Saturday, September 29, 2012

Loving and Not Loving

 I am loving... not having to go to work. Sure, staying home brings a different level of stress (finances, etc), but it is nothing compared to the emotional nightmare I was living a few months ago.  I was going to have to sacrifice something either way, and I would much rather sacrifice the money than time with my daughter, emotional health, family dinners, evenings with Michael, etc.

I am not loving... that we have a ridiculous looking gate around our entertainment center.  I just don't know what the alternative is.

I am loving... Olivia's Halloween costume.  It came in the mail the other day and is so stinking cute!  I hope it still fits in a month!

I am not loving... That my walls are bare. Sigh.

I am loving... That I have THREE 31 parties booked.  I totally believe that this business is exactly what my family needs and I am so ready to start rocking it!

I am not loving... Olivia's sudden disinterest in certain foods.  I am hoping it's just a phase or a teething thing.  Please don't let my good eater go away!!!

I am loving... That I joined MOPS.  I was so nervous how Olivia would do, and she seems to enjoy it.  I was also a little unsure of how I would like it/fit in, but I feel like it is going to be just the thing I needed.

I am not loving... hats.  I mean, I like hats.  I dislike that I am not a hat girl.  Trust me.  I've tried.  I just read a post about a family going to donuts on a Saturday morning.  Then I saw the picture and the mom was in a hat.  I can't do that.  I also just can't roll out of bed and go.  I mean... I could.  People would judge my greasy hair for sure though! Ugh... the curse of the round face and greasy hair.  Thanks Voegele genes.  Thanks.

I am loving... That Olivia still takes two naps a day.  I thought for a second that she was giving up the morning one, but not so much.  I am going to ride this train for as long as possible!

I am not loving... the noise outside our apartment.  We live on a pretty busy street and the traffic is non-stop.  I keep telling myself that it's just for a year.

I am loving... That I have the opportunity to work at a 31 booth at the Texas State Fair--for free.  3 MILLION people are expected to visit the TX State Fair. This is a HUGE opportunity for me.  I am hoping and believing it is the answer to prayer we have been waiting for.

I am not loving... the lack of fall.  I love Texas.  I do!  I just don't love it come September and October when the leaves should be changing and I should be breaking out the sweaters and sipping apple cider and instead it's 95 degrees out.

I am loving... that Olivia is walking, and doing pretty well with it too.  So many people say "Oh, I'm not ready for him/her to be walking" when it comes to their little guys.  Why not?!  It doesn't make any more work for me.  Actually, I find it makes things easier. (She's been walking for a few months now.  I just thought of this the other day happy I am that we are in this stage.)

I am not loving... ignorance.

I am loving... my husband! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"So how do you like being a stay at home mom?"

This question has been asked of me no less than a dozen times in the last month.  My answer, "I don't know yet."  Truth be told, it's something I have always envisioned myself doing.  Even though I knew I was going to go to college, and I knew I was going to become a teacher, I also knew that I was going to be a stay at home mom.  It's just one of those things that was so important to me.  Sooo... I'm sure I will like it.  I just haven't been able to get into the swing of things yet.

I spent the first two weeks of my SAHM status packing up an apartment, trying to find a place to live, and stressing out about all the above.  I spent the next two weeks of my SAHM status unpacking, taking care of a child who wasn't loving the move to a new place, and stressing about all of the above.

I am mostly unpacked.  The only thing left to do is hang things on the walls.  This has left me with a huge unsettled feeling.  It's an ugly circle that I don't know how to break.  I don't have anything on the walls because I don't love what I have.  I also don't want to just throw stuff up just for the sake of having stuff up, because then it's something I feel self conscious about when people come over (I did that at our last place thinking we would only be there a year). But I don't want to buy new things because a) I don't have the money for it, and b) we WILL only be here a year, so who knows what the next place will bring.  That brings me back to blank walls.  The blank walls are causing me anxiety and making me feel like I can't move on or start a routine until it's taken care of.  Yeah, I have an illness. I know. :)

Even though I am still trying to turn our house into a home, I have been able to move past it a little to start some of our routines and schedules.  I knew that when I was able to stay at home I wanted to be deliberate about our days.  It's so easy to just get sucked in to surviving the day instead of living the day.

First on my list was socialization for Olivia.  She was needing it BAD.  We took the summer off of Little Gym because of my job, so the only socialization she was getting was from 6 year old Little Man and the church nursery.  She would practically jump out of her stroller or the cart when she saw another kid her age. Not only was she craving that interaction, but it was necessary for her to learn how to behave around other kids.  So we are back at The Little Gym and she is loving it!  It's so good for her too--on so many levels. 

We also joined a MOPS group.  We've gone twice and she has done great in the MOPPETS program both times. (I was so nervous!)  Our group has 121 moms and is separated into tables. You sit with the same ladies each time.  Each table (mine is the pink table) does a play date and a Mom's night out once a month.  I am super excited about this opportunity.  Our normal meetings are on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

Our library also offers story time one day of the week and then a music class another day of the week.  We will be trying to hit at least one of those each week.  Plus, we will be frequenting the Toddler open gym that I blogged about.  On top of that, we have a friend who is always up for play dates.

I also plan on being deliberate about our time at home too.  Independent play is so good, but so is structured "learning" play time.  On top of reading books, and having some sort of music time, I plan on doing a simple activity a day with Olivia to help work on age appropriate skills and development.  Don't worry... I'll be sure to blog about them! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chatty McChatterton

Since stopping the monthly posts, I feel like I am behind on sharing about Olivia's developments.  SO much has happened over the last 3 months!  As she was a baby, when it came to the milestone windows, she seemed to always be at the end of the appropriate spectrum.  I've mentioned on here before that I was OK with that.  I know enough about education and child development to know that being the first doesn't always mean being the best and being the last doesn't always translate into issues later on.  I always joke that "I don't want a genius.  Give me a straight B student with common sense and I'll be happy".  But that is a whole other story! :)

Anyway, it seems like once Olivia hit one, the light bulb literally turned on for her.  She started walking "officially" the day after turning 13 months.  She picked it up FAST.  She's already attempting to run!

The other thing she picked up on was TALKING!  She had around 20 words at 13 months, and now at (just a few days shy of) 15 months she has OVER 50 words.  She literally adds new words every day.  And by words, I mean words that she actually knows what they mean and associates them with a correct item, emotion, or an appropriate phrase.  She copies things we say all the time.  I don't count those words though, because she is just parroting us and not knowing what she is saying.

For the sake of looking back and remembering, I am going to list the words that she currently uses.
  1. Mama
  2. Boppa--what she calls Michael
  3. Go Go (Little Man)
  4. Hi
  5. Bye Bye
  6. All gone/All done
  7. Uh Oh
  8. Yes
  9. No--she says this when she is doing something she knows she is not suppose to, but she also uses the exclamation "Oh no!" often. It's pretty cute! :)
  10. Whoa! and also Wow!
  11. Stinky--when she has a dirty diaper, she plugs her nose (or attempts to) and says stinky
  12. toes
  13. nose
  14. roar--when she sees a lion she knows that it says roar and she makes the sound appropriately
  15. hoot hoot--Michael taught her that her stuffed owl says hoot hoot. She now says this for every owl she sees.... including the owl on the shirt in Babies R Us. It took me a minute to figure out what she saw and that she was making it's sound.  Pretty smart, huh?
  16. oink-it's more like a snort from her nose, but it's her pig sound and her favorite sound to make when she sings e-i-e-i-o
  17. moo-for a cow, obviously
  18. blueberry
  19. watermelon--she sometimes calls other fruits watermelon.  She also recognizes the bowl that I put the watermelon in and now says watermelon! when she sees it. It's one of her favorite fruits!
  20. row row--for row row row your boat
  21. twinkle--for twinkle twinkle little star (and she does hand motions)
  22. E-I-E-I-O- for old mcdonald
  23. itsy bitsy- she sort of does this for itsy bitsy spider, although it's one of the more unclear words she says
  24. round and round--for the wheels on the bus, with hand motions (Can you tell this kid likes music?)
  25. up
  26. ball
  27. book
  28. she makes the "nom nom" sound with pretend food.  She saw us do it once and now she does it when she pretend eats, or she puts the food up to our mouth and makes the noise
  29. Mickey Mouse (me mou)
  30. Elmo
  31. nice--back a few months ago when she would swing her arms around and sometimes "hit" I would say, "we be nice" and then I would stroke her hand on my face and say "nice".  Now she does it to us and says "nice" or she does it to her dolls/stuffed animals.  She also does it to herself if she hears us use the word nice.  When she sees other kids she strokes there face and says nice. :)  I suppose it's better than the alternative!
  32. night night
  33. milk--this is one of the only words that doesn't actually sound like the word.  We know what she is saying, but for whatever reason she calls it something like "ga" ?!?
  34. tickle-she makes the tickle tickle sound and tries to tickle herself to show us she wants us to tickle her
  35. baby
  36. snack
  37. thank you
  38. yay! and yeah
  39. peek-a-boo (which is usually just shortened to boo)
  40. bow-she knows what her bows are called.  She takes it out of her hair and then exclaims "OH NO!" then she hands it back to me and says "bow"
  41. cookie
  42. shoe
  43. more--this started off as a sign for more food.  Then she started signing and saying more.  We also learned the signs to the song "the more we get together" at the library, so she does it for that too.  She also signs and says more if she wants us to keep doing read the book again, etc
  44. open-this is one of her newest words.  She has a box that holds little board books and she always wants me to open it.  I taught her open and she picked it up almost immediately.  Now she carries the box over to me and says open...then closes it and says "open".  Rinse and repeat. :)
  45. ok
  46. Wheeeee---she learned this at MOPS and now does it when she plays with her beads or purposely falls off of her chair (which she thinks is funny)
  47. water
  48. banana-another one of the few words that doesn't exactly sound like what they are, but I know what it is because she says it every single time she sees a banana (both real and toy)
  49. good girl
  50. love you--Ok, this one might be more of a parroted word, because I don't think she understands the concept of what saying "love you" means, but she does say it back to us now
  51. paci--this is one word I was hoping to avoid learning! :)  I don't want her begging for it when we take them away.
  52. nakie- now I am a big proponent of not using baby talk and teaching the proper words.  However, I do have to take responsibility for this one.  Whenever I would change her, I would pat her belly and say "Look at that nakie baby" or something along those lines.  Now when I take her shirt off, she pats her belly and says nakie.  The other day I went into her room to get her and I had just gotten out of the shower.  I was half dressed, but my belly was still bare and she patted it and said "Nakie!" :)
  53. doggie-I didn't even know that she knew this one until yesterday.  We were at a friend's house two weeks ago and they had a dog.  We told her it was a doggie.  Then I was walking through the store yesterday and she kept saying "oggie! oggie! oggie".  Since we don't have a dog, nor do we have dog toys, I didn't immediately know what she was saying.  I looked up to where she was looking and sure enough, there was a huge stuffed dog.  How she remembered doggie, I have no idea.  She must have inherited my freak of nature memory!
  54. come on--she hears me say this a lot :)

I'm sure there are a few I might be forgetting, but these are the ones she uses almost daily.  I don't sit and drill her either.  I just talk to her throughout the day.  I explain what things are when we are playing, eating, dressing, etc.  She just picks it up super fast.  Some words are only told to her one or two times before she gets it.  It really is quite amazing sometimes.  I think words are just going to be her thing!  I like to joke that her 99th percentile head is finally coming into use!! ha ha ha!

Oh, and I had someone say to us, "Your mom says you say 40 words now. Talk!"  She doesn't talk on demand.  She also isn't some child prodigy.  Just because she knows 40 (or 50) words does not mean she is stringing them together into meaningful sentences.  She says them when they are applicable.  You'd think people with children would know that, right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Project 366: Weeks 35, 36, & 37

Alright.  I'm not even going to lie.  I didn't have a picture for every day. gasp! So my project 366 is technically a fail, but whatever.  The first collage is the week right before our move.  That might explain my crappy picture taking.  The second collage is the week after we moved.  I had to choose pictures from the same day on occasion or two.  I figured it was better than a big empty box that shouted "FAILURE". ;)  I'll strive to be better!

239. She woke up and got to help with one of her favorite things... laundry!

240. She was playing with a hat I got out for her

241. "I'd like to read this one!"

242.  One day she's going to ask me why I didn't comb her hair.  I am then going to explain that if she'd just leave the bow/clip in that sweeps her still-growing-to-it's-proper-length side hair out of the way, we'd all be good!

243. Happy girl

244. & 245.  This is the morning after we moved.  She's wore a onesie that I found at the last minute (because I set out pajamas for the night before, but not for the night OF the move).  She's also eating McDonald's pancakes.  It was a fine parenting moment for me! :)

246.  She was playing with my cowboy hat and I got her to say "Yee haw!"  That's what she's doing in the picture... hence the face.

247. Just woke up!

248. "OH!"

249.  She doesn't watch a ton of TV, but we do have a DVD collection that we rotate in for her every once in a while. Someone from Little Man's TKD had given us some Baby Einstein and an Elmo's World DVD.  She watched it one time and was in love with Elmo.  She started out calling him "Me Mo", but has since mastered the word of "Elmo".  I found this tickle me Elmo on one of those facebook online garage sites for $5. It is in pristine condition, so I couldn't pass it up.  She was meeting him here. :)

250. In the unpacking, a pack of flashcards was discovered.  It's actually one that has 3 cards and you put them together to make short vowel words.  It's obviously WAY above her, but she wanted to play with them so I let her.  I started out making the three letter words for her.  Then she just sat and played with the cards for probably 20 minutes.  She was so interested in them!

251.  Remember that love/hate relationship I was telling you about?! HA HA HA!!!

252. Boppa put on one of her shows and she actually curled up in his lap to watch.  This is a RARE occurrence.  One, because she is always on the go.  Two, because she is not a snuggler.  She's actually very stingy with her affection.  She's so independent!  However, she's getting better at giving hugs and cuddling up with us every now and then.

 253. The bear she is holding was a Valentine's gift from my mom.  One day she just decided she loved it and she calls it Baby.  It's back actually needs a little surgery as the stitch has come out.  She sleeps with it too.

254. While she was napping, I was unpacking.  I found a box with her DVD's in it and placed it in the middle of the living room floor.  After she woke up, she was roaming around while I went into the bedroom to unpack another box.  I came out and she was sitting in the box saying over and over, "Wow!" and "Alright!".  Hilarious!

255. Remember how she use to take showers?  Well our new place has only one bathroom.  It's rather large and has a tub and shower.  However, the shower is SMALL!  So Michael decided to attempt going back to baths.  The tub actually has jets, so the bubbles got crazy.  I came in to see how she was liking it and this is what I found.

256.  Just a Wednesday morning picnic!  I need to stop taking so many pictures of her while she is still in her pajamas.  She gets dressed every day.  I promise!

257. We went to a music class at the local library.  She LOVES music.  There isn't really a cheap option for music classes here (In Ohio the rec centers offered a cheaper version.  Here, the rec centers do the Kinder Music, which isn't cheap), so I'm glad the library has something like this.  Music teaches so much!  She was a little off this week...teething on top of a mild cold, so that's why she looks a little dazed.  She wasn't too sure about the man instructor either.

258.  Hanging on the bars at Little Gym with Miss Christy

259.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but I put her hair in a pony tail for the first time.  She still has a lot of hair that is only a couple of inches long, so there was just as much hair OUT of the pony tail as was IN, but it was still cute.  Oh, and she LOVES brushing her teeth!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project 366: Week 32, 33, & 34

I'm nearly a month and a half behind, so it's going to take me a little bit to catch up.  However, I do have 3 collages for you and a bonus feature at the end! :)

218. She got a bag of balls from her Grandma.  I saw both on the bump and pinterest the idea of putting balls in a pack and play and making a ball pit for the kiddos.  I thought this would be a good idea.  This picture is from when we first got the balls, so Michael just dumped them in the box they came in.  We've yet to use them in the pack and play, but we did get a big round tub  for them.  She likes throwing them and carrying them around.  Sitting in them is not her favorite thing for now.

219. She loves to pull the bows out of her hair.  Michael then puts them in his hair.  She wants to get it out immediately!  She thinks the game is fun though.  This is her trying to get a bow out of his hair.

220. The Dallas Art Museum has a free admission day the first Tuesday of every month.  We went to check it out (clearly this was when I was still working).  Little Man and Olivia loved this wall of hanging beads.

221. At the library... trying to reach for the puppet

222.  She just woke up from a nap.... still a little sleepy!

223. Playing with her animals from her Little People talking zoo

224.  Michael and I love this picture.  She has a love/hate relationship with rides and/or big stuffed animals (and I suppose the ones where people are dressed up too). She loves them from a distance.  OR, she loves them if mommy is holding her.  Put her up close and this is the face you get! :)  At first she was happy.  Then she turned to me with this face.  Then I rocked it back and forth (this was at BRU) and she was happy again.  Two seconds later I got the face.  It's hilarious.

225.  Michael and Olivia were home alone one weekend afternoon and he make her a fort.  He used her learning house as one of the walls.  It was pretty neat in there. :)

226. This girl loves to accessorize!  She went through a phase where she was trying to make everything (bibs, burp clothes, towels, blankets) a scarf.  I actually dug out some of my scarfs for her to play with.  I thought it would be easier and a good sensory play.  She liked her burp clothes better! ha ha!  This is her walking around with a blank on her head and one of my scarfs around her.  It didn't quite make it over her head as planned.

227. Playing with the cymbals

228. Random picture

229. Playing in the fun mirror at Chick-fil-a

230. This was my last day of work!  She found these goggles and the new nanny put them on her.  She wasn't a huge fan, but after we took them off she kept walking around putting them up to her face.

231.  Having a drink in her ball pit

232.We got her one of those bead toys at IKEA for $8!  She LOVES it!  She flings the beads around and says "Wheeee!"

233. Attempting to use a fork

234.Playing with her elefun.  Notice her "thinking" face in both this and #232

235.  Just playing on her chair.  This reminds me.  I have a video from this that I need to post!

236. Coloring

237.  I can't help it. I love that "I just woke up" look, combined with her sweaty bed head!

238. We did a photo shoot to model some of the items for sale at stinkin cute designs. com

And just because I thought these pictures would crack you up.......................

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

List o' fun--Toddler Open Gym

Remember my list 'o fun?!  It's been a while since I've done any of those type of posts.  I figured for the sake of getting a blog up (and displaying pictures of my adorable daughter!), I'd go ahead and post one.

Yesterday we went to a toddler open gym at the Rec Center.  I use to go to them in Ohio with Little Man a well.  It's basically a big open gym and they fill it with all sorts of kid friendly items.  You pay $3 per child and get to roam free.
I'm not going to lie... the Ohio ones were better.  They had more toy options and items for smaller kids (like blocks and kitchens, etc). BUT, it was still nice nonetheless.

We went to the McKinney Rec Center.  They had ride on toys, push toys, houses and tunnels to crawl through, and some bounce houses.

Olivia loved this thing.  It's like a personal trampoline.  It also has buttons that can play music, but the place was too loud to hear anything coming from a toy.  Of course, she isn't quite big enough to jump on her own yet (they just said at Little Gym last week that jumping was a 2 year old skill), but she bounced at her knees and every once in a while I'd lift her and help her "jump".

She also liked to ride in this.  Since the ride had stopped while I was taking her picture, she was trying to climb out.  She also rode on one of these at a friends birthday party recently.  I see them for resale all the time on the facebook "online garage sales" that I'm obsessed with.  I've been tempted to get her one, but Michael says NO MORE STUFF!

Playing with her friend Camdyn.

 She was climbing in one of the houses.
The age group for our open gym was 5 and under, so we did have to watch out for the big kids.

A little blurry, but loving the bounce house.  It was big enough that I got in with her.
She had just used one over the weekend at a friend's birthday party and fell in love.

Places like toddler open gym are great for so many reasons...
*We get out of the house--good for mommy and child.
*It's cheap!
*It's an easy way to socialize and meet new people--great for mommy and kid!
*It's a big open space to roam, so it's good exercise for the littles.
*It exposes the kids to new surroundings, new toys that you may not have at home, and new experiences with a big crowd of people.

You should check to see if your Rec Center has one.  If they don't, you should mention it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall is coming!

Hey friends!

Fall is right around the corner and 31 has a new catalog out!  There are lots of new products and some fun new patterns that I am really excited about.

The month of August was INSANE for me.  I was the most stressed out I have ever been in my LIFE.  I am a college graduate who then moved across the country not knowing a soul and became a teacher.  I planned my entire wedding by myself.  I am a mother.  None of those things stressed me out like the month of August. I'm not going to lie.  I'm still recovering! :)  But in the craziness I had to put 31 on the back burner for a bit. 

Because of that, I technically went "inactive" on September 1st.  It's not really a big deal.  I just have to have a $200 party to become active again.  I have been to multiple meetings and events recently that have really motivated me to get my business going.  Now that being a nanny is a thing of the past, I have the time to invest in my business.

That being said, I am looking to call in that $200 party in the next week so that I can become active.  It doesn't do me any good to hand out my business card and give out catalogs and then people go to my website and can't order. 

I am wondering if any of you would like to help me.  Check out the new catalog here and let me know what you think.  I will have to call this one in, so if there is something you'd like to get, you'll have to call or email me (

September's Customer Special is, for every $31 you spend, you get 31% off anything you spend in the new fall catalog!

Also, don't forget--even though we may not live in the same state, you can have an online/catalog party and reap the benefits of the hostess rewards.