Monday, February 25, 2008

aloha!

Last week Todd's parents flew back to Hawaii after a month long visit to the Fort. This was his Mom's first trip back since moving there in October 0f 2004. Todd's Dad has been back quite a few times but this was their first trip back together. It was nice having them both here at the same time. This gave Olivia ample time to get to know them better. She had never met Todd's Mom, Caralyn, and Olivia was only eight months old the last time she saw her G.P. (stands for grandpa...what all of the grand kids call Todd's Dad), so it was like she was meeting him again for the first time too. And since Olivia is going through her snobbish stage where she will only acknowledge those in her close inner circle, I knew it would take her awhile to warm up to them.

Todd's Mom had lots to catch up on when arriving in town...like the fact that she now has two granddaughters! When they moved to Hawaii in 2004 she left 8 grand boys behind. Needless to say she was quite thrilled to come back to more grand kids and knowing that it was in fact possible for the Menors to produce little girls! I know that although they enjoy living in Hawaii it is quite hard for them to be away from the majority of their family. Here is a quick breakdown...Todd, his brothers VJ and Barry, as well as his sister Angie all live here in Fort Wayne.

Angie has three boys...one of them is currently in the military, the oldest is living in Hawaii with Todd's parents, and the youngest lives in Fort Wayne with his mother.

Barry has three kids as well...two boys, and their brand new baby girl, Ella. Someday Olivia and Ella will be best friends since they are the only two girl grand kids in the family.

Finally there is VJ, Todd's oldest brother, who has three boys...

So after spending a few weeks at home with everyone they made a huge decision...TO MOVE BACK! I know...you are all thinking, "why in the world would they choose to move from Hawaii back to Fort Wayne, Indiana?" Well I think they realized just how hard it is to be that far away from your family. They missed seeing the grand kids grow up and decided that after three years, it was time to come home. They are planning on building a house and hope to be home by early fall. So a simple visit home caused them to make a huge decision and we could not be happier!

While they were home we did quite a few things as a family. A few days before leaving we had a huge family gathering at Barry's house. Needless to say it is pure chaos when we get that many kids in the same house, but it is fun and Olivia just loves being around her big cousins! We attempted to take some family photos but trying to get all of the kids to look at the camera at the same time is nearly impossible. Olivia was tired and not in the mood to have her picture taken as you can see in some of the takes, but we did manage to get some good family photos.

It was nice having Todd's parents home for a visit and we are so happy that they will be coming back to Fort Wayne permanently. At least they got to enjoy over three years in beautiful Hawaii...not to shabby! And Olivia will go from having one grandparent...to three grandparents that will want to spoil her silly! What a lucky girl!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

hugs & kisses

Lots of those were handed out last week! Not only because we celebrated Valentine's Day, but because Olivia was feeling a little under the weather. She had a nasty cough for good part of the week. Luckily it did not turn into anything else! I cannot believe that this child is 15 months old and has yet to carry a fever! Boy, we are lucky (knock on wood)!

We had a very nice Valentine's Day. My Mom was kind enough to watch Olivia while Todd and I went out to catch a chick flick (thank you honey!). If you are looking for a lighthearted, feel-good movie, check out Definitely-Maybe. It is not Oscar material by any means...it's just plain cute! Since Olivia is still too young to understand Valentine's Day Todd and I did not go out of our way when it came to presents. We got her a simple teddy bear that she hugged and then threw to the side before moving on to the next activity on her busy schedule. I had a feeling that would be her reaction, which is why we did not spend more than $10 on her gift. Todd on the other hand got me a spa certificate, which is just what the doctor ordered! I cannot wait to use it! I got Todd a yellow Polo shirt along with a yellow Polo dress for Olivia. Last year on Father's Day they both wore their matching pink Polo's. Todd already had his shirt and my Mom got Olivia a pink Polo, which made for a very cute father/daughter outfit! I thought it would be fun to continue that tradition so I got them another matching outfit for this year. Check back in June for Father's Day pics featuring Todd and Livie in their matching outfits!

Love has just been pouring out of Livie lately. She constantly wants to give hugs and kisses. A few of my favorites include the running hug she gives to her Nana whenever she sees her. She gets a running start and wraps her arms around her so tight. It is so adorable! She is also all about blowing kisses these days. And a beautiful "MUAH" accompanies each wonderful kiss. You gotta love it! We never say good-bye without blowing kisses to those we are leaving behind.

My Mom and I used to have a tradition of making cookies each Valentine's Day. I got a little lazy after Olivia was born and found it hard to find the time to help decorate, so my Mom has been on her own for the past two years. We happened to stop by her house as she was decorating this year's cookies so I can take credit for a few of them. But as usual my Mom lived up to her nickname of "Martha".

Our Valentine's Day celebration was carried over to the weekend. We had dinner reservations on Saturday night and Olivia had her very first overnight visit at Nana's. This was her first time spending the night anywhere but her own bed. I was quite nervous and convinced that she would wake up in the middle of the night hysterical. My Mom said that if it did not go well she would just bring her home, since we only live a few minutes apart. Well I need to have a little more faith in my little girl...she did fabulously! She had a wonderful time at Nana's and slept straight through the night. I thought she would miss us terribly but she was too busy having fun! That's OK with me because this gives Todd & I the freedom to go away for the night if we want. That is if Todd can stand to be away from her again for the night. He literally was waiting by the door for her to come home the next morning! Man, she sure has him wrapped around her little finger!

Now for a quick look back. Last year on Valentine's Day we were snowed in. We were hit with a "mini blizzard" and we didn't leave the house at all that day. I had a cute little Valentine's Day outfit for Olivia to wear but no one was going to see her in it. So I dressed her up anyway and took her picture. Miss Olivia was growing like a weed back then. Practically gaining one pound per week. When I look back at these pictures I cannot believe how chubby she was! It cracks me up!

She is going to hate me for these pictures one day! Oh well...I think they are cute! I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day with their loved ones. I have always known that love is a powerful thing, but I never thought I could be so full of love until Olivia came into our lives!

Monday, February 11, 2008

fun & games

Ok, I know I am always saying how much fun Olivia is right now, but it is the truth! She is a blast! She is happy 99.9% of the time. The other tenth of a percent accounts for when she is either tired, hungry or just grumpy. So for the most part she is always smiling and playing without a care in the world. How nice it must be to live in that state of mind all of the time. It makes me wish that she would never have to deal with the disappointment that life can sometimes bring. Back to the happy talk! We stayed in quite a bit this past weekend because it was too darn cold to go outside. Have I mentioned how ready I am for spring to arrive?

So to keep ourselves from getting stir crazy we had to invent some new games to play. Olivia has recently become interested in the grocery cart we gave her at Christmas. It came with a few groceries so she enjoys putting them in and taking them out of the cart over and over. She also likes to stack them on top of our trashcan. We pretend we are shopping by throwing as many toys as we can find in the cart. I think she is practicing for when she grows up. I can't wait to have a shopping partner!

Another game she likes to play is peek-a-boo tag. She runs away from me and hides around the corner. She then pops out and says, "Peek"! Naturally I act startled and she thinks that is the funniest thing in the world. I think we played this game for about 15 minutes straight before I was exhausted. I would wait for her around the corner and when she would pop out I would snap a picture. I caught some great shots of her amazing open mouth smile! Now do you see why I am always saying how happy she is?

We also did a lot of reading. Olivia is obsessed with her books. She not only loves to have us read to her she also enjoys just sitting by herself and flipping through book after book. I love that she is able to occupy herself so much more now. Not that I don't love sitting and reading to her, but it is nice to get a little break and know that she can entertain herself without a problem.

So as you can see we had a weekend full of fun and games even though we stayed in for most of it. I'll take a weekend at home with my hubby and baby anytime! Oh and Aunt Delia...did you notice that Olivia is wearing her Valentine's Baby Legs you made for her? We love them! A quick update before I go. Olivia had her 15-month check-up last week. As always things look great. She weighs 26 lbs. 3 oz. and is 31-1/2 inches long. In the past three months she has only gained about one pound and grown about 1/2 an inch. I think she has slowed down to make up for how quickly she grew as an infant. She also has 11 teeth (I think). It is hard to tell and I dare to stick my finger in her mouth! Overall she is in perfect health and I couldn't ask for anything more! Although I have noticed a bit of a cough today. I surely hope she is not coming down with something. I guess if I am back on here in a few days blogging about how sick she is you will know. Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

who's the boss?

Well Little Miss Olivia would like to think she is...but I would beg to differ! Livie turned 15 months old on Monday. She is growing up right in front of my eyes. This is very apparent in the way she has started to exert her independence. She likes to do things on her own, only asking for help when absoutely necessary. She also does NOT like to hear the word NO...imagine that! With her now walking at a very fast pace, she moves from room to room before I even have a chance to notice. This usually means she is able to get into something that is off limits before I have a chance to catch her. And although Olivia is very busy learning and doing new things, mastering the art of the temper tantrum is currently at the top of her list! Yep...we have arrived at that stage!

I was hoping to have caught one of these episodes on camera to share with you, but no such luck. They are usually very quick and they tend to be over just as quickly as they begin. I guess that is a good thing. Since I cannot show you firsthand how one of these tantrums play out, I will try to explain it. Each tantrum is orchestrated with precision. How do I know this? Because I have watched her from start to finish. It begins when she is told not to do something, or not to touch something. She then stops...pauses for a few seconds...and dramatically throws herself on the floor. Once she is on the floor she proceeds to kick her legs and wave her arms like a crazy person. It is quite a sight. The first couple of times she did it I actually laughed out loud...not a good idea. I have since learned to just walk away...much better idea because once she notices that she no longer has an audience the tantrum comes to an end. Sometimes walking away is tough because I am baffled how the slightest thing can cause a child to unravel. Telling a child to stop turning the TV on and off a million times may not seem like a big deal to us, but it can seem life altering to them. I just try to put myself in her shoes. As you can tell by the look on her face in this picture she was not very happy with me. Luckily a tantrum did not follow this time, but this tends to be the face I see just before one starts. Cracks me up!

Needless to say we are starting to deal with some of the challenges of parenthood. Ok, I may be overreacting a bit. Olivia is a doll! She rarely throws tantrums, and when she does it is usually because she is tired, hungry or just grumpy. She continues to be a very easy going, fun loving baby! She just keeps getting smarter and smarter each day too. She can now point out about 8 different body parts and can name about 5 of them. She can also do about 10 different animal sounds which is just hilarous! Some of her new words this week are "toys", "Oh Boy!" and "Yeah". It seems like each day she has a new word.

One last thing I want to share. This past weekend we went to a Super Bowl party. The hosts had the most amazing HD-TV, perfect for watching the game (or in my case...the commercials). Check out Olivia enjoying her dinner during kick-off. She was delightful that night. Running around, playing with her toys and chatting up a storm to anyone that would listen.

It was a fun night, but I did not get to see much of the game or the commercials for that matter, as I was too busy making sure Olivia did not get into any trouble. Thank goodness for the Internet, as I was able to watch them all online the next day. My favorites had to be the E*Trade Baby commercials. If you haven't seen them you must! Here are the links...

If I think I have my hands full now with the trantrums starting, just imagine if she was able to trade stocks online!