I was told that my photo selection from yesterday was perhaps not my best ever. However, in my defense, Tovina was really doing her best to not let me take any useful photos of her. Mari and Kris tried to capture her But this is the closest we came. And then we threw another person in the mix, but that didn't help either. Finally we settled on this which really is a lovely shot
On the way home from Gulf Shores, we stopped by Atlanta to see Aunt Mari's house which none of us Ohio-ians had seen before. We also saw Aunt Mari and her friends Kris and William since we were at the house anyway. We also brought with us a rescue Chihuahua (which is not spelled Chiwawa in case you were wondering) that Aunt Kerri was sending to his new home in Ohio. That's right, Pip was driven from Texas to Alabama and then to Ohio so that he could be safely delivered to his brand new loving family. Along the way Tovina became quite fond of him, but we think that was just because she was excited to have a pet around that was visibly smaller than she is. Mari enjoyed listening to Tovina describe cold little Pip's condition.
Tovina was not exactly in a picture cooperative mood but we did manage to get one of her and Kris
And one of Tovina saying goodbye to William (who is slightly taller than T in case you couldn't' tell.)
We just spent the last few days in Gulf Shores visiting Michael's father. It has been great! Unfortunately we are now packing up for the drive home... ah well.... But before we head out, here are some highlights from our trip
Tovina and Grandpop reading stories together. Grandpop was a very good listener
T with Aunt Sheila and Aunt Kerri-Anne
Today was our first sunny day so we took advantage of it by visiting Belingrath and its gorgious grounds.
Then we had dinner with some flying rolls and LOTS of food. Got in a last photo op with family too. Here is Aunt Maureen, Grandpop, Michael, and Uncle Erwin. Oh, Tovina is in the shot too.
After Tovina finished changing her bear the other night, she then threw it into her crib/pak'n'play and proceeded to read it bedtime stories. You can see her starting off with Good Night Gorilla in this first picture. She seemed to be concerned that the bear not suffer from lack of pre-nap reading so she then proceeded to read at least 2 more books. I have a bunch of them on video but they are a little shaky as I kept starting to laugh. Below is the video from Moo Baa Lalala, another classic. To help you out, captions have been added to the video. Lines from the book are marked with 'text' (my comments are enclosed thusly) In many cases Tovina will sign (with her own special 19 month old accent) while speaking and I have tried to point out when this is happening.
Tovina was pretty quiet for a bit this afternoon. Using my spidey-senses, I realized something was up and went a'searchin' for the wee one. It turned out she was in her room. She had taken her changing mat off the bed and put it on the floor. She had then taken out a single wet wipe (and I was very grateful that it was only 1), had placed a little beanie baby bear on her mat and was essentially changing its diaper - just without the diaper part. By the time you read this blog there should be a video on YouTube where Tovina tells me she is getting the bear 'clean.' I'm too tired to wait for the video to publish so you will need to go and search for it yourself.
A few hours ago when Michael and I laid Tovina down on the big bed (see: adult size) to change her into her pajamas before putting her down to sleep in her crib something new happened. (Before folks ask, we do not have a change table since we've always had adult beds in T's rooms and that seemed just as easy.) We took off her coat and hat and shoes and pants and shirt as she tried to decide whether or not to cooperate. (This is not the new stuff. Her nightly decision is pretty standard and tends to have a 50/50 sort of outcome.) Then she held onto to her feet as we changed her diaper. (Again, not so new though still special since sometimes she tries to stick them in the dirty diaper as it is being removed.) Then, once she was all wiped and cleaned and diapered and snapped up she tried to get away by scrambling her onesie* clad self off to the other side of the bed. (Still, pretty usual although I do find it shocking how hard it can be for a 140lb adult to stop a 30lb child from crawling away. Especially when you add in the fact that the adult's arms alone are the length of said child.) But THEN (and here comes the new stuff in case the capitalized letters didn't give it away) she lifted up the blankets, scooted her legs underneath, laid her head on the pillow and clearly settled in for the long haul!
Our little girl was ready for the big girl bed and clearly and calmly let us know since we silly parents hadn't figured it out on our own.
It was shocking how little she looked in the bed - she's still smaller then the pillow on which her head was resting. I wish I had a picture, but as she was getting ready to sleep I felt that startling her with a camera flash was probably not in the best of taste.
Just had a thought. Tovina's normal morning routine is to sort of run laps around the inside of her crib and kind of bounce off the walls as she goes around..... hmmm... tomorrow morning may be verrrryyyyy interesting.
*Now that I just learned that onesie is a trademarked term, I'm not sure she is actually wearing one(sie). She may just be in a creeper! jeepers!
In honor of the warmed weather and lack of snow/rain, we lit the fire pit tonight and toasted us some smores. Emma and Brendan helped keep the fire going by collected sticks from around the yard and porch to feed the flames. Tovina thought that looked pretty cool and found a stick (okay, really it was a very, very tiny twig, but its all a matter of perspective, right?) which she could also throw into the fire. Tovina was very impressed with herself due to that particular feat.
T had to go sleep before we actually starting cooking things in the fire which was probably for the best since she would have wanted to cook her own marshmallows. But I'm looking forward to enjoying the sheer happiness on her face when she tries her first smore.
Which reminds me, I need to tell you about her chocolate experience on Shabbat - talk about sheer happiness!... guess I'll just add that to the 'to do' list.
So these pics were actually taken on the 17th, but it has taken us a bit to get them on line. Here is Aunt Sheila helping T get in the mood T was all kinds of styl'n and chill'n in her festive gear Then, as she usually does, she starting running around the house. Happy little ShamrockJewBaby! Take a bow T, you look marvelous!
As a point of clarification, Tovina had just come out of the bath which is why she is still wearing her towel.
Mari went home yesterday but not before having some more quality time with the wee one. Tovina was also willing to give one last rendition of her new phrase, "Aunt Mari". You can see this breathtaking performance in the video below. In honor of Mari's views on such things, and because her name is very important to this post, the video is slightly longer than usual.
Tonight we listened to the Megillah being read at synagogue. This was particularly interesting to us because 1) I had to sing some of it (not nearly as straight forward as chanting regular Torah) 2) Tovina seemed to sort of get into shaking the grogger
Here is another video of her testing this noisy thing
and a little bit of levity to finish it up. Does this count as cannibalism?
In preparation for picking Mari up at the airport, Tovina and I had been looking at pictures of Mari. We have also been practicing saying Mari's name. Though it took some time, it all paid off when Mari approached Tovina at the airport and Tovina enthusiastically started waiving and blowing kisses. She even insisted that Aunt Mari, and not Mommy, carry her to the car. Then, in a moment of crowning glory, Tovina topped the whole thing off by saying hello to Aunt "Mwaree"!
*The fact that Tovina will waive enthusiastically to anyone who waives at her first should in no way dimish T's reaction to Mari.
In order to enjoy the blustery cold weather in St Louis, we decided to go for 30+ minute walk around the Loop on the way to lunch at what we heard was a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant. Unfortunately the restaurant was no longer there. Luckily there was a sign on the sidewalk that listed all the restaurants that were still open in the area. So, while Michael read the sign, Tovina and I, at Tovina's very speedy (re: not speedy) pace, walked on ahead. Unbeknown to me, T and I came upon a parking lot that used part of the sidewalk as a driveway. I only realized it when a car gave a bit of a beep to warn us they were planning on turning. Realizing that I not only did not have a hold of Tovina, but that she was even a couple of steps in front of me - almost in front of the car - I yelled, "STOP!"
Tovina giggled and ran... in front of the car. By no stretch of the imagination would I consider that stopping. The drive was luckily paying a lot of attention and had stopped her car.
I caught the little miscreant, thankfully waved at the car, and gave a huge relieved sigh. I also realized that, rather than being deliberately rebellious, Tovina had no idea what "stop" meant. She seemed to think it was some cool new game which likely involved "catch" one of her other favorite games these days that also uses a lot of yelling and giggling.
hmmm..... Since I was not willing to carry her for the next 20 minutes, to say nothing of the fact that she wasn't about to let me, how exactly does one teach a child to "stop" in less than 2 minutes? We could just use "no" which tends to make her stop whatever she is doing, but it can have some unfortunate side effects.
Instead we followed her lead and turned it into a slightly more focused game. See, Tovina recently learned about "run" and is a big fan. So together, heading down the sidewalk much to the amusement of passersby, we ran ran ran ran ran and Stopped! and giggled. And then we ran ran ran ran ran ran and Stopped! and giggled. We didn't test her new found skill at intersections, but we did keep practising over the weekend and have played the "run and stop" game a few times since getting home. We think that whole "stop" will have a much better chance of working now.
We had a great time in St. Louis, heard some incredible singing, and made a bunch of new friends. There are many stories to tell including the peep show we took Tovina to, the camera that I set free, dancing in windows, and the Maslenitsa party that T and I crashed. But those stories will have to wait cause I'm tired and I have a 7:45am meeting tomorrow.