Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Child's Eyes

There have many times in recent days that I've caught glimpses of my little girl growing right before my eyes. I see her growing not just in inches and pounds, but in the way she looks at the world around her.

Livia loves the outdoors. I truly believe that if it were up to her, she would spend every second - from her waking moment, to well past bedtime - in the outdoors. It's outside that Livia explores and learns about the world around her. No longer simply a change of scenery, the wide-open outside world is Liv's learning playground.

Going outside used to only mean that Mommy's on a picture-taking rampage again. Livia is such a sweetheart in obliging me almost every time with wonderful snapshots, though lately they've been much more on-the-move!

Now, Livia even has a special way to tell me that she's ready to go outside. She'll reach her little arms up towards Heaven (ok, really it's just me... but my hubby says that seeing her from the side looks like she's really reaching for Heaven) and once I pick her up, she'll twist my shoulder and push my front towards the door... I know that means, "Let's go outside Ma!" I usually do so pretty much right away. She's been known to throw tantrums if she doesn't get her way quickly enough!

I guess I can't blame her - the weather isn't exactly 100% perfect year-round here. We're now at that wonderful, special, dare I say magical time of year that the weather is just perfect for a little girl to be out of the house.

The first thing that happens once we are finally outside is that Livia does this little happy dance/run and chatter in a sing-song way. She shows me just how excited she is to be free and in this huge, wonderful so-much-to-see-and-learn space.

I see the way she looks at the birds as they sing & chirp, and she watches them as they soar & fly. There's a robin that seems to really like our poor little Dogwood tree (on it's very last leg, unfortunately) or maybe it's just Livia he loves so much. Livie and the robin watch each other, and I can't help but think how wonderful it is as they sing and play in the wide open space.

Livia knows that the flowers on the plants aren't just for looks and picking, but that the flowers are actually a part of the plant... and even though she really wants to know what it tastes like, Liv knows that they don't belong in her mouth.

We used to say "Don't eat that!" all the time to Livia. Rarely if ever any more, though. She knows that there are certain things that just aren't supposed to go in her mouth. If she could form sentences, I wonder if she'd say, "That's ok. They probably won't taste very good anyway."

When Livia sees cars going by, she knows there are people in them. She usually waves at every one, and doesn't at all get discouraged when not a soul waves back. It's like she's saying, "That's ok. I just wanna say hi to you, and perhaps spread a little happiness too!" Maybe my daughter's on a single-handed mission to bring small-town friendliness everywhere.

Finally, Livia just loves going on walks. Whether it's just down the block, all around town, or out in the country til the sun goes down - that little girl just loves to see what else is around. She loves being out and about. I like to think it's God's way of keeping us close. Seeing His glory out there and in my daughter makes it impossible not to be reminded that God holds a big place in my heart and home.

Livia amazes me with how she has SO much fun with the simplest things outside. Perhaps our ideas of fun change drastically throughout the years, but it's oh-so-wonderful to have a little daughter and look through her eyes... And see things in a completely new light.

Thank you so much, Dear God, for choosing us to be so very blessed with such a wonderful little girl. Every day is even more of a gift than the last, and just when I don't think life can get any better, Livia does something like give a cuddle or a kiss, or learn a new word or action. They are all such special amazing gifts. And Livia is always a gift! Thank you for this gorgeous gift of a little girl. By blessing us with such a wonderful present, we will always know of your presence. All my Love...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fierce Photos

A couple of months back, Livia won a contest over at Happy Panda Baby, and received an adorable 'Fierce' onesie (among many other cute, comfy clothing articles which I hope to capture her in soon). I felt kinda bad about not getting these pictures sooner, but as I mentioned in the last post, I'm having a bit of a hard time with balance. Ah, yes. That wonderful balance between all the aspects of our lives...

Anyway, here are two of the best shots I got of my little girl on the go:

Since Livia loves being outside SO much now, it's about the only way I could get her to cooperate for pictures whatsoever. I guess you gotta take what you can get when you're dealing with a 1-year-old though!

Much love to you all, take care and God Bless!

**PS - if you think these pictures look pretty neat, you should click over to my other blog to see the difference between the before & afters!**

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Too Much Fun!

Family fun and the summer sun keeps me at bay from the computer all day... And I've actually been sleeping at night!

That is the only explanation that I can come up with as to why I haven't been blogging much at all lately! The weather has just been absolutely wonderful - warm and sunny, perfect for outside fun and play. Every minute possible, that's where we've been lately.

Livia just adores the outdoors, and what kind of mother would I be if I said, "No, honey... We really need to stay inside while Mommy plays on the computer writes all about your life." In a way, perhaps that would make blogging easier... I mean, we've been so busy and active within the last weeks, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to catch it all up on here! It's kinda like trying to catch up on the first several months of Livia's life before I started blogging! No, I believe it's just best to try my best to keep up from now on, and perhaps try to catch up here and there - certainly not all at once, right?


SO! Today was a WONDERFUL day! My sweet little Livie and I made plans to meet my Mom and sweet Southern-Belle Carolyn for lunch (we love Carolyn's voice! Imagine if you can, the sound of the most beautiful southern drawl - absolutely dripping with sweetness - mixed with love and laughter, and that's about the best way I can think to describe Carolyn's voice.)

Anyway, we all were supposed to meet at 12:30... I thought for sure there wouldn't be any problems with this plan, since I've really done a great job of getting Livia on a schedule: get up at 6 or 7, 1st nap at 10:30 or 11:00am, second nap right at 3:00pm, and off to bed around 9:00pm. Liv did get to bed a little bit late last night, but she got up right on time... But DID NOT want to go down for her morning nap - at all. And I knew she needed to get in a nap before lunch, otherwise she would be a bear all day. So, what time did I finally get her down? 12:05pm...Little britches finally crashed out... pic taken at 12:36pm

Obviously that meant I was late (big shocker - not!) for lunch. As a peace offering, I brought cookies, though and (hopefully) all was forgiven.

After a yummy meal, Carolyn and I went down to the riverfront to take Livia to the park and for a walk. It was such a perfect, beautiful day for it too! Liv had a blast in the park exploring all the big-kid stuff and even swinging in a little-kid seat. She loved swinging! She just leaned her little head back and grinned and oohed over the experience.

So then we got out the stroller and went on a wonderful walk. Great exercise, and Carolyn was such awesome company. I need to do that more often!


Oh! Before I forget, Livia gave away her very 1st kiss tonight!!! My Mom got it at the very end of the night...

I'd met up with Mom & Dad at Target. We both picked up some essentials and then went out for a bit to eat at IHOP. Good, good stuff! We all had 'breakfast' and coffee - and I think I may have had a bit too much! I was so high-strung afterwards that Perry thought he was going to have to tie me up and gag me to get me to sit still & shut up! And I was talking so fast that it's not like he could've understood anything I said anyway...!

So, perhaps that's the reason why I'm not in bed with him right now. Caffeine is still surging through my system, and amazingly it has totally sparked my creativity. Along with being busy with outside play, family time, and getting into a much better routine (for me and Liv) I just haven't felt very creative and capable of writing until right now... There is a specific reason my creativity has been stifled, and I'll have to take care of it soon. But til then, perhaps I just need to drink a cup of coffee before bedtime!


I've missed blogging, my blog-friends, and documenting Livie's life so much... My, it certainly can be hard to balance out all the aspects of our lives, huh? How do you all do it?! There are so many of you all that keep up your wonderful blogs every day, and seem to have the perfect balance in your life... I'm still trying, and I hope to get there soon.

Til I do get my balance down, I just hope that I'll be able to keep up this blog a little better. Not so much for me (though I do LOVE my blog-friends!!!) but for my little daughter. I want her to know how much she means to me; I want her to know how amazing she is and how important she is in my life. And I never want to forget all the wonderful things she learns and does!

Much, much love to you all. Please forgive me for not being around, for not commenting and letting you all know how much I still love you and all your wonderful blogs. Take care and God Bless!

Jewelry Party

Yesterday one 0f my best girl friend's, Jamie, and I hosted a jewelry party! It was my very first ever - and while it was certainly fun and exciting, I don't think my mom or my sis ever pictured me being such a jewelry-girl.

I've changed so much in the past years that I suppose it really isn't as much of a stretch that it's impossible though...

Yeah, I'm really starting to get in to accessories... :o)


Wait! That's not really why I wanted to write about the jewelry party! I helped provide some of the yummies for the fun: dollar-sandwiches and cookies. Dollar-sandwiches are made with those cute little fist-sized buns, with any number of meats and toppings. The cookies were my biggest achievement though. It was actually one of the first times I've taken the time to bake up a ton of cookies - my awesome chocolate chip cookies have always been family fav's, and hadn't really made them much if any since Liv was born.

It felt really good to get back into baking!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Livie's 1st Breakfast Out

Don't you just love it when you get wonderful, unexpected surprises? I certainly do, and that's just what I got on this particular morning.

Perry always gets up very early and the first thing he does is go to his 'office' and brew up some coffee. Usually on Saturdays, he'll then fix up various things or tackle projects around the house or garage... But on this day, Perry came back in the house pretty early with a big grin on his face.

"Wanna go out for breakfast?" he said. I think I just squealed at that point! I've been waiting for him to take us out for breakfast for such a long time, and the day had finally come.

I got ready in no-time flat, and we were on our way to Bob Evans. We had a wonderful, relaxing breakfast with our little Livie. She was an angel, as she usually is when eating out.

I did have the presence of mind to grab just a couple of quick pics with the camera on my phone as we were loading up to go home - I just had to have a memory to keep of one of Liv's 1st's :o)

Perry strapping Livie in her seat

And the bright morning sun shining on my little sunshine

Through by this time, she was ready for a little nap!

OK, so the shots I got weren't that great, but the memory sure is! Much love to you all and God Bless!

** NOTE: Entry post-dated, but I just wanted to be sure I did document this special day. My apologies!***

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Sometimes don't go exactly as planned! I had planned on spending the better part of last night and even this morning catching up on all the wonderful things I wanted to write about...

But last night sleepiness got the best of me - unusually early. I fell asleep even before my husband (that never happens). So this morning when I woke up bright and early around 5:00, and Perry did too - I laughed and said that I think I really am turning into a morning person.

I was gung-ho to get started on blogging... until I heard the teeniest of whimpers come from my little daughter's room. I tiptoed in to Livia's room to see her nearly weeping in her sleep. I'm not sure if she was having a bad dream or what... but it just tugged at my heartstrings like none other!

I scooped up Livie and took her into our bed where she snuggled into my side and hummed herself back to sleep.

Now a little piece of me thought as it was happening, "I have so much to do! Not just blogging, but cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, washing and folding and putting away laundry - all of which I hope to get mostly to completely done before Livia really wakes up for the day. This is my 3 hours in which to get stuff done without any of it being undone!"

But my heart took precedent over my head... as it all too often does. So for the next 3 and a half blissfully wonderful hours I did absolutely nothing except laze about holding my little girl and watching her dream.

No more whimpering or weeping or even frowning in her sleep; instead she was grinning and gently humming to herself almost the whole time. At one point Liv looked like she was even laughing as she dreamed by my side.

Yeah, I made a great decision :o)

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm Back

Not that I was ever 'gone' anywhere, but it's been nearly a week since I've written anything in my wonderful blog - is it really possible?! Yes, it is - but for good reason. Last week my little family and I were spending absolutely every free minute we could with each other.

Between having a kiddo, undertaking spring cleaning and projects, and just the everyday busy-ness of life, my hubby and I hadn't been able to spend a lot of time together lately. Until last week that is! We really re-connected and had a wonderful week together. We even had a few hours all to ourselves one evening. My Mom took Livia shopping and out to eat, while Perry and I talked, spent time together, and then out to eat ourselves!

I also want to mention that I had a perfect Mother's Day - as I also hope that all of you out there in blogger-world did too. I know I didn't go around and leave comments for everyone as I wish I could have, but I want you all to know that you were in my head and heart on that special day. It really is such a special and magical day that I believe all us mothers deserve the very best. And to me, the best was just having my husband and my daughter with me all day! Perry I mean Livia got me the sweetest keepsake jewelry box, a little figurine, and a Josh Groban CD - I LOVE my little family!

So anyway, I may be playing catch-up a little bit here, but it was totally worth it to have the wonderful family time that I received last week. Much love to you all! Take care and God Bless

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Simple Satisfactions

Over at Rocks in My Dryer - one of my favorite faithful reads - she has a wonderful, thought-provoking post: Some Simple Things I Find Very Satisfying. She has a sweet little list of things she loves, and then she simply said: What about you?

Well, this is my little poetic list of some of my favorite things. I should note that I didn't include ALL my favorite things - for one, people may not particularly care to know everything that I love - there are probably too many to even mention! Oh yeah - and I ran out of creativity and rhyming... And before I forget, What about all of you as well? I'd love to know more about you and your favorite simplicities in life :o)

My Simple Satisfactions

Family time and prayer together
Keeping close with friends forever

Photographs and memories
Livia - my lil sweet pea

Hot chocolate when the weather's cool
And summertimes spent by the pool

My Momma's favorite Yankee candles
A walk upon the beach in sandals

Pictures hung upon the walls
Unexpected fun phone calls

The freshness after summer rains
Secluded, shady one-car lanes

Homemade ice cream, sweet iced tea
Vacations spent out by the sea

Grins & giggles, baby's chatter
Fresh baked cakes and cookie batter

Hugs and cuddles, lots of love
Having strength through God above

My parents' garden and their flowers
Spending time with them for hours

Sports and chocolate, classic rock
Collectables, grandfather clocks

Cows and kittens, farmyard fun
Outside in the summer sun

Stories passed down through the years
Smiles and laughter, joy and tears

Photography and editing pics -
My favorite ways to my kicks!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Liv's 1st Birthday Pics from JCPenney

A couple of weeks ago, we took Livia to get her 'one year' pictures done at JCPenney's - and they turned out spectacular! I had SUCH a hard time choosing... and ended up just spending a small fortune (Shh - don't tell hubby!) Just take a look, and you'll see why it was so hard to choose!

In this first little set of pics Liv had on a little pink jean jumper that her Auntie Laura Belle got her for Christmas. I was quite insistant upon getting several shots of her in it, because this little outfit is really, really special to me. Laura and I both had on little pink overalls in pictures we have of ourselves when we were one. I think they were Osh-kosh's just like Livie's too!

Livia holding a '1' and cheesin'

Sitting pretty as a princess


Bein' good, but not thrilled about it...

And now she's bein' really good!

That last one is probably my favorite :o) ... Then it was on to the diapered shots! The one time in life that modesty is discouraged. Who doesn't love little baby skin?!

My little flower in a bed of roses.

In a bathtub with real bubbles!

I LOVE this one of her reaching for the bubbles.

You may have noticed that she has my bracelet in her hand in many of the pictures. It made her happy, and that made ME happy!

But here she gave up the bracelet for a duckie - she wanted to eat it SO BAD... yuck! I wouldn't have cared, but I wondered how many other kids had tried to 'eat it' too...

So then for the next set of pictures, we put her in her Birthday Dress with birthday decorations and everything!
Holding a Birthday hat...

And we're back to Mommy's bracelet

"So Big!"

A little bit happier "So Big!"

A VERY happy "So Big!" with me accidentally in the picture...
Liv was actually up on a table for all these shots, and the gal taking pics wanted me to make sure Livia didn't run or fall off. I leaned in just a bit too far, and the camera caught me. Luckily they were able to edit me out for the prints I ordered of this one!

Very cute, but you can kinda see my arm holding on to Liv so she doesn't run off.

And, finally on this last set of pics, we stripped her down to her bloomers and gave her a cupcake! It was SO fun - like her Birthday Party all over again.
Just getting in to it...

A nice big piece to eat

"Oh, this stuff is good!"

"I like it a LOT!!!"

She was going after it very seriously here

Oh she just loved it!

And you can see she got icing all over her mouth and tummy - but even MORE messiness occurred after the photo session ended. I can't complain about what all I got though! Especially since they used an entire roll of film on her! Seriously! They still use film for the next month or so, then they're switching to digital - that will be so much easier for them, I'm sure.

Anyway, hope you all got a kick out of these! Much love to you all and God Bless!

Friday, May 9, 2008

How Livia Helps Outside

Since Livia is getting SO big now, she likes to help us when we're outside - even at Grandma & Grandpa's.
First she climbs up the steps to see what's going on in the garden...

Then she helps gather up all the empty flower crates, before it's time for a little break - it's hard work gardening isn't it Liv!

Livia loves all the flowers, animals, and trees!

We always make sure that Liv doesn't get too cold outside. With our crazy Indiana weather, be prepared to change from winter clothing, to spring or summer clothing, and back to winter clothing all in one day!

All these pictures were taken on the same day, but it really cooled down in just a couple of hours time. So I got some warmer clothes on her so she could continue her play and exploring outside. I found out that Livia also likes to help with the landscaping:
"I think this rock would look better over there!"

"Oh, it's SO heavy though!"

She's so strong, she actually picked it up! I didn't want her to hurt herself though, so I gave her some smaller stones to play with - until she tried to eat them. So ended our outdoor adventure on this particular day!

*One of Livia's fairly new things is saying "Na-na" when she sees my Mom - I think it's her way of saying Grandma. It's beyond precious!

Flashback Friday Featuring Awesome Outings

As a new Mom last year, I had NO idea how many awesome firsts that my daughter would experience. A lot of my favorite memories of 'firsts' were some of our Awesome Outings.

Our very first family outing after we got her home from the hospital was to church.

Perry with me holding Liv

We still go to church nearly every Sunday - I just love our church! I've gone there literally since I was born.

The next awesome event Livia went to was our family reunion. Pre-motherhood, I wouldn't touch these things with a 10-foot pole... but with a brand new baby in tow to show off and be adored by all, who could resist! Plus since the reunion was right across the border in Henderson KY, I got to say that Livia had officially been out of the state.

Livia was right at one month old in these pictures:
^-- Livia with some of our distant cousins --v

Livia couldn't be the star of the whole show though - we do have triplet cousins! (The Dairy Wife's kiddos) They were so stinkin cute. My favorite memory of them of the day was Sam calling to my Mom, "JANET... JANET... JANET!" It was so cute to hear this little voice sounding so grown up :o)

Another outing we took Livie to fairly early in her young life was a bridal shower for the Dairy Wife's son & his soon to be wife.
Here's one of the few pictures we got of her that day with my Aunt Bonnie. She was a complete angel.
Since Liv was more interested in sleeping though, I also captured some of the other action going on around the room...
Laura Belle and Meg comparing their finger nails - see how good Megan is being? On the other hand...
Jay was having an absolute meltdown!

Not too hard to tell who had more fun this day, huh?

And just a few short weeks after the shower, was the wedding! Weddings were definitely one of our favorite kinds of outings. We went to at least 4 within Liv's first year of life.
Livie at 2 months old being held by Mr. Michael

Another bridal shower outing for my sister's best friend Kayla:
Livia and her Auntie Laura Belle

And again, just a few weeks later was Kayla's wedding. Livia was right at 5 months in these photos - I think this is when she really started getting SUPER FUN to take places because she'd grin and giggle and make little baby sounds for everyone. Such fun times!
Liv & Laura Belle. Laura was one of Kayla's bridesmaids
And one of me and Livie as well

Finally one of the absolute best things about being a new Mom last year was going on our 'Awesome Adventures' - more than just outings, these adventures gave Livia more freedom and fun! One adventure I particularly loved was Livia's very first time to the zoo:
Just outside the zoo getting ready for our fun day
We did get several pictures of the animals as well, but obviously the most important pictures to me are the ones of me & Liv just outside the entrance. (With hubby behind the camera)

This was SUCH a perfect thing to do as a new parent - the zoo is so big that it's very rarely ever crowded, and there are plenty of shady areas and even buildings to duck in to if the weather gets too warm (or if we get a surprise rain shower).

I was prompted to do this post in part to the idea I saw over at Metropolitan Mama (one of my faithful reads). She asked the question, "What baby-friendly outings worked for you during your rookie year as a mom?" There were a few more that I didn't put in here, but I gotta save some for another Flashback Friday!

This particular post serves a dual purpose: There's a contest over at Parent Bloggers, put on in part by Rookie Moms to submit your favorite idea(s) of where to go & what to do during your first year as a mother. Just one of the awesome prizes they're offering is The Rookie Mom’s Handbook - something I kinda wish I would have had!

So, what were some of your favorite outings or things to do as a new parent? Though Livia's already one - a toddler really! - I still consider myself a 'new' Mom. Of coarse when I compare myself to my own Mother, that will always be the case I suppose... Isn't it wonderful that there were those who came before us and teach us so much about motherhood? Much love to you all on this quickly upcoming Mothers Day! Take care and God Bless