Awesome Note from My Nine-year-old Niece

October 3rd, 2011

hi I miss you!!

Dear Aunt krissy,

Thank you for the Claires gift card. I bought five things. I bought a necklace, a feather hair clip, cool sun glasses, a doll chair and a Justin Beber sleep mask.


Grandmas, Part I

March 23rd, 2011

Violet is such a lucky girl. She has three grandmas.

For Violet’s birthday, my mom visited us in California. My mom has six grandchildren. She goes by “Mama.” Violet has decided to call her “Grandma.”

A couple of week ago, Steve’s moher came for a visit. Anne has two grandchildren. The oldest has always called her “Nana.” WE have always called her “Nana.” Violet has decided to call her “Grandma.”

Now we are here in Georgia visiting my dad and stepmother. Pauline has three grandchildren. She has always gone by “Grandmother.” Guess what Violet calls her? You guessed it: “Grandma.”

Message: She loves all her grandmas just as much … A TON! (Violet is just a huge fan of grandmas.)


March 23rd, 2011

Violet continued to produce yellow-green snot at record volumes. She doesn’t like when it drains down the back of her throat; she spits frequently, like a professional baseball player from the 80s.

She has been using the potty here in Georgia with 90 percent success. Woo hoo!!!

We went shopping, and as we were about to pass a biker-looking guy with a beard and doo-rag, Violet shouted, “Pirate ship!” As in, Look! A pirate! Practicing my apologetic, oh-aren’t-kids-just-so-darn-cute look …


March 22nd, 2011

I haven’t had a lot of time to write here, but this week, someone else is doing most/all of the housework. With potty training off to a jagged start, housework involves a lot of laundry and steam-cleaning and emptying of an elaborate, pink-plastic chamber-pot with images of three Disney princesses on the lid and a musical “flush” handle. (Out of all of the potties on the Intenet, it was her favorite one.)

We are in Georgia, and can I just brag a moment: My wild little critter is one solid traveler. Removes her shoes and backpack with no prompting and puts them in a bin. Helps her mom by holding onto her tot-handle all over the airport and helping to pull our carry-on duffel. Waits patiently, embaces the adventure, and is an enormous hit with fellow passengers.

Not long after we sat down, she pointed excitedly across the aisle at a woman with a pet carrier and said, “Look, Mom! She has a doggie in her purse!” How very cute she is.

Middle of the Night Stream of Consciousness

November 27th, 2010

Thanksgiving was lovely. Thankers included the Hills of Irvine, Jeremy Sr., Xtine, David, David Gordon, and us. And Connie and Eric and Chelan stopped by. We enjoyed a bit of the beautiful day over in the park. Whole Foods supplied a delicious dinner. Megan supplied delicious pies. The kids played nicely. It was just a really great day.

Since then, Vibble’s had an on-and-off fever. When the fever is on, she just wants to watch BBC Oceans or Road Runner and snuggle. Poor hot little thing.

It’s been a hectic couple of months here. Sick, well, sick, well, sick, well … adventures, sleep-cycle-shifts, a two-year-old who opens the fridge and gets what she wants out of it. Who loves her friends fiercely but has a quick temper and a mean right hook. Who had to be held down at the dentist, but got over it long before her mother did (guess only one of us was traumatized by that whole stitches incident). Who mostly eats eggs and lollipops and bread. Who reads her books a lot, but is otherwise rarely still, or, if she is, is still in an upside-down yoga pose of some kind. Who needs a lot of jumpies and outlets for her go-go-go, and who is pretty damned impressive in her agility (everyone says so, we’re rather proud of her). Who doesn’t use the potty yet, but does sometimes enjoy sitting on the potty for a long time … only to hop off and pee on the floor, and then get back on (I’m not in any rush to potty train—I actually like diapers, with all of their control and convenience and predictability—so in your own time, Vibble, that’s fine). Who is only willing to get dressed if watching TV, and none of that Dinosaur Train, that’s way too tame [rolls eyes], give her Spongebob [wince] or [double-wince] Dora, or something similarly shouty and strobe-like in imagery, with commercials for things she drags me to the TV to show me, like, Did you know about this? A Barbie CONDO? Electronic hamsters? A baby doll that not only walks but falls on its FACE??? (Oh, look at that, you’re all dressed now! [Click.])

Who responds to the darkened screen on the TV-that’s-hooked-up-to-cable by saying dramatically, “Oh no! What HAPPENED?”

Who responds to the Apple-TV-TV by dumping toys out of containers to use those containers as stacking step-stools in her quest to be as close to the actual screen as humanly possible. (Is your name Violet, or VIOLET-GET-DOWN? I forget.)

Who is squarely in the “MINE!” phase. Which is tense for parents on the playground. Thankfully, our playgroup is a more comfortable place to work on that. Unfortunately, Vibble is about an 8.5 on the “MINE!” Richter Scale. Familiar scene: Here comes one of Violet’s friends in tears, possibly injured; and here comes Violet happily behind, holding some toy. We’re working on this, we all are. Violet included. I think, actually, she works pretty hard to be even that good. Fight the demons, Honey.

Who is truly a marvel in her gymnastics class, even if she outright rejects the concepts of “class” and “teacher” and “Hey, look, here’s what we’re all doing now … Oh? No? Not you? Um, ok …” (Wait, is your name Violet, or VIOLET-STAY-WITH-YOUR-TEACHER, I forget.)

Who love-love-loves to paint! EVERYTHING! Paper is for wussies, don’t you know. Paint your face, paint your toys, paint your friends!

Who is now aware when her photo is being taken.

Who sincerely enjoys live entertainment of any kind.

Who blows our minds with what she remembers.

Who misses her parents when we’re apart, but who has a good time without us, too.

Who says to me throughout the day, “Hi, how are you?”

Who wants her shoes off, but would wear the same dress forever if she had her way. (Doesn’t matter which one, just don’t take it off, it’s MIIIINNNNNEEEE! Same with the diaper. “Oh no! MINE! What HAPPENED?!”)

Oh, it HAS to be a dress. A dress makes the best disguise. (“What a cute little—OW! It bit me!”)

Who is still not talking too much, but who is about to start getting a little more help with that, and a few other things, for a bit. (Recent conversation … Friend: “Wow, she has her own little language!” Steve: “Yeah, we’re hoping she learns our language soon.”)

Who has begun to play imaginatively in the most adorable ways, especially with her dress-up play clothes and in her little kitchen. (I think this is my favorite little-kid phase of all, with each of the kids I know.)

Who secretly knows all kinds of things—her shapes, for instance—but isn’t always willing to let on. Again, the theme here is: ON HER TERMS. Always. We’ve learned through extensive experimentation that with this kid, forcing/enforcing anything is generally counter-productive, no matter how committed/consistent we are. It just rarely leads where we want to go, in so many ways. She’s not in charge, far from it, and she often has to do things she doesn’t want to do. But we’ve had to adopt a parenting style that allows for a lot of flexibility and a diagnostic approach—’Why is she doing XYZ? Why does she object to ABC?’ If we can figure out the “why” with her, and talk about it, and address it, and oftentimes, just show an awareness of it, we make a lot more headway. She’s just not someone who is very often open to suggestion. She doesn’t really care if she pleases us, or if she is doing what everyone else is doing. She doesn’t respond to threats, and she only sort of responds to rewards. She’s moody, and sometimes the “why” is simply that: She’s in a mood, and it will pass in ten minutes, at which time she will be more than happy to cease being naked in this parking lot and let me put on her clothes so we can join her friends or her class inside. Meanwhile, she prefers to sit on this parking space marker and sing “Whistle While You Work,” and all attempts to force her into clothes will involve trauma for everyone. So be it. I have an iPhone, and it’s been ages since I skimmed Facebook. Sing away, naked kid! We’ll go in when you’re good and ready. Maybe she has us trained. Maybe we all have each other trained. I guess that’s kind of what family is to me, though—I know you, you know me, we know each other’s sensitivities and quirks, and while we don’t walk on eggshells, we are considerate of them … that’s why we trust each other enough to know that when one of those “quirks” comes into question, it might be because it’s for our own good/growth to have it challenged. (I did warn you in the title that this would be a stream-of-consciousness entry. But I DIDN’T warn you it would be so PROFOUND! Heh.)

This is all to say, Violet is at an amazing stage right now. She’s a strong personality, vibrantly individual. This can be frustrating for her parents sometimes, but it’s also the thing we are most proud of in her. There is nothing—NOTHING—she can’t do. Nothing she won’t try. Fearless.

Uh, oh, someone is crying upstairs now. Fever back on. We’re going to get you well, sad little toughie, so you can get back to blowing wasabi kisses at the world.

Good night.

A Day in the Life

October 10th, 2010

Today I woke up around 8:30 and got to work preparing a dish to put in the slow cooker I got for my birthday. I still hate cooking, but so far the slow cooker is exciting to use, so that helps. And it means I can do the prep work when I feel more into it (late afternoons are so not my best time of day).

Vibble joined me at around 9. She got to work removing toys from her toy kitchen and creating an obstacle course in the kitchen. Then we all got dressed and went to Kay n’ Dave’s and then to the Brentwood Country Mart to walk around a bit and buy a princess book at Diesel.

Next we tried to go see Aladdin at the Black Box Theater, but it was cancelled. What is UP with cancelled stuff this week?? We were all scheduled to take an overnight sleeper-car train trip to Albuquerque on Wednesday, but a freight derailment in Arizona meant that was a no-go (they offered us an 11-hour overnight bus ride in exchange, which we politely declined).

So yeah, no Aladdin today (maybe tomorrow), so we walked a bit and came home and played with Play-Do for a while, then Vibble and I took a nap while Stevel worked on some code for his apps.

Post-nap Vibble played a while and then wanted to watch a princess sing-along DVD. We had the slow-cooker dinner—chicken tangine, I think it’s called?—and hosted some friends to share it with us. After dinner, we all—me, Violet, Stevel, Christine, David, and Jeremy-on-his-bike-with-lights-and-sound-system—walked to the frozen yogurt by-the-ounce place. Yum! Violet rocked out in her stroller on the walk home to the music Jeremy was playing on his bike.

Back to No. 6 for some YouTube surfing, and finally had to tell everyone goodbye. Violet was really bummed her friends were leaving. She stood in the middle of the living room expressing this with gestures and sighs and sad faces. But now Steve is putting her to sleep, and I’m about to join them.

That’s our Saturday. Hope yours was as nice. :-)


September 14th, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m feeling too out of touch with you guys, and I can’t seem to find a good time to call or message anyone. I’m sorry about that. It seems our window of East-coast-evening-meets-that-beginning-of-Violet’s-nap-time is out of whack, especially with Violet’s refusing to nap a lot of days now, and making calls with her awake? Yeah, that’s just not working. So please know you’re on my mind, and I am eager to know what’s new in your lives. E-mail me if you get time, and I will keep trying to call you. Things may improve as we settle back into a schedule here with our fall activities and with staying HOME.

Summer was a bit of a blur. I haven’t even printed any photos from our trips, and I usually have those in albums and frames by now. Life is challenging with this phase in Vibble’s toddler career. She stages a protest about anything and everything. These protests range from sit-ins, to scream-ins, to running away and going missing in a department store for long enough to take several years off of the end of my life. I feel like I have eight kids, and their name is Violet. She is suddenly into princesses (or, as she calls them, “pinches”) in a scary huge way. The demands for us to set up looping “pinches” bits on Youtube have reached a frightening level of violence here. Enough that I got on yesterday and overnighted Snow White on DVD. It was THAT BAD. Here’s hoping it works. I certainly can’t watch anymore Mary Poppins (also a “pinches” around here), or you will be visiting me in a padded cell where I am rocking back and forth in the corner singing Chim-Chimeny to myself.

Violet continues to amaze us with her personality. She is incredibly secure and confident. She has the typical toddler magic-energy but is exceptionally physical and agile. She is an adventurer, a fearless explorer, a TOUGH little TOUGHIE. She’s been spending a lot of time with her friend Greta lately, and since she and Greta were born the same week, comparisons are fascinating. Greta is advanced in her speech and logic. Violet … not so much. Violet talks when Violet wants to talk. And when she doesn’t? It’s “Ef you, I’m busy climbing this bookshelf to perform some stunt whereby I dive to this chair and then to the TV to turn it back on.” Greta is sensitive, in a way that will be both her greatest asset and, I think, her biggest challenge in life. Violet, like I said, is a tough little toughie. A bubbling burn the size of a quarter on her elbow from the fireplace in the rental condo? Wah-wah for two minutes and it is never mentioned again. A fall out of a chair onto her head? Whatevs. My friend has goldfish crackers and I want some? Suck it, “Friend,” I’m taking these, and here’s a shove, too. (You can imagine the Violet-and-Greta relationship requires a lot of supervision. If you play Mario, we liken Greta to Luigi, and Violet to Wario.) If sensitivity will be Greta’s asset and challenge, this toughness will be Violet’s. Because who wants to be friends with Wario? Only someone as sweet as Greta. But, too, such a tough girl is unstoppable.

Incidentally, Greta’s initials are GBL, so, in line with our VBL=Vibble formula, we call her Gibble. Or, when they are together, the Two Ibbles. Violet’s other friends include Jude (a darling boy who keeps track of his pals like a shepherd), Emme (who has a lot of fire herself), Avery (Run, run, RUN!), Brienna (who gives Violet a run for her money in the ring), Chelan (a sweetheart), and Christopher, who hides keys and knows more sign-language than I know English. All of these kids have a lot of soul. No lie. We know some extremely special kids right now.

In addition to “pinches,” here are a few quick translations from the Vibble lexicon at present:
- “I want Beep-Beep” — This means she wants to watch Road Runner.
- “I want Hey Hey” — This means she wants to watch Fat Albert. (She loves Fat Albert.)
- “I want Momide” — This means she wants to watch Madeline.
- “I want Bib-Boo” — This means she wants to watch Cinderella.

Yeah, that’s what most of her requests are like. We have to keep a serious eye on how much screen-time she gets in each day. If she had her way, she would watch TV without eating or sleeping or playing or ever putting on pants. (Well, pants in general are unpopular.) But what she really needs is high-impact physical activity every day, or else she gets punchy. Too much brain-centric occupation stresses her out, and even art projects don’t absorb her focus for long—unless they too become physically focused (textures are awesome, and painting on paper is SO LAST SEASON, the paints really do look better on her face). She is a very tangibility-centered person; always wants to touch people (sorry, guy-in-front-of-us-on-the-bus!) and stop in the middle of the intersection to feel the texture of the road. This is either a quirk or serious OCD, but it makes for very sweet cuddle times, because she loves to caress an arm while she snuggles.

She just started gymnastics at a place that has a preschool associated with it, and the plan is, once she gets comfortable there after enough mommy-and-me gymnastics (many months down the road, mind you), we try some school. Since it’s a program with a very physical outlet attached to it, I think it might be just the right fit for our little wackadoo.

Sorry if I’m all over the map with this post. I’m jacked-up on migraine medicine and trying to type out as much as I can before the Pinches wakes up and starts making demands. What else do I need to fill you in on …

We had a really nice week in lovely Tahoe with Steve’s mother and Auggie. I took my leave for a few days to go to Burning Man, which was an escape into a world of fun and creativity for me. It was way too hard to be off the grid, though, without my little munchkin, so I cut it half a day short. Somehow it gets harder and harder to be apart from her, as it seems to get easier and easier for HER to be apart from ME. I am only more attached, as she is more and more independent. Who invented this ratio? How bad is it going to get? (Mom, I know you’ll have an answer for that—one that makes the Internet cry!) But Burning Man was wonderful, and I look forward to going back, perhaps for a longer stay sometime. And for those of you who know Burning Man, no, I didn’t do anything wildly out of character for me. It was fun enough to have a mug of wine and wear a cowgirl hat and prom dress while climbing a statue or riding my bike toward the lasers.

I haven’t been doing much writing, but I do feel creative. It turns out parenting is a pretty creative endeavor, and I am lucky to have made some VERY creative mom-friends here. Together with my friends from grad school, friends through Steve, and others, I feel surrounded by creative people these days, and it’s inspiring. You should see what I made out of Play-Do the other day!

Speaking of Stevel, he is doing really well on a lot of fronts. A bit overworked, but I’m so proud of his progress on his iPhone apps and with the software he works on at Sony, which is about to be used at a number of effects houses. This is a huge deal, and he, with his team, has bent over backwards and turned his brain inside-out to make it a reality. He’s truly a marvel of a man! And all of this while being the sweetest, most patient, most adoring dad—it’s clear Violet feels very safe with him, very loved … and completely in charge. “Dad, come on …” she says as she drags him to the fridge for a half-hour session of I-can’t-decide-what-I-want-from-this-fridge or insists he play “My-oh” (Mario) to entertain her (as long as he doesn’t start to die [bleep bleep bleep], in which case she—”Oh no! Oh no!”—gets a little freaked out).

I can’t think of anything else to report just now. It was a wonderful summer, and I loved connecting with friends and family and enjoyed the many adventures. And now I’m looking forward to a few months of ho-hum routine. Ahhh.

Oh, and P.S. If you haven’t seen “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” I finally got around to watching it, and it’s my new favorite movie. Hot box.

P.S.S. Some photos of all of this

“Ambitious! Nutritious! Delicious!” or “Vibble and the Teetering Vases Tour the East Coast”

August 7th, 2010

We got back from our trip East Thursday evening, and we spent all day yesterday re-acclimating to our lives. I don’t think we’re done with that—may take all weekend. It will certainly take all weekend AT LEAST to unpack the alarming amount of stuff we brought with us.

Our story begins in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Vibble and I spent a wonderful week visiting old friends and spending great times with my family there. This includes: THE MOST AWESOME COUSINS ON EARTH! This trip was a long one for Violet, but I can tell you on her behalf that she would gladly go another nine rounds if it meant getting to be with Dani and Erica. She just adores being in their presence.

Highlights of this visit included an overnight in Pittsburgh with Cindy and Matt and Bridget and Dave; a day at Idlewild Park; a visit to Keystone Equestrian Center, where my nieces take horseback riding lessons; two cookouts at Cheri and Brian’s house—one of which was attended by Tracey and her husband and kids—and lots of trampoline time! I think Violet is likely dreaming about that trampoline as I type this.

From Latrobe, I borrowed my oldest niece, Erica, as a mother’s helper, and she and Violet and I headed to Penn State for a little reunion weekend. Despite the heat and some toddler moodiness to match, we had the very best time walking around campus and downtown and swimming in the hotel pool. My roommates and I, who have kids around the same age now, were there, and Jen & Pete and Kelly also joined us. It was a great little dynamic, and I so enjoyed being there and being together.

OK, here’s where it gets ambitious: From State College, we drove all the way to Bear Paw, NC, where my grandparents are summering. Yes, that’s a 14-hour drive. With a two-year-old. All I can say is, THANK GOODNESS FOR ERICA. There were so few moments of complaint from Violet on this trip, and in fact, she seemed to enjoy most of it immensely. I would say I gambled and won with this plan, wouldn’t you? The overnight in a hotel in Wytheville was especially memorable. Erica decided while I was in the shower to give Violet half of a chocolate bar. (Note: This is but one example of Erica’s DEVIOUS SIDE.) What followed looked a lot like that first time freshman year when your friend comes home completely drunk, and you and your other friends, being not drunk, enjoy just sort of messing with that person. Erica and I laughed until we cried at Vibble’s nutty high-jinks for an hour while she jumped on the beds singing, whipped off her diaper and danced all over the room, and talked to us in a high-pitched and speedy little voice. Needless to say, she slept like a rock that night. Also needless to say: No more chocolate for you, Little One, YOU ARE CUT OFF.

On to lovely Bear Paw. Lovely and REMOTE. Our cabin was fantastic, and the lake was gorgeous. The company couldn’t have been better: My grandparents, The Kinkers; my dad and Pauline; my mom’s brother, John, and his wife, Lynn, and their two kids, Olivia and Lillian, from Northport, MI, all week … we were also joined late Wednesday night by Stevel, and my mom and Mike and Dani came down for one day of overlap visit as we were heading out. Lots of great fun in the pool, a wonderful day on a rented pontoon boat on the lake with my dad and Pauline, and whitewater rafting with the Northport Kinkers.

FINALLY, we headed to Georgia for some relaxing time at my dad’s and for visits with my Nana and with my dad’s side of the family there. By this point, sadly, I was sort of burned out on taking photos, I guess, because I don’t seem to have a single one. Know, though, that we enjoyed the time together a great deal, and seeing everyone is always a treat. Plus, Vibble got to play with her great-uncle and great-aunt, and I’m not sure if she knows they aren’t some Georgia toddler playgroup.

The kid was good as gold on the flights, such a smooth little traveler! She arrives back here with a mastery of the iPad, a dozen or so mosquito bites, and a LOT of new words (thanks to her cousins). And yes, you can check out the photos—on Facebook and via this link.

A Wonderful Mother’s Day Gift

May 23rd, 2010

My mom flew out for a visit the other week, and we had the bestest time. We visited Leo Carillo and Malibu Lagoon, shopped, and just basked in the fearlessness and fun of Vibble. Stevel and I took an overnight to Big Bear, just the two of us, which was a nice, lazy, relaxing getaway. Check out photos here!

Weekends and Weak Ends

May 8th, 2010

This weekend saw a visit from Cindy and Bridget. What fun—hooray! We shopped, poppied, beach-hopped, and ate-stickers-all-the-time-dude. We enjoyed a visit from Cindy’s fun cousin, this rad guy. It was wonderful to hang out with these girls. I posted some photos—poppy day shots by Jeremedia: Here’s your link to the PHOTO AWESOMENESS.

And now I need to go do my glute exercises. My glutes are bozos.

Two Crashes

April 30th, 2010

Two important things happened this week in the way of “getting back on the horse.” Horses.


We rode our bike again.

I have a great kid-seat on our bike, and I started taking Vibble for rides in bicycle-friendly Santa Monica at about 6 mos. old. When she was a year-ish, we had an accident. It was actually pretty hard to talk about, and I hadn’t been on the bike since, but here’s what happened that day:

I put Vibble in her seat in the garage and mounted the bike. It was very dark in the garage. I rode out into the extremely bright sunlight and was momentarily blinded, and in that moment, I misjudged the location of a pretty high curb in front of our building. We toppled over the curb into the busy street. The first thing to hit the road was my knee (after months of physical therapy, it’s kind of ok now, heh). Second thing was my arm. Third, my precious kid’s helmet. As in, her head, on 26th Street. Cars whooshing by within centimeters.

She was fine within, I would say, 45 seconds. The helmet did its job, and I limped over to the front steps and held her, and she was smiling and laughing in no time.

I was not fine. Aside from my physical injuries, I had just come a little too close to Bad Things. I shook and sobbed, and while the sobbing eventually abated (after hours), the shaking lasted almost three days. And we didn’t ride the bike again, I couldn’t.

The other person who was not fine—perhaps the person least fine—was Stevel. This was a family bike ride, so he was on our other bike behind me, and witnessed the whole thing. I think for him, watching Violet’s tiny helmetted head hit the street was the very thing his anxiety is constantly assuming might happen: Complete horror. He still doesn’t understand how I drove that bike so that it went over sideways into the street.

I don’t need to tell you how awful this all was. We sort of agreed I wouldn’t blog about it, and that wasn’t going to be a problem, since I could barely choke out a one-sentence version of what had happened to tell the doctor when I went in about my knee. But I’ve since told the story to friends and family, and I wanted to record it here and report that we got back on that bike this week. I knew I needed to do it. It was a trembly ride for me, but by the end, I’d hit my stride again, and OH MAN, does this kid love to ride. Holy crap. She chattered the entire way to the library. Twice, drivers got honked at from behind, because a light turned green and they were still talking to Violet: “Look at you! Goin’ for a BIKE RIDE? You like your bike?”

It was all very smooth from her perspective, I think. She was enthusiastic about getting in the seat—she clearly remembered and was eager to ride. She had a new helmet (I was told after any accident you should replace the helmet), which she has since put on in the house a few times and worn around, as if to say, ‘When are we going on that bike again, Mom?’

Soon, Vibble, and often.


The other horse I will abbreviate, as it is still kind of fresh in my mind (and the bruises are still green).

I had some things mounted in the kitchen, a tiny cabinet up high with our liquor in it being the highest, screwed in as instructed to the thick wood (actually, it’s double-cabinet thickness) side of the cupboard bank over the sink. It was on there good and sound, trust me. BUT then I mounted a Can Crusher on the side of it and proceeded to release all of my frustrations on Diet Pepsi cans, with the force of all of this going into the side of the cabinet and rocking it slightly on its screws. I knew this was a bad idea. KNEW. And yet …

So one day I’m crushin’ some cans, and BA-BOOM!!!!!!!! The cabinet comes OFF the wall, on its way down taking out a nearby wine rack, the medicine cabinet that serves as Vibble’s play kitchen fridge, a piece of the cupboard, some chunks of the floor, and oh, a little bit of my leg.

Fortunate thing of fortunate things: Vibble is not playing in her kitchen, although she is pretty eager to get into the middle of the mess, and Dad has to keep her from trudging through glass and wine and booze and fractured wood and Diet Pepsi cans and laughing-weeping Mom (I felt momentarily insane).

OK, so back on the horse: This week, I had a professional handyman come in to do some things in the house, and I had HIM re-hang all of these things—liquor cabinet, wine rack, kid-fridge, Can Crusher (in a new spot, of course). He put billions of heavy duty screws into everything. I don’t know if you could get these things down with a sledgehammer. He also mounted some other things onto walls where I had been considering hanging them myself. His instructions were: “On there good enough so if she hangs off of it, it’s not coming down.”

The lesson here is, Kristan and her cordless drill: Too ambitious. I wouldn’t say this was a “close call,” since it was clearly the can crushing that caused the disaster, and I never crushed cans while Violet was in the kitchen. It made me RIGHTLY nervous to have her anywhere near that action. But what if … ?

OK, put the helmet back on, Vibb, if you’re going into the rooms where Mom has screwed random cabinetry into the walls herself.

That wasn’t as abbreviated as promised, sorry. And yes, both of these fallen-off-horses were my fault. I blew it. I’m learning from it, still.


And now I need to try and get myself back to sleep. I’ve got some awesome friends coming into town today, and I want to be ready to PLAY! Bridgey comes in around 3, and Cindy around 10, and with Cindy coming I’m thinking we will likely grocery shop right away, since I don’t know the first thing about buying bacon. Or foie gras.

Three Sets of Visitors

March 1st, 2010


The Marietta Edgars—what fun to have them out.


Aunt Debi and cousin Sam from Corvallis. An overnight to Sea World was awesome.


Some kind of awful cold. Vibble started coughing and sneezing while her grandparents were here, and her status declined as her aunt and cousin’s visit arrived. Boo. She is a sad little coldling. Not feeling so great myself, so please forgive the short entry. We did get some nice photos, though, so enjoy!

Into the Twos, with Intensity

February 9th, 2010

We’ve been enjoying a wonderful visit from my mom, and she shall henceforth be referred to as “The Groundhog,” because I asked Vibble to say “Grandma,” and she said something like “Gruh,” and of course my mother was THA-RILLED, but then Stevel said, “It sounded more like ‘Groundhog’ to me.” And with that, a nickname is born.

This trip will be memorable to me as the Trip When Violet Refused to Sleep Because GROUNDHOG IS HERE. How many times can you tell someone Good Night, child???

We lucked out with gorgeous weather for the birthday party. Violet’s Big Oh-Two was ushered in with hot dogs, presents, cupcakes (Thanks for the cupcakes, David!), a playground, and lots of friends in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Awesome!

Today we took Violet swimming during open pool time at the Y. As my mom described it, “Sheer joy.” Vibb was beside herself with happiness at having the pool all to herself and two people to “swim” around with.

And so, she is two. But we have sort of known that for some time now. What a cutie.


Fa la la la la-LaVietes!

December 27th, 2009

That’s possibly the cheesiest title I’ve ever come up with, and that’s saying a lot, considering I spent a couple of years titling articles in the ZOOgram magazine at The Baltimore Zoo. Got Cranes on the Brain? Paying Raptor Attention?

The holiday report is this:

THANKSGIVING: Anne and Auggie visited. The Hills came over, as did David, and Jeremy stopped by, as did Jeremy Jr. and Julie and Cousin-Shana. Patricia was here too. Am I forgetting anyone? We played some games, went to the playground (a bit chilly but nice to get fresh air.) We had a lovely dinner, as prepared by Jerry’s Famous Deli and picked up to-go. This is called slaving over a hot credit-card. Violet was not interested in eating one bite of this feastly feast, oh no, she had found superior nutrition in the form of a small tray of assorted trail mixes set out as appetizers. All day, all she ate: Trail mix.

CHRISTMAS: This time I got Whole Foods do the cooking, and what a tasty meal it was! We were joined by Jeremy, Melissa, David, Junior, Julie, Noelle, and Phil. We were also joined by the Wightmans, but as we did not hear the phone ring to let them in, we were denied the pleasure of their company. [Yes, in other words, we invited them and then did not answer the door when they came. We are enormous jerks. :( ] But in happier news, we played Pictionary and Buzz, played outside in warm sunshine, and partook of decorated cookies, mudslides, a fantastic meal, and other treats. Oh, except for Violet, who spent the day eating nothing but—you guessed it—TRAIL MIX. Again.

I got a few photos on my phone, and Melissa and Jeremy had a camera along, so one way or another, I’ll share photos with you soon. Now I need to go eat some leftovers and dump the trail mix out of my shoes.

Merry merry to you all!

Hot to Hot

November 26th, 2009

Our visit to Florida last week was truly an enjoyable one. A LOT of travel, but it was worth it to be together with Vibble’s great-grandparents. We relaxed at LVT, where my grandparents live, and had some fun outings to Umatilla, Eustice, and Alexander Springs. Nice, hot weather (just like we’ve been having here in L.A.—November is swimsuit weather this year), and some computer time in Grandad’s office. Vibble was the hit of the dining hall, and we played it up by letting her have her own bowl of pudding one day and her own plate of cake the next. Haz-mat suits were in order.

For more, here are photos of the trip. A Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Where The Wild Things Are Sleeping

November 9th, 2009

Last night Vibble slept in her crib for a couple of hours. Sometimes this happens. We heard a lot of banging in there—like legs and a little skull hitting the sides of the crib quite hard. I went in twice to comfort her; both times, I found her crying in her sleep. Steve went in a couple of times, I think, and finally brought her into our bed. She commenced her usual routine there: Refusing with exaggerated kicking motions to have any body parts under the covers, and insisting on positioning herself horizontally across the bed, presumably to be in the best position to kick Steve in the head all night long. But last night there was an added twist. Three times she woke me up chatting away in her Vibblese, touching my arm and face, and tilting her head side to side as she talked. All three of these times I found her to be STILL ASLEEP. Each time she wound down the session by flailing and flopping around the bed and finally sighing and being still/quiet. Now we know why some nights when she has ended up in our bed we find her asleep on the floor NEXT TO the bed, or, once, all the way over by the bathroom vanity. Nothing unusual about yesterday evening—no extra sugar, TV, nothing. Just a normal day, with a crazy toddler night.

Halloween was so sickening cute this year I was literally holding back the puke. We went to Corvallis, Oregon, and spent the holiday with Steve’s sister Debi, Debi’s son, Sam, and Mike. Friday afternoon there was trick-or-treating in downtown Corvallis at the businesses there; as a college town, Corvallis still has a thriving little downtown commerce area. We dressed the kid as a sheep this year, and Holy Sheep Poo she was C-U-T-E. By the third business, she had observed enough to know what to do … she walked up to the candy person and opened her bag with an expectant look.

Saturday I took Sam and his friend trick-or-treating, and Vibble hung back with Steve, Debi, and Mike to pass out candy. Sam was a wizard, and we had a nice walk around the cul de sacs of their neighborhood. By the time we got back, Violet was an Old Pro at the candy giveaway concept. Doorbell would ring, she’d pick up the giant bowl of candy, kids would say, “Aw!” when they saw her, then “Trick or treat!” Violet would reply, “Teet teet!” and dole out the candy, to which the kids would say, “Thank you!” and she would reply, “Thank you!” Barfously adorable, no?

We were able to bait-and-switch fruit roll-ups for candy with her, though we could see it would certainly be the last year for THAT. We had gorgeous weather in Corvallis, with the leaves turning and the sun shining a lot, and we enjoyed the visit immensely.

Oh, what’s that? You want to see what? Oh! PHOTOS! Here ya’ go. Oh, and I posted a few more recently over here, too.

Other Baby

November 6th, 2009

The iPhone app Steve made a while back has been getting such wonderful P.R., and with absolutely no help from anyone; it’s just gone out into the world and sincerely impressed the hell out of people. If you’re not playing, you’re missing out. And if you are playing, but you’re not registered to receive online challenges from your friends—and from THIS GIRL—you’re missing out on so damn much I can’t even TELL you.

Anyways, here’s the latest

And here’s even more!


August 24th, 2009

I rode my bike to the Promenade and returned some things to Old Navy and REI. Then I met up with Stevel and Violet at a street fair/block party the co-op was hosting. If you can imagine a large-scale event that takes up the whole block, and that has been organized by hippies, you can understand why the crowd control and traffic flow were afterthoughts. Non-thoughts. There was a carnival-style popcorn machine IN THE DOORWAY. NARROWEST DOORWAY ON EARTH to begin with, people, and it is both in-door and exit. Not so fun, the co-op block party.

Back at No. 6, Vibble played in her pool. Here are two photos of that. Never mind the captions, unless you were on Noelle and Phil’s Christmas card mailing list, in which case, enjoy the sense of life coming full-circle.

I thought about drinking the tea the acupuncturist/Traditional Medicine doctor gave me yesterday … she said I should “drink it fast in small sips at first until the taste does not bother me.” It remains yet undranken.

Next, Vibble acted like she wanted a nap. But really she just wanted to to watch TV in our room. She did let me trim her fingernails while we watched Sponge Bob, though, and that manicure was three weeks overdue. Eventually she did nap, but it was a struggle to get there.

During the nap time, I took a hot bath, then went to Trader Joe’s and OSH. Yep, I ran errands without a toddler standing up in the shopping-cart seat to scream in my ear. LUXURIOUS. God, I love this kid, but GOD, is she screamy right now. And determined to make our public outings as complicated and potentially toddler-fatal as possible. It can be trying. We really have more fun together here at home.

After her nap, Vibble ate some of her favorite foods: yogurt-covered pretzels, avocado, hard-boiled egg, apple, and DESSERT.

After dinner, and I am not making this up, this happened:

Four people—two long-time friends, and two very new friends—showed up for a little casual hanging out. They had just come from Bed, Bath & Beyond, where they had all purchased toe separators. Three of the friends were raving about their new products. The fourth one did not de-shoe, as he claimed to have some webbed toes he didn’t want to show off, and so planned to try out his new As-Seen-On-TV luxury at a later time, alone.

After the friends left, Stevel spent two hours trying to get Vibble to sleep. We had this thing worked out, before that full moon. Now we have to get anal again about the evening schedule, I think. Food in belly at 7. Butt in bath at 8. Stories and songs at 9. Power down by 10. We get lax, and we miss the good drift-off window. Before the window, she is too awake to sleep. AFTER the window, she is overtired and can’t control herself.

Anyway, now she is asleep. Stevel is submitting iPhone app stuff. I’m thinking about a second round of dessert for myself. And that is the story here.


August 5th, 2009

Full moon here, and Vibble’s been with us long enough now for the pattern to be undeniable: She is a werewolf. Tonight it took me two-plus hours to get her to sleep. My mother is here, but Vibb would have no part of anyone but me touching her after her PJs were on. This happens sometimes, no big deal, but her behavior was erratic and intense. Sleepy, whiny, suddenly energetic, talkative, then lolling, then climby … clearly under the influence of forces that had taken possession of the poor child. And then there is the fur. I haven’t mentioned the fur on this blog yet, but there it is: She has fur on her back and on the backs of her shoulders. It’s soft and black, strange and cute, and when you combine it with the fact she is quite off—quite not-herself—every full moon, it can’t be denied. We need a Nuk made of a silver bullet for these occasions.

In a related sidenote, the ear thing … When she is sleepy, Violet reaches for Steve’s ear (or down my shirt for a nipple to tweak, but that’s more common and less relevant to this particular story). She is often forceful in moving his head to one side or the other to allow herself access to an ear. This is how we really know when she’s tired—you pick her up, and she shoves your face aside so she can rub your earlobe between her fingers. Right now Steve is in New Orleans, and this evening during part of my lengthy and varied efforts to get the kid down for the night, Linus climbed onto my stomach. Violet responded by forcefully moving his head so she could access his ear, which she began to fondle. Linus objected, shook himself free, but the child reined him in with another forceful yanking of the face. They went back and forth a few times before Vibble sort of won, and Linus submitted, albeit somewhat tensely, to her ear-tweaking. Some kids suck their thumbs. Ours rubs the cat’s ear. And has fur.

Jobs of Violet

August 1st, 2009


Vibble moves things all over the house. It is both infuriating and amusing. Since Monday I have been trying to find my metal ruler. I just found it, along with my blue pen, in the drawer in the bathroom where I keep extra TP. “Someone” took it and thought to herself, ‘This isn’t where this belongs!’ And so she put it “away.” I find things like this all the time. I feel like I now spend 30 percent of my day shuttling things back to the room/floor they belong on so I can find them again next time I need them.


Yesterday we went to Irvine to hang out in the Woodbridge Lagoon with Megan and Christopher (photos on my phone—will post them later). The Lagoon is awwwweeeesoooommme. Something between a swimming pool and a beach—perfect for a little one. But we wound up positioned between the Lagoon and the lake, and Vibble was determined to motor it into the LAKE. So unpacking our gear went like this:

1. Pick up a bag/item out of the wagon and hurriedly walk it to our chairs.
2. RACE to the steep bank of the lake and grab the kid before she dives in.
3. Pick up next bag/item out of the wagon and hurriedly walk it to our spot.
4. BOLT to the lakeside just in time to prevent a drowning.
Repeat again.
Repeat in reverse to pack back up to leave.

She was determined to get into the deep water of the Lagoon pool. I decided to let her go and slip under quickly, thinking this would deter her from heading that way. We did this no fewer than five times, me fishing out the sputtering, “WTF-is-happening” Vibble each time. And yet … she just kept doing it! I finally got her distracted by her sand toys. The constant need for me to thwart her suicidal maneuvers—standing up in the shopping cart, racing toward the deep lake, rushing to the deep part of the pool, climbing onto the table at the restaurant, eating crayons on the sly, more, more, more … despite my love for cake, I should be as svelte as a supermodel in no time.


Since her visit with her cousins, Vibble’s play has changed. My nieces are Imaginative. Note the capital “I.” Like, AMAZINGLY imaginative. Since we got home, Violet is playing by herself a bit more, and her play involves a lot more pretending. Steve and I spy on her when we can. ‘Look, she’s scooping things out of the little pot onto the little plate in the little kitchen! AWWW!’ So cute.

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