Monday, July 30, 2007

Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake...

Olivia has a new trick! She has mastered the art of clapping! Now every time we sing the song Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Bakers Man...she immediately claps those chubby little hands together in extreme excitement! It is amazing how quickly she has caught on to this. Now every time she catches people clapping on TV or anywhere else she mimics them immediately! We are proud of our little smarty-pants for learning to pat-a-cake like a pro! Here is a little video...

http://s152.photobucket.com/albums/s179/zatchman2/?action=view&current=36a76c77.flv

Well we have gotten back into our routine since returning from vacation last week. It was nice to be able to put Olivia to sleep in her bed once again. I think she agrees...as she has gone back to sleeping like a champ! Although it is fun to travel, it is exhausting...especially with an infant. We spent this past weekend just relaxing after all of the hustle and bustle of New York City.

We attended our play group this past week. We attend a playgroup every other week at the local hospital. It is a group of other breastfeeding Moms who get their babies together to socialize and talk about any issues of interest. This is also our opportunity to get Olivia weighed on a regular basis. Believe it or not Olivia has actually lost a little bit of weight since her last weigh in, two weeks ago. She has gone from 21 lbs. 4 oz. to 20 lbs. 13 oz. I was shocked...but not worried, as she has enough in reserve! I am assuming the weight lose is related to the fact that we have been traveling and there is not as much time to snack as normal. But again, no worries...as I am sure she will put the weight back on in a jiffy! As you can see from those arms she is one healthy baby...

Pat-a-Cake is not the only new trick Olivia has been showing off lately. In fact, she has added quite a few new tricks to her repertoire lately. She has mastered "bye-bye" as well. This involves waving towards herself. I believe she does this because this is the way it looks when we wave at her. She loves to wave bye-bye to everyone when we walk out of the room. She also throws her arms up high in the air when we say "SO BIG!". All I have to do is say each of these things and she does them...no need to show her. Here are a couple of videos of Livie showing off all of her new tricks...

http://s152.photobucket.com/albums/s179/zatchman2/?action=view&current=886a1af5.flv

http://s152.photobucket.com/albums/s179/zatchman2/?action=view&current=66673da9.flv

Olivia has also started playing peek-a-boo by herself. Originally she got a huge kick out of one of us hiding and popping out to say "peek-a-boo". Now she just throws a blanket over her head and rips it off waiting for us to say "peek-a-boo". This could go on for hours and be just as funny as it was when we started. Finally, there is a funny face that Olivia has made for a couple of months now. She originally started making this face when she had a little cold but she has been doing it ever since. I have no idea why she makes this face, but it cracks us up. She looks angry when she makes it...like she has it out for you! We call it her smoosh face...can you see why?

She is growing up so fast! I wish she would slow down. She is going to be turning one year old in just over three months! I think I might cry! But right now she brings so mush joy to our lives that words cannot describe. She truly is a special baby. There is not a time when we are out and about that she does not make someone else smile. Of course, she is a huge show-off so that is to be expected. But this shows that she not only brings us joy but she brings joy to just about everyone else she encounters. Her personality is contagious and it instantly makes you happy!

It seems like every day Olivia has a new trick. Who knows what next week has in store! I do know that this child is going to be crawling very soon, and once that happens it is a whole new ball game!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Heart NY

Whew!!! What a trip it was...but boy are we exhausted! I don't think anyone is more exhausted than Olivia though. In the past month the child has been coast to coast...from California to visit Aunt Sue Sue, to The Big Apple for our family reunion trip. Not to shabby for only 8 months old! My Mom won this trip through a contest sponsored by Crest Whitestrips. She wrote an essay describing why we should win an all expense paid trip to NYC for our family. Well she won and those of us who were able to go on the trip had a great time in the big city!

We arrived in New York last Thursday. The first few nights we stayed at the Crown Plaza, in the middle of Times Square. As soon as we arrived we dropped off our bags and took to the busy streets. I have been to New York many times as a child, but this was Todd's first time as well as Olivia's...obviously. The sights, sounds and energy of the city are indescribable as you walk down the crowded streets. It is an amazing city...unlike any other in the U.S. We went to lunch at a New York deli and did some shopping. Later in the day Todd and I left the baby with my Mom and walked around to check out some of the sights. We stopped by David Letterman's studios and on the way back to the hotel we couldn't resist stopping for a slice...

Yum...New York Style Pizza!

By Thursday night the rest of our family had arrived. We went out for a nice dinner and went to bed early, as we had a big day ahead of us on Friday. As part of the prize we were set up with an all-day private tour of New York City. Our own private tour guide picked us up early Friday morning and we headed on our way. We saw just about everything....from Central Park to Ground Zero to St. Patrick's Cathedral. We saw numerous famous buildings where many of the top celebrities live as well as some of the most upscale shopping in the country. We even saw the restaurant that was used in Seinfeld. It was an amazing tour that allowed us to see so much of the city in a short period of time. Here are a few highlights...

John Lennon Memorial in Central Park

Ground Zero - Construction Area for the Freedom Tower

Restaurant From the TV Show - Seinfeld

That evening we were treated to a Broadway musical...Wicked. Originally we were not sure how this was going to work with a baby. I was prepared to spend a great deal of the time in the lobby walking around with Olivia as I knew her attention span would not allow for her to sit through a 3 hour production. Well at the last minute my Mom agreed to stay at the hotel with Livie so the rest of us could go and enjoy the evening. It was so nice of her to sacrifice her evening so that Todd and I could enjoy this part of our trip. Wicked was amazing! The costumes, the set design and the singing... it was truly unforgettable!

On Saturday we started the day by walking around Rockefeller Plaza. Visiting the area where the famous Christmas tree is put up every year as well as the ice rink. We then took a tour of Radio City Music Hall. This amazing venue has so much history and is unbelievably gorgeous. We even got to meet an official Radio City Rockette! Olivia was fascinated with her!

That evening we went out for a big family dinner at an Italian restaurant in Little Italy. The restaurant was quite small and very noisy but it was very authentic and a lot of fun! We walked around Little Italy afterwards as it is such a fun area with lots of great shops and quaint restaurants.

Originally our trip was supposed to end at that point but we decided to extend it a few more days. A few of our family members headed home, the others were off to Boston and Maine, and Todd and I decided to stay one more night so that we could go to the Yankee game on Sunday. Todd is a huge Yankees fan and has waited 35 years to see a game at Yankee stadium. All he wanted was for the weather to be nice and to see a great game. Both of his wishes came true! It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 21-4!

With this being Olivia's first Yankee game, she had to go in style! We found her an adorable little outfit in Yankee blue & gray. Olivia did great during the game and kept busy by entertaining everyone that was sitting around us. But after a few hours she was tuckered out and napped on Mommy's lap until the end. It was such a fun day for all of us...but I think Todd enjoyed himself the most!

#1 Yankee Fan!


Enough Excitement For One Day


Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

During our last night in the big city we decided to squeeze in one more activity and go to the top of the Empire State Building. It was a longer wait than we anticipated and once we got to the top it was so crowded that it was hard to see, but it was worth it as the view was amazing!

The next morning we woke up to very heavy rain. It was a miserable day in New York and we were so grateful that our weather was so perfect up to that point. We headed to the Newark airport and after a short delay we were informed that our flight was cancelled. So we were stuck in New Jersey until the morning. Luckily they put us up in a nice hotel and provided dinner. We ended up having a nice relaxing evening before getting up at 4am to catch our plane home. It was rough getting up that early...especially for Livie. Before getting on our flight we were randomly pulled aside at security and searched. Olivia received her first official pat-down. I wish I had a picture to go along with that, but they shy upon picture taking in the security area!

Overall it was a wonderful, fun-filled trip. We are all exhausted and glad that we aren't traveling again for awhile. Taking vacations as a family are great, but traveling with a baby leaves you longing for another vacation when it is all over! I must say, Olivia handled the trip so well! She was perfect on the airplane and handled the chaos of the trip much better than I expected. With very few naps and sleeping in strange places at night she proved to us that she is one exceptional baby! Thank you to my Mom for winning this trip for all of us! It was a time to remember, and being able to share it with the rest of our family made it even more special.

The City at Night

The Family - Minus Me, Grandma and Uncle John

Monday, July 16, 2007

You Gotta Have Friends

For those of you who know Olivia you know that at the young age of 8 months she is already a social butterfly! She is a baby who is always on the go...from the moment she wakes up in the morning to time she crashes each and every night. She is also a very inquisitive baby. You can tell just by the way she explores and studies everything that she comes across. She studies her toys very carefully and knows what happens when they are tossed about in a certain way. Because it is just the three of us Olivia is usually stuck playing by herself or with mommy and daddy. All of Olivia's cousins are much older than she is and although they love her very much they really don't have much interest in her when it comes to playing. So when the opportunity arises to get together with other babies we jump on it!

Over the past couple of weeks Olivia has had many play dates...mostly with boys! Only eight months old and already attracting the boys...what a flirt! She can hardly contain herself when she gets around other children. She shakes with excitement and usually starts squealing. It is quite a sight. In most cases she immediately wants to reach for the other child and grab onto something...whether it be clothes, hair or whatever toy that child has. Because Olivia gets so excited the other children tend to just stare at her for a moment...probably trying to figure out why this baby is losing her mind! But once the initial excitement wears down she really enjoys having a playmate. Here are a few pictures of Olivia on her recent play dates...

Olivia and Sam


Olivia & Joey

Olivia with Connor & Logan

It has been fun watching Olivia start to socialize more with other children. She shows a genuine interest when they are around. Although if she is anything like her mother she will be quite bossy as a child and will try to dominate play time at all times! Hopefully she will encounter a few kids that are willing to give her a run for her money. Oh and I guess one day Todd and I may try to give Olivia a play mate of her very own, in the form of a little brother or sister :) Note that the emphasis is on the words "one day" as we have about all we can handle right now!

Well we are off for New York later this week. It is time for our all expenses paid family reunion trip to The Big Apple! Thanks to my Mom and her very persuasive letter to the Crest Whitestrips contest we are going to see the sights in the big city. It should be an amazing trip which will bring lots of great pictures. Check back soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On The Move

Every week on my blog I talk about the fun things we have been doing as a family. It has been a busy summer filled with many firsts for Baby O. But I realized that in the midst of all the excitement I have not filled you in on all of the new developments Olivia has accomplished recently.

She is a little over eight months old now and is weighing in at 21lbs 4 oz. She has slowed down gaining weight, and has only gained about one pound in the last month. She is still quite big for her age but I think she is starting to grow into her chub a little! I still can't get enough of those rolls! She still only has her two bottom teeth but I swear those two top teeth are going to make an appearance any day now. One of her favorite things to do right now is blow raspberries. We call her the motorboat because she does it non-stop and sounds just like one. She loves to spit all over you...especially if you are the first one to blow a raspberry at her. She will immediately mock you and give you one right back! Here is a picture of her acting like a motorboat and a video clip of her showing off her skills...


http://s152.photobucket.com/albums/s179/zatchman2/?action=view&current=Spitting-Video.flv

Another cool trick she has taken on recently is giving kisses. A few weeks ago we noticed that when we leaned in and asked for a kiss she would open her mouth very wide and lean forward... waiting for you to reciprocate. It is the cutest thing! But she does not give them up easily. You must catch her at the right time otherwise you will just get a smack in the face instead! But even though you just get a face full of slobber, it is worth it when you are lucky enough to get a sweet kiss!

She has also started waving bye-bye! Everytime we leave someplace we always say bye-bye. She has decided that waving her hands in the air is a lot of fun and typically keeps waving long after we have left. I think she also realizes that this gets quite a reaction out of people and she loves the attention! I think it is great that she is catching on to these skills so quickly.

Here is a video clip of Olivia waving bye-bye. It is quite dark but you can see her arms moving like crazy!

http://s152.photobucket.com/albums/s179/zatchman2/?action=view&current=bc7ce614.flv

Finally and most importantly Olivia has finally begun to crawl! Up until about three weeks ago she really did not show much interest in moving while on her tummy. In fact she has always preferred to sit up and play. But recently she has begun to move...but only backwards! It doesn't matter how many toys are in front of her, within a few minutes she will be at the other end of the room. She can manage to get to just about whatever she wants by moving backwards and in circles. And she can cruise a room in minutes! She mainly scoots but has been trying to push up onto all fours more and more. She has also been trying to pull herself up a little too so I think that skill is not far behind! I have a feeling that I will be chasing this child everywhere in the very near future!

She is still a very smiley, happy baby! She is very animated and typically the center of attention everywhere we go. She likes to put on a show and knows that when she does all eyes are on her. She is very entertaining but also very exhausting so bed time is a nice time! Luckily, she is and always has been a very good sleeper. We rarely have any trouble sleeping at night or taking our naps. I am so grateful for that!

It is hard to believe that in less than four months our baby will be turning one! I knew it would go by fast...just not this fast! Olivia amazes me each day with her bright personality and all of the new things she has been doing. It seems like everyday she is doing something new. You just never know what the next day may bring!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lady Liberty

How lucky we were this 4th of July...as we celebrated our country's independence with a day full of fun! We also celebrated Olivia turning 8 months old! We have no idea how we got here so quickly. It feels like just yesterday we were bringing her home for the first time. In the past 8 months Olivia has turned into such a delightful, happy baby and we just love spending time with her. We have our very own little firecracker who loves being out and about and keeping busy...so we started our day at the zoo. We are trying to get as much use out of our zoo pass as we can. Olivia is starting to notice the animals more and more so it is lots of fun to take her and watch the reaction on her face when she sees something she likes.

Later in the day we attended the annual Watson 4th of July cookout. We had great weather all day which was perfect considering there were many kids in attendance that all wanted to play outdoors. Our close friend Kim was back in town for the holiday with her twins, so Olivia had some playmates her age to pal around with. Logan and Conner are about 16 months old and Olivia was fascinated with them. She practically bursts with excitement when other children come around. I think she was extremely jealous of the fact that they are walking. She thought that looked pretty cool and was probably wondering why she wasn't able to get up and move around with them. We did manage to get them to all sit still for a few moments to snap a quick picture. Here is Olivia with her little two boyfriends...

There are lots of grandchildren in the Watson family...nine to be exact. And since they are such close friends of ours Olivia is considered an honorary grandchild. This year she was included in the annual "cousin picture". Check out all of the kids in their patriotic duds...

As usual the food was delicious! After dinner it was time for some fireworks. The kids all had little poppers and snappers that they wanted to play with. These are my kind of fireworks. You know...the kind that really do not make much noise. I am quite sensitive to loud sounds and have never been much of a fan when it comes to fireworks. As a kid I would sit in the car with the windows rolled up and my fingers in my ears just waiting for them to finish. As an adult I have gotten a little better. I enjoy watching the fireworks but still have to plug my ears for the big ones. I know...sounds silly, but I just cannot help it. Well I thought Olivia would enjoy watching the streamers fly out of the poppers...but I was wrong. Once the kids started in with them it only took a few seconds and she burst into tears. Gripping onto me for dear life, my smiley, happy baby quickly became hysterical.

Being the mean Mom that I am, I started laughing as I was surprised that she would be scared by something as small as a popper. But I saw that she was not at all interested in fireworks at all so I took her inside to calm down. It was close to bedtime anyway so we decided to spare her the trauma of hearing more loud booms and head home. Her reaction may have just been a combination of being tired and hungry...or not. I cannot get frustrated with her as I can relate to how she feels...since I reacted the same way as a child. I hope that she does not have the same sensitivity to noise that I do. I would hate for her to miss out on some nice fireworks displays by sitting in the car with her ears plugged.

So other than the melt-down at the end of the evening I think Olivia enjoyed her first 4th of July. Maybe next year she will handle the festivities a little better. I mean what is a 4th of July without a few fireworks...even if your fingers are in your ears?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pool Party!

Today Olivia took her first swim! And oh what fun it was! We have been waiting to get her in the water for some time now. I think we picked out her bathing suit in the winter...anticipating the fun we would be having at Aunt Chris and Uncle VJ's pool this summer.

As I have mentioned before, Todd's Dad is visiting from Hawaii. He has been here for about three weeks and will be leaving soon. As a celebration of his visit, Todd's brother, VJ, decided to throw a cookout and swim party today! Almost all of Todd's family attended, except for his Mom and one nephew who are back in Hawaii. My Mom came along as well...(did you think she would miss seeing Olivia in her bikini for the first time?)

Olivia had an entire swim ensemble to show off at the pool party! She was matching from head to toe. She had her ladybug bikini and matching cover-up. She also had ladybug sandals and a red and white sun hat to top it off! She was just oozing cuteness! She came ready to swim and we did just that!

Up until now Olivia has only been in her kiddy pool at home. I have noticed that if the water is too cold when I put her in it she expresses her displeasure by crying immediately. I was worried that she would react the same way once we got her in the big pool. We thought it would be easier to just toss her in and let her figure it out on her own. Hey...it's sink or swim...right?

Ok, you didn't think I was serious...did you? We want Olivia to love being in the water so we did it right and took our time. The water was a little chilly at first but she didn't even flinch. We eased her in and once she was used to it we put her in her special float. It was fun watching her experience this for the first time. She loved every second of it!

We floated around for awhile and then decided to take a break as Livie's little fingers and toes were starting to prune. That is when all of Olivia's crazy cousins jumped in and starting goofing off. She was quite entertained just watching them from the sidelines. Although I think she would have loved to be in the middle of it all. After lunch Olivia took another dip...this time swimming around with her Uncle VJ. He kept going under the water and popping up. She loved that game and would look over the side of the float every time he would disappear.

It was a day full of fun and sun! But all of the excitement caught up with Livie and she finally surrendered to her exhaustion. Being a sun-bathing beauty is hard work!

We are so happy that she likes the pool and was not scared by the whole experience. Thanks to Uncle VJ and Aunt Chris for throwing such a wonderful family gathering. It is so great to be surrounded by such loving family. Olivia is one lucky baby! We are looking forward to many more fun times at the pool this summer.