Wednesday, May 28, 2008

so much to do... little time! At least that is how we have felt lately. We have been so busy. This past weekend was crazy! Lots of cook-outs and get-togethers. The weather was wonderful which made these occasions even more fun. On Sunday we were invited to Todd's boss's house for a cook-out. They have two young children so there were tons of toys for Olivia to play with. She was mainly fascinated with the outdoor playhouse. I think she spent most of the afternoon walking in and out, opening and closing the door, and peeking out of the windows. After watching how much she enjoys to play make believe Todd and I realized that it may be necessary to splurge and get one for her. She was also fascinated with their cute little dog. She would call for the dog to come into the house and would try to feed her O's. We will not be getting her one of those anytime soon though!

Olivia has really gotten into playing make believe lately. At home she is always going shopping with her shopping cart and groceries. She also enjoys pretending to feed her stuffed animals snacks and giving them drinks from her cup. At one of our cookouts this past weekend she found a doll and a stroller. She put the doll into the stroller, pretended to buckle the seat belt and then started pushing the doll around the yard. It was so cute to watch. It amazes me how she knows exactly what to do. These little ones really do comprehend more than we give them credit for.

We are also finishing up our swimming lessons. This Friday is our last lesson and we will be so sad to see it end. It has been such a fun activity for Olivia and I to do together. Every Friday evening to head to the Y to spend a half hour splashing around in the pool. I think these past couple months have helped Olivia to be more confident in the water. She was confident to begin with, but the lessons have taught her to do different things in the pool. She has mastered the art of kicking and paddling. She enjoys dipping backwards and putting the back of her head in the water and we have even gone completely under a few times! She was startled at first but didn't seem to mind being submerged. I think she is all ready to spend the summer splashing around Aunt Chris & Uncle VJ's pool...can't wait!

Although she has been busy with all of these "big girl" activities lately she has found time to regress. A few weeks ago she noticed her baby saucer in my Mom's garage. She was fascinated by it and insisted on getting in. I thought there was no way in the world she would fit, but I was wrong. For about five minutes she sat in this toy, that she probably has not sat in since she was 8 months old, and had a blast! It was like discovering a new toy all over again. She pushed all of the buttons and bounced up and down with great enthusiasm. It was too funny! Now every time she sees it she must play with it. Just when you think they have outgrown the baby toys...

There are a few other things Olivia has been up to lately, but I am going to save those for my next post. She is becoming a "big girl" more and more each day. She is so busy and there is just not enough time in each day to do all of the fun things we want to do. Thank goodness she is a good sleeper, because at the end of a busy day we have one tired girl on our hands! Life as a toddler is hard work!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

the big 3-0!

Most of you know that on May 7th I turned 30. I had mixed feelings about this one. Many people have told me that their life really began at 30. That they had spent their 20's trying to figure out just who they were and by the time they turned 30 they had it all figured out. After getting over the initial shock of never again being able to say I was in my 20's, I totally understood what everyone had been telling me. I am exactly where I want to be at 30. I have an amazing husband and we have started the most amazing family. We have a house, both have decent jobs and we are surrounded by tons of loving friends and family. So when you look at the big picture, turning 30 really ain't all that bad!

Last weekend was a weekend full of celebrations. As I explained in my previous post I had a bunch of family coming into town to celebrate birthdays, a graduation and Mother's Day. What I didn't know is that a big part of the reason so many people came into town was to be a part of my surprise birthday party! My Mom and Todd were very sneaky and managed to pull off the most amazing party at Chappell's on Broadway. They lured me there by making me think we were going out for a big family dinner to celebrate all of our special occasions. But when we arrived there were about 40 people waiting for me. I was speechless! There was a special menu for the guests to order from and a bar serving beer and wine all night. And to top it all off there was a delicious strawberry birthday cake that was too yummy for words! Before dinner was served I made the rounds to talk to all of my special guests. I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

The next day was Mother's Day. Luckily enough everyone's flights were not until later in the day and a few of them were even cancelled so we were able to spend one more day together. My Mom hosted a nice brunch with amazing always! My Aunt Sue received her Mothers' Day gift the week before...a Nintendo Wii. She brought it along so we could all play. It was my first experience with the Wii and boy was it a blast. We spent a lot of time that weekend trying to beat each other in bowling, tennis and boxing. I have never been much into video games but this is very cool. It is a video game that actually makes you be active. Gee, what a clever idea. The highlight of the weekend was watching my Mom and Aunt Sue box each other.

I wish I had video of Olivia's imitation of boxing. After watching her Nana and Aunt Sue Sue throwing their arms around she pretended to do the same thing. It was very funny! Olivia spent most of the weekend acting shy and hiding from her family members. We have a small photo album with all of their pictures that we show her regularly. I do believe that it helped her recognize who everyone was and warm up to them quicker. She warmed up to her Aunt Sue Sue very fast. They were best friends within minutes after her arrival. Just as she was really warming up to everyone the weekend was over. But we will be taking a trip out to California in July to visit Aunt Sue Sue. We can't wait!

This Mother's Day was extra special because we had four generations of women all Grandmother, my Aunt and Mom, myself and Olivia! It was a very special weekend and I was sad to see it come to an end.

OK, time for an Olivia update. I realized that it has been awhile since I have talked about all of the new and exciting things Olivia has been up to. Let me tell you...she is one busy little girl. A few weeks ago we went for her 18 month check-up. She weighs 28 lbs. 4 oz. and is 33 inches long...hanging on in the 90th percentile in both categories. That's my girl!

Her vocabulary is astounding. She is putting lots of different words together to make mini-sentences. Her newest phrase is "Hi, how are you?" but she says, "Hi, how you?". She says this to everything and everybody. Most of the time she says it to inanimate objects. Like, "Hi cheese, how you?". It cracks us up! But the cutest is when she says it to Todd or sweet! She has also started to sing "Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star" with us. She has her own version of course, but she surprisingly gets many of the words right. She is also able to count to 10! I was shocked! If I start her out by saying one, she can continue all the way to is amazing! All I have to say is, thank you Sesame Street. Obviously we count with her when we read books or play with our toys, but I honestly believe she has learned the numbers faster by watching that show. It is her favorite show and really the only show she ever watches. And finally, we have taught her to say "I Love You!". First we point to ourselves, then cross our hands over our heart and finally point to the person we are talking to. When she does it back I just melt.

She is growing at the speed of light. I want it to slow down. At this rate my sweetie is going to be heading off to college and I am going to wonder how time managed to pass by so quickly. I do know that we are having the time of our lives with this little one and I think it is only going to get better. So far the big 3-0 feels pretty good!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

thank you mom

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mom's out there! I hope everyone was able to spend today with their mom's, daughters, aunts...or anyone who is a mom. I was fortunate to be able to spend today (the whole weekend in fact) with my Mom, two aunts, my Grandmother and my sweet Olivia...along with lots of other friends and family. It was a wonderful weekend full of surprises and fun! I will explain everything in my next post. But today, on Mother's Day, I want to talk about how lucky I am to have the most amazing mother and to be the mother to the most amazing little girl.

I really cannot put into words just how much my Mom means to me. She has been there for me every step of the way as I have grown up and become a Mom myself. She has always gone above and beyond to make me and those close to her feel special. She helped me get through high school by editing many of my English papers. She paid my way through college and once again helped to edit many of my journalism papers. She threw me the most amazing wedding a girl could ever ask for, and just this past weekend she threw me a surprise 30th birthday party that was as classy as it gets! On top of that she is the best Nana to Olivia and that means more than anything else. She is my best friend and I although I may not show it as much as I should believe me...I know how lucky I am.

Now that I am a mother I can see why she did all of those things for me. I also have a new found respect for her and everything that she gave up for me. Now instead of seeking help on papers I turn to her for advice and support on "mommy things". This is my second Mother's Day with Olivia and each year I am even more amazed by just how great it is to be a mother to this child. She brings so much joy and happiness into my life and I cannot imagine my life without her in it. My life was good before she came along but now it is near perfection. I look at her and hope that I am able to be there for her like my mother has been there for me. I hope to be able to provide her with all of the amazing things my mother has provided to me. But most of all I hope that she grows up to respect and love me as much as I love my Mom.

I got tons of hugs and kisses from Olivia today. She may not know that today is Mother's Day but that is OK. Because in her world every day is Mother's Day. I can feel that in the way that she squeezes me when she hugs me. I can hear it in her voice when she calls me from across the house..."Mommmmmyyyyyy!". And although Todd gave me a very nice plant and very sweet cards today, no gifts were necessary. I get the absolute best gift of all every day of my life...I am Olivia's Mommy! It doesn't get much better than that!

Monday, May 05, 2008

a growing girl and the great outdoors

Yesterday was a special day. Olivia turned 18 months old! I can hardly believe that a year and a half has already passed with her. We have done so much and seen her change in so many ways in such a short amount of time. It has been an amazing year and a half and I am so proud of where Olivia is at developmentally. In some ways I expected her to still be more like a baby at 18 months, but instead she is a full blown little girl! She does and says more than I would have ever expected at this age and her independence is frightening at times. She definitely keeps us on our toes but it is all so much fun! Things have been even more exciting now that we are able to spend so much more time outdoors. And with the spring weather comes the beautiful flowers. Olivia enjoys the flowers as well but is much more concerned with tearing across the yard. Check out this beautiful tulip that I just had to cut to bring inside!

Last week Todd and I went shopping for outdoor toys. The big things on our list included a wagon and a slide. It was a hectic evening, as we ran from store to store trying and find exactly what we were looking for, but we were successful. We have only had the wagon one week and we have already gotten our money's worth out of it. Olivia loves it! It has little bucket seats with seat belts and a little bit of extra storage. Perfect for walks to the park or through the neighborhood. Before we had a chance to take it outside Olivia jumped right in while it was still in the living room. Needless to say she was beyond excited!

We also got her a climb and slide. She loves to go down slides and this was the perfect size for her to be able tackle all by herself. It was chilly the day after we bought it but we could not wait any longer to put it together for her. Todd had it assembled in minutes and before he was done Olivia was on her way up. She was a little nervous at first but after a few times she had it down pat. She can now climb up all by herself and slide down like a pro. One week later she is so good at it that I am afraid she is going to tire of it very easily and soon want something bigger and better. Well for now she is entertained and it is lots of fun watching her play. Watch the pro in action...

We take walks quite often. Olivia doesn't care if she is in her stroller or the wagon. As long as we are outdoors she is happy. Lately we have started taking her to playgrounds. Although she is still too small to master most of the playground equipment she definitely tries. And with a little bit of help she is able to enjoy most of it. A school close to us has an amazing play ground. We took a nice long walk there yesterday so Olivia could enjoy the beautiful sunshine. She has such a great time climbing, sliding and running around. We just have to watch her every second because if we blink she is half way up a ladder or trying to come down a slide. Although I am impressed with how coordinated she is.

Even though she is very brave she does get a little scared with the big slides (thank goodness!). As long as one of us goes down with her she is totally comfortable. She usually shows her excitement with a big "weeeeeeee" all the way down!

So as you can see we are enjoying every second of the great outdoors. I am looking forward to a fun spring and summer, but I think we still have a few chilly days ahead of us before that nice weather will be here to stay. So for now I am looking forward to a fun weekend. This Wednesday I turn 30! Yes, I know...I am getting old. I am not quite sure how I feel about this milestone. Ask me on Wednesday I guess. But I am excited to spend the weekend with lots of family. My aunt and uncle are flying in from California (my uncle shares my birthday). Their son (my cousin) is graduating from IU this weekend so he is driving up to see his parents and spend time with us. My grandmother and uncle are driving in from Michigan and it just so happens that my other uncle's birthday is this weekend too. On top of that it is Mother's Day and there will be lots of moms around. Needless to say we have a ton to celebrate and it will be great to see everyone! Now I must go mourn my 20's, which are about to come to an end!