Archive | Olivia RSS feed for this section

Happy Halloween 2015

Our little pumpkin is going to be a big sister next April!

Pregnancy-Announcement-Pumpkin-Patch

More to come on this upcoming adventure! Happy Halloween!

Comments { 0 }

Toddler Pumpkins and Art Project Ideas

Olivia worked so diligently on a few Halloween greetings this year! Love how this simple art project was a great learning opportunity to discuss drawing circles and triangles. My sweet girl is a pro at making smiley faces! Here are here masterpieces:

Toddler-Pumpkins

The process in action:

Toddler-Pumpkin-Painting

After the paint was dry and the pumpkins were decorated, Olivia added stickers. It’s so fascinating to watch her decision process– the spiders, for example, needed to go in the corner upside down. The simple act of peeling stickers and placing images is a great way to strengthen her fine motor skills. I always like to ask her questions about the various images- silly animal faces or Halloween images are natural conversation starters!

There are so many great toddler pumpkin and art ideas floating on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites:

We tucked one of Olivia’s pumpkin portraits into a special Halloween greeting for Olivia’s newest cousin.

Halloween-Greetings-for-Baby

My Mom has a collection of fun spider rings and Olivia has LOVED playing with them this year. We couldn’t resist sharing some spider bling with Adeline and her Mommy! We placed an orange and pink jeweled ring, along with pumpkin bubbles and stickers, into a spider silhouette box.

Spider-Silhouette-Gift-Box

I love this pattern- it cuts beautifully and comes together so easily for a unique and spooky gift!

Comments { 0 }

You’ve Been Booed Gift

Olivia delivered little surprises to her buddies this week! I’ve loved looking at all the “You’ve Been Booed!” ideas floating on Pinterest lately. Here’s our homemade spin on this fun gift:

You've-Been-Booed-Ideas

These days, homemade gifts need to be quick AND engaging for a toddler! Olivia helped me put together a Frankenstein, pumpkin, black cat, and monster treat basket (found in the dollar bins at Target). Who knew that paper shreds could be so much fun for a 2.5 year old! We filled these bins with: 2 pencils, a pack of glow sticks, sticker boxes, a light-up ball, and some gummy treats!

You've-Been-Booed-Treats

Since we were delivering these surprises right before the Holiday, I didn’t want to use a traditional “You’ve Been Booed” card that instructs the recipient to keep the game going. These little treats were just for fun and not intended to add any more stress for the parents on such short notice! I opted to make my own handmade card using elements from Lori Whitlock’s Classic Halloween Element pack.

I took inspiration from TomKat Studio’s 2009 “You’ve Been Booed” version that utilizes a circle graphic and the Budmo font. Lori Whitlock’s BOO! ghost medallion fit perfectly above my text.

You've-Been-Booed-Card

To create this circle center graphic:

You've-Been-Booed-Ghost-Graphic

  • Select the black circle portion of the BOO! medallion.
  • Drag this portion onto Artisan Label 05 of the Artisan Label Templates pack by Crystal Wilkerson. Size it to fit inside the center green circle.
  • Hide the other layers of the tag so just the circle shapes are visible.
  • Adjust the colors (I changed green background to orange and the dashed circle outline to purple.)

On the back, I added a darling Halloween poem from the Classic Halloween Element pack using the print and cut feature of my silhouette. Olivia, of course, signed it “Bugs and Hisses!”

You've-Been-Booed-Card-Poem

There you have it… ideas for a fast and inexpensive gift that will scare up a bit of fun this Halloween!

You've-Been-Booed-Baskets

Looking for something quick and easy just to print? Here are a few of my favorite printable “You’ve Been Booed” designs:

TomKat Studios, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Simply Kierste, Printabelle, and Anders Ruff.

Comments { 0 }

Sweet Summer Memories 2015

Summer-2015-Swimming

Summer-2015-Swing

Summer-2015-Lake3

Summer-2015-Swimming2

Summer-2015-Lake2

Summer-2015-Lake

Summer-2015-Bubbles

Dearest Olivia,

We’ve had so much fun this summer! Right now, you love playing with play dough, blowing bubbles, chasing the puppies, painting your nails, reading books, and anything to do with water. It’s been an absolute JOY to watch you swim in the pool and lake. I will never forget you leaping off the pool steps with confidence. I won’t lie- my heart did skip a beat! But, I knew your pool vest would hold you above water and seeing the smile on your face was priceless. A favorite pastime in the water? Pouring and scooping, of course! I love watching how your inquisitive mind works- you truly want to understand the why’s behind everything.

I am continually amazed at how your vocabulary has expanded. We are having actual conversations! You are telling me things like “That was delicious!” or “not quite yet” in response to a friendly redirection. You have no problem communicating your preferences!

Looking forward to what the Fall brings!

Love always, Mom

 

Comments { 0 }

Wellness Wednesdays: Gratitude in Action

I had a different post scheduled for today, but this one feels more timely, more real. I posted on my Instagram account earlier today:

Breathe

“Got some good/bad news this morning. We’ve been working with a holistic MD for the past few weeks to get a better overall picture of Olivia’s health. Right now, I’m sitting in a parking lot, enjoying a Starbucks, trying to take deep breaths, and admiring the view in the backseat of my precious girl sound asleep. Things I know for sure: 1) Information is power: We have a much better understanding of how to support Olivia’s body- you can’t fix/deal with something until you have all the facts. 2) You are your child’s health advocate and most important example. 3) It’s never too late to hit the reset button.”

So, wherever you are on YOUR wellness journey, I invite you to take a moment and just breathe. Honor the facts and experience- it’s ok to be angry, sad, confused, overwhelmed, frustrated… curve-balls can quite literally feel like a punch to the stomach… But, they can also be beautiful opportunities to GROW, step out of your comfort zone, and inspire others. So, I’m working really hard on this cycle:

Breathe. Be grateful. Repeat.

I am so grateful to have a plan of action, deeper insights into our family’s health, and a whole arsenal of wellness tools. Our sweet girl is going to be just fine.

Comments { 1 }

Virginia Bluebells in Bloom

I want to let you in on a secret…

Blooming Virginia Bluebells

… there’s an area at Shaw Nature Reserve that erupts into a sea of gorgeous blooms near the Meramac River.

Shaw Nature Reserve Blooming Bluebells

A carpet of delicate Virginia Bluebells layers the ground– it’s quite unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Virginia Bluebells Shaw Nature Reserve

This beautiful display is only around for a very short window of time. Just the cherry blossom season, its beauty shines brightly and quickly fades as nature reinvents itself.

We went in search of this beautiful display on Easter Sunday. It is quite a trek to get to their location. James checked his phone after our excursion and our hike clocked in at roughly 6 miles… over the bridge, across the prairie, along the wildflower path, and down a steep hill.

Shaw Nature Reserve Trail

When we arrived this year, the blooms were just about to burst open. The blossoms were a hit with Olivia since they are purple (her favorite color right now). It was just a bit too early to see them in their full glory. I bet that this weekend (April 11 & 12th) would probably be ideal if the area isn’t under water due to recent thunderstorms.

Spring Adventures 2015

I love discovering local, unique gems like this one. There’s just something magical about this place and event. It almost reminds me of an ephemeral secret garden since it’s off the beaten path and not many people know about it.

Another perk of visiting this time of year? Thousands of daffodil bulbs are in bloom!

Shaw Nature Daffodils

Comments { 0 }

Valentine Gifts & Activities 2015

This year, February 14th was filled with:

… Hearts galore.

Valentine-Gift-Detail-2015

… Quick and easy Valentine gifts. {Don’t you just love this free “Eyes on You” printable from Lil’ Luna? I also dressed up a white picture frame with a pink bow and sparkles.}

Valentine-Gift-2015

Valentines-Gift-Bag-2015

… 5 Sweethearts sporting cute heart glasses. {Olivia’s cousins were in town.}

Valentines-Day-2015

… and impromptu tea parties. {Plum tea and pie are Olivia’s fav!}

Valentines-Day-2015-1

All in all, pretty perfect!

Comments { 0 }

A Special Valentine Arrival

It seems as though an entire season of laughter, tears, and gratitude has elapsed between February 1 and today. It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of March. Last month, our dear friends welcomed a precious little boy into their lives. He was born at 33 weeks exactly. This type of news is always a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, you are thrilled for the new parents and their growing family. At the same time, your heart sinks because you are all too familiar with some of the challenges that come with prematurity… the uncertainty, the waiting, the back-steps, and so much more. Life is just so darn fragile!

Despite feeling overwhelmed and scared, I remember being in awe of Olivia’s tenacity to get better each day she was in the hospital. Her courage gave me strength- the human body and spirit are incredibly resilient, strong, and brave. As we celebrated each tiny milestone along Olivia’s journey, moments of heartache were slowly replaced with joy and gratitude.

Olivia made this Valentine card for her fellow 33-Week buddy, Owen:

Valentines-Card

I’m sure that Owen will continue teaching his parents life lessons as they all grow together. Right now, he is snuggled safely in his mama’s arms and thriving at home!

To all the mama’s of sweet preemies, I think YOU are amazing. You have been asked to find new depths of strength inside yourself and to search for the thread of love in even the most impossible situations. This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating the fierce and unfailing love that we {as mama’s} have for our precious children.

Comments { 1 }

The Best Christmas Present 2014

I might have gotten the best Christmas present ever, this year. I know, I know… that’s a pretty tall claim. But take a look:

DIY Toddler Sticker Book

2 gorgeous sticker books crafted with care by Olivia. My mom watches Olivia during the week and one of their favorite activities is crafting sticker books. The concept is super simple: grab an empty photo album and fill it with stickers! Love that it’s simple, cheap, and FULL of amazing learning opportunities.  All of the designs provide endless prompts for talking about colors, shapes, and so much more. Olivia also gets to practice her fine motor skills (and motor planning/sequencing) as she peels and places the stickers on a page. It’s also a great way to reinforce the process of cleaning up- picking up all the little pieces and taking care of her supplies.

Toddler Sticker Books

Our sticker box is filled with goodies from the dollar bin at Target and old address labels.

Sticker-Book-Detail

My mom wrapped up 2 completed editions as a present for me, along with a homemade card from my sweet girl. Every time I look at these, I’m amazed at Olivia’s effort, determination, creativity. Thanks, Mom for putting together this keepsake that’s equal parts love and learning.

Sticker-Book-Details3 Sticker-Book-Details2

Guess what Olivia got for Christmas? 2 new photo albums to fill up!

Comments { 1 }

Christmas Accordion Album 2015

Over the Holidays, I put together a darling little accordion album from Carina Gardner. This mini scrapbook was the perfect keepsake to hold cherished Christmas pics of Olivia.

Christmas-Accordion-Album

I cut out the digital files using my silhouette machine and added a few design elements: rounded photo corners, red polka dot washi tape borders, sprigs of paper holly, golden stars, and Holiday stickers.

Christmas-Accordion-Detail

My favorite element? The back cover hands down. Love the photo and the framing!

Christmas-Accordion-Cover

Comments { 1 }