*vera pizza

We recently heard about an excellent pizza restaurant and tried it tonight. They serve "Vera (true!) Pizza Napoletana" [not the name of the restaurant] which from what I understand is an official classification - like what you see with Chianti and such. I got a plain margherita pizza which was pre-tty amazing. They happen to have an in-house gelateria which wasn't too bad either :)

She did eat one whole piece, but with the rest she would suck the sauce off, spit the cheese out and then ask for more.

I love this face!

In case you wonder these things, I had hazelnut, Ben got tiramisu and Vera got "red."

*really almost 2

So one month until Vera's 2nd birthday...

First let me say this is not the most cheery post. I hate to complain, but this has consumed our lives for the last month, causing quite a bit of stress. I want to write it down both to just get it out and to hopefully later see how much things have improved! So I can't believe how things can change in a month. I think when I gave a little update last month the only frustrating thing was that she was being a picky eater. . oh if I had known! This has been one of the most trying times we've had. For at least 3 weeks she would cry anywhere from 1-3+ hours at bedtime [with us going in periodically to lay her back down and tell her we love her], usually then waking in the wee hours of the morning to sleep in our bed. The last week has been better, and last night she only whimpered "mommy sleep mommy sleep" for a minute or two, and then was out until 7:15! YAY, praise GOD! [also in the midst of writing this, I THINK SHE IS NAPPING! I'm probably wrong, but just maybe...]

It's been so stressful and heartbreaking and helpless feeling as we just didn't know what to do. If we let her fall asleep once in our arms or bed, it made the next night that much worse, and though we want to make things easy for her, the last thing I want to do at TWO years old is start a new habit of needing to sleep with us! Naptimes have been nonexistent - at least in a bed. She'll usually take a nap in the car or stroller.. though it's double-frustrating on the days we miss the sleepy window of opportunity and go for a long ride and walk and are still left with a sleepless, hyper-cranky toddler [a few times I've been caught having walked a mile away from home with a screaming/writhing child, not fun]. Because probably tied into all this lack of sleep is this surgence of craaazy tantrums. Seriously, I thought we had her little fits under control, but these are a whole new animal. I don't quite know what to do because no amount of discipline or time-outs works. They come out of nowhere it seems and I have to just try as best I can to keep patient and calm, waiting it out. We miss our old happy go-lucky fun little girl! There are definitely long stretches in the day where she's happy and fun, but man these fits are wearing us all down. I do wonder if it's all because of the crazy sleep thing or is this our intro to the inafmous twos? I just wish someone could tell us the answer.

Other random thoughts on this 23 month old:

She's constantly comparing any and everything to baby/mommy/daddy. Coins, trees, plants, rocks, animals, you name it [this one isn't new, I just keep forgetting to remember it]. She also loves to talk about small, bigger and BIGGEST!

If you ask her what we did this morning [any morning], she'll say "BIG ANIMALS!" remembering our trip to the zoo a couple weeks ago. If you ask what she did with Daddy yesterday she'll tell you "Doggies!" [that they hiked through the dog park, which they usually didn't] or that they had "soup" which they might or might not have. She's really having a word-combining, phrase-making explosion lately and it's really fun :)

She just recently started saying "Bunny" instead of "Ubba ubba" - makes me kind of sad. Also today she's saying "Nana" instead of her funny bladdledaddle sound for banana ... we don't like to hear that one go either :(

Here's our fun little girl in-between melt-downs. She thought it was a big amazing feat to climb up and over this chair, and then Bunny tried too. I had put on her little bikini bottoms sans diaper, which I though was pretty stinkin' cute:



We had our best little friends over the other day. Seriously, Vera loves these 2 so much and they all have so much fun together! Ben was able to catch just the tail-end of 15 minutes of crazy tickling/falling on each other/laughing/running in circles. I especially love the giggling and when they have a little traffic jam here:


I know everyone talks about it, but isn't it strange to think of this generation knowing nothing but digital and instant seeing themselves on the screen? Vera obviously loves the camera and we get lots of these kinds of pictures...



*fever few

A small small thing that makes me happy:
keeping my mini curlicued vase stocked with fresh flowers.


*dia del padre

We spent Sunday afternoon up in the mountains again. It was a nice, quiet break after a few days of a new level of tantrums around here [I spoke too soon with our "great day"]. You probably don't need me to tell you that Ben is an amazing dad - so devoted and so in love with our little Vera. They have tons of fun on their little ice cream dates and hikes with Boone, fiddling around the backyard and lately lots of bike rides. She knows his arms are safe and will fall asleep there so easily. I wish you could hear the way she says, Daaaaaaddy.

..and added later this evening: wish you could have heard her say "loveyou daddy" :) melts one's heart.


*buen día

We had a great day! This morning Vera and I went to our first little art class held at the park. Sam and Amelia were there too and Vera anticipated it all morning repeating, "see Mimi? SamMimi?" and boy were they all excited to see each other!! They greeted with squeals and hugs - all on their own. Sooo cute. The class went well, Vera was superexcited to paint and show off her caterpillar [later at home she sat Bunny in her lap and showed him: "Cata(piller) make. yeah? see? make..." in the sweetest motherly voice :)] Afterwards the three ran back and forth through a stretch of puddles for at least 15 minutes before heading off to run a million circles around a fountain, stopping to splash every lap or so. Vera was SO happy!! Well and me too, it's so good to hang out with friends. Then we got to ride the cars + airplanes which of course they all loved. Ben took Vera for a nap-walk and I got to sit and fold laundry and tomar mate in peace and quiet. Work was smooth and lucrative and Ben and Vera had a great night here: eggy soup at our favorite chinese place, more play with neighbor Graham, a bike ride, more fountain playing, and then she only cried 20 minutes at bedtime!!!! Perhaps we're on our way back to normalcy?

No pictures but worth remembering!

*las montañas

We spent a couple days and a night up with our neighbors at their cabin in the mountains. It was so fun and refreshing to be up in such an amazingly beautiful place with such good friends. We almost didn't go as I thought I was sick, but are SO glad we did. Things have been awful stressful with Vera's continuing sleep disaster-phase and it was therapeutic to be there in the quiet, green [do you know how much rain we've had in the last month??] mountains. Thank you B, J & G!
I'm going to have a hard time choosing just a few photos, so here we go:
::vera looooves graham; given his look here, not so sure what he thinks :) ::

::board games and wine.. [..ah and a darn good gin+tonic too]::

::afternoon thunderstorms on our way out::


*el mercado

Finally the first Farmers' Market of the Summer! We rode our bikes which was fun and so Farmer's Market, if you know what I mean :) It sprinkled a bit on us riding home.. which thankfully wasn't a few hours later during the most enormous downpour/thunderstorm ever.

... a happy Vera in action:

*a good update too - Ben texted me at work that the night went "really well!" Yay :) She fell asleep on his lap reading stories and stayed asleep as he laid her down. Big sigh of relief for a cry-free night - thank you LORD.



Some random pictures from happy parts of our day. It was a rough one... though it started out well and happy, everything fell apart when naptime failed. I just came home from work to find a note from Ben: "It was a bad night, I'll explain in the morning." I hope this phase is over soon :( Please continue to remind me that everything is a phase. Because though I admit it afterward, I can't help but be afraid this is the way things are. Oh the things you didn't expect about raising a child... ANYway, the happy moments:

like momma like daughter: breakfast - peanut butter straight from the jar:

little climber. you should see how proud + pleased she is that she can get forks + pooses (spoons) out of the drawer all by herself:

This newly hand-me-downed bow stayed in her hair for a record 15 minutes:

...another not-captured moment was seeing how happy she was to see her friend Jack and his mommy at story time this morning :)



Ben took Vera on a nap-specific drive today. I have always been greatly opposed to these, but she needs the sleep so so badly this week. When she woke up they explored a bit up in the Uinta mountains and Ben said it was absolutely beautiful. The rest and activity did her good - she only cried 45 minutes at bedtime tonight. Believe me, considering the last week this is good. Also, I just posted something but since I started it like a month ago it doesn't appear at the top of my page. Anyone know how to fix that? Anyway, click here to see it.


*los piecitos

Our neighbor painted Vera's toes the other day. I'm sad to have missed it - Ben said she was sooo happy, the kind where she tries her hardest not to smile :)


*work notes

So I've been officially working for just a few weeks now. I obviously can't go straight to bed when I get home, so here are some random thoughts:

*I am learning so much! It didn't take long for me to feel confident in being able to explain the difference in types of risotto rice, how the lamb sweetbreads are prepared, who provides the mirasol peppers, how he makes this, how I wish my mom prepared cauliflower like this, how easy to drink this one wine is, how the only thing I wouldn't order for myself are the raw scallops...

*I have been reminded of my love for 1) whipped cream [we have a rosemary whipped cream on a dessert and I got to try a spoonful. I was thinking to myself as I have often in the past, "I LOVE WHIPPED CREAM" when my boss came up to reprimand me for not clearing some plates - :) ] and 2) deep fried risotto cakes, similar to arancini. Ours are topped with lemon-preserved mascarpone and baby arugula. I could eat them all day. 3) arugula salads.

*My boss is a *&%$. I've never had a boss like this.

*I had a couple tonight from Guadalajara and they insisted that I conduct the whole service in Spanish - even describing the cheeses and all dishes: made my day.

*I miss Ben and Vera. She took the first weeks of training well, but now she sees me getting my black pants and top on and starts to loooose it. I think of them often during my shift and say a little prayer for them. I didn't realize how much 4 nights a week away from home would be and I don't like it.


*los elefantes

We went to the zoo this morning with Stella - meeting her aunt there. Both girls were so cute, excited and well-behaved. Half the excitement for Vera was telling whoever was nearby what was going on: Crocodile sleepit! Elephant eatit [it=ing]! Mommy! Baby!



On another note, Ben made it on our local news last night! Woohooo! Here's the link. You can also see a glimpse of SamWard [my dad] holding a coffee cup in the background - and all of happens to be right in front of my new workplace :)


We're in the middle of a couple of really rough days. Out of the blue she won't go to sleep at bedtime, wakes up for hours at night and won't take a nap without an hour+ fight. She's totally fine right up until I go to put her in her crib - which just 3 days ago she would ask to sit and play in. Yesterday she was literally falling apart all day - that combined with the heartbreak of hearing your child cry and cry and cry and being stressed with an all-of-a-sudden overloaded schedule has got me pretty down and stressed.

It's easy to just walk to the park and do the same old route, but thankfully today I had another idea. I hitched up the trailer to my bike and we went out for some Italian ice. No matter Vera found it too cold and preferred the pretzels - the beautifully thunder-clouded day and fresh air did us both some good. After we stopped by Great Harvest where the kind cashier let me take a loaf of bread for free since I didn't have enough. On the way home we stopped at the park and Vera went down the slide to her heart's content. Our troubles aren't over as I'm hearing her upstairs whimper Daddydaddydaddydadadaddy dooowwwwwn! but I was so thankful for a good afternoon. Pray with me for little V to feel safe and know she can just fall asleep...