Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekend Fun

We recently had 2 fun weekends with grandparents.  Although as I look through the pictures, I realize the grandparents aren't in very many of them because Olivia was pretty clingy to mommy.  But, I promise they were there and she loved having them with her!

First we went to the Woodlands Children's Festival with Pop-O and Tutu.  There were lots of great activities for her to try out.

But the 2 favorites were the train ride.

And being dressed up like a ballerina by some real, local ballerinas and getting her picture taken with them.  Despite the non-smiling face, she was absolutely thrilled by this.  So much so that I'm going to sign her up for ballet lessons in the new year because she hasn't stopped talking about when she was a "bayarina."

Then the next weekend we headed to Old McDonald's Farm with Mimi and Grandpa.  Olivia was not into feeding or touching the animals.

It's much safer on the outside.

But once we found a train and a playground, she was all smiles!

Such fun times with our family!

Monday, November 18, 2013

School Days

For me, one of the hardest parts of leaving Olivia at daycare is not knowing exactly what she is doing. Sure, I have a schedule for her school and I can call/get texts to assure me she’s okay, but, it’s not really the minute-to-minute update that I crave. However, now that Olivia is more verbal and independent, she has been giving us more insight into her day-to-day life at school.

Apparently she does “work” throughout the day. I’m not exactly certain of all the mechanics, but I think the basic idea is that there are different stations with “work” that the kids can do. There is the “real life” station –kitchen, playing with babies, etc. There is another “creative” station with art/coloring. And there is a “skills” station with puzzles and games. Apparently when they are at the skills station, they get a little rug and they put their “work” on the rug. My guess is that this is a good way of containing the puzzles/games so they don’t go everywhere and it gives the kids a defined area in which they can work (and coincidentally, where they cannot work!). Olivia has really taken to this “rug” concept. The other day she pulled down my nice Williams Sonoma towel from the oven and declared it was her “rug” and she needed to “work.” So she went into the toy closet, picked out a puzzle, played with it on her “rug” and then cleaned it up and put it away. Pretty awesome!

However, there have been a few skills she has picked up that are less than awesome! ;)

Another part of Olivia’s day at school is getting from one point to another. Apparently whenever the kids go outside or to music class, they all line up with their hands behind their backs. So lately Olivia has been walking around the house with her hands behind her back. But, the most coveted job during a transition seems to be holding the door. I was not aware of how attractive it is to a 2 year old to be able to hold the door, but Olivia has quickly taught us the ways of Todder 1! For the past few week I’ve noticed this “door holding” allure as Olivia tells me “go ahead mommy” when we leave her room, the bathroom, go into school, etc. Poor Matt had not noticed it…until this weekend….we were hurrying to get out the door and I walked outside first. Olivia was standing by the door “holding it” and said “go ahead daddy.” Matt said “No, Olivia, you go ahead because Daddy has to turn on the alarm and lock the door.” She didn’t move so he kind of nudged her along. Of course, this was met with the fury of a 2 year old and a major tantrum. I quickly explained that she wanted to hold the door for him so he indulged her and opened the door back up, turned off the alarm, and we started over. So we all went back inside and Olivia “held the door.” Matt started to walk through and she pushed him back and said “No daddy. I didn’t call your name. Mommy…you can go ahead.” I’m not sure words can adequately describe the look of frustration/anger on Matt’s face – I am still chuckling as a write this blog. After I was safely outside, Olivia said “NOW you can go daddy.”

Sunday, November 10, 2013

GG & Aunt Shelly

Last week, we were lucky enough to have a visit from Olivia's great-grandma Geri ("GG") and great-aunt Shelly.  Speaking as a kid that grew up with really only my immediate family, it was pretty special for her to see these extended relatives!  They came bearing gifts, including a sweet doll wearing a pillowcase crocheted by Olivia great, great, great grandmother.  (Don't worry...the responsibility that comes with that gift is not lost on me!)  In addition, they brought Olivia a new purse filled with her very own phone and lipstick (chapstick). We all laughed that the thing Olivia seemed to like best was the tape that sweet Aunt Shelly used to decorate the chapstick!

Olivia showed them every toy we had

Took her babies to HEB and then came back with "food" for everyone, while singing a rousing version of "Do You Know The Muffin Man?"

Forced everyone to make a "leg tunnel" for the weebles' bus to go under

And read them lots of books

Of course, we had to have a little snack and some ice cream

It was such a wonderful visit, and once again I am reminded of the many people - near and far - who love my little girl!  Pretty lucky....

Saturday, November 2, 2013


This year Olivia really got into Halloween.  A few months ago we were talking about what costume she would wear.  I suggested a strawberry, but both she and Matt vetoed that.  As I continued to suggest potential costumes, she said no to each one.  So I finally asked her what she wanted to be and she replied "an M&M!"  Matt and I both laughed because she is obsessed with M&Ms and this is her go-to treat, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a cute idea.  I set out in search of an M&M costume, but couldn't find one little enough for her.  After some inspiration from Etsy and Pinterest and a long pep-talk from my mom, I decided to try and create my own costume.  I think it turned out pretty cute!

Here are some pics from her school's Halloween parade

After the parade, the school has their Fall Festival.  We have never been before because Olivia always seemed too little, but we were so glad we went this year.  She had a blast and still talks about all the games she played!

And, we decided last Sunday's rainy morning was the perfect time to decorate our pumpkins and bake some Halloween cookies for her teachers.

She had 2 pumpkins this year, so she declared she would make one happy and one sad one.  Matt expressed some less than positive comments about carving a pumpkin, so when I found these foam stickers I quickly snagged them.  I think it was perfect for Olivia (and Matt).  It was quick enough to hold her attention and low-maintenance enough that she could do everything on her own!

Olivia has never really helped me cook before.  Matt and I are paranoid about sharp knives and hot stoves/ovens, so we usually try to keep her as far away from the actual kitchen as possible.  But, I figured that making sugar cookies was harmless enough and when I asked her if she wanted to help, she got SO excited!

She really loved it that we had to melt the butter.  She still talks about how the butter was hard and then soft! But that pretty much was the end of her excitement about the cookies.  She half-heartedly stirred the batter and then begrudgingly scooped some of the dough onto a cookie sheet.  After putting down about 3 cookies, she told me she was "all done" and that she wanted to jump.  So...she got off the stool and stood in the middle of my kitchen yelling "jump! jump! jump!" and 'jumping' (note: her feet never actually leave the ground) up and down, while I finished making the cookies.

Her enthusiasm peaked a bit when the cookies were done baking and it was time to decorate.  I got some sprinkles and some candy eyes to decorate them.  Again, she was less interested in actually decorating the cookies than eating the icing and the eyes.

 (Note: she looks mad here because I told her that she couldn't eat any more of those candy eyes!  I figured 10 was more than enough!)

After I saw her lick her fingers and then touch the cookies, I decided these 3 would be for our family and I'd decorate the ones for her teachers myself!

And finally the big day arrived! There were torrential showers until about 3:00 when the sky cleared up, the sun came out, and parents all over Houston breathed a sigh of relief.  We continued our Williams-Dean trick-or-treating tradition and everyone had a ball!