Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Half Birthday, Olivia!

Our baby girl is 6 months old today! It's hard to believe how fast the time has gone. Olivia had her first tastes of solid foods this week including avocado, peas, and oatmeal.  She does very well with the spoon and doesn't push the food out with her tongue. I think she's going to enjoy trying lots of new flavors over the coming months!




Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's Build A House

Carl and I have talked about building a house for a long time. It's something we always imagined we'd do. Now the time is finally here! The basement of our new home was dug this week and now we have a giant hole. We're working with home designer Dan Tyree on modifying one of his home plans, Spades, to suit our needs. We can't wait to see the final renderings and get the next step underway!
Carl on the first day of excavation
Andrew loved all the big equipment!
Our very large hole in the ground

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paying Attention (a practical approach to eating)

I've been reading the book Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman over the last couple of weeks (takes a long time to get through a book 20-30 minutes at a time!) and have found it really interesting. The author is an American woman living in Paris with her husband (also not French) and raising their daughter.  In the book, Druckerman outlines her observations of French parenting in contrast to typical American practices.  One of the observations she describes is how French woman (Parisians in particular) tend to be slender, don't gain too much weight during pregnancy, and have regained their figures often by three months postpartum.  When she asks the French mothers she knows about how they are able to do this, the explanation is that they "pay attention".  When they notice the scale creeping up or clothes not fittings, they pay even closer attention.  This approach makes sense to me.  Here's my interpretation of "paying attention":
1. Pay attention to food choices.  Seems like total common sense.  Rather than label foods as "good" or "bad", realize that foods rest somewhere on a spectrum of nutritional value and choose foods on the more nutritional end of the spectrum most of the time.  Pay attention to when you choose foods on the lower end so that you can later balance those choices with more nutritious foods.
2. Pay attention while you're eating.  We often eat while on the run or while doing other various activities and can polish off a whole meal in minutes without even realizing it.  By taking time out and focusing on enjoying our food, we're more likely to be satisfied at the end of a meal or snack.  We're probably also less likely to be searching for something else to eat shortly after because we'll remember that we've just eaten and don't need additional fuel.

This might not be exactly what those French women mean by "paying attention", but I think this is a sensible approach to eating that will work for me.  It's also a concept that I feel can be applied to other areas of life, but that's a whole other topic!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beautiful Children

We went to Sam's Club yesterday to pick up a few things and when I was choosing some bread an older lady came up to us and told me, "you have beautiful children". I have to say, I agree :) She wanted to get a closer look at them and talked to Andrew for a minute, who did not disappoint with his conversation skills. Gotta love nice people!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Princess Party

My sister-in-law, her husband, and their 2 children got to town this week for a visit from Montreal. My niece, Axelle, turns 3 this week so we had a birthday party for her today, princess themed of course.  I volunteered to make a doll cake for the occasion and am very happy with how it turned out!  It was my first foray into fondant and it was actually pretty easy.  I'll definitely be using it again.  I'm pretty sure there are lots of princess parties in my future, so it was good practice.  Cake construction and party pics:
2 full cakes, post-leveling

Kinda looks like a hamburger
Dirty icing


Pretty pink fondant

Pleating for the back of the dress


Designing


Time to place the doll
She's in

Construction complete!

Completed back

Me and my creation

Birthday girl blowing out the candles

We had a lot of fun celebrating and Andrew even got a couple of presents too! Both Olivia and Andrew were tuckered out from the excitement and took a little snooze on the car ride home.  Pretty good Sunday :)
Zachary stole Olivia's toy
Balloons are always a good time


Axelle loves her cousin Olivia!

Axelle and Andrew with Papa






Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

For the last several years, we haven't done too much for Easter.  Last year, we went to Carl's parents and they hid some eggs for Andrew to find but that was about it.  So this year I decided we would join my family at my dad's house for our traditional Polish Easter feast.  I think there were 12 different types of pierogi and 7 types of sausage along with various side dishes.  One thing we always know if there is a holiday at Dad's house, there will never be a shortage of food!

Andrew loves Pap John's drums
The four of us drove up to Antioch Saturday afternoon so we would have some extra time to spend with Dad and Susan.  Olivia slept almost the whole way and Andrew got a good nap too.  We enjoyed a nice dinner together and play time.  Andrew got to stay up a bit late and when it was time to go to bed in the newly created monkey bedroom, he was not a willing participant.  Apparently large monkeys sitting on a rocking chair and in other places around the room become very creepy at night with the lights of.  After some screaming/crying, an extra trip to the potty, extra reassurance, and removal of the offending monkeys, Andrew finally fell asleep.  
Nice doggie

So funny!
Easter morning began with both Olivia and Andrew waking up around 6:30 AM. We joined Dad and Susan at their church for brunch then had several hours back at their house before the rest of the family arrived.  Andrew and Olivia got to search for Easter eggs and both got baskets with fun toys too.  Andrew had a blast running around with Owen and Auntie Nicky got lots of snuggle time with Olivia the Easter Princess.  We were all worn out by the time we were ready to go home.  Fortunately, the children slept and were successfully transferred to their beds when we got home and slept later than usual this morning.  Currently, Andrew is reviewing his bounty from yesterday's egg hunt as he puts his change into his piggie bank.  It's always nice to go places and visit the ones we love, but it's always good to get back home and back to our routine too :)

Princess Livi
One extra exciting bit of news from this morning. Its been a week since we started no pants at home potty training and for the first time, Andrew went to his potty and did his business while I was out of the room with Olivia.  Yay!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Weekend fun

We've had a fun weekend with Grandma Joanie visiting. The Easter Bunny dropped off baskets for her to bring to Andrew and Olivia. Andrew immediately spotted the cars in his basket and got to work vrooming them on the floor. He also learned how to open the plastic eggs to get the candy out. Olivia had fun playing with her new rattles and teething toys. The fun continued outside with Andrew playing in the dirt with his cars and he also learned how to use his new baseball set.

Andrew also go to color some Easter eggs which resulted him submerging each egg into all 9 colors.  Surprisingly, they didn't all turn out brown and some were actually kind of pretty.

We finished out the weekend by having dinner with Carl's parents followed by a visit to see the baby chicks at Rural King.  This also included checking out the tractors.

Olivia also started rolling over in her sleep which means that we need to stop swaddling her for safety. She didn't nap too well the first day without her trusty wrap so we're weaning her by wrapping her with one arm out to start and hopefully she'll do OK in a few days being totally unswaddled.  She also go some new hairbows :)