Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Card Photos



And one that got "honorable mention" status:

And for those of you who haven't seen it, the card:

The blog will be going on hiatus for the remainder of the holiday. Your gift to me would be a quick hello in the comments on this post. I'd love to see who stops by!
We want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Card Photos: The Outtakes, Part 2

Here are some more photos from our day at the tree farm. This is just a variety of pictures that I loved, but didn't make the "cut" for the actual Christmas Card. Those you'll see tomorrow! Yes, I'm being a tease....but hey, at least there's a new blog post every day!!






Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Card Photos: The Outtakes, Part I

We took Oliver to a local Christmas tree farm last month, in the hopes of getting some good photos to use on our Christmas card this year. We did get some great shots, which I'll show you soon, but today I thought I'd share some of the outtakes. We were walking around the tree farm, and came upon a tall row of trees with this table-like rock formation in the middle of the row. Oliver thought it was the perfect platform for dancing. We were either singing the "ABC" song or "C is for Cookie", I can't remember which now, but whatever it was, it made him hilariously silly.




A Successful Haircut!

For Oliver, not for me . . . can someone tell me why I said "Yeah, sure!" when the hairdresser asked me if I wanted bangs while she was doing last minute touch ups at my appointment last week? And they didn't turn out right either....think 1980s and ::shudder:: remember when your hair was "feathered"? Yeah, like that sort of. Time to try a new hairstylist. Have I mentioned how much I miss Janis, my stylist in Cedar Rapids?! Miss you Janis!

But this is about Oliver, finally getting a haircut without a fuss! Hooray! Actually, he did fine for his very first haircut at about 10 months, and then one this summer, but the rest (2-3 others in his short life) have been total freak outs. It was as if he were getting tortured. Yesterday, we found a new place to try, since the previous "kids cuts" type of places we've gone to, while they have all the bells and whistles, didn't seem to have the attitude and patience necessary for dealing with a frightened toddler. The woman at the place we went this time was great. She had a very peaceful demeanor, showed Oliver the clippers "that go vroom like a car" and best of all, gave him 2 combs to play with. Because we must have one for each hand. She put cartoons on the tv, and that was it; he sat quietly and let her do her thing, and even giggled a few times when it tickled. I was thrilled!

So now we are no longer rockin' the old man comb-over, as seen in these photos! It's short, and I think overall it does make him look more like a little boy, and less like a baby...::sniff:: he's growing up!

(Excuse the silliness of the photos...he was not interested in having his picture taken! They aren't the best pictures, I just tried to find a few that showed his hair.)



Friday, December 11, 2009

The Park

I know I've mentioned it on here before, but Oliver and I love going to the park. Parks are the saving grace to the stay-at-home-mom. Why? Because an outing at the park takes time and burns energy. Let me explain. First, if your park is big like ours, you can take a long walk, which gives you the exercise you so desperately need. Your child is in the stroller, looking out at the beautiful scenery and breathing fresh air, and most importantly, not whining at you or climbing all over you or begging you to read that book again for the 87th time that day. You're together, but separate. You can be alone in your thoughts, and dream up blog posts, dinner ideas, or just daydream about sitting with a cool drink by a body of water somewhere. Or if you're lucky enough to have a friend along, you can an actual adult.

When you've had enough exercise, if your child is of walking age as mine is, you can let him loose. This is important, because it meets both requirements: it takes time and burns energy. You will be thankful for this later in the day when they take a nice, long nap. Hey, I'm not entirely selfish. It is also important to their physical and intellectual development. For example, my son. He loves to walk, and lately he's even been running more than walking a lot of the time (must take after daddy!). But he also has a toddler's curiosity. So we walk, and then we stop and look at things. He examines every tree, boulder, and bench along our path, in great detail and from every angle. He picks up all the interesting sticks, rocks, and leaves found along the way. Better yet, combine these: poke the knothole in the bench with a stick and he's happy for hours! Oh, and don't forget the acorns, which are his favorite thing ever. Also, our park has a lot of small memorials with plaques, which he loves to stop to peruse and recite every letter. My advice: Try not to get frustrated with the slow pace of this portion of your walk -- remember, it wastes time, which is good.  And most importantly, he's a toddler doing his job: exploring his world!

The third phase of a good day at the park begins when you finally arrive at the play area. If you are lucky, you'll have a playground with lots of swings and low slides, that are perfect for toddlers. I love our park, but my one big complaint is that the playground area is geared for older kids. Aren't they in school??? No swings, and there's even a sign that says you have to be over 5 to play on it. Oliver wants to play on it anyway. This entails me climbing around after him to keep him from jumping off 15 foot high platforms. He's too young for it, and I'm too old for it . . . so that's fun.

If you've had a good day at the park, you've burned a good amount of energy, as well as several hours of the morning. If you time it right, you head home just in time for lunch, which is followed soon after by a nap. Just like that, half your day taken care of!

Since we've just had our first big snowfall and the weather is turning colder, I'm afraid that our park visits will be less frequent and this makes me sad, and yes, a little panicked. I hope we can bundle up and try to enjoy it once winter really hits, but I know the reality is that we'll be stuck inside and I'll be forced to haul myself over to the gym and get on the treadmill. I know I shouldn't complain, because I know winters in Connecticut are far superior to those in Iowa. Still, I'm starting to think like Marty (scary!) and wish they had sent him to Florida for a project!

So in honor of all of our happy days at the park, here are some park photos from the past few months:

 On the boardwalk overlooking the creek

Giving Annabelle (our neighbor) a leaf

 Examining a tree

Dad joins us on the weekends sometimes

Quack! Quack! Quack!

Climbing on the bench

Examining the bench

Still examining the bench

Walking (with stick)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Photo Friday

Remember the cuteness that was yesterday's post? Well, what I didn't show you were the photos taken a few minutes after those. That's right, full on tantrum!



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cuteness Update

I've been told by well-meaning grandmothers that it's been a while since I've bragged on what Oliver is up to these days, so I thought I better get right on that. And post some really cute photos too!
  • This is the biggest one recently: the boy can whistle!! I'm not kidding. Should almost 20 month olds be able to whistle? Is this normal or yet another sign of his genius? We've seen the Sesame Street episode where Telly is trying to teach Baby Bear to whistle twice recently (because the PBS Sprout Channel seems to repeat the same 12 episodes over and over), once on a Saturday when Marty was here. So Marty started whistling and I started whistling, and Oliver tried, but was just blowing. Marty does whistle sometimes, so maybe it's something he's started to notice. Then the other day, we were going up the stairs and Oliver just started whistling! And has done it 3 times since! It's a deliberate, though pretty soft, whistle...with a few different notes in it. I was just amazed. I'll have to try to get it on video!
  • I've mentioned before that he was starting to notice letters, like when we went to Boston and he stopped at every manhole cover to point at each letter. Well, he still does that, and more! We got him this Fridge Phonics toy to encourage this interest, and between that and Sesame Street, he now recognizes and names a bunch of letters! His favorite letter is 'M', followed closely by 'B' and 'O', and he can also name 'V' and 'E', and sometimes 'G', 'P', and 'X'!
  • He is also starting to count, well, sort of. He's been able to recognize and name '1' since his 1st birthday when Grandee taught him to say how old he was (and put up 1 finger!). Now he also knows 9 and 4, and sometimes 3 and 6. Although, most of the time when we count things, he still goes "1, 1, 1, 1, 1,..." in a very rhythmic way that mimics the cadence of counting. But now when we get to 9, he says 9! 
  • Words....I can't even begin to list how many words he knows. It seems like he's saying new ones every day. If you saw the video I posted the other day, you saw him say "happy," which is my favorite new word of his, especially because I think he understands what it means. Even his jibberish is starting to sound a lot more like lanugage than just consonant and vowel sounds. And even if he can't say the words, he understands so much of what we say to him. He also repeats a lot more words now, so Marty & I are really going to have to start watching what we say around him!!
I know they say this about every age, but this is such a fun age! It's just so awesome watching him learn. Yet he's still my sweet cuddly baby sometimes too. Here's some photos of my half naked toddler-baby having fun with the diaper changing basket. Don't you just love half naked babies? And that face!

(uh-oh, you caught me!)