Houston, We Have Lift-Off!

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Fourth of July sparkler fun!

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"All this playing is tiring!"

IMG_8525 A few weeks ago, Violetta experienced her first Independence Day and all the Americana that comes with it!  We were so lucky to spend the Fourth of July with family at Nonno's house and farm.  Yes, Vivi made her second trip on an airplane - and it's amazing how quickly you adapt to air travel once you have a baby.  We felt like seasoned pros after the 4 flights it takes to travel roundtrip to Ohio.  Everything was exactly where we needed it to be, and inside our diaper bag, we even had a mini, airplane sized diaper bag: a rolled-up changing pad with a small set of wipes and two diapers.  Yes, two - I cannot stress this point enough.  An airplane bathroom immediately feels immensely small when changing a baby who loves to squirm mid diaper swap.  I've found smashing your body into the sides and ceiling of the bathroom gives considerable stability.  The second diaper is just in case the first clean diaper receives some collateral damage mid-change.  You do not want to walk out of an airplane bathroom with a diaperless baby because your only clean one is no longer clean. We also learned a great trick when traveling with a baby on Southwest.  Another couple with a baby told us if you let your baby cry and pretend to soothe it while boarding, most people won't want to sit next to you and you've got a pretty chance at getting an open middle seat.  We gave it a try and sure enough, open seat!  On the connecting flight, we tried it again and Vivi actually stopped crying mid boarding.  I'm only kind of ashamed to admit that Mommy and I looked at each other and immediately said "quick pinch her so she'll start crying - lightly, of course)!" On July 4th, we woke up to a beautiful, sunny blue-bird sky in Nonno's house.  The sunny, warm weather meant mandatory John Deere tractor rides!  Hearing Vivi laugh while riding around was so much fun! IMG_6829 IMG_6831 IMG_6765 IMG_6895 We were able to celebrate with lots of family members too!  She had lots of fun being the center of attention enjoying everyone's company! IMG_6950 Vivi also got to show of her artistic chops by finger body painting a few masterpieces. IMG_7054 IMG_7069 IMG_7107 IMG_7124 IMG_7155 After spending a few days down at Nonno's house, Mommy flew out on a whirlwind Europe work trip and we drove up to Gigi's house.  Vivi, every chance Mommy had, she was telling you how much she missed you.  I think aside from birth, it is one of the most difficult things she's done.  Vivi was able to nap nearly the entire drive and was fully rested for immediate play time the moment we arrived.  Which is good because I can't imagine Gigi having to wait to squeeze little V because she was napping.  And one of the first things OMR did was dancing with Vivi! IMG_7306 IMG_7234 IMG_7454 IMG_7296
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Auntie B learned that although Vivi is a lil' Peanut, she's got some serious core and leg strength - and tried to jump out of Auntie B's arms.

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Vivi loved the slide! And she loved that her pictures were on display on the wall behind her!

IMG_7209 Of course, we had to do some more finger painting - and as you can see in the background, she had quite the audience! IMG_7478
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"Painting sure is lots of fun!"

A great-grandparent tradition for all the girls on Gigi's side of the family are tea parties!  Vivi got the first great-grandchild tea cup.  Vivi's baby shower was held in a tea party setting, and we spent Mother's Day having a tea party brunch at the same restaurant - so she was right at home. IMG_7361 IMG_7395-PSedit     The flight back, Daddy flew solo with Vivi, and we got to spend lots of extra, unplanned Daddy-Daughter time with the combined 5 hours of delays in Cleveland and Chicago.  We put the extra time to great use by dancing all around the airport!  And only a few weeks later, we were back at the airport and relieved to be on a direct flight .  We were flying to Chicago to see Mommy's college roommates and their quite large families. IMG_8627
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Vivi had so much fun playing with the other girls!

IMG_8643 Vivi made lots of friends and had so much fun despite coming down with pink eye on the flight over.  Not only did we get to see lots of old friends, we even made some new ones at the local, Park Ridge Urgent Care!
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"What?  I didn't know I had pink eye - I don't even know what pink eye is!"

IMG_8399As if all the air travel wasn't enough, we've also started a weekly local/road trip to experience Oregon all over again: from a 6+ hour round trip drive to visit a real-life ghost town in Shaniko to the rose gardens here in Portland.  Vivi really enjoyed crawling up and down the rows of colorful roses - but when it came to the white roses, she was a little suspicious of where all the beautiful color went.
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"There's color everywhere!"

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With rose colors of every kind, Vivi is suspicious about this strange colorless flower...

  As the title suggests, lil' Violetta is now able to stand on her own and has even taken her first step!
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"From up here, it's a whole new world!"

In a matter of 4 weeks, Vivi went from standing up for the first time (July 23) to standing stably (July 29) to taking her first step (Aug 11)!  In just 2 weeks since taking taking her first step, she's now able to string together 9 steps!  It's difficult to comprehend just how quickly she is growing and changing.  The first time she took a step, we screaming and laughing - maybe a little too enthusiastically - because her second step, which we did record, was made with a little trepidation... Along with the "one foot in front of the other" coordination, Vivi is also developing side-to-side coordination with her dancing skills.  We listen to a lot of music and a lot of variety in the house and in the car: from Mozart to The Beatles to Top 20 music.  If Vivi could talk, there is zero doubt in Mommy and Daddy's mind as to her favorite song: "Little Red Corvette" by Prince.  We have both (often) lost track of time watching the dancing videos.  Not only does she have the most adorable (and slightly unnerving) moves, she actually dances to the beat! And in a matter of a couple weeks, Vivi was taking multiple steps in a row at school! On top of all the developmental steps (get it - steps?  like walking?)  Violetta, I'm sorry - your father has a terrible sense of humor.  On top of the physical, developmental changes, Violetta has been talking a lot more.  In July, she repeated a series of "nyum nyum", "da da" and "mom mom" with us.  We would get excited, and she would get excited in response, which only made us laugh and cheer more - it was amazing.  Just last week she said thanks in a cute, high pitched "tanks!" And one of her favorite activities is picking out the clothes she's going to wear! We spent the past few weekends putting together Violetta's play room and now she has a dedicated (kid proofed) room to play.
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"This whole room is for playing?! That's so much fun!"

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I can't get over how flexible babies are. I can barely touch my toes!

And what better item to have in a play room than a ladder for perfecting your climbing technique! It's unbelievable how much she absorbs and understands despite having little context to the situations.  When we went to the checkout counter at Gymboree, Vivi grabbed a gift card on the counter and tried to swipe it on the card reader!  One weekend while unpacking groceries, we weren't paying enough attention to Vivi, so she crawled into the other room, got her stroller and walked back into the kitchen as if to say "Hey you two, look at what I'm doing!"  And it couldn't be a more fun and life-fulfilling ride for us as parents!
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"In the next post, I'll be a whole year old! I don't know who's more excited - me or Mommy and Daddy?"