Friday, October 31, 2014

Ballerina Extraordinaire

With Halloween approaching this year, I asked Olivia if she wanted to dress up in a "Frozen" dress, or a ballerina costume.  She didn't even blink before saying "Ballerina!" hands down.  :)  This is her first year dressing up for "costume day" and she absolutely loved getting some extra special treatment.

She had her hair done up in a "real ballerina bun", and even got to model some of Mommy's sparkly eye make-up, and pink lip gloss.  She felt very grown up and fancy, and I was wondering where my little girl had gone!

She thoroughly enjoyed handing out candy to the kids that stopped by.  :)

Then it was on to waiting for more visitors . . . 

Maybe coloring to pass the time will make it go faster!  (On a ballerina coloring book, of course)

Wednesday evening Olivia got to visit a nursing home with her class from church - and they did a little trick-or-treating!

My sweet girl, who had never done anything like this before was completely bewildered at first.  Especially given the fact that she is so very, very shy - talking to strangers (even sweet elderly people!) was not worth getting some candy.  ;)

She eventually warmed up once she saw her friends expertly holding out bags and buckets, and flashing smiles all around.

It was so fun to bring a little joy to these sweet people - and fun to hear them all commenting on the kids' fun costumes.  Olivia got asked many times if she actually took dance lessons.  :)  I think she felt particularly graceful after that.

Then it was time to head back to the church for the rest of their class time.

The kids all looked so cute!  I think they really had a great time.  They even made little thank you cards for the people at the nursing home to send to them for the candy.   It was sweet!

I think it's safe to say that Olivia enjoyed the special costume MUCH more than she cared about the candy, but it sure was an exciting bonus!  She loves to dress up anytime, so to have a special day that Mommy helped her get extra dolled up was really special to her.

We are so thankful for our sweet & sassy little ballerina.  <3

Friday, October 17, 2014

Our Newest Little Miracle

Many of you already know that we're expecting another sweet little love next Spring.  Today was a very special day in our family, because we actually got to SEE the baby for the first time via ultrasound!

Olivia got to go with us, and she has been looking forward to today for quite a while.  Although the concept of an ultrasound is a bit lost on a 3 1/2 year old.  ;)

Waiting ever so patiently in the waiting room . . . 

I think Olivia was expecting the baby to look, well, more like a baby, and not so skeleton-like, but she was impressed for the first few minutes anyway.  She very sweetly asked me, "Is the baby going to talk to us?"  

We've chosen not to find out the gender this time around (well, not yet anyway), and had the technician put it into a sealed envelope for just Daddy to satisfy his insatiable curiosity later.  In spite of that, Olivia very matter-of-factly informed the technician today that it was a girl baby, and she was going to have a sister.  I hope she's not disappointed.  ;)

Even though this is my third baby, the wonder of that first glimpse never ceases to amaze me.  The baby only weighs in at a mere 9 oz right now, and yet is intricately, miraculously formed.  He/she was extremely active during the entire ultrasound, which made it even more fun for us.  There was swallowing action, thumb sucking, and much to Olivia's delight, waving!

The past several weeks, I've been battling an irrational fear that something must not be quite right - I had only sensed very little movement thus far, and with my other two, they were already quite active by this point.  Also, up until this point, my doctor has had a difficult time getting a good strong heartbeat.  The ultrasound revealed today that the reason for all this was a frontal placenta (perfectly normal).  Meaning the placenta is placed (you guessed it!) front and center right now.  While it will most likely move upward as I progress throughout the pregnancy, for now it's doing a fantastic job of muffling movements, and heartbeats.  :)

This baby will keep me on my toes!  At one point, he/she s t r e t c h e d out as long as it possible could, which made us all laugh!  And also gave us a glimpse at some long legs!

We also got the cutest look at teensy little toesies.

I am so thankful that this baby is healthy and growing strong, and although I am only measuring at 19 weeks today (even though the calendar says I'm 20), I'm still hoping to meet our new bundle in late February.  We already love this baby so much, and the opportunity to peek inside the quiet, miraculous womb is just a thrill.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Olivia the Bug Whisperer

My sweet girl is about as girly as they come.  Most days, if you were to peek in on her, you'd find her dressed in her hot pink "spinny" dress, wearing multiple necklaces and/or rings, and setting up "Bunny's Birthday Party".  Complete with tea and crumpets, of course.  ;)

She doesn't just love ballet, she is a ballerina.  And when I often ask her, "Wow!  You sure look fancy! Are you a princess today?"  I am always corrected, "No, Mommy!  I am a ballerina!." Very matter-of-factly.  ;)

Along with all her girly-ness, comes a love of all things buggy.  This girl LOVES her bugs.  She expresses delight over almost any bug (with spiders being the exception).  Although, on a camping trip this summer, she did get pretty friendly with the daddy long legs hanging around our campsite.  ;)

She seeks out ants, roly poly bugs, and especially butterflies.  No matter where we're at, or who she's playing with.

This one was a little blurry, but she was SO excited to find a Katydid!  Notice the dirt smudges on her face too.  This girl is not bothered one bit by dirt.

Lately, she's taken to catching bugs, playing with them and also asking them "what's your name, bug?  You have a name?"  And then assigning said bug with a name.  Most of them are nonsensical jibberish names, but the past couple of days she's come up with some pretty clever ones.  This morning she took a Boxelder bug to tea, and called "her" Boxy.  :)

Today we spent quite a while at the park, probably for the last time this season.  It has been pretty cold and rainy lately, so to have a warm, sunny day was a delight for all of us.  Imagine her joy at discovering that the caterpillars were out in force today!  She picked up and held not one, but TWO Wooly Bear caterpillars.  It was the highlight of her time there.  She only named one of them, but "she" was called Elissa.

Then she found an extremely lucky grasshopper, who was dubbed "Popcorn".  These names are all her ideas - and I just find them incredibly cute.

She was absolutely elated when "Popcorn" wanted to "go for a ride!" on her pants.  She even took him down the slide!

There is nothing like watching her sweet little face light up when she finds a new "friend."  And I smile, not only because she is SO excited no matter how disgusting the unsuspecting insect is, but because it's part of the humor in my life that she has a Mommy who is very UN-enthusiastic about bugs.  I love this girl!  Maybe she will grow up to be an Entomologist?  :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Family Memories

We recently got to spend a weekend with my awesome in-laws in Rockford, IL.  They moved into a new house this summer, and it was our first time staying with them in their beautiful new home!  We had such a wonderful time together, and made lots of sweet memories.

I didn't get any pictures of Olivia's time with her Granddad, but she really soaks up all the time he spends spoiling her.  :)  She convinced him to play ring-around-the-rosie with her multiple times, "dance" around the living room, play catch, and one of her favorite things, reading with him in his easy chair.  He even humored her by playing "hide and seek".  It was super cute watching her run around looking for him.  And even funnier when it was her turn to hide . . . :)

She also really enjoyed her time with Nanny - doing puzzles together.

It's so special that she's getting old enough to remember these times with her Grandparents, and really neat for Nate and I to watch her relationships with them develop.

And of course, Levi really enjoyed his time with them too.  He's our little lover, and just likes to do anything with anyone.  :)  He especially enjoyed Nanny's cooking!  Haha!

One of our family traditions since having kids is visiting a local apple orchard with Nanny & Granddad every Fall.  I think Nate and I look forward to it almost as much as the kids!  This year, it was cold and rainy (we even saw snow fly that morning!), but we went anyway, and had a fantastic time.

The kids really love getting to see the farm animals.  This year they had a goat named "Pricklepants"!  Olivia thought that was hilarious!  They also had an area where the kids could feed the goats (through a tube) and Olivia and Levi both got a turn with that.

Edward's Apple Orchard is a really neat place!  They have so much to do and see.  We went on a Saturday, so there was even a live bluegrass band that we got to enjoy!

Levi has recently started talking a whole bunch - and we've learned that one of his favorite things to say (and play with) are "tac-toos" or tractors.  It's the cutest thing!

Daddy is such a kid at heart.  ;)

One of Olivia's favorite things of the day was winding through the maze with Daddy.  He just followed along and let her lead the way.

Olivia had been talking about riding a pony for weeks before we went.  I think she's a little cowgirl at heart!  Levi ended up being kind of timid and only wanted to ride for a few minutes, but Olivia would have ridden all afternoon if she'd been allowed - in spite of the temperatures!

And of course, our visit wasn't complete without a yummy sampling of all the Orchard's offerings!

Levi got his first taste of Edward's famous Apple Doughnuts!

We really had such a great trip.  The kids were completely wiped out by the end of the afternoon, but they have lots of great memories to last them until next Fall!

My handsome boys.  <3

I love my family so much that my heart could burst.  I am so grateful for these precious moments we get to share!  I look forward to Fall every year, and this year has been no exception for wonderful opportunities to make memories.  What kinds of things are you doing with your family this Fall?

Until next time,
Grace and Peace,