Friday, September 27, 2013

Owen Year Two, a Quarterly Review (part 3)

We are having an absolute blast with Owen these days. On his best days, he continues to very sweet, empathetic, and curious. When Mike comes home from work he says, 'How was your day, Daddy? Did you work on airplanes?".
His communication skills continue to impress us, and just last week he had a 5 minute conversation with MiMa Wade on the phone. He does practice talking constantly from 6am to 7pm. It's nonstop, but we love the development.
His imagination is really starting to take flight as well. He talks to his cars and stuff animals. "Baby Tiger do you want to wash Mater with me?" For some reason, I find this beyond endearing, and I'm loving, loving, loving this stage.  

I also love love love the innocence and sweetness of little boys this age. This summer we went to the Botanical gardens with Tyler, Nathan, & Ali Francis. Owen and Tyler held hands most of the way to the children's garden.

Another summer play date with Eliza (2). She's a second cousin or something like that! Here O grabbed her hand to squeal with excitement that he heard a train! They were both very in to the trains.
...and the hippos. O told me the next day, 'I weally weally wike Ewiza'. As you can see we're still working on 'L'.
Me: Owen, pose in front of this elephant.
O: Ok, I 'pink' I can do that.
We're also still working on 'Th'. It comes out a 'P'. He often says 'Pank You'. I wish I could freeze his language sounds in time.

Here he is turning his waffle in to an airplane. He is eating somewhat better... finally eating a little bit of protein: hot dogs, baked chicken, macon (bacon), sausage. FINALLY!

A tired boy who still loves to line up his cars.

Baseball has been a big hit this summer. Mike and O play almost daily after dinner. They're working on hitting off the tee and with 'coach pitch'. I'm pretty impressed with his hand/eye coordination. Must be all of that admiration he has for John Jay, his fave Cardinal player.
He's also been helping a lot in the garden. He gets super excited about ripe tomatoes as you can see from the pride in this smile!
He's generally quite animated. BIG tractor. And when he talks his eye brows are up and down, wrinkled, etc, and his mouth has an infinite amount of expressions.

Love this kid
Our biggest project over the last 8 weeks has been potty training. This was weekend #1 in July. Naked for 3 days. Lots of accidents but lots of success too. Here he's playing with shaving cream and cars (yes, while naked!). Then we progressed to wearing only big boy pants. He had pee pee in the potty down looooong before poop, but with the bribe of cars, monster trucks, color changing cars, handfuls of cookies, etc... we finally got a pattern of pooping in the potty down. I know it's only been weeks, and he is doing SO well, but I have to admit this is one of my least favorite parental tasks. Ugh. Mopping, and Lysol, and mopping, and Lysol, and hand washing, and laundry, and Lysol, and ......LYSOL. Super proud of him, though!

Waiting for his 'Becial' treat (cookies) to come out of the oven...for pooping on the potty, of course.

He's getting more adventurous in the gym!

Miss Claire (Cwaire) was/is our nanny over the summer. She's a HUGE blessing, and she's very artsy. She and O spend lots of time with creative arts & crafts projects. I love this because it's not my forte but he still needs to practice these skills. Now I'm off the hook!
They do a lot of sidewalk chalk, too. "Trace me" he says. Love how he closes his eyes.

She draws car tracks and gas stations for his massive amount of cars. We spend Millie's whole morning nap out here sometimes!
Owen's newest love is Tippy, Mima and Papa Wade's newest addition. She loves to fetch tennis balls, and Owen loves to throw them. He giggles and giggles. And, he thanks Jesus for Tippy every night!
Additional O-isms:
Marshmallow = Marsh Pillow
I don't know = I din no
Amelia is awake = Amelia said awake (not sure about this one?)
Sentence fillers = and then, buuuuuut
He's VERY in to counting and becoming increasingly accurate.
Doesn't know they difference between what is a number and what is a letter, but we're working on it.
 He knows most of his upper case letters, told us we were sitting in a D formation at dinner tonight.
 He was right, actually.
What he doesn't know of numbers and letters he makes up for with knowing specific car and airplane models. He's right 95% of the time, too. Wonder where he gets that?
We've been gradually increasing the difficulty of his puzzles, and as long as he has one on one attention, he's willing to sit and work on them.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


August and early September brought a lot of events to celebrate. Our family really likes to lump special days close together.
August 17th Dave & Becky celebrated 39 years of marriage. We all had a pizza party at their house.
August 18th Olivia celebrated her 7th birthday. We went to the pool for a big party full of 7 year old girls, piñatas, cookie cake, and presents. It's awesome to see Livi with all of her friends.
Owen & Carson were the only boys but they held their own.
There was a lot of squealing during present opening, though =)

Next came piñata time. Livi had picked out a horse (her favorite animal), but Dax thought it was a donkey for some reason. Then he rigged the 'donkey' on to a rope that he could manipulate... SO every time the kids attempted to swing the bat, Dax would move the piñata while saying 'Burrough, burrough'. Crazy Uncle Dax.

One kid did finally get ahold of it, though.
Aug 26 brought Mike's 33rd bday. We celebrated with a chocolate martini at Bailey's Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Sq. I know his eyes are closed... just focus on the martini!
A few dessert pics. I forget what this was, but it sure was pretty!

I had the crepe cake. It was 30 layers of thin crepes with some delicious chocolate in the middle. It did not disappoint.

Owen picked out this card for Mike. It made a car noise 'Vrooom Vroom'. Very appropriate.

He was also a great helper when it came to opening gifts.
We had a whole weekend of celebrations for Mike's birthday. Dinner with the Wade 'side' on Saturday (Mike grilled pork steaks), and our first (definitely not last) trip to Pappy's Smokehouse on Sunday with the grandparents. It was amazing food!
Sept 6 we celebrated 5 years at the Cardinal game. We double dated with Lindsey & Dax...realized we hadn't done that since Summer of 2009. Long overdue and very much enjoyed!
Sept 8 my parents celebrated 34 years, also at the Cardinal game. I should say the Cards won on both of our special days.
We are so so blessed with all of the milestones we're able to celebrate. Thank you Jesus for our family, our opportunity to live by them, and the blessing of health and fruitful relationships. If I was on twitter, I would say #myheartisfull.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

11 months: "Look, Dada, no hands!"

Well a lot can happen in a month. This little 20 pounder figured out how to feed her self and I haven't heard a whine since I wrote that last blog post. This girl LOVES to eat. Last night an entire slice of mushroom pizza. Tonight cauliflower gratin (!). Owen wouldn't even touch it with his finger. She refuses anything by the spoon expect for yogurt, and even then she's preferring to do it 'herself'!

She's also babbling up a storm, and saying 'Dada' on command.
She hasn't assigned dada with Mike, but we still get a huge kick out of it... especially Owen.

She's a cuddler. Here she's cuddling with her chair. She often cuddles in to my neck and left shoulder. Some one said recently, 'It's like butter'... she melts right in. I adore this quality about her.... especially since she's improved with her independent play and doesn't need to be held as much =)
She loves textures. The see and feel books are a huge hit, and this Mizzou (go tigers) pom kept her entertained for 45 minutes yesterday afternoon.

She's also getting quite good at standing! I was thinking my 11 month blog would be titled 'WALKING', but I'm glad its not. It's quite hard to catch her standing, but Mike got this shot. I think it's hilarious because it looks like she only has 1 leg, but maybe that makes her even more coordinated?!
She's gotta have her Kix
Cousin Eliza came to play in early August. This is a pic of the kids at the zoo...
I wonder what face we were making to get them to look up?!
 Here's a little park play time. We've had gorgeous weather, and I'm actually able to wear her out. When we go on fun outings, Owen repays me with shorter naps (less than 1 hour). Millie will actually sleep longer like any good baby should. She's still about 1.5 hours a.m and p.m naps and 12.5hr at night. L.o.v.e.  

I imagine Owen to be thinking, 'When will she ever learn these colors? She keeps pushing the button over and over and over and over... "

We spend a lot, and I mean a LOT, of time in the bathroom with Owen's potty training. She's discovered that she really loves TP.

These jammies are 12-18mo. How is she so big?
They are a little big... we're in 12 mo size mostly.
At Olivia's bday party we realized that she is a total FISH! She get's that from her daddy. The water was a tad chilly, so I almost didn't put her in, but she kicked and played and even put her head in the water!

We've had some extra time with Luca (dob 9-22-12) this month. His day care closed with 3 weeks notice b/c the lady got cancer. Yikes! Anywho..... I think he's the one encouraging Millie's motor skills. Isn't he handsome, though?!

Loves her raspberries and provel cheese (she's a St. Louisan!)

Another thing I love about this girl is that she's generally not a tornado (like Owen & Luca). Those boys just love to dump out toys, pull things off of bookshelves & out of drawers, etc. When she plays in the Tupperware she often puts her 'treasures' back in the drawer before leaving. Thanks, Mills!
We took this pic yesterday. Her face is changing SO much! Other quick updates for our sweetsie: She's not suffering terribly from stranger danger, but she does now cry when I leave for work =(
She'll sit on our lap to read books, but she's more interested in opening and shutting the book.
Still just 2 teeth.
I've lost track of new foods, but she did eat scrambled eggs yesterday and today. The big things I have not introduced are strawberries, most citrus fruits, honey, nuts, and anything that's a choking hazard. 
I'm not sure where the time has gone, and I can't believe how big, sturdy, and full of life she is right now. Stay tuned for our one year updates!
If you're interested in comparisons, here is Owen at 11 months.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Girls Weekend (s)

One of the (many) blessings of living centrally located in the country and close to the home base of the majority of my friends is that I can participate in girls weekends more readily. I should also mention that these events also require and extremely flexible, capable, and willing husband who graciously volunteers to fly solo with the kids for an extended period of time....thanks love.
So June brought an Amtrak trip up to Chicago. Britt Britt has a love/hate relationship with LA, and she decided that her big 2-9 should be spent in the Midwest with good Midwestern people. She flew to Chicago and I met her there for the weekend. I do regret that my only pics of this trip are blurry from my camera phone, but I don't know how to download in to a reproducible file from I'm sorry!

Saturday we met at a Dunkin Donuts (Britt runs on Dunkin) around 10:30 a.m. We grabbed our Toasted Almond drip with a touch of cream and promptly walked over to the theatre (I forgot the name) to stand in line for lottery tickets to 'The Book of Mormon'. We've both been dying to see it, and I'd heard rumors about the show that led me to believe Britt would be the best company with whom to view the hilarious, racey, political satire written by the creators of South Park. (I can attest that after seeing it you should never, never go with anyone that has a parental role in your life).

After the show we grabbed a quick pedi and walked back to our hotel that so generously offered a happy hour of free wine and apps with live music. Score. A glass of red was then finished off with this champagne that Britt's folks had sent to the room. Several hours later we finally made it out for some Sushi. I think this was, perhaps, a perfect day.
Sunday, Britt's actual 29th birthday, we started out with Dunkin (duh), shopping at J.Crew and Banana on the Magnificent Mile (duh), brunch at a restaurant that serves cinnamon rolls as a side instead of toast (duh), and a Cubbies game at Wrigley (that took a bit more convincing). I did enjoy watching two minor league teams (Cubs vs Astros) play at a historic stadium, though, and the company was fantastic. Britt's aunt, uncle, and cousin happened to be in Chicago that day, so we took in the game and a Navy Pier happy hour with them before we met up with a group of Britt's best Chicago buds for some delicious tapas and (more) red wine. Again, a perfect day. 
Those 2 days were so full of activities that I greatly appreciated the 5 hour train ride to rest and transition back to real life.
July's girls weekend celebrated Kim's last single days as a Dodson. I've participated in many weddings but I have never been involved in such an elaborate bachelorette party. The events were planned by her college gals, and they really have time and money and party planning skillz.
The events started with a Friday night dinner which I did not attend. I joined in Saturday for brunch and a spa/pool day at the Chase hotel. After being totally pampered we went back to college-friend Kelly's house for apps, drinks, and the classic underwear party.
You're supposed to get the bride-to-be a pair of underwear that would remind her of you. I picked out this lovely pair of black cotton panties, because when we met at 14 years old, this would have been our definition of 'sexy'.

Classic shot of opening lingerie in front of your future mother-in-law.
Kim's friend hand made these beautiful (and delicious) cookies. Impressive! We've made memories for literally 1/2 of our lives,
and I was thrilled to celebrate her last days of Dodson.
BTW, Saturday night's events continued with dinner at an elegant wine bar and limo accompanied bar hop downtown STL. I went to dinner and skipped the limo because

Sunday was shower day at a beautiful bed and breakfast called Fleur De Lis. It's owned & operated by a British woman who serves authentic high tea. This is one of my absolute favorite meals, and it totally fits Kim & her sisters' style.
While welcoming the party, the owner mentioned that her normal staff was not available that day and that she had stand-ins. She 'hoped' it would work out ok. Moments later, Kim's dad and brother walked out to 'crash' the party and serve us tea. It was an awesome surprise!

Robby, Kim, and Mr. Dodson. This is one of my favorite families of all time. On Saturday, Kim became Mrs. Green, and I can't wait to tell you all about that wedding.
Thanks again to my wonderful hubby for spoiling me rotten with so much Heather/friend time. It's nice to take a break from Mommy every once in a while, but mostly it's amazing to have precious time with these amazing ladies who live far, far away!