Monday, July 30, 2012

Pajama party and other stuff

Leo continues to grow up despite my protests. He is now taking solids twice a day. He really likes squash and pears, doesn't like peas unless they are in the peas, spinach, and pears mix, and likes his oat cereal mixed with breast milk. He also likes sweet potatoes and prunes. And that is about the extent of his diet thus far. His sleep continues to be bad, but Ferber, at this point is not working, and I refuse to let him cry for hours, which he has proven that he will do even if checked on at the assigned times. So, we will put that off until later and just let me be tired for a while. I really think that his bad sleep may be associated with him about to hit a milestone. There is another video of him pushing himself up looking like he is about to crawl.

Olivia continues to be a great big sister. You can tell that Leo wants to be just like her. Here he is trying to laugh when she does.

We had double Kindermusik today, which is the last one for the summer. It goes so much more smoothly when Nicholas is there to tag team with me. Thanks, Nicholas! Also, before going to Kindermusik, we stopped by the library to drop off Olivia's summer reading list so that she could get prizes. We pledged to read 320 books in this time. That sounds like a lot, but remember her books take about 5 minutes to read, and at a minimum, we read two books in the living room and one book in her crib before nap and bed time every day. That's six books a day for eight weeks. Add in reading while I nurse Leo, reading to Olivia's animals when we play animal rescue center (almost every day), and Daddy reading to Olivia while I make dinner/nurse Leo/am otherwise engaged, and we came up with 469 books!! Way to go Team Kraft!

This morning we had 13 kids in the house for a pajama party. Olivia likes to act out books and TV episodes, so this one was like a Max and Ruby episode where Ruby has a pajama party during the day. We had snacks, music and dancing, and "fashion magazines" (really, just Max and Ruby coloring pages) for the kids to play with. I think everyone had a great time!

Here are some of the silly things from Olivia lately:

Me: (I had just read a Dora book about wishes.) What do you wish for, Olivia?
Olivia: I want a big sister!

At night time in her crib after I have already tucked her in:
Olivia: Turn on the lamp.
Me: No. It's night time.
Olivia: I can't talk to you if you don't turn on the lamp.
Me: (I turn on the lamp.)
Olivia: I'm having a hard time falling asleep.
Me: Do you need another B? (That's what we call her burp clothes, which she uses as loveys.)
Olivia: Yes.
Me: (I get one and give it to her.)
Olivia: (Snuggles down on her pillow with it. I turn out the lamp and turn to go. Olivia pops up and says.) Make sure to check on Leo if he cries. (She also hates Ferber because Leo kept her up for two hours last week Wednesday night.)

Looking at the Vogue picture we have in our living room. (Mutti, you know the one.)
Olivia: Is that you?
Me: No.
Olivia: Is that a picture of you when you are old?
Me: No.
Olivia: Is that what you look like when you are old?
Me: I hope so.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting back into the swing of things...

We are getting back into a better routine. Monday I took the kids to double Kindermusik by myself. It went pretty well, except that Olivia was pretty much done about one third of the way through her class because there were two dads there, and she was a little afraid of them. Add the extra time in Leo's class, and we just called it a day and went and picked up Nicholas from his office since he had been up for 48 hours and was in no shape for driving.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, Leo had a VERY hard time staying asleep. He woke about every 15-20 minutes for the first few hours of sleep. I have no idea what was going on. Still he is having a hard time, but last night was a little better with the wakings less frequent. I really think that he is about to crawl and that this developmental milestone is throwing him. See the video for some of his moves. He didn't nap AT ALL at school yesterday, and is starting to refuse his bottle. That's not necessarily so bad because he can eat enough solids to satisfy him and I want to skip pumping at work anyway. Sweet Leo is growing up before Mommy is not ready.

One evening when I was very frustrated and pretty upset that Leo couldn't/wouldn't go to sleep and I didn't want him to cry, Olivia asked me why I was upset. I told her that I couldn't help Leo go to sleep. She said, "I can help. I'll sing Twinkle, Twinkle!" She's such a doll!

I've been getting a little more creative with her lunches lately. I haven't taken a picture of her school lunch yet, but here is one of her lunch on Wednesday:

I am trying to do a better job of having our lunch time and dinner times be less hectic, more planned, and more pleasant. I have enlisted Olivia to set the table, which she loves to do. She gets out the silverware for all of us and sets it at each of our places. I've also started lighting a candle at lunch and dinner time to signal the start of dinner and I let her blow out the candle when we are all finished. This has worked amazingly well. The candle idea is from the book I am reading called, "The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties." It has lots of good ideas.

Another funny thing that Olivia said this week was "Mommy. I can have some ice cream? That would make me happy." Today while Leo was jabbering, she said, "I think he's speaking Spanish!" She cracks me up!

We did the library on Wednesday. Today we did "kite races" where Olivia ran around the house pretending to fly a kite and then ran through some streamer as the finish line.

And in the book "Ballet Time" that we borrowed this week, Tilly is a ballerina who plays a cat in a play. So, here is our little Tutu Tilly dressed up as a "tip toe on your paws cat" and a "fierce, show all your claws cat."

Today I got my hair cut!! I am so excited about it because it is the first time a professional has cut my hair since before Olivia was born. I took a picture to show her, and she did a fantastic job! Before and after pictures to follow!

Monday, July 23, 2012

We are all tired...

It's been a good week, really, we are just all tired. Nicholas has been working very hard on his career proposal for the NSF, and his schedule was completely inverted by Thursday of last week. He went into work in the afternoon on Friday and stayed until Saturday morning. He woke at 7 PM on Saturday, helped me with baths, and hasn't been home since. I took the kids for a picnic lunch at his office yesterday and brought him breakfast today. He is almost done. Thank goodness, for everyone. He needs to sleep about 24 hours. Hopefully we will be back on schedule by the end of the week.

We did fun things, too, though. Last week we did double Kindermusik on Monday with Daddy tag-teaming it with me. (Today I attempt it on my own. We'll see if we make it to both.) We went to the library for new books (met my limit of 20) on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and made it to story time on Wednesday. On Friday we went to gymnastics. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my work days and Olivia and Leo's Mom's Morning Out days, and those went well, as well. Olivia likes to pretend drive the van now and drop me off at Mom's Morning Out when we play at home together. We are working on getting rid of the mid-morning nursing and replacing it with solids so that I don't have to pump at work. We're closer. On Thursday, he ate a pack of prunes (60 calories) and only took two ounces of milk. We also hit CHOM on Saturday and Sweet Cece's trying to stay out of the house for a while so Daddy could get some rest. Leo's sleep schedule is horrid, and I have asked Nicholas to help me with it once his schedule settles down. I have created a little monster who only wants to sleep in bed with us.

I didn't record much from the week. Here are a few pictures of Leo eating a rice cracker,


playing on our bed,

and in his first pair of shoes yesterday!

Here is Olivia walking in a pair of my heels. She would not stop to let me get a better picture, but she walked from my closet across the house to her bathroom. Hilarious!

This is Olivia playing dress-up at CHOM.

And here is a little video of Olivia writing a card (she really thinks that she knows how to write) to Grandma Dorothy...and others

This is of Olivia playing "music". I realize now that she wanted me to continue "introducing" her.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Just another week

Last week was a little rough. On Tuesday when I picked the kids up from MMO, Leo hadn't eaten anything while he was there. When I brought him home, he nursed and then threw up. Then Olivia woke from her nap fussy and upset. I went to the monthly Mom's night out that night anyway (Thanks, Nicholas!), which I hadn't been to since May, since both seemed to be doing okay by then. I nursed Leo and put him to be at 6:45 so that Nicholas only had Olivia to get into bed on his own. Olivia got whatever Leo had and started throwing up on Wednesday. I stayed home from work Thursday since the kids were sick. They were feeling better by the evening, though. On Friday I had both kids in the car by 7:30 AM to run to Target for prescriptions and some groceries. Olivia was eating the rest of her breakfast in her car seat with a bib on. She asked me to take it off of her because it was bothering her, so I pulled over on our street and did so. Then when I was pulling back out, I hit a mailbox. I did A LOT of damage to my car--my passenger side rearview mirror is totally off. We take it in tomorrow to have it fixed. Ugh! What an idiotic thing to do!!!

We went home after telling my neighbor I had hit his mailbox. We made it to Target later that day, though, and Olivia told me that her friend, Laura Kate, at school was using the potty and Olivia wanted to, too. Olivia wanted me to buy her a Dora potty seat for the big toilet (not just the little potty we have) and more panties. We did that, and on Friday night I made the potty chart, put out the M&M's and stickers for rewards, and washed all the new panties. I thought I was ready. I was; Olivia wasn't. Saturday was slightly disastrous. Olivia has the concept of the potty, but she can't quite relax enough to let it go when she doesn't REALLY have to and she can't hold it when she REALLY does have to. We started the morning with two "I can't go" potties, then we had two accidents, both of which were full of tears. We made it to the toilet just in time for the very last of it, though. Then we had two successful potties--complete with stickers and M&M's, which made Olivia super excited. Then Olivia refused to drink and didn't go for two hours. Then nap time with a slip-on diaper. It was full when she woke. Then she had one accident and one successful trip and lots of "I can't go" potties. She never told me she had to go because I now believe that she really can't tell.

At the end of Saturday, I was tired and debating whether to go on. The answer came during the night when she woke every hour to hour and a half for comfort. Daddy was up working on his career proposal, so I didn't field these. He told me when he came to bed at 6 AM. This morning I put diapers on Olivia and told her that she could still go on the potty if she wanted to, but she was going to wear diapers today. She was happy with that. I asked her first thing if she wanted to go on the potty right away, but she didn't want to. Then she went in her diaper and told me about it. She said she wanted to go on the potty then. She wasn't able to. I talked to my sister Steph about this, and she said that she had a similar episode with Abby when she was 28 months. Steph waited two more months, and then Abby was ready and did great. I am just going to wait. I took down the chart and the stickers tonight.

In other news, I keep meaning to write down things Olivia says. I have forgotten so many; here are two snippets of conversations:

In her crib on a rare night when Daddy isn't there for bed time:
Me: I had a great day with you today.
Olivia: My favorite part was playing with Daddy! (She is well on her way to being Daddy's girl! Of course there is also lots more conversation about her having a hard time falling asleep and trying to bargain for more stories and milk.)

In her crib almost every night now:

Me: Night, night, Olivia.
Olivia: If Leo cries, you go check on him. And don't break anything! (I seriously don't know where that last part came from! Maybe from hitting the mailbox? )

Some pictures of Daddy and Olivia drawing in the living room while Olivia was wearing her crown. When she is wearing this, she is Mariana, the princess of mermaid kingdom.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kindermusik (and other things)

As promised, I've got some pictures from Kindermusik this week. We go on Mondays back-to-back. Leo first in Sing and Sign and then Olivia in a beach themed toddler one. Today Nicholas met me there coming from work. He took Olivia to Jack's for a milk shake while Leo and I played at his class. We do what the title suggests: sing and sign. Leo doesn't have any signs yet, but we are focusing on "more", "milk", "eat", and "please." Here are some pictures:

Reading. Trying to prompt him to use the sign for book and for more.

Leo is trying to stand on his own, but he can do it easily for dozens of seconds at a time with support.

Trying to get a picture of us together since I took a million of Olivia and me together at this age.

Our German neighbors are moving back to Germany next month and they have lots of baby boy things for sale. I bought all their bibs (among other things...a big girl bed for Olivia! Whoa! But that is another post...). That is what Leo is wearing. Here is how Daddy changed it up so that when I got home, my boys looked like this--cute!:

And not to forget Olivia...she is awesome in class...really! She loves her teacher, Ms. Erin, too, and wants to play with her or talk to her throughout. She is fantastic at running these classes! Here are some pictures and a video of Olivia's class:

Pretending the scarves are kites that we are flying.

Reading a book about the beach on our beach blanket.

Using the egg shakers to make the noise of sand and singing about sand in our sandals, our blanket, and our sandwich. Oh, my!

And on to other things. Here is yet another video of Leo bouncing, but it is the funniest one yet. He is really into it. I moved the bouncer part up a notch after taking this because I realized he is getting too tall for that position.

Occasionally, Olivia will ask to hold or feed Leo. She really is a good big sister. She always wants to make sure Leo is coming with us. She doesn't want me to leave him at Mom's Morning Out when I pick her up. She wants to check on him during the day, etc. Here is one of the times she wanted to feed him. Leo, you will see, is a very tolerant baby.

And Stephanie sent Abby's old cow costume, so we have already gotten some mileage out of it dressing up and playing...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

We had a great 4th of July! After spending the day at home playing and eating red, white, and blue jello that Mutti used to make, we headed out around five for fried chicken and then fun at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. They had a free Kids' Zone where there was face painting, balloon animals, a booth to take silly pictures, lots of bouncies, slides, and climbing walls. Olivia liked the face painting and all things balloons--she got a pink butterfly balloon animal that she is still kissing today--but she was too apprehensive to do the bouncies, although we got in line for an elephant one three times just to have her say no when it was her turn.

We headed over to the Amphitheater around seven thinking that was when the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra was supposed to begin. We got a picture of us in our seats, but we didn't make it for the show because Olivia was getting antsy to go back and play and Leo was getting tired. That was fine by us since it was a school/work night and we have been trying to get Leo on a routine for sleeping. So, we didn't see any fireworks, which I counted on because it would have been a miracle for both kids to last that long. However, we did hear a lot of fireworks in the neighborhood. They didn't bother Leo's sleep, and Olivia kept repeating what Daddy said to her, "They can't hurt me, they are just loud."

Everyone was bathed and in bed by 8:30, which was nice, because although we weren't celebrating yesterday because we couldn't find a babysitter (our two regular ones couldn't do it), the 4th of July is Nicholas's and my anniversary. Yesterday marked nine years, and I am excited for at least 51 more!

Oh! And just because it is is Leo laughing!

Dora's birthday party, and Leo jumping

On Monday, Olivia wanted to throw Dora a birthday party. I'm always game for cake, so we baked a carrot cake and had balloons (ones she already had), and candles, and we sang Happy Birthday after dinner. Olivia blew out the candles.

Leo is getting good at bouncing. Here is a picture and a video.

On Monday, both kids started Kindermusik, too. Leo is in Sing and Sign and Olivia is in a Pirate themed toddler one. I went to each, while Nicholas hung out with the child not in music class. Both kids had fun. I did, too! Good teamwork, Nicholas! Pictures next week if I remember...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daddy-daughter trip

On Thursday of last week, Nicholas met me at Mom's Morning Out for the pick-up. He picked up Olivia and started the drive to Louisville for his cousin's wedding the next day. (The back story to this is that all four of us had planned to go, but the kids and I had just been up to my sister's place two weeks previously, and since the wedding was in Louisville and all four of us were going to stay there, the logistics were hairy. Plus, I had just started back to work and wasn't looking forward to working and then driving all in one day. So, then the plan was for Nicholas to just go on his own. He suggested a little later that he take Olivia with him. I agreed, and was pleasantly surprised he suggested it.) So, Olivia and Nicholas started their first Daddy-daughter trip.

Nicholas didn't take many pictures, so I don't have a lot to go on. I am waiting for some to get here from my phone that he texted me. All second hand, the trip went great! They arrived to Mutti's house late on Thursday night, and Nicholas put Olivia in bed without a bath and without a fight. On Friday morning, Olivia got up early. Nicholas got her breakfast and Mutti and she had some one-on-one time. From what I hear, they played a lot of "Doctor Olivia" and watched some Dora. Plus, Mutti got Olivia some special toys--a Dora doll that she brought home, and several new toys to add to the toys that Mutti keeps in a special closet just for Olivia to play with while she is there. Nice! Thanks, Mutti! (Today while we were in the car, she asked to go to your house! Later she asked to make a jump rope like you made her!)

Playing with Mutti and Dora.

Sleeping with her Dora book after wearing everyone out!

That afternoon, Mutti was exhausted by the time Olivia went down for her nap. After Olivia woke up and everyone got ready, Nicholas, Mutti, and Olivia drove over to Nicholas's cousin's hotel room so that Olivia and her second cousin, Bronson, who just turned two, could stay with a babysitter while the adults attended the wedding. Apparently this went pretty well. Olivia played on the iPad and played with the new toy Nicholas's Aunt Josie got her. Olivia actually asked me about Bronson when we were playing with that toy later when she got home, so he must have made an impression.

Nicholas got Olivia back to Mutti's and in bed on Friday night, and Olivia and Mutti had more one-on-one time on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon, Nicholas and Olivia went to Grandpa Bill and Tamara's place, which is under construction. Nicholas said the construction looks cool and is excited to see it finished. I'll bet Grandpa and Tamara are, too! Nicholas, Olivia, Grandpa Bill, and Tamara went back to their place they are staying now and played, ate dinner out, and had more play time. From what I hear, Olivia was pretty tired by this point and had a couple of meltdowns, but did pretty well given all the change and circumstances. She really loved to play with Grandpa Bill and talked about that when she came home.

Olivia reading to her puppy, Chuck, at Grandpa Bill's house.
That night, Olivia slept in a big bed for the first time on her own, and had a hard time falling asleep. But, she slept without waking during the night. When she woke in the morning, Nicholas and she were on the road within an hour. He said it was a mostly uneventful trip. When Olivia got here, Olivia was excited to see me and I her. We played the rest of the evening and got back into our normal routine on Monday.

A HUGE shout out to Nicholas. You did great taking a two-year-old on a trip without her Mommy! Not a lot of dads would do that! Fantastico!

Mommy-son time

While Nicholas and Olivia were away, it was wonderful to spend quality time with Leo. On Thursday afternoon when I picked Leo up from Mom's Morning Out and took him home, I realized how different it was going to be...the house was quiet, I had time to get a few things done around the house, and I had lots of time just to do baby-Mommy things. First, I took a nap with him! We did lots of tummy time while I read to him and I did things I had been meaning to catch up on.

A picture of us on Thursday after our nap.

Leo has been practicing sitting up. He is getting there and can do it independently for a few seconds at a time. He likes to stand (with support) better than sitting, though. Perhaps this is because of standing in his bouncer?

After getting some laundry done (I broke out the 12-month clothes and started washing and sorting them), I stuffed Leo full of food since I was going to attempt sleep training, including putting him in his own crib in his own room. He ate two tablespoons of cereal, one pack of sweet potatoes, and half a pack of prunes. Then he nursed. He went down without a fight...much, he cried for a couple of minutes...and then slept well until he woke for his night feeding at 2 AM. Not bad for the first night!

The next day we had a play date with my friend Rachel and her baby Sol, who is 10 days younger than Leo. No pictures because we chatted and the boys played until Leo was hungry. So by the time I got the camera out, it was too late. But here is a cute one of Leo's new obsession: his toes.

I got lots done over the weekend--ironing, cleaning the house, balancing the checkbook, ordering pictures, putting away 8 months of pictures (I am still behind on that!), baking cookies for friends, cleaning out part of the garage, doing laundry, etc. I also really, really enjoyed having just Mommy and Leo time, too. I took my time nursing him and I read to him while I did. I finally figured out a way to get him to laugh, which is to tickle very quickly beneath his chin. And I spent a lot of time Friday and Saturday nights getting him to sleep. He was not having it. The sleep training went out the window then and came back Sunday night when Nicholas got back. It is going better again. Tonight he went to sleep with less than a minute of crying/talking! I haven't given up feeding him at night, though. That's next on the agenda...sort of. I still contend he is too young to give up all night feedings, but he is having two and I am bringing him to bed with me for the last one. Since he has two teeth now, this is not good. The books say he should be able to go 9 hours without eating. His longest stretch in the past few nights has only been about 5.5. We're working on it. Here is my sweet boy playing with some toys.

And here he is on his play mat in one of his 12-month outfits while I was putting away pictures.