Friday, November 30, 2012

Our Travels

I'm happy to report that our travels went much better than we had anticipated.
We left a little after 6 (central time) on Friday night and pulled into my grandma's driveway on Saturday morning at 11:45 (eastern time).  Olivia didn't love sleeping in the car, but she did pretty good considering.

We did a lot of relaxing and hanging out, which was nice.  I'm shocked to even type this, but we didn't play ONE. SINGLE. CARD GAME the whole time we were there!!!  Michael did get to go to the movies though, which was nice for him.  Also, I got to have a great Thirty-One party with my family and a few of my cousin's friends.

Olivia had a good time. She was her usual self--happy to show off, but not willing to hand out any love and affection. :)
She did learn that my grandma's name was GiGi and would walk into the kitchen every morning saying "GiGi".  She didn't, however, want GiGi picking her up! So Olivia!

I ended up being worried about nothing when it came to the sleep.
Saturday night she was REALLY tired and started melting down when everyone was over at the house.  We put her to bed and she was out withing minutes.  Other than that, we never had a single issue!
She loved all the dogs too!

I was attempting to get a cute Thanksgiving Day picture.  It wasn't happening...

Olivia enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal.  She had turkey, corn, sweet potatoe fries (that I made and brought for her), applesauce, cranberry sauce--that she oddly enjoyed?!, and stuffing.  That was the extent of the non-dairy options.  The stuffing had butter and that was as far as I was willing to push it.  She did get a few bites of pie as well.

I guess her cousin Em wanted some stuffing too! :)
Michael was melting hot the whole day, so he made his way outside a few times.
Olivia was picking rocks for him.
Ruffle pants are big in the south... and I suppose monograms are too.  Since we did the tu tu thing last year, I was wanting to do something a little fun and different.  I realize I picked sort of a funky pattern, but I had no idea I would get so many references to the 70's or clown pants.  Oh well, I think my southern belle looked pretty cute (minus the drool spots)!

My aunt had a mini craft for the kids and then they went out and had a pinata.  Olivia was super excited!

I only have blurry cell phone pictures from Columbus, but we had a great time there as well.  Michael spent a night out with the guys, I spent a night out with my friend Laurie, we had breakfast with The Bobbs (my adopted family), and spent as much time as we could at Michael's mom's.  She had all sorts of toys for Olivia to play with and Olivia had a great time making herself at home. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Animal Lover

Just this past week I have had two friends (with preschoolers) mention how grateful they are for technology.  Both talked of how they had recently watched videos of their kids as babies and toddlers and how fun it was to look back.  After hearing the same message twice in one week, I thought it best to get to video taping.  We have lots of videos of Olivia, but not a ton of her talking.  We turn the camera on and she gets shy or completely stops doing the exact thing that we were trying to capture.  I know that one day I am going to want to remember what her sweet voice sounded like when she tried to say elephant, octopus and zebra! :)

Her love of animals started shortly after her first birthday.  She got the Fisher Price Talking Zoo and picked up on the sound that a lion makes within weeks!  Her interest was increased not too much later when, at 13 months old, she discovered her see and say. She would walk around the house saying "e i e i o".  By 16 months she could either name or identify the sound of over a dozen animals.  She seems to pick up something new every day!  She also knows the word "animals!"

This is from last night.  Some of the animals she knows the name of (mostly ones with hard sounds to identify) and others she knows the sound they make. There are a few where she knows the sound and the name.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Mini Session

We arrived home safely yesterday afternoon.  After 10 days of being on the road and away from home, we are having a relaxed day today.  (Well, Olivia and I are.  Michael is at work!)  I'll try to get around to doing some blogging soon, but today I thought I'd share our family pictures.  I knew the disc would be waiting for us in our mailbox and I was anxiously waiting to see.

They sort of turned out how I imagined they would.  I'm not in love with them, but they are nice enough.  Thank goodness it was only a mini session.  I would not have been happy to have paid full price.  I'm not sure when we will be getting pictures again, but hopefully Olivia will be more cooperative next time!

This picture must have been snapped in the first five seconds of us sitting down.  After that Olivia immediately started squirming her way off my lap.  We ended up taking some of her standing down by Michael, but they must not have turned out because we didn't get any of those.  Our photographer was suppose to make this black and white.  I'm not a fan of the clashing pink and red, so if I print any of these it will be changed to b & w only.

If you are a friend on facebook, then you've seen this one.  It was one of the ones that was put up as a preview and I made it my cover photo.  It's the ONLY one where Olivia is smiling, and a favorite of both Michael and myself (even though I don't love the sitting on the ground pics).

These are the only standing pictures we took, and I was really hoping they would turn out. Sigh. Life with an opinionated toddler....

On the bridge
There was another family one with us holding the Merry Christmas sign, but I am not a fan.

Shots of Olivia...
We had to bribe her with food, which is why she has the funny faces in all of the pics.

I just love her... funny food stuffed faces and all! Isn't she beautiful?! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday--It's all about the accessories!

(She almost always puts the accessories on herself, or she asks for "necklace." She also makes dirty laundry into scarves.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Music Mania

Music has never really been my thing.  I never mastered an instrument, and I don't need to have it on in the background.  In fact, I often get made fun of for my lack of musical interest.  In high school, I mostly only listened to music in the car and even then it wasn't the trendy stuff.  In college, I could not even come close to playing the recorder at the beginning level in my music for teachers class. (It. was. AWFUL.)  So to say music is not my thing is probably an understatement.

However, I know that music is important.  It can help in so many ways educationally, emotionally and spiritually.  (Hello! Can't even begin to touch on what the Bible says about the importance of music!)  So I have made it my goal to make sure that Olivia has music in her life.  We aren't going to a music class right now, and honestly with MOPS and The Little Gym it would probably be too much, so I am trying to do as much as I can at home.

One of the easiest ways to bring music to our every day life is to SING!  And sing we do.  Even if I didn't want to, I'm pretty sure Olivia would make me.  We have quite the list of songs we go through.  I try to do songs with motions or sign language so that we are using more than one of the multiple intelligences.  We also have this box set of nursery rhymes that is one of Olivia's favorites. She carries the books around and says "please".  She can open to most pages and know exactly what song goes with the pictures.  I can't get away with anything! :)
 Some of her favorites are: Itsy Bitsy Spider, The More We Get Together, Old MacDonald, The Wheels on the Bus, The ABC's, Head and Shoulders, This is the Day, If You're Happy and You Know It, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Row Row Row your boat, You are my Sunshine, Jesus Loves Me, I've got the Joy of the Lord in my heart, This Old Man, I love you/You love me, and many many more!

I've mentioned her dog VIOLET before.  She really loves it and will often turn on music by pressing Violet's paws.  We have random jam sessions throughout the day thanks to Violet.  Olivia's favorite is the song that spells out her name.  Violet always leads to dancing and lots and lots of clapping!

We have the Melissa and Doug box set of INSTRUMENTS that we use sometimes.
There are a lot of "educational" toys that I keep put away and bring out every once in a while for a "learning" session.  These are one of those items.  First of all, because they need to have supervision when being used.  Second, if they are put away and then brought out randomly, they are more special.  Then "learning" seems fun and exciting!  She loves these instruments.  Sometimes I give her the whole box to explore and play with and sometimes I choose one instrument (or set of) and focus on it.

Another way we bring music into our day is by playing the XYLOPHONE.  She's not always as interested in this toy as some of the others, but if I sit down and start playing it she makes a beeline over to me!

We also try to get to the MUSIC AND MOVEMENT class at the library.  It's free, so why not?!  Let's be honest, most baby and toddler "story times" end up being more music than anything anyway.  So even if your library doesn't have a music class, you can check out the story time and still get lots of fun music exposure.

Some days our music exposure comes from the TV. It's true.  We have 4 Praise Baby DVD's that we love.  We also have some music themed Baby Einstein DVD's that someone gave us.  It's nice to have the option of praise and worship or classical music.

Other days it comes from simply listening to music on PANDORA.  There is a Veggie Tale channel that has a mix of Christian music with Disney songs.  We like to have dance parties! :)

Even though THE LITTLE GYM is designed to do gymnastic skills and work on motor and social skills, there is actually still a lot of music that happens.  There is singing, movement, and music on in the background.  That's one reason why I chose it over just a straight gymnastics class at a gym or a straight music class at the rec center.  It sort of mixes both.

And of course, there is always the good old fashion POTS AND PANS bang. :)
(Pay no attention to the water damage on my pots.  I hate Texas water!)

There are a lot of simple, homemade instruments that can be whipped up in no time.  We haven't gotten there yet, but are just getting to the age where creating them would be fun.

Music may not be my thing... but who knows what it will do for Olivia!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Family Pictures

Olivia is 16 months old and we don't have any family pictures.  I mean, we have a small handful of pictures that have been taken of us at special occasions, but nothing professional.  So when the photographer that did Olivia's one year pictures put mini sessions on facebook, I jumped at it.  We can't really afford the full sessions, and since she is just starting out, her prices are reasonable.

Unfortunately for us, there were a few things not in our favor.  First, it was ridiculously windy.  It's always windy in North Texas, but on Saturday the little wind symbol was next to the weather on our phone app.  Ugh. Second, it was scheduled for 9:40 in the morning.  This is precisely the time that Olivia is taking her first nap of the day.  Usually, if she has to skip it, she is at the point where she can go with the flow.  Saturday was NOT that kind of a day.  She was NOT having the picture taking.  I'm not sure if she smiled in any of them.  Plus, since she was fighting so hard, I spent all of my time trying to wrangle or distract her, so I'm sure I looked like a disheveled mess.  We'll find out in a week or so, I guess.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that we were hot.  Since it was technically a Christmas session, we went with fall type clothing.  As soon as the photos were over, Michael was stripping down to his t-shirt and I was wishing I could strip down.  We also took off half of Olivia's outfit.

Even though we were all sweaty messes, we did stay and play at the park and in the leaves.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of before the photo shoot, and also of us playing after.

Oh, and just because I have nowhere else to put these pictures.... Saturday night we were suppose to meet some friends and it fell through, so we ended up walking around Cabela's.  We knew Olivia would love to see all of the animals and she did!
That is Michael hiding under a longhorn blanket.  She wasn't scared at all.  She walked right up and hugged him. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Project 366: Week 45

309. I went to a "mothers of multiples" sale a month ago and the only thing I walked out with was this Packer shirt for $2.  I was pleased.  Who knew there were other Packer fans in Cowboy country!  She kind of looks like she's doing a football pose too, huh?

310.  Just being sweet

311.  We are still working on mastering the whole fork and spoon thing, but on this day she ate her entire bowl of oatmeal with her spoon by herself!

312. For whatever reason she was not a happy camper when we went to vote.  I think most of it was that she didn't want to be in her stroller.  She cried when I put her in and then was just mad.  She wouldn't smile at anyone.  We didn't even have to wait either.  We walked right in, no line, and was done in less than 5 minutes.  She knew I was trying to take her picture too.  She refused to look.

313. I don't know that you can fully grasp the severity of this picture, but that is poop...everywhere!  Ooozing out of her diaper, on her toy, on her leg, on her arm, and on her hand.  We were in her room and I was trying to fold laundry.  She had just gotten up from a nap and was drinking a green monster.  When I first looked over, I thought she had made a mess with it.  Oh no.  It was an entirely different mess all together!  I'll spare you the details, but it took me over an hour to get everything back to normal.  When Olivia doesn't poop for a day, we worry!!  We don't worry about constipation.  No, that has never been an issue.  We worry about the mass amount that we are going to be blessed with when she actually goes.  That's what happened here.  This is the worst blowout we have ever had!

314.  She turned her "fruit basket" into a hat.  This girl loves her accessories! :)

315.  We were at a park for pictures and had a little fun after.  She loved the swing and the slide.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving Travels

We are leaving for Indiana in less than a week.  I cannot believe it's already time!  It literally just hit me on Thursday.  We've been talking about it and planning the trip for months now and it always felt so far off in the distance.  It's not anymore, and I will need to spend this week preparing and packing!  It's really hard to get into the mindset of boots, coats, gloves, hats and sweaters when it is 80 degrees outside.  I don't even know that I have a coat that fits me.  Seriously!  I will have to go to the garage and start digging!  All my coats are pre-pregnancy, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't zip them last year! :(  I did get Olivia a coat and finally came across the hat and gloves at Old Navy that I was looking to buy.  Crazy!

Our plan is similar to last year in most ways.  We will be leaving on Friday after Michael gets home from work.  I think last year we tried to get on the road by 5.  This year it will be a little later.  He doesn't get home until 6, and will need to eat a quick dinner.  We will drive through the night.  Google says it should take us 17 hours.  Of course, we will have to stop a few times, and that adds time to it.  So we will get in mid-day Saturday.  We will be staying until Thanksgiving evening.  After all the festivities die down, we'll be hitting the road for Columbus.  We will be in Columbus Friday through Sunday evening.

I know people think we are crazy to drive that far, but it's just cheaper and so much easier!  We have SO much to bring along!  I know that if we were flying we could adapt, but it's just easier to have everything with us instead of trying to buy it once we get there.  One of the things that has been on my mind for months now is packing!  I'm all about lists, organization, and being prepared.  The task actually sounds fun to me. :)

The one thing I am worried about is Olivia's sleep.  She is an AMAZING sleeper.... if she's in her own bed!  Last year she was going on 5 months old, so she still was sleeping through a lot.  She slept her normal 12 hours in the car at night with no problem.  This year makes me nervous.  She has never been one to just fall asleep anywhere.  You know how you see all those pictures of kids who have fallen asleep in their high chair or jumperoo, or in weird positions while playing?!?  That has never happened to us. (Maybe because she naps like she should?!)  She also doesn't sleep in the car anymore.  She stopped that at around 10 months.  She slept terrible on our whole trip last year, and in turn was a grouch for most of it.  This year we will be bringing the mattress that I purchased for naps at Little Man's house, along with the pack and play.  We'll also have to bring the white noise machine and her little ocean music box.  I'm crossing my fingers that this works.  Otherwise, it's going to be a looooong 10 days!

Packing for 3 people plus stuff for a Thirty-One party is going to be an adventure.  Michael does not like to have the back window view blocked, so we are going to have to get creative!  On top of all the things that just go along with traveling with a kid, I feel like I have to be somewhat prepared in the food department.  We can't just go through the drive thru and get her a milk to go with her breakfast.  We also aren't keen on feeding her crap fast food.  I've started stocking up on a few items and will need to purchase a few more this week.  Luckily for us, almond milk can come in the juice box form and not need to be refrigerated.

I am looking forward to seeing family and just having a week to relax and have Michael around full time.  People are saying to me all the time "she's such a little person".  I am looking forward to seeing her interact with all of my cousin's children.  It is going to be a fun time!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Project 366: Week 44

302.  I know you've seen this one, but I only had giraffe costume pictures from that day.  This was actually after we got home from our church's fall festival.

303. Just a crazy morning picture.  She was actually still sleeping when Michael left for work (at 8:15!), so I sent him a good morning picture.

304. This picture cracks me up.  She has already mastered the art of ignoring.  If she doesn't want to do what she knows we are asking, then she will ignore us.  But the minute you switch what you are saying to something she likes, then she looks.  I thought she looked cute, so I was trying to take a picture but she was refusing to look at the camera.  So I said "Elmo!".  She looked. :)

305. We ran to the store to pick up a few items and one was a new broom.  We live in one of those types of apartments where we walk in our own door, but then have to go immediately upstairs to get to our house.  So I have to make multiple trips (making sure to close the gate behind me each time).  Everything just gets dumped on the living room/dining room floor until it's all in.  Well, Olivia grabbed the broom, picked it up, dragged it to the kitchen, and started sweeping.  I hope her love of cleaning (and laundry!) remains for a loooong time. ;)

306. So sweet. 

307. I was at a Thirty-One event last Friday, so Michael and Olivia were hanging out.  Who doesn't love a little one right out of the bathtub?!

308. Michael was trying to get away with playing video games, but Olivia was pretty sure he needed to be eating some of her food. :)  The video game was shut off shortly after this picture was taken.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Project 366: Week 43

There were some technical dificulties last night, so only one collage got made instead of two.  I'm hoping to get the next one up soon.

295. Playing with play doh for the first time.  I was making buckeyes, so Michael and Olivia had a little creative fun.  I think she liked it. :) (Notice the pearls with her Halloween pajamas!  She likes to keep things classy.)

296. I was showing Michael the free amenity I got from my Thirty-One meeting (new products for the spring!), and Olivia insisted that it was meant for her to climb in.

297. So Cute!

298. I know you all already saw this picture, but I just love it.

299.  Yep.  That's my girl!

300.  I ran into the store to pick up a few things and they were out of blueberries.  I decided to go for frozen ones.  I had no idea how messy they would be!

301.  My loves at the pumpkin farm.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Medium Utility Tote!!!

If you are at all familiar with Thirty-One, then you know all about the Large Utility Tote.  It is one of our top selling products.  Everyone loves it and customers keep coming back for more!  In fact, it is the bag that inspired me to actually join Thirty-One (because everyone kept asking me about it!). 

Thirty-One has taken the Large Utility Tote and shrunk it a little bit for our November special.  This month ONLY, you can buy a MEDIUM utility tote.  Let me tell you--this item is hot!  For every $35 you spend, you can get a medium utility tote for $5.  Think Christmas gifts!

It comes in this exclusive "Snowmuchfun" print, as well as 5 other of our favorites.

The best part.... for every medium utility tote that is purchased, Thirty-One will donate a thermal tote to Operation Homefront for a military family in need.  How cool is that?  You get your medium utility tote, your friend or family member gets a Christmas gift, and a military family is blessed as well.

Need ideas on how to spend that first $35?!

A picnic thermal ($35) is a perfect Christmas gift.  In fact, I received it as a gift before I started selling 31.  Everyone loves a thermal.  It's great for the ball field with the kiddos, picnics in the park, or how about road trips?

Another one of our best sellers is the Organizing Utility Tote ($30).  You could personalize it for $7 to make that gift even more special.  This is a GREAT gift if you have a teacher in the family.  I've also heard it's a favorite among crafters.

The options are endless!

I know some of you are going to be at a Thirty-One party with me later this month.  I can't wait!  But for those of you who aren't, I will be placing an order later this week.  Let me know if there is anything you'd like to get! :)