Monday, September 24, 2007

Just For Laughs

This is a little video that my Aunt Susan made on a website called "Jib-Jab". When she sent it to me I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants! It is Olivia and her second-cousin Justin dancing to the "La Coocaracha". Hopefully it will make you laugh too...but not so hard that you pee your pants! Enjoy! (The video takes a few seconds to load).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Busy Bee

As the summer comes to an end we are trying to do as many fun things outdoors as we can. It has been hard to do much outside this summer with the temps being so high. But now the weather is cooling off a bit and it has been just gorgeous. We figured that we better take advantage of these nice days before they are gone!
Olivia has been a busy bee! A few weeks back we took a trip to a lake cottage of a friend of the family. It was a gorgeous day and while Olivia played on a blanket Mommy and Daddy got to to take the jet skis out for a spin. Olivia loves being in the water so she enjoyed splashing around in the lake herself. It was a fun day!

We also recently took Olivia to a beautiful park near our house. Lakeside Rose Gardens is known for their beautiful landscaping and amazing flowers. We enjoyed another gorgeous day as we walked around the park feeding the ducks, playing on the swing set and just relaxing.

Olivia especially loved the swings! I think she would have let her Daddy push her for hours. It is so great to watch the excitement she experiences when doing something she loves. Her smile and laugh are just contagious!

We wanted to try and take some nice pictures of Olivia at the park, near the beautiful flowers. But that turned out to be an exercise in futility. All she wanted to do was pull the petals off of the flowers and eat the grass..big surprise! I tried to catch a few nice shots of her but this was the best I could do. This was after saying "No No" and "Don't put that in your mouth" at least 20 times!

Recently we drove to a small town near us that was having a sculpture display. We heard from some people that they we worth seeing so we took a drive to check them out. They were displayed throughout the small, quaint downtown area. As we walked around the town we were greeted by the life-like statues. They were quite fascinating and Olivia was quite taken with some of them as well...

And today we spent the afternoon at Headwaters Park enjoying "Jazz in the Park". There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a great day to have a picnic in the park while listening to some nice music. Todd, Livie, myself and my Mom all went. We found a great spot in the shade and enjoyed what I would consider "a perfect day".

Since Olivia has a lot of trouble sitting still these days she took turns climbing all over the three of us, as we sat on our blanket in the shade. Here she is tackling Nana as she tries to relax. Nana has yet to realize that there is no relaxing when Olivia is around!

Olivia played on her blanket and had some snacks. She loved the music and would bounce up and down to the songs she liked. She also practiced her walking skills in the grass, which get better everyday. With our assistance she takes some steps. It looks like she is marching...as she lifts each foot up very high, before placing it in front of her.

It has been a great summer. We have done so many fun things. Although Olivia won't remember these adventures when she is grown, it will be fun to tell her about them. We also recognize the fact that we are helping along her development by exposing her to so many different things. Taking in all the sights and sounds will help to make her a very smart, sharp toddler.

Now for a quick update....Olivia is just shy of 11 months. She currently weighs a little over 23 lbs. She has five teeth. Two on the bottom and three on the top...trying so hard to come all the way in. She is trying to stand up on her own from a seated position. The babysitter said she has done it, but I have yet to see it for myself. She is taking some steps while holding our fingers but she would prefer to do her goofy, dragging one leg crawl. She is sleeping like a champ...12 hours through the night. And she is on three meals a day of solid food. (I think we are close to being done with nursing...she seems to be losing interest). She is such a great baby...we have no complaints...except that she needs to stop growing up so fast!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Love Affair

As Olivia gets older she is beginning to show preference to certain things. There are particular books that she prefers to read. Out of all of her different colored blocks she likes to hold onto the orange ones...(not sure why). She has a little blanket that she likes to sleep with. And she is even starting to express displeasure with certain foods. But there are two things that Olivia seems to currently be having a love affair with...Elmo and Stuffy Bear.
She has been watching Sesame Street for quite a few months now. After watching the show for awhile she started to show some interest in Elmo. She would perk up whenever he would be on the screen. Elmo even has his own 15 minute segment at the end of each Sesame Street episode. It didn't take long before she became obsessed with Elmo. She would squeal in delight when he was on and would sit still during his whole segment. It is probably one of the few times the child sits still in the course of an entire day! After seeing how much she enjoys Elmo we went out and bought her an Elmo phone. She loves to press the buttons to hear his voice.

Better than the Elmo phone...we gave her a Tickle Me Elmo doll! Now I hate to admit it...but the doll belonged to me. Todd gave it to me many years back. I have always loved Elmo also and it was a cute gift at the time. But a 29 year old woman really does not have much use for a Tickle Me Elmo, so I saw it appropriate to pass it along to my daughter. And boy does she love it! When you press different parts of Elmo's body he talks, laughs and giggles. Press his nose and he sings a fun little song. This is Olivia's favorite part as you can see (please ignore the fact that I sound like a complete moron in the video clip)...

video

Her other obsession is her lovey...Stuffy Bear. I know that is a pretty lame name but it is appropriate. Stuffy is a bear that was crocheted by my Aunt Delia for Olivia before she was even born. He sat in her crib and waited for Olivia to cuddle with him. He is very soft and packed full of stuffing which is where the name Stuffy Bear came from. She has grown quite attached to Stuffy Bear and she cannot sleep without him. I know this is probably not a good thing, but it might be too late. We try to keep Stuffy in the crib and only give him to her at nap times and bedtime. But if we travel...of course Stuffy comes with us.

I have a feeling that Stuffy will one day have his arms and legs pulled off, from receiving too much love. But we will deal with that when it happens. He has already received a bath (gone through the washing machine) and he survived...thank goodness! It is sweet watching her with this bear. She truly loves him. When we ask her to give Stuffy loves she grabs him and squeezes him as hard as she can. Or sometimes she suffocates him by laying on top of him. Either way it is clear that she is attached and in love!

These past few weeks have been interesting. Things are changing around here. Olivia has become much more mobile and stubborn. Although it is amazing to watch her grown into a toddler it is also quite challenging. We are starting to witness what could be the beginning of the temper tantrums. It does not take much to for Olivia to be thrown into a frenzy. It typically involves her got getting her way...imagine that! Our job is to stay calm when she acts this way so we do not make the situation worse. She usually gets over it pretty quickly and returns to a happy place.

But don't get me wrong...she is still the sweetest little girl in the world. She is full of love and so interested in the world around her. Olivia may have a love affair with Elmo and Stuffy Bear but Todd and I are beyond in love with her!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

It's Official...

...Olivia is crawling forward! After months of strictly crawling backwards she has realized that moving forwards is much more rewarding! I was convinced that she really did not have much of an interest in crawling at all. And since she has begun to pull herself up lately I figured that she may just move right into walking. Looks like I was wrong!
Last week I brought her over the the babysitters and set her on the floor. She immediately starting crawling towards the TV where Kay keeps the videos. I looked at her and said, "Wow...she is crawling forward!" Kay said, "Oh yeah, she does that quite often." I was shocked! Having only ever seen Olivia crawl backwards at home, I was thrilled with the fact that she finally started to show some interest in moving in a different direction. So later that day Todd and I tested her to see if she truly had mastered this task. And sure enough...she had! It's a funny little crawl that she does. She drags one leg underneath as she uses both hands and while standing on the opposite foot. But now that she has figured this out it is all she wants to do! In just the past few days things have changed drastically around here. Gone are the days of being able to leave Olivia alone in a room. Now we must take her with us everywhere we go and watch every move that she makes. So it is hard work for us but a great accomplishment for her. Witness for yourself the big stride made by Olivia this week...

video

We are so proud of our little girl. She may be a little late in reaching this milestone but who cares. She has been focusing on other important developments instead...like speaking actual words! Yep...we think she has spoken her first official word. That word would be kitty...or as Olivia says, "Ditty". She says this every time our cat is in the room. She points at Felix and says "Ditty". So at least to us it seems as if she knows exactly what she is saying. Not bad for our little 10 month old! She is such a vocal baby and I will not be surprised if she turns out to be a very early talker.

She is growing up so fast! I am astounded by just how much she has accomplished in the past week. Not only is she advancing in her developments but her physical appearance is changing as well. When I look at her I see a little girl... just a baby! Now more than ever we must cherish these moments because I am learning just how quickly they can pass us by!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sooooooo BIG!

On the eve of Olivia's 10 month birthday I must face the fact that things are changing...and changing fast! She is no longer that quiet little baby that I held in my arms only a few short months ago. The days of sitting still on her blanket and playing with her toys are slowing diminishing. She is becoming an independent baby that is ready to move and explore her surroundings! And boy is she moving! One of her favorites things to do is use her Daddy as her own personal jungle gym!

In the past few weeks Olivia has begun to pull herself up with little or no assistance. She mainly pulls herself up on other people, as opposed to furniture, but she has gotten quite good at it. She is also able to get herself into a seated position from her belly or her back. This seems to have given her new found freedom! So now, instead of just laying in her crib when I put her down for a nap she will sit up and play with her stuffed animals for awhile before deciding that she is ready for her snooze. I figured this out one day last week when I poked my head into her nursery to see if she had fallen asleep...and there she was sitting up having a conversation with one of her many stuffed animals. I watched her from a distance for awhile and after checking back a few times I noticed that she simply leaned forward, rested her head on her stuffed bear and fell asleep! It didn't seem like the most comfortable of positions but she obviously didn't mind.

And with the discovery of being able to pull herself up she has figured out how to stand up in her crib! This worries me a little as I am terrified that she will just topple out. Todd and I already lowered it once but I think we may need to do it again. This realization came after witnessing just what Olivia is now able to do in her crib. The other morning I went in to get her and I found her with a terrible case of bed head...

I was then able to capture her new talents in this series of pictures...

Rise & Shine

I'm Ready to Start the Day...Get Me Out of Here!

I Said...Get Me Out of Here!

And 1-2-3...just like that Olivia has become a big girl. She is able to get what she wants more easily now that she is able to accomplish more things on her own. There are still quite a few things that she cannot do, and she tends to get quite frustrated when she's stuck. She is not a huge fan of crawling...it is more like scooting. She prefers to army crawl than get on all fours and move. But she is able to get to where she wants to go...she just has her own way of doing it. In time she will figure out her next developmental step and tackle it head on...just like she did with crawling, and standing up. I'm guessing that walking is not far behind!

Olivia has also started to show a great interest in reading. She loves books...all kinds of books. She is mostly interested in interactive books. Plain old board books tend to bore her. But if she finds a book with things she can touch and pull she is in heaven. Recently she has developed a fascination with a book at her Nana's house called "Tails". This is a great book that has tails of all different animals that she can feel and pull. It is very colorful and quite clever. Every time Olivia visits her Nana she is asked..."Do you want to read the Tails book?" She responds by shrieking in delight and looking or reaching for the place that Nana keeps the book. It amazes me how quickly she has caught on to this book and knows exactly where it is kept. Once they start to read the book Olivia anticipates what is on each page. There is even a page with the stinky tail of a skunk. When they reach this page she leans forward to smell the page and makes a funny sound with her nose to show us that the tail is stinky! What a smarty pants! Here is a video clip of Nana and Livie reading their favorite book together...

video

And when they are finished with the book Nana tries to put it away but Olivia protests by crying and whining until Nana agrees to read it again...and again...and again. We finally have to break this trend after about the sixth reading. This tends to be quite difficult, but she gets over it after we move onto the next activity. I am thrilled with her interest in books. I love that I can just sit her down with a book and she is happy. She studies each book and flips through the pages many times. I hope that she holds on to that love for books and grows up to become someone who loves to read.

In two short months we will be celebrating Olivia's first Birthday! Her ninth month was full of milestones. It will be interesting to see how much more she will change before reaching one. Who knows...by then I could be talking about how I do nothing but chase this child around the house. But for now I will enjoy the final moments of Olivia's restricted mobility, because with the way things have been going lately I won't be able to say that for much longer! Go Livie Go!

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3 - Mission Accomplished!