Tuesday, March 24, 2009

18 months!

So, the downside of not updating this post in the last three months is that now I have way too many photos that I want to share! I might have to start uploading photos to the Kodak Gallery again and just pasting the link here. But here are some of our highlights!

On Valentine's Day, Gymboree had a "Sweetheart Party". It was great because Daddy finally got to see some of what we do on weekly basis. She climbed through tunnels, danced with maracas, went down the slide with Gymbo the clown, and made some Valentine crafts using a glue stick, ink handprints, and stickers!

She also got to eat a sugar cookie that was covered with pink icing, and she's getting really good about getting on and off the rocking horse.

Olivia is getting really good at eating with her spoon and still seems more comfortable using her left-hand. She also got to enjoy her very first popsicle (as you can see by all the juice running down her chin...)

We have been contemplating buying her a nice kid size chair for the living room, and thought we would experiment first with a cheap plastic chair. No point in spending alot of money on something she won't sit in, right? So far, she really seems to enjoy the chair...as long as we can convince her that chairs are for sitting, not for standing!

Since the weather has been so nice, we have been making the rounds to all the local parks we can find to see which ones we (and Olivia) like best. We've found several that are pretty good, but this picture is from, I believe, her third time ever on a swing. She loves it!

We also traveled to Homestead recently (our hometown) to attend a memorial service for the mother of my father-in-law. While we were there, Olivia petted her first dog (Bubba), chased bubbles in the yard, and spent time clearing leaves off the patio and picking them off the ground and giving them as "presents". She's really into cleaning up these days... We also got to visit Knaus Berry Farm for the world's greatest cinnamon rolls! It was very comfortable to be back "home" again...

She's finally getting the hang of coloring too. This was her first attempt with the toddler coloring tools. She's not overly excited about coloring yet...but since Daddy and I both like to color, she'll definitely be exposed to it!

We visited the doctor today for her 18 month check-up, and she's perfectly healthy! She now weighs 24.2 lbs and is just shy of 33 inches. She is quickly moving out of her 18 month size clothes and into the 24 month size. She's going through a "not eating much" phase, but the doc says that's normal since she's in a slow growth period. She now has 13 signs that she does (more, please, thank you, milk, raisin, pancake, cheese, banana, cookie, cereal, fish, work, bubbles), but so far her only spoken words are "yeah" and "uh oh", along with the animal sounds she makes for cat, monkey, lion, cow, and duck. She still loves music and dancing, loves playing with her instruments, playing with her shape and color toys, and is really good about cleaning up her toys.
She truly is an amazing child...very easy going, smart, curious, and well-behaved. I wish we could have a second child just like her!!!

I'll be sure to post her Easter pictures in the next few weeks!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

15 Months

Boy, the last two months certainly have flown by! The month of November was a complete blur...from our Disney trip in October to Thanksgiving in just a blink. But for Thanksgiving, we did get to travel to NC to visit with Nonny & Pop Pop, and Uncle Scott and Aunt Jill. Once again, Olivia was GREAT on the 11 hour journey there. We left Tampa at 11:30pm with the hope that Olivia would sleep the majority of the way, but she decided to stay awake for the first three hours. We arrived around 9:30 the next morning with no major meltdowns (on anyone's part!) Unfortunately, mommy got sick the day we arrived and spent the majority of the 4 days we were there in bed, coughing, with fevers, and generally feeling crappy. Me being sick also led to a significant lack of photos of the whole occasion, so I only have a few to share. You can see that she is watching the Macy's Parade with her favorite toy (Gymbo the clown), spending time with Uncle Scott and Aunt Jill, and enjoying being the princess of her car seat!

After we returned from NC, it was December and more weeks passed in a blur. Due to being sick, I wasn't able to get the grading done over Thanksgiving that I had hoped, so spent the next two weeks catching up on grading papers and calculating final grades for my class. We also managed to find time to put up the lights, the tree, decorate the house, send Christmas cards, and finish shopping. The only thing we did not do was bake! However, we brought home so many cookies and cakes from NC, we definitely ate our fair share of sugary goodness! The picture of Olivia with the Christmas tree was not taken at our house...it was taken at Disney's Contemporary Resort!

Of course, we wouldn't be us if we didn't sneak another Disney day in. Christmas isn't Christmas without seeing some Disney decorations! So we popped over to the Magic Kingdom for a morning. We had a lovely brunch at the newly redesigned Contemporary Resort before heading into the park. The crowds were larger than we expected so the only ride we did was the train. But Olivia had a good time on the slides in the play area of Toon Town, and wandering through Mickey's house.

Christmas was GREAT! Richard and I were smart enough to take all of Olivia's toys (from Santa!) out of the packaging so that Christmas morning was a much smoother process. The Bounce & Spin pony was the only thing she didn't take to, so we've packed it away for a few months. Everything else, she loves...especially her drums, xylophones, and pianos (yes, there were two versions of each!). She loves music and singing and gravitates towards the instruments.

I love this picture of Richard dozing with both Olivia and our youngest cat, Leo. Olivia was watching Sesame Street and daddy was too exhausted to pay attention to the show. Leo took advantage of the opportunity to share a little lap time with Olivia (he desperately wants to be the baby). What could be more cozy than an afternoon snuggling with daddy!?!

After Christmas, we went for Olivia's 15 month check-up. Despite a little stuffy nose and cough the week prior, she is the picture of health. She is 23.4 lbs and 31 inches long...the 50-75% range for both. So she is falling in line with her peers for height and weight...no longer the amazon woman we thought we were growing. She also had her MMR vaccine and wasn't even phased, thanks to the grape lollipop that the doctor gave her.

This picture shows her, once again, with Gymbo the clown. And she's also showing one of her favorite body parts...her tongue! There is a Sesame Street book that we read about eyes, ears, nose, etc...and there is one page that says "Open your mouth big and wide, where's your tongue? It hides inside!"...and it's her favorite part. She can now correctly identify all of the facial features, and the funniest story occured after she correctly identified "Olivia's hair" and "mommy's hair"...as we asked her "where's daddy's hair?" This brilliant child reached out and grabbed the closest hair to daddy's head...his eyebrow!!! It was too funny!!

New Year's Eve was relatively quiet (outside of the fact that we hear the fireworks from Busch Gardens). We know we're old as we debated whether we could make it till midnight...though we managed to stay awake somehow! I think the month of January should be pretty quiet and routine as we count down to our February Disney trip!! Also, I'm FINALLY taking the latest videos off the camera, and hope to post some in the next day or so. There are some that are too funny not to share. Happy New Year to everyone! We hope that your 2009 is full of peace, love, and happiness...we know ours will be (thanks to Olivia!).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Disney & Halloween

Being that I'm home from work due to the flu (or some kind of bug), I have a little extra time to do a new update! Of course, I would much rather be at work than feel crappy, but at least you all can see some new photos!

I love this picture of her flying in the air. She doesn't get this at home since our ceilings are so short, but the ceilings at Disney were great! She probably thinks this is the greatest ride at Disney!

We had a great trip to Disney last week. We stayed at the Old Key West Resort and ventured into the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. This was technically Olivia's second trip into Epcot as Richard took us to the Japanese restaurant for Mother's Day, but we didn't actually walk around the park. This time, we walked the entire World Showcase and even ventured up to the front of the park to do Journey Into Imagination and take photos at the character spot (those photos will be added later as we had to order them from the Disney photo pass site).

Although I have had great success getting her to wear a hat every time we go out in the sun, getting her to wear sunglasses has been a challenge. Granted, I'm not as consistent about trying as I was with the hat. But she's at least willing to put them on for a few minutes at a time now. And she looks so cute in them!

Olivia loved meeting all the characters! She especially loved Mickey and Minnie Mouse and was completely mesmerized by them as soon as she could see them from our place in line. At the Magic Kingdom, we had dinner at the Crystal Palace with Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, & Piglet, so she got lots of character pictures. She also rode Dumbo with Daddy, the Golden Carousel with Mommy, and we all did Small World together (and Olivia sang pretty much all the way through). I have a video of her singing...the video is dark, but you can hear her and it's really cute! She also sang during the parade. She really seems to love music now and has even started bouncing to songs.

On our last day there, we went to Downtown Disney to do a little shopping and I showed her a Mickey doll. She grabbed him and went nuts hugging him and chewing on him...so of course we had to buy him! She still thinks he's the greatest thing and spends quite a bit of time each day hugging Mickey and carrying him around the house.

For Halloween, she was a green M&M. Daddy visited the M&M store in Vegas when he was there in February and bought her the outfit, and the size was perfect for it to be her Halloween outfit. So we visited the M&M store in Orlando and bought shirts so that we could be an M&M family! And it seemed only appropriate that we get yellow and blue shirts since yellow and blue make green! hahaha

We also got her a little green M&M doll that she could carry around, but she mostly just chewed on it. So far, I have yet to find a color that does not look good on her!

Olivia had music class on Halloween and, of course, she wore her outfit. She's really blossomed in the class and loves singing, playing the instruments, and interacting with the other kids. She really enjoyed the drums that day, and I was able to get some cute photos of her playing and singing.

As always these photos just scrape the surface of all the photos we took. But you can see more at our Kodak Gallery site!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Yeah yeah...only a month behind...so what else is new?!? Olivia is now 13 months old! Also as usual, a lot has happened over the last two months! Here are some highlights:
Her 1st Birthday! - We had a Baby Einstein themed party as we figure she will have a million "princess" parties, but she won't be into Baby Einstein forever. We did it the same weekend as her Baptism, so lots of friends and relatives came for the festivities. Olivia was cautious with the cake at first, but eventually got the hang of it and had a great time with the icing.

She also got lots of great presents. However, we are finding that she would much rather play with regular household items...bowls, spoons, water bottles, etc....than most of her store-bought toys. She loves playing with an empty 5 gallon Zephyrhills water jug...it makes a great noise when she bangs on it or picks it up and drops it, and she can easily push it all over the house. So much for regular toys! But some of her favorite gifts were the Abby Cadabby doll, a little baby doll (the one in the picture), an Elmo See N Say Shape sorter, the Little People Farm and her giraffe maracas. And mommy was smart enough to buy storage ottomans for the living room so we can pick everything up and hide it quickly when needed! :-)

Baptism - The day after her party, Olivia was baptized at St. Catherine's Episcopal Church. She now has two godmothers, my sister Tanya and my good friend Jody, and her godfather is Richard's brother, Scott. I think Olivia is in good hands! The priest who baptized her also baptized Olivia's cousins (Jonathan and Sarah, shown in the group picture).

Walking! - 5 days after her birthday, she finally decided to let go of the furniture and now stumbles around like a pro! Richard likes to call her "the drunken sailor", but she's doing a great job and is really good at checking her balance. We can also tell when she is really tired as she becomes more wobbly. But it's fun to watch her wander around and explore the world! Of course, that also means we have to be alot more diligent about monitoring what she can reach. And now she's figuring out how to climb things. One day I expect to find her on the kitchen table!

Language - Olivia now does 5 signs... "bubbles", "thank you", "milk", "more", and "eat". She also throws her hands up in the air when you say "So Big!!" She's really into learning the name for everything and walks around the house pointing to things, wanting to know what it is. Of course, this means I repeat things like "shoe", "table", "chair" about 400 times a day, but it's still fun to watch her developing interest in language. She hasn't started repeating the words yet, but we figure it will be like the walking thing...she cruised for 2 months before she let go and started walking, so we figure in a few months she'll pop out with sentences! She can also correctly identify the main Sesame Street characters (Elmo, Ernie, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and Zoe), and seems to understand most of what we say to her in terms of her food, toys, and basic commands. Though, she has already started tuning out the word "no".

1 Year Check-up - She was 22.4 lbs and 30 1/4 inches (both of which put her in the 75th-90th percentile for her age). She seems to have a very high pain tolerance as the doc always comments on her quick recovery time after her vaccinations. She also had her very first lollipop (which only lasted a few licks before she wanted to play with the sticky end) . Overall, he says she's doing great and is right on target!

We're still going to Gymboree and a music class and she loves them both! The socialization factor is the main point of going, but it's great to be in spaces twice a week where I really do not have to tell her "no". It's also fun to see how she changes from week to week. In today's music class she was actually bouncing to the beat, clapping along where appropriate, and banging her drum. It's a HUGE change from the first week when she completely ignored the group and just crawled around the room.

We had a professional photo shoot for her birthday and baptism and will be doing our family Christmas picture in a few weeks. Here are some of my favorites:

We head to Disney on Sunday to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary and, despite the number of times she has been to Disney, this will be Olivia's first real venture into the parks. I'm sure I will have LOTS of photos of her at various locations and with various characters.

At the end of November, we head to North Carolina for Thanksgiving with Richard's family. We are looking forward to the trip and hope that Olivia travels as well now as she did back in July!

Several months back I found a Miami Dolphin cheerleader outfit on sale at Target for $4...I couldn't pass it up, especially since Richard is a Dolphin fan. So here is Olivia in her first cheerleader outfit (I'm sure the first of many...). She's even smiling and clapping....GO TEAM!

We've been lazy and still bath her in her small tub that fits on the kitchen sink, mostly so we can save our knees and backs. However, she really doesn't fit in the tub very well, so we are going to have to make the transition to the big tub. And we've also started brushing her teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste. She seems to like the taste of the paste and doesn't mind the brushing, at least for now! :-)

There are lots of pictures on our Kodak Gallery site...feel free to check them out! Until next time...