Thursday, January 29, 2009

beaming with pride

There has been a big development in the Menor household as of late! I am proud to say that Olivia is potty trained!!!! Yes, it is true...she has gone without an accident for over a week now and we are so very proud of her. Well, I think she is just as proud of herself as we are of her. It all started a few weeks ago. We stayed in most of the weekend and thought it would be a good idea to let her run around in underpants. We tried this a few months ago and I spent most of the weekend cleaning up puddles of pee on the floor. I think that was her way of telling us that she just wasn't ready. Well something must have just clicked in her head because this time around it worked and she went in the potty multiple times.

We have actually been working with her on potty training since she was 18 months old. She showed a great deal of interest at first and was actually using the potty pretty regularly at 18 months. Since that time her desire to use the potty has only gone downhill. Getting her to sit on the potty was a struggle and she was completely content to do her business in her diaper...making sure to tell us as soon as she was finished, of course. I finally realized that I was not going to persuade her to use the potty before she was actually ready. And after thinking about it I also realized that it seemed she did not have the muscle control to be able to decide when she needed to go. I read over and over again how they will decide when they are ready. I found that hard to believe and I may have pushed it more than I should have (I am a first time parent, ya know). She clearly decided when she was ready and now she has it mastered. So for any new parents out there that are getting to that stage, just remember that they will go when they are ready. Believe me, I found that advice hard to take, but it really is true.

Now nighttime training is still probably a little ways off. I don't think we can expect much until she is in a big girl bed. It is kind of hard to go potty at night when you are within the confines of a crib. And I have no intentions of moving her to a big girl bed until this spring/summer, so that part will just have to wait. (Yes, I am trying to hold onto my baby as long as possible.) I think the fact that she is learning to go during the day is good enough for now. I fully expect for us to have a set back, or two. I know that often happens. But we are continuing to encourage her and the fact that she gets to wear big girl underpants is all the encouragement Olivia seems to need right now. I am really fortunate that Olivia's babysitter and her teachers have been so supportive during this time. They have helped Olivia stay on track and feel good about her accomplishment. We are so lucky to have so many great people helping us with our sweet girl.

That is really all that has been going on with us right now. It is a pretty big deal and has been taking up a great deal of our time. I am doing my best not to talk about the fact that our winter just keeps dragging on and on. I am also trying not to complain about how all of the recent snow caused my car to get stuck and as result I did over a thousand dollars worth of mechanical damage as I frantically tried to escape. Yes, I am still wallowing in the bad news from my mechanic today. Spring cannot come soon enough as far as I am concerned, and if I never have to drive in this snow again I will be happy. So instead of focusing on all of that yucky stuff I am going to state once again how proud of Olivia I am, for mastering one of the most important tasks a human being must learn to do. I never thought I would get so excited about another person going to the bathroom, but it is hard to contain your excitement when you witness your child learning something new. I will leave you with a few pictures from a recent bubble bath. Goodness, that child loves the bath. Looking at this face always seems to make all of life's silly little problems melt away (or at least seem less important). Thank you, Olivia!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

this n' that

So I don't have anything specific to blog about this week so I thought I would just talk about this n' that...ya know, every day life stuff. Things have been surprisingly low key since the holidays, which is nice. We have been spending quite a bit of time at home, which is nice as well. Olivia is happily back into her regular routine. She is now back at Mama Kay's. Words cannot explain how happy she was to see all of her friends again. Although, I am not overly happy about the bad habits she is picking up from one of the little boys. There is nothing funnier to Olivia than a little boy who acts naughty. She just laughs and laughs at him. It is hard for that behavior not to rub off on Olivia but I think we do a pretty good job of letting her know that behavior won't fly at home. But now that Olivia is back in school she is only continuing to flourish. Each day we see or hear her do something that amazes us. Let me give you a few examples. The other night we sat down to dinner. As I placed her dinner in front of her she said, "Very nice dinner, Mom!". I thought it was very polite of her to say. It would have meant more if she would have actually eaten the dinner I spent time preparing, but you can only expect so much, right? Olivia was overly talkative that night and was open to showing off for the camera. I jump at the chance to capture these moments so I can have them to look back on and to be able to share with Olivia.

She is quite smart when she wants to be. She usually clams up around others so we are usually the only ones that get to witness her smartness firsthand. I think Olivia's Nana, Gangy and GP can also attest to her smartness (she loves to show off for them!). What blows my mind is how quickly they learn information at this age. I will teach her something one day and she will repeat it to me the next. It is quite impressive. She is interested in Spanish right now because she learns it at her school. I recently found this book that is great for little ones who are learning simple words in another language. If there are any other parents out there that are interested in teaching their child Spanish, this is a great book to start with.

In other news...we attended Olivia's only girl cousins' 1st birthday party last weekend. It just seems like yesterday we were planning Olivia's party for her first birthday. Miss Ella had a princess party to the highest level...I mean, EVERYTHING was pink. Olivia really had a great time! I initially thought she would have a hard time dealing with the attention not being on her 100%. I was pleasantly surprised as she patiently watched Ella open her presents. I was even more surprised on how she patiently waited for the cake to be served until Ella was done digging into her personal princess cake. She really had a good time with all of the kids, especially her cousin Jake.

For fun the kids had a pinata to play with at the party. Obviously Ella was not able to participate in this task, but she enjoyed watching. This was a different kind of pinata. Instead of smacking it you just pull a ribbon from the bottom. Each child takes a turn pulling a ribbon, until enough ribbons have been pulled to cause the candy to spill out of the bottom. Olivia was able play along, which made her very happy. She was not quite sure what to do once the candy spilled out but she was smart enough to snatch up a few pieces before it all disappeared.

It was one of two birthday parties we had that weekend. Olivia is really into going to birthday parties right now. The "Happy Birthday" song is one of her favorites to sing so she jumps at the chance to go to an actual birthday party and sing it to someone. Last week was Olivia's Aunt Sue Sue's 50th birthday. She had a rough week leading up to her birthday so I thought a little song from Olivia would cheer her up in California. Here is her birthday greeting to Aunt Sue Sue...

Needless to say my Aunt Sue was beyond touched when she saw she had a video birthday greeting waiting for her on her computer. Olivia has a special gift of bringing joy to every one's life once they meet her. Behind all of the typical two-year old behavior is this little girl with an amazing personality and huge heart. I am so incredibly impressed by how mature she is for her age and how well she behaves (most of the time). I guess I may just be feeling a little sentimental tonight but seeing how much Olivia has changed recently just make me want to brag about her. Thanks for bearing with me. Maybe next week I will have something a little more specific to brag...I mean, blog about.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

wii master

Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that it is the start of 2009. Where did the last year go? People always say that time flies when you have kids. Well, they were right. I know that last year at this time we were not even thinking about moving. Who would have thought that by the end of the year we would be living in a new house! It's funny how unpredictable life can be. Now is the time for New Year's resolutions and I know that Todd and I are going to do our best to stick to the one's we have chosen. I think we both agree that we are looking froward to another year with Miss Olivia!

We started off the new year with a family gathering at my brother-in-law's house. We got there just as Olivia was getting tired so we put her down for a nap in her cousin, Ella's crib. I figured she would not sleep long since she was not in her bed and she knew that she had many cousins waiting to play with her. Well, I was wrong. She slept for three hours! We were all ready for Olivia to get up and join the party. Once we had the chance we gathered up all of the grand kids for a big picture. Todd's Mom desperately wanted to get a nice picture of all her grandchildren (minus one...Christopher, who is in the Marines...currently serving in Okinawa, Japan). Trying to get 9 kids to all stand still and look at the camera is no easy task. I just snapped away, hoping to get at least one good shot. It turned out pretty good, expect for the glare in a few of the boy's eyes. As you can see, Christopher was still able to be in the picture even though he was not actually there in person.

We spent most of last weekend recovering from Christmas. I reluctantly took down the Christmas decorations and put them away for another year. I cleared most of it out while Olivia was down for a nap and when she woke up she took one look at our fireplace and said, "Where did Christmas go?". I tried to explain to her that Christmas was over and we had to wait until next year to celebrate again. I am sure she did not understand. If it was up to Olivia she would celebrate Christmas all year round. Olivia has been spending lots of time playing with her new toys from Santa. She loves her Melissa & Doug toys and the cash register but she is also quite taken with our Wii.

My Mom got Todd and I a Wii for Christmas. We are thrilled and we are looking forward to trying lots of new games. For now we just have Wii Sports, which came with the system. We are already familiar with the games, as is Olivia. She has bowled and boxed before (or so she thinks), so now that we have our own she asks to play quite often. Bowling for Olivia is this...holding the controller around her wrist and swinging her arm while Todd or I stand behind her with the working controller making the actual movements. She thinks she is making the ball go and gets super excited! I don't think she has caught on to the fact that we are bowling for her yet, but I am sure she will soon.

She really gets into it but often decides that she would rather play sitting down. We don't bother telling her that is is pretty hard to play any of the games sitting down. Oh well, she is having fun, and that is all that matters. Check her out in action...

So far our 2009 is off to a great start! Olivia is back in school after a two week break (thank goodness). Olivia should be able to start going back to her babysitter (Mama Kay) on Monday (double thank goodness!) She is becoming more and more grown up each day. We are still working on the potty training. It was going well for a few weeks and now we are back to not liking the potty. I can't figure out her rational when it comes to the potty. As much as I wish she was potty trained right now, I know that it will happen in good time. She has become super polite as of late. I usually get a, "thank you very much, Mom" when I have done something for her. What a sweetie! She is still napping like a pro, which is a huge life saver for me. It is amazing how much you can get done in 2-3 hours. She usually always wakes up with a smile on her face and hair that looks like this...

She also has her moments. She can have a fierce temper and will respond with a loud, "NO" if she is angry. She has also started a new phrase. When we ask her to do something that she does not want to do she usually says, "I can't like that right now". Who knows where she comes up with these things, but each day something new comes out of her mouth that just cracks me up. Even when we have our bad moments we always end the day with a snuggle and a kiss before heading off to bed. The day she decides that she is too big for that is the day I will be heartbroken. I know it is coming, I just hope it won't come for awhile. For now we are looking forward to what 2009 has in store. From our family to yours...may you all have a very Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

special family christmas

Well Christmas has come and gone but we have so many great memories from the holiday. This year was much more fun for us as parents. I can't say that Olivia actually understood the concept of Christmas but she sure got into the festivities surrounding it. She loved all things Christmas...from the music and lights, to the decorations...and for the first time she even warmed up to Santa Claus. We explained to her that Santa would come to her house on Christmas Eve to bring her presents, that he would come down the chimney and leave them under her tree. We even decided to leave Santa milk and cookies. And according to Olivia Santa would be traveling to her house with the help of Rudolph. We read lots of Christmas books, leading up to the holiday and we sported a few different Christmas dresses as we attended different holiday parties. We really enjoyed sharing the Christmas season with her. What was most special about this Christmas was that it was the first time since Olivia was born that we have been able to celebrate with both sides of our family. This is the first year since Todd and I have been married that his parents have been back in Fort Wayne since moving to Hawaii. Now we both sides of the family in town we had a very busy Christmas day!

The festivities started on Christmas Eve with a few presents. It is a family tradition that we each open one present on Christmas Eve. We choose to give Olivia a nice comfy blanket that she could sleep with that night. As you can see she liked it. Oh, and the fact that the plush blanket had Elmo and Cookie Monster on it didn't hurt either!

That evening we went to a Christmas Eve party that we attend each year. Our close family friends have hosted a party for many years and we always look forward to seeing everyone. Now that Olivia is older she really enjoys playing with the other kids. She received one gift but spent the rest of the night playing with everyone else's toys. Most of the toys were noisy and big so I was pleased that we were not taking them home at the end of the night! Olivia's friend Simon did help her open her one present. It was Olivia's first set of dress up clothes. Once Simon saw what was in the package he responded with a big, "YUCK!" and quickly walked away. So far Olivia has not shown any interest in her princess dress up clothes but I am sure she will change her mind one day.

We got to bed pretty late that night but not before Olivia had a chance to leave Santa milk and cookies. As soon as that was out of the way we all hit the sack, knowing that we had a very full day ahead of us in the morning. We slept in a bit in the morning and had our quiet little family Christmas. Santa did leave Olivia a few little presents under her tree. She had the most fun pulling all of her goodies out of her stocking though. Check out her cute Elmo jammies. Todd's Mom got those for her and she just loves them!

Next it was off to my Mom's. That is where things started to get a little overwhelming for Olivia. My grandmother and uncle were visiting from Michigan like they do each year. Not only did we have presents for Olivia to open but she had many from my Mom as well. Olivia's idea of opening presents is to rip off the paper and immediately play with what is inside. It was difficult to convince her to set each present aside while we opened more. I mean she is two. She finally gave up and went off on her own to start playing with newest goodies. I think it was all just too much for her at one time. She did get some nice things though. Todd and I got her some different Melissa & Doug wooden toys (our favorite) and my Mom got her some beautiful clothes.

After the present opening was done we waited for the guests to arrive at my Mom's for her annual Christmas Day brunch. While Olivia was napping we enjoyed some yummy food and good company. Eventually we had to pack everything up and stop home before heading to Todd's parents house to do it all over again.

The fun continued as Olivia had even more presents to rip through at Todd's parents. Even though she may not be totally thrilled with what is inside of each gift her excitement never wavers. She reacts with a loud, "WOW!", followed by, "Look at this!" cute! The best reaction came when she opened her big gift from Todd's parents. They got her the latest Elmo doll that moves and talks. It does just about everything! As she was ripping off the paper and noticed that it was something Elmo related she said, "good Gangy...very good!". Everyone cracked up! It was as if Olivia was giving her grandmother praise for choosing such a perfect present for her. It really was priceless.

As we look back on our special family Christmas we realize just how blessed we are. Not only because we received so many wonderful gifts (thanks for the Wii, Mom), but because we were so lucky to be able to be with both of our families. I could not have asked for a better Christmas. Watching Olivia experience the joy that is the Christmas season was by far the best present we received. I am sad that Christmas is over (it is my favorite time of year), but I am already looking forward to next year! We hope that everyone enjoyed a special Christmas, no matter where you were or who you were with.