*la camita!

[little down pillow was made for my oldest brother when he was little!]

I've been waiting to take her crib down until I'd finished this duvet cover. I'd seen the adorable pink flannel at our quilt shop and then got the idea to make a duvet from it here. It got a little complicated and a little pricey as I thought it would be better to make a twin-sized even though Vera was getting her cousin's old toddler bed. So I had to buy like 6 yards of expensive fabric to piece together and thankfully figured out to just buy a flat sheet [from Garnet Hill] for the other side. In short, it would have been waaaayyyy cheaper to just buy a duvet from IKEA!

Anyway she's been telling anyone she sees that she's getting a new pink bed and so I had to finish it. Yesterday as I was nearing the end I had her move pins from the box to the pincushion - I remember reading that on Soulemama :) Then she threw the box across the bed so I kicked her out and let her watch a movie so I could just get it done. Sewing is fun, especially seeing the final product. I still have a hard time being precise and patient though! I make a ton of mistakes and if you saw it up close you could easily see them - I guess I'm in the learning stage still?

She said many many times today: "I'm so happy! So 'cited!!!" She also stayed on it for her whole 30 minute quiet time and thankfully went to bed just fine too. I am foreseeing a 'honeymoon' period where she thinks it's fun and exciting and then we're going to have a bit of a struggle keeping her from getting up in the middle of the night... for now though it's so fun to see our baby take one more step to being a big girl!

*dos y medio

Some things about our official 2 and a half-year old:

Her favorite books at the moment are Manners by Aliki, Green Eggs and Ham [I do like them, Mama!], The Little Engine that Could, My Forever Dress, The Best Nest, and very recently Fancy Nancy. She loves Super Why and Dinosaur Train on PBS plus of course Signing Time, Bug's Life and Cinderella. Today at a mom's group she was wearing a princess outfit and wanted her friend Sam to put on the king's cape and dance with her - just like Cinderella I imagine :)

She is finally going poopoo on the potty!!! Starting this last week a number of things finally got her to do it. I was always perplexed that she wouldn't because she is so obsessed with everything "big girl." First, we started "practicing" because she wanted to go to big kid Sunday School and they have to [I told her] be 100% trained. So she'd sit on the little potty for like an hour reading stories and I would finally be like ok do you want me to just put on a diaper? I think that started some reverse psychology and that together with knowing she'd get the Cinderella DVD worked. Whew! I write this down so I can remember how it all went. I googled the problem and lots of parents said their child took like a year!! I'm so glad it's over.

Her favorite foods are carrots, pinenuts, pistachios, eggy soup, eggy rice [egg drop soup and fried rice], yogurt, candy, chocolate, etc. She still LOVES milk and would drink it all day if she could.

Her favorite things to do are get herself dressed and try on everything [just like Olivia the pig], dress up in princess and dancing outfits, dance, sing with dramatic arm movements, color/paint/draw, jump on her bed, the couch etc., talk to puppets, hide from mom+dad and play doctor.

Lots of her baby ways of saying things have disappeared, tho' she still says "poos" for spoon. I love how she says "I unno know" and shrugs her hands for I don't know and I love when she calls me sweetheart. Ben's favorite is how she says bewnding for building. I've been trying to incorporate a little more Spanish into our days and she can identify a few body parts when I ask dónde está...? and she can count to cinco and identify verde, rosado and azul.  She also knows to ask for una fresa at our favorite burrito place :)

She hasn't napped in her bed since Christmas Day. I've been trying to consistenly make her have "quiet time" where she sits in her bed and reads until the timer goes off. I set it to about 25 minutes and am slowing making it longer. She's really happy and proud of herself when she can wait until the ding I hope hope hope she'll be able to sit for an hour at some point because I NEED the time to myself. However we finally just set up her big girl bed and she's doing quiet time right now for the first time in it ... we'll see how it goes!

It's been a rough month with all the tantrums and her contrariness. Example: Me: You're just a little person! Vera: NO I'm NOT a person! Me: You're so pretty! Vera: NO I'm NOT pretty. Me: Do you want to read Fancy Nancy? Vera: I DONT LIKE Fancy Nancy (she does). Despite the incredibly difficult-I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out-times, I/we love her so much it literally makes my heart ache.



*el baño

Ben took a month off for Christmas and to finish some deadlines and is now back at work in the bathroom.  Vera was so proud to help him hammer in some nails and was sure to let us know she'd like a pink hammer of her own someday.

...little plumber...


*el museo

Another difficult and frustrating day around here, so I'm going to post some pictures of our visit to the Children's Museum last week!  It is really an amazing museum [if you visit I promise we'll go!!] but it's pretty expensive [I'll pay!] so this was just our 3rd time.  She has been having such a hard time having not napped since Christmas and generally being 2 that I decided to just fork over the $$ to let her have some VERA time.  She loved it of course - her favorite being the store and the little ironing board which she hoarded and protected from all other kids attempting to play.  My favorite moment was seeing her interact with a little boy a few years older at the checkout line.  Soooo cute and polite :)




With our trip to California and then pretty much staying inside since we've been back [did you know we have the nastiest air in the whole country???], I kind of somehow forgot it's winter. Until this last Sunday we hadn't even played in the snow! We went up one of the canyons with our neighbor and a big group of their friends - about a mile and a half hike up the road and then we sledded the whole way down. It was SO MUCH FUN! Vera got to ride with Graham and Bryan in their tricked out sled and she loved it. Apparently she said AGAIN! about 400 times. We really need to motivate and do this kind of thing more often. Thank you neighbor!


*I ♥ pesto

I LOVE PESTO! One of my most favorite things to make and freeze during the summer is lots of batches of pesto [I feel like I've written about this before?]. I used to do it in little tupperwares, but read about freezing them in thin, easily-thawable flat ziplocks and it's made it so easy. I also had a revelation last summer while working at that restaurant. There was an arugula-tarragon pesto dish that was so good, so pretty and obviously super-healthy: I immediately began to copy it and have a nice little supply in the freezer. So this week I tossed some thawed arugula-parsley-lemon-pinenut pesto with spaghetti noodles, a huge handful of pinenuts, kosher salt and a little grated mozzarella - Vera even liked it which was exciting because how else would I get her to eat arugula?? This was Thursday and I'm still thinking about how delicious it was.

Then last night I thawed some sage-walnut-parsley pesto for our pizza and it was sooooo good. Seriously amazing. The possibilities of pesto combinations are endless and so much fun :)

(sausage + mushrooms too for the manly man)



Vera loves puppets and always wants us to put them on and "talk" to her. She speaks directly to the puppet and wants to show them her room, her new shoes, what she did today etc. It's really funny and I wonder what she thinks - that they're really talking to her?? This video is long and kind of boring and my house is a mess and she looks real ragga-muffiny, but oh well - real life I guess? I've wanted to just get video of her talking because even that changes so fast!

p.s. sorry for the potty talk


*la mochila

I was so excited to give Vera her Christmas present!! She can spot a pink backpack from a mile away and had often told me she would get a pink one someday to walk to school with. Anyway, I made this one from a pattern that Julie [via Emily] told me about from here. It did take me a while, mostly because after buying the fabric [easy part] I procrastinated a few weeks and then when I did get started, made several very silly and costly mistakes. If you decide to make it, email me and I will tell you what I did wrong! She loves it as much as I thought she would. It was so cute - and helpful! - on our plane rides as she could carry all her little goodies herself feeling like such a big girl. Another great handmade [not by me] thing for the plane was a roll-up crayon holder. She literally colored the whole time on every flight.

bunny did some coloring too...



I've been having a rough couple weeks struggling with a lot of impatience and anger towards Vera and her fits and stubborness [yes yes I know what my parents are probably saying]. I haven't been sleeping well - mostly because she wakes up to sleep with us most nights and crowds me down into the lower quarter of the bed, grr. The 2 biggest reasons though I've been having such a tough time are 1) my selfishness and 2) lack of any sort of devotional or Bible reading/praying.

So I finally picked up a book the other night - an old one by Elisabeth Elliot called Keeping a Quiet Heart. I didn't plan on writing this just now, and so the book and its amazing opening quote are upstairs... Basically she wrote how little inconveniences in our days, those things that interupt our plan are really the opportunities we have to serve God and others. When Vera whines and frantically cries for the 10th time for one more [(*&#ing] song at night or insists on me putting a [*(&*ing] diaper on for her to go poop I should take those opportunites to show her patience, kindness, understanding, love. Let go of my selfish want for everything to go HOW I WANT. I want you to go to bed now so I can go sit at the computer or watch tv or just be by myself!! I want you to grow up and go on the potty so I don't have to deal with it! I've felt real tangible anger surging up at these moments and I don't like it and I don't want my daughter to experience it either. I have made it a point then to get back into starting my day with reading and prayer - specifically prayer for forgiveness and for patience and help. and guess what? Today I was able to calmly hold her for about an hour during a crying fit, I didn't bribe or mention poopoo on the potty even once and calmly sang her another song at bedtime, and then another [with Ben. thank you, Ben]. and what a good day it was!

[usual apology here for a long personal post... really helps to put it in writing.]


A few more snapshots from our trip...

At Ben Beauchaine's brother's family's house. You probably can't tell from the pictures but Vera was rather anti-social the whole first week - with a bad cold and overwhelmed by so many people. I wish she would have been more outgoing - everyone was having so much fun!

We went to Pasadena on the 2nd to see the floats from the Rose Parade. They are so much more textured/interesting/beautiful in person! It was also like 80 degrees; I was tempted to complain about being too hot and then remembered it's JANUARY.

We went to the beach so many times this year!! Ben even got to surf a couple times and we were both left with a huge longing to live in California again....

tippy toes

It's so great seeing relationships develop with family!

Liz and Vera watching ballet videos on YouTube. Now she dances around the house yelling I'm balle-RIIII-na!! I'm balle-RIIII-na!


First family portrait:

I think it's so fun to watch the way Vera's scribbles have progressed. Over the break she started drawing happy/sad/angry faces and then figured out she could draw arms and legs protruding from the heads - the first being Mommy, Daddy and Vera. It was so exciting and she was so pleased with what she could do! She also loves making balloons still and more recently spiders - with 30 or so legs. I also think it was interesting how a couple months ago she wouldn't color in coloring books. I think she didn't know quite what to do and would just make me or Ben do it for her. One day though she just sat down began coloring [mostly] in the lines! It just clicked. This is probably really boring stuff for anyone else, I just love seeing her little brain making connections and like to jot down just when it happened :)



We got see lots of friends over these last 3 weeks!! Of course I didn't get many pictures of grown-up friends, but definitely lots of the little ones:

Heather and Nate:

Chad and Melissa and Grant:

[she still remembers him as the one who tried to grab her quesadilla]

Megan and sweet smiley Eden:

[couldn't get a regular expression from either]

Not pictured: Kyle [Melissa's cute blue-eyed baby], Jilly [Jana's adorable spunky little girl :)], Vann [Lance + Jenni's cute little bruiser] and Eva who we almost got to hang out with :(


*los perritos

We're in Nevada now with Liz and the puppies: