Vivian turned 3 on December 11. We spent the day at the National Aviary where she was able to feed the birds. She didn't even freak out when a bird landed on her head.
We finally closed on our house two days before Christmas. We were able to spend Christmas here with Chris's brother and sister and family friend. Vivian's most exciting gift was a Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguin) doll. She kept asking Santa for "hockey stuff" and since Santa wasn't able to bring it, Sidney Crosby came with Santa to deliver the doll on Christmas Eve. She was so excited! (I wish the real Sidney Crosby would come to our house. He's an amazing player.)
Speaking of the house, we bought a money pit! Not a little money pit -- a big one. The combination of poor construction and non-professionals doing all the updating in the house made for a very expensive house for us. So far, we're about 25K into the house. That includes the termite remediation (yes, I saw a termite swarm right on our front porch), rewiring the electrical, fixing two natural gas leaks, painting almost the entire interior of the house, fixing the roof leak (imagine pouring water coming out of the ceiling and down the wall), fixing the sink leak, fixing the toilet leak. I'm sure there is more..but you get the picture. Servicemaster was on speed dial and knew me by name every time I called! Unfortunately, we can't sue the inspector. We tried suing the previous homeowners but the attorney told us we would spend more in legal fees. So, we're pretty much stuck.
Vivian started a new school in January and is doing really well in the 4 year old classroom. The kids are anywhere from 6 months to 10 months older than she is, but she's keeping up with them and in many cases, is doing better academically and socially. She is friendly to all of the kids and they're so excited to see her each day. She's been learning Spanish this past month and has a really good vocabulary doing. She can say hola, adios, buenos dias, buenas tardes, buenas noches, por favor, gracias, de nada, como te llamas, me llamo vivian, all of the colors, and numbers 1-10. We're so proud of her and she loves practicing at home. She's also started to read basic words by sounding them out. English is such a difficult language to learn -- perhaps why I did so much better in Spanish and Japanese!
We bought a new Honda Pilot. After not being able to leave my garage during a snow storm, it was apparent that we needed a 4WD car (not a RWD one). So, we're back to being a 2-car family, which is amusing because we only drive on the weekends!
We've been able to explore a lot of the Pittsburgh area. The museums are amazing here -- Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, National Aviary, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, and the Heinz History Center. Vivian has also enjoyed attending a couple of baseball games. Chris and I have season tickets to see the Pirates (the only affordable sports ticket in town). I love baseball and I'm so glad that Vivian enjoys herself at the games. There are so many events and concerts here. So far, we've been able to see James Taylor but are looking forward to seeing many more concerts in the near future. We just bought season tickets for the Pittsburgh Children's Theatre. It's a great theatre company that puts on kid-friendly shows all around the area at the local high schools.
This year we've been able to take a vacation to Cleveland, where we saw Chris's cousin and his wife and 3 kids. They loved spending time with Vivian. I hadn't been to Cleveland before, but I really enjoyed going to Lake Erie, the children's museum and the Great Lakes Science Center. We're definitely planning on another trip soon because it's only 2 hours away.
I'm still working on my dissertation and made a quick (32 hours in the car for a 90 minute meeting) trip to FL last month to defend my prospectus. I successfully passed...so now I'm collecting data and am on-track to graduate next spring. I need 159 participants and that will take some time. In addition, I started a contract job 3 months ago. The work isn't too exciting, but I'm so grateful for the 2nd income!
My mom came to visit last month and Vivian enjoyed spending time with her. I took a few days off of work and pulled Vivian out of school so we could do some touristy things. Chris and I even got to have a date night -- a baseball game, of course!
The big news: Vivian recently got a 2-wheeler and a bigger bed! She is doing so well on her bike. She's already asking to take off the training wheels. Vivian asked for a bigger bed. She didn't want her crib anymore, so she got a bigger bed last Thursday night. She loves it and all of her "friends" have plenty of room now too. She's such a funny little girl. I can't believe she'll be 4 in four months.
Overall, we're keeping really busy and are hoping to take another vacation to Columbus or Niagara Falls sometime in the near future before winter comes -- you know, in about a month. HAHA! It's been a really hot summer here (90s) but not really humid. I can't believe that summer is almost over! :(
Here are some pics of Miss Vivian!
Seeing the Christmas presents for the first time
Vivian wrote her name
Dyeing easter eggs
Seeing Bruce Hornsby
Big girl bed