Friday, December 18, 2009

December birthdays!

A lot has happened since my last post. We had a birthday party for Vivian and invited some of my friends from the program and our next-door neighbours. Vivian had a lot of fun playing with the other little ones and sharing her toys. There were 4 girls under 1, a 2-year-old, and a 5-year-old. It was a blast!

Chris made a delicious gluten-free cake for Vivian. Of course, mommy and daddy had to eat the whole thing! :) YUM! Love the raspberry frosting from fresh raspberries! Thank you Lee Tobin at Whole Foods for the recipe!

I finished my semester from hell. YEAH!!! I can't believe I actually successfully completed 5 classes. Good news: I'll never do it again!

To celebrate Vivian's 1st birthday on the 11th and Chris's 37th birthday on the 14th, we went to Orlando!!

We left Tallahassee on the 11th and drove to Orlando and got settled into our hotel near SeaWorld. On the 12th, we headed over to SeaWorld in the late afternoon to go see the Sesame Street show, but it was already full. So, we went to the Shamu Miracles show instead. Then we saw the iceskating show and finally the big fireworks show. Vivian really enjoyed the music during the shows.

On the 13th, we headed back to SeaWorld to see the Sesame Street show and the Pets Ahoy show. Vivian LOVED the animals. There were dogs, cats, a skunk, and a pig. It was really cute. Vivian also really enjoyed the Sesame Street show. There were some new characters that Chris and I didn't apparently we'll have to become familiar with those characters. It isn't the 70s anymore! ;)

Vivian LOVED Cookie Monster!

We headed to the Animal Kingdom on the 14th for Chris's birthday. He proudly wore his button that said "Happy Birthday." Vivian really enjoyed the animals. We saw a wonderful parade and went to the Lion King show (which I really loved-- again).

Vivian had pictures taken with Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger! She loved them!!

On the 15th, we headed over to Epcot for the day. We perused the various countries and really liked The Land tour of how Disney is growing different types of foods.

On the 16th...our biggest day...we headed over to the Magic Kingdom via monorail! We immediately hit up It's a Small World because there was NO WAIT. We walked right on. The best part about going during the off-season is that there is NO ONE there! We hit all the classics -- the Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, the Steamboat, the WDW Railroad. Chris even got to go on Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain by himself. We saw a couple of parades. Ms. Vivian once again loved the music and the dancing. We saw Cinderella's Castle light up, which was absolutely amazing, and then saw the big fireworks show at night.

Here are some pics of the Magic Kingdom! :)

Vivian rocking it out on It's a Small World ride.

Woody and Jesse from Toy Story. Vivian would NOT let go of Jesse's finger.

Having a good time at the parade.

Sad Daddy and a Tuckered Out Baby

Posing with Mama

The biggest challenge for me was eating gluten-free at the parks. SeaWorld hasn't figured it out yet, but Disney has. However, my gluten-free options usually consisted of a burger on a gluten-free bun with fries or chicken. At least there WAS an option available!

On the 17th, we rested most of the day. We went to PF Chang's (again), Whole Foods (again), and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, which is our standard stop, at Universal CityWalk. After dinner we walked to the resort that I stayed at 4 years ago when I came to Orlando for a conference. It's beautiful -- all decorated in a polynesian theme. Then we walked around the rest of CityWalk (it was EMPTY) and headed back to the hotel.

Poor Ms. Vivian woke up in the middle of the night with a tummy issue. Chris was up with her for several hours while I was dealing with the clean-up. Nothing is worse than having a sick kid when you are not at home. I called the on-call nurse from our ped's office and didn't get a call back until over 4 HOURS later, which is absolutely ridiculous. By then, the ickiness had subsided and we had a tuckered out kid. I went all over this part of town (seriously...3 different places) to get 2 types of Pedialyte and some applesauce and pureed bananas. Ms. Vivian seems to be doing much better now, but it was a long, long night!

Consequently, we're still in Orlando! We were supposed to head home today, but with a sick kid and really bad weather we weren't going to take a chance.

We had a wonderful vacation while we've been here, despite having a sick kiddo the last day. Hopefully the drive home is uneventful tomorrow!

To end this blog....I'll leave you with a beautiful picture of Cinderella's Castle!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We're spending the day watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and the dog show. Vivian loved seeing the Kermit the Frog balloon and Big Bird. During a few of the Broadway songs, she wiggled a bit, but that's about it. She doesn't really watch TV unless you specifically point out something to her.

Two days ago, Vivian stood for a second or two by herself and then yesterday, did it again several times in the morning (Chris sent me an instant message to announce it) and then did it at school in front of a couple of my friends!

A few things to note: I passed my qualifying exam (YEAH!) and Chris submitted a second game to Apple (the first game was rejected due to a technical issue outside of his control; so he fixed it and resubmitted it).

We finally made a decision not to go to North Carolina in December. The cost of staying in a hotel for 10 days just so we could go to the doctor/dentist appointments wasn't really worth it. It's really hard when you don't have a place to stay. We're hoping to try to make it to Raleigh in March so we can start looking at houses again. I hate the idea of having to move AGAIN -- especially because it's temporary.

So..........we've decided to go to Disney!!! :) We got an awesome deal on a 3-day pass (we're FL residents, it's off-season, and we have AAA) and Chris's birthday is free (it was $55 for a 3-day pass for him!). We'll be heading there right after finals week and spend 3-days at Disney, a day a SeaWorld, and a day at NASA! We're definitely looking forward to it!

I must leave you with a picture of our trip to Atlanta last month! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

For Halloween......

we went to Howl-o-Ween at the Leon County Animal Service Center. They have trick-or-treat stations throughout the building that houses the dogs and cats that are available for adoption. We also saw bunnies, goats, a hen (or rooster...sorry, not sure which one), and a goose. Poor Chris is severely allergic to cats, but Vivian enjoyed looking at the baby kittens. We also got to play with 8-week-old puppies. We came home early, but had ZERO trick-or-treaters. Maybe next year!

In case it's not obvious, mommy and daddy dressed up too! I'm a Penn State football fan and Chris is a monk!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Today is Vivian's first official Halloween! Last weekend, we went to a local pumpkin patch (okay, not like the patches in Oregon at all -- this was a church parking lot). Vivian decided she wanted to dress up and have her picture taken! :)

Chris is still waiting to hear back from Apple about the iPhone game. The process is really vague and some people completely fall off the radar after they have submitted a game for approval. Chris (and his two co-workers) spent the last 6 months working on this game (without income), so here's hoping we hear something soon!!

I'm still surviving the semester, although it's been a rough one with outside commitments taking a LOT of time too. We're still talking about moving back to Raleigh in April and even found a house! We'll see how the next few months play out though. Lots of things depend on whether or not we move in April versus September versus December!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clap, clap, clap your hands

Vivian started clapping yesterday (Oct 17) the "right" way. She's been clapping her two fists together for quite awhile now. But yesterday, she started clapping with two open hands and it actually made the clapping sound. YEAH!!! Another proud mommy moment!

Vivian now has another tooth coming in -- 4 teeth at a time. Her two upper front teeth (with a gap in between them), another upper tooth, and now a lower bottom tooth. Poor kid! We still haven't resorted to using Orajel or medicating her with Tylenol or Motrin. She is doing well, just drooling all over the place.

I spoke too soon about it being fall and still in the 80s and 90s. Can you say COLD FRONT? We're freezing -- it's in the 40s! Apparently we've been in Florida WAY too long! We had to buy socks, long-sleeve shirts and PJs, and a jacket for Vivian.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Fall -- just not in Florida

It's mid-October and we're still in the 80s and 90s during the day and 70s at night. We've been here 5 1/2 months and are definitely counting down the months until we can leave and return to our home in NC (although it's a temporary stop).

We went to a speech/language pathologist this morning so Vivian could be observed while playing and interacting with us and the pathologist. The signs for the autism spectrum won't start appearing for another 8 months, but they'd like to establish a baseline now because there is a concern based on a questionnaire we filled out a month ago. Vivian had a great time playing with the different toys and interacting with Laurie. We'll go back in January for a follow-up appointment.

The biggest news: She stood up by hanging onto something (this isn't new), but then SHE LET GO and stood there by herself for a couple of seconds. I looked at Chris and we both had this look of amazement. It's on videotape!!

We also noticed she has ANOTHER tooth coming in. This time it's on the bottom. So, this is tooth #6.

We had a peds appointment on Monday for her second flu shot. She took it well as always. We go back at her 12-month appointment for another check-up (and probably more shots).

Chris submitted the game to Apple on Monday. So, we wait to see what happens next. Apple takes a couple of weeks to approve the game. After that, the game will be available via iTunes and hopefully we'll have some $$ coming in.

I'm in the middle of midterms and almost didn't make it to one yesterday. Vivian activated the gag reflex again while we were less than 1/2 mile from the house and projectiled all over herself, carseat, and the car. So, we came back home, gave her a quick rinse in the tub, cleaned up the car, and took the other car to school. YUCK! I went to my midterm smelling like yak!

We're starting to think about preschools. The problem -- do we put her on a waitlist here or in Raleigh?! We may be leaving in April or we may wait until October to go back to NC.

I'll try to post some videos sometime so you can see Vivian crawling around and talking to her books.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Correction: THREE teeth

We realized a few days ago that there was another little white pearl sticking through. Poor baby -- no wonder she's miserable. THREE upper teeth coming in at the same time. One of these days the frozen washcloths will no longer suffice.

I'll try to post a picture soon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Swings and SeaWorld

September has been another busy month. Vivian turned 9 months old on the 11th. We visited the peds office for another weight check and a developmental check. She's now 20 lbs 9 oz (75th percentile) and 26" (10th percentile) and doing well.

We have discovered that Vivian likes swings. She really likes anything where she can feel the wind in her hair.

She's also mastered sitting back down and squatting from a standing position. She's getting pretty brave when she's standing up (and cruising). She likes to take both hands off of the object she's hanging on to to see if she can stand for a few seconds without holding on to something.

We've been recommended to go see a specialist about her language development. At the ped visit, we completed a survey about her language development and apparently the results caused some "concern." So, we'll see how the visit goes in a couple of weeks.

We took another quickie trip to Orlando this weekend to go shopping. Yes, 4 hrs each way to shop...sometimes you don't have a choice. I needed clothes, Chris needed shoes, we needed food from Whole Foods, and Vivian needed some things from Babies R Us.

We went to SeaWorld for a couple of hours. It was very hot (95 degrees) and humid all day, so it was a bit miserable. Vivian loved seeing the dolphins again and enjoyed spending time in the aquarium where she sat on the floor and looked at the fish and rays swim under her. We're hoping to make another trip down when it's not soooo hot.

I can't forget: We have 2 upper teeth coming in (finally!!!!!).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The hardest part about standing up....

is trying to figure out how to get back down! It's so funny how Vivian can figure out how to get up on everything now, but then gets stuck standing up. She'll whine a bit and then we'll help her get back down. We've been trying to teach her by bending a leg or offering a hand for support. Yesterday, I think she figured it out. One hand went out to the side, while the other hand was hanging onto to the object. One leg went out to the side and the other one bent at the knee and all of a sudden, she was down!

We're heading to the peds tomorrow for the 9-month visit. I don't think we'll have shots, but there is some kind of blood draw at the hospital. We're guessing she's right around 21 lbs. We'd like to ask about starting on more solid food, as opposed to all the pureed stuff she's been eating for the last couple of months. She's VERY interested in what we're eating and she's tried to grab at my plate several times. I'd like to try avocado and mashed up chickpeas. The trick is to have the food be smaller than the windpipe. The size of her windpipe though, is basically the same as the diameter of her finger. TINY! :) We might try some kind of pincher food. No Cheerios for this gluten-free kid though. We'll see what the ped suggests.

Everything else is going okay. I'm surviving my 5 classes, one research assistantship, and one other project. I definitely don't have a routine yet, which is making it pretty rough. Parking is a nightmare on campus, so Chris has been dropping me off everyday and then I hoof two miles to-and-from my classes. I guess my routine is being on-campus everyday from 8:30-9:00 am until 3:30 or 4:00 pm. Next semester (my last one of coursework) will be much easier!! Only 12 weeks to go until a break, which is much needed!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Look Mama! I can stand!

Yes, it's true. Vivian can now stand up when she grabs onto something (daddy's bag, her crib, her Fisher Price music table, and the coffee table)! It's amazing that a few weeks ago she learned how to sit up!

We also found out that she LOVES the piano! :) Perhaps she'll show some interest when she gets older and we can start her with piano lessons.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where did summer go?

Tomorrow, I'm back to school FT. I can't believe the summer is officially over! We never made it out of Tallahassee this month, but we're talking about taking a day trip to Panama City Beach again to purchase some additional clothes for Vivian. She's now in 12-month clothes, which are fitting much better than the 9-month clothes because she's tall and CHUBBY in the thighs!

Vivian is doing so well. She's very actively crawling all over the place now and is starting to pull herself up on various objects -- me, Chris, and Chris's huge duffle bag that is stuffed with his Tae Kwon Do gear (hasn't seen any use since Feb of 2008 -- ugh).

We went to the pediatrician last week. She now weighs 20 lbs at 8 months. She's very healthy and doing great. Pears, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash seem to be pretty yummy. Peas, however, take a lot of effort to get into her mouth. She really doesn't like them.

Today, we went for a walk around Lake Ella. Vivian liked seeing the baby ducks. We also went to the Tallahassee Museum this afternoon. It's basically like a mini zoo. There are a few types of animals - a bald eagle, a red fox, two otters, an alligator, etc. Vivian didn't seem too excited, but at least we got out of the house and we plan to go back again.

I hope this semester isn't too eventful! I'm taking 4 classes and have a research assistantship. I'm also taking the qualifying exam in October. We're considering attending the big AECT conference in Louisville, Kentucky in October, but that means we'll be in a hotel (somewhere between Kentucky and FL) for Vivian's 1st Halloween. BOOOO!!!

Only time will tell...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy 8 months (and a day) Vivian

Vivian turned 8 months old yesterday. She's getting to be such a big girl. She hit another major milestone...this time on her birthday! She was on the floor on her tummy playing with her music table. I was sitting on the couch and watching her move into these weird contortionist-type moves. All of a sudden, she was sitting up. She looked over at me and smiled. We kept clapping and smiling at her and telling her what a great job she did. She was so happy. She did it again today, so I guess she really did figure it out.

My semester ended last Friday and I have two weeks "off" from classes. I'll be keeping busy preparing for the Educational Psychology and Learning Systems orientation and several teaching workshops offered over the two weeks. So much for a vacation, although we're hoping to go to Jacksonville for a few days! :(

Chris had surgery last Friday and had to take a few days off from doing anything, but he's recovering nicely. I think he enjoyed staying in bed and watching bad movies (Armageddon, Pineapple Express, No Country for Old Men).

Vivian is still excited about her solid foods, although we had another yakking incident (not as bad as with the apples) with peas. ICK. I don't like them either!

Poor Lilli has fleas and we found a tick on her tonight. Gotta love the deep south. YUCK!

Oh....we celebrated Vivian's birthday by going to Walmart. For some reason she was VERY excited about sitting in the shopping cart and had a huge grin and kept, we took a pic! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where did July go?

July zoomed by, which was a bit crazy.

We retired the bouncy seat officially, although she hasn't used it in a couple of months.

For 4th of July we stayed at home and lit a few "Florida-style" fireworks.

We welcomed another IS baby into the world! Poppy finally received her name -- Addison! I can't believe there's another girl in the program! How crazy is that!

We were originally going to go see the Blue Angels in Pensacola, but then decided to go to Orlando to possibly see the shuttle launch on the 11th (Vivian's 7-month birthday!). It takes about 4 hrs to get to Orlando, which isn't bad although the drive is HORRRRIBLY boring.

On our first full day we went to SeaWorld. We spent almost all day there. Vivian LOVED the underwater viewing tank with the dolphins. It scared her the first time she saw them, but then she was mesmerized by them swimming by her.

We tried to go see the Shamu show. We were sitting in our seats VERY early, but then the thunder and lightning started and then the pouring rain. We were getting drenched, even though we were in the covered part of the stadium. The wind was blowing the rain in from the back of the stadium. They canceled the show due to the lightning that was right over SeaWorld. SeaWorld + lightning and that = BAD NEWS BEARS!

The next 45 minutes or so is something we'll never forget. As we were all huddled underneath the outside of the stadium, some kid starting yakking right next to me. YUCK. Chris stuck Vivian in the stroller (which was wet) and covered her up with a poncho and we made a run for it. By run, I mean dashing from building to building, trying to figure out where we were compared to the exit. You couldn't see anything, the rain was coming down so hard. We were wading through calf-deep water. Yes, it was a lovely experience.

We finally made it back to the car and safely to the hotel where we all showered and dried off. I had to buy new shoes, because my shoes were soaked through.

The next day, we headed to Universal's City Walk. We had a wonderful lunch at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, which had a gluten-free menu!!! YEAH for my burger and fries!! The chef even came out to meet with us!

Next we went to Downtown Disney, which was really disappointing. I had been there before when I was in Orlando several years ago for a conference, but there was less to do now that the Virgin Megastore was gone! :( And guess what, like a typical Florida late afternoon, another thunderstorm. We were a bit more prepared this time and closer to the car, so we made a run for it!

The next day we decided to go back to SeaWorld, because we bought an annual pass AND no one goes to SeaWorld without seeing Shamu. So....we finally saw Shamu! What an amazing show!

Vivian seemed to be happy!

Vivian really wanted to go see the dolphins again, so we first saw the dolphin show, which Vivian watched very intently...

....then back to the underwater viewing tank.

The next day we headed home, back to Tally. Oh well. At least we got to escape for a weekend!

Vivian had a 7-month weight-check on the 17th. She weighed in at 19 lbs! Our little girl is getting big!! We also had professional pictures taken that morning! Vivian was on her best behaviour and was very happy! The pictures are absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks to Whitney Fletcher for taking them!!

Vivian also had another milestone. We started additional solid foods. She wasn't sure what to think at first, but I think she really liked her pears and bananas. Sweet potatoes are okay, although really messy!

We also had our first projectile incident! We gave Vivian a mesh teether with a frozen apple chunk in it. We made the mistake of giving it to her right after her 7 oz bottle! Most of those 7 ozs ended up all over daddy, Vivian, and the floor. We survived though, after showers for everyone!

We also took Vivian to one of the local pools here. There is a little tot area with sprinklers and other water features. She seemed to really enjoy it!

Vivian's two bottom teeth are STILL coming in and seem to be bothering her more now. Frozen washcloths and walks before bedtime are helping a bit.

She is now crawling all over the place, which is really fun to watch, but also very scary. She seems to be the most interested in daddy's speaker stand and daddy's power cord for the laptop. Time to finish babyproofing!!

We also bought her a big girl carseat, which she'll be in for a long, long time! She is pretty happy in it so far.

Vivian and Chris come to visit me almost everyday at school and we go for a walk around the campus. It's a nice little break for me and it gets Chris out of the house. Vivian has a friend who is just a few days younger than she is and they like to stare at each other and talk. She has made friends with a lot of the people on the 3rd floor of Stone! Here's Vivian hanging out in front of my cubie.

This week is finals week for me and then 2 weeks off without classes. We're hoping to go away for a few days, but we have no plans yet. I can really only be gone for a week because of my other school obligations (orientation, prepping for a fall class), so we'll see what we can do!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Family Pic

This is the only the 3rd time that the family has been photographed together in almost 7 months. We thought we'd share it with you! :)

Almost forgot....

Goodness!!! I almost forgot!! Vivian experienced a pool for the very first time when we went to the Gulf last weekend. She LOVED it! We have a video and I'll try to post that soon.

The other big news: She's getting TEETH! Her two bottom front teeth are poking through. Chris noticed (felt) this when she was chewing on his thumb. She has a tendency to chew on everything that can get near her mouth. He felt little nubs coming through. She doesn't seem to be in pain, so hopefully it's going okay for her.

WHEW! Where has time gone?

I feel bad because it has been so long (almost 2 months) since I wrote in my mommy blog. Many of you are probably wondering what we've been up to in those past 2 months. Here's the summary:
We moved out of the apartment and into our house. YEAH!!!
We got our furniture (a day late and most of the furniture is damaged -- yes, I'm serious).
I started summer classes (4 of them).
We have traveled around the Panhandle a few times.

Vivian is sitting up!

Vivian had her 6-month checkup (and shots). She started solid foods on her 6-month birthday after the ped visit. She loves rice cereal.

For Mother's Day, we drove to St. Mark's (thinking it was the "beach"). It's a wildlife preserve and the only beach is a gator swamp. There is a lighthouse there, so we took some great pictures. We continued driving along the Gulf to St. George's Island (and another lighthouse). It was beautiful there and we definitely plan to go back.

The following weekend, we took a day-trip to Panama City Beach. It's about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs away, depending on which way you go. It's a great place to go -- white sandy beaches and an awesome outdoor mall. We bought some new clothes for Vivian and some new clothes and shoes for me.

For Father's Day, we drove to Havana (FL, not Cuba) and turned back around and headed back to Tallahassee. Havana wasn't what we expected it to be. Instead, we went to the Tallahassee Airport to check that out. Um...yeah. We ended up going to the mall.

The weekend after though, we took a long trip to the Gulf Coast. We even took Lilli with us! :) We stayed at the Sandestin Resort (which is really nice and we'll be back) and made short trips to Destin, Ft. Walton Beach, and Pensacola each day. We had a great time going to the Air Force Armament Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum. We didn't have a great time going to the Gulfarium though. What a joke!

We're home for the 4th of July weekend, because we're planning another trip next weekend. We're hoping to see another shuttle launch on the 11th. If the launch is scrubbed, we'll spend the day at the Kennedy Space Center and perhaps the surrounding areas again.

We're trying to enjoy our time while we're here. Tallahassee has a lot to offer, but because we're in FL...we're trying to make good use of things being relatively close. Our next stop in life will be somewhere further north and FL will be a long ways away.

I also started a Shutterfly page for Vivian's pictures at:

I try to keep that updated as much as possible. There is a password for the site, so let me know if you need it to view the pics.

Vivian LOVES to look at herself in the mirror!

She's getting so big and has beautiful blue (uh....okay) eyes.

I hope to keep the blog a bit more updated than I have in the past. Things are really, really busy right now and won't be letting up for another 5 weeks until the summer session is over.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bienvenidos a miami -- er Tallahassee

At least it's in the right state! :) It's been two weeks now since the movers arrived (2 hrs late) to pack our Raleigh house and we said goodbye to North Carolina. Obviously, it's been a busy 2 weeks which is why I haven't posted anything.

This move has been the roughest one I've ever done. Getting everything worked out was a total pain. Our movers were late, which meant we got a very late start out of Raleigh. By the time we left, I just wanted to go. We drove both cars down and said goodbye to our stuff (for the next 5 weeks) Chris took Lilli and I took Vivian and away we went. We stayed in Savannah that first night and then arrived in Tallahassee on Saturday to our new "home" -- the Homewood Suites. 1/2 an hr after unloading the cars into the room, we knew it wasn't the right place for us. There would be NO way we could function as a family of 2 adults, a baby, and a dog in a 500 sq ft hotel room for the next 5 weeks. Chris works at home now and I'm home most of the time, unless I'm on campus for class. It wasn't a good arrangement.

So, I called the apartment complex we thought about moving into originally and asked if they had ANYTHING available. Thankfully, they had a 3 bedroom. So, we rushed over (after business hrs) and signed all the paperwork and moved in the next day. Moved in with our 2 carloads of stuff and no furniture. We thought we could do it. But, after sleeping on the floor for 2 nights, we realized we had to rent something to sit on and sleep on!

We were able to get utilities hooked up and furniture rented, which made it seem much more homelike. We also shipped a few boxes down to the house with Vivian's stuff, my research, and other items we knew we would need.

I think we're still adjusting to apartment life. I haven't lived in an apt since grad school in Virginia (2003-2004) and Chris hasn't lived in one in about 9 years. Lilli has never lived in one and is freaking out from all of the sounds, and the fact that she no longer has 3/4 of an acre to run around. Vivian, well, Vivian doesn't care. She'll sleep anywhere. Thankfully, we bought a pack n' play and she's doing well in it.

We lived 3 days without a stroller (Vivian's stroller wouldn't fit in the car, so it's w/ the movers), before deciding we needed one. We bought a Maclaren. Best baby investment! It will last until she's 55 lbs!

Tallahassee is soooooo much smaller than the Triangle area. There's about 150,000 ppl here, but I'm not sure if that's just the full-time residents or if that includes the students too. From the outskirts of town to the other side of town, it's about 12 miles. We used to drive 20 miles (each way) to Whole Foods, the mall, restaurants, the ped's office, etc. Work was 37 miles (each way), so it feels a bit cramped here since everything is within a few-minute drive!

I've spent the last several days on campus in the library writing several papers. I'm trying to get back into the full-time student mode. It's been 5 years...and obviously a lot has changed since then! :)

We're hoping to get a decent routine down asap. Summer classes start on Monday and I have classes 4 days a week. In the meantime, we're also trying to find doctors, get insurance (which was a pain), and find our way around town. We visited two of the YMCA's and I think we'll be joining the Y here, although it's nothing like the Y in NC. Oh well, I need to get used to the fact that it's a smaller town and doesn't have a lot of the amenities that I'm used to (including a Whole Foods, any other grocery stores besides Publix and Walmart, decent shoe store, etc..etc...)

We visited one ped's office, which was definitely a no-go. Two months for a well-baby visit was ridiculous, considering how much developmental change is happening now. Thankfully, we've been accepted by another ped and I think that will work out fine.

Vivian learned how to roll over from her back to her tummy on the night before we left NC. She does it ALL the time now and absolutely loves looking at the world in a new perspective. We're still waiting for her to roll from the tummy to the back.

It's hard to believe she'll be 5 months old on Monday! She's such a sweet baby. I'm just concerned that it's so hot here (90 during the day and 60 at night), so she's living in a onesie or sundress all day and then a onesie with her sleepy sack at night.

I'm off to write another paper. I hope to be better at keeping my blog updated now that we're finally here and slowly settling in! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

She Did It!

I was helping Chris determining what was going where and in what car when I heard crying. I ran inside and saw Vivian rolling from her back to her side to her tummy! She's been trying the last couple of days and getting really frustrated with it, but she finally did it tonight! Another great memory in this house!!

Saying Goodbye

It's hard to believe, but the day has almost finally arrived. Today is the last full day that we'll be in NC. It's been a busy, busy last couple of weeks. On Saturday, we had a small get-together to say goodbye to our friends here and to let them know that we were leaving in less than a week.

This week has been a busy nightmare. Last Friday was (finally) Chris's last day at work, so he's been home this week to help pack and take care of Vivian. Today I had to go to the dentist (for my 3rd visit in the last 6 weeks) and then drove home to pick up Chris and Vivian to head to the chiropractor for our last adjustments. My sciatic nerve has been acting up again. BOOOO! After that, we headed to the attorney's office to sign the lien waiver and deed. We won't physically be here for closing on the 29th, so it was nice we could get things done early.

I thought I would reflect a bit on my time here. My stint in NC was only supposed to be for 3 months -- during the summer of 2004. I was a grad student at Virginia Tech in Industrial and Systems Engineering and had a summer internship at IBM. About 6 weeks into my internship, I decided to stay in NC and not return to my graduate program. Most of this was because of the lack of funding (as in I didn't have any) and the fact that I also didn't have health insurance and I became seriously ill while living in VA. I bought my first house in Apex and then was offered a perm position with IBM, where I stayed for 2 1/2 years until I was laid off in November of 2006.

I learned a lot at IBM, but I knew (once again), that industry wasn't for me. I considered transferring to North Carolina State, but I wasn't too happy with the rigor of the program. After IBM, I worked as a consultant for a year which was another interesting adventure -- one week I worked 80 hrs, the next week only 5 hrs. I also decided to buy a new house. I wanted a yard for Lilli and I was tired of dealing with HOA dues. So, I bought a house on 3/4 of an acre. I love this house and didn't really intend to leave it so soon (2 years and a month), but it's definitely time to move on.

Last year was a really amazing year. I remember having dinner on New Year's Eve in 2007 with my friend Tanya. I told her that I was completely happy being single. Little did I know that a wonderful man that I had met several months earlier was going to become a permanent fixture in my life. I remember talking to Chris in January about my plans for delaying my PhD program by a year. I needed to work and earn a lot more money (since consulting was so sporadic) and stay in my house to break even. I had also just started at Cisco. He kept encouraging me to pursue my goal.

I ended up delaying my PhD program by only a semester and started last fall, while pregnant (and now married) and working FT at Cisco. It was rough, to say the very least. Chris said we would take one semester at a time. I finally had to leave my position, which worked out for the best since it was eliminated while I was out on maternity leave. It also reduced a lot of stress, which wasn't good for the baby.

I continued my program FT during the spring semester, while managing a newborn as a stay-at-home-mom. Many probably thought I was nuts. Well, yes. Some days were better than others, but again, I have an extremely supportive partner.

I never thought this day would come...that I could actually complete my PhD, especially with a husband and a baby and a dog in tow. But, we're moving to make it happen and we couldn't be happier for the next chapter in our lives.

NC was just a pit-stop, where I learned so much about myself. It prepared me for the journey to come.

So...goodbye NC. Maybe we'll be back...maybe we won't. Never say never! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Helpful hints and tips from a mom of a 4-month-old

Of all the people I know that are expecting or recently delivered, Vivian (at 4 months) is the oldest baby. Between us, Chris and I know 10 mommies/daddies/babies. Good grief. I've NEVER known this many people to have kids. The economy goes to poo and everyone has a baby. Can you say baby boom?

Vivian's 4 month appointment at the peds went well yesterday. She's now 24" tall (50th percentile) and 13 lbs 2 oz (50th percentile). Dr. Adams said she looks great and is thriving. She did well with her shots too. Only got a bit fussy later in the day, so we gave her a very, very small drop of Children's Tylenol.

I thought I would put together a list of things we found we did/didn't need. We've been selling/consigning stuff like crazy recently because either we aren't using the items or Vivian didn't really like them. Of course, I must add my disclaimer: every child is different.

The Infant Bath Tub - In my opinion, it's a total death trap. We tried it twice. It did not go well, so we've been co-bathing (mommy gets into the tub with Vivian) ever since. I have far better control over the baby and she doesn't freeze since she's sitting in the water. She loves it. No more screaming and it's a great bonding time. If she pees, poos, spits-up, no worries. I just shower after! :)

The Changing Table - It's great for the first month. After that, it's much easier to put the baby on the floor. At some point, your baby will become a bit mobile. If you need to grab something, having the baby on the floor is a far better option than not being able to leave her on the changing table.

The Swing - Vivian used it for a few weeks. Considering we paid $130 for the thing and then sold it a couple of months later for $40, it wasn't worth it.

The Travel System - Unless you have a mini-van or Escalade or something, don't get one. The stroller takes up the entire trunk of our BMW, which makes it very hard to pack anything else. Honestly, we're considering getting a Maclaren which can be used up to 55 lbs and is good for your kid over 3 months. They're a bit spendy, but it lasts a long, long time.

Fancy Crib Sheets - Three Words: Late Night Blowout. Get two Ultimate Crib Sheets and you'll be set! They are waterproof and attach directly to the mattress.:)

Consignment Sales - I cannot speak highly enough of these sales. When your kid pukes, poops, pees, and whatever other fluid comes out of him or her, you'll be grateful you only paid a couple of bucks for the outfit.

Cloth diapers - Get a couple of packs. They absorb all sorts of things -- including spit-up and poo.

That's all I can think of for now. It's time to go check-in on a little one! :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Are we nuts?

I left a voicemail for my dear friend Flora today asking if I was insane. Things are happening at lightning speed now and we had another major change this week. On Wednesday night, we decided that it would be for the best if we left NC when the house closes (or a few days before) and move to a temporary apartment in Tallahassee, versus staying in NC in one. This opens up a huge realm of possibilities.

#1. Chris can start working on his own immediately, which he's excited about.
#2. I can FINALLY take face-to-face classes at school, rather than trying to piecemeal a schedule together each semester with whatever is being offered online.
#3. We can become more acclimated to the weather, town, etc.

BUT, this also means that we're leaving NC in 2 weeks. Literally, 2 weeks from today the movers are coming to pack all of our belongings (except for what we must keep with us -- most of it is baby-related) and put it into storage (still in NC) until mid-July when it will be moved down to our house.

Can you imagine leaving your home for the last several years -- with 2 weeks notice? We are in the process of canceling doctor and dentist appointments that are scheduled weeks or months out from now.

We did find an apartment (sight unseen, of course), but it came highly recommended -- so that's definitely a plus. We need to set-up utilities, order the furniture, etc.

Forwarding our mail is a totally different issue. I swear USPS hates me. They hosed up our wedding announcements, destroyed a few birth announcements, oh..and I'm STILL getting mail from the previous owner of my house -- two years later! I had to cancel the forward to the apt in NC, so hopefully that will really happen. I'm so skeptical of these things. I signed up for a PO Box in Tallahassee online this morning, thinking we would just have our mail forwarded there. Well, they don't tell you (before you click submit and your credit card has been charged) that you need to be physically present to get the PO Box number. So, I can't forward my mail unless I have an ADDRESS! 5 phone calls to the 1-800-ASK-USPS number and an in-person visit to the post office this morning. We went home with a form, which still doesn't help me. Why doesn't it help me -- because in order to get a refund for your PO need the PO Box number, which I can't get unless I'm physically present at the Tally post office. :)

No wonder the price of stamps keeps going up -- it's to offset the number of damn forms one has to fill out to do anything!

On to Ms Vivian -- she's doing great! In about 11 1/2 hrs, she'll officially be 4 months. It's so hard to believe. Our sitter took her to the Duke Gardens yesterday to have her picture taken. I think Vivian had a good time!

Today, I took Chris to work and ate lunch there...and had to change a nasty diaper in the women's changing table in sight. Lovely. Hope the nice granite countertop is still okay! :)

After that excitement, we went to the mall. I totally forgot about the Easter Bunny but I thought it might be cute to get a picture with Ms Vivian. So, I headed to Gymboree (what a freaking rip-off, BTW) and purchased a cute little dress for her, took her to the family restroom, changed her into the dress, and then stood in line for the bunny for the next 1/2 hr. People are SOOO rude and seriously, it's a picture at a MALL people. If you want to get professional pictures, then GET them. Vivian did great with the bunny, but she didn't really want to sit in his lap. So, she stood up while he held her. It was pretty cute! :)

To close, here's a great picture from the other night with all of Chris's girls! :) Vivian, me, and Lilli.