*me aburro

So when I texted my good good friend yesterday that I was bored, I knew exactly what she'd tell me. I always remember her saying that she doesn't let herself get bored. There's always something you can be doing with yourself. I guess she didn't have to tell me that - I even have a list on my fridge for those moments titled "What can I do?" with things like make those cards, organize this desk, research this one thing, etc. So I guess my problem is usually that I'm lazy and don't feel like doing anything except sitting - which my small child doesn't let me often do. So I texted back and promised to make something that night - even if I did just be lazy for the afternoon. Not sure if she got the end of my text [sí?], but I said I'd take a picture as proof. So here, I made a skirt! I'm quite proud of myself for just doing it - so easy too, I made it in less than 2 hours and then even finished A Tale of Two Cities [albeit a day late for book club]! What a productive evening, I should do this more.

It's a little too big and looks a little silly over her big diaper, but will be perfect for this summer. She would not stand still for me to get a good picture!! I think she was busy here trying to balance a small button on her shoe...

...though just to see if I could get her attention, I asked where her belly-button was :)

[and yes look at that mess in the background! there's something I could be doing...]


*1.67 years

People often ask what has been my favorite stage, and the truth is, every stage feels like the most fun at the time, and then the next comes along and I decide that's even more fun! The past few months have been awesome just watching her grow and change into a little girl. So here's what she's up to at 20 months. I'm sure you'll find this boring, but they're things we'd like to remember:

She's talking a lot and her pronunciation is better seriously every day. In couple months she started adding an 's' for plural and possessive: Mommy's, Daddy's, books, cats, etc. It's so crazy how they just pick these things up! Come to think of it, she's easing up saying "no!" but did start saying "my!" the other day - oh boy. Her most repeated words are too! and two! [as in mommy's eating too! mommy, sit here too! two socks! two dogs!], new! [as in put on a new (another) diaper, shirt..] and big/small [last night apparently she looked up at Ben and said, daddy, eyebrow, big. :)] Also, in the last couple months she's started actually talking to whoever is on the phone, answering their questions [she'll say "yeah" or "no"] and saying the words they ask to hear, giving a kiss if they ask for it, etc.
I'd say her favorite things to do are play with fake-food or her tea-set: feeding mommy, daddy or a line-up of animals friends and dolls. She also still loves to put on any hats, mittens, boots, shoes + belts that happen to be lying around [she put on a pair of pants by herself just once, and is working on it..] She's more attached to Bunny than ever and includes him in everything. Yesterday he handed me the clothes out of the basket one-at-a-time to fold :) He's not allowed to go outside to the park or anywhere he could possibly get lost, so we leave him in the crib to take a nap. She's good about telling him to "stay" :) She also has Bunny do things she's not allowed to, like turn on the TV or touch the hot oven or even hit or push Mommy! It's hard not to laugh, but I let her know it's not ok. She also loves to run. Run through the living room-bedroom loop, run into daddy's arms and then back up to do it over again, run pell-mell [like the Poky Little Puppy, remember?] through an open space - yelling and hearing her voice bounce. She loves to visit our neighbors, Tio & Tia - walks in their house like she owns the place and pretty much has them wrapped around her little finger :)

I still put her down for a nap around 1:00, but at least 2-3 times a week she doesn't fall asleep. She'll play or read quietly for 1/2 hour and then say mommymommymommymommy for the next 1/2 hour. It drives me CRAZY, but she is going to have to learn that we all will have a quiet time whether we sleep or not!!

I think that's it?


* ¡lo hice!

I did it! I made Vera's Easter dress! It was surprisingly easy - it only took me 3 nights of leisurely work and I didn't even have to call my mom once for help. I found the pattern here [thank you Jenny!]. I think I'm really going to like sewing - even if I don't like/am not patient with the ironing and having to be precise part. It's really so rewarding to see the finished product and I already have several more projects in mind :)

Thankfully she didn't have a fit when I put it on her [she's awful picky about what you make her wear these days], but obviously wouldn't sit still for a photo shoot. And she's wearing some 3-sizes-too-big shoes. Still, here it is:




Vera often wakes up from a nap, not just grumpy or sensitive, but hysterical. I'm always jealous of those people whose babies wake up sweet and quiet, talking softly to themselves in the crib [we do have that a couple times a week...] I'd love to hear any thoughts, but there doesn't seem to be a pattern - she'll be that way after a short nap, a long nap, with a full tummy, ready to eat, having gone down easily, doesn't matter. Today was especially bad. I finally got her to calm down saying we'd take the umbrella outside for a walk in the rain. You have to be careful though, because the littlest thing will set her off again. First it was that [I think, hard to tell], I handed her the umbrella instead of holding it myself, then our neighbor invited us in to give Vera some specially baked mini banana muffins [so nice :)] and she fell apart when I left the umbrella on the steps. Then she fell apart again when I picked her up going up our steps - I think she wanted to walk herself. Goodness, I couldn't do anything right :) I learned for the most part to just go along with it, try my best and have a sense of humor in the midst of the hysteria.

So anyway, today after dropping the umbrella off back at home and eating a couple muffins, we went for a nice little walk down our street. She was just so cute and sniffly with her hands in her pockets that I had to take a few pictures.



I would just like to report that Vera has had a really good day!! Our few days of summer weather were brief and we woke up to rain and snow this morning. I knew it could be a potentially long day not being able to go outside, but everything went so well! I think it's key to keep the "strong-willed child" busy [I've heard this several times...]. I gave them rides around the carpet in the fruit box [notice Vera waiting patiently for her turn - I didn't even have to ask!], read some books, they jumped in the crib, played with some tupperware, cooked in her kitchen, - all in a happy, nice, sharing spirit.

When I lay Vera down at night, we always say a prayer. It usually goes something like this: "Dear Jesus, thank you for this day, thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Vera and... Thank you for our friends, help us to be nice and love them. Please be with them tonight... Amen!" The other night she had trouble going to sleep and so I went in to read another story. In the middle of it, she looked up and said, Mommy, nice. Daddy, nice. Desta, nice. and patted her arm showing 'gentle'. It was so sweet! I really want to get at the heart of all this you know? Teach her to understand why and how we love others.

Today was good - thank you LORD! Help me to be patient even when it's difficult...

[of course bunny got a turn too]


* ¡primavera!

I love Spring!! The last few days have been so warm and sunny - though we hear there's supposed to be snow later this week. I guess a slow Spring is a good thing, right? This morning Vera and I walked to the park to find the ferris wheel and merry-go-round ... going around :) We didn't have any money, but had fun watching. Every time the ferris wheel went around she'd yell "goes!!", as in there it goes!!



We had kind of a rough day [I knew it might be when she woke up at 4:30!!], so I made it a point to go somewhere open and happy this afternoon - it was so nice and and refreshing for both of us.




You might like to know that Vera can now push herself forward :)


*bad bad bad

Anytime I make any sort of extra effort in making dinner [as in a real recipe, or risotto, or steak, or anything moderately special] I feel like I have to set the table pretty, light votives and cannot not have wine [unless it's clearly a beer meal]. Tonight it was definitely my fault. I had planned to make empanadas [a beer meal, but I don't much feel like beer lately], but couldn't find my trusty empanada dough recipe. I believe I didn't want to lose it, so I put it somewhere safe - oops. Anyway, so Ben was supposed to get burger fixings and instead got some nice steak and peppers to make kebabs. I guess kebabs aren't the fanciest of meals, but the steak wasn't cheap, and after drizzling some balsamic vinaigrette over them, it looked rather special. In Montana, this wasn't a problem: we lived 3 blocks from Grizzly Grocery and could hop on a bike and be back in 5 minutes with a decently cheap bottle of wine. Not in Utah!!! You can only buy wine at a State-run liquor store which close at 7pm and aren't open Sundays. I often try to buy a couple extra bottles of cheaper wine to have on hand. Problem is, they usually are consumed in a couple days. So all we had in the pantry tonight was a special bottle I bought just this week - the one we had on our ♥ day date [as well as a reeeeally special one saved for like.. the dissertation defense] and were saving for a special occasion. As Ben headed out to the bbq I said, soooo we probably shouldn't have that wine? Knowing full well that we would have it - though I had to put up the pretend "I'm frugal" front. ayayay.

Anyway, it was worth it - just as it usually is. We're both a little frazzled lately: Ben with 150-or-so books to read [or at least know] in the next month and I with a feisty + headstrong little toddler. The kebabs were de-licious and the wine just right. If you're looking for a nicer [this would be a low-budget wine to some, I realize - $18], yummy, quality wine we would both recommend it - Can Blau, Montsant Spain 2006. I can't find the words to describe it and would sound cheesy anyway if I did. We agreed at dinner on cherries and pepper? What do we know?

*Just so you know, I took pictures of my food+wine long long before I had a *blog* :)
**Why do I feel like putting all those thoughts in [brackets] instead of in the clause itself?
***You might be wondering why this is so bad, and the answer is, we cannot afford it!!


*las etapas

I think one thing I've learned about this parenting deal is that kids have phases - and that these phases come and go. For Vera there was the month of exactly 18 minute naps, the few weeks where she would only eat something if it had YoBaby mixed in, the 2-3 months where she would break into choking sobs every time I stepped out of her sight, the screeching phase [remember, Beth?] and the trying to get out of bedtime phase - to name a few.

I'm hoping the current phase is like the rest and will eventually be a memory, because I've just about lost patience for it. It's still the no! phase that I mentioned a while ago, combined with a new somewhat bratty attitude with her friends [not all the time ... please still invite us over :)]. I'd say most of the troubles have to do with her interactions with other little ones - which is hard and sad for me to see and deal with. I try so hard to patiently repeat the same words: Vera, we don't talk to our friends that way, Vera, that is not nice, Vera, you may not take things from your friends, Vera, please give that back, Vera please say you're sorry. Sometimes I see flickers of her holding back. I'll say, Vera do you want a spanking? And she says noooo in a much lighter, softer tone - which lets me know that she does know what's going on! Or I'll be about to give her a little spank and she says, nice! or a honey-sweet hiiiii :) Or sometimes, she makes the right choice and will hand Stella a toy, or give her a kiss and pat on the back.

Anyway, I started this post this morning - while remembering the difficult week we had [all the above combined with waking up at 5:00am and little-to-no napping...]. We had such a lovely day though today - lots of smiles and giggles and being nice. Well and Ben took her for a long hike [thank you!!] after which she took a 2 hour nap!!! And then such a fun, playful easy-to-bed evening we had. So yeah, I believe this too is just a phase. In the meantime I'll try to be consistent and loving, steering her towards a kind heart.


*zapatos negros

Vera has long been observant of the fancy boots, necklaces, belts, earrings, etc. she sees and will sometimes sign/say "pretty!" and more recently "cute!" Yesterday we got a fresh batch of hand-me-downs in the mail and she tried on all the hats, a cute pink bathrobe, some petit bateau panties [on her head], but she's really taken with her cousin Marie's MaryJanes - still 3 sizes too big. I don't know if it's luck, but she gets them on the right feet every time and fastens the little [velcro] strap just right. She looooves to clomp around in them and just hear herself walk.


*el parque

Tamara took this craaazy picture of Vera on Saturday. I promise I didn't throw her screaming down the slide - she likes it! If she were older and more aware she might be mad for me posting such a funny picture. I can't stop giggling:

We had let Vera pick out her own clothes to go to the park. A flowered turtle-neck onesie over chinese pajama pants and furry hot pink boots. :)



Tamara came to visit this weekend!! I cannot tell you how happy it was to see her!!!! We're tragically averaging 24 hours/year since leaving San Diego. It was so wonderful to just sit and talk and drink mate all day. Also special for me, of course, to see these two girls getting along so well...

My brother George [she called him "uncle" - very cute] was also visiting this weekend [here mostly for the snow :)], so we got some good family time in as well, both here and down at my other brother's:


*il lavoro

You may have heard that I got a job! I could not be more excited and I will tell you why:

So there's this most amazing Italian cheese shop/deli that I have wanted to work at since the day I stepped inside several years ago. They're opening a new dinner-only restaurant and I get to be a server Friday and Saturday nights only!! So I have to work only on the busiest nights, don't ever have to worry about a lunch shift and will mostly be away from little V during sleeping hours. Everyone involved is so passionate and knowledgeable about food [as well as friendly and down-to-earth] and I just can't believe I get to be a part of it!! It's a very established establishment and they are really into the "family aspect of business" as well as supporting and utilizing as many small-time producers as possible - everything from cheese to lamb to wine. The past couple days we've had wine tastings, where I get to sit with some serious food+wine people - learning so so much.

I'm just happy to have a little outlet to look forward to. As you may know, Ben studies a lot. My evenings are often spent on the internet or watching + re-watching Arrested Development or other not so worthy shows such as.... the Bachelor. So to be out learning, talking about, eating, selling, being excited about good, real, Italian cheeses, handmade pastas, delicious wines ... all while getting paid??? All I could think today was, seriously??? God is good.



Ben's parents sent 2 boxes of these amazingly delicious tangerines from their backyard. I'd say 1/2 dozen didn't even make it past the front door. I still can't wrap my high-desert mind around the fact that in some places people have their very own tangerine/orange/lemon trees! Pretty amazing. Thank you M+R!!


*a blustery day

Earlier today Vera found an umbrella in the closet - I don't know how she knew what it was all folded up, but apparently [she was with Ben] she freaked out. For the next 40 or so minutes she frantically repeated these words over and over and over: pooh! pooh! mud! bees! ta-ta [as in tut, tut it looks like rain..]! pooh! bees! rah [christopher robin]! mud! bees! ta-ta! We're definitely in that repeating and repeating stage we've heard about. Cute, but ... well we won't be leaving the umbrella out anywhere for her to see :)
*and it was an extremely blustery day! Ben's holding on so she doesn't blow away..



We think this video is hilarious. Obviously we're biased thinking everything she does is cute... but I just love her subtle little moves and non-chalant straight face - of course combined with the sweet little outfit.



Look what someone had hiding in her pocket during naptime... I don't think she slept the whole hour she was in there, and as I picked her up she was already saying no-no and sorry :) Hard not to laugh. Can you imagine the satisfaction of seeing those bold blue lines?