Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I know.  It isn't quite September, and I'm already nosing through catalogs and websites in search of a good Halloween costume for Olive.

I do not want something over the top.  I would love something that she understands, and that possibly she could play dress-up with.  And, I really want to avoid princess costumes - at least this year.

Cute Piggy?

Carter's has a cute cat costume (that I can't seem to catch an image of).  And Hanna Andersson has a cute Zebra dress (similar image issue, also Olive was a Zebra last year).

Kyle isn't a fan of Halloween. But, I might convince him to be Will Schuster, if I find Olive a cute red track suit. Not that that Sue Sylvester would pass the "something she understands" part of the test.  Yup.  We're Gleeks.  We're not proud of it, but we own it.  (And dressing up as Emma Pilsbury actually sounds like fun to me too ... or will I just be that prim lady handing out candy?)

Ahh.  The difficult questions that plague our lives ;)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wanna Know ...

... what we did this weekend?


I mean ... we didn't go out to dinner, or lunch, or grab coffees or bagels.  We hunkered down (and not in the natural disaster sense of the phrase).  After quite a few weekends out of town and lots of very (wonderfully) busy weekend this summer, we decided to take it easy.  Very easy.

We did a few chores and went to church on Sunday.  We hung out at home and took a couple of walks around the neighborhood.  Other than that.  Nothing.

It might sound supremely boring.  But.  It was absolutely wonderful.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Golf Cart Crazies.

We recently had the pleasure of spending some time with my brother and his family.  I loved seeing Olive and Kate have so much fun together.  Rockin' out in a golf cart.  What could be better?

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Olive's hair is getting longer, but it is also getting pretty wild and crazy. 

I love, LOVE her little curls.  And they are super cute when she wakes up and her hair is messy.  But, Kyle recently determined that she has an almost mullet.  I refuse to agree, and I will NOT endorse the comment by posting a photo.

Suffice it to say, I am now seriously considering getting our girl her first non-mommy haircut.

(August is not a good hair month in Houston.  I've been dreaming about wash and wear, pixie cuts all month.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Potty Time.

On the day that Olive joined the 2-year old class at her school, the teacher gave us a potty training video and asked us if we were potty training the little miss. 

Uh. No?

Whew.  I felt pressured to make a change we didn't feel ready for, but also excited about the prospect of washing fewer (or no!) diapers.

We resigned to start the conversation with Olive, but to put no pressure on her to move away from diapers.  We bought a little potty, and a few books ... that was it.  Olive enjoys using her potty as a her-sized chair, but we hadn't really gotten to the part about using the potty.  (In particular, she likes reading her potty book on her potty.  "Mameee ... Ma potty boooook.  Maaaaa potty book."  We did not name it; she did.)

Earlier this week, Olive's teacher told me that she asked Olive to sit on the potty after swim class - while the teacher was preparing Olive's diaper and putting up Olive's wet swimming suit.  Olive obeyed, and then she USED the potty.

When we found out, Kyle and I were both a little shocked. 

Then, later that evening, while enjoying some time at home on her little throne, she USED the potty again.  I nearly cried.

Now, Olive is NOT potty trained, and we aren't going to spend an intense weekend getting her out of diapers.  But.  This is a development that points to changes in our future.  The part of me that is super tired of washing diapers is super happy.  The part of me that already misses my baby being a baby is shedding a few tears.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Woo. Hoo. Library.

Our neighborhood library is new.  Well, we are new to the neighborhood, and I understand that there has been a library in this spot before.  But.  When we moved in, the library was closed and under construction.

The new building is finally finished, and it is beautiful!  They hung the "NOW OPEN" sign earlier this summer, and Olive and I strolled over one Saturday morning.  No. Such. Luck.  The library was closed on Saturdays.

(Yes, I could have Googled first, but it was a nice - though sweaty - walk.)

I know many people enjoy weekday library jaunts, but we are a two-working-parent family.  Weekday library time doesn't work for us.

HOWEVER.  I just learned that the library will now be closed on Mondays but open on Saturdays!  Now we CAN explore the library, and check out books instead of shelling out clams for them.  I appreciate this is, for many, a dry, mundane change of events. 

Still.  I am super excited! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roar. Lion.

Olive has started pretending.

For the most part, she pretends to be different animals.  Cats, horses and lions are current faves. 

The other morning, I went in to her room and was greeted by, "Roar. Lion. Meow. Cat."

Her horse act includes the requisite sound effects, and is accompanied by a 'gallop' that is super cute.

Post Edit -

8/23/2011 This morning Olive woke up in a snake-y mood.  As I changed her diaper, she repeated, "Sssss. Snake. Mamee. Sssss. Snake. Sssss."  Thankfully for my diaper changing task, there was no associated wriggling.

Friday, August 19, 2011


How can you not smile at a 6 foot tall bluebonnet?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I browsed my Amazon recommendations recently, and was excited to see this cover:

Another Gregory Maguire book will be coming out this fall!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Back to the balloon wreath I made.  It seems perfect for birthday parties, but it is also very happy and could work any time.  I have two of them up now, and there are no birthday parties planned at our house for quite some time.

Start with a raffia wreath from a craft store.  Buy the right size for your door.  I bought one size larger than I probably should have (and I bought two of them, front and back door, naturally). 

Buy balloons.  Lots of balloons.  I've seen cute versions of this wreath with color themes (orange and black, red and green, etc.), but I went with a multi-colored pack of large (12" round) balloons.  I got them at Hobby Lobby, but I have now seen similar balloons at dollar-type stores.  I think each wreath used approximately 10 large bags of balloons.  Seriously.  (You could probably do it with fewer, but I liked the tight spacing.)
I used straight pins (a lot of them) to attach the balloons.  Some online tutorials advise using these u-shaped floral pins.  Great idea.  They were not to be found at my local craft suppliers.  (Mind you, on my next trip to Hobby Lobby, they will magically appear.)  Regardless, straight pins ... and a thimble to save my fingers ... worked well.

Pin the balloons any way you like to cover the wreath.  Ideally, you will not see the raffia amidst the balloons.  I folded the balloon so that the spout was in the center of the bulb ... It was more or less circular ... and I put a pin in the center of the circle.  And then added another and another and another ...

My first pitfall?  I tried to mix balloon manufacturers midway through the process.  Who knew 12" balloons could be so different?  It did not look right, and I un-pinned a lot of balloons.  Determine your mix at the beginning and keep it up.  Don't change mid-stream.  I didn't like the results.  Hint - buy your balloons from a store that will keep them in stock just in case you don't buy enough.

Find a way to hang your wreath.  I made two wreaths.  The first went smoothly, and I coordinated curling ribbon with the balloons.  I loved the idea, but I really didn't like the curling ribbon in practice.  It looked really ratty, really quickly. 

On the second wreath, I used standard ribbon to create a hanger, and I much prefer the result.  (So much that I cut off all of the curling ribbon and changed the first wreath to match the second.  Fun times.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I recently attempted a BSJ (short for Baby Surprise Jacket).  The Surprise Jacket (Adult, Child and Baby) is the amazing brain child of Elizabeth Zimmerman (EZ), knitter extraordinaire.

First, I have issues with gauge.  It just isn't my strong suit.  But I managed to piece together (except there are two seams in the miraculous Surprise Jacket, so there was hardly any piecing involved), this specimen.

Mind you.  It isn't baby sized, and it is pretty over sized for our toddler.  (Though the colors are pretty baby-ish, she seems to like it.)

Here it is again after weaving in the ends, washing it and blocking it.  I would like to find some cute buttons/closures, but I don't know quite what I want for it.

I am now attempting the ASJ (adult surprise jacket) ... there has already been a lot of frogging for this little lovely, and I fear there will be more ... oh well, the clack of the needles does indeed relax me ...

Monday, August 15, 2011


When is an appropriate age to take a child to his or her first movie?

At two (just), I don't see Olive sitting through movies very well.  She's good for almost a whole episode of Sesame Street, but much more than that and she wanders off to do something else.  A movie seems like a big commitment with a child who likes to MOVE.

But, a friend recently took her child to see Winnie the Pooh and commented that it was a cute, SHORT movie and was perfect for her little one.

Kyle and I love movies, and we are excited to introduce the Little Miss to this experience.  Popcorn and all.  On the other hand, I don't want to rush it ... because paying for a movie (and popcorn, etc.) and leaving before the end just doesn't float my boat.

Random thoughts rambling through my brain.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Toddler Bed.

Olive still sleeps in her crib.  She hasn't (yet) managed to monkey her way out of it.  (Although, there was an unfortunate night recently when she got one leg wedged through the bars and had to be rescued.  She was fine.)

I know that it will be time to convert her crib to its toddler sized iteration before much longer, but I'm not ready for it.

I'm not ready for her to be able to crawl in and out of bed whenever she wants.

I'm not ready for her to have unlimited night-time toy access.  (Arguably, this goes hand in hand with the reason above.)

I'm not ready for Olive's stuffed toys to be accessible to Zoe - who can't distinguish between dog toys and baby toys.

I'm not ready to find the time to un-build one more step of the crib we so lovingly selected and assembled.

I'm not ready for her to be quite that grown up.

I'm just not.

So. There.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Two-Year Stats.

Our Little Miss went to the doctor last week.  She is now 34 inches tall and weighs 29 pounds.

We knew she was growing like a weed, but those stats sure do bring it home!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Books for the Little Miss.

Olive is practically a grown-up now.  (Well, no she is not ... but she is well into the do-it-herself phase.  DIY for the toddler set, if you will.)

Recently she began rejecting (for night-time reading purposes) some of our beloved board books, in favor of books with more flimsy pages.  I'm convinced that (a) the board books may have finally become boring and (b) the flimsy page books seem like 'big kid' books to her.

Some of our favorites are now soundly rejected, such as:

The Going to Bed Book

Goodnight Moon
Thank You Prayer

I'm sad that some of these great books aren't in our rotation much now.  But, the door is now open for new books.

Richard Scarry

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies

Knuffle Bunny

Should I Share My Ice Cream?

It sure is fun to get some new material!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I recognize that this will be the third post about Olive and Kyle's birthday party.  But three isn't too many, right?

And, we were a tad late in shooting photos of the tasty cakes that my brother, Blake, created.

There were cupcakes: chocolate, lemon-curdy meringue and brown sugar with coconut.

And Blake made the perfect cake for Kyle.  It was the pastry embodiment of Mexican hot chocolate: chocolate-y, cinnamon-y, and a little bit spicy.  Yes. Please.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Because I'm not afraid to laugh at myself.

Very recently I went to Wal-Mart in search of a valve-less sippy cup.  (Those valves accumulate crud, are difficult to clean, and disappear into the bowels of our home.)

So, a valve-less sippy it was.  I found several, but they were each emblazoned with various cartoon characters.  I like cartoons.  I even enjoy some appropriate marketing, but ... I generally avoid purchasing branded goods for Olive.

That is, a shirt from the GAP is ok, but a shirt that says GAP is not on my list.  Seriously, the GAP doesn't pay us to advertise for them.  That probably makes me a fun killer.

However, I ended up with a Minnie Mouse sippy set.  (Which, by the by, Olive LOVES.)  The cashier commented on my cute cup.  I smiled and chatted with her, sharing my anti-advertising philosophy.  We laughed, I paid, and I left the store.  On my way outside, I passed a big, shiny glass window, and I looked at my reflection in the glass.

Wanna know what shirt I was wearing?

The patriotic Mickey Mouse shirt I bought to wear on the fourth of July.

Yup.  I totally had a "do as I say, not as I do" moment.  It was not the first such moment, and I'm sure it won't be the last.  But crow sure tastes crummy.

Friday, August 5, 2011


This blog is largely about the positive things going on in our lives, because (1) I don't want it to be a total downer (for me or for you), and (2) difficult times change us, but I don't want the difficulty to define us.  I prefer to focus on the many blessings we have been given.

Earlier this year we said goodbye to two people we loved:  Kyle's Uncle Mart and his Grandma Thiel.  At that time, it didn't feel right to mention their passing here.  But, this past week or so we experienced - and I wrote about - two more deaths in the family.  (One on my side and one on Kyle's.)  And, this time, I needed to say something.  I am not sure what was different.

I am not good at goodbyes, even goodbyes for now.  But, I know that each of these people left a Legacy.  They shaped us and made us who we are today.  They taught us about Love and Life, and for that we will always be thankful.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More about the birthday.

First, I honestly cannot believe that our little one is two.  I am sure all parents say that, and I am sure I will say it many more times in my life ... but, whew, it feels crazy now.

Second, this birthday party landed in the midst of a pretty busy time for us and our families.  We were so thankful for the shift in focus and for so many people choosing to spend their Saturday afternoon/evening with us ... but, I have hardly any photos to prove it.  I snapped a few (yesterday's post) pre-party pics before the energy gnomes determined that my battery needed charging, and BAM! my camera was out of commission.  I have a few photos from other folks, but lots of great memories.

Third, we totally loved all of the paper goods that Michelle created for us.  However, the evening of the party included some major craziness, and I neglected to use the super-cute, cupcake flags and the food labels/place cards.  Oops.  Regardless, she created a whole suite of stuff, and we just loved it.

Fourth, overnight Olive turned into an expert present opener!  Well, if it is in a bag and if there is plenty of tissue paper to remove.  (Clothes, and the gifts themselves generally, were definitely not as exciting.)

Fifth, I think I now have a vague inkling how appealing ball pits are for kids.  (For me, not so much.)  After the party, we took down the balloon garlands and gathered them in our playroom.  Olive and her cousin Kate found them and Lost. Their. Minds.

It was awesome.  They bounced and dove and giggled.  It could be the best part of the evening for Olive ... even above the tissue paper part.

She even enjoyed them on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wham. Bam. Birthday.

This past weekend we had a double birthday party at our house for Kyle and Olive.  Kyle is ... thirty-something, and Olive is now two.  Amidst all the recent crazy in our lives, this party was a great, happy distraction.

Our friend Michelle made our super cute invitations, some great paper goods, including the letters for this banner ...

and these favor tags ...

and these awesome labels ...

I went for a balloon theme.  We made balloon garlands (inspired by Young House Love) and a balloon wreath (detailed post to follow, inspired by my creative cousin Cindy).

We used (and largely borrowed) brightly colored party goods (including these great drink dispensers from my Mom!). 

And, I had a few wishful thinking (ahem, delusional, ahem) moments and thought we would all hang out and enjoy some water fun outside in the back yard.  (It was July in Houston for goodness' sakes!  After a few splashes, most people ended up inside.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just a Swingin'.

Amidst all the busy-ness of this past week, we enjoyed a visit from Kyle's parents.  I cannot say that I was as ready for houseguests as I would have liked, but it was great to spend some time with them.  (And, they didn't complain about my lack of preparedness.)

Heck.  They even helped blow up balloons for the birthday party extravaganza.

I was a little concerned that the bulk of their trip would be spent in party-prep mode.  But, we were very productive Friday night and decided that a trip to the park on Saturday morning was needed.

Kyle, Russ, Rae and Olive headed to Hermann Park to check our the "sprayground" there (meh, passable) and then to enjoy some swing time.  Olive enjoyed herself, and we think Grandma and Grandpa may have too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Goodbye.

On July 28, 2011, the world lost another Light.  My Gramma Headley went Home.

We will miss her more than I can say.