Wednesday, April 23, 2008

growing pains

This past week was very challenging! As Olivia approaches 18 months she is giving us an early taste of the terrible two's. I know...you are asking, "Olivia, terrible? It cannot be true." Well I thought we were going to be lucky enough to have a child who doesn't throw tantrums. What sort of fantasy world was I living in? Lately Todd and I have seen a glimpse of Olivia getting frustrated and angry but it was like she transformed into a completely different child last week. In fact I can tell you the exact day I noticed a change...last Friday. Weird, huh? Well it's true. Last Friday she started acting differently when not getting her way.

For those of you who know Olivia and see her on a regular basis you know that she is a very happy, loving and outgoing little girl. What you may not know is that she is also very stubborn, extremely strong-willed and enormously independent! I think that her recent change in behavior is just her way of expressing her feelings without knowing how to do that calmly.

The big change seems to have happened on the day of her very first swimming lesson. The lesson itself was great! She had a blast in the pool and was so brave it scared me. All of the other children were holding onto their parents for dear life while my child was trying to pry loose from my arms. I think she thought she would be able to swim on her own but I had to convince her that she needed to hold onto Mommy while in the pool. This kid loves the water!

What Olivia could not understand is why the lesson had to come to an end. When it was time to get out of the pool she began to throw a fit like I have never seen before. I could hardly hold onto her and she was crying hysterically. I tried everything I could to calm her but nothing worked. She got so angry that she hit me! I was in shock! I have seen her hit the floor and her toys in frustration but this was the first time that she hit me in anger. After explaining to her that hitting Mommy is unacceptable she cried even harder. Needless to say I rushed her into the locker room and got us both changed so we could get the heck out of there! It was a nightmare!

We spent the rest of the weekend and this past week trying to help Olivia work through her frustrations (without hitting!). It was frustrating for me because I have never seen her act this way before and I was unsure exactly how to handle these situations. After speaking with a few people, including the director of the Montessori school she will be attending in the fall, I received some very helpful suggestions. I was made aware of the fact that Olivia is finally starting to realize that she is a separate being from me. She has her own emotions, likes and dislikes. With that change comes the change in her behavior. I now know how to talk to her when she is having a tantrum and certain things to do to avoid tantrums all together. Even in the past few days I have noticed a change.

Because Olivia enjoys every little life experience to the fullest she has a hard time dealing with those activities coming to an end. The biggest trouble we have with her is when we have to stop doing something she is enjoying, like coming indoors after playing in the yard or leaving the pool when the swimming lesson is over. I was told that it is important to give her advance warning that these activities will soon be ending and let her know what to expect next. The tantrums occur when we abruptly stop doing something. It makes sense and I can understand why she would get upset. It is my job to help her deal with the fact that good things must come to an end.

So it has been a rough week but the good moments have definitely out-weighed the bad! Now that Spring seems to be in full swing we have been able to spend more time outdoors. This past weekend was the opening of the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Olivia's great-aunt gave us a season pass once again this year for Christmas (thanks Aunt Sue Sue). We were dying to take Olivia this year now that she knows the names of the animals. I was anxious to see how she would react to them in person. She had a blast! Her favorites animals were the kangaroos and the monkeys. Here she is seeing a kangaroo for the first time...very fascinated!

And then there were the monkeys. They were super active that day...chasing each other around and even taking time for a little hanky-panky (I covered Olivia's eyes for that part).

As she watched them from the sidelines she shouted over and over again, "Hi Monkeys!". I think she wanted to jump in there and run around with them! Just listen to her laugh...

We look forward to lots of fun times at the zoo this summer. It is a great place to spend the day or even just an hour. That's the great thing about the zoo pass! Not to mention it is a great place for Olivia to learn about many different animals. So much fun!

So I guess the hardest part of this past week has been to face the fact that my little girl is growing up. The growing pains that she is experiencing are just normal changes in becoming a more self sufficient human being. It is Todd's and my job, as parents to help her though this tough time. So while Olivia is starting to learn how to handle disappointment and her frustrations, we are learning how to deal with the fact that our baby is now a little girl! I better buckle up cause it may be a bumpy ride!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more to brag about

Ok, I have to brag just a little bit more about Olivia's recent photo shoot for Matilda Jane Clothing. She was featured on another post on the MJC blog yesterday. Yep, that's Livie's tush you see above. To see a few more pics and hear what people think about her chubby knees, check out this post. Again, all of these great pics are thanks to the amazing Betsy!

She has also been added to the online Look Book, featuring the 2008 Home Grown Collection. You can see Olivia's photos as well as all of the other adorable children modeling the adorably cute and unique MJC designs. These clothes rock!

So I think it's possible that Olivia's small taste of the modeling world has gone to her head. Ever since the day of the shoot she has requested to wear her sunglasses whenever we leave the house. It doesn't matter if the sun is shining or not...she wants to wear them. The funny thing is that she actually leaves them on! I think we have a true diva on our hands! Who knows what she will be requesting next! Doesn't she look like a little rock star? No autographs please! Cracks me up!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

featuring Olivia


Now that Betsy has processed most of Olivia's photos from the Matilda Jane Clothing photo shoot they are starting to pop up on a few blogs.

You can check out "Bursting the Bubble" on the Matilda Jane blog and "Matilda Jane Project: Olivia’s shoot" on Betsy's blog.

Feel free to leave comments on both of these blogs. I know that the artists would greatly appreciate hearing from you. I know that I cannot praise them enough for the wonderful work they do in the area of clothing design and photography. They are both VERY talented!

Stayed turned for more pics!

Monday, April 14, 2008

almost famous

Last week Olivia got to play the part of aspiring model and take part in a photo shoot! She was asked to model a few outfits from the Matilda Jane Clothing line. If you are not familiar with this local clothing designer you must check out her website! She makes clothes for girls and women and they are amazing!

Let me explain how this all came about. Remember Betsy? Well she was the one who took Olivia's one year pictures. In case you forgot how great those turned out you can re-visit this post from December of last year. Since then Betsy has started her own photography business...Betsy & John Photography. Things have been going very well for her and she recently start doing commercial work on top of portraits. (I highly recommend her if you are looking for a photographer to help you capture a special moment in your life!) Anyway, Betsy contacted us looking for help. She received a job from Denise (the super-creative owner of) Matilda Jane Clothing and needed some tiny tots to help show off some of her amazing designs. I guess Denise had seen the pictures Betsy took of Olivia last year and requested her. That is a huge complement to Betsy and to Miss Olivia! Needless to say we were honored to help out!

So last week we met Betsy at Latitudes...a super cool flower store in town. It was the perfect place for the shoot and luckily enough the weather cooperated. It turned out to be quite warm that day, which allowed Betsy to take many of the shots outdoors and for Olivia to be comfortable in the summer outfits. She got to show off three different outfits and each one was cuter than the next! It was such fun watching Betsy snap shots of Livie as she ran around exploring all of the fun things throughout the store. Olivia found these two plastic duck watering cans and held onto them the entire time. Betsy just ran back and forth trying to get the shots she needed. I was a little nervous about how the shoot would go considering how active Olivia is these days. She can hardly hold still long enough for me to snap a simple picture at home. Betsy was quite tired from chasing Olivia but she thought she got what she needed.

Betsy promised to send me a few shots ASAP so I could share them with my blog readers. Last night she sent me this sneak peek. I was speechless when I saw these. Man...Betsy is good!

Just when I thought my sweet little Olivia could not get any more beautiful I see these photos. I know I am quite biased, since I am her mother, but she takes my breath away! Didn't I tell you the outfits were cute? I guess a few of the photos Betsy took will be featured on the Matilda Jane Clothing website very soon. As soon as that happens I will let you know and will post a link. Denise has shared some of the other photos Betsy took for her on her blog. They are all wonderful! Matilda Jane is in the process of launching a boys line also, called...the Mighty Acorns. I think it is only fair that the little boys get to wear cute stuff too!

This was such a cool opportunity. I will have more photos to share from our photo shoot in the near future. Not only was it fun to have another photo session with Betsy, but it was great to be able to help out a local entrepreneur. Thanks to Denise for making us a part of this project and to Betsy for giving us some of the most beautiful pictures of our daughter!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

loving life!

What a fun weekend it was! We didn't do a whole lot but we had a blast with Olivia. For the first time in a very long time we finally saw a glimpse of some nice weather. It reached 60 degrees and the sun was shining (it's about time!). So we took advantage and got out of the house. The thing that made our average weekend so special was watching Olivia as she took in every moment and responded with total joy! Her innocence is so humbling and the feeling I get as I watch her experience things for the first time is indescribable. She is loving life right now and I am loving the opportunity to experience it all again through her eyes!

She is more active than ever right now. So with the sun shining we decided to take her to a local park near our house. On the way I realized that I forgot my camera but we were too excited to turn around. So unfortunately I have no pictures to show of our fun on the swings and slides. The ground was still a little mushy from the tons of snow we got over the winter so we stuck to the playground area. Olivia immediately started smiling when she saw the swings so we knew it was a good place to start. If it was up to her she would be completely content having Todd and I push her all day long. After dragging her away from the swing we made our way to the slide. She went down with Mommy most of the time since she is still too small to handle it on her own. It was a blast but she was not pleased when we decided to pack up. So we made our way to TCBY for an ice cream treat, which helped to ease her pain a bit. It was a great afternoon!

Today we went to a Wizards baseball game. My boss at the gym invited us to join them in the suite that they had for today's game. It is the perfect way to see a game, especially if you have a little one. Not to mention, the weather was gorgeous...the perfect day for a ball game! Now Olivia has been to a baseball game before but she was only 8 months old at the time. Considering it was a Yankees game in New York, this experience would not be quite as exciting. Regardless, she enjoyed herself immensely! When we first arrived she was quite fascinated with the field and all of the people, so she just stood and took it all in.

The rest of the day she went back and forth between sitting outside and running around the indoor suite. The Wizard's mascot is a big green dragon named Dinger. It is a friendly looking dragon, so I thought Olivia would like him. Boy was I wrong! She saw him from a distance and thought he was pretty neat, but then he came into the suite and her feelings changed drastically! I think seeing him up close freaked her out and she immediately burst into tears. She wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible. I tried not to laugh, but it was quite funny. Of course as soon as he left she was fine and she was looking at him across the park, waving and calling his name. Go figure! That traumatic event aside, it was another fun afternoon!

So in other news Olivia is growing up much faster than I ever thought possible! She is now a pro at using a fork. She had been working on stabbing her food for quite awhile and a few weeks ago it all clicked and now she has got it down! She has decided all together that she no longer wants to be fed. If she is going to eat she is going to do it on her own, and she will not allow Todd or I to feed her. She is still working on mastering the technique of the spoon, but I feel that is not far behind. Just look at her go...

Before I go I must share one last picture with you. Most of you know that until a few months ago Olivia was surrounded by many, many boy cousins (8 to be exact). But thanks to Todd's brother Barry, Olivia finally has a girl cousin to pal around with. Considering Ella is only a few months old it may be awhile before they are able to play together, so in the meantime Olivia will continue to rely on her boy cousins to provide endless entertainment. Last weekend Olivia's cousin Jake stopped with his dad for a visit. Of course Olivia has to do the weird, hide behind mommy's leg game for a few minutes whenever anyone comes over, but within seconds she was throwing herself all over Jake and putting on a show. It is fun to watch them play together even though Jake is much older than she is. She truly loves her cousin Jake which is quite apparent in this picture...

How cute is that? This child has so much love to give...it's crazy! She is so affectionate and I am just eating it up! I know I may be naive to think that she will always be this innocent and loving, but right now I am hoping that she always remains this happy, bright-eyed little girl that just loves life!