Odessa Turns 2!

This is only about a month and a half late. I recall people saying something about how second children have fewer photos and fanfare about their milestones... 

Since Odessa is a Gymboree addict--we decided to celebrate at her favorite place. Highly recommend these off-site birthday parties. It's no fuss no muss. Send out an evite, show up with cake and food, shoot video, bounce out. 

The party was a big hit--kids seemed to have a bunch of fun and Odessa enjoyed herself in her happy place. The Amelie bangs were a tad too short but I got a little carried away with the bang trim. But if anyone can pull off that haircut--it's this birthday girl. 


Maui 2014

Back from a pretty ridiculously fun trip to paradise. Except when you travel with kids, it's like a lot teensy bit less relaxing than when I was last in Maui and Emmy was still in my belly and Odessa was still a speck in the air.

But one of the secrets to a fun family vacation is to do a family vacation with other families that are like-minded and with kids simpatico with yours. This solves a few dilemmas. First, you have some built-in playpals so that you don't have to play 'pretend animals' for the one million and seventh time. Second, you have other people to chat with and share the kid chores with. Because there will be kid chores. Namely, feeding and napping and cleaning up. Third, you get to stay in a house and split the costs of some nice digs with a kitchen, which is also a necessity when traveling with children. Which is synonymous with cooking for children. I know--this makes you want to just go out and grab some kids to take on your next trip, doesn't it?

Traveling takes a very different pace with little ones--particularly when it comes to the preparation for the plane (BTW, we saw a 7-ish year old kid with this rainbow loom thing and he was making a bracelet for the captain--a must get for our next flight) because you have to have a million snacks and activities but you also have to make sure your luggage doesn't weigh 600 pounds. The pacing of the trip is totally different too. No snorkeling this time, or major hikes--more of a resort and beach and dare I say retail therapy type trip. As I said to The Good Doctor, the sales tax in Hawaii is only 4%! Add that to the markdowns on things we just don't have on 'da mainland and suddenly I'm toting home some sweet new clothing items for the family. It's a weakness of mine. I've never met an additional 40% sale items discount at the Gap that I could walk away from. Davis, Maui, when the Gap says it's an additional 40% off, I'm putty. Don't get me started on the factory outlet stores. It reminded me of the Orlando Premium Outlets all over again. Memories.

I digress. Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. 

The Good Doctor decided to do Movember, in February. He was inspired by Felipe, whose beard is now also a close personal friend. He got so obsessed he even sent me google images and articles about million dollar beards. I mean, don't get me wrong, if my husband could get a milli for his beard, I'm all ears. I'd grow one myself.

In any case, TGD couldn't stand having so much manliness on his face, so he decided to shave it, in stages, during our Maui trip. This, and the handlebar day, were the only times I was somewhat not ashamed to be walking alongside him with my children. I even allowed myself to make occasional eye contact with strangers. Most other days, I kept a low profile and a slight distance that he may or may not have noticed. Particularly as the progression of the beard went to goatie with mutton chops, mustache, and tiny mustache with tiny soul patch. Don't even imagine it. Clear your brain of the image! I'm sorry I even introduced it. 

To my surprise, the handlebars had a bit of a "Sons of Anarchy" feel. It was bearable for 24 hours. But as a friend correctly pointed out: the haircut did not match the facial hair. He was right. This was business on top, party on the bottom.

Speaking of bottoms. Some of the cutest sandy bottoms belong to people I know. Personally.

I was so happy I got this shot. Scorpion tail braid!

My only regret on this trip-- I should have bought a GoPro and waterproof case because I was always one stumble away from jacking up my camera, and for those who have seen me walk, it's pretty miraculous Stumbelina came back with these photos. Alooooohhhhhha.



Emmy (in a breathless run on sentence): "Daddy, I'm gonna pretend I'm a mommy and Odessa is my daughter and I'm her mommy and I'm coming home from work."

Daddy: "OK"

Emmy leaves room and bursts back in with a kid cell phone toy pressed up against her ear, talking loudly: "OK yeah, right. Sounds good. Bye."

Daddy: "What were you talking about?"

Emmy: "You know, stuff."


Well what? Apparently that's what mommies do when they come home from work. Talk all loud on their cell phone after bursting in the door. 



Memo to Emmy: 58 Months


You're starting to show a bit of sassafrass lately. An independent streak of sorts that's reflected in the way you flop to the ground unable to walk upstairs for bedtime because you're "so tired, Mommy." Or your "Harumph" frowny sighs as you slowly stomp your way to brush your teeth. You are realizing you can slow down the nightly routines and you're exercising your newly discovered rights. It's nothing compared to the tantrums and talkbacks and horror stories of complete rebellion and lawlessness by other children but we've grown so accustomed to the easy, good natured, obedient Emerson that this new mini fire cracker shrimp is not just a dish at Panda Express, it's an almost-5 year old in my house testing her tiny boundaries.

You get out of bed without fail 9.9 out of 10 nights about 5 minutes after we leave your room. You sit at the top of the stairs and hoot or make little warbling sounds until we realize, over the sound of chewing our late dinner, that you have once again breached the security barrier that is your bedroom door past 8pm. We take turns checking to see what your nightly excuse is. "Mommy, my fingertips are a little hot." "You didn't brush my tongue." "I need more water." Sometimes we sneak up on you and you have to quickly come up with an excuse because you're caught unawares and thought you'd be humming a little longer. "Um Daddy--my sheet is bunchy." One of my favorites, you were listening to us and called out, "What is the laughter all about?"

One time you actually had a legit claim, "But every time I close my eyes I see a bright light through my eyelids." Further investigation revealed there really was a flashing strobe light in your room--from your sister's Minnie Mouse dress up shoes that flash seizure-inducing lights at the slightest movement. Sorry, Emmy. Those are definitely not bedtime-approved paraphernalia. 

I volunteered at your school during the week you were named "Special Person." It was beyond fun watching you "do the calendar." I had long wondered what you meant by that and now I finally know. It was a whole process, changing the date, saying the month and the day and the year, posting the velcro weather cutouts indicating if the day was sunny or windy or rainy or cold. You're definitely a chatty kid and we were pretty stunned when you picked a girl and a BOY as your two friends to hold hands with and walk back from the bike yard. You have so many good schoolmates and sweet friends. I will cherish this experience of watching you because it's the definition of innocence. 

What an artist you're continuing to be. Lefty for sure.

Plus your handwriting is getting better with practice. Working on lowercase and uppercase so it's not quite so random.

You're reading tons of books to me -- a delight and a treat and the best gift. One of my favorite activities especially since I can do it lying down. We've also read through a bunch of my favorite Roald Dahl books. You're a great listener and question-asker. And wise observer when I lament how fast you're growing up: "I'm never gonna be too big for hugs and kisses." 

And now a big sister who teaches her little sister so much. Even when she's not always the best pupil. You're patient, and doing a great outreach campaign for Dessy. Even when she rips your origami in half, sending you into hysterical sobs, you tell Asian Grandma you'd like to share your chips with her. Classy, Emmy.

We still have epic dance parties. Your rendition of Lady Gaga is so cute, "Do what you want, what you want with your body." I don't know how you know to censor the lyrics but I rue the day when your innocence turns into snark.

You love to sneak up on people and sometimes you really do scare the bejesus out of us, like first thing in the morning when I'm quietly getting ready and putting on my eyeliner and suddenly you're just standing there like the baby in the Grudge movies. Minus the black hole mouth. You also love to put your ice cold feet under the shirt of an unsuspecting parent and right into the small of our backs. That is very undesirable though I understand the hilarity as one who has done that to Daddy a bunch of times. #karmaisatinyfrozenfootintheback

We did get Daddy pretty good with a kumquat trick wherein we told him it was super sweet when in fact, it was the most sour fruit on earth. We make a good team.

Love love love you Special Person,





Chuc Mung Nam Moi

Happy Year of the Horse! This is my year! If you're at all familiar with the Chinese calendar, you'll quickly be able to figure out which birthday I'm celebrating this year. Yep, 24!

Has it legit been a MONTH since I last posted? Bad Vicky. 

Let's get caught up.

Still investigating: Despite the best efforts of overly paranoid public information officers who oddly, and despite their job titles, seem to be less interested in the "public" and "information" parts of their titles and much more hyperactive about the "officer" aspect. As in, they really want you to "respect my authoritaaaaa" instead of facilitating the free and open records process that the public is entitled to. That will continue to be a challenge in 2014. Let this be an invitation to all PIO's--let's get a coffee. Let's you and me talk about your goals, my goals, and the public service that is journalism. At the very least, you'll get a free cappucino out of this and perhaps you can also vent and tell me your journalist pet peeves and I will try not to commit said offenses.

Still parenting: Kindergarten is RIGHT around the corner. It's unbelievable. TB tests scheduled, tours completed, vice grip on Emmy not ready to loosen. Seeing the row of backpacks outside the classroom, the little heads bowed over worksheets, the bigger kids on the playground--I am not cool with this, people. There's way too much growing up happening way too quickly. What is the point of having kids if you can't just freeze the cuteness in a time capsule and slow it way down and control everything forever? #Iknowthisiscrazytalk

Suddenly awards mongering: Certain work people who shall remain unnamed have whipped me into an awards entering frenzy. As I've begun to understand, investigative reporters really pride themselves on winning things. Exposing wrongdoing, uncovering corruption, changing lives and laws is what they do, and really, it's more than enough and quite admirable. Two years into full time investigative reporting, I am energized, challenged, and still on a steep learning curve, working on my patience and surveillance and research skills. 2013 brought some amazing opportunities to do meaningful work and work with meaningful people. I am nowhere near feeling like an expert but I am proud enough of the team work that went into our reporting to submit it for consideration in a few national and regional awards contest. By a few I mean 8 million. It felt like most of my weekends and evenings for the first part of January were dedicated to writing cover letters, answering questionnaires, compressing video files, uploading YouTube links, burning DVDs, and collating binders full of articles. Apparently during awards season, some stations and networks actually hire professionals to do this work. I now see why. It is consuming. And stressful! The Good Doctor has had to listen to me ask about the odds of winning every which way. I think he just throws percentages out there to silence me. Can't say I blame him. There's a scale for levels of Annoying Vicky and Awards Vicky is full blown off the charts.

Deep breath. Only a couple more contests to enter and then Zen. I will effort to forget about everything until hopefully someone texts me with good news. That's really the best way to get an awards notification. Not via Outlook or Gmail Calendar reminders, but when your phone dings and someone sends you five "WTF" messages and finally says, "We won!" 

As you can see by the 17 names on each my entries, investigative journalism really takes a team of people and it's rewarding to celebrate together. Plus, a little luck never hurts. As Garvin says, you need good stuff to win, but good stuff doesn't always win. 

Deep exhale. Getting into the groove of 2014. Hope yours is full of health and happiness--the two awards that really matter in the contest of life.