Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olive's 3rd Birthday

We celebrated Olive's birthday (also a gymnastics party) the weekend after Kate celebrated hers.

Olive had a great time, and we were very excited to share the celebration with family and friends.

Yeah, she'll hate me for that one day, but seriously, can you hang like that?!

Ah, we resisted the princess gear, but Olive adores it!  This year we got a Cinderella dress-up (with shoes - of course!), and a Rapunzel dress-up/night gown.  Olive would most certainly dress like a princess every day, if we would permit :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Olive helped Kate celebrate her 5th birthday by bouncing into the foam pit at a Dallas gymnastics studio.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

So.  We are celebrating July 4th today.  With a mid-week, single-day holiday, we didn't make it out of town.  But, we enjoyed our neighborhood parade, and cooled off with friends in their pool.  Now, Olive is napping, and we're checking a few things off of our to-do lists before grilling for dinner.  (What is July 4th without a cook-out?!)

A firetruck led the neighborhood parade.  (Yeah, we were a few minutes delayed.  So we pulled into a cul-de-sac, and joined the parade after the truck went by.)

This year we opted for bikes over Olive's stroller.  We decorated, but only a little bit :)

After the parade, Ava, Olive, and Olivia enjoyed a rest in the shade before joining the bounce house, playground, and water squirting fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How did we get here?

Ah, the question inspires so many perfectly correct and thoughtful responses, but I'll focus on one here today: potty training.

Are we "done"?  I doubt it.  (Seeing as Olive peed twice not in the toilet at my brother's house this weekend.)  BUT.  Olive hasn't worn diapers of any kind since late March.  Her accidents are getting MUCH fewer and farther between - and they are closely tied to her being out of routine or being engaged in a super fun activity.

Poops?  You might ask.  (Well, you didn't, but "people" do ... and Olive is more than happy to share as she walks through a store or restaurant toward the restroom, "I need go poops!")  They are coming along just fine.  In fact, Olive's standard response to our daily, "How was school?," inquiry is "I pooped in the potty."  Yep, it is apparently the most exciting and newsworthy event of her little day.  Go figure.

Before we went down the whole potty training road, we read a lot, we watched videos, and talked to friends, family, and teachers.  Heck, we even winged it a bit ... we are TOTALLY fly by the seat of our pants kind of people.  (I hear you snickering ...)

12 hours into our self-imposed potty boot camp weekend, I broke out an e-book recommended by a friend, http://www.3daypottytraining.com/.  Look, I am not related to this woman, and I certainly am not compensated for this recommendation.  But, after a frustrating evening, and an even more frustrating morning, the book was helpful, refreshing, positive, and encouraging enough for us to modify our approach.  I'm not sure if it worked, or if Olive was just ready, but I found her program helpful. 

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hello, Stranger.

Yeah, so, I couldn't resist bringing my fingers back to the keyboard and back to this space.

Not with a novel, but a wee quote.

"Daddy, I need go potty 'fore I pee on myself."

And, that, dear friends, sums up my evening.  (Day? Week? Month?)

We are surrounded, no, enveloped by independence, growth, lots of sweet hugs, and more than a little hilarity.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Easter 2012

This year, we celebrated Easter in Conroe with my mom and Tim.  As it turns out, their 30th anniversary fell on Easter Sunday, so it was a double celebration.

We headed up Friday morning, and stayed until Sunday afternoon.  The weather was great.  We were able to relax, and spend some great time with family.  Weekends like that are hard to beat!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Big Girl Seat

It is so cliche, but our Olive is growing up so fast!  Recently, she outgrew her seat in theVolvo, and we upgraded her to a big girl seat.  (It has a cup holder, which might be her favorite part.)

We took her with us to pick out the seat, and she was beyond disappointed, when she realized she had to ride one last time in her 'baby seat' ... (the parking lot of a big box store as it was getting close to her bed time did not seem like the best place to try and install a new car seat).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Rodeo Fun 2012

After seeing lots of animals, and thoroughly brushing every animal in the petting zoo, and enjoying tons of other exhibits, we went to the rodeo performance. Olive loved "mutton bustin'" and the barrel racing. Occasionally, she cheered, "Go Cows!"


I'm pretty sure that Will had a good time too!  We left just as the musical performers started their show, and traveled home with two very tired kids.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rodeo Time 2012

This year Olive's cousin Will (and Kyle's brother, Matt) visited in March, during rodeo time. Will and Olive enjoyed testing out some of the ranch vehicles on display at the live stock show.

(Yeah, I'm catching up on a few of the things that have gone on the last month or so ...)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ah. Springtime.

This weekend, we attended our neighborhood Easter egg hunt.  Olive loved it!

And, because I remember getting thwacked hard with them growing up, we taught Olive to break and then shower her cascarones ... she enjoyed showering herself most of all.

We even snapped her sitting with the Easter bunny, and smiling!  (Later, she told us that the "Easter bunny rabbit" was her favorite part.)

We traded her eggs for a goodie bag.

And because more photos are always better ... Olive also enjoyed swinging on the big kid swings ...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not an artist, but ... Nothing broke.

Quite a few of Olive's friends have celebrated birthdays recently.  I try to get Olive to as many of the parties as we can reasonably attend.  First, we want her to make and develop friendships - and learn to make and develop friendships.  Second, Kyle and I enjoy making and developing our own friendships with the other parents.  Third, we are taking lots of notes for Olive's birthday later this year. 

One recent party was held at a ceramics studio in town.  (To say that I was worried about owing the studio for more than a few broken pieces is an understatement.)  Olive is two.  She isn't great at sitting still.  She loves to jump (and jump and jump and jump), and, generally, she's running or walking "like horsey."  Walking feet are not her favorite.

Still, for the company (and the painting, Olive LOVES to paint and color), we opted in for this party.  (And for the invitation.  When I opened the red invitation emblazoned with strawberries, Olive was immediately head over heals.)

All in all, it was a great time.  Olive painted and (more or less) sat still.  She loved seeing her friends, and I made a few new acquaintences.  We didn't break anything, and (other than her hands) Olive walked away paint free.  (Not that I did ...) 

We haven't seen the final result of Olive's owl mug painting endeavor. I know it won't be a world-renouned masterpiece, but ... we will use it with love!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Zoo Trip.

We went to the zoo this weekend.  One of Olive's friends from school celebrated her third birthday there, and we used the party as an excuse to enjoy a day with some new animal friends.

Before the party, we fed the giraffes.  (So, the three pieces of lettuce were a little pricey, but Olive's face when the giraffe wrapped its long grey tongue around the piece of lettuce she bravely offered was worth every penny!)

We also saw elephants, zebras, lots of monkeys (BIG monkeys, and little teeny tiny monkeys ... which isn't nearly as cute without Olive's hand motions and vocal inflections), sea lions, and a very cool owl.

Zoos (almost every zoo we have visited or heard about recently) are doing a great job of making the animals and the exhibits more REAL for visitors.  I'm so happy about that change.  My zoo memories growing up are largely of very sad monkeys in concrete cages.   Our recent zoo experiences leave VERY different impressions with me.
My favorite part, I think, was stumbling upon a presentation at the lion enclosure.   As we walked up (to see what the crowd was all about), a zookeeper pulled down a large (10ft by 10ft?) sign/panel to reveal a (very thick) chain link wall and three lady lions peering through the links at the crowd.  The primary zookeeper gave a brief presentation. 

She told us all about lions, and the history of these lions (and the male lion sunning himself a few yards away) in  particular.  Her stories were terrific--fascinating, sometimes sad, but really appealing for the kids and adults gathered around. 

During the presentation, two other zookeepers used squirt bottles filled with a mixture of goats' milk and other healthy things to encourage the lady lions to perform.  It really was amazing.  We were 10 feet (ish?) from these lovely creatures.  Olive was enthralled, and Kyle and I were pretty impressed too.

We also had a great time at the party, chatting with friends and getting to know new ones.  Before too long, it was time to get Olive home for a nap. 

All in all, it was a very cool day at the zoo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trike Time.

It has been an odd few weeks.

We are still under drought conditions.  BUT.  We've gotten a lot of rain--enough to make everything feel soggy and damp.  (And enough to recently put the city on a flood watch.  The weather folks warned of the flood watch - because the ground is/was saturated - while also reminding us that the drought is not over and we still need to be mindful of our use.  All true, but a bit weird to hear together.)

BUT.  When it isn't raining, the weather has been fan-tab-u-lous.

We've enjoyed a few bike outtings. During which we discovered that Olive has already outgrown the bike helmet we purchased for her last year. (Spring? Summer?  I don't recall.)  A trip to purchase a new, properly sized helmet was in order.


We found some kid-sized helmets.  And, eventually, convinced Olive to try several on.  We finally narrowed the selection to a lady-bug helmet (with antennae) and a cat helmet (with ears and a nose).  The kitty cat won.

A few Sundays ago, Olive spent some post-nap, afternoon time riding up and down the driveway.  We both had a ball.

(It is an iPhone photo, and the clarity isn't great.  BUT.  You can see the cute kitty cat helmet.  The Hello Kitty bell that Olive LOVES.  Her pink and purple trike, which is getting a work out these days.  AND.  The bright green crocs that I bought on a whim, but which Olive would wear all day, every day, if we permitted her to do so.)

Monday, February 20, 2012


Despite some craziness in our lives, this post has almost nothing to do with us.

Recently, I enjoyed a walk through our neighborhood.  It was sunny, and just a tad cool.  Lovely.

At the end of my loop, and a few houses from home, I noticed a neighbor, with a gasoline powered leaf blower, perched on a roof, smoking a cigarette, and 'cleaning' the gutters with the blower, while someone down on the ground yelled.  At first, I thought, "Ah!  Someone is trying to keep this yahoo from hurting himself!"  Then, I realized that the person on the ground was yelling instruction.  "Avoid the downspout!!  I don't want leaves there!!"

Although comedic, I cannot imagine that blowing the leaves out of the gutters from above is an overly effective method.  This gentleman's method also included danger of (1) falling off the roof, and (2) catching himself --and possibly the house-- on fire.

Fun. Times.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Growing up.

I know you can tell from the photos, but our little baby is growing up.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her in the backseat, and I tear up.  Sometimes she says something that makes me marvel at all that is going on in her little head, and I tear up.

(Sometime she is naughty and drives me a little bit crazy.  I don't tear up then.)

Recently, we transformed Olive's bed from a crib to a toddler bed.  I know a lot of people do this way earlier than 2.5-ish.  But, because she never tried to climb out of her crib, it didn't seem like a safety risk ... and we didn't want to push it before she was (er, we were) ready.

So far, it has gone smashingly.  And I can say those words aloud because it has been long enough that we believe she is used to it.  She likes climbing in and out by herself.  She likes having a pillow, and she loves being 'tucked in' with the blanket my Gramma Headley crocheted, which makes me weepy all over again.

We are still inching towards potty training.  And, don't get me started on how I was too much of a wimp to try changing Olive's bed and eliminating her night-time binky at the same time.  Before too long ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Bathroom Modification (in Progress).

So, Olive's bathroom isn't the only room in our house that had (or, in some cases, still has) wallpaper that doesn't totally 'suit' our style.

It was floral and feminine, and just not us.  A few months ago (yeah, a while ago), I noticed a curl in the wallpaper ... and I started peeling.  It came off in long, satisfying pieces.  I peeled and peeled until the remaining pieces were out of my reach.  So, the rest of the wallpaper just lingered.

Until recently,

Now our bathroom looks like this.

Next step, prepping the walls, priming, and painting ... well, deciding on a paint color at least :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Olive's Bathroom - The Yellow Period.

Not too terribly long ago, we removed the wallpaper in Olive's bathroom and painted the walls a very light pink.  (See our post about that.)

When the painting was finally complete, we knew almost immediately that it wasn't our favorite ... but it was a heck of a lot better than the wallpaper.  More us.

Kyle rolled with it.  I obsessed a bit.  And I trooped out to a local paint store to pick up a test pot of the same color paint we used for most of our home in St. Louis.

Kyle shook his head, and humored me.  I made a test square in the bathroom.  Decided that I preferred it to the pink (ya, know, slightly), and bought us a gallon of the paint in proper bathroom sheen.

Then I got distracted.  With, you know, the other things going on in our lives and everyone else's.  And months passed.  Seriously, months.

With Christmas travel behind us, we took a few evenings recently to paint the walls in Olive's bathroom with two coats of yellow paint.

Ta. Da.

So, it is pretty subtle.  (Well, except when my camera skilz make things appear a little more sunny than they actually are.)

Kyle calls it, "Pastel," which -of course- it is, but he has an inflection that I know means, "Pastel," isn't a good thing for him.  (For me, it is neither good nor bad, just lightly colored.)  In some lights, the yellow has a bit more green in it that we prefer.  But, with all of the bathroom accessories loaded, we like it. 

(I know that I like it more than Kyle does.  And, he has on more than one occasion told me, "It is OK.  It works.  I'm just not painting the bathroom again."  Which really means, "Heather, don't go getting any more crazy ideas.  And, certainly, for goodness' sake, don't go buying any more paint for that room."  To be honest, I have never heard Kyle use the phrase, "goodness' sake," anywhere except in my head.)

And one more picture.

Both Olive's bathroom and our bathroom have lovely 1960's-era tile, and both have coordinating bands of this twisty-gold/bronze accent.  Most of the time, we pretend it isn't there.  The human brain is a powerful thing.  More and more (except when I'm taking photos in the bathrooms), I don't even notice it is there.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Enjoying Where We Are.

This weekend, we enjoyed a cloudy, threatening to rain but not quite getting there, Saturday morning.

We made breakfast at home (berry scones, scrambled eggs, and a few left-over little smokies).  The scones were a new recipe, but they turned out nicely and worked well with our freezer berries.

Then we visited a new, local farmers market.  (We enjoy a nearby restaurant/bar called Petrol, and the owners opened their parking lot Saturday morning for the market.)

We put Olive in the seat on Kyle's bike, and peddled a few blocks south.  There were more than five, but fewer than ten, vendors ... While we were there, probably 40+ people milled around, made purchases, and gabbed.  Not bad for a debut!  All of the vendors were friendly, and excited-but apologetic-to have sold much of their stock before our 10a arrival.

We picked up a few items, and peddled around the neighborhood for awhile.  Then, we headed home to drop off our haul, and to meet friends at the park down the street. 

Olive and her friends, Gracie, Abby, and Ava, climbed all over the playground and enjoyed a few snacks before the parents broke up the party to head home for lunch and naps.

All before 1230p!

It was a simple morning, but it had me smiling all day.  I loved getting out and moving.  I loved seeing how differently Olive approaches bike rides now than she did almost a year ago when we first got her bike seat.  (Then: She screamed bloody murder. Now: She screams, "Let's go FAST!!")  I love meeting friends at the park, catching up with the parents while Olive and her friends enjoy their own fun.  I love seeing that our neighborhood is also a community, and I love being a part of that community.  There is joy in seeing where we are right now and loving it.

I will be the first to admit that our life isn't all rainbows and ice cream.  I could rattle off a list of things we would like, things we would like to change, or things that make us sad ... but ... Saturday was pretty great, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wrapping Up.

Somehow, it is the 12th of January, and I am just now wrapping up our Christmas rundown.

Technically, I left one of our Christmas celebrations out - #4.  We spent boxing day with Julie, Blake, Chad, Emily, and Kate.  It is the one celebration of which I have no photographic record.  Arg! 


Olive discovered candy canes this Christmas.  She calls them, "candy candy."  Because she spits them out as soon as she puts them in her mouth, I'm pretty sure she doesn't like them.  I'm also pretty sure she keeps trying them, because she thinks--with a name like that--they must be twice as good as regular candy. 


And, finally, Olive has started skipping around our house, "like horsey."  It totally cracks us up. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Years' Eve.

First, we went to the KC children's museum, Wonderscope.  They had a kid-focused New Year's eve celebration that morning.

Later, we enjoyed dinner at Liz and Matt's ... tasty risotto, yummy lamb chops, and some really awesome bread pudding ... and we also took a few photos :)

And, there you have it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Park Time With The Thiels.

There is an awesome park very near Liz and Matt's house.

(And, if you made it this far, I will admit that the park photos were the hardest for me to edit.  There were just too many cute photos!!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fun Time With The Thiels.

We spent New Year's weekend in Kansas City.  We had a great time with Russ and Rae, Liz and Matt, Grandpa Swenson, and "CharlieBetsyWill".  (Olive merges the three names into one epic cousin request, "CharlieBetsyWill?")

We spent a lot of time in Liz and Matt's awesome playroom.

It was a fairly photo intensive weekend.  Trust me.  I edited.  But, there were so many cute photos!  (So, the next few days will be my homage to Kansas City.)