Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Playing in the backyard

Mostly so that Bill and Tamara can see some of the landscaping that they put in when Olivia was five weeks old, and also because Nicholas and Olivia playing hide-and-seek is hilarious:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School, birthday party, and other fun

I took the kids back to school Friday, but was only able to get this picture of Olivia helping me drop Leo off at his class. Leo is always easy to drop off. Olivia is another story. She never wants me to leave, so I didn't get a picture. Now the school is doing a drive-up and drop-off thing, so we did that Monday. It actually went better. No tears.

Friday night we had some family fun at the playground. I swear that I play, too, I am just rarely in the pictures!

Then on Saturday morning we went to our friends, Penny and Delilah's, birthday party. They turned 1 and 3, respectively. Rebekah, my friend, did an outstanding job on decorations and theme. It was a rainbow party, and it looked awesome--from banner to cake! Of course, I just got pictures of Olivia playing:

The big news at the party was that Leo started drinking from a straw! Awesome! And, at least part of his sleep problem, Nicholas and I have discovered was my drinking caffeine. I was only drinking one Diet Coke or one cup of coffee a day, but if I take that away, he sleeps much better.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My strong-willed child

Today, we went for Leo's six month well visit, even though he is sick and it is late. We had to reschedule due to our trip. He was 19 lbs 10 ounces and 27.5 inches long. That is just above the 75th percentile for height and weight. He is healthy as can be--good skin, etc. I had a few questions for Dr. Roberts including why does he hold his breath some times. She said, "Bummer. You didn't know it, but he is your strong-willed child." She said that it will probably get worse before it gets better and that sometimes blowing air at his face might surprise him and make him breath. Hmmm... It's hard for me to believe he is my strong willed child since he is often so easy going.

I also asked about sleep. I've been so shocked by how badly he sleeps at night the past few weeks because after all of Olivia's sleep problems, I swore I wasn't going to make the same mistakes twice. Dr. Roberts didn't have a lot to say about the sleep except that it looks like we are going to have a fight on our hands if we try Ferber. (I had told her that we tried it at five months, but he screamed for more than two hours several nights in a row. Since I didn't think that was normal, I intervened at that point. We had been checking on him at the appointed intervals, too, of course.) She said that would have to be willing to let him cry for a lot longer than two hours, and that we would have to remember that whatever time we had in our mind, he would have a stronger will than we. That sounds awful! She also said we don't have to do Ferber.

Since reintroducing the late afternoon nap, things are looking up. I had taken it away because he had been refusing it. He slept 30 minutes yesterday and today around 5 PM, and I think it helped him get through the rest of the evening. I am hopeful about his sleep. I have ordered some pacifiers that are supposed to be for breastfeeding babies that I hope he takes. As of now, I am kind of a human pacifier and I hate it. He will also use a bottle with water in it as a paci, but that is not really a great habit, either. Alas, at least things are looking up a little!

Since we've been back...

Now that I finally caught up on the trip posts, I can tell you what we've been up to since we've been back. Nicholas was fantastic about helping get everything unloaded and unpacked the evening we came home so that everything would be ready for us to go to work the following day and for the house not to be a disaster for the babysitter. Did I tell you that Olivia and Leo's Mom's Morning Out follows the Tuscaloosa City School schedule, and they were off from August 1 to 19. So, I got our sweet babysitter, Caroline, to babysit on my working days. I actually got more time in because I didn't have to drive to and from their school, which was nice. And, Olivia and Leo love Caroline. Win, win!

Stephanie sent home some dress-up outfits for Olivia to play in, and I found a couple of tiaras in my old bedroom at Mom's house that I got in high school. The two make for good times for Olivia.

We've also been painting at Olivia's request.

Now that the evenings are a little more pleasant, our backyard and our neighborhood playground are much more attractive. We've been to the playground with our friend and neighbor Jennifer and her two kids Mary Grace and John Paul, who each about six weeks younger than my two kids, so are great playmates. Olivia likes to run and fall in the backyard and pretend she is an animal in trouble. Here she says, "Ayudame!" which means "Help" in spanish.

Leo is sitting up on his own now, which is a huge milestone for him and for me since it means that I can sit him down and go put out other fires. Here he is outside on the blanket while Olivia is running around. She pretended that he was her pony and she had to keep him in his stall, the blanket. Those toys, she says, are pony toys.

Leo is just about too big for his sink bathtub, which I hate because (1) that means he is not my little baby anymore and (2) it's less convenient for me to use the inflatable tub in a big tub since I lean over. But, we did use the duck tub at Mutti's house, and it went well, so the days of this sink tub are very limited.

Olivia loves the "pink" oranges we bought at Target this week. They are Cara Cara oranges, and she ate three the first day we brought them home all by herself.

We also went to gymnastics last Friday, and the kids started school on Monday for the fall. (I am a terrible mom on that front. No pictures because I didn't feel like it was big deal since it had been just three weeks since the summer program. Well, I was wrong because Olivia changed classrooms and got a new teacher, and Leo got a new teacher. Olivia has a curriculum this year, and Leo has a fixed schedule! Yay! Everything is organized and awesome! Olivia has music class on Monday, CompuChild on Wednesday, and gymnastics on Friday. We will still be going to gymnastics on Tuesdays and to library story time on Thursday, so she is booked! Leo's teacher is super great, and I am excited about his schedule, too. Her room is decorated with birds and looks really stimulating. More on all that later.)

I started my Monday, Wednesday, Friday work week then, too. All went well except that everyone got sick on Monday afternoon/Tuesday, and I had to keep the kids home from school on Wednesday. It is just a cold, but I hate to infect everyone in Leo and Olivia's classrooms, and Leo was having a hard time nursing because his nose was so runny. Olivia was totally puny, too. Wednesday was a really rough day because Leo's sleep has taken on a life of it's own with him waking every 15-20 minutes for the first three hours after we put him down. It is awful!! This has been going on for weeks, and finally, Wednesday night after three REALLY bad nights, I couldn't take it. I brought back the late afternoon nap and decided Leo must be on a better schedule, worked!! I guess not having that late afternoon nap was totally throwing him. So, now he is taking a nap at 9AM, 1PM, and 5PM and then going to bed for the night between 7:30 and 8:30. Cross your fingers, last night was better, and tonight so far has been better.

And just so you know that Leo is happy despite the sleep and the cold, here he is laughing at Olivia who is pretending to be a frog outside on our driveway.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thanks, Mom!

A small ode to my mother. For all the help you have given me over the past year, which has been majorly significant. For all the encouragement you have doled out to me when I needed it. For continuing to pick up the phone when I call, even when it's not convenient for you and you have your own life and stuff to deal with. For answering my requests, even when it is "I need a pep talk" or "Could you send the things I forgot?". For not judging my mothering and relationship decisions. For just loving me. And for watching my kids for 48 hours so that Nicholas and I could get away, you are amazing and I love you. For giving the kids back and declaring Olivia "a delight" and thanking me for letting you watch them, you are a saint and a wonderful mother and grandmother. I love you!

Grandma Dorothy with the kids.

Grandpop Steve with Leo.

Grandma Clara with Leo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The zoo with Grandpa and Tamara

On Saturday (two Saturdays ago's hard to get anything done when your baby doesn't sleep), we spent the day with Grandpa Bill and Tamara. Because Olivia slept in until ten AM, we skipped nap time and did the zoo most of the day. We had a great time! (Thanks here to my mom for the zoo pass, which gets our family of four into Louisville zoo free and about 45 other reciprocal zoos, too!) Saturday was a beautiful day, so we, along with the rest of Louisville, decided to get out-of-doors and spend the day at the zoo. Here the kids and I are at the start of the day. Yes, Leo is holding his toothbrush, and Olivia does not look interested at all because she is eating her snack.

Olivia enjoyed being the one to call the shots primarily. "Do you want to see the giraffes?" Yes!

Daddy carried Olivia for much of the trip because the stroller was too low for her to have a good view.

Grandpa Bill was the caterer for the event, supplying us all with popcorn, ice cream, hot dogs, and drinks at appropriate times. We all felt like a day out at a ball game with all the treats! Loved it! Especially Olivia, who held on to her ice cream cone until it literally fell apart when we were looking at the tiger.

I won't even try to name all the animals we saw, but there were many including the giraffes, elephants, tigers, seals, and sea lions. Here we are watching the seal and sea lion show. I don't have even one picture of Tamara facing the camera, but you can see her in pink in this picture. Olivia really talked a lot with Tamara this trip. I can see that they are going to be buddies!

At Olivia's request, and from Bill and Tamara's pocket since Nicholas and I weren't carrying cash, we visited the limited time Dinosaur exhibit. It was a little scary for Olivia at first, but she loved the baby dinosaurs cracking out of their eggs. Here are the Krafts (born into the name) together.

And last, but not least, Nicholas took Olivia on the carousel. She, Leo, and I did that on our last trip and she requested to go on it right when we entered the zoo. I said we could at the end, and she did not forget on our way out!

After the zoo, we stopped by Bill and Tamara's house that is undergoing major renovations and additions. It is going to be amazing. I can hardly wait to see the finished product....I am sure they can hardly wait, too!

After settling all of our stuff at their rental house for the night, and Olivia and Leo being showered with gifts--Dora coloring pages and Mr. Potato Head and a Hello Kitty jacket for Olivia and a stuffed toy and Carter's fall outfit for Leo--we headed to dinner. Olivia was incredibly well behaved given that (1) service is not immediate at nicer places and (2) she hadn't had a nap at all that day. The food was fantastic! Leo was pretty much done, as was Olivia, by the time we left, and we called it a day when we got back. What a great and full day with Grandpa and Tamara!

Friday, August 17, 2012

At Mutti's house and visiting with Aunt Judy and GG

We had a great time at Mutti's house on Thursday and Friday. Mutti always makes us feel really welcome and at home. Olivia knows where her closet full of toys is, and sure not to disappoint, Mutti had added some extra things this time for both Olivia and Leo. Uncle Chuck came over that evening to play and then again on Friday to Judy's for visiting with GG, Judy, and cousin Bella. Here is Mutti holding Leo at Judy's.

Here are a few pictures of Uncle Chuck and Leo. I think they show what's in store for Leo as he grows up! Trouble!

And here is GG with Bella and Leo! Bella loved Leo and wanted to be in all the pictures with him.

Here is Aunt Judy and Leo in their first picture together!

Bella has a pretty sweet set-up at Judy's. Here are the cousins playing in the playhouse on the deck. Love it!

Uncle Chuck and Grandma took a breather after playing outside for a while.

And then it was time to go.

And play some games after a nap.

And parting is such sweet sorrow that Olivia would not pose for a picture with Mutti. Next time, I'll start earlier on that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Skipping 4 at French Lick

<p>I'll post about Friday with Nicholas's mom and grandma and Saturday with Nicholas's dad and his wife when I get back since those pictures are on my camera. On Sunday, Nicholas, the kids, and I ate lunch with my parents, Grandma Clara, sister Stephanie, her husband Brandon, and their kids Craig and Abby. After getting the kids stuff situated and Leo down for a nap, Nicholas and I took off for two nights on our own. </p>

We drove through Cordon up 62 past his old house, which is where we got married. We made it up to French Lick, which is a resort town based on the mineral springs there. There is also a casino there, but we didn't partake. When we checked in, they upgraded our room because I showed them our AAA card. The hotel is beautiful and our room was gorgeous.

We went out for the most expensive dinner we ever paid for that night. We both dressed up and we're excited for our night out. Totally worth it! Steak, lobster macaroni, asparagus, and bananas foster. Yum!!!

On Monday we ate breakfast together, then I went to the spa for a massage. It was awesome! We went over to the other hotel in the resort, West Baden, to tour later. Then we saw a late matinee of Barman. Loved it, too! When we got back, we went to the bowling alley and pizzeria in the basement of our hotel. We had pizza and stromboli and bowled two games. The pizza was great and the bowling was fun. My arm was tired by the end. We went to West Baden's indoor pool next. It is a beautiful place with plush lounges. It was nice to swim without the kids.

In the morning we ate at Denny's, stopped by the winery for gifts, and headed back. What a wonderful trip!