Tuesday, September 30, 2008

feeling sentimental

With the big move a little over one week away I am starting to feel a little sentimental about leaving our house. Don't get me wrong, we are SO excited to be moving to a bigger, more updated home but we have created a lot of memories here and it will be sad to leave them behind. I think the thing that is bothering me the most is the fact that we will be tearing Olivia away from the only home she has ever known. She has a beautiful nursery that was designed for her by her godmother and one of my closest friends, Korrie. As you can see Korrie is amazingly talented and created a room that fit Olivia perfectly, even though we did not know what we were having. If I could take the room with me to the new house, I would! But I think that this beautiful room was one of the strongest selling points of our house, which helped it sell so quickly. The family moving in has an eight month old little boy and I hear they just loved the room when they saw it for the first time!

There was so much time and effort put into this room and I felt so lucky to be able to provide my daughter with a gorgeous room that was all hers. She has enjoyed many hours of playing, reading and sleeping in this room. We have shared some late nights with Olivia in this room when she wasn't feeling well or would wake up in the middle of the night upset. We have spent many hours sitting in the rocking chair reading numerous books to her. We have had lots of fun rolling around on the floor and playing in her little "fantasy land" of a bedroom. I am not sure how she will react the first night she has to sleep in a new room that is MUCH larger than she is used to and just does not feel like "home" yet. I am prepared for a middle of the night freak-out. No fear, Olivia's godmother already has amazing ideas for her new bedroom and I am so anxious to see them come to life. In fact Olivia's bedroom will probably be one of the first rooms we focus on in the new house.

With only a short time remaining for Olivia to enjoy her beautiful bedroom I decided to take some pictures of her in her most comfortable space. I thought it would be nice to be able to show her what was created for her one day, since she will probably never remember what her room looked like. Oh, that makes me so sad.

This past Sunday we were hanging out with Olivia in her room while she played and she decided to sing us a few songs. I quickly grabbed my camera and tried to catch some of it on video. She starts off by singing one of her favorites, "Itsy-Bitsy Spider", but towards they end she switches gears and starts singing something that I am not familiar with. It is probably one of the many songs she sings at school that I do not know. It is great memories like these that we will take with us...

So thank you, Korrie for making Olivia' s first bedroom so special and memorable! I am looking forward to seeing what you create for her next. I am sure it will, once again, be something special that she will be able to enjoy for many years to come.

We did find some time to do some fun things as a family this past weekend. On Sunday we attended the opening festival of our neighborhood pumpkin patch. We took Olivia to the pumpkin patch last year and had fun picking out a few small pumpkins. We thought we would make it a tradition and allow her to pick out a few more this year too. I wanted her to be able to choose from pumpkins that were more her size. They have cute little names for the smaller pumpkins too, calling them "spookies" and "wee-be-little" pumpkins. Olivia was all about picking out a few "spookies" for herself. They even gave us some stickers to take home so that Olivia could decorate her pumpkins with funny faces.

They had pumpkins of all sizes at the patch and she was quite fascinated with the big ones. I was amazed at the size of some of them, but the bigger they were the less round and perfect they were too. Olivia was much happier with her small, perfectly round little pumpkins.

After buying our spookies we walked around the festival and enjoyed the beautiful day. I wanted to snap as many pictures outdoors as possible since I know these nice days will be ending soon. Later that afternoon we downtown to Headwaters Park to enjoy the Sunday in the Park with Jazz event hosted by NIPR, a local radio station. We went last year and relaxed in the park while listening to some nice music and we thought we would check it out again this year. We had a nice time and Olivia was thrilled to find a drawing table sponsored by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. We mainly just relaxed in the shade and enjoyed the nice weather. My Mom came along with us and her friend Cindy joined us as well. Some of the music was really nice and I just love how Olivia looks like she is really "feeling" the music in this picture...

It was a really nice day and I am so glad we were able to take part in these fun local events. Now it is crunch time. We have a busy weekend ahead with tons of packing to do. I am waiting until the last minute to start tearing apart Olivia's room. We have told her that we are moving and when I ask her what color she wants her new room to be she starts naming every color she knows. For now we are going to enjoy the final days in our house and get ready to start the next chapter in our new house! Chances are I won't be blogging again before the move so it may be awhile before you hear from me again. Stay tuned, I promise to update as soon as I can!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the perfect distraction

I feel like our impending move is hanging over our heads like a black cloud. I am often asked if I am looking forward to moving and my usual answer is, "NO". That is the truth too. Although I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in our beautiful new house I am definitely not looking forward to moving. I have been doing a little more packing of my own lately but it still feels like we have a TON to do. Yuck...I can think of a million other things I would rather do. Luckily we had some great distractions this weekend, to help lift our stress.

On Saturday we attended the Fall Family Picnic. at Olivia's new school, Three Rivers Montessori. It was the first official event of the new school year and we were really looking forward to it since it was our first event at the school since Olivia started. I took on the responsibility of being on the planning committee. I told myself when we signed Olivia up at the school that I wanted to be an involved parent. I signed up for the picnic committee because I thought it would be a good way to meet some of the other parents and it probably would not be a huge commitment. Aside from helping to organize the food area and set up the night before there was not much involved. It turned out to be a great event!

The picnic started with tons of great homemade food. People brought so many interesting and yummy things. After lunch Olivia ventured out to the playground to tackle the slide. Our brave girl did not waste any time climbing to the top of the highest play set on the playground. She was anxious to go down the slide but realized that she had to wait her turn. Surprisingly she patiently waited until it was her turn, something she has no doubt learned since starting school. I love seeing her take the things she is learning and put them into action. Just another way in which our little girl is growing up. Once it was her turn she would announce loudly, "MY TURN", I guess making sure that everyone was aware that it was in fact, her turn. It cracks me up how Olivia announces every little thing she does. It is like having a sports commentator in your life...very funny!

After she was done with the playground we headed down to the barn to decorate Olivia's wagon for the Parade of Wheels. Each child brought a bike, wagon or something on wheels to use in the parade. There was a great decorating station that allowed the kids to personalize their transportation. I helped Olivia spruce up her wagon with stickers, streamers and balloons. It was quite spiffy! To conclude the picnic the parade of wheels paraded around the school's campus.

Parents and teachers lined the parade route so the kids could wave and show off their fancy wheels. It was a sea of colorful bikes and wagons and it was a fun way to end the picnic. Olivia was winding down at this point. It was way past nap time so by the time the parade started she was content to just relax in her wagon while I pulled her along.

We had a great time at the picnic and we look forward to lots of other fun events at the school. I spent the rest of the weekend freaking out about how I was going to get this house packed up in time. By Sunday afternoon I realized that I had to get out of the house for awhile and forget about all things related to moving. We decided to take Olivia to the zoo. We have been to the zoo a million times this year already, but this trip was really fun. We decided to let Olivia walk the zoo by herself without the stroller. She did great! She listened very well and stayed close to us. It was nice for her to be able to explore the zoo at her own pace. As usual we rode the carousel. We just can't take a trip to the zoo without riding the carousel anymore. Because it was quite warm that day we took a break and shared an ice cream cone. Needless to say Olivia really enjoyed that! Before leaving she found the train and had to explore it for awhile. It was a really fun afternoon.

It was a great weekend (when I was not thinking about moving). I cannot believe that we will be leaving this house in less than three weeks. There is still so much to do, but everyone assures me that it will get done. Until then we are so grateful to have Olivia in our lives. She truly is the perfect distraction.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

say cheese!

Not much going on in the Menor household right now...except A LOT of cheese! Olivia's favorite thing to do right now, when the camera is on her, is to flash the biggest, cheesiest grin she's got. To go along with that grin a big, "CHEESE!" usually follows. It is cute but it makes for quite a few silly pictures lately. I have heard from lots of other mom's that their kids went through this phase too, where all they wanted to do was make a silly face when they saw a camera. Oh well, I guess we will just have lots of pictures that look like this for awhile...

When I said that there wasn't much happening right now, I wasn't being completely truthful. As most of you know we are in the process of packing up our lives so that we can move to our new house in mid-October. We have packed quite a bit so far...well, my Mom has packed quite a bit, if I am being honest. (I really hate it!). We are getting to the point where we can't pack much else because things are still being used. There is going to be a lot of last minute packing happening, I'm afraid. So right now seems to the the calm before the storm. Most of the house stuff is done, like inspections, mortgage paperwork, etc. Now we just wait for closing and for the moving day. We are excited but we are also starting to get a little sad about leaving the place we have called home for so many years. It will be hard.

We have been successful in making sure that it is business as usual for Olivia. School is going great! She LOVES it! Each day when I pick her up she is excited to tell me about her day. I have seen so many changes in her in the short time she has been going. She comes home doing things that I have never seen her do before and I am amazed by how quickly she is catching on to what she is being taught. She loves to wash her hands now and asks to do it quite often. We are working on teaching her the right times to wash her hands, like before dinner and after sitting on the potty. She is working on her potty training at school too, by sitting on the "toilet" each day. She now asks to sit on the toilet at home and does not want anything to do with her little potty. She also loves to flush the toilet when she is finished. Potty training in general has not been very successful lately. She seems to be too busy to take the time to sit on the potty. So as she does her business in her diaper she announces her actions by shouting loudly, "I'M POOPIN'". This usually takes place while she is hiding behind a couch or in another room. It's too funny! I am certain that she could be using the potty if she wanted to, but right now she is too busy to stop and take the time. Hopefully that will change soon. She may not have the potty thing down yet, but just look at her...she just looks so grown up (and proud) with her back pack on, ready for another day at school!

Last weekend we took a trip to Muskegon, Michigan to visit Olivia's Great Nana Cleo. We were looking forward to getting away for the weekend and taking Olivia to the beach at Lake Michigan. We were greatly disappointed when it rained the ENTIRE time we were there. Other a ten minute break, it literally rained every second. It was such a bummer! There is not a lot to do in Muskegon when the weather is bad. We had to get creative during our visit so Olivia would not get stir crazy. It was tough at times, but I think she had fun with her Nana Cleo and Great Uncle John. She did get to play in the rain, which she loved! Otherwise, we mostly played indoors. Here is Olivia playing dominos with her great uncle and giving him a nice hair do'. I so badly wanted to take her to the beach. I guess we will have to try again next year.

So we are enjoying our final weeks in our house. I am trying not to think of how hectic things will become as we get ready to move. I desperately want to wake up one morning, all moved in with our new house fully decorated. A girl can dream...right? Any time I start to feel stressed out I will just take a break, look at Miss Olivia saying "CHEESE!" and voila!, everything will be fine!

Monday, September 08, 2008

muy inteligente

Ok, so Olivia is on her third week of school and we are already noticing a difference in her behavior. She is saying "thank you" constantly. She was saying it before, but she usually had to be prompted. Now she says it on her own and she says it all of the time. We always try and say "your welcome" but if we happen to forget she will continue to say "thank you" until we notice and respond with an appropriate "your welcome". How very polite she has become!

She has also been coming home singing songs that I am completely unfamiliar with. She says, "mommy, sing!" and sadly, I have to tell her that Mommy does not know that song. I plan on asking her teacher to send home the lyrics of the songs they sing so I can participate with Olivia when she decides to start singing songs that I don't know. She comes home each day talking about all of the things she has done at school. I just love picking her up and hearing her talk about her day. I am so glad that we decided to enroll her in this school. She has a brain like a sponge and she picks things up so quickly. This school will challenge her and that is just what she needs. It suits her perfectly!

So our little smarty pants has been surprising us quite a bit lately. Although she seems to be learning things in school we have managed to teach her a few things as well. Out of the blue one day Todd thought it would be fun to try and teach her to count to 10 in Spanish. After a few tries she was repeating the numbers to us and by the next week she was reciting them on her own without any help. How in the world did she manage to learn that so quickly? All I can think of is that she has really strong memorization skills. Not a bad skill to have, I guess! Check out our little senorita for yourselves...

Olivia also LOVES to sing songs...or "rhymes", as she calls them. I once told her that the songs she likes were called nursery rhymes and since then she has referred to her songs as "rhymes". We almost always listen to nursery rhymes while we are in the car. She has her favorites and develops new favorites as she learns the words to new songs. One of her recent favorites is, "One-Two Buckle My Shoe". She likes when I start each phrase of the song so she can finish it. We do this with about every song we sing. I wanted to share another video with you. This time it is of Olivia singing, "One-Two Buckle My Shoe"...enjoy!

So as you can see Olivia is really developing mentally. She surprises us each day with all that she knows and comprehends. Needless to say, we are super proud of her. She has adjusted to school with such ease, and that is enough to make any mommy and daddy proud! In two short months my sweetie will be turning two! How is that even possible? What is even harder to believe is that in two months we will be living in our new house! There is so much that needs to be done. I better stop writing and get back to packing!

Before I go...the pictures that are spaced throughout this post show Olivia in her adorable Matilda Jane knot dress. Some of you may remember that last spring Olivia did a little photo shoot for Matilda Jane Clothing. We became hooked on the clothes and had to get her a few pieces. I have been waiting a long time for her to finally fit into this dress, and finally she does! Isn't it wonderful?

Monday, September 01, 2008

what a week

Here are a few words that sum up the past week...

exciting, scary, overwhelming, stressful, shocked and proud

Why so many emotions in one week? Well we made an offer on a new house, put ours up for sale, sold our house and Olivia started school! Yes, it has been a jam packed week, but full of exciting things. Luckily we had the weekend to wind down a bit. Here is how things have unfolded...

We have been looking at houses lately...thinking it may be time to move. We have outgrown our cute little starter house and realized that it is time to upgrade. What we weren't thinking is that it would happen this soon. We started looking at a few houses and stumbled across one that we just could not get out of our minds. After looking at the house three times we decided that we wanted to make an offer. As you know it is a great time to buy, but not the best time to sell. When making our offer we had to make it contingent on the sale of our house. After some negotiating we settled on an amazing price (that was the exciting part) under the condition that we sold our house within 120 days (that was the scary part).

The comforting part about this is that my realtor is a very close friend of ours...Argie Bellio at Coldwell Banker. It has been really nice working with someone that we know and trust on something so important. Since we agreed on a price for the new house we realized that it was time to get our house in order so we could get it on the market ASAP. We spent most of last weekend de-cluttering and getting it ready for showings (that was the stressful part). After some hard work Todd, Argie and I were ready to get it listed. I came home from the gym on Tuesday night to see a "For Sale" sign in my front yard...what a strange feeling that was. By Tuesday night our house was available for people to view on the Coldwell Banker website. Check out our listing. I was so impressed by how Argie showcased our home for others to see.

The shocking part came the next morning at 8:30 when we got a call for our first showing! By noon on Wednesday we had people looking at the house and by that afternoon an offer had been made! The following day we had agreed on a price and our house had officially been sold! So after one day on the market we had managed to sell our house! I was speechless! I went into the whole thing with the thought that we would be very lucky to sell our house within the 120 days. Never in my wildest dreams did we think our house would have sold so quickly...but we are not complaining!

So we are MOVING! It looks like we will be leaving this house in mid-October and starting the next stage of our lives in our new house! Now that is what I call an overwhelming week! It has all happened so quickly that I am not sure it has completely sunk in yet. The fact that my living room is full of packing boxes is a pretty sure sign that this is in fact happening...and happening fast! We always said that we hoped to be in a bigger, newer house by the time we decided to have another baby. Well this gives us plenty of time to turn our house into a home before we go down that road!

So on top of all of that crazy house stuff our little Olivia started school at Three Rivers Montessori. She will be attending the school three days a week in the morning. In order for the teachers to ease the toddlers into their new routine they had them come for a short time the first couple of days with a parent. I was able to be in the classroom with her the first day. The next day I spent a short amount of time in the classroom before leaving. I had to stay at the school in case there was a problem, but it was no problem for Olivia. She did not care when I left the room, and just went about her business. The last day she was to go for the full time without me. She was confused at first as to why I was not coming into the classroom with her, like I had the days before. She cried for a bit when I left her but we called the school to check in on her and she was just fine. She has adjusted to this new experience wonderfully and I know she is going to enjoy this school immensely (that's the proud part)! I can't wait to see how she grows this coming year!

I tried to get some "first day of school" pics, but was pretty unsuccessful. I did manage to snap a few shots of her admiring her Elmo backpack that she takes with her each day. With her ongoing Elmo obsession she was beyond fascinated with her backpack! My goodness my girl is growing up...sniff-sniff.

So I expect the stress to continue as we start to pack up our lives and move 5 miles away. My goal is to try for Olivia to be as unaffected by all of this as possible. We do not want her to get stressed out by all of the changes that are coming. We hope that with school, dance and her wonderful support system she can keep living her carefree life while we do all of the work! Stay tuned for updates and don't be surprised if I call on some of you for help! Oh...and a BIG THANKS to Argie for helping us buy and sell a home in record time! You sure made all of this look easy!