One Wonderful Halloween

10/31/12 Olivia's second Halloween

What a wonderful day we had.  A day I want to document, lest I forget.... {{{dream sequence graphics}}}

5:30pm 10/30: Arrive at daycare to pick up my runny-nose girl.  Hmmmm....look like someone is staying home tomorrow.  Secretly smiling on the inside. 

Solid night of sleep, but we wake up with a runny nose and a slight fever...staying home it is!

8:00am: Daddy goes to work.  Bye Bye!  Breakfast of oatmeal...she's not feeling it.  Even after I let her try to tackle it with her own spoon.  No?  You don't wanna?  Ok, fruit packs, cheesy puffs, whatever you want!

We go to put some clothes on and what do I see?...

It's (kind of) a Minnie Mouse costume!  Sorta....oh Baby Girl is just not feeling the photo shoot.  I can't blame her.  This isn't last year, after all.  Last year she could nothing to protest my day of costume changes and photo shoots.  It was fun.  And today is so déjà vu I can't help but feel nostalgic about the old days at home together, being a full-time mama.  But then I remember all the other things that went along with that (sleepness nights, marathon nursing sessions, unemployment) and I come back to Earth.  Life is really good ....

...unless you are a sick baby.  Then not SO good.

9:30am: An unseasonably early nap is coming on.  Off we go to the big blue rocking chair with milk, water, and books in tow.  By the second book, O is fast asleep.  On my chest.  Just like old times.  Oh I miss my baby* (*see last paragraph re: sleepless nights) ... she rarely sleeps all snuggled up with me now.  So if she does it while she is sick then I will take it.

11 ... 11:30?!  Still going on this nap!  I am amazed.

12:00 Well, I've done the dishes, started some laundry, tidied up around here, somehow nothing looks better.  Nothing looks CLEAN-clean.  I may have a problem.  Four hours at home and the walls are closing in on me.  I should be able handle ONE day at home with no where to go, nothing to do, but I can't stay still.

12:30pm: Jake comes home!  I take off for my 30-minute booty-blasting cross-fit workout class.  I freakin love this class so much.  It has changed my spirits at least as much as it has changed my bod.  I appear to have some MUSCLES under all this.  Who knew?  And I no longer believe that I will just have to look "a little bit pregnant" for the rest of my life.  No sir.  I mean, maybe a little, but that is why the good Lord made Spanx.

1:30: Back to get Jake and Olivia; drop Jake off at work; and we make a stop at the mall in our new....

...Ladybug costume!!!

Okay, readers, don't judge me.  I just couldn't help but let Olivia play at the mall for a few minutes with the other kids (kids in COSTUMES!).  She was shy at first, but then...

...she ventured off with a lady pirate to the Choo-choo train tunnel. 

Arrrgh!  Thar be ladybugs on me ship!  And ... the devil?

And a baby Hulk!  And his brother Ironman.  No matter how many times you tell this girl that she has to take the stairs to get to the slide, she will turn you down every time.  Slide rules, stairs drool.  Actually babies drool.  Over everything.  And Ironman appears to have a nasty cough.  Better get out of here.  (Not so "Iron" now, are we??)

2:15pm: After a HEFTY dose of Purell and baby wipes to the arms and face area, we take off to make our intended purchase (a sports bra that actually fits ... everyone at the cross-fit class will benefit from this $24.95).

3:30pm: Home!  And asleep!

....OMG it's so hard not to just break down in total baby cuteness overload.

Can you even handle it?!? 

5:30: Go get Jake from work; hurry back; costume change aaaaand... shoot!!!

What is hard to tell, dear readers, is that this is actually a homemade costume.  Hard to believe, RiGhT?!  Yours truly (me) (hmv) sewed that O to that dress and sewed those ears to that headband.  Watch out, Marth Stewart!  Jake also helped in various ways.  It was like craft hour at the VV house.

5:45pm: Trick-or-Treating!  We took Lil O down the street to a few houses to get some candy from strangers.  We knew most of the folks that we visited, so it was fun to show off our little girl.  Because let's face it, it does NOT GET CUTER.

6:30pm: After dinner, it was bathtime.  Our little piglet got allllll clean, and then was off to bed.  With visions of sugar plums dancing in her head. 

And just as I was laying her little head down to sleep in her dark, peaceful room, who should come knocking but 8 rowdy teenagers with no concept of time!!  I mean, hello!  It's 7:30, kiddos.  Time for bed.  Now take this candy and get out of here.  Time for mama to have a glass of wine and put her feet up.  As far as days go, this one basically rocked.

Happy Halloween 2012!

A little faith

Dear Olivia,


This summer you were baptized at the St. Ann's Catholic Church in Spokane, where your grandparents live.  You were one year old.

Your godparents are Melissa and Joe Matella, our very dear friends.  

And everyone was so excited to see you and celebrate the sprinkling of water on your little head.


You, on the other hand, were having NONE of it.


But we laughed through it, and once we got to the cake, you were happy as a clam.


A day may come, Olivia, when you wonder why we had you baptized.  You may ask why we don't go to church as often as some of your friends.  Or you may have other questions about God, Jesus, religion, the Saints, and the whole issue of faith in general.

Let me tell you why I have chosen this baptism for you.  At your baptism, we are welcoming you into a community of faith.  It may not be the community that you remain in for the rest of your life, but it is a community that loves and accepts you, no matter what.  The people of St. Ann's parish are not all related to you; they do not know you like we do, but they still welcome you in with open arms and hearts.  This church reflects the values that your father and I believe in: the importance of social justice, charity, and a faith that keys in on the Bible's core values - loving your neighbor, living a life that is balanced, striving to be good, giving of yourself to those who are less fortunate.

There may come a time when you start to wonder why there is so much evil in the world.  How could a loving God allow so much suffering here on Earth?  I do not know the answers to these questions.  But I have had times like this in my life as well.  And often I turned to my faith. Sometimes that meant going to church, sometimes praying, and sometimes it just meant taking some quiet time to reflect and regroup and consider the meaning of life. 

Religion has it's limitations.  That is certain.  By the time that you are old enough to read this post, you will know that you have been blessed with parents that encourage you to question authority and conformity.  We want you to blaze your own path, Olivia.  But I also want you know that you come from a place.  A place that welcomes you and loves you.  It is also a place of ritual and tradition.  Ritual and tradition can be comforting when they are meant as expressions of love.

We have an expression in the Catholic religion, it goes "We Are the Church." 

(At least, I grew up learning this expression.  Does the church still believe this and preach it?  I don't know.  Right now the Catholic church is going in a direction that I don't understand and I can't follow.   I have faith that it will find its way back though.  I hope it will.)

  "We are the church" means that the PEOPLE are the church.  The very term "church" means "the people," or the children of God.  And it follows from this core idea that God speaks through us. God is still speaking.  Through us, to us, around us.  You must be very careful to hear this voice.  It is not necessarily the voice of a priest, or the church hierarchy, or the rigid interpretation of a book that was written hundreds of years ago.  "A church" is a place we sometimes go to hear this voice.  It is also a place we go because we are a part of a community that is bigger than ourselves.  But you are the church, wherever you are.  When you do something kind for someone else who needs a friend, or when you thank your parents and grandparents and hug your aunts and uncles and cousins, you are sending love out into the world.  And I believe that is what God wants for us, from us?  The words are little confusing, but I hope you get the point.

I can already see that spirit of love inside of you, sweet Olivia.  Don't hesitate to share your light.  We are so delighted to have you here.




New job, new baby, new NAME

I have decided to take the plunge and change my name.  It's a time for new things.  New baby.  Then new job.  Now new name.  And it is....

First: Hannah
Middle: M*
Last: V*-Ve*

*Due to internet searchability, I'd rather not actually spell out my full name.

Ta da!  So don't worry fans, I am still HMV...well, HMVV technically.  So, let's run through the burning questions in your minds:

Why change your name now?!
It was a good time to change.  I didn't want to change my name when I got married.  No issue with Jake's name, I just umm...wasn't really raised that way?  It was never part of my plan?  If you know my mother, this will come as NO surprise to you.  Mom didn't change her name after getting married (either time, actually), and I just figured I wouldn't change either.  People knew me in law school by HMV, I like my name, and I'm a crazy feminist (kidding).  (Sorta.)  Interestingly though, my mom DID change her name when lil baby Hannah was born.  That's when M-V started and we all three changed over: dad, mom and lil H.  Now that Olivia is in my life, I realized that I want to have the same name as her, and I want a family name.

Did Jake change his name too?
No.  He is still JV.  No VV for him.  And yes, that's fine with me.  Jake is his own man.  I've always appreciated Jake's total acceptance of whatever last name choice I wanted to make.  And I accept the same with regard to his choice.  It's kind of unbelievable, but Jake genuinely has NO preference either which way on my name (MV, VV, or just V).  He's pretty rad like that.

So does this make you feel more like a family?
I don't know, not really.  We are a family no matter what our names are.  But I like not having three different-but-similar names.  Different names are different no matter what.  It is just a symbolic thing, really, in the end.  (Names.)

What about lineage?
Here's the thing about lineage: names can be written down.  And if names can be written down, then they can be traced.  And if they were never written down, then they can't be traced.  And that's kind of a bummer, but not a ruin-your-entire-weekend kind of bummer.  Does anyone realllllly care about lineage now besides Henry Louis Gates, Jr.?  (No.  Sorry HLG!)

Well hold on, you didn't rEEEally change your name.
First off, that's not a question.  But secondly, yes I sure did.  Ask the Social Security office, the DMV, the court, my bank, my employer, or any of my 137 student loan holders!  Changing your name, even if it is just an alteration on a name, is a royal pain in the ass.

But I did keep the hyphen-- I am a second generation hyphen now!  (That term is now trademarked.)  And I did keep all the major parts of my old name.  I lost my old middle name (Virginia), but it lives on in my heart. When people ask me about it, I still say Virginia because it is a family name that honors my grandmothers (they both have it too).

What will Olivia do when she gets married?
Well of course I don't know that.  But what would I like her to do?  Whatever she wants to do.  After some careful thought, I hope.

That is all I ever hope, for anyone, male or female, is that they really think about their decision.  Don't just change names for tradition or because you happen to be the girl in the relationship.  Really think about what your options are.  Think about whether you actually want to give up that name recognition you've built up in your professional life.  And think about what you'd like for your family.  There are endless options now days.  Some ideas I've heard of:

  • Husband stays the same, Wife makes Husband's last name her middle name
  • W stays the same professionally, but legally changes to H's name for personal and family stuff
  • H & W both change to another family name (in this case, H didn't have ties to his father, and W liked the new name better too)
  • H and W keep their names, and give the children a hyphen name (like Jones-Rock) or even cooler, a combo name (like Jonock, or RoJo)
  • H and W keep their names, first kid gets H's name, second kid gets W's name, and so on
  • W changes to H's name, but gives her children her old last name as a first or middle name (like Jonas Rock)

I have always been a proud hyphenated-name-having child.  I now think it makes more sense to include a married name in my hyphen name.  It is the right combination of a family name (we all have Jake's last name somewhere) and an individual name (my original last name, well, a part of it..that's the last "V").  And I hope that with M. as a middle initial, I will remain pretty recognizable to anyone who knew me only as M-V.  I hope Olivia will also be proud of the name we chose for her.  She has two parents that are both strong individuals.  And together we make a pretty sweet little family.

~ HmvV!