Violet is two and a half!

November 10, 2017 at 4:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Violet has grown by leaps and bounds this summer and fall. I can hardly believe she’s already halfway through her second year. Here’s what my little darling has been up to:

  • 20171109_180249476_iOSThose blond curly locks don’t appear to be going anywhere. She’s just as blond and curly as she was when she turned two…except now it’s gotten so long! You almost can’t tell because of the bounce, but when it’s wet I can comb it down to her middle back.
  • This girl loves to sing. In the car, while standing in line, when she’s supposed to be eating… she is constantly singing to herself. The Wheels on the Bus, There Were Five in the Bed, Old MacDonald and ABCs are her current favorites, though she’ll also request to hear Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. Let’s just say her tastes are eclectic. (Thanks to her brother!)
  • Violet can count easily to ten, and mostly to 20. But she’s almost completely lost her Greek. I guess as my enthusiasm for learning the language has waned, so has hers.
  • Violet’s empathy has continued to grow. At a birthday party when a piece of my cake pop fell on the floor, without skipping a beat she reached out and said, “Mommy, you can have mine.” She always offers hugs to any of us if we’re upset, and sometimes will step in the middle if Liam and I are arguing. If a she sees a child crying, she immediately wants to help.
  • That’s not to say she’s an angel. Tensions between her and her brother have increased as she gets more independent and opinionated. She’s quite spunky when she doesn’t get her way, but not quite as stubborn as her brother, which is a relief. She’ll usually calm down and see reason after a few minutes of screaming.
  • This girl loves a cuddle. “I want to have you,” is her standard phrase as she thrusts her arms up. And she loves attention, especially from the ladies in daddy’s office. Now she requests to “see the ladies” whenever we go to the embassy.
  • 20171108_063224677_iOSViolet knows how to pose for the camera…sort of. She’ll scrunch up her face and say “cheese”. But only for a few seconds before she demands to see the picture. Posing again is out of the question.
  • Potty training…sigh. After we got back from our summer vacation in the US, Violet had completely regressed. Now she refuses to sit on the potty on a regular basis. She’ll still sit right before bath, but that’s about it. And maybe it’s just as well — she had only mastered going when she was completely naked, and at best she would make it about 50% of the time. We plan to start her in preschool next fall, so I’m not going to sweat it until next spring. Maybe she’ll be more amenable when she’s closer to three.
  • Her tastes in food haven’t changed much. Her favorites are still avocado, yogurt, applesauce, and tahini. She also can’t get enough of salami, bacon, and peanut butter sandwiches. And, of course, cheese. Corn is still the only veggie she will put in her mouth, and she still prefers dried blueberries to real fruit.
  • This girl is ready for a toddler bed. And mommy is, too. I’m sick and tired of lifting her over the crib rail (though I may change my tune when she’s constantly getting out of bed…or falling out.) If all goes to plan, it will be purchased and assembled by sometime next week. I will most definitely post photos.

Speaking of photos, here are more of my little sweetie:


Weaned but not yet potty trained

August 11, 2017 at 9:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We arrived in Kansas City in late June with much less drama than last year (stuck in New York for a night, delays both coming and going), but the travel still upset Violet so we nursed when we arrived. One last time, and she was done. She didn’t say a word about it the entire trip. I went on my girls vacation to Grand Cayman, and she did great with grandma and grandpa.

Potty training, on the other hand, took a back seat. I was reluctant to leave her naked at my mom’s, so she wore a pull up. We tried putting her on the potty a handful of times, but without the consistency we had at home, she quickly reverted back to diapers. Honestly, I don’t mind. She was pretty young when we started, and I have a feeling she’ll train faster on our next go around. We’ve got one more summer vacation coming up before school starts, and then I plan to give it another go. She’s growing up so fast!

FullSizeRenderWish us luck!

Potty training in one month

June 6, 2017 at 10:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We’re about one month in to potty training Violet, and it’s going pretty well, all things considered. We had a rocky start — within the first week, I wondered if I’d underestimated her readiness. But after a couple of weeks, she seemed to get the gist. Timing is still an issue — she’ll sit and sit and I’ll read and read, and nothing will happen. Then five minutes later we’ll have a puddle on the floor. But last week, as I was holding her, she yelled, “I have to potty! Run, run!” Sure enough, we got to the potty chair just in time. But sometimes we run to the potty at her insistence and…nothing. In the mornings I’ll put her in the bathroom with me while I shower, and she’ll sit on her potty chair and play cars. This little routine seems to work well, since it’s about an hour after breakfast. She still wears a diaper to nap, and I’ve been putting her in a pull up when we leave the house. I try to put her on public toilets, but she only sits for a minute before she wants off. I’m sure we’ll master that one later.

Today, after Liam got home from school, I put her in the play room with the potty chair, pointed it out to her, and left her with just a shirt on. Fifteen minutes in, Liam hollers to me, “Mom! Violet peed!” I was sure I’d have to clean up a puddle, but my girl went right over to the potty and sat down when she needed to! Way to go, Violet!

I have found that she tends to forget when I put her in clothes. We have these special pairs of thicker underwear, and she almost always pees in them when she’s wearing them. So it’s best she go commando for the time being. That may not play to well at my mother’s house with her wall-to-wall carpeting…so we may be back in pull ups for awhile this summer. But I think we’ve really made some progress.

Potty training in three days

May 14, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Unlike my first born, Violet has been incredibly receptive at an early age to using the potty. She dutifully sits every night before her bath. She loves reading books about toilet training, and she asks to watch her favorite video, Potty Power, at least once a day. “I have Potty Power!” she proudly exclaims. So when I read about this supposed three-day potty training, I thought who better to try this out on?

Coincidentally, the best three days I could cobble together were right after Violet’s 2nd birthday…and over Mother’s Day. A fully (or relatively) potty trained child would be the best mother’s day gift ever!

Everyone tells me girls are easier to potty train than boys, and judging from the past three days, I have to agree. Half the battle for Liam was getting him to stay on the potty more than 30 seconds at a time. Violet, on the other hand, is happy to sit for 10-15 minutes as long as I’m reading her book after book. In fact, it’s hard to get her to come off the potty unless she happens to go in it. This girl wants results!

Having been through this whole potty training thing with Liam, I laid out essential supplies. Cleaning implements within easy reach…


Baby gates to keep her confined to the first floor…


A potty on one side of the room…


And on the other…


and a toddler-friendly set up in the downstairs bathroom…


I laid out salty snacks and two water bottles to encourage her to drink more…


and I covered the couches and dining room chairs with bathroom towels to help lessen the mess. We are on the hook for the wear and tear on this furniture we’re borrowing, after all. This WHITE furniture…


I also rolled up all of the rugs. The weather was perfect — very warm, almost like summer. Perfect for potty training!

On Day 1, after Liam left for school, I stripped her down naked and told her we were having special naked day! Yeah! She was thrilled. I let her choose which potty to sit on, and she happily obliged as I read her book after book. After a dozen books and no results, I had to coax her back to playing, setting a timer for 30 minutes to try again later. We did that several times until naptime, with only a puddle on the floor to show for it. But she never complained when our timer went off, and she loved getting all of this extra reading time. It is seriously her very favorite thing to do.

I put her back in a diaper for nap, and she peed in that. Then, in the afternoon, after she sat and sat and sat and sat and sat like Prudence in Once Upon a Potty, she finally did it! Her expression was priceless — like, “Whoa, look what I did!” We made a big production of emptying it into the big potty, flushing, wiping, and washing our hands.

As most families can attest, Real Life has a way of ruining best laid plans, and though I wanted to stick closely to the regimen, Liam had an unavoidable doctor’s appointment that afternoon. I put Violet in underwear, then thought better of it and went with a Pull-Up because I also wanted to take the kids out to dinner afterward. At the end of the appointment, Violet told me she had peed in her diaper, but we sat on the potty at the doctor’s office anyway, just to give it a try. She had no qualms about it, even without a baby seat. Such an agreeable little thing!

Day 2 was a bit messier than Day 1. I put her on the potty every 30 minutes all morning long with no results. I had to drive Liam over to a play date at 10:30, so I put her in underwear, laid a towel in the car seat, and drove them both over there. Like a ticking time bomb! On the way home she complained about being wet and started tugging on the towel. Oh boy, our first public accident. But when we got home, her clothes and the towel were bone dry.

More naked time and potty sitting for the next couple of hours, still nothing. I started looking around the floor for puddles and asking if she’d peed anywhere. She insisted she hadn’t. I checked the chairs and cushions she’d been sitting on. Everything was dry. And then, like a torrent, literally as she stood right next to the potty, here it all came. Good thing I kept those cleaning supplies handy! I sat her down as quick as I could, and she managed to get a little in the potty. She considered that a win, exclaiming, “I did it!”

Desperate for bread and yogurt, and knowing the stores are closed Sundays, I thought this would be the best time to risk a trip to the store. She was very pleased to finally get to wear her underwear out of the house. I loaded her into the stroller and we walked to the corner store. We made it there and back with no accidents. Yay! Time for a nap!

Or so I thought. I put her back in a diaper just in case, but after lounging in her crib for an hour reading books to herself, singing songs, and kicking the slats, I finally gave up on that. Back to naked time and potty sitting! We listened to music. We watched Potty Power. We read book after book after book. And then, as she stood nowhere near a potty but very near to my feet, the flood gates opened. She was so surprised, she started to cry a little. Thankfully I was also standing right by the cleaning supplies, so I was able to mop her up, pick her up, and clean everything up lickity split. Poor thing was so disappointed, she insisted on sitting on all the potties in the house just to see if she could go again.

Day 3, Mother’s Day, started out with success. She actually would say she needed to poopy, then run to a potty. Eventually she peed in the potty, and we did a little happy dance. We were finally starting to get somewhere. But, again, life got in the way. I had to drive Liam to a birthday party at 4. She sat and sat and sat with nothing to show, so I finally decided to risk it. Resolved to fully commit to this potty training thing, I put her in her favorite Peppa Pig undies and a pair of jeggings. I figured I’d dash in, get Liam all settled, then dash back home. When we arrived, Violet sat down in the middle of the floor to remove her shoes, then made a beeline for the play room. I figured 10 minutes couldn’t hurt. I kept a watchful eye from the balcony as I visited with other parents I knew. After awhile, I decided I’d pressed my luck long enough, said my goodbyes, and walked over to get her. Amid the unmistakable smell, she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I pooped!” Great.

Faced with the prospect of cleaning up a huge poopy mess in the bathroom of a family I had just met, I decided the disaster was contained enough to survive a trip back home. Violet didn’t seem to mind.

I texted a friend who had gone through potty training her girl months earlier — she said the first few days are full of accidents, and not to get discouraged. I have this vivid memory of Liam whizzing all over our recliner in the first few days we got serious about potty training him, so I was expecting things to get pretty messy at first. But she’s a smart girl, and even though she’s only just turned two, she seems to understand the concept and want to do it. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it soon, if not in three days, then maybe a week. Not perfectly, mind you, but we’ll get there.


Violet turns 2!

May 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh, my girl is getting so big! I can hardly believe she’s already two. This little miss is all personality, and she gives me a run for my money in the talking department. Here’s what else she has been up to this month:

  • She’s been giving me great big hugs and saying, “I love you.” Melt. My. Heart. The other day I overheard her playing with a boy and a girl action figure — she had them hug each other and say, “I love you.”
  • Her love of Michael Jackson is almost as fanatical as her brother’s. Now she requests to hear Beat It, and at the beginning of Bad, I swear she sang, “Your butt is mine…” The also hops around singing, “Annie are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?” when Smooth Criminal enters our rotation. Perhaps I should get her a little white glove.
  • She’s getting better and better at recognizing colors, getting them right more like 80% of the time. And she’s recognizing almost all of the letters of the alphabet. I can ask her to bring me a letter from our magnets, and she usually gets it right. She’s also counting consecutively more often than not, though she doesn’t actually count objects correctly, unless by accident.
  • This girl can say anything. And I mean anything. She repeats complex sentences, though she still talks like a typical two-year-old with two or three-word sentences when she’s saying something on her own. You remember Pearl from Funny or Die? We could totally do this with Violet!
  • In preparation for potty training (we start tomorrow!!), I brought home an extra potty and some new underwear. She went totally bananas, stripping down to try on every pair, then sitting on the new potty while I read her books. I actually had a hard time getting her to come off the potty — we had to go pick up Liam at school. But I think this is a good sign that she will learn quickly. She struggles a bit taking down her pants, but she’s a tenacious little thing, so I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it soon.
  • James is out of town for her birthday, so instead of a party, we decided to just open presents with her brother and eat cake at home. I found these awesome cupcakes at a bakery in Halandri (thanks, Katy, for the recommendation!), and, honestly, I’m certain she was just as happy with this as she would have been with a bunch of toddlers and babies sitting around (and probably fighting) at a party. She’s a little social butterfly, but she’ll seriously throw down if someone takes one of her things. And EVERYTHING is hers.
  • After Violet opened her presents, she took one look at the pile of clothes she got and insisted on trying them all on…at the same time. This is a good look for her, I think.


Here are more photos from today. Enjoy!

Violet is 23 months old!

April 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Or, rather, she was 2 weeks ago. We were in Venice, and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then. But better late than never. Here’s what she’s been up to:

  • When asked what color something is, she always replies, “Blue!” Doesn’t matter if it’s actually pink or orange or yellow. She doesn’t seem to mind being corrected. And some colors, like orange, she seems to have down. She claims that blue is her favorite.
  • Colors, numbers, letters — she’s mastering all of these fairly well now. Counting, especially, in both English and Greek.
  • This girl has Potty Power! We’ve been watching this silly potty training video for the past few months, and it’s all she can talk about. She asks to sit on the potty all the time, and today she didn’t want to wear a diaper. We plan to start potty training after we get back from our next trip, and she is READY.
  • Violet loves anything that is new. So different from her brother, who always preferred the familiar. Anything new we introduce her to becomes her new favorite thing…until she quickly tires of it and we have to come up with something else. But when it comes to books, she’ll read the same ones over and over. She’s really into Pete the Cat right now, and Llama Llama.
  • Michael Jackson, Liam’s latest obsession, has become Violet’s, as well. The minute Liam plays his favorite song, Violet lights up and shouts, “Michael Jackson! Beat It! Want to dance!” And then she’ll start boogying down in that adorable way toddlers do. She’ll even try to moonwalk. It. Is. Adorable.
  • We are still nursing twice a day, despite my best efforts. We had it down to one, but she refused to drop that morning session after about a week. Looks like we may be weaning and potty training at the same time. We’ll see how that goes.
  • She’s also discovered TV in a big way. She loves watching Care Bears, Peppa Pig, and Sesame Street. But she’s also happy to watch shows Liam prefers, like White Rabbit and Mythbusters.
  • Violet is getting quite opinionated about…everything. What she’s wearing, where we’re going, what she’s eating or drinking. Even where I’m sitting — often times she come up behind me, places her little hands on my back, and grunts, “Mommy, move over there!” Ok, deary.

Some more photos of Violet from our trip:

Violet is 22 months old!

March 11, 2017 at 6:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…” Violet loves this song. One of the many preferences she’s been expressing this month with her budding personality. Here’s what she’s been up to this month:

  • She doesn’t always get the order right, but she can say numbers 1-10 in English, and several numbers in Greek, as well. And she seems to understand the concept of counting, pointing at groups with her finger and saying the numbers one by one.
  • She’s also learning her colors. Or at least the words for colors. Many times she says the wrong color, but with utter confidence. Unsurprisingly, she gets purple right most of the time. She’s practically surrounded in purple everywhere she goes, if I have anything to say about it!
  • She’s also mastering some letters. She loves collecting all of the O’s and sticking them on the fridge. She can also name M and J. And she’s starting to know S, E and X. Should I be worried?
  • Violet is very precise with her fine motor skills, much different from her brother. Every morning she likes to help me peel my hard-boiled egg. She doesn’t get very far before giving up, but she’s always game to try. She also has a book with these little removable stickers, and she likes to get them stuck on the page and line them up “perfect.”
  • Violet is acting distinctly “two” — when she doesn’t get her way, she melts into a puddle on the floor, with much boo-hooing. But she’s still easily distractible. Those days are numbered.
  • We’re slowly but surely weaning. We’ve cut down to twice a day, once when she wakes up and once at bedtime. This week I managed to distract her enough to cut out our morning session, but she did a little reverting yesterday and today because she was especially needy. Two steps forward and one step back. But we’ll get there soon, I’m sure.
  • Violet is an empathetic little thing. Whenever Liam is crying about something (which is often), she’ll come over and say, “Are you OK?” He’ll usually ask for a hug, and she almost always obliges.
  • She’s started singing songs to me. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat, and Baby Beluga so far, mostly humming the tunes as she attempts to wrap her mouth around the correct words. It is sooooo cute.
  • Her favorite books this month are All Better, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,and a pop-up book Jill bought Liam years ago called Little Monsters.
  • The high chair has been relegated to the corner to gather dust. She is DONE with it. Now she climbs up in a dining room chair, takes three bites of food, climbs down to run around, and then repeats.
  • She’s also done with avocadoes, much to my chagrin. She still won’t eat fruits and veggies, save a kernel or two of corn. She’ll sometimes eat baby food pouches, and she’s hit or miss with applesauce now. She’s getting increasingly more difficult to feed, just like her brother was at this age. Can’t a mama just get a break?!

Here are more photos from our rainy day photo shoot:

Children like night and day

March 6, 2017 at 10:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Violet turns 22 months this week, and so we decided to move her up to the next level in her Gymboree class. I remember doing the same thing for Liam with his Itsy Bitsy Yoga class at Willow Street Yoga in Maryland at about the same age, and it was a disaster. He’d been so happy in the baby class, but when we switched to a new routine, he totally hated it. We only made it to a handful of classes before I decided to just give up. He would refuse to participate, crying at the door, and that was just the beginning of his many years of disdain for group activities.

Violet, on the other hand, took to it like a duck in water. She held back a bit with some of the new activities, but jumped in whole-heartedly with others. At one point they had the kids pretend to fish, and when the teacher dumped a bucket of little plastic fish under them, she exclaimed, “Oh!” and tried to climb down to get at them. Another activity, where they looked at little photos and told us what they saw, had her pointing and exclaiming in her ever-growing vocabulary. By the end of class she was hollering, “Jimbo!” and talking up a storm.

Amazing how different siblings can be, right?

Violet is 21 months old!

February 11, 2017 at 6:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’re in the home stretch… second birthday here we come! Violet is incredibly independent, but she still wants cuddles and kisses. Here’s what else vivacious Violet has been up to:

  • Violet has discovered coloring in a big way. She mostly loves coloring with markers on her own body, but she will also scribble on paper with crayons.


  • She has mastered climbing on the dining room chairs. In fact, her favorite game is musical chairs, in which she pushes the adult (or brother) out of their chair so she can climb up there, just to climb back down and move to the next chair. Mealtimes in the high chair have become less desirable, though she still sometimes prefers it. I bought her a silicone butterfly plate that can suction to the table, and now her very favorite spot is next to her brother, crouched in her own dining room chair. She’s constantly up and down, walking around with food. It’s anarchy! I may have to break out the booster chair and see if that contains her. Knowing her, I doubt it.


  • The entourage, consisting of three baby dolls, accompany her wherever she goes. Their newest member is an Ernie doll I used to drag around with me everywhere at this age. All four sit in the chair while I read to them. And they all find themselves in the crib with her for naps and bedtime.
  • Violet is on a constant, vigilant quest to acquire my iPhone. If I leave it on a table, she makes a beeline for it. She covets it when she gets her grubby hands on it, smearing the face as she delightedly touches the buttons. If I ask for it back, she screams, “No! Mine!” and runs away. I’ve recently taught her how to share with other kids by giving them another toy and asking for the toy they have. She tries that with me, handing me her toy smart phone while pleading for mine.
  • She’s getting better on her little push trike, tooling around the living room. We took it to the park once, but she couldn’t get very far because a small crowd of toddlers surrounded her, ooo-ing and ahh-ing and wanting a turn.
  • She’s still super into books, spending a good part of her day looking through books or being read to. Her favorite titles at the moment are Peanut Butter & Cupcake and Mix It Up.
  • Every night she still dutifully sits on the potty. She’s started informing me now when she has a poopy diaper. The other day, as I was changing and cleaning her up, she said, “Thank you very much!”


Liam’s 8th Birthday Party

January 22, 2017 at 8:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In years past I’ve planned activities, carefully scripted each moment, or rented out a venue for Liam’s birthday parties. Nothing fancy, but still requiring some effort. This year, I decided I’d let him handle it. He elected to have a slumber party, guests arrive at 6, we’d get Happy Meals from McDonalds, open presents, run around and play, eat cake, then watch a movie before they go to bed. Sounds like a good plan! And that’s pretty much how it all went down, except no one spent the night. Which was perhaps for the best. We’ve never had anyone spend the night before, and I get the feeling eight is still a little young for boys to handle sleepovers. I had my first slumber party at eight, but girls seem better equipped for that sort of thing at that age. Liam was a little bummed no one decided to spend the night, but I told him we could try again next year.

Opening presents started out civilized, then somehow all the kids ended up on top of the dining room table. We totally forgot to put candles in the cake and sing happy birthday before eating it. He didn’t even notice. Mostly they shot each other with Nerf guns (or rather, fake shot each other. No one was firing actual darts, I think at Liam’s request). Then they found the swords and shields we got at Disney, and they ran around the living room doing battle. I think everyone had fun. We put in The Goonies, which elicited varying degrees of attention, but by the time the pirate ship escaped, they all sat down to watch. All the boys behaved well, and no one woke Violet. They ate a ton of junk food and were probably bouncing off the walls when they got home. Maybe another good reason no one spent the night! Ha!

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