Sunday, December 30, 2007

help me win!

Recently I entered Olivia in a contest for LeapFrog toys. The contest is called "Learning Moments" and the grand prize is $25,000 towards college tuition! Oh, how wonderful that would be! Well I have racked up quite a few votes but there are others that have quite a few more. There are only a few days left until the contest is over and a winner will be chosen. So I am calling on all of my loyal blog readers to Help Me Win!

The contest asked for you to submit a photo or video of your child taking part in a "learning moment". This was not hard to do. I submitted both a photo and video but I am pushing for the video to win. It shows Olivia when she was just starting to walk with her walking toy. Now I know many of you have already voted...thank you so much! For those of you who have not... please, please, please help us win this contest! :)

Ok, here is what you have to do. Click on this link...Olivia's Learning Moment. You will be taken to the video of Olivia. You can click on the video to watch it...it is only about 15 seconds long. Then there is a little box to the right that says "vote". Click it and that's it! You don't need to register or sign-up for anything. I think you are only able to vote once from each computer. I am not 100% on this, so definitely try voting again from your computer if you have already voted once before. I am just not sure if it will get counted, but it is worth a shot. But you can vote from different computers and it will get counted. Comment me if you have any problems or questions about voting. BTW...the contest ends on January 15th.

So that's it! I know this is a long shot but I must at least give it a shot! I mean it's $25,000 towards college? By the time Olivia is ready to go that should at least pay for books, right? Again, thanks to everyone for voting! We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

naughty or nice?

What do you think? As if Olivia could ever be naughty...I mean look at that face! :) Santa was very good to Olivia this year! You'll see for yourself later on. But first...our holiday weekend! We did so many fun things! My grandmother and uncle came down from Michigan to spend Christmas with us...they do every year. This is my grandmother's second Christmas without my grandpa. It is still hard for her, but having Olivia around to entertain her helps tremendously! She is just blown away by all of the things Olivia is doing. From walking, talking and doing her baby signs..Nana Cleo thinks Olivia is the smartest baby in the world! Here is Olivia during some down time, having a rest on Nana Cleo's lap...

Prior to Christmas Eve we attended a few holiday parties. They were lots of fun but we were out late (I guess if you call 10 pm late). It was late for Olivia anyway, which meant she was not going to bed at her normal time. She was one tired child by the time Christmas was over! We also took her to the Fantasy of Lights at Franke Park. I thought she would enjoy looking at all of the fun light displays. We even took her out of her car seat and let her sit on my lap while we drove through. The cars move at about 5 mph so we thought this would be OK. Well she was more interested in crawling back and forth between Todd and I and trying to take the wheel, so the light display was not a huge hit! Maybe next year.

On Christmas Eve we took Olivia to the family mass at our church. We have not gone to church much lately, mainly because the thought of sitting through service with a one year old is not very appealing. Well we made it through about 3/4 of the service before we sneaked out the back. She was actually being quite good, but we were very late for yet another holiday party! Our close family friends, Korrie and Tom, host a Christmas Eve party each year. It was another late night, but Olivia was having a blast with all of the children at the party. Korrie has a twin sister, Kim, who has twin boys of her own...Logan and Conner. Look at these cuties...

We were up and about pretty early on Christmas morning. Before heading over to my Mom's to open presents we were going to Todd's brother's for breakfast and presents. But first we had our own little family Christmas. After watching a little Elmo on TV we opened our stockings. Olivia was quite determined to pull her gifts out, but needed a little help.

By the time we made it to my Mom's Olivia was getting a little tired. I knew we had a limited window to open presents before she got cranky. It was such fun watching Olivia tear open her gifts. Of course she needed quite a bit of help, but she gave it her best shot!

No...those are not all hers! She is not THAT spoiled!

As you can see, she was enjoying trying to rip open her gifts. But once that wrapping came off she truly became a happy girl! We tried to avoid buying her anything else Elmo...but there was one thing we found that we could not resist. It was a big stuffed Elmo that was the same size as Olivia. I knew she would just love cuddling with this little guy...and I was right!

Olivia wasn't the only one who got presents on Christmas. We all received some very nice things. Todd was most thrilled with the iPod I got for him. Can't you tell? What a goof!

Now Christmas isn't all about presents. Although you would think so by looking at those pictures. It is also about spending time with family. So before signing off I want to share some nice family photos from our special holiday!

We are a little sad that Christmas is over. Now it is time to put away all of the decorations...yuck! But we have the new year to look forward to. I can't even imagine how many exciting things we have to look forward to in the upcoming year! This past year was so amazing...how could it get any better? Olivia is just a sponge lately. Each day she is learning something new. I promise to update you on all of her new skills very soon. Now it is time to catch up on all of the things I have put off the past month!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

gearing up for Christmas

The countdown begins! Only a few days left until Santa arrives! We are in full Christmas mode. All of the presents have been wrapped, the stockings have been stuffed...now it's time to sit back and enjoy this wonderful holiday!

Earlier in the week we took Olivia downtown to see the awesome Santa light display. This is one of our favorite things to see each year. We had a feeling Olivia would enjoy it too. And she did...for about two minutes. Hey, can't expect much more than that from a one year old. This will become another one of our Christmas family traditions.

Last week we had our annual Christmas dinner with the Wilhelms. Korrie and Tom are Olivia's Godparents and Todd and I are godparents to her oldest son, Hayden. I have known Korrie my whole life (she's like the sister I never had) and our families have always stayed close. So each year, Korrie, Tom, Hayden, Simon (their youngest boy) and Korrie's Mom, Deb (who is also my Mom's best friend), all come over to my Mom's house for a dinner and presents. Olivia loves playing with the boys...especially Simon who is a little closer to her age.

This was also Olivia's first opportunity to open presents. And what fun it was! Not only was she very excited about the wrapping, but she was actually interested in the gifts inside. So far her favorite thing is tissue paper. It is amazing what she can do to it in a short amount of time! She received some help from the boys when she got stuck trying to open her presents. How sweet! It was a fun evening and we look forward to it every year!

We have been spending a lot of time just hanging around the house lately, getting ready for Christmas. You typically find us in our comfy clothes...especially Olivia. Sometimes on the weekends she never gets out of her PJ's. Lately Olivia has been sporting my new favorite thing...BabyLegs! A friend of mine turned me on to them and I just love them! More or less they are leg warmers for babies...and they are too stinkin' cute! They are great for those cozy days in the house! Here is Olivia sporting her fancy Christmas legs! Aren't they great?

Before I sign-off Olivia has a holiday message she would like to share with everyone! Remember how I told you that we taught her to say "Ho, Ho, Ho"? Well it is now her new favorite thing to say. She walks around the house saying it constantly...even if there is no Santa to be found. And she says it when we talk about anything Christmas related...snow, trees, lights. It doesn't matter...her response is always, "Ho, Ho, Ho". Holiday greetings from Olivia...

video

And finally, Todd, Olivia and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! May your holiday be filled with family, friends, love and laughter! Oh and by the way it's official...Olivia is a full time walker! More to come...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

'Tis the season

I'm sure you will all agree...the holidays are a very busy time! Full of fun things like holiday parties, shopping (not always fun), and spending time with family and friends. This year we have tried to start some family traditions that we can continue through the years as Olivia gets older. She is able to enjoy the holidays a bit more than last year, which makes it fun to do things with her. Here are a few of the fun holiday activities we have done so far...

During Thanksgiving weekend we took Olivia to the Embassy Festival of Trees. It was very busy and Olivia was exhausted from a very hectic weekend, so we did not stay long. But she was fascinated by the beautiful trees and the many lights. We hope to take her again next year when her attention span is a bit longer and she is not as worn out! Maybe someday she will even perform on the big stage just like her Mommy did when she was little!

Soon after Thanksgiving we put up our Christmas tree. I was a bit nervous about having the tree up...thinking Olivia would attempt to pull it down, but so far so good. In fact she really isn't that interested in it at all. We keep it in our living room, which we are not in very often. I think she forgets that it is there. We have taken her in a few times to let her explore. She likes to stand up and touch the ornaments. It's funny...she is very gentle with them. It's like she knows that they are fragile, without us having to tell her.

Here is Olivia helping Todd hang her special Elmo ornament on the tree. Yes...we caved and got her an Elmo ornament. Our tree is full of special ornaments from both Todd's and my childhood. We figured it was time to add some ornaments from Olivia's childhood as well. And since Elmo is still all the rage right now we thought it was appropriate she have one.

Yes...I know...she is only wearing one sock. That is because she hates them! She pulls them off constantly. So she is either completely barefoot or in the process of taking them off. I guess we distracted her before she had the chance to get the other sock off this time.

We also took Olivia to the Botanical Conservatory. Not only is the place beautifully decorated for Christmas but on certain days they have live reindeer on display. I thought she would enjoy seeing them, so we bundled her up and went to check them out. They are adorable! They seem to be very calm, relaxed animals. You could come right up to them and they wouldn't even blink an eye!

Santa was also at The Botanical Conservatory that day but I did not think it was necessary make Olivia relive the trauma of sitting on Santa's lap a second time! We opted instead to take some nice family photos of our own. I just love the festive flowers and trees!

Another fun thing we did recently was attend the Christmas photo shoot at the Mom group Olivia and I frequent. They set up about 12 different holiday backdrops and you go around snapping your own pictures. It was fun but I did not have the best of luck getting Olivia to sit still. I was only able to get a few good shots. It was fun though!

Christmas is exactly one week away and we still have lots of fun things to do! It has been great starting some family Christmas traditions with Olivia and sharing some of our favorite Christmas activities with her for the first time.

Before I end this incredibly long post I want to leave you with a quick story. Over Thanksgiving my Mom, my Aunt, Olivia and I went out shopping. We stopped for a yummy Peppermint Latte at Starbucks before heading home. (If you have not had one yet, I highly recommend it!). Anyway, Olivia decided that it would be fun to show off and repeatedly lift her shirt up over her head! I have no idea where this came from but she thought it was pretty darn funny! I told her this was inappropriate and ladies do not lift their shirts up over their heads in public. Of course I was laughing hysterically! She is one goofy girl!


Friday, December 14, 2007

around the house

Now that it is soooooo cold outside we just love staying in and playing around the house. Olivia can entertain herself for hours with her toys, books and other things that she really should not be playing with. Last weekend I snapped a few pictures of those fun, around the house moments.

Olivia loves the vacuum. She has loved it since was a tiny baby. She comes right up to the vacuums while I am running it and tries to catch it. She is quite brave! Not only does she love the vacuum but she is obsessed with the cord. I caught her getting all tangled up after I walked away. Check out the look on her face! It's like she saying, "No mommy...I'm not being naughty." Shhhhh...don't tell, but I think Santa might be getting Olivia a vacuum of her very own for Christmas!

Olivia also loves her books. We keep them in a big basket in her room. Her favorite thing to do is go in there and pull each book out...scattering them around the room. She takes time to look at each book before throwing it aside and moving on to the next one. After this process is complete she has managed to create a huge mess. But that is what it's all about!


Another one of her favorite things to do is climb in and out of her Elmo chair. This is the chair Todd and I got her for her Birthday. It shakes and giggles when she sits down. She loves to sit in it and then jump out and throw herself on the floor. It is hilarious! Here is Olivia relaxing in her chair while watching her favorite show...Sesame Street. It is one of the few moments during the day when she is completely still!

Nothing is better than staying in on a cold day and spending time with our sweetie! There is so much fun to be had! Now in other news...an update on Olivia's walking. She can do it...she just chooses not to do it very often. I have been concerned because of the goofy way that she crawls. I am worried that her left leg is not strong enough to support her when she is standing. That is the leg that she drags, while she pushes off with the right leg. For the past month she has been standing up, taking about a dozen steps and then plopping back down and getting to where she needs to go by crawling. She can also walk by holding on to just one of our hands...which is pretty good. But at this age most toddlers are walking most of the time without assistance and crawling very little. I know I am probably just being a paranoid Mom but I can't help it. I am going to try not to worry too much for now. We go back to the doctor in February for another check up. If she is still not fully walking by then I will definitely be concerned. But for now I am going to keep helping her get strong on both legs...I know she can do it!

Her vocabulary keeps expanding. She now says cookie, door and when we ask her what Santa says she replies with, "Ho, Ho, Ho"! How cute is that? It only took a few days for her to catch on to that one! She is very good about not getting into things that she shouldn't. When she knows she should not touch something she looks at us and says, "no-no". What a smarty-pants! Every day she learns something new...it's amazing!

Well we have another weekend full of holiday plans. Check back soon to see all of the fun things we have been doing so far...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"All I want for Christmas"...

"...is for someone to get me off this guy's lap NOW!!!" I'm pretty sure this is what Olivia would say if she could talk. Can you believe this? Is this not the most perfect "crying baby on Santa's lap" picture you have ever seen? I had a feeling that this year's visit to see Santa would be a bit different than last year. Last year Olivia was just over one month old and didn't even wake up when she was placed on Santa's knee.

What a difference a year makes...

We like to go out to Jefferson Pointe each year to visit Santa. They have this adorable little cottage and it is much more personal than the monstrosity at our main mall. Anything beats having to stand in a long line with a bunch of screaming kids. Olivia has been going through a clingy stage again, where she will only allow those in her close inner circle to look at her or hold her. I knew she would not be happy sitting the knee of a man wearing a big red suit and fluffy white beard. I mean can you imagine what she must have been thinking?

The sweet man who was taking the pictures gave us some advice. He said that I should hold Olivia facing away from me and back up towards Santa. That way she would not see him prior to me plopping her on his lap. He said that once I placed her on his lap to jump out of the way and he would snap the picture immediately. I thought he might be able to catch a shot before she figured out what was going on. Boy...was I wrong! She immediately freaked out and burst into tears. The kind of tears that I do not see very often, but only when she is very very upset. Oh, the things we put our kids through for our own selfish pleasure! But it made for a priceless picture and an entertaining visit to see Santa.

The tree at Jefferson Pointe...

Santa's cottage...

So this year's visit to see Santa was a bit traumatic. Maybe next year will be better. But then again I may be posting another "crying baby on Santa's lap" picture. Oh and I almost forgot...we think that Santa was hitting on my Mom while we were there! But that is a story for another time...