back during Xavier's nap). It's mostly a giant playground (for teenagers if you ask Sarah).

That evening I had my first official reunion event, "Cocktails with Classmates". Ironically it took place in the law school building where I'd never set foot, and had beer and wine instead of cocktails. Go figure!

Saturday morning Sarah's family left to make the journey back to Atlanta. We took a family photo and then we headed to Thurtene Carnival. Afterwards I took the kids to the Alumni BBQ which was moved inside the athletic complex due to "inclement weather" consisting of 55 degrees and overcast skies, while Sarah took a walk. The balloon artist was phenomenal!

One final stop at the STL airport playground and we're off back to Seattle!