May 1, 2011

Olivia's Year in Pictures

Stay tuned for a full birthday write up!

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Apr 3, 2011

Our Wonderful Weekend

After my last dreary post, I figured you needed something a bit more cheery!! Well, Olivia and I had an awesome weekend. I guess God knew we needed some mother and daughter time. There was hardly any yelling, arguing, and no time outs. She was almost a normal human this weekend!

It started Friday when Andrea took us to an awesome new park.

The park had super fast slides that landed the kids on their bottoms every time!

The very soon to be 2 year old!

On Saturday, Olivia and I took advantage of a free day at the Dallas Science and History Museum. Olivia was in awe and soaked up every ounce of the visit. It was great to show her around and explain things to her. I am loving this age where she is asking why to everything and then actually understanding when I explain.

Cheesin' in front of the dinosaur exhibit.
This area was a giant sand pit with buried dinosaur 'bones'. She spent a good thirty minutes playing here and watching the other kids.

Of course, loving the giant bubble tables.

The room of mirrors... she wasn't so sure about this one!

They have a kids area also. This was one of the many activities.

Putting vegetables into the holes to simulate farming/planting.

Trying to convince her to crawl through the tunnels. I made the mistake of mentioning they were 'ant tunnels'. Well, she hates ants, therefore she was having nothing to do with it.

I love the look on her face. :)

On Sunday, we took a ride on the DART, which is the public transportation rail train. Olivia is fascinated with trains and anytime we saw the train, she wanted to ride. So, today we had nothing to do, so we hopped on the train!

Kids? Check. Harnesses? Double check.

Absolutely loving the train!

Waiting for the train to take us home.

What do you get when you take two toddlers on a train... play hard at a park... no nap... and then a ride home? Two cranky kiddos!!

We had a fabulous weekend. I love my daughter so much and especially love when we have no major tantrums!

This week brings Astoria's birthday.... Nana, Pops, and Granny coming to town... and Astoria's party! Here's hoping to another great week!

Mar 22, 2011

I get a little bit stronger.

Almost four years ago I made the biggest decision of my life. I made the decision to leave a cheating husband and raise a child on my own. I got a little bit stronger.

I chose my own life and the life of an unborn child. I was strong. I was strong because of my own will, my own stubbornness, and my support group. I endured 9 months of pregnancy not knowing if this child's father would be in the picture. I got a little bit stronger.

On May 1, 2008, Olivia Rose was born into the world. I got a little bit stronger.

I indeed was going to raise my daughter alone. The decision I made in September 2007 was the decision I was going to have to keep, no matter the circumstances. Thank GOD I chose the decision for the unborn life. My family and my friends kept Olivia and I afloat (and still do!). I couldn't hold all the shed tears in a gallon jug if I tried. I got a little bit stronger.

I was forced to enter into a long and hard divorce, including a foreclosure and child support from a man I really wanted nothing to do with. I got a little bit stronger.

In November 2008, I was forced to say goodbye to my grandfather. Cancer took him away from me, but no one can ever take my memories. I miss him everyday and my one wish was that Olivia could have known him longer. I got a little bit stronger.

In July 2010, I made another huge decision for Olivia and me. I packed us up and moved to Texas. Sometimes it still feels like a vacation and soon I'll 'go home'. Yet, God led me this direction and He shall be the one who unfolds the reasons. A small corner has already been unfolded; my sister and I have the strongest relationship I could ever ask for. My only hope is our daughters will some day have that same bond. I got a little bit stronger.

A little over a year ago, I let someone in. Someone who made me happy, someone who made my daughter laugh, someone who accepted me and my 'baggage'. He helped me get a little bit stronger. As I sit here with tears streaming down my face, I am dealing with the fact that about a month ago, I had to let him move on. Once again, I got a little bit stronger.

My daughter is now almost three, and I have gotten a LOT stronger. She is happy and healthy. She is my backbone. She is my sunshine. She is my world.

People come and people go. As I get older and more mature, I can look back and just about pinpoint why everyone is/was placed into my life. I could sit here and name friends/family and say something about each one; but I won't, because I try everyday to let those people know face to face or ear to ear. I get a little bit stronger.

Watch out world.... I'm getting just a little bit stronger everyday..... for myself and her.

Sara Evans - A Little Bit Stronger


Woke up late today and I still feel the sting of the pain
But I brushed my teeth anyway
I got dressed through the mess and put a smile on my face
I got a little bit stronger

Riding in the car to work and I'm trying to ignore the hurt
So I turned on the radio, stupid song made me think of you
I listened to it for minute but I changed it
I'm getting a little bit stronger, just a little bit stronger

And I'm done hoping that we could work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days
I get a little bit stronger

Doesn't happen overnight but you turn around
And a month's gone by and you realize you haven't cried
I'm not giving you a hour or a second or another minute longer
I'm busy getting stronger.

And I'm done hoping that we can work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking, that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger
I get a little bit stronger

Getting along without you, baby
I'm better off without you, baby
How does it feel without me, baby?
I'm getting stronger without you, baby

And I'm done hoping we could work it out
I'm done with how it feels, spinning my wheels
Letting you drag my heart around
And, oh, I'm done thinking that you could ever change

I know my heart will never be the same
But I'm telling myself I'll be okay
Even on my weakest days
I get a little bit stronger

I get a little bit stronger
Just a little bit stronger
A little bit, a little bit, a little bit stronger
I get a little bit stronger

Feb 6, 2011

To All the Single Mamas.... All the Single Mamas..

It is time I put these thoughts to paper... no, that's not right, to the internet!

Today is Sunday, we have been out of school since last Monday. A freak ice/snow storm hit North Texas and we were out of school, therefore Olivia was out of daycare. Let's get the obvious out of the way... it wasn't expected and I've never really had a desire to be a stay at home Mom. Now, before the tomatoes start throwing... I LOVE my daughter, but I followed my dreams into my career as well. I LOVE teaching young minds and therefore my heart is in a career. I do believe being a stay-at-home mom IS a career... especially after these last 6 days... trust me.

What I did WRONG these six days:
-I let my daughter cry a bit in the mornings so that she would sleep in longer.
-I let Nick Jr. be her teacher. Namely, Dora, Diego, and Wonder Pets.
-I yelled... a lot more than I should ever again.
-I let her eat powdered donuts for breakfast... and lunch... and sometimes dinner.
-I let her tell me NO more than she ever should have... but it wasn't worth the fight.
-I let her sit on the couch to eat dinner.
-I let her eat ice/snow off her boots (eek!).
-I made it very clear to her when I was NOT happy. This made her cry. She would cry and say "Please be happy Mommy, you're happy." (Tear.)

What I did RIGHT these six days:
-I let my daughter help make her own pancakes.
-I taught her how to dump her potty WITHOUT it getting all over the toilet seat and herself.
-I taught her how to make a snow ball.
-I taught her the importance of taking a nap so she wouldn't be grumpy... I was about 75% successful.
-I taught her how to eat snow.... but not necessarily from her boots.
-I let her eat snow ice cream.
-I taught her how to turn on and off the TV.... this may or may not have been a good thing... the decision is still out.
-I taught her WHY Mommy wasn't happy. "Mommy is only happen when you LISTEN, Olivia, and right now you are not LISTENING to Mommy. Mommy is NOT happy."

Sigh. It has been a tough week. Therefore, my post concludes to the single Moms out there. It is not fun all the time, it is not easy all the time, it is not rewarding all the time... but what it is all the time is life. This is my life and this is how I live it: One step at a time, looking back to only improve, and moving forward with purpose. I am stronger because my daughter HAS TO rely on me. I am stronger because I AM her LIFE. If I don't do it... who else will?

What makes you stronger?

Feb 5, 2011

Her Mind Goes a Mile a Minute...

Here is the conversation that took place this morning in about 3 minutes:

I had just gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed in my room. Olivia LOVES to 'jumpy-jumpy' on my bed, so she was watching me while jumping.

O: What's that?
M: A bra.
O: A baa?
M: Yes, it goes over Mommy's boobies.
O: I want boobies.
M: You will have them, soon enough.
O: Oh, I think I have some in my room.
O: Mommy, come hold my hands so I can jumpy high.
M: Okay
O: You don't have shirt on. You can't hold my hands if you don't have shirt on. Put shirt on first.
M: Okay.
-I go to the closet and choose an orange OSU shirt.-
O: You wearin' a orange shirt like Nana?
O: You borrowin' it from Nana?
M: No, I have one and Nana has one.
O: Oh, Nana wants her shirt back.
O: Now come hold my hands because you not naked anymore.
-So, I hold her hands so she can jump 'higher'.-
O: I'm like superman, Mommy, but I don't have a cape!

I mean really... where do these things come from?! Her language is becoming so clear and she is finally carrying on a two sided conversation. It is great and I can't wait to see what else comes out of her mouth... or maybe I can. :)

Jan 20, 2011

Potty Training: Day 3, 4, 5, 6, 345, 746....

Well... we are still here, still training! The 3 day method definitely threw us into the routine and made me not want to go back to diapers, but, let's face it, my daughter was not a 3-day trained graduate. Her BFF, TJ, though was! He is doing amazingly well and shows that the program DOES work for the... the... not SO stubborn child! :)

Olivia is still holding her pee like a camel. I think the longest we have seen is about 14 hours. Then, she fights and resists going to sit on the potty. So, her bladder gets so full, she can't hold it anymore and has an accident.

Nana stayed home with Olivia on day 4... there was some success and several accidents. Olivia was back to daycare on Day 5 with two accidents and one potty trip. Today is Day 6... we finally had more potty trips than accident trips! YEAH OLIVIA!!! She went twice at daycare and had two accidents. Tonight she went twice and had one accident. Thankfully, she has the BM routine down pat! I would much rather clean up wet panties than soiled ones. Ew.

We are still working on her not resisting the potty so much. I definitely have to watch for clues at ALL times! But, sitting on the potty and covering ourselves with stickers seems to get the 'flow' going. And gum and chocolate just add to the fun! :)

Thanks for all the support from everyone! Check back, I'm sure we will still be potty learning for many more months to come!!

Jan 17, 2011

Potty Training: Day 2

Sorry it is a little late!

Night 1 - We were up at midnight with some sort of terrible dream. She was dry and refused to sit on the potty. She then slept till I woke up her at 9am - she was wet then.

The day was pretty non-productive. She held it for a crazy amount of time. We would have a few dribbles, but she wouldn't finish in the potty.

We did have luck with the bm stage though! She was trying to go, got up, tried to run to her bedroom, but I caught her and set her on the toilet. She went like a pro! I think she is still scared to let things out of her body, but we are trying to work on that!

About 20 minutes after that she went pee... and that was all! This all happened about 6:30pm.

She went to bed at 9pm. No pee in between those two times. I woke her up at 2am, she sat but didn't go. I woke her up again at 6:15am.. she refused to sit. So, I finally woke her up for good at 8:30am. She was STILL dry!

Stay tuned for day 3! This is where we hope it all CLICKS!

Jan 15, 2011

Potty Training: Day 1

It has been a very productive January in our house! Before Christmas I decided it was time for Olivia to venture into 'Panty-land'... not be confused with Candyland by any means! This weekend is a three day weekend for us, so, the date was set! After reading the 3 Day Potty Training Method I decided it may work for us. So, at the beginning of the year, I converted Olivia's crib into the toddler bed and took away her beloved sippy cup. The first two nights were rough, but since then, smooth sailing.
Yes, she had to have her own tools and help with the process.
The final result!This was the purpose for panties back in December... decorative headgear.


Before Olivia woke up, everything was lined up. I was going to let her choose her potty, her underwear, and her socks.

I created a Potty Chart that was intended to get progressively more challenging as the day went on.
This morning, she still wanted to try out the 'headgear' and even added a piece! Thankfully, this didn't become a habit!At 9:00am, the panties were on and the couches were covered! Nana did an amazing job of keeping her occupied all day!
We quickly discovered Olivia didn't mind sitting on the potty, but she did NOT want to GO in the potty. So, from 9am until AFTER nap at 3pm, we did not see one ounce of urine! I was frustrated that she was holding it, knowing she needed to go.

Between 3pm and 8pm the stats were:
Pee in potty: 0
Pee in panties/floor: 5
Poop: 0

Around 7:30pm I told her to go into the bathroom and try to go potty by herself. Miraculously, she was all about that idea! She went in there many times and pulled down her panties and would sit, put them back on, come out and announce "I can't go yet!"
We started bedtime routine around 8pm. At 8:20pm she came out of her room and told me she was going to try "one more time".
All I could hear was her talking to Nana "I'm doing it! Can you hear it Nana? I'm doing it! See!" And then the crowd went wild! WOOHOO!!!
Who cares if she gets chocolate at 8:30pm, we peed!!!

Now, we are just hoping for a dry and quiet night!
Stay tuned for Day 2!

Jan 3, 2011

A Year is Worth a Thousand Words...

Get ready for picture overload!!! Here is Olivia's 2010 journey...

JANUARY


She was always ready and willing to dance. She loved 'Ring Around the Rosey' and 'If You're Happy and You Know It'

Her favorite place in the kitchen was always on top of the island. She wanted to be in the action at all times.

She loved her baby cousin, Astoria. We didn't get to see her much, but when we did she wanted to be right by 'baby' at all times.

FEBRUARY

Olivia's best friend was/is TJ Yarnell. They are only two months apart, lived in the same neighborhood, and went to the same daycare. The two were inseparable!

MARCH

She loved, and still does, wearing one piece pajamas. I think they are toooo cute!

My big girl all dressed up for church.

Cousin love at the zoo!

So I thought maybe she was ready for potty training... well, yeah, that didn't work. But she looked super cute in her undies!!

Wearing other people's shoes was a lot of fun!

APRIL

Olivia and Nana at Astoria's 1st Birthday Party. This girl LOVES her Nana!

Easter

A girl and her Pops are also best buddies. In this picture she looks so much like me when I was little!

Don't let the innocent look full you.... this girl can be a MESS!

MAY

Always willing to "help" in Mommy's classroom.


Olivia celebrated her 2nd Birthday with an Elmo theme and her cake made by Aunt Andrea.

She was definitely the star of the show and had her bounce house too!

JUNE

We spent many afternoons at spray parks trying to get Olivia and TJ used to the water. They loved it and so did we!

On the kitchen island again with that innocent looking grin...


Olivia loves all kinds of animals including this gigantic turtle we found roaming around our front yard.

JULY

Where did my little girl go? We had some beautiful pictures taken in Granny's backyard.


Olivia's little smirk we have all grown to know and "love".



Olivia and TJ attended swimming lessons in July. My usual not-so-daring daughter LOVED the water. I would have to watch her very closely to make sure she was still in eyesight and was able to touch the bottom wherever she was!


We spent 4th of July at Nana and Pop's lake house at Lake Tenkiller. Of course, Olivia LOVED riding along with Nana.

Still not potty training, but she loves to be naked and loves to read book, so why not?


In July I made the biggest decision of my life. Olivia and I packed up and moved to Texas. I had a wonderful job waiting for me as well as the Kleckner's super excited to have someone close! The move was tiring and I still find myself missing Oklahoma. Yet, life is improving daily!

Our little family starting new in Texas!

Olivia and Astoria

Trotting along at the Arboretum.

SEPTEMBER

This is Olivia's stubborn temper tantrum look. Cute, huh?

Her first big bounce house slide.

She is finally old enough to play some of the games at Chuck E Cheese!

OCTOBER


This Halloween, Olivia was a skunk and Astoria was a Flamingo.

My big girl.


She is approximately 5 pumpkins tall.

NOVEMBER


She loves to "cheese" as long as she gets to "see" the picture of herself afterwards!

DECEMBER

My blue-eyed beauty lights up my life everyday!
Enjoying her presents Christmas morning.

_______________________________________________________

Wow! Look how much she has changed and how much has changed in our lives!!! I am so very blessed to have a healthy and happy daughter.
Bring on 2011!

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