Sunday, October 28, 2012

What else we've been up to...

I feel like the weeks pass SO quickly now that I am working three mornings a week. Then we do gymnastics on Tuesday mornings, and usually do story time on Thursday mornings. Throw in naps, trips to the playground and the grocery store, cleaning the house, cooking, and playing, and "the days are just packed!"

Last Sunday we carved one of the pumpkins, and it still looks good. We didn't get the other one carved today, so it may end up being a Thanksgiving decoration!

Nicholas had another big week last week with an NSF proposal due, so here are the pictures of the kids I texted him one evening when he had to miss dinner. They look wired...

And tired!

I got to go to book club on Wednesday night, which was super fun! While I was there I talked to someone about crock pot cooking, and I happened upon some recipes she pinned on Pinterest. So, I decided I could do it. Between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I got eight meals prepped for the crock pot and frozen. I'm stoked. I'll post later on how they actually taste!

We had a birthday party on Friday night for our neighbor's daughter, then date night! Saturday seems like a long time ago already. And today we had a birthday party for another neighbor's daughter, and it was a costume party! So fun! Here are my little pets! Pyper turned three and was the witch standing behind my kids. Olivia ran and played with her and I couldn't help but think of how much Olivia has grown up this fall. She never would have just run around with a bunch of kids she didn't know (she knew Pyper, but no one else), prior to this fall.

Olivia is getting more and more interested in Leo and they are starting to "play" together. She makes him laugh. He tries to get her toys. She doesn't share. He cries. She cries. We talk about sharing. She shares. He smiles. She says, "He's smiling." They are doing a good job, really, and I am excited for more and more kid play time!

Leo's eight month pictures and not even one good family picture

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The great pumpkins!

Because the really good pumpkin patches are at least an hour and a half away, this year we decided to just do a pumpkin patch that a church not too far away puts on each year. We had a good time, and got some cute pumpkins! Maybe next weekend we will get them carved! Olivia loved picking some out and helping Daddy carry them! Leo just wanted to crawl everywhere and look cute! He did a great job!

"I want this one, Mama!"

"This one is too heavy!"

"I'll help you carry it, Daddy."

I tried to get a good picture, but everyone was looking in different directions. Sigh.

Same thing. They are pretty cute, though, even when they aren't looking at the camera!

Daddy's little helper.

Sort of talking.

Oh, the games we play!

I don't think I've done a posting lately about all the creative "games" we play around our house and other things we do to fill the time, learn, keep occupied, and try to get things done.

We often play "Mom's Morning Out" where Olivia is Mommy and I am Olivia. I started this game on one particularly rough morning when Leo was having a hard time taking his nap because of Olivia singing and being loud. So, I suggested we go to the garage to get away from his room. We started playing in the van. Olivia wanted to drive and "drop me off" at Mom's Morning Out. The play has escalated so that Olivia picks out my clothes for her to wear, we pack a "lunch", and then she loads up the car, usually with toys. Then we "drive" to MMO where she asks me to say, "I don't want to go to school." I say that. Then she says, "Well, you have to. I'll pick you up after lunch." Here she is in my "work clothes."

We often play chef, too. I usually suggest this for a game while I am trying to unload the dishwasher or fold laundry. I push Olivia's stairs up to the stove, give her a pan, and she gets out spoons, plastic vegetables and fruit, and other random kitchen utensils and cooks. Today, though, in the midst of it, I made semi-homemade cinnamon-carmel rolls with frozen bread dough. They turned out great! Thanks, Heidi, for the recipe.

We often act out one of Olivia's princess stories about Belle taking a book outside to read, going back into the castle (our house) to pack a picnic lunch, and then going back out only to discover a wild pony. We do each of those things, and we alternate turns on who is Belle and who is the pony. We pretend little marshmallows are sugar cubes and line them up to lure the pony near. Then we use a dog leash as a halter to catch the pony and lead him back to the stable. (No picture for this one.)

Olivia likes to pretend the back of the van is our clubhouse. Olivia, Leo, and I get in the back of the van and pretend we are Ruby, Louise, and Max from the Max and Ruby books/TV show. We usually have a backpack filled with toys. Leo is the pesky brother who is "always causing trouble," which Olivia likes to mention a lot.

Olivia is getting more and more into her tricycle and is doing a better and better job of pedaling on her own. I usually stand about twenty feet away and have her pedal towards me. Yesterday she wanted to pedal down the sidewalk. I asked where she was going, and she replied, "Vacation!" I asked where that was, and she said, "Birmingham." So, we pretended she was going to Birmingham for vacation by running around the front yard singing "Birmingham, Birmingham!"

Lately, we've been playing "goats" a lot since Mom texted pictures of the goats they have. Olivia is called either Gilda or Glenda, and I am the other. Leo is Georgie. We run around the backyard, pretend the tent is the barn, pretend that a blanket in front of the tent is the paddock, and that the back hill is a mountain. Gilda usually escapes from the barn out to the field and I have to lead her back to the paddock. Then we go to the mountain to collect leaves for her to eat.

We also play a lot of "Goldy," who is Pinkalicious's unicorn. Goldy likes to eat pumpkins, broccoli, and carrots and is always taking the farmer's vegetables. Nicholas or I am the farmer. This game is usually played on our bed for some reason. I'm not sure how that started.

Olivia still likes to dress up in a ballerina tutu and play "Tutu Tilly," which is one of her favorite book characters from the Adele Gerras books. She does this in the office on her big girl bed. She recites lines from the books, twirls, does plies, and jumps. She likes for us to say, "I don't know if you can..." whatever--put your leg up to the beam, jump, twirl, etc. and then get super excited when she does it.

We do some painting or coloring almost every day. She likes for Daddy to take her "art" to work. But she doesn't want him to keep it too long. She wants him to bring it back to hang on the refrigerator again.

Today we made a Haunted House from a kit from Target. I am impressed how well it turned out given that a two-year-old did most of the decorating and that a one-handed-mama put it together, as I was holding Leo.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A dangerous age

That is how I describe Leo's age right now. He is super cute and I am so excited with how much he is starting to communicate--he is saying "Mama" and "Dada" sort of. He is also entering into a separation anxiety phase where he doesn't really want to go to "school," and he cries as soon as Daddy comes home because he wants to be picked up by him. But the part of this age that terrifies me is that he is so mobile and so ignorant of consequences. He is pulling up on everything and is starting to try to climb. He is starting to cruise on furniture. He pulled up on our dresser the other day while I was next to him dusting it. Then he slipped and hit his head on it and got a pretty big bruise. He pulls up on the piano stool, which swivels, but hasn't fallen yet. He has pulled over a small end table in our living room and his wooden block of toys that is similar to those in a doctor's waiting room. Each with some tears, but he is pretty resilient.

Early last week we had a cold snap, and I got some pictures of the kids on the way to the playground. I love kids dressed in warm clothes! Especially these two!

And I have been meaning to post some Olivia conversations.

Every night at dinner, Olivia says, "Daddy, can you tell me about your day at work?"

I'm not sure how this came up, but we were talking about hair on our heads.
Olivia: Daddy, you don't have any hair on your head!
Nicholas: No, I don't.
Olivia: It's all on your face!
Nicholas: (laughing)...(and then later when he was giving her a bath in our bathroom)
Olivia: The razors are up there. You can use them to get the hair off your face. Then you'll be a regular daddy.

Jeana Rutledge Photography

My sweet neighbor, Jeana, is a budding photographer. She texted on Thursday and asked if she could come over and "play." I, of course, said yes, but give me fifteen minutes to change the kids diapers, wipe their faces, and put some clean clothes on them. Daddy came home during the middle of the session. We had lots of fun! Leo was not his usual happy self, but we still managed some good ones! So cute, Jeana!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our neighborhood block party! Oh, yeah!

Have I mentioned how great our neighborhood is? It really is a great place to live. I love the sidewalks, the playground, the pool, and all the great neighbors. I met a lot of my neighbors because I used to walk Ringo two miles morning and night around the neighborhood until Olivia started to walk. Then, having kids, I've met lots of other moms in the neighborhood. I love that I can text a friend and meet her at the playground fifteen minutes later. And I really like some of the social events that our HOA organizes. My favorite is the block party. Olivia had a great time at the bouncy house, and I was excited not to have to cook tonight because it was catered with BBQ sandwiches and hot dogs, coleslaw and baked beans, cookies, and drinks. And we got to see a lot of our neighbors that we haven't seen in a while. Here is Olivia playing: (And on another side note, here she is last year at this same event. Again, I can hardly believe a year has passed and we are a family of four now with Olivia talking non-stop!)

On the seal "pillow" as Olivia called it.

Doing some dance moves as there was a live band there.

Playing with our neighbor across the street Mallory. She and her mom, Jane, walked up there with us.

Leo wanted to bounce so badly, but he did a little on the side of the house.

A picture of part of the party. These are two of the four inflatables. There was a live band, and tables with food and drinks, too. We all had a great time even if we were a little chilly by the end. Olivia kept saying, "I love this party!"

To the zoo, we go!

On Saturday, we made it to the Birmingham zoo and had a great time! Thanks, Mom, for the Louisville Zoo pass, which gets us into most zoos around the nation for free! The weather was a little colder than we expected, but we had a great time. Here are some highlights:

"Boo at the Zoo" has started, and although our kids aren't old enough for it yet, we did get to see lots of Halloween decorations and cartoon character cut-outs, which Olivia really liked.

We saw elephants, real and statues. (As a side note, here is my post from last year when we went to the zoo. Wow! What a difference a year makes! That first picture on the old post is right next to this elephant.)

We had a fun train ride--Leo's first!

The giraffe area has been re-done since last year and is called "Giraffe Encounter" because of the decks built so that the giraffes can walk right up to you. You can pay to feed the giraffes, too, and we would have, but we missed the window. It looked like fun! At least we got to see them up close!

There is a small petting zoo area that Olivia really liked. They had goats, pigs, geese, a llama, and a horse. Here she is with the horse she named "Buttercup."

Leo was less interested in Buttercup.

They also had a butterfly garden. We only saw one butterfly, but at least the flowers were pretty.

Olivia's favorite part was the carousel, which she called the merry-go-round. She was VERY excited about this part since she did it at the Louisville Zoo several times. Now, it is a zoo tradition. (Good thing to remember, though, is that the carousel only runs on the hour at the Birmingham Zoo, and the train is every thirty minutes. Kind of bizarre, I thought.)

And everyone got naps on the way home. I was tickled that this is how Olivia and Leo rode.