Sunday, March 30, 2008

what a joke!

Those of you with kids will have no problem relating to this post. If your kids are older I am sure you can remember a time when it was nearly impossible to snap a decent picture of them. Olivia is at a very active age (turning 17 months this week actually!). She pretty much moves non-stop from the moment she wakes up to the time she asks to go to bed. Yes, there are nights when she actually asks if it is time to go night-night. Just about every day I try to take some pictures of her. She is either wearing a super cute outfit I want to remember or doing something for the first time. Being the very proud first time mom that I am, it is very important for me to capture every single moment!

Olivia has a different agenda. She does not have time to stop and pose for me. I only get in the way of the many important things she is trying to do, like filling her shopping cart with toys or sorting her shapes. The only chance I have is to follow her around the house with my camera and snap away, hoping that out of 20 shots one will be a keeper. Thank goodness for digital pics that can easily be deleted. I would quickly go broke buying film, only to be disappointed that most of the pictures I took are of the back of her head or with her eyes closed.

With how active Olivia has become family pictures have become more and more difficult. She won't sit with Todd and I long enough for the shutter to click and the last thing she wants is for us to pick her up while we try to get her to smile for the camera. Just how difficult this can be became most apparent last weekend. We were all looking pretty decent on Easter (which doesn't happen very often). Obviously Olivia was looking the cutest in her adorable Spring dress. I so badly wanted a nice family picture. I did not think it would be too much to ask for Olivia to pose quickly with us. I guess I forgot who I was talking to. At first I was very frustrated with her, but it quickly turned to humor. I realized just how funny the whole situation was. Suddenly the idea of having a idyllic family photo was not so important, and the memory of the photos that resulted was much better!
There was just no way she was going to cooperate with us at that moment. I think part of the reason was because she was just given an Easter basket full of goodies that she wanted to check out. So since our photo shoot was a disaster Todd and I decided to jump into pictures with Olivia while she was playing. We knew it was the only way we were going to be able to have our picture taken with her that day.

So you think Todd and I would have gotten a clue from earlier in the day, but we tried one last time to get a family shot. After our Easter dinner and a very exhausting Easter egg hunt outdoors we thought Olivia would be a bit more subdued and willing to sit for a picture...WRONG! Now Todd and I have learned to just look at the camera and smile, hoping that Olivia will do the same and the perfect picture will be caught. Even with both of us posed and ready there was no chance Olivia was going to make the picture complete. And if by chance she did look at the camera then one of us either had our eyes closed or a silly look on our face. It was a joke but most definitely something we will always remember. So we don't have that perfect family picture from Easter...but we do have some pretty funny evidence of a photo shoot gone terribly wrong!

Oh, our delightful, but so very headstrong and stubborn! She definitely keeps things exciting, that's for sure! Hey, I can't expect too much from a one year old! I don't think picture taking is really at the top of her list right now. So for the time being I will just keep chasing her around the house and hope that someday before she leaves for college we are able to take a nice family photo!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

an "egg-cellent" easter

Despite the fact that it hardly reached 40 degrees, we had a wonderful Easter! I guess we could not expect the weather to be very nice considering how early Easter fell this year. I had a feeling that Olivia would have to be bundled up over her cute little dress. Oh well, that didn't stop us from having lots of fun! We found Olivia an adorable dress that we knew she could wear more than once. I am not into all of those frilly Easter dresses and let's face it...Olivia is not exactly a delicate little girl. The dress we found was very cute and can definitely be worn again. Add a cute little shrug to keep her warm, and the adorable hat my Aunt made and you have one cute little girl!
The day started with us attending church. We hesitated taking Olivia, knowing that it was going to be an extra-long service. Let's face it...she's one, and that is the last place in the world she wants to be. We wanted her to be with us since it is such a special service, so we were brave and gave it a shot. I must say that Olivia did quite well! I went prepared with lots of stuff to keep her occupied. We only had to excuse ourselves a couple of times so Olivia could run around the hallways of the church. I could not expect her to sit still for over an hour! She did enjoy all of the music and would clap and say, "yeah!" after each song. I was quite proud of how she handled herself!

After a much needed nap we decided to give Olivia her Easter basket. Trying to fill an Easter basket for a one year old is a bit challenging. She is too young for all of that candy and she already has every toy on the planet. We did manage to find a few fun things to toss in there and she enjoyed rummaging through her goodies.

Next it was over to Nana's house for more Easter fun. Olivia got another Easter basket full of goodies. She wasn't as thrilled with this basket and decided to turn her attention to her favorite thing to do at Nana's house...look through photo albums filled with pictures of herself. Is someone developing an ego?

Later that day we headed over to our close family friend's for an annual Easter feast. They are gracious enough to invite us over each year to be a part of their family celebration. The food is always amazing and they always have an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Last year Olivia was only 5 months old so we walked around and found her eggs for her. This year she got to hunt for them herself. I wasn't sure if she would be interested in, or understand the concept of the egg hunt, but she caught on right away! It was so cute watching her find her eggs and tossing them in her basket.

Chilly weather aside, she was successful in finding all of her eggs! I know she had fun because she was not happy when it was time to go inside. Although she was easily distracted when given another Easter basket by our very gracious hosts. If you are keeping track that is Olivia's third Easter basket of the day! Can we say spoiled? Between that a very annoying duck that sang the chicken dance song, Olivia was entertained for quite awhile.

In case I haven't mentioned before...Olivia can do one heck of a chicken dance. That is her dancing in the picture above, but I must post a video of it. The picture does not do the dance justice. You must see it for yourself. I will try to catch her doing her dance soon.

It was a fun, but long day! We were all exhausted and turned in early that night. The only disappointment was the fact that I was unable to get a nice family photo of the three of us. Not to say we didn't try. I am going to post pictures of our attempt at a nice family photo very soon, so check back. I promise lots of laughs! I hope you all had a very nice Easter. Now that it is officially Spring is it time for some sunshine and warm weather!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

so silly

So you all know what a bubbly personality Miss Olivia has. She developed a sense of humor very early on and has been making us laugh ever since. My Mom and I believe that she got her sense of humor from her Great Grandpa George. My Grandpa passed away exactly one week before Olivia was born. Although he would have adored Olivia, we believe that his life ended just in time for Olivia's to begin. And with his passing he passed along his sense of humor to our Olivia so that we would always be reminded of how funny and good hearted Grandpa George was. It makes me sad sometimes because I know that my grandpa would have enjoyed knowing his great granddaughter, but we have so many wonderful stories of him to share with her when she is older. In the meantime we take great comfort in seeing part of Grandpa George in Olivia every time she acts silly...which is quite often!

Olivia is always looking for ways to make us laugh. Whether it be the never-ending game of peek-a-boo...where she runs and hides only to pop out from around the corner, or her silly antics in the bath...which involve dumping water on her head and laughing. She also loves to wrestle on our bed...throwing herself down in what she likes to call "body slams". One of her newest games is to tickle us when we least expect it. There are times when her silliness makes us laugh when we shouldn' at dinner, or when she is being told not to do something. To show you what i mean I want to share some pictures of Olivia and her silly self. This silliness occurs on a daily basis, which makes this "mom thing" so much fun!

Let's start with bath time. She loves it! After throwing a million toys in the tub she entertains herself by dumping water on her head and splashing like crazy. When asked to blow bubbles she puts her face in the water and comes up with a big smile, although she hasn't actually mastered the task of blowing bubbles. And it is always fun to play around with her hair while it is wet....

Because Olivia loves the water we are going to start swimming lessons at the YMCA next month. Todd's brother has a pool and she loved floating around in it last year. We want to get her a little more comfortable with it so she can move on to more exciting things in the pool this year. OK, now onto the dinner situations that crack us up. As Olivia has gotten older her dinner habits have become, oh... should I say...less than perfect. There are nights when she eats everything on her plate and there are nights when hardly any food touches her mouth at all. I have learned not to stress out about this. If she is hungry she will eat. Trying to force her to eat is a complete and total waste of time and only makes dinner time unpleasant for all of us. On the rare occasion that she decides she absolutely loves something we are feeding her we get this reaction. This is Olivia LOVING mashed potatoes. She loved them so much she could not contain her excitement and a good portion ended up on her face!

Ahhhh...the joys of feeding a toddler! You just can't help but laugh! And finally I must show you how excited Olivia gets when we play peek-a-boo tag. Popping out from around the corner with the hope of catching me is one of her biggest thrills and produces some of the best smiles and laughs that come from her cute little face. The picture at the top of this post was caught the other night as I waited around the corner. She came around and I snapped...catching one of those amazing smiles. A very high pitch squeal came out with it, as she was very excited that I was waiting for her to "get me".

This game goes on and on, until I am just too tired to continue. It is hard to stop since the joy she gets from doing this kind of stuff is so amazing. This week Olivia and I were own our own while Todd attended a seminar in Indy for work. Needless to say he was not happy about leaving since he would be away from her longer than ever before. But he sure was happy to see her smiling face when he got back. She asked for him many times while he was gone, walking around the house saying, "Daddy, Daddy?" But while Todd was gone Olivia and I spent special mommy-daughter time together. I just cannot tell you how happy this child makes me!

I am so grateful that Olivia is such a happy child. Todd and I really lucked out! Baby #2 has a lot to live up to! And #2 is not happening any time in the immediate future. Although Olivia is so wonderful she definitely keeps us busy and it will be awhile before we are ready to handle another bundle of joy. In the meantime I will occupy my time with peek-a-boo tag and body slams on the bed. Works for me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

one lucky leprechaun

OK, so when it comes to St. Patty's Day I am pretty clueless. Here is what I know...I am 1/4 Irish...thanks to my super-Irish grandfather, George Sculley. I also know that St. Patrick's Day is the perfect excuse for bars to make a big deal out of selling green beer and food that is supposedly Irish. I must admit that it is a fun holiday and since Olivia is 1/8 Irish I thought it would be fun to make this little video.

I had a great deal of trouble posting the actual video so I had to settle with the link instead. You must click on One Lucky Leprechaun, it is sure to put a smile on your face. And yes...that is Olivia enjoying a nice green beer...her favorite!

Since part of my family is full Irish I have experienced some fun Irish things over the years. I can't say I am a big fan of the food...not exactly my cup of tea. But the one thing I really love are all of the great Irish toasts. I have heard many but this is my favorite...

There are short ships.
And there are long ships.
There are ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships.
May they ever be!

So for all of you Irish out there...Happy St. Patty's Day to ya!

Monday, March 10, 2008

say what?

First of all I am pleased to say that Olivia made it through this past week "injury-free"! Yeah for us! I, on the other hand did not. Livie's streak of bad luck must have rubbed off on me because on Tuesday morning I broke my toe! At least, I am pretty sure it is broken. I stubbed my pinky toe on the foot of the bed so hard that it brought me to the ground in pain. I was told there wasn't much that could be done for that type of injury other than buddy tape it and wait it out. So that is what i am doing. It is feeling better but it is still bruised and quite painful. I just hope that Todd is not next in line for accidents! Good grief!

In other news...Olivia turned 16 months last week and she is changing at the speed of light! Not only is she looking much more grown up, but she is acting more grown up as well. It's like she changed from a baby to a little girl overnight. And although I miss my tiny baby Olivia I absolutely love the little girl she has become. See what I mean...

Her little brain is like a sponge these days. She impresses us with new words and tricks each day! Along with these new developments come the ever-dreaded temper tantrums. I must start by saying that it is rare for Olivia to throw a full blown temper tantrum. In fact, I am not sure if she has actually had the type of melt down you only read out...thank goodness! She mainly just gets frustrated and does not yet know how to manage her emotions. We are trying to teach her patience and help her to understand that the world will not end if she is not able to get the puzzle piece in the right place. This is interesting coming from me...the most impatient person in the world! Let's just say that I am working on my patience as I teach Olivia how to manage hers. A few weeks ago she was having a very frustrating afternoon. For some reason her toys were upsetting her a great deal. I have no idea why but it gave me the perfect opportunity to catch a funny moment on video.

Again, I have no idea what this was about but it was fascinating to watch. It is impossible for us to know what goes on in their little heads, but on this day those toys were not cooperating with her and it was really ticking her off! Most of the time when Olivia does not get her way, or she is being told NO, she throws whatever she is holding at the time on the ground and whines. That is about as bad as it has gotten so far. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to help her manage her anger and frustrations so that we don't have to deal with anything worse than what you saw in the video! 99.9% of the time she is as happy as can be and focusing 100% on playing! She has quite the imagination!

What has amazed us the most lately is how extensive her vocabulary has gotten. She has many new words, close, broccoli, toys, door, cow, puppy, eyes, nose and book. She also has a few sayings that crack us up. When something excites her she say, "O Boy!" or "Wow". She has also started saying "Watch", when she wants us to look at her doing something. She says it over and over again until we turn our attention directly to her. There is still a lot of gibberish being spoken, which is impossible for Todd and I to understand. She makes the same sounds repeatedly but we just can't figure out what it means. We spend a lot of time saying to each other, "What did she say?" She clearly knows what she is saying to us, so we just pretend to understand. I wish I could hop into that little mind of hers and see what is going on in there!

Olivia is a huge fan of Sesame Street. We don't let her watch too much TV, but when she does that is our show of choice...which is fine with me. I watched it as a child and it is really neat to watch it with Olivia. They actually still show some of the same skits. And as many of you know Olivia has a huge obsession with Elmo. She has expended her interests a little further and can now name quite a few of the characters including...Erie, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar and Zoe. She can point them out anywhere whether it is in book, on the TV or at the mall. On a recent trip to the mall Olivia spotted a Erie and Bert firetruck ride and insisted on hopping in.

She is also great at naming body parts. She is a pro at face features and can point out her eyes, nose, ears, chin, forehead, cheeks, mouth, tongue, hair and lips. Livie loves pointing these things out on other people's faces as well. I am quite proud of our little one! Aside from learning so many new words lately she is becoming quite physical. Her newest trick is throwing and kicking a ball. I must say that I was shocked by how quickly she learned to kick. Her coordination is impressive. Who knows...maybe we have a little soccer star on our hands! She has also become very interested in the toy vacuum we gave her at Christmas. She loves to watch me vacuum and is now becoming quite good on her own. I think it may be time for Olivia to start doing chores!

Ok, enough bragging! You can't tell I am proud of her, can you? I am a first time Mom who is just loving every minute of watching this child grow up! One last quick story to share. Last weekend my Aunt Delia and her husband came to visit for the night. They moved from Florida to Bloomington not too long ago and we are thrilled that they now live so close. Delia is the one who has made so many wonderful things for Olivia! She is always working on something new and this time she brought Livie a hat. She said she did not like it when she finished it but wanted to give it to us anyway. It wasn't until we got it on Livie's head that we realized just how cute the hat really was!

We love it and Olivia loves it too! I am so glad that Delia didn't throw it away! Olivia wore it many different places that weekend and I cannot begin to tell you how many compliments we received from complete strangers! I think she looks like a flapper girl from the 1920's. So thank you Aunt Delia! As always your thoughtful gifts impress! It was great spending time with you and Brian and we hope to see you both again soon!

And finally, I want to send a big congrats to my friends Jill & Brian! They had a little baby girl on Monday...Madison Ruth. We are so happy for you! This is just one of many announcements I will be making in the upcoming months. It seems everyone is having a baby these days!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

a traumatic week

Yes, that it a shiner you see on Miss Olivia. More on that later.

The side effects of toddler hood are starting to be felt in our house. This became apparent after the traumatic week Olivia had to deal with. It all began with her very first visit to the dentist. A wonderful pediatric dentist was recommended to us and they suggested that Olivia come in for her first check-up. Not much typically happens on the first visit other than the doctor looking at her teeth to make sure all is well. When he asked if I had any questions I brought up the fact that one of her bottom teeth (next to the front two teeth) had yet to come in. This set of teeth typically come in at 7 months, and while one of them had come in on time the other one had yet to pop through. He thought that was odd and wanted to take a further look.

He started by just looking in her mouth. Obviously she was not too pleased to have a dental tool coming at her so it took a few of us to hold her down. I was trying to get her to relax but the doctor said not to worry about it, he deals with this type of thing every day. Well duh...he is a pediatric dentist! After checking things out he thought that we better take an X-ray to see what was going on with that tooth. Here I thought the initial exam was rough on Olivia...the X-ray seemed like torture. I laid back in the dentist chair with Olivia lying on me. I had to hold her arms down while they put the lead blanket over both of us. One nurse held her head still while another put something in her mouth. A third nurse positioned the x-ray machine and they took the shot. It took two tries because Olivia was thrashing around so much. Poor thing was scared out of her mind...I felt so bad! She cried harder than ever before! Luckily it was over in a flash. The nurse gave her a tooth bush and she was a happy girl!

So to sum up this very long story...Olivia has two teeth that are fused together. The tooth next to her bottom teeth is fused with the canine tooth. Since the canine teeth come in much later it is keeping the other tooth from coming through. So they will come in together as one tooth. The doctor said this is quite common and once the teeth come in it will look like two teeth. There is nothing that can be done for a many years, because we have to wait for those baby teeth to fall out. I guess there is a possibility it will not fall out on it's own and may need to be pulled (god I hope not!) And most likely her permanent teeth will come in just fine. The doctor will continue to keep an eye on it, but otherwise her first dental visit was a success! It was just a little more than I had bargained for. Oh well...just another thing that makes our Olivia so very special! One good sign is that Olivia loves to brush her teeth. So much so that she does not like me doing it...she would rather do it herself.

After our exhausting day at the dentist we concluded the evening with a bloody nose! While having dinner at my Mom's, like we do every Monday night, Olivia trips over her Nana's foot and falls face first on the hard wood floor! It was awful! She immediately went into one of those cries that starts with them holding their breath for 10 seconds before wailing, and then the blood started to flow. Needless to say I was freaked out of my mind! It was the first time my sweet baby had bled so naturally I panicked! I think I was scared more than she was. Fortunately we were able to get the blood to stop flowing fairly quickly and the tears ceased soon afterwards.

Well it didn't end there. Our week of trauma continued with me accidental letting a glass door close on Olivia's fingers. I could have died! We were leaving the baby sitter's house and I did not realize that Olivia had her hand in the door. The baby sitter called to me and as I turned around the door closed on her little hand. It pinched a few of her fingers pretty hard, causing her to go into another breathless cry! But my tough little monkey got over it within minutes! There is a bruise on one of her fingers as evidence of my irresponsibility! The guilt is still lingering on that one!

OK, so you would think that would be enough for one week. Well culminated with her shiner on Thursday! Unfortunately we do not know how to explain that one, which is not something we are proud of. While reading books in her room she suddenly burst into tears. We noticed that she had a small cut on the side of her eye, but it wasn't until the next day that we noticed the enormous bruise on her eyelid! Olivia spends a lot of time reading in her room without us around. She is very good and does not require constant supervision. We think we know what happened but aren't 100% sure. It was just a case of "accidents happen" and we are grateful that her eye was not more seriously hurt!

I am relieved to say that this week is over now. We are going to wake up on Monday morning, start fresh and try to avoid as many accidents as possible! I know that this stuff is more likely to happen now that Olivia is a active toddler, I guess I was just not fully prepared. This week helped me to become more aware and be more prepared for these types of accidents in the future. I must say that Olivia was a trooper through it all. She is such a strong, tough little girl. I am proud of her for hanging in there during such a traumatic week!

I have much more to update everyone on, but I will save it for another post. This one went on a tad bit longer than I expected. I can tell you that Olivia is developing so fast! She has tons of new words and new tricks! I will share them with you very soon. Until then, keep your fingers crossed for an "accident free" week!