*la leoncita

Roaring like a lion is Vera's animal-sound-of-the-moment. So we were both excited yesterday when we found this little guy on sale at Anthropologie! She roared through the store as we browsed and kept roaring in the dressing room and then all the way home [well she wailed as we handed it to the clerk-lady to purchase]. He's pretty cute.


*¡año y medio!

Vera is officially one and a half!

The last month has been .... on the difficult side. Mostly from adjusting back to pre-holiday schedule, being sick and getting those molars through. She had started to be a pretty good eater - loving broccoli and green beans, but we're back to square one there :( The whole issue with "no!" has been tough too. All part of being a parent, right? We just try to keep consistent and offer her the greens, discipline where needed, love her a lot, etc. I have definitely learned that phases come and go.

She's been a little more herself the last week which we're loving. After she goes to bed we comment to each other that we think she's the cutest little thing in the whole world and share our favorite of the day.

Here is a picture of little Vera Winters at 18 months:

She has more words now that don't take a mom to decipher. She says [with relative clarity] applesauce, elbow, knee, toot [heehee], burp, up, down, off, airplane, bear ...... that's all I can think of.

She says excuse me when she burps or needs to get by you. "Peh say" - I don't know how it comes out like that.

She commented the other week that something was pretty without me saying it first - the snowflakes hanging from the library ceiling :)

When we have guests over [our neighbors, my brother..] she likes to show them everything she can think of: mommy! pizza! chair! bear! boots! and then she'll scoot her bottom up and sit in their laps to be read stories. It's really sweet :)

She can put on her boots and hat and take off her coat. Thankfully she hasn't experimented much with taking off her diaper..

She LOVES winnie the pooh and laughs out loud when he's chased by the bees.

She also loves to have the music on and stands by the stereo asking for misi.

Happy half birthday piñola!


*osito de miel

Vera went to the grocery store with me today and among other things we picked up some honey. I said, look Vera, a bear! She took it and literally giggled with delight. She repeated "byeaeaarrr" and hugged, kissed, squeezed and laughed at it all the way home. In the car she was pointing out its eyes, knees, nose and hat [lid] and then showed it her eyes, knees, hood, etc. Seriously, it was pretty cute.

When we got home, a package from Oompa toys had arrived - a little tea set I got for her with some Christmas money [thank you auntie marie!]. She was super-excited to start drinking/pouring water - just as I thought she would.
[obviously needs to work on some skills..]

Later on though, she went back to playing with the honey bear and it got me thinking. I mean we know everyone says this, but kids really don't need fancy toys!! Seriously, some of the most played-with items in our house have consistently been sample-size lotion bottles [i'm not kidding, had an obsession with these since she learned to grasp], pots & spoons and the contents of the recycle bin [we wash everything and keep cans/glass aside]. So I'm not sure what my point is - observation I guess. Because it also is really fun to explore and dream about all the beautiful/fun/worthy toys out there [be careful if you visit oompa, that's all I'll say...]. Not sure where to end this.... I'm not saying I don't want to have toys for Vera! Just some thoughts. Those of you with niños, what are their favorite random household items??

p.s. I just put her to bed. She came running naked from the bath holding the bear. I tried to lose it on the way to her room, but she asked for it again. I didn't want to risk a freak-out so she went to bed clutching it. It's unopened and tightly shut, but I'll check on her later. Just emphasizing that she is really into it :)


*one more christmas present

- taken with the other:

I'm really excited about my new sewing machine!!! Thank you, Mom! She's probably more excited just to see me sewing :) She always tried to get us to make things when we were little - clothes for our dolls and ourselves [very modest ones of course :)]. I rebelled [as always] but am coming 'round again. So far I've made some not-very-square napkins. Really pretty prints though, maybe the recipients won't notice the wavering seamlines? There is just so many ideas out there and so many cute fabrics - I hardly know where to start! Lessons perhaps, I really want to get good at this...



Our favorite little friends came over yesterday to play. It was the first day in who knows how long that our pretty city did not have the worst air quality in the country!! Oh it felt so good to be outside breathing deeply.

Apparently Amelia wore her little cape all day long. Vera and Sam played along as Jenny and I tried to get a picture of the three little superheroes together. Sadly they wouldn't comply. Man though it was stinkin' cute.


*a good, full, normal, happy day

We haven't had one of these in a while - at least a whole day of niceness. She was happy/tantrum-free, super talkative and had a good appetite. The 3 of us had pancakes together before heading off to the library to play with our favorite friends and stay for story time. Vera took a typical micro-nap which was ok because she woke up and we cuddled with some books for a while afterward. We sorted shapes for a bit, I read my Saveur and had mate while she played by herself and then we walked to the grocery store. Came back and went over to our neighbors' for tea and tangerines. Came home and made some yummy pasta together and then played some more. She went to bed sooo easy which has been a problem lately - even said "bye!" as I closed the door. and then I got to watch some 2 hours straight of Thursday night tv :) Thank you Lord for a good day!

Thought I'd share the pasta we had because it's really good and easy. It also gets Vera to eat a good amount of spinach because it's all creamy and cheesy and hidden in the spirals of the noodles. I kind of made it up, but am sure I saw something somewhere [I'm thinking Jamie Oliver?].

whole wheat or barilla plus SPIRALS
mascarpone cheese
frozen chopped spinach
salt + pepper

[it would be good w. some sauteed garlic + chili flakes i imagine...]

No real instructions ... I cooked pasta/spinach separately and then stirred it all together with a little of the pasta water. mmm.

No picture from the day so here's a year ago: playing her favorite peek-around-the-corner game:



Guess what I got for Christmas?? I'm so hip :) [big THANKYOU to M+R] I've been really wanting one for a while now - especially after getting hooked on blogs such as this [I kind of have a crush on this girl - P, don't make fun] and this. Supposedly Polaroid was stopping production on their film [i've heard it's been saved, but you never know], so I was also generously given a whole box of it! It was so fun to see those first pictures emerge!! Don't you remember that feeling? Here's one of my favorites - why does Uncle Matty look like he's a giant? It's like those greeting cards with the funny type-written captions:

...and here's some fun ones - while I have the scanner hooked up from the other day...:

[scanner isn't doing the best job, i'm noticing...]



*back a few weeks/years...

I was really excited about Vera's Christmas dress this year - it was mine when I was little! She looked darn cute in it and so I took a bazillion pictures. I remember a really sweet one of me walking down these steps with either my dad or grandpa's hand. Can't find it anywhere ... probably set it aside so it wouldn't get lost :)

[15 months]

[17 months]

I did get one of her on the steps in her red... sweats. [Don't you love my grandparents' carpet??]



More of this. I'll take it :)



Thanks for all your well-wishes for Vera... She only threw up that one night which was a relief. She had a day or two of rest and now has a cough and a head so stuffed she's calling me "Baba." She's also got some scary looking molars ripping through those little gums of hers - so that hasn't been fun either: lots of whining and crying and finger-chewing.

I feel like we've had permanent bedhead all week. Both Ben and I were down with the bug yesterday and the night before. There's nothing like being sick - I admit that I turn into a big self-pitying, complaining lump. Seriously I can't feel sorrier for myself :) Thank goodness I felt better this morning!! Anyway, what is the point of this post? I don't really know.

Oh yes, I remember I had wanted to share a picture of Vera with her animals [I couldn't get a good photo, but have one from a month ago] Every morning when I get her out of bed, she has to pick up everyone to get up too. I love it - she waddles around and in to see Daddy with an arm-full of friends:



To follow up, I did get up forty minutes before Vera yesterday morning! This morning however, Vera woke up throwing up at 1am. Poor little thing, it made my heart break to see her scared and miserable like that. There was no getting her down again, so I brought her to our bed [Ben --thankfully, I'm sure-- banished to the guest room]. We watched Little Bear, slept a bit, puked some more, put down new towels, half-dozed again while she watched more Little Bear [tho' she kept nudging me to wake up - she would not lie down!], threw up again, and finally ended up bringing in the dawn together with Sesame Street and Arthur. By 9:00 she finally gave in and went to sleep - as did I:

..as tired as I was, it just made my heart grow even more for this little one in my care...


*la enseñanza

{..apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to the words of wisdom..}

Good advice, isn't it? This was one of a few memory verses [sorry, can't find the reference at the moment] that defined my year in Argentina. I knew what an incredible difference it made if I could get up early each morning to read my Bible and pray. I repeated that verse to myself every morning when I would have rather turned over to keep sleeping - and for that matter, every time I felt myself pulling to do something not consistent with who I wanted to be in my faith or otherwise [as in hellO! you do not need another plate of gnocchi!].

Because it's hard, this discipline thing. I had realized after reading some book [probably a Puritan Paperback :)] that I don't want to just act disciplined, but rather to discipline my heart, to live and breathe that way. Does this make sense? Sorry to unload a little personal, probably nonsensical stuff here, but I've just really been disappointed with myself lately. Remember a few months ago when I wrote out some things I wanted to change? Well not much did [...although I did cut flowers to put inside until winter precluded that one. ok and I guess I've toned down on the ice cream intake :)]. Every morning for the last week I've planned to get up before Vera - who is actually getting up rather late .. lately. So I just taped my old favorite verse up and will say it to myself tomorrow morning when I [yet again] am inclined to roll over and go back to sleep. I'll let you know how it goes.


*el gato

Vera was in love with Castro. When we pulled up from the airport she was already calling for him - taaaaa-tohhhhh!!! - just like she and Lola had done at Thanksgiving.


*17 months

I feel kind of silly doing these monthly updates still... You can scan if you like, but it's fun for me :)

At almost 1 1/2, Vera's most repeated words are asookie [meaning unknown], poopoo [yup], daddy/doggy [they sound exactly the same: use context], Des-ta and Me-me [Stella and Amelia. pretty much anything reminds her of one of them].. and NO!

She has all 4 molars just peeking through, causing some major crankiness.

She is obsessed with Little Bear [pretty cute, innocent (albeit dorky) little cartoon. via the twins via soulemama.]. We're not allowed to say it out loud and I try to keep her from seeing the computer too much or it reminds her she needs to watch an episode. I will say "just one, ok?" and she holds her one finger up to her cheek and says, "two?" I'm not saying she understands counting - I don't really know what she thinks one/two means.

She's pretty good at remembering names and pointing out who's who in photos. I'm thinking of making flashcards :)

She's off the bottle! My little scheme worked: over Christmas I had my sister bring an extra sippy cup just like her kids' and gave Vera her milk while they had theirs. I really emphasized that it was Olivia's cup and how pretty/cool it was. Olivia complied and would pretend to drink from it too. She's only said NO! and thrown it on the floor a few times. I guess now I have to think about how to stop the sippy?



The main reason for our extra holiday trip to California was to see Ben's Granny who was visiting from Hawaii. It's a crazy/neat thing to see my little blond-haired Vera next to her Chinese great-grandmother! She turned 97 on New Year's Day and it was such a treat to be there for her birthday dinner...

All her favorites were served: chicken feet, longans ['dragon eye fruit'], fresh water chestnuts and a surprisingly [sorry, I'm always suspect of these things] yummy jello/cream cheese dessert. We also had some regular chicken parts, Rosie's delicious green papaya soup, Auntie Lettie's delicious pancit, and another amazing green papaya salad. It's really pretty cool to be part of this family and have been introduced to such wonderful culinary traditions.

Vera tried out the chopsticks on her own! She actually ate a good amount of noodles, shoveling them in just so. Pretty cute: all the aunties were quite pleased :)