TWO YEARS OLD!

Our sweet little girl is now TWO years old. This past year has been so amazing and fun with her and we are loving this age. She is a very smart little girl (can count to ten and sing the alphabet), enjoys singing, is a great eater, generally listens and obeys well, and loves us so much. We, of course, love her so much, too!

TWO!!

TWO!!

We didn’t have a big party for her this year, but we still made her birthday special with presents, a trip to the mall, and a family dinner out at a restaurant.

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Playing at the Laguna Hills Mall

Waiting for Mama at the Laguna Hills Mall

Waiting for Mama at Gymboree the Laguna Hills Mall

Coloring at Dinner

Coloring at Dinner

Opening a Present

Opening a Present from Her Great Aunt Jane

Feeding Daddy at Dinner

Feeding Daddy at Dinner

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

All Smiles After Dinner

All Smiles After Dinner

Playing with her New Kitchen

Playing with Her New Kitchen from Her Nana

Vivian started her birthday celebrations last weekend with Grandma and Grandpa in Livermore and will continue them over the next week. She didn’t open all of her gifts on her actual birthday, so she has more to dig in to. Also, we’re planning on having cake and milk/juice to celebrate her at an upcoming neighborhood happy hour at the park. And, of course, she’ll be having a blast playing with her new toys for quite some time to come.

Happy Birthday, Vivian Ruth!

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Daddy/Daughter Trip to Livermore

Yup, you read the title of this post correctly. Vivian had TWO back-to-back daddy/daughter trips. First, she traveled to Oklahoma City for Easter, and then, last weekend, she flew up to Oakland to spend the weekend with Dan’s parents and brother. This last flight occurred just days before she turned two years old, at which point she no longer qualifies as a free lap infant. In the first two years of her life, she flew on 15 different trips and a total of 45 separate flights (takeoffs and landings), not counting the one helicopter flight in Hawaii. Amazing, especially considering that I was nearly 16 years old the first time I ever flew on an airplane! We certainly took full advantage of traveling with her while she was “free” and now that she’s no longer free, and there is a new baby soon to join our family, I’m sure that our travel frequency will decrease. It sure was fun while it lasted, though!

I dropped Vivian and Dan off at the Orange County airport. As they were flying up to Oakland, I was dealing with this:

Snoopy and The Cone of Shame

Snoopy and The Cone of Shame

Snoopy had gotten into a small altercation with a disabled pigeon in our backyard and got a cut on his snout. I took him to the vet to make sure it wasn’t infected (thank goodness we invested in Banfield’s Wellness Plan) and he came home with some medicated pads and The Cone of Shame. The vet said that he should leave The Cone of Shame on 24/7 for ten days. “He’d get used to it,” he said. I was very skeptical and reminded the vet that this is the dog who jumped out of a second story window. After returning from the vet, I dropped Snoopy off at home in the backyard and went to join friends at the park for a Friday neighborhood happy hour. When I returned home, two hours later, Snoopy’s collar and The Cone of Shame were both off of him and on the ground. I told the vet it wouldn’t work! He probably had that thing off of him in under five minutes. [I called the vet the next morning and politely requested that they refund me the money that I spent on The Cone of Shame, which they did.]

While I spent the rest of the weekend prepping baby items around the house and attending Book Club (to discuss a book that I did not finish and do not plan to finish), Dan and Vivian spent quality time with his parents and brother and also got to see a few nearby family friends.

They walked around downtown Livermore and saw the new Disney movie, Zootopia, which they all loved.

Outdoor Art in Downtown Livermore - Sunday with Jessie by Susan Geissler

Outdoor Art in Downtown Livermore – Sunday with Jessie by Susan Geissler

Waiting for the Movie to Start

Waiting for the Movie to Start

Zootopia!

Zootopia!

They also went bowling with Alex.

Putting Her First Pair of Bowling Shoes On (By Herself, Of Course)

Putting Her First Pair of Bowling Shoes On (By Herself, Of Course)

Daddy & Daughter in Matching Bowling Shoes!

Daddy & Daughter in Matching Bowling Shoes!

Bowling with Her...Sweatshirt

Bowling with Her…Sweatshirt

Vivian started her second birthday celebrations early and opened many presents from Grandma and Grandpa and enjoyed cupcakes at the bowling alley.

Opening Birthday Presents with Grandma

Opening Birthday Presents with Grandma

Cupcake Face with Uncle Alex

Cupcake Face with Uncle Alex

Cheese!

Cheese!

Before flying home to Mama, Vivian also enjoyed a few good jumps on Grandma and Grandpa’s bed.

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!

Although it was hard to be away from Dan and Vivian for two weekends in a row, I am so glad that they got to spend quality time with family. And now, we’re all settled in back at home and staying put until Baby Girl Chambers #2 arrives in a month or so!

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Daddy/Daughter Trip to OKC

We had a family trip to Oklahoma City planned for Easter weekend. I booked flights, the hotel, a rental car, airport parking, and Snoopy’s pet hotel stay in early January. And then, six days before we were scheduled to start our trip, my doctors told me that since I’d be 32 weeks pregnant and am at a higher risk for preterm labor, that I could not travel. Bust! But…my travel restrictions did not mean that Dan and Vivian could not travel, and since the purpose of the trip was to visit Dan’s sister, Robin, and her family, I encouraged them to still go (and leave me at home to rest and relax!).

And so, off they went, on their very first daddy/daughter trip.

Airport Dropoff

Airport Dropoff in Orange County

After a layover in Salt Lake City, they arrived in Oklahoma City on Holy Thursday ready to join Robin and her family for dinner at Panera Bread. Dan and Vivian got to meet Baby Isaiah (now 8 months old) for the first time and they also got to see Robin’s house for the first time, even though they moved into it over two years ago.

On the second day of their trip (Good Friday), they visited the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History where Vivian and her cousin, Autumn, were able to see dinosaur skeletons, “dig” for fossils,  and run among the exhibits.

Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs!

After the museum, they hung out at Robin’s house. The adults got to chat and catch up and the kids had a blast playing together. This is how they spent most of the remainder of the trip, in addition to one venture to the hotel’s swimming pool.

Cousins Playing with Handmade Gifts from Grandma

Cousins Playing with Handmade Gifts from Grandma

Swingset Fun!

Swingset Fun!

On Easter Sunday, they all attended a Methodist church service and then the girls went on a backyard Easter egg hunt.

Hunting for Eggs

Hunting for Eggs

Eating Chocolate - Best Part of Easter!

Eating Chocolate – Best Part of Easter!

Dan and Vivian flew back to Orange County by way of Atlanta (!!) on the evening of Easter. It was a long day of travel for them and neither one of them were feeling that great, but they made it home and this Mama was oh-so-happy. I was happy to have my family back together, but also happy that the two of them got to experience this special adventure together and got in some great family bonding time.

Siblings and Kiddos

Siblings and Kiddos

Since Dan and Vivian returned home so late on Easter, I didn’t get to spend much of the holiday celebrating with them (instead, I went to mass by myself and then to brunch at a friend’s house). I’m glad, though, that we were able to participate in our community’s Easter activities the previous weekend, including a quick photo session with the Easter Bunny.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

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Strawberry Pickin’

It’s strawberry season in SoCal (which is still odd to me, because strawberry season doesn’t happen until June in Ohio), so we took Vivian on a strawberry tour at Tanaka Farms. She really enjoyed playing on the tractor, riding in the wagon behind the tractor, picking and eating strawberries, and running between bales of straw. And we really enjoyed seeing her so happy (and bringing home fresh picked strawberries to eat for breakfast during the upcoming week).

Family Pic at Tanaka Farms

Family Pic at Tanaka Farms

Driving the Tractor (She LOVED this!)

Driving the Tractor (She LOVED this!)

Future Strawberry Picker

Future Strawberry Picker

Picking Strawberries

Picking Strawberries

Eating Strawberries

Eating Strawberries

Tanaka Farms offers summer watermelon tours and so we hope to take Vivian on one of those this July/August (she loves eating watermelon). It’s nice to have a wonderful fruit/vegetable farm so close by!

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Springtime in Ohio

Okay…it really wasn’t technically Spring when Vivian and I went to Ohio at the beginning of March. It was actually cold, dreary, and brown, and even snowed one morning (but sadly melted before Vivian could go outside and play in it). But, well, we went to Ohio, and it was March. Close enough.

We planned this trip because it coincided with my cousin’s daughter’s baptism. I was honored to be asked to be her godmother. So, since Vivian still qualifies as a lap infant (and I want her to have as much time with family as possible), she and I went to Ohio and Dan and Snoopy stayed in California. I’ve traveled/flown many times alone with Vivian – even to Ohio – and I feel like I have it down pretty well. This time, I didn’t bring a stroller, because I knew we wouldn’t really use it and she’d just want to walk or want me to carry her anyways. We certainly wouldn’t have used it during our stay in Ohio, but, honestly, I could have used it in the airports! In order to get around successfully, I had to strap our backpack on my back and Vivian on my front in our Ergo Performance Carrier. So, I had two babies on my front (ouch!). We survived, though, and no one is worse for the wear.

Off to Ohio!

Off to Ohio!

We had a couple of hours to kill during a layover in Chicago on our way to Detroit and, as usual, we spent it at the Chicago Children’s Museum at O’Hare. Vivian had a blast playing and running around!

Run, run, run!

Run, Run, Run!

When we finally made it to Detroit, and then to Ohio, we were ready for dinner, bath, and bed. Oh, and some more playtime.

Playing with Papa

Playing with Papa

On Saturday, we had a lovely, relaxing morning, before finally going over to my dad’s to hang out with him and have Vivian help him collect eggs from his chickens. She loves the chickens and collecting the eggs and it was adorable to see her running around with them.

Chicken Chores

Chicken Chores

When she wasn’t running after chickens, she was playing with Anna’s kitchen playset that our grandfather made for her when she was a child. Vivian loved that, too!

A 25-year-Old Treasure Trove

A 25-year-Old Treasure Trove

Later that night, after dinner, Mom, Vivian, and I went to an art gallery showing at Kirwen Art Gallery in a nearby town. My uncle and cousin have worked for years to restore the old church in which the gallery is housed. Vivian enjoyed the live band and snacks and even some of the art.

Life Imitating Art

Life Imitating Art

With My Cousin and His Girlfriend, Creators of the Art on the Wall

With My Cousin and His Girlfriend, Creators of the Art on the Wall

On Sunday, we picked up my Uncle Lee and then drove 2 hours down to Columbus to attend mass, my goddaughter’s baptism, and a reception honoring the beautiful baby in the church hall. It was wonderful to see so much family!

The Oberhausers at the Baptism

The Oberhausers at the Baptism

Vivian Loves Uncle Matthew and His Girlfriend, Rebecca

Vivian Loves Uncle Matthew and His Girlfriend, Rebecca

Vivian Loves Uncle Lee, Too, Even Though She Doesn't Show It

Vivian Loves Uncle Lee, Too, Even Though She Doesn’t Show It

Before driving back to Helena, we stopped to visit my friend, Julie, and her two girls. Vivian enjoyed playing with Julie’s oldest daughter, Breeley, and all of Breeley’s awesome toys.

Visiting Friends

Visiting Friends

On the last day of our trip, before flying back to California, we again rested and relaxed. Vivian helped collect chicken eggs at Papa’s and visited the horse and doggies down the street. We all visited with Grandma, too. The next time we’re in Ohio, we anticipate it being for Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration in September!

Laughs with Her Great Grandma

Laughs with Great Grandma

Saying Goodbye to Her Nana

Saying Goodbye to Nana

Final Playtime at the Toledo Airport Before Flying Home to California

Final Playtime at the Toledo Airport Before Flying Home to California

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Hiking in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Yes, another hike! Dan’s and my 4th for the year so far and our family’s 3rd! We’re on a roll!

We hadn’t planned to go on a hike last Sunday, but our friends, the Bullocks, who we’ve hiked with two other times this year, texted us and asked us if we wanted to join them. So, we met them (just kids this time, no dogs) at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and hiked a 3.7 mile loop on Laurel Canyon Trail, Laurel Spur, and Willow Canyon Road. Since it had rained just days prior to our hike, everything was green and beautiful. And even though we didn’t get to take in any ocean views from the trails we were on, the greenbelt views were gorgeous.

Green, green, green!

Green, green, green!

Vivian spent most of the hike on my back in our Ergo Performance Carrier and even took a short snooze. She does really well now being carried like this. And, believe it or not, I do well carrying her like this, even at 27 weeks pregnant. I think her weight balances out the new weight on my front.

Baby on Back, Baby in Front

Baby on Back, Baby in Front

She eventually got down off my back and ran/walked the remainder of the hike with her BFF, Bella. It warms my heart to see the love these girls have for each other.

BFFs and Hiking Buddies

BFFs and Hiking Buddies

All in all, it was a great hike with great friends on a great day. Can’t beat that for “church” on Sunday morning!

Family Hike

Family Hike

Group Picture

Group Picture

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Love at the Zoo

This year on Valentine’s Day, we  took Vivian to the famous San Diego Zoo. I’ve only been there once myself, in 2005, and Dan hadn’t been there since he was a kid. We’ve taken Vivian to the Santa Ana Zoo, Toledo Zoo (two times), and the Denver Zoo, but never to the San Diego Zoo, which, of course, is so well known – and so close to where we live. So, we purchased tickets online and drove down to San Diego to spend the day at the zoo with our friend, Katie, and her two boys.

Family Trip to the San Diego Zoo

Family Trip to the San Diego Zoo

Zoo Crew

Zoo Crew

Since Dan and I don’t have President’s Day off work, this weekend was just like any other. I had completely forgotten that many other people have a three or four day weekend. The zoo was packed! In fact, we had to wait 20-30 minutes in a loooong line snaking around the parking lot and entrance just to get into the zoo. Once in, though, our fun started right away at the flamingo exhibit. We walked through most of the zoo and Vivian loved seeing all of the animals. She knows their names and the noises that they make. All large cats are “kitty cats” to her. And all striped horse-like animals are zebras. We had the best time watching her have a good time. We stopped for lunch (at the Hua Mei Cafe) and ice cream (of course!) and let the kids play at many of the play structures. I loved the way that the zoo is built with all of the greenery, winding trails, and open exhibits for the animals.

Kitty Cats!

Kitty Cats!

Relaxing with Daddy

Relaxing with Daddy

At the end of the day, we rode the Skyfari Aerial Tram back to the zoo entrance/exit, walked through the Reptile House, and left the zoo just as it was closing. We were exhausted, but we had such a great day. Vivian had napped on our drive down to San Diego and she slept on our return trip, too. San Diego has so many fun things to do – for adults and kids – and we want to get back down there more often to explore more of it!

Tram Ride in the Sky

Tram Ride in the Sky

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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