Saturday, August 31, 2013


In the car on the way to the beach watching Backyardigans "Super Spy" on the iPad.

Olivia: Mommy, they are discussing which habit is better. He says being good is good, and she says being bad is good. That's what they are discussing.

Me: That's right, Olivia.

Olivia: Why are they discussing that?

Me: Because they are trying to persuade each other to be like themselves.

Olivia: Look, Tyrone is showing Pablo how to dance!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cheers! Leo is 18 months old!

Leo is so cool! We love this age as his language is exploding, and we can see and hear his personality come through more and more. At night before bed he has been clinking his bottle together with our drinks, saying, "Cheers!" Nicholas and I do not say that, so this is from grandparents! Today as Nicholas was carrying something to the car, Leo looked at him and asked, "Is it heavy?" At the pool today after I changed him into his dry clothes, he climbed up onto the picnic bench and said, "I hungry!" And he knows what he likes and when he is done. We've been trying to get him to use the signs for "all done" or "finished" instead of just throwing his food when he is finished. He has been using them and can also say the words, but if we don't immediately move his plate away, he throws his food or says, "I dump?!" and then dumps it on the table. Oh, Leo! Other popular phrases these days are:
  • "I happy!"
  • "I made mess"
  • "Clean up!"
  • "Puffs, pease!" (translation: puffs, please)
  • "I am running!!"
  • "I fast"
  • "What he say?" (which usually occurs when I get off the phone with Nicholas since that is what Olivia says --correctly-- and Leo repeats without the verb)
  • "Read!"
  • "Mommy, HELP!!!"
Leo loves for us to read to him. We read before his nap and bedtime, and he often likes to read as soon as he wakes up and other random times of the day. Lately he has liked "Biscuit" books, he is drawn to "Thomas" books, he continues to like Eric Carle books, and he likes most books with bunnies. He already knows most of his colors and can point to the correct color object in a picture. He can do a shape-sorter bucket and a wooden shape puzzle easily. He also
  • stacks blocks
  • balances plates of food while walking to the living room from the kitchen
  • rides rocking horses at home, Chick-fil-a, and on the play ground
  • can climb the stairs to a slide and go down by himself
  • twists caps off
  • gives hugs and kisses to us and his stuffed animals
  • does simple commands like going to his room to get a bib or cleaning up his mess
  • cheers for himself by clapping or saying hooray!
  • can identify his and other people's body parts
  • drinks from a cup and uses a spoon and fork, and
  • is generally curious.
What a fun and exciting age 18 months is!!

At Leo's 18-month well visit, the doctor assured us that Leo's language is above normal since the doctor looks for two word sentences at age two. (His well visit was two weeks ago, and Leo wasn't talking quite as much then. The language explosion has really taken off these past few weeks since he turned 18 months on August 1!) Leo weighed 25 lbs 2 ounces, which is the 60th percentile, and was 33.5 inches long, which is the 75th percentile. These are the percentiles he's been on for about a year, so the doctor was pleased. 

And Leo is so cute! Here are some of the pictures from his 18-month session that we had a couple of weekends ago to prove it! (Again, Philip and Jennifer Camp did these for us, and they turned out great!) Leo has since had his hair cut, so I am really glad to have these sweet pictures of him where you can see a little curl in the back of his hair! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First day of school!

Olivia and Leo started back to preschool on Monday, after a fun open house last Wednesday morning. Coincidentally, the kids' classrooms are right across the hall from one another, which Olivia got a kick out of. Olivia is excited to be in Mrs. Kerry's class which is a mix of older three-year-olds and four-year-olds. Their curriculum looks really fun, and full of lots of new things for Olivia. She got split from a lot of her friends who are in the three-year-old class, but came home happy on Monday talking about her new friends. 

Leo is in Mrs. Bridgett's older one-year-olds class, and took to it right away. He immediately walked in, found the best toy, and took off! He is talking more and more at school, and even saying things there that he doesn't say at "Thank you!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fun days!

Tuesday: After ballet and naps, jumping in the puddles:

Wednesday: Children's Hands On Museum (CHOM) in Tuscaloosa
-- I worked in the afternoon, and Leo's teacher, Haley, from this summer and last year babysat. Amazing!! Love her! She did crafts with the kids and danced and sang!

Thursday: McWane Science Center in Birmingham

Friday: Nicholas watched the kids in the morning and took over mid-birthday party. Olivia wanted to act one out since Ruby threw Louise a surprise party in the Max and Ruby episode we watched that morning. We baked cupcakes, and started decorating with balloons and streamers when Nicholas took over. Later, Haley, babysat while Nicholas and I were at work. Again, great crafts and the kids were playing keep-the-balloon-off-the-floor and giggling and running around when I came home! We're doing afternoons again this week until their school starts on the 19th.

Saturday: University pool, which we have been frequenting again. We went a lot in June, skipped July almost, and have been back again in August.

Sunday: Neighborhood pool, which we always seem to end up at after the playground. I packed swim suits, one towel, and a couple toys. I guess I should have packed two rings!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Olivia's first ballet class!

We signed Olivia up for a ballet class at her urging, and today was the first day. The eight sweet girls in her class could not have been cuter, and Olivia could not have been more excited! We have had the day circled on the calendar for weeks, and she was thrilled to get to go this morning. This was a "big girl" class, so the parents waited outside but could see the class through a two-way mirror. Olivia did great and had a wonderful time! I am looking forward to more fun ballet days!!

What else we've been doing for the past month

When we weren't sick, or sometimes when we were but had to get out of the house, we did a little bit of this and that....

We found new playgrounds...This one is at the Northport Civic Center, and was super fun one afternoon right before a rainstorm. Olivia even made it half way across the monkey bars!

We took lots of rides in the wagon to the playground, and sometimes ended up in the pool! I've learned to throw in their swim suits even when I think we won't go!

We washed the truck, had the alternator fixed, and got a new battery, so it is running again, per our HOA request. (Jerks!) Olivia was a great "helper"! At least she had a great time and looked cute doing it!

We had lots of pretend playtime... I can't even remember what was being said here! Surely something sassy!

We started a toy tub exchange with a group of moms I know. (We trade a tub of toys with for a couple of weeks and then continue to pass along with new toys. This is great since we have so many toys that the kids have stopped playing with, but will once they are gone for a while. When we got our toys back after two weeks, they were "new" again! And we had a ball playing with other kids' toys! We have a new tub now and exchanged other toys, too.)

More new playgrounds. This is a great one right by the Northport Airport!

I finally got the kids' thank-you gifts for their teachers made. I attached kids' art and thank you notes, and they looked super cute. Thanks Heidi for the recipe!! I totally was off my A-game in May due to Nicholas's surgery.

Olivia and Leo continue to play together super well! Olivia has learned how to climb up the "stairs" in the back of the big slide at our neighborhood playground, and Leo can do the little one by himself, so I can just sit back and take pictures! Heavenly!

And they play in Leo's crib. They bounce, they laugh, they pretend to be kitty cats and pretend to sleep!

And they play in Olivia's big girl bed, giggling and laughing! Olivia is Rupunzel here! This is when the bed was still in the office, where it has been for a year waiting for Olivia to be ready.

Two Mondays ago, Nicholas's REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates--funded by the National Science Foundation--we are proud of you, honey!) students came over for the second BBQ of the summer. Nicholas warned them that we were sick, but they still wanted to come and (1) see the kids and (2) hear Nicholas's record player! I didn't get pictures while they were here, but here is a picture of them Nicholas took of them outside his building. Olivia LOVED the girls, and Leo loved listening to and dancing to the music (mostly Red Hot Chili Peppers) with the boys!

And Olivia learned to wash records and helped Nicholas wash his one new one! She had seen him wash the records that his students brought before he played them, and wanted to help!

Olivia and I also did some bead work while Leo was napping one day. She loved it, and could do it herself! She is getting so grown up!

And, of course, Olivia is a little mommy who thinks she can handle anything. The other day she told me, "Mommy, when I grow up, I can put Leo down for a nap for you. Then you can just go to sleep!" This is when I was sick and I was thinking that sounded pretty good! 

Lately Leo has been showing some potty training readiness signs. He tells me when he needs to go to the bathroom. I haven't actually got him to go on the little potty yet, but he tells me when he needs to poop, does it, and tells me again so I can change his diaper. He's also been saying, "I go tee-tee!" when he needs to pee. (Yes, it's strange. People in the South say "tee-tee" so that is what Olivia says, thus that is what I say.) Anyway, the other day when Leo said he needed to go, Olivia said, "I'll take care of it, Mommy. You just leave us alone!" So, I did. Here is the result:

No, Leo did not go, but he is getting some good "practice!"

And I want to brag on these two for playing by themselves for minutes at a time, and for their love of reading. Olivia and Leo request books a lot. This tickles me out of Leo, and I would love to get a picture of them both reading in the living room on their own. Someday! It seems that when I enter the area, the "reading" stops and they want me to read to them. 

Olivia has been building some pretty cool "towers" of dominoes lately. I am pretty impressed as I cannot do this! They are tricky little pieces!

We finally got the big girl bed into Olivia's room two Sundays ago, and she hasn't slept in her toddler bed since! We kept it in her room just in case, but plan to move it to the attic this weekend, and move her kitchen set back where it was. Both my babies just keep growing up!! (The secret is that they just keep getting more fun, too!) We've had lots of fun pretend games in here--showing horses and putting them back in the stable is the latest favorite!

And, sweet Leo, is growing up, too! He is starting to call out in the morning saying, "Mommy! Daddy! I get up!" He says, "Puffs! Pease!!!" when he wants yogurt puffs. He is repeating A LOT! Olivia got him to say "purple" today and it actually sounded like it. He says Olivia's name like "Livia." And we put away the high chair today and just set up the booster seat for him. He loves it!