Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Olivia Layne - 16 Months

Where did our baby go? You are getting so big and old, little Laynie Baby. You are walking! You took what we are counting as your first steps on April 11th. After that you would walk by yourself once in a while, but not always. You still preferred to hold our hands. But when you DO go by yourself, you can really go. You got so strong by waiting until you were really ready :) Just yesterday, on your 16 month birthday, you chose to walk by yourself a lot! We LOVE seeing you do it. You get really excited and open your mouth wide and you like to reach out for a high five when you get to us. Nayelle taught you that part of it :) You have had one or two head bumps from falling, but mostly you fall on your bottom and get right back up. I’m pretty sure you said “Mama” for real this morning! Maybe not 100% sure, but it was really precious anyway. You also say “uh-oh” all the time now, and you say it emphasizing different syllables and making your mouth into a cute little “o”. It is adorable.

We finally had good weather this weekend and were able to play outside quite a bit. You just love to be outside. We took a bike ride, played at the park, had a picnic and took walks. I think we are all excited for true Spring weather. Your naps have really gotten out of control. It’s hard to say when you’ll take one, and you now only take one. Sometimes it’s 45 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes. My thought is that you are often pretty tired in the evenings. You can handle it pretty well, but if you get frustrated about something it takes a long time to console you. I think another part of that is your teeth coming in. All your molars are in and your last one is working hard to get all the way through. Sadly you have another double ear infection :( I took you to the doctor because you had a cough that wouldn’t go away and it turns out you poor ears were infected. I hope you’ll soon start getting more rest, all your teeth will feel good and you’ll be healthy. Speaking of health, you had your first tummy bug this month. Poor Maddie and Jackson had it and we went to visit not knowing it and those germs jumped right onto you with a vengeance. You threw up 11 times in 12 hours or so. It was awful to see you suffer that way and not know what was going on. I would do pretty much anything to keep you from getting sick. And that bug was ruthless. It got me and Daddy, too. We are all learning how to navigate your new big feelings and emotions. I’ve read quite a bit about how I’d like to respect those feelings and help you through them, but it is not easy. It’s a big instinct to want to make you feel better immediately by shushing you and distracting you, but I want you to know that your emotions are valid and you don’t need to be scared to share your feelings. I will try to help you understand where they come from and how you got to feeling a certain way, and I will try to be proactive about keeping triggers (lack of sleep, hunger, needing connection) to a minimum. But as with any toddler or adult, you will have big feelings and they are safe with us. Hopefully I can soon figure out a way to redirect the biting, though. It seems to be your instinct when you get really frustrated. You reach down to bite whatever is near. Poor goose. I know in time you’ll learn that teeth are for eating, not biting, though. What a journey this is for us all!

You are so fun, my sweet girl! You smile a lot and your laugh is still the best sound in the entire world. You sit and play for longer by yourself. Sometimes you find something to do all on your own, like putting a diaper on one of your toys or pushing your bus around, and sometimes we will suggest a toy and you’ll play with it. You still much prefer lots of interaction from us, but it’s great to see you figuring things out as you grow up. You like to try to do things on your own, like put on your shoes, socks, hat, jacket, etc. If we offer to help you you shake and twist your body as your way of saying “no, leave me alone, I will do it!” Of course then sometimes you get upset when you can’t do it, but sometimes you will ask us for help when you are ready. You definitely know what you want and like. If you are walking while holding our hands and we ask if you want to walk by yourself you do the same shake/twist to tell us NO! But you will walk and walk by yourself when you decide to alone :) You love to have us sing songs to you, especially when there are hand movements. You get so pleased when you do the movements with us to If You’re Happy and You Know it, The Wheels on the Bus, and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

You can put two and two together, too. You have a book with a picture of a fan in it and when you just see the book cover you will point to the ceiling fan. When we are driving home from Nayelle’s we pass a new mini golf course that has an elephant and before it’s even in sight you make the sign for elephant. If you see a banana in a book you point to our counter where the fruit bowl is. You also make the hand movements for Wheels on the Bus every time you see an actual school bus. Maybe I’m biased, but you are a genius ;) We decided to cut your bangs yesterday. I know! Yikes! They are probably a little shorter than I had planned, but you look completely adorable. You can still wear a bow, but now if you don’t your hair isn’t in your eyes. You look older, too. I love how the rest of your hair curls and wisps while your bangs are straight and short. I wouldn’t be surprised if BabyGap calls for a job ;) I like to think you are strong and passionate and those characteristics can take you really far in life sweet girl. I can’t wait to see how those traits will weave together with the rest of your fun personality as you grow. I could not have a better job than being your Mama


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Big 3-3!

Note: even though it was my birthday yesterday, this post contains pictures of Olivia in her birthday suit, in case you are not comfortable with that you may want to wait for the next post :)

First things first: check out the boat progress! Holes filled and sanded. Looking pretty sleek, no?

giving clarence some water

trying to sit on clarence

 feeding baby

olivia always has kix in the car and she loves that treat! here she is smiling with a mouthful of them!

here I am standing on a chair announcing free books for world book night!

we went out for sushi and olivia LOVED the miso soup with tofu

as you can see she also loves being naked

my birthday table thanks to brother bear Scottie. he made the cake, too and it was ah-maze-ing!

olivia was in love with the balloon. she was letting out the most adorable squeals!

singing happy birthday

scottie loves to carve and he does an amazing job. here he made me a special "sister bear" decoration

a special and romantic surprise from Jeff-pink jewel earrings!

walking around with her balloon

seriously delish

she was crying here. i couldn't get a happy happy birthday picture with her. oh well.

books gone in 30 minutes. a successful and fun birthday/world book night!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

More pictures of Olivia

putting Leo's diaper on

finding some retro toys

taking bunny down the slide

trying on daddy's shoes

happy "spring"

if we can't play outside we will have a picnic inside :)

Look what I can do!

We all know Olivia is on the "late" end of walking. She's been taking a few steps here and there for several days. I'd say her first steps, where she could take more than 2-3 at a time, were probably on the 11th. Yesterday she just took off! I figured once she did she would have no troubles. She is strong and ready to go! Not to mention totally adorable. Now if only I could figure out how to rotate my videos. Oh well, enjoy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Let love be the brightest

When I pause for a moment after a tragedy such as the bombings in Boston, I can feel my heart enter a sort of comatose state. It’s as if my mind begins to reel with pictures of devastation but my heart can’t take it and a curtain is drawn to hide the pain, to keep out reality. It’s weird. I recognize this about myself. When something sad is reported on the news. When a co-worker gets cancer. When a relative goes to rehab. Bombs at marathons, planes crashing into towers, public shootings, abducted children, genocide in faraway countries, daily war in distant cities. I feel like if I take enough time to process these things, it will knock me down and I won’t be able to get up. I’ve always been empathetic. Sometimes it seems like I feel more deeply for people than they can feel for themselves. As if I want to take on burdens for people because I can’t imagine them having to do it themselves. Since having Olivia my empathy has multiplied, if that’s even possible. My heart is constantly worn outside my body, and constantly beaten and bruised. By seemingly little things. By puppies outside in the cold. By tulips frozen in a storm. By glancing at an elderly man and seeing him wistfully looking at a baby, remembering. The big things are too much. I can’t imagine letting the reality of death and destruction into my heart. The indescribable pain of a man whose 8-year-old son is gone on a day that should have been a celebration. The confusion and heartache of the woman whose daughter is not allowed to go to school in their country. The fear of the men who hear bullet blasts outside of their homes every day. The uncertainty of the scared girl who doesn’t know if she will be hit again today. With each news report about yesterday’s tragedy, I want to draw deeper into myself, to hide farther in my own safe world. Yet there is a piece of light trying to break through the curtain over my heart. Saying "it's OK, let it in, and I will uncover the darkness and show you the beauty." It wants to shine light that will outdo the shadows of pain, to reach out to people everywhere and to spread. It has a voice that whispers, “tragedy is not all there is”. “Open your heart’s eyes. Use your heart, not as a punching bag of empathy, but as a basket of love. Let these hurts be a catapult to join the human race as we run toward each other as helpers, as friends, as Love. Do something tangible if you can, in the wake of devastation, but even better, do something everyday to be Love. Defeat the pain and the evil and the hate. Donate money, give blood, or simply smile at your server, ask your dentist about her son, take your old coat to a shelter, plant a tree, mow your neighbors lawn, sing a song to your great grandpa. Inspire. Create. Share. Don’t let fear, hate or pain win. Let love win. I want to show Olivia and Cade that love wins every time, even when it may not feel like it. Social media is quite the tool, isn’t it? It can spread lies, it can repeat damaging information or scary images, but it can spread hope, too. I’ve loved seeing the uplifting quotes, stories and vidoes that have weaved people together not only after the Boston Marathon, but after other heartbreak as well. Take a look for yourself. People’s hearts are big. Love is big. Everyday love, love in the office, love in acts of service, love as a career, love as a hobby. Love wins:

Hundreds of people doing 14 kind things in honor of a boy who would have turned 14:

Inspiring images following bombs in Boston:

Love flash mob for a homeless teenage mother:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” Mister Rogers

I want to add to this love.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Are you sure it's Spring???

Colorado, as usual, is offering up some crazy Spring weather. 60's and sunny one day, 60mph wind and 1 degree the next day. We had another really fun zoo day, followed by all 3 of us getting a terrible stomach bug. Poor Olivia was incredibly sick and it was one of the hardest things I've gone through yet as a mama. Poor little bug :( Hopefully we can call that good for the next 5 years of health! Now, Mother Nature, let's bring on some warmth, mkay?

"I am not amused with Clarence trying to eat my snacks."

My new computer, which I don't love because it's NOT REAL.

picking pretty purple flowers!

another picnic

Carmelita love

no fear of that 18" tongue!

making the sign for elephant!

Olivia LOVED the bird area. She didn't want to leave and thought she could probably catch a bird if she tried hard enough. It was adorable!

First carousel ride. She didn't hate it but didn't want to sit on a horse!

right at home with the chickies

zonked after a long afternoon

having a popsicle to get some fluids back after being so sick

and the 1 degree weather affect

Is there anything cuter than a little fluffy skirted bottom walking along?!