Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Spooktactular Ladybug

I think Olivia's first Halloween costume was a hit! What a spooktacular little ladybug she was. I did not put much effort into it really. The costume is just a one piece, snowsuit-like outfit. It did not come with wings, which I felt were very important, so luckily enough I had some from an old costume that I wore years ago. And just like that she was the cutest little ladybug in town!

We had a fun day. We kicked off our Halloween celebration by attending the Great Zoo Halloween the night before. It was so much fun to walk around the zoo at night and see all of the amazing pumpkins and displays. The animals were not out as the zoo has already closed for the season, but it was fun seeing all of the kids dressed up! The next day we went to our play group which was having their annual costume party. Babies as young as a few weeks old were there in their cute outfits. It was such fun seeing all of the cuties in their clever costumes. But I think Olivia won over everyone with a combination of her outgoing personality and adorable red and black cuteness! While playing with the other babies Olivia came across her counterpart in the bug family. It was a photo opportunity just waiting to happen...

Olivia was more than ready to get out of her costume by the end of our play group, as it was incredibly hot! But later that evening we got her all dressed up again so we could make the rounds to see our family and friends. First stop was her babysitter, who lives next door. We then headed over to her see her Uncle VJ and Aunt Chris. Aunt Chris felt it was necessary for Olivia to be able to enjoy a little bit of candy on her first Halloween. So she picked a piece out of the bowl and you can guess how much she enjoyed it!

I did not want her to end up in a sugar coma so the candy bar was eventually taken away which did not make Olivia very happy. She went from a happy little ladybug to a very ticked off little ladybug in a matter of seconds! Next stop was to see our friends Heather and Jason. They let Olivia pick out multiple pieces of candy from the bowl, but this time Mommy quickly hid them before she realized what was going on. If it were up to Olivia she would have feasted on chocolate all night!

Finally we headed out to Olivia's godparents house for some chili. A great way to end a cool, Halloween night. Livie was busy playing with her "cousins" Hayden and Simon. She is not used to having car and trucks to play with so she was quite fascinated as they showed her all of their awesome toys! It was a fun night but Olivia was more than exhausted by the time it was over. Here are a few other cute pictures from the day...

To add to our already hectic week Olivia seems to be cutting her molars. She has been extremely fussy all week, which is quite out of character for her. She has a nose that won't stop running, and she has been clinging to me like a monkey. This is usually a very independent child who does not care much for cuddling. But this week she can't get enough of it. I cannot imagine the pain she must be feeling as those teeth try to push through the service. I just hope it passes soon. I am used to have a happy baby who does nothing but smile all day long. So this week has been quite a challenge for all of us!
I hope she feels better by Sunday as we will be celebrating her 1st Birthday with a big party! I would hate for her to be anti-social and clingy as people try to shower her with love. Oh well, not much that can be done about that except hope for the best!

We had fun dressing Olivia up for her first Halloween. I think next year she will appreciate the holiday even more! But how can I top this costume in cuteness?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Expert Traveler

So in less than a week Olivia will be turning one! During her first year she has become quite the expert traveler. Here is a laundry list of where she has been...She's flown to California and New York. She has also been to Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan by car. And we just returned from a week in Arizona! Not bad for a one year old! Lucky for us she handles the traveling quite well. Of course it is always difficult taking a baby out of their comfort zone, but she adjusts quickly and always enjoys herself. Here is Olivia passing time in one of the airports as we wait to board our flight...

I attended a week long conference in Tempe, Arizona for my job. I was lucky enough to be able to bring Todd and Olivia with me. Since I was busy most of the time Todd was able to spend a lot of quality time with Olivia. They spent their days exploring the area around the hotel and lounging by the pool. Todd's favorite part of spending time with Olivia was when she would get so tired that she would just crawl up and fall asleep on his lap. This is something that does not happen very often!

We stayed at a very nice hotel located right next to Arizona State University in Tempe. It was a busy area with lots of fun restaurants and shops. Since we were in the heart of a college town it was quite full of college students. Not to mention that it was ASU's homecoming week. It was a fun place to be!

During my free time we were able to do some fun things as a family. There was a huge mountain behind the hotel that you were able to climb. We were told that it was a quick walk but we would have to do it without a stroller as part of it was a little rugged. The thought of climbing up the side of a mountain with a baby was not very appealing but we so wanted to see the view from the top. Since we are the adventurous kind of family we decided to go for it!

It was tough...especially while carrying a baby. But we made it and the view was totally worth it! We could see the beautiful mountains in the distance as well as the ASU campus and the Tempe river. I think Olivia was quite fascinated with being so high up. It was a easy trek for her as all she had to do was hold on and enjoy the ride. I, on the other hand, was quite sweaty and exhausted by the time we made it to the bottom!

We also went to the Phoenix Zoo. As Olivia gets older she is starting to enjoy the zoo more and more. We saw some amazing animals...the giraffes being our favorites. It was a gorgeous day! The sun was shining but it was cool. Now we can add the Phoenix Zoo to our list of zoo's that Olivia has been to in her first year as well.

We ate at some really fun restaurants throughout the week. It was challenging at times as we always had to find a place that was family friendly. Now that Olivia is eating so much table food she really enjoys trying big people food. One night we ordered her her very own cheese pizza! She has had bites of pizza before, but never her own slice to munch on. I think she enjoyed it...

We also ate at a Rainforest Cafe. For those of you that are not familiar with this restaurant it is like eating in a jungle. There are mechanical animals all around the perimeter of the restaurant that move and make noise randomly. There are big huge trees and a amazing ceiling that looks like a sky filled with stars. Every once in a while the restaurant erupts with a fake thunder storm. It truly is amazing! Olivia was extremely fascinated with the whole experience. It was the perfect place to take her!

And when we weren't eating or shopping and I wasn't stuck in a conference room, I would join Todd and Olivia at the pool. Everyday was full of sunshine with no clouds in the sky. Most of you know how much Olivia loves being in the water. So she was always ready to splash around in the pool. We would swim and then relax under our cabana and take a nap. That's the life!

Even though I was in Arizona for business we still had a great time as a family. Todd was able to spend some amazing quality time with Olivia...which was very special for him. Although it was exhausting at times, he really enjoyed being on full time daddy-duty! We are so grateful that we have been able to bring Olivia to all of these wonderful places during her first year. I have a feeling her second year will not be filled with as much traveling...but that is ok. And although she will not remember any of our trips, one day I will show her all of the places she went to as a baby. What a lucky girl!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pickin' Out Pumpkins

It's that time of year! Although it is still quite warm outside it is in fact Fall...and Halloween is quickly approaching. We took Olivia to her first pumpkin patch last week to pick out her first pumpkin. A local church, just a few seconds from our house, sets up a cute little pumpkin patch each year. We thought this would be the perfect place to take her. She even wore her cute pumpkin t-shirt...very appropriate!
She was quite taken with these big, orange objects. Just another example of how much I love watching her experience things for the first time! There were pumpkins of all sizes to choose from. She liked the big ones but the small ones were easier for her to get her hands on. They called the small ones "spookies". Here is Olivia with the "spookie" she picked out...

As we made our way around the pumpkin patch we came across a cute little pumpkin cut-out. Olivia was more than happy to stand behind the cut-out, morphing into the cute little pumpkin she is! She is such a ham!

I think Olivia enjoyed her first pumpkin picking experience. But then again Olivia enjoys everything she does for the first time! Soon we will leave for our trip to Arizona. A few days after we get back it is Halloween! Olivia is going to be a Ladybug...I can hardly wait! And a few days after that she turns one! The next few weeks are going to be a blast! I will be sure to keep you updated!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Little Road Trip

This past weekend we took a little road trip to visit Olivia's Great Grandma...otherwise known as Nana Cleo. She lives in Muskegon, Michigan and hasn't seen Olivia since April. She has changed quite a bit since then, so needless to say she was anxious to get her hands on her great granddaughter. It has been almost one year since my Grandfather passed away. He died one week before Olivia was born. For those of you who keep up with my blog you probably remember how I went into labor the day after attending his funeral in Michigan. It was the perfect example of the circle of life. My Grandpa lived a long and happy life and left this world to make room for Olivia. She picked up right where he left off by taking on a larger than life personality...just like her Great Grandpa George! My Grandma has been a little lonely since Grandpa passed but she has taken great joy in watching Olivia grow. She had such fun watching all of Olivia's tricks and talents!

Now usually when we go away we have to deal with difficulties sleeping and uncharacteristic fussiness, simply because of the change in our normal routine. Well not this time! Olivia was a perfect little angel all weekend! We arrived Friday evening and enjoyed the perfect fall dinner...cheese toasties and tomato soup! It is a tradition that whenever it starts to get cold we have that meal. It was quite chilly in Muskegon and even colder near my Grandmother's house because she lives on Lake Michigan. So the comfort food hit the spot, and Olivia even had her first bites of a cheese toastie! Big surprise...she liked it!

The next morning we went out for a nice family breakfast. And later in the day we went to the Vikings which is where my Uncle spends a great deal of time. The drinks are super cheap and in Michigan you can bring babies into bars! After spending only a short time at the bar Olivia quickly developed a drinking problem and a gambling habit! We couldn't pry the pull tabs from her little fingers! What to do?
We then visited a small local candy shop that carries all of the old fashion candy that is hard to find. It was such a cute place and we had a blast filling up a basket of goodies. As we walked around the store Olivia held on to a big lolly pop that we were going to purchase. As we were getting ready to pay for our candy I looked over at her to see that she had started to chew through the plastic and was enjoying the sweetness of the lolly. I tried to take it away and she immediately through a fit. So we rushed back to Grandma's, threw a bib on her and allowed her to enjoy more of her very first lolly pop. After awhile she started breaking off pieces with her teeth and it was time to take the lolly away. She was not happy but we distracted her by throwing her in the bath tub, which was very much needed as you can tell...

That night we had a very nice family dinner. My Mom's best friend from high school, who still lives in Muskegon, joined us as well. We were celebrating my Grandma's Birthday and after dinner Olivia helped her Nana Cleo blow out her candles. In a few short weeks Olivia's will be blowing out her own candles...or should I say candle?

The next morning we packed up and got ready to head back to Indiana. We had to wait for Olivia to wake up from her nap before leaving. As many of you know Olivia is a very active little girl. There are few moments during the day when she isn't on the move. Olivia is also a big baby so it is hard for my Grandma to pick her up. She would rock Olivia, but Olivia will have no such thing. She just can't sit still that long...there is too much to do! The only time she is truly calm is right after waking up from a nap. So Nana Cleo took advantage of this time and enjoyed some cuddles with Olivia before we left. She knew this was a rare occasion so she savored every second!
It was a fun but quick weekend. Nana Cleo enjoyed her time with Olivia and she is looking forward to seeing her again at Thanksgiving. Now we are preparing to leave for Arizona this weekend. I am attending a week long conference for my job and Todd and Livie get to come too! We are looking forward to the trip. Olivia sure is one well traveled baby!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Slow Down, Olivia!

Everything is moving too fast these days! Olivia just turned 11 months, which means in less than one month we will be celebrating her 1st Birthday! I think all I did was blink and suddenly the first year of my child's life was behind her! How is that possible? She is changing so quickly too. Her face is starting to look more grown up as you can tell in the picture above.

Not only is time moving fast but Olivia, herself is moving fast! This girl is quick! We aren't walking yet but we sure can cross a room in a matter of seconds. She is still doing that strange one-legged crawl. I cannot figure out why she wants to drag one leg under her while stepping fully on the other leg. It is the oddest looking crawl, but it is her crawl and we love it! She is pulling up on everything and cruising around furniture at a pretty good pace. She will occasionally let go and try to get to another destination, but usually falls on her tushy before she has a chance to succeed. I am in no hurry for her to start walking. It is hard enough chasing a crawling baby. But with strong, sturdy legs like these I know she will master the task of walking very soon....

Her vocabulary is expanding very quickly. She seems to have many words...some of them not clear to us, but they obviously mean something to her. Since a very early age we have been doing baby sign language with her. Just in the last month or so she has started to do some of the signs back to us. She knows the sign for "Bath", "More" and "All Done". There are others that we are working on but she hasn't mastered those quite yet. She has also learned to blow kisses. For quite a few months she has been giving us kisses when we ask for them but just recently she has learned to blow them from a distance...too precious!

She is still a very happy, easy baby. There is hardly a moment during the day when she fusses or is unhappy (except when she is tired...of course). Everything she experiences seems to be the most exciting thing she has ever seen or done. It is amazing to watch her eyes light up when she is excited about a toy or just taking a bath. Speaking of baths...this is one of her favorite things to do each day. I recently snapped some cute pictures of her enjoying the water. At our house bath time is the best time!

Olivia is eating three regular meals a day. She still eats baby food, which her Nana is kind enough to make for her, but she also eats a great deal of table food as well. I am starting to wean her from nursing. It is a long process but I hope to be finished nursing by the time she turns one. I know how good it has been for her health, but I have my own selfish reasons to be done with all of that. She is also sleeping exceptionally well...knock on wood! She usually sleeps about 12 hours through the night. I have no complaints. Sometimes I have to wake her so we can start our day. I love peeking at her while she is still sleeping, which is when I snapped this adorable picture!

So things are good! We have a lot happening in the next few weeks. Soon we leave for Arizona for one week. I am attending a conference there for work and my company is paying for Todd to join me. We are taking Livie because we cannot stand to be away from her for a full week...at least not yet. Then soon after we return we will be celebrating the big birthday! So stay turned for updates on all of our exciting adventures!

That fast baby is crawling away from me as we speak so I must go....

Monday, October 01, 2007

Front Page News!

Yes...that is our baby girl on the front page of the Neighbors section of the Fort Wayne News Sentinel! She's a star! Every Saturday they have an area in the Neighbors section called "Shapshots". They feature pictures taken by people in and around the Fort Wayne area. You send in your picture and caption and just hope that they decide to use it.
Well they did! Olivia's Uncle VJ took this amazingly cute photo of her this summer while hanging out at their pool. It is one of my favorite pictures of her so far so I had to submit it. I sent it in at least two months ago and each Saturday we would look in the paper...but no Olivia. So we were pleasantly surprised to see her smiling face when we got our paper this past weekend.

In case you can't read the caption under the photo it says, "Jessica Menor sent us this photo of her daughter, Olivia. "We spent a lot of time at the pool this summer, and this is Olivia in her sunhat enjoying a beautiful summer day!" Menor wrote."

I know I have posted this picture of her on my blog before, but it is so darn cute I must show it to you all again...

Thank you Uncle VJ for taking such a amazing photo of Miss Olivia and allowing for her to be...Front Page News!

Later this week Olivia will turn 11 months old! I am having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that in one more short month we will be celebrating her First Birthday! She is a busy baby, doing new and exciting things each day. Check back later in the week for more updates on what Olivia has been up to lately!