Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Playing Dress up

Lucy loves to do what Olivia is doing and today that included dressing up.  The only dress up that fit her was a princess skirt worn a little too high but she was loving it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Schedules and Habits

You all know that I am a person who loves schedules and I've notice that life around our house goes so much smoother when we have schedules/routines and follow them.  Part of the routines are in place to build good habits with my children.

Olivia has had a horrible habit of getting up at all hours of the morning and begging to watch TV and drink chocolate milk.  When I say all hours I truly mean all hours.  This past week I was woken up at 3am and at 5am with these requests.  Beyond tired, I decided it was time to fix this.

I made up a little schedule of simple pictures for Olivia to follow.  I moved my alarm clock into her room and set it up to ring (with classical music) at 7:00 am.  She knows that she can not leave her room until the music plays.  Second she must make her bed, say her personal prayers, and go potty all before she gets mom and dad.  We're still working on her following this to a T, but I've seen a HUGE improvement.

A few days ago I heard the music playing in her room but Olivia hadn't come out yet. This being rather odd, I went in to check on her.  She was still laying in bed and pleaded to me, "Mom, don't turn off the music, I'm listening to it!"

Hopefully soon waking and immediately making her bed and saying her prayer will become life long good habits for her and no more middle of the time requests for TV shows.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Choosing a Christmas Tree

Lucy, Ed and Olivia searching for the perfect tree.
This year we tried something new.  In the past we've used artificial trees which are great except they don't have that wonderful pine scent and they are horrible to store.  For the past three years we've gone to local Christmas tree lots to choose a tree but knowing that these trees are cut in September and then shipped the smell doesn't last and they quickly dry up.  So this year we went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree!

As we drove 2 hours the sky turned gloomy and it was very nippy at the farm.  I felt for poor Lucy who even though had on her coat, hat and scarf was still cold.  Olivia was a trooper and didn't complain at all.  She was busy searching for pine cones and fallen branches.

We spent a good 20 minutes looking for the perfect tree for our home.  The nice thing about a Christmas tree farm verses a lot is that the taller the tree the lower the price.  We were trying to find a nice ten-foot tree but came away with a nine foot tree.

Once it was strapped onto the top of Ed's car, the fun really began.  I always get nervous with having things roped to the top.  There have been instances where we've had to pull over to readjust because we would have lost it on the side of the road.  For a good half hour I kept looking in the side-view mirrors to make sure it wasn't slipping.  Thankfully it stayed put and we made it home in one piece.  Unlike our uneventful trip to the farm, a good portion of the ride home was spent listening to Lucy whine.  She was tired and cold.  The 15 minute nap in the car certainly wasn't enough for her little body.

Ed cutting down our tree!
In a few days after we clear up the Thanksgiving decorations, we'll set up and decorate our tree!

Poor Lucy was so cold at this point.  I kept wrapping her hand in my scarf, but her was too busy trying to touch the trees.

Dragging the tree to the car.

Lucy in the car trying to get warmed up.

Once home a little Chocolate Cream Pie leftover from Thanksgiving was the perfect treat to cheer her up!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Part 2

Olivia with her Turkey Party Hat
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving again, this time with Eduardo's family.  I love Thanksgiving so I'm perfectly happy celebrating it two times.  The day after Thanksgiving is often referred to as Black Friday where stores have shopping sales and marks the beginning of the Christmas Season.  I have never participated in a Black Friday sale;   the idea of standing in lines outside a store in the middle of night waiting for that store to open at 4am doesn't sound fun to me.  I'll stick to my current routine of buying Christmas gifts in October.  It's so nice to focus on the true meaning of the season and not shopping.

Our day was very busy with preparations.  From cleaning house, to setting the table and most importantly the food.  Everything ran rather smoothly except for the fact that our Turkey, which was suppose to cook in 4 to 5 hours, was finished 2 1/2 hours early.  Our guest weren't able to come early so we had the task of keeping everything warm and hoping that the turkey didn't dry out.
Lucy with her hat.  I found these at Target in the dollar section.

For our turkey we decided to try to brine it first before we roasted it.  Basically we took our our 5 gallon water cooler and filled it with equal parts water and kosher salt.  We let the raw thawed turkey sit in this solution in the fridge (we put it in our cold garage.  With the cold temps lately it was colder than our fridge) for 24 to 36 hours. I believe it is suppose to help keep the turkey moist.

Lucy and Olivia
We had a typical Thanksgiving menu of Roasted Turkey, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and homemade gravy, Stuffing/Dressing, fresh streamed green beans, hot rolls, jell-o salad, veggie tray, homemade cranberry sauce and sparkling cider to drink.  For dessert we had a chocolate cream pie and pumpkin pie.

We had a lovely meal with Eduardo's brother and his wife followed with an evening of playing games.

Our table all set for our Thanksgiving feast.

I love these napkins and this is one of my favorite folds to do.  

Several years ago I picked up these child napkin or utensil holders at Pottery Barn Kids.  They are supposed to be the Mayflower ship that the Pilgrims sailed on.  I would like to find some nice white or cream napkins to use as sails. 

I forgot to take pictures of all the food, but this is the delicious veggie tray, relish tray and homemade cranberry sauce.

Garlic mashed potatoes, yummy!

While we waited for our guests the girls played "Pin the Pilgrim hat on the turkey."

She was excited to have placed the hat exactly on the turkey's head. She cheated a little and peaked under the blindfold.   I also picked up this game in Target's dollar section.

Lucy wanted to try it too!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Part 1

Olivia excited to see her cousins.
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  I love being together with family and having a wonderful meal together.

This year my sister hosted Thanksgiving at her house and even though it was impossible for us to all sit down to eat together it was still wonderful for all of us to be together.  Who knows, in a few years it may be impossible to be together so it's important that we can do this now.
We had the typical Thanksgiving meal, which for my dear friends in other countries I will go into detail tomorrow.

Even though this was technically Lucy's second Thanksgiving, it is the first one that she's be able to participate in.  Last year she was only one month old.
We had planned to start eating at 1pm but had to wait for the turkey to finish cooking.  While waiting, the kids kept sneaking food off the veggie tray. By the time we actually served the food, the olives, pickles and broccoli were gone.

After our feast, it's always nice to talk and catch up on everyone's lives.  The highlight of the afternoon was a wonderful duet on the cello and violin preformed by my nieces.  They were wonderful and I hope that they keep it up.  Earlier Olivia had headed over to grandma's house (which is next door) to play with the toys.  When I told her that her cousins were going to play she rushed back over.  Olivia was fascinated by the violin and Lucy had a huge grin on her face as she watched the cello.
Lucy and I.

It certainly has been a wonderful day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lucy and her daddy playing together.

Olivia asleep on the car ride home.  It is roughly an hour drive for us each way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blizzard Coming

Where I live is always windy but the wind is worse when a storm is coming in.  On more than one occasion I've had to gather up yard toys or my trash cans out of the neighbors yards.  Honestly the wind scares me a little.  I hate the sound and a small part of me is afraid of it damaging my house.

We have a blizzard warning in place today and with that come several hours of high winds.  I'm not looking forward to this!  To make the blizzard worse, there is one road into Eagle Mountain.  You have to take a state highway over the mountain and if the winds/snow are too bad they will close the road.

Eduardo is at work today and I'm little nervous for him to get home before the blizzard hits.  I don't want him to get stuck and be forced to wait out the storm as our neighbors have done in previous years.

As for me and the girls, we have planned a day mostly at home.  There is no need to go out in the wind or snow today.  I'm sure tomorrow will be the same when we have a temperature high of 17 degrees F (which is about -9 Celsius)!

I have a few preparations to get done before the blizzard and low temperatures hit like move the trash cans inside the garage (all the yard toys were picked up and stored earlier this fall) and remember to keep the water running in the faucets so I don't have frozen pipes again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Snow

Today was the first snow of the season.  It actually seemed to hit a little early this year.  Past few years we haven't had a good snowfall that sticks to the ground until mid December.

Olivia was super excited to see the snow this morning.  In fact instead of asking for her typical chocolate milk and to watch a show she was starting to dress in her snow boots.  We thought it might be a good idea for the sun to fully come up, eat breakfast and properly get dressed before we head out.

Lucy loved looking at the snow from the dining room window, but once we were outside she wasn't sure about it.  Of course it was a little difficult for her to move around.  I had her dressed in several layers.  My biggest concern with Lucy was that the moisture from the snow would seep through her winter bunting.  It has been nearly impossible to find winter outerwear for her because she is so small.  I guess they figure infants wearing her size usually aren't walking.

We did have some family fun with throwing snowballs, building a tiny snowman, and playing with Sam (the dog).

Nicol and Lucy.  Lucy really did not want to play in the snow.

But once she was in the swing, her favorite outside pastime, she was happy!

The starting of a snowman.

Sam was super excited to be off the leash and romp through the snow.
 I love throwing snowballs at him while he tries to catch them.  

A happy moment, very short lived though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Zoo Trip

During the beginning of the month, Ed took a week off work.  On one of the days we took a family trip up to Hogal Zoo.

That morning as we were getting ready, we told Olivia that we were going to a surprise.  She happily exclaimed, "Hip Hip Hooray!"  Along the way we had to stop for gas and lunch.  At each stop she would say in her happiest voice that she loved this surprise.  It wasn't until we finally reached the zoo that we told her what the real surprise was.

Olivia and Lucy love animals.  At this point in Lucy young life she is fascinated by any small creature.  She points with with such enthusiasm to each animal, "this! this! this!"

The weather was perfect for our outing and even better there were very few crowds.  Early November is the perfect time to go to the zoo.  We did find that many of the animals like the gorilla and orangutan were moved to inside exhibits for the winter, but this actually made the experience better.  We got some very up close and personal visits with these primates.   

It was a disappointment that the area with the bears and zebras were closed for construction and we didn't see any lions.  But with rides on the carousel and zoo trains, it was the perfect end to our day.

The Orangutan was right up against the glass.  For a moment he was looking directly at Olivia and Olivia at him.  Both Ed and I commented at the same time, "You can't help but wonder what they are thinking!"  Were we visiting the Orangutan or was it the other way around?

On the train:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time Change

I honestly really don't mind daylight savings time except for how difficult it is for children to adjust.  Olivia, like most things she does in her life, made an easy transition.  She is up every morning at 6:50, never fails!  Lucy on the other hand is struggling.

Adjusting nap times to the new time has been easy but bedtime and wake time has been a different story.  I tell myself every evening that we need to make it to 7:30p for bedtime but by 6:30p her little body is tired and cranky.  I don't want to deal with the whining, so often I cave and send her to bed at 7.  The half hour shouldn't make a huge difference but I desperately want her to sleep past 6:15a.  I'm craving those mornings a month ago when I was getting up an hour before anyone to have time to wake and properly start my day.

For a baby who has never been a good sleeper, what is the best way to get her to wake up no early than 7a?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Yesterday I had the opportunity to take Olivia to a speech pathologist.  I really do mean that it was an opportunity because I can't help but think of the people who don't have the means, knowledge or the desire to have their children assessed.

I've known for some time that Olivia has a speech problem, but her's isn't the typical not pronouncing the "r", "th" or other sounds.  My sweet girl stutters and it breaks my heart when she gets frustrated over not being able to speak.  I completely understand because I suffered through the same thing growing up.

I first mentioned this little problem to our pediatrician at Olivia's 3 year well child check.  At this point she had been stuttering for 9 months but said it is very normal for children who are learning to talk.  But now that it's been going on for nearly 18 months and it was time to get her looked at.

Olivia has good days and very bad days with speech.  Good days she may stutter a handful of times throughout the day.  On the very bad days each sentence is filled with moments of getting stuck.  I was terrified that when we visited with the pathologist it would be a good day and they would tell me there wasn't a problem.  So over dinner last week I brought out our digital recorder and had a small conversation with Olivia.  I am thankful for this technology because Monday was a good day.

After the pathologist had a moment to listen the recording, she was able to hear the stutter and agreed the best option was for us to seek some help.  My option are to go with the clinic at $85 an hour (our insurance doesn't cover speech therapy) or get into the school district for free speech.  I've already contacted the school district and they should call me back in the next few weeks.

I hope this will be a quick process, I don't want Olivia to suffer.  People really are very cruel!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halloween-- Phantom, Christine, Tinkerbell and a Cat

I haven't dressed up for Halloween since I was in Junior High and for Ed, he has never dressed up.  (They don't celebrate Halloween in Venezuela).  So when we were invited to a party, I was excited to find a costume.

We rented the Phantom of the Opera costumes from the Hale Center Theater.

I loved dressing up, although my dress was heavy and awkward at times. 

Olivia and Lucy at Lucy's Halloween Birthday Party

I don't make a bad Phantom myself!