Week Thirty-Six with Vianne

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Friday, December 21, 2012 9:36 PM

Because this Mama was busy this week doing stuff like...finishing our stockings...

...and making cookies...
...with my trusty assistant :-)...
...I confess, I was too preoccupied to remember to take a lot of photos.  Other than Christmas preparations, this week was about...hand-me-downs!  We got a big box of warm clothes & pretty dresses from Aunt Emily this week.  Here is Vianne both wearing some and checking out the rest.
Sporting another such outfit and showing off her standing skills
This hilarious series was taken just after I was reading about the unthinkably tragic massacre in Connecticut.  I was rather emotional and I stuck Vianne in her pack n' play so I could go into the kitchen for a moment.  When I came back out, she was doing these faces on the side of the pack n' play...and I was laughing so hard - through tears - and praised God for this precious little life of joy even as I grieved for the parents who had lost their little ones.

On Saturday, Granma & Grandpa joined us at Altadena Baptist Church for an artistic Advent service where I had been invited to sing two of my songs, "Wake, O Sleeper!" and "Toward The Light".  I left early to rehearse and then Patrick came with his parents and Vianne later, and they had gotten her dressed in a hand-me-down from cousin Margot.  It was such a sweet thing to have her show up looking so very pretty!  The service was very worshipful and we all had a great time - and Vianne made all the attendees smile!
In the previous week's post, I mentioned Vianne's penchant for preaching. I finally got one of her "sermons" on video!  I think this might be her take on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"...but I'm still working on my interpretation gift...;-)

Week Thirty-Five with Vianne

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Friday, December 14, 2012 5:21 PM

These first pictures are from Vianne's weekly (normally Mondays) Nature Walks with Grandpa, in which they explore the neighborhood and get to know things like trees and leaves and grass. This week's exploration led them to the high school track across the street...pretty cute!!

On Tuesday, Vianne sported this shirt which once belonged to her cousin Miriam.

She was delighted to receive a package in the mail from Grandma Gustafson!
Here she is, "reading" the card and checking out the loot: two Christmas outfits, warm footie pajamas, a Baby's First Christmas Precious Moments ornament that Grandma got on a recent trip, and a Care Bear that used to be mine!
Later that day came the biggest surprise of the week: Vianne began pulling herself up on the couch! (The Oden house will never be the same...)

Here she is, hanging out in her go-pod, which  we procured a couple of weeks ago, and largely attribute her increasing leg strength/ability to stand to. She kinda has a love/hate relationship with the go-pod, as some days she is content to amuse herself in it for 20-30 minutes, allowing me to work in the office or craft room, and other days she cries the minute I set her in it.  She did seem to like it better, I joked to Patrick the other day, once she discovered it serves her well as a podium (go-podium!).  She has for many weeks been exploring a potential preaching gift and quite often delivers a very passionate multi-point sermon, consisting mostly of the word "Ba", and most often to an audience of one (her Mama, that is).  Apparently, she feels that my particular soul is frequently in need of a fiery message...and she's probably right ;-).
Trying to get a handle on what's to come in the next four months...
So, this is probably somehow bad parenting, but Vianne is intensely curious whenever Patrick or I are using the laptop, and she is always wanting to "help" us type and is fascinated with whatever's on the screen (especially if it's a photo or video of her).  Sadly, my laptop broke several months ago...so I pulled it out and let her play with it.  She loves "typing" on the keyboard and was quite pleased to see a baby staring back at her in the (blank) screen.
Daddy's face also makes a nice toy!

The following is a video of what we like to call Crazy Head.  I have been trying for a couple weeks to get her on video doing this, but she always stops whenever she sees the camera!  She does Crazy Head all the time, especially when she's particularly happy (like when Daddy comes in the room)...and at last, I finally have it captured...It's kind of long, but she first does it at about :27, and then more towards the end...(sorry for no captions, Jenny - I have file issues...mostly I'm just asking her to do Crazy Head :-) )
Pulling herself up in her pack n' play
Friday was Patrick's last day of teaching for the semester at APU, so we tagged along and hung out in the sunshine while he taught (see below), so that when he was done, we could all go out to lunch to celebrate!
While we sat there, we were approached by an art student who just so happened to be needing a mom for her final project photo shoot that she was shooting that night at 9:00 pm.  It seemed serendipitous, so I agreed to come back & help. My first modeling gig:  I was the frumpy, out-of-shape Mama pushing the stroller and being lapped by the skinny, fit, track team girls on the APU track. :-D

On Saturday, Vianne & I went to our first Christmas party, at Hope House, so I dressed her up in the outfit she got from Grandma - so cute!  She is very wiggly these days and would not sit still for a photo...so these are action shots!

Also, on Saturday, Vianne turned eight months old!

Week Thirty-Four with Vianne

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Tuesday, December 11, 2012 2:47 PM

The week after Thanksgiving, we laid low at home. So, just a few snapshots...

 Hanging with Daddy out in his office
Just being cute!
Definitely teething!
I tried to use this Amazon box as part of the barrier we have set up around the edges of the living room to keep Vianne The Explorer corralled in.  She quickly discovered that it could be climbed on, so we moved it to the middle of the room as a plaything instead, and then watched in amazement as she began to push herself up on it (she had never done this before!)...

Queen of the box!

Trying out her sweet Guess denim outfit from Granma & Grandpa Oden
Silly face!

Thanksgiving 2012

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , 1:05 PM

This year Patrick & I earned a new couple merit badge: We cooked & hosted Thanksgiving dinner (for Patrick's parents and brother) for the first time in our lives - and it went amazingly well!  For weeks leading up to the event I was scouring cookbooks and websites for turkey roasting tips, as well as asking pretty much every single person I talked to for advice on how not to ruin the family's Thanksgiving dinner.

And it not only all turned out wonderfully (whew!), it was actually really fun to do - and especially to do together!  And a lot less stressful than I anticipated as well!  So we hope to do this - wherever we may be - in years to come!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes - made Tuesday!
Breakfast at 8:30...
...then, time to get the 19.5 lb bird in the oven to be ready by 2pm...

Not so sure about this...
...but I forged ahead and got it in the oven.  Then we got cleaned up to take some family photos.  This year, we are especially thankful, for obvious reasons (see: that cute girly in between us)!

Then, a few shots of Vianne (with the turkey puppet!).
She was a bit withholding with the smiles...
Then Uncle Jon came in!
I couldn't get her to look at me after that, but these were cute anyway!

Then Granma came in!

And Grandpa!  And our thankful party was assembled.
Hangin' with Uncle Jon
The turkey is done!  And couldn't have turned out better, I don't think!
Patrick was in charge of carving...

...while I took charge of the gravy.  I was a bit nervous because I know it can get lumpy...but it had no lumps and even tasted like gravy (a Thanksgiving miracle!).
The table!  One of the most fun parts of the meal for me was getting to use so many wedding gifts, in both the preparing & the serving!

Everything was delicious!
For dessert, Mom O. made four amazing selections, including these two gorgeous pies!

Then some gifts from Granma

The day after Thanksgiving, we drove up to Lake Arrowhead for an overnighter - Vianne's first time up on the mountain!

Fleece buddies!

Uncle Jon is teaching Vianne that if you pull the branch, you spill the hanging bird bath water all over whoever's underneath!