Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pumpkins

I couldn't wait to take Olivia and Eric to a pumpkin patch this year.  In year's past we always visited the Cathedral House pumpkin patch - which is about the easiest thing in the world.  The awesome PTO fills the playground with pumpkins in the afternoon.  So when you come to pick up your children, you stop by, take some photos, pick out a pumpkin and you're DONE.

Since Olivia left CHES and Eric hasn't started yet, I had to venture out to find a patch.  My first try was a local nursery's Fall Festival.  I pitched this as a fun fall event (face painting, popcorn, games, etc).  Because that is how it will billed online.  But when we got there, it was not as we thought.  Basically it was just a plant nursery with lots of pumpkins.  There were stickers to decorate a pumpkin.


But it wasn't really a "festival" so Olivia was kind of bummed.  And it was hot so neither of my children (nor my husband) was very supportive of my photographic endeavors.  I had great visions of adorable pumpkin pictures.  And this is about the best I got.
Its cute.  I mean...Eric's face and eyebrows kill me!  But it wasn't perfect.

So since Olivia had Columbus Day holiday and since I am on maternity leave, we tried it again.  This time with bribes of cookies for Olivia and a better plan for pictures in the evening when the sun wasn't too hot.  (And leaving daddy at home since his patience for the "perfect shot" isn't as high as mine!).  We went to a local church literally 5 minutes from our house.  On the way there we had to stop by the pediatrician's office and all the wonderful doctors/nurses kept telling Olivia how cute her dress was.  That was all she needed - she was in full on model mode by the time we arrived.  She sat down, I handed her Eric, she lifted him up and made him laugh and then brought him down just as I snapped a picture.  Most of the times, these picture opportunities are better in my mind than in reality.  BUT, not this time.  These shots of my chubby cheeked little pumpkin and his proud big sister is currently being printed and will be framed in my living room.


Even though its still 10000 degrees in Houston, we are getting excited about Fall around here!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Parent's Night, Ava, Daddy

And a final hodgepodge blog of the happenings at the end of September.

The 26th was Matt's birthday.  Per usual, by the time we got to this date I was pooped and have since admitted to Matt that I know his day wasn't that special but have promised to make it up to him once we aren't so knee-deep in little babes.

We had Parents' Night at Olivia's school on his actual birthday but we still managed to do a cookie cake to celebrate.


Parents' Night was great.  We got to see Olivia's class, learn about the curriculum for this year, chat with a few parents and talk with her teachers.

Her job that week was "Technologist" which means she gets to help with computers/iPads.


She did a self-portrait which she was VERY excited about

About a week after her birthday, I got a shipment notification that her AG Doll would be delivered on Saturday.  To say she was anxious and excited would be the understatement of the century.  Literally at 1:45 I was calling the post office as she was in tears because she knew post office closed at 2:00 and it still had not been delivered.  Just before I yelled at some poor postal worker, the door bell rang and she shrieked with joy.

We quickly unwrapped the box to find Ava.  On the AG website, you can customize EVERYTHING about your doll - hair, skin, earrings, clothes, etc.  Olivia agonized over what to do.   FOR WEEKS.  EVERY DAY.  She was constantly on the iPad asking Matt and which face/hair/nails/clothes etc we thought were good.

But she finally decided to make a girl that looked like her and name her Ava (to coordinate with the other AG dolls - Ella and Willa).  Ava is super cute and Olivia LOVES her.  At 6, I think Olivia knows the dolls are not real but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.  There are several times when she will get mad if I lay down a doll the wrong way or something like that.  And earlier this summer she got FURIOUS at me when I asked her which was her favorite doll in front of all the dolls.

I would say that her Bitty Baby Ella has been her favorite so far.  Ella comes everywhere with us and she can't sleep without Ella.  But since Ava arrived there is a new fave in town.  Now Ava sleeps in the bed with Olivia and Olivia moved one of the baby doll cribs into her room next to her bed and Ella sleeps there (apparently just like Eric sleeps next to me).  Another interesting thing about the babies is that in her mind they are not her kids - they are her sisters.  And Matt and I are the parents.  Once Ava was ordered Olivia told me one day that she finally worked up the courage to tell the other babies that a new AG doll was coming and that some of them were jealous.  So...yeah...not sure she fully agrees that they are just dolls.

Needless to say, watching her unwrap Ava was similar to watching her meet Elsa at Disney.  All the money and planning in the world was worth it to watch her have that moment of joy.  I taped it because Matt wasn't home (and there was no chance she was going to wait any longer to open it) but then I started crying so its not a great video.  But she kept squealing and saying "She's perfect!" and "She's beautiful!"

And the following day, Olivia and daddy (and Ava) went on a special daddy-daughter date to see a play since Matt missed her actual birthday.

And that's a WRAP on August and September.  Doing those blogs was reminiscent of me doing my time some months at work when I wait till the last minute and have to rush to do it.  Like those months at work, I am going to try not to get behind on blogging anymore!  

Monday, September 25, 2017

3 and 4 months with Eric

Months 3 and 4 were just as sweet and snuggly as the previous 2.



Eric has a similar disposition to Olivia - he is sweet and cuddly and smiley.




He is enjoying tummy time a little more and can roll from his stomach to his back.


He outgrew the bassinet and moved from a full swaddle to one armed swaddle to a ridiculous Magic Merlin sleepsuit and finally to a sleepsack.  This was a very hard transition for Olivia so we were a little paranoid about it, but luckily this wasn't a big hurdle for E.



I couldn't bear to move him upstairs just yet, so he is taking naps in his crib but we pulled out the travel crib and he is still sleeping close to mamma each night.   I LOVE IT!  Long stretches of sleep still proves to be a bit elusive (similar to big sissy!).  But we are working on it.  And luckily, we know that this is just a phase and at some point, he will sleep!

We have been venturing out more and he continues to hate his carseat.  Olivia is forever leaning over to try and give him his pacifier (which he usually promptly spits out!).  I've been wearing him a lot in the Ergo and unfortunately this summer, many of his naps were taken in the carrier.

He is a little chunk - with fat little cheeks and rolls of baby cuteness on his arms and legs.


He has started reaching for toys and EVERYTHING goes in his mouth.

We have tried oatmeal and sweet potatoes.  Neither of which are huge hits.  But milk on the other hand - he can't get enough of.  Matt likes to say his favorite thing would be to stay in bed all day and nurse and then fall asleep on me.  And I can't say that I wouldn't love that either!


One of my favorite days was taking him to meet our beloved Dr. McKnight, who walked with us during some of our saddest days. She called on holidays to check on us; patiently answered hundreds of questions; repeated statistics to us; sought second, third, and fourth opinions for us; and listened empathetically as we agonized over each decision during multiple rounds of IVF. Without her skill, know-how, and kind manner I'm certain we would not have this little guy with us today. And for that, we are forever indebted. It's amazing what a lot of science and a little luck can create!


This little guy never gets any attention at home.  Nope.  No one will ever hold him.







We are just so in love with our favorite little brother!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday to Olivia

Our favorite big sister turned SIX and we were so happy to celebrate her.  This year has been a big one - she wrapped up her time at Cathedral House, moved in to a new house, got a new baby, and started Kindergarten.  In the blink of an eye, this baby turned into a big girl who went from diapers and dress-up to getting herself dressed in her school uniform and showing off the stories she has written!

Olivia continues to have such a range to her personality - big and little, brave and timid, outgoing and shy, sweet and angry.  Matt and I like to say that 95% of the time, she is the model of perfection.  She's funny, smart and sweet.  She has a good imagination and loves to play.  She is a kind friend and socially adept.  At the same time, she is 5 and has moments of pure anger and defiance.  She can argue with the best of them, has sass for days, and when she is really mad, she is not afraid to resort to a kick or a punch!

She is reading great.  At this point she can pick up any book and read it.  We are working on really paying attention to what she is reading instead of just flying through the words.  She also continues to work on math with daddy (who she calls a math "quiz").  She knows most of her basic multiplication and this is her FAVORITE party trick.  Anytime anyone asks her about school, she is quick to demonstrate the multiplication tables.  Its all memorization at this point and maybe even a little embarrassing, but honestly, having a girl who loves math and thinks she is good at it is not something I hate.

As can be seen in the presents below, dolls still reign supreme with Olivia.  This year she got a "big" American Girl Doll.  She did a "design your own doll."  It did not arrive in time for her birthday because it takes 6 weeks to make it and she AGONIZED over each decision (see separate post on this).  So most of her "quiet time" is spent with the baby dolls.  She lines them up and plays school or restaurant or some other activity with them.  Beyond that, art is the other big favorite.  Matt and I have boxes and boxes of art work and books and cards she has made us.  If she ever gets in trouble and gets sent upstairs for a time out, we usually will hear "I'm dropping an envelope down for you" a few minutes later.  Most of the time they say something along the lines of "Dear Mommy, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to ____.  I love you.  XOXO, Olivia."  However, every now and then we will get one that says "Dear Mommy, you better watch out.  You will be sorry.  XOXO, Olivia."  So.....

She has also been into cooking lately and getting more into the nitty gritty of it - reading recipes, measuring ingredients, etc.  I am hopeful that cooking will be something that bonds us as she grows.

We celebrated her birthday a few days early because Matt was going to be out of town on her actual birthday.


Once again, American Girl dominated the presents



On her actual birthday, she woke up to a few more presents and we had kolaches for breakfast.




And she had a special day at school.  We were greeted with a birthday sign when we drove up.

Then, Eric and I were able to go to at lunchtime and bring her a special lunch (she requested Raising Cane's) and cookies for her friends (butterflies for the girls and baseballs for the boys).






That evening, my parents joined us for a birthday dinner.  She is on a big nachos kick now, so she chose Lupe!


The next weekend, we had her parties.  Of course she needed her hair done that morning.

Once they found out it was her birthday, they really took care of her - pink glitter, blush and pink lipgloss.  She was LOVING the attention.

First up was a paint party at Mad Potter with her friends.  The kids were VERY focused on their art.  The party was literally silent for about 30 straight minutes with only the parents chatting, as the kids painted.


With all the changes around her, I was so happy to give her a party with her CHES and family friends that feel warm and safe to her (and me!).





Speaking of feeling warm and safe - the fact that 2 of my best friends were there with THEIR daughters who my Olivia just happens to love and adore?!!






The desserts were very important to her this year. She had very specific ideas about a chocolate cake, with chocolate glitter frosting...



And this is how the party ended - all her guests in one big pile of sugar and love on the floor.


And then we did a little get together with the family back at the house.

First up, she opened all her presents.  She is a lucky and loved, spoiled little girl.



And we had Carrabbas cater dinner.  For dessert, Uncle Drew helped me make her a Pink Princess Punch

And then we had the second dessert of the day - a chocolate chip cookie cake!


This year we missed Yazzie because she was in Iowa but we were so lucky to have Drew and Jenny down from Nashville to help celebrate our girl.

And of course Popo, Tutu, Mimi, Grandpa, Naz and Tyler were there



At the end of the party, Olivia showed off what she worked on in school that week.  During "free time" at school that week, Olivia and her new friend Charlotte apparently "wrote a story."  Its called "Friends" and it is a legitimate story.  It has 6 pages and its about 2 friends who are in the same class and one gets hurt.  The other friend helps her and then they both go to class.  It has illustrations and sentences and my completely biased self basically declared her a genius the minute I saw it.  I talked to her teacher a little about it and she told me how she really encouraged the book obviously because of the acacdemic aspect of it, but also because Olivia really stepped out of her comfort zone to do this with someone new and they were both SO proud of it.  On Friday, Olivia and her friend presented it to the class for their weekly "Show and Teach" session and then sweet Mrs. Hayden made a copy of the book so that both Olivia and Charlotte could take it home to show their families.  

At the end of her party, Olivia did a reading of the book.  It was precious and perfect.  She started out by warning everyone that the original version had color pictures but there is this thing called a "copy machine" and it only made the book in black and white. ;)

And that's a wrap on her 6th birthday.  I was exhausted by Sunday but I hope this sweet little gift of a daughter knows how loved she is and how lucky I feel to be her biggest fan.