Saturday, December 12, 2009

Getting ready for Christmas

Now that Laurel is too and much more aware, we are talking about Santa and Jesus. She attends sunday school at church frequently and is slowly getting used to chatting about more religious ideas. My mom has a little nativity scene up and Laurel already understood without much explaining that the baby in the manger is Jesus, the same one we talk about at church. She loves the little figurines and thinks they're fun to play with, but they're more delicate and so she gets upset when she knocks the angel off of his perch.
We got a tree from a nearby vendor and brought it home to decorate. If i were Laurel's age, I'd think this was pretty strange, but she just dove into decorating it and loved to handle all of the little ornaments. She played a tune on one of them so many times that it broke. She thinks all of the angel ornaments are her babies:). Her first ornament hung was from our visit to Disney World this year. She likes to look at the lights on the tree and we hung lights inside the condo since we're in a complex and not a house anymore.
We have also started to wrap presents and she loves to help with the tape. I put a little piece of tape on her finger and she puts it where i tell her on the package...most of the time! She signs her name with a scribble on the gift labels and sticks them on the top. Together we write her name, she likes to see and hear me tell her the letters. She has a great memory because she knows for whom each gift under the tree is for. Every now and then she'll go over and point to the presents and shout out who is getting them.
Without much help, Laurel has also learned who Santa is this year. She understands he is coming and will bring her presents. But she won't go near him with a 10 foot pole at the mall! Maybe someday we'll get a seated picture with Santa. I guess a large hairy man could be intimidating!
We still have lots of presents to wrap and cookies to make before Christmas arrives. I'm sure Laurel will be a great helper for all things.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving 09

Here's some quick pics from our Thanksgiving at Mike's house. Christy is living with Mike while Angie and Joe's house is being renovated, so we had the privilege of visiting his home for the holiday. They put out an amazing meal in a beautiful setting. The kids had fun with each other as usual!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Laurel likes...

Now that Laurel is a little over 2, packed with personality and likes and dislikes, I thought it would be fun to make a long list of things she likes and doesn't like around each birthday. A little late this year, but here goes the "Laurel likes/dislikes at age 2" list.

Laurel likes:
Mickey, Minnie, Disney, princesses, Ariel, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, Disneyland, Disney Store, babies, milk, her blanket, pasta, clothes with disney characters, to have to jackets zipped, dress up clothes, shoes, princess shoes, her thumb, lollipops, gummi vitamins, peas and corn, bread, watching movies, coin operated riding toys at the mall, french fries, cuddles, stacking anything, jewelry, older kids (ryder and sierra in particular), animals, beach, playground, climbing, jumping, green dresses, to feed us or a baby doll, apple juice, monsters inc., to play in her kitchen, to dance, to sing songs

fav shows: dora the explorer, mickey mouse clubhouse, handy manny, ni-hao kai-lan, smurfs, olivia, go diego go. she still like some sesame street, but seems to be moving on.

books we're reading right now: olivia, go dog go, corduroy

songs she likes: 6 little ducks, old macdonald, wheels on the bus, slippery fish, abc's

she can count to 13 with some help, name the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple, white, brown and black, point out circle square, star and heart

Laurel does not like:
trying new foods, sleeping with socks on, a dirty diaper (potty training around the corner!), having her hair fixed up, having her hands dirty, to sleep in her toddler bed all night long,

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Halloween Recap

Laurel had a great time for Halloween this year. Of course, we all did since she enjoyed herself! On the 29th, we went to Disneyland with Ryder, Leora and Grandma. Laurel wore her Minnie dress, and sometimes the ears after some protest. The park puts Halloween on after hours in California Adventure. There's trick or treat stops all over the park, some dance party spots, a handful of rides open and a parade. Laurel always gets a thrill over seeing Minnie and Mickey and had a great time with Ryder.

On Halloween, we all went down to Orange County to trick or treat with the cousins. We met up in Rob and Cyndy's neighborhood and caught up with them on their candy route. Sierra was dressed as Jasmine, Amber as a fairy for the Tinkerbell world. Each of the girls had a light up pumpkin "wand" to light the way. Laurel carried her green pumpkin for candy and attached herself to Sierra at every opportunity. Sierra guided her around to houses and helped her to the door. Laurel is just crazy about her cousin! Amber and Laurel walked about hand-in-hand when Sierra was too far away. Laurel was a little afraid to go up to the doors and talk to strangers. But with the help of cousins and Grandpa, she made it up to several houses and brought home a nice collection of sweets. Afterwards, we went out to dinner with the Grandmas, Grandpa, Christy and Mike. Laurel is now crazy for candy and loves her "M's", especially the peanut ones.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Laurel's 2 year check up

At the end of last week we had Laurel's 2 year check up. It was postponed twice, but we finally made it in! After much crying and screaming, Laurel finally had her weight and height taken. Maybe she remembers some unpleasantness from her last appt., but she was very scared this time around. She settled down in the exam room while we waited for the doctor. As usual, she enjoys playing with the exam tools and lights. She pretends she is a doctor and shines the light in my mouth:).
In total, she is progressing really well! Physically she is at least on average or above. She continues to be a head on a stick, but the stick is filing out! She is 50% on weight at 27 lbs. Her head is 90% and her height, at 35.5 inches, is 70%. The legend that you double the two year height would put her around 5'11" when she is done. We shall see! Everything else in her exam was on target and some of her behaviors are ahead. She can count to 13, which is definitely ahead. She is starting to string 2 and 3 words sentences together. Just 2 words is typical for her age. She knows more than her primary colors and can recognize at least 1/2 of the letters of the alphabet.
She also received a flu shot..tis the time of year for yucky bugs. Someday I will look back and read this post, so to add, she also had an H1N1 mist vaccine. I am debating going back and getting it myself but it has been a mad house in the city for everyone scrambling for the swing flu vaccine.
One of the things the doctor didn't ask about that I also think is pretty advanced - Laurel is learning to pretend! After our trip to Disney, she became a true Disney addict and has been carrying around her large stuffed mickey. She tells him to sit or to stand. She leans over and walks him infront of her as she walks. Today she practically dumped lemonade all over him at the mall when she tried to give him a drink of her juice. I think it may be time for a baby doll! She is also starting to get excited about playing hide and seek. She is pretty good at being the seeker. She will count frantically and then go looking. Her hiding needs some practice. It's all I can do to get her to sit quietly and not give herself away! Megan will count and she will stay quiet, but then when she says "ready or not, here i come!" Laurel gets over excited and jumps up giggling.

On a school note, Laurel moved up to the next class in school. The school has been downsizing for cutting back in this economy. So the classes rae now in 2 groups. She has been in the younger of the 2 groups, but her teacher thought she was ready for new kids, new challenges and more advanced play. Today was her first day in the new class and she did great! Laurel is definitely adapting to change easier and isn't so shy and timid as she used to be. I can leave her so easily now, she has really grown emotionally.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Laurel goes to Disney World

From October 11th through the 17th, Laurel, Alex and I took a trip to Orlando to visit Disney World. Laurel is all about Disney right now, to my great pleasure! She is also free to the Disney parks until she is 3, so it's really the perfect time to take her. She knows lots of characters, loves the princesses and really enjoys the rides and shows. So we scheduled the trip and has a blast! It also turned out to be a heat wave, so we did have to fight some humidity and uncomforable heat, but Laurel was always a trooper and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

We flew out early in the morning on the 11th and Laurel was a peach on the flight. She played with sticker books, watched movies and took a little snooze and we were there! We rented a time share that had lovely grounds, nice pools...and a free shuttle to the parks! Once we arrived, took a taxi to the resort, we checked in and got some groceries. With the exhaustion of the trip, we all dove into bed, despite the time change.
We spent Monday in Hollywood Studios which we thought would be similar to California Adventure but really only had 1 or 2 sites in common. Laurel really enjoyed the live shows, one of the Little Mermaid and one for Beauty and the Beast. She also had fun playing in the Honey I Shrunk the kids play area. We had a picture opportunity with Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc., but she was quite shy. Thankfully, a lot of the activities were indoors, so we were able to escape the heat.

We spent Tuesday at the Animal Kingdom. That park is usually one of my favorites because it is so beautifully laid out and is a nice time in the outdoors...but in the heat, not so much! We took in the safari ride and strolled through some of the animal walks, but ultimately found ourselves ducking into gift stores to escape the heat. We stayed long enough to watch the Finding Nemo Musical, which was broadway quality, and then shuttled it to Downtown Disney. We ate at the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. Laurel was startled by the animatronic animals at first but then seemed fascinated. We took a really relaxing water taxi down the river to one of the Disney resorts and hopped a bus to the Magic Kingdom for the after-hours Halloween fun. Laurel dressed as Minnie Mouse and ultimately...fell asleep:). Laurel was always very good at choosing to lie down in her stroller for naps, but the naps usually lasted only 40 minutes or so. On this night, she was exhausted. We had thunderstorms nearly every day, so we had to duck out of an evening storm when we first arrived. After the rain let up, we strolled around the park and did trick or treating, people watching and took in an awesome Halloween parade. The night was capped with fireworks and then we had to hurry to make our shuttle back to the resort.
We took Wednesday for a mid-week break and just hung out at the resort. We chilled in the condo for the first part of the day, I spent most of the time reading the new Dan Brown book. After Laurel's nap, we ventured over to the club house pool, which was heated, and we all had a great time swimming and relaxing. A warm rain even came down while we were in the pool and everyone stayed in. Laurel was learning to blow bubbles in the water. She's a fish ready for swim lessons! There was a pier off of the pool area that went out into a neighboring lake. Laurel enjoyed buying fish pellets and feeding the fish in the lake.

Thursday was my favorite day, but I really love Epcot. We weren't sure Laurel would like Epcot as much, but we found lots to do and had a really fun time. Laurel is a little interested in dinosaurs, so she liked the ride in the Energy building. The Seas building was modernized to include a Finding Nemo ride, so of course she loved that. But she thinks fish are awesome, so so was content looking at the aquariums and watching the manatee and dolphins in the larger pools. At a little before 3, we had reservations in Norway for a princess lunch. We were greeted by a photo with Belle and later were visited by Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White and Ariel. Laurel was shy with Belle when we first arrived but opened up and was hugging the girls as they came around. She was so excited to watch them make their way around the room and come closer to our table. It was so sweet to watch her. We rode some of the rides in the countries and strolled in and out, enjoying the cultures. We left after the evening's lights and fireworks show.

Friday's trip to the Magic Kingdom was my least anticipated but one of the best times we had on the trip! Laurel loves everything about the Magic Kingdom, from the characters sightings to the fun rides, great parade, etc. There was a lot of cross over with Disneyland, but some of the rides varied in layout or was completely new to us. The weather had cooled and wasn't nearly as humid, so we were all comfortable, energetic and so was Laurel. We made excellent use of the fast passes and found ourselves constantly occupied with rides and activities and waiting in very short lines. While waiting for the parade, Laurel had fun chasing bubbles that some of the "cast members" were blowing for the waiting crowd of people. Here she is spotting Mickey in the parade!

On Saturday afternoon, we flew back. Laurel was great on the plane once again. We returned having had a great time, but we miss our vacation time already!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vegas and a Road Trip! Part 1

Laurel and I went on a road trip from September 7 through 14th. This was some of Laurel's longest times in the car and she was such a good girl! On Monday, Megan, Laurel and I drove to Las Vegas to meet the Ondercin relatives who vacation there every September. We may be turning it into an annual reunion of sorts. We stayed at the Flamingo and had a room with a shared door into the room where Dad and my Grandma slept. Our days were fairly "scheduled", pool time in the morning, lunch/snack, upstairs for nap, afternoon activity after nap, meet up for dinner, clean up and bed time.
The pool at the Flamingo was very nicely laid out, very pretty...but freezing! Laurel loves the pool and always wanted to go in. We had to drag her out when her lips were turning blue and her teeth were chattering:).

I later found out that I left both my swim suit and Laurel's in the hotel room! Argh!
Laurel loves to jump into the pool. She is becoming more and more fearless. Most of the time she waits for me to hold hands and then take the leap...most of the time, so we have to be very aware! After our pool time and nap, we went out on the town for some afternoon fun. One day we went with Marie down to MGM Grand to see the lion and ended up staying around the area to go into the M&M store and walk through the Rainforest Cafe shop. I bought her some sticky tree frogs which became another character on the trip.

We then went across the street to eat in New York, New York at a mexican restaurant. Laurel has fun with wiki sticks:).

Another afternoon outting took us to the Mirage for Sigfreid and Roy's Secret Garden - aka the place where you see the white tigers. Plus other large cats, dolphins and some birds. The habitat was really nice, and the animals could be viewed from an extremely close distance! As usual, Laurel growled at the cats and really enjoyed looking at the dolphins. She's an animal lover for certain.

Laurel took a liking to the Bellagio fountains, just like me. We could stand there for show after show! We visited the conservatory at the Bellagio as well which is a visit I always make because of the beautiful flower display. The rest of the time for everyone else was spent at the tables or machines. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed on the gaming floors, but sometimes I was able to make it out during Laurel's nap or at night if someone else decided to stay in the room. Grandma would occasionally decide not to pull a late night and so I went down with Megan and Dad to try some tables.
Laurel had a great time getting to know family. As usual, she was shy, but eventually warmed up and even gave her own names to them. Judy was "Jewey", Grandma was "Gee-Gah" and she said Marie pretty well.

Laurel also became a little paparazzo on the trip:) Anytime she could steal the camera and take "artistic" shots, she would! Here's some of her funnies.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Laurel turns 2!

Our baby is now a 2 year old! We had a very full weekend of activities and celebration.

On Saturday the 29th, we went down to Laguna Beach for the day. We stopped at the printing museum's print fair which was very interesting (of course for me!) and then continued on to the Sawdust Festival. Pretty much a large collection of artisans and craftsmen in a very rustic and wooded setting. Lovely! We watched a very intricate glass blowing and then walked down to the water. We had dinner with Alex's parents and then came home to a startling view on the 405 of the fires that are burning the hills near Glendale.

On Sunday, the 30th we had a more official celebration of Laurel's birthday since her actual day was on a weekday. In the mid afternoon, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium for some time with friends and family. Rob, Cyndy, Sierra and Amber met us there, along with Ryan, Brigitta and Lauren. About half way through, Ryan and Ryder joined us. The kids had a blast together. Mostly calm, but eventually ran about, giggling, squealing, being kids. Laurel had a wonderful time. I made an aquarium themed cake and we all went across the street to Bubba Gump's for dinner. Alex's parents, Leora and Delaney joined us for the dinner. It was definitely noisy having 5 little children and a baby at the table, but it was a lot of fun.

On Laurel's actual birthday on Monday, Megan and I took her to Knott's Soak City for some water fun. She loves the pool so much, so we hoped this would be a hit. There was a small section meant for tiny kids that she didn't actually like. She did really like the wave pool, so we spent more of our time in there. We also did a couple of laps around the lazy river. We saved a slice of cake from the night before and sung to her once again at dinner...and then it was over! She's 2 now!

Reflecting on the past year, she's changed so much. She went from barely walking to running. Making baby talk to knowing countless words and knowing everyone's names. She's out of her crib and off of the changing table. Out of a baby tub to a large tub filled with bubbles and the letters and numbers she's learning. She went from unbelieveably clingy to enjoying her time away from me at school. Her hair has grown from slight wisps to beautiful soft curls. Her play has grown from playing next to another child to interacting, tickling, chasing, and calling after them. She's learned basic manners but also learned to throw a temper tantrum. She's grown tastes for certain foods, colors, movies and activities. Toys have been replaced with coloring books, sticker books, puzzles, story books, dress up clothes, and make believe. She went from sleeping well to deciding she wanted sleep options and now sleeps on a mattress on the floor...for now:). Her constants continue to be her blankie, sucking her thumb, and loving elmo and shoes. Imagine what the next year will bring!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Late Summer update

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! Lots of changes, news, etc. The end of July and beginning of August were consumed by our packing and moving. A little at a time proved to work ok until that last week when we were running around throwing things in boxes. Just ran out of time:). Also seemed silly since we were moving right up the street, not a mile away! We were counting the days until we were out of that house. Living in "limbo" was becoming irritating - boxes and piles of stuff everywhere. We were able to retrieve the keys to the new apartment on the 1st and starting bringing boxes up every night. The weekend of the 7th, we moved the big stuff. Lots of generous help from friends made it work all in one day. We still had lots of remnants that were picked up the following week. The apartment filled up fast and even now we're still moving things around and putting things in their new home. We're definitely enjoying the new place - especially the washer and dryer and dishwasher! I didn't realized i missed those appliances so much! We are having to adjust to life in a building again. Consideration for neighbors, some noises, elevator use, parking in a big garage, etc. It also takes me 5 more minutes just to get to the car than it used to...walking out the door, locking up, walking to the elevator, waiting, in the door, a key in to take us to the garage level, out of the elevator, into the car, backing up, opening the garage door...and finally out! We are also noticing this apartment to be cooler than our poorly insulated house. We get wonderful breezes in the windows from the west.

My 30th birthday was the highlite of the next week. Though still moving some things, unpacking and living in clutter, we did manage to have some nice outtings and fun. Anne took me out on Wednesday for a surprise mani-pedi and lunch. On Thursday, we went to Disneyland for the afternoon. Alex got me a season pass for my birthday and so Mom, Megan, Anne, Laurel and I went down to the park. They gave me a huge button to wear that declared it to be my birthday, so lots of people were greeting me and that made the visit even more fun! That night, Megan organized a surprise dinner at a nice restaurant in the Marina. It was a really lovely night! Megan gave me tickets to a U2 concert and I nearly jumped out of my skin! I've always wanted to see them in concert. Leora and Ryan got me an amazing purse and Leora took it upon herself to clean our house without my knowing. What an unbelieveable gift that was!

My mom sold our home in Maryland. (The house I grew up in.) So in her prep for her own move to California, she came out our move and the week after. She helped occupy Laurel when we needed it and in the inbetween times, we looked for apartments for her. Towards the end of her visit, we finally found a wonderful apartment she would be happy with. It's 5 blocks away and a little more than she was looking to spend, but it's gorgeous and I think she'll be very happy there. The weekend after my birthday, and only a weekend after our own move, I ran home to Maryland for 4 days to go through my childhood possessions, memorabilia, books, old pieces of artwork, etc. We did take time to chill, go see a couple of movies and watch some tv. But the rest of the time was spent going through belongings. In a way, going through all of those things served as therapy and helped to ease the separation. It was still an emotional time and there were tears as I walked out of the house for the last time. But there is a lot to look forward to in the future, so I am looking ahead.

Laurel stayed here with Grandma and Grandpa Velez. She's been acting like a 2 year old for Alex and me, but it sounds like she was on her best behavior for the Grandparents! She played well by herself, ate very well, slept well and enjoyed lots of time with family and her cousins. Alex stayed here for work and did go down to OC every night to be with her. I came back on Wednesday and it was so great to see her, I missed her so much!

Laurel is growing every day. I feel like she looked a little different after being away for only 4 days! Her language continues to blossom. She mastered counting to 10 back in June and has continued on to 13. She started learning to recognize her letters in June as well, so I bought her a set of foam bath letters for her to play with and stick to the walls. She can recognize and name nearly all of the letters now and all of her numbers. Her new room is painted half sky blue and half rolling green hills. She wanted green for her room paint and the room was already blue. So we decided to do an outdoor scene! I found large butterflies for the walls and some flower decals from target. Her dressers are set up and the glider is in the corner. The closet is very full with clothes, toys, and lots of items stored for a future sibling. We set up her crib again with the hopes that she would use it. She has yet to spend the night in the crib, but will go to sleep on the mattress on the floor. Everynight she goes to sleep in her room and at about 2 or 3 a.m., she walks down the hall and climbs into bed with us. With the apartment is such disarray still, we're not worrying about it, but as life comes to order, so much her sleep habits. We'll figure it out. Her potty training was also put on hold when her sleeping became problematic and our move happened. She still knows about the potty, but we haven't asked her about it in a long time. I do continue to see her making growth in that area despite now actually using the potty. She is waking up from a full night's sleep dry more often than wet. She is very uncomfortable in a poopy diaper and wants it off right away. Her pees don't really bother her, but she will still point it out. We'll tackle the potty again soon.

Laurel's next milestone is turning 2! We don't have a party planned but will probably go on an outing the weekend before her birthday and meet up with family. Off of our bedroom, there is a fenced in patio that we're planning to outfit with outdoor play toys. Probably a slide, maybe a sandbox, etc. That will be our birthday gift to her. Otherwise, she continues to do well in her school, is playing well with others. She's learning thank you and please and we're working on public manners like not touching, indoor vs. outdoor voice, waiting her turn, etc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July milestones

(Laurel on her potty after her first pee and her reward lolli!)

Laurel has recently tackled some milestones - for better or worse. After we returned from Iowa, we broke out the little potty. Starting at the beginning of the month, we started "using" the potty. Laurel does like to sit on the potty, so we've been fine there. The first day was filled with pee accidents, as to be expected. Sometimes it would bother her and sometimes she didn't get and just let it out:). The second day was pretty much the same, but more "uh oh" comments when it would happen. We decided not to apply any pressure on the issue, if she wanted to go that would be great, and if not, that's ok too. Fortunately it's summer and it's been getting hotter outside. So running around nude has become the preferred dress code for Laurel. It's really helped and over the past week, I've noticed that she has become very good at holding her pee. She knows she doesn't have a diaper on to catch the liquid and knows not to let it loose on the couch or while she's playing. The trick was to get her to pee in the toilet. She also got very good at knowing when she was ready to pee. Several times recently, she's said she has to pee, goes to the potty...and sits...and sits. Then she gets up and pees on the floor:). The final trick for her was to figure out how to let the pee out while sitting on the potty. And finally today, July 22, it happened! And not once but twice! I think it startled her at first. But she's made the connection and so we're hopefully this trend will continue. I haven't stressed using the potty while we're out in public, but we may have to start that soon too. But while at home, the pants are off, the little potty is in the living room and she's free to use it when she wants. We're thrilled at the progress she's made so far!!

Today also marks another step in Laurel's growth - climbing out of the crib. Starting at the end of last week, Laurel has had a distinct aversion or fear of her crib. She doesn't want to be in it and just screams and screams. So the naps have been brief to not at all, and the night sleep has been difficult. She's been a dream sleeper up until now so we've been baffled. She's gotten up in the middle of the night crying and has come in with us. We were letting her cry it out tonight but after climbing out of her crib in desperation, we know that she's moving up to being a big girl. It's sad to think of giving up her last bits of babyhood:(. We'll be transitioning to the toddler bed and perhaps even into the full bed when we move. Keeping her in the bed will be the next challenge.

We are slowly packing for our August 7th move up the street. Not far at all, but have to box everything up none the less. I know Laurel is sensing the change and it may be stressing her as well. Lots of new things in her life right now!
Right now, we're having a visit from my Dad and we're having lots of day outings. I'm using the car rides to encourage some sort of nap out of her during the day. Hopefully she'll come back around to a normal schedule once we're settled in our new place!

Friday, July 3, 2009

summer flying by!

A long overdue post - we're already into July! Time is really flying by, especially when it's the loveliest time of the year. Here in LA, it's beautiful 70's weather, heat wave probably around the corner:). We've been enjoying a lot of time outside. Laurel has become a huge fan of any park, playing with her sand toys, riding on the swing or the slide. Her ears perk up at the slightest mention of the park and she can't wait to run out the door. We've also taken up some of the simplest activities - blowing bubbles and drawing with sidewalk chalk outside. Whenever we're outside, Laurel always takes note of the planes flying overhead. She loves to gaze at the sky and point out the planes as they fly well as the moon, the sun, the birds:)...

The larger part of the summer for me has been consumed by Copper Willow projects and shipments. Still mailing boxes for orders taken from the stationery show and sending out supplements for our stationery and wedding albums. Alex's company has made the official move to become a part of Activision and we're able to take advantage of some great benefits. He's been placed under the guidance of another lead animator but has been given the opportunity to pursue his interest in the technical side of animation and placed as the lead technical animator.

Laurel continues to attend her school 2 times per week and is doing amazingly well. She doesn't really get upset anymore and is usually occupied in other activities when I arrive and doesn't rush right to me side the second she sees me. We're already looking ahead to pre-school. We'll be touring a co-op style school in Westchester, near the airport. It means parent involvement, cheaper rates and a more play oriented school. I think it will be a good style for Laurel. She would be on the list to start in the fall of 2010.

Laurel's vocabulary is flowing non stop now. She made these leaps in June: She's repeating pretty much repeating anything we say - I must post a video! She is also recognizing numbers and shapes. She can point out the numbers as well as count from 1 to 10. She also knows several of her letters and is working on pointing out her colors. She can recognize and say heart, triangle, square and star. Some of her more common place words have been replaced by longer words - for example, done is being replaced by finish, fishy is now Nemo. Laurel is also working on multi-syllable words. Sometimes the second half of the word still drops off, but she can say Dorothy (elmo's fish), Monster (for Monster's Inc.), bubble, elephant, alligator, zebra, etc. And about mid-June I caught her singing a song to herself! That couldn't have been cuter:). She loves the slippery fish song they sing at school and it has hand movements. I was watching her in the rear view mirror in the car and she was singing it with the movements. My heart just melted!
Laurel continues to enjoy the Pixar movies and Elmo. She did make it to the movies twice so far! The first time was for Up, which was not very animal oriented and didn't hold her attention for more than maybe 45 minutes. After her attention faded, we spent the rest of the time walking laps around the theater:). Today, she went with Dada, Ryan and Ryder to see the third Ice Age movie and watched the entire thing! She was mostly interested in the squirrel but understands more language and recognizes the animals types.

Next on tap for Laurel progress will be potty training. I wasn't sure we'd do this so early, but she seems to be ready. She always points out when she's pooped and will tug at a wet diaper. She understands the potty and what happens. With a little dedication to the cause, I'm hoping it won't be a big struggle! We've been waiting for a time when we don't have anywhere to be so that we can stay home and put some effort into it without distraction or need to leave the house.

Our most recent time away was for George and Amy's wedding in Iowa/Illinois. George is a friend from grad. school, Alex was in the wedding. Laurel was very excited to be on the plane and did a great job on the flights there and back. She as occupied with lots of new little items that I bought at Target, plus some snacks and the dvd player. Our time away was occupied mostly by wedding related activities, but we were able to get to a small zoo on the last day. Her favorite thing was an inflatable obstacle course for the kids. We could really see the influence of her school - she is much braver than she used to be. We were worried she'd be timid, but she dove right in to every acitivity on the trip. The hotel also had a pool and she's turned into such a little fishy! And she was a dancing fiend at the wedding reception and we couldn't keep her off the dance floor!:)

Up next for the Velez family - moving! We were able to find a nice little apartment just up the street from our current house. Just out of Culver City, back in LA. We'll have about the same amount of space but we'll be able to save about $600 per month. We're excited about some of the littlest pleasures - washer and dryer in the apt., dishwasher, a new fridge, new couches, air conditioning! We'll be moving in the 2nd week of August.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Laurel's latest

Laurel seems to be growing and maturing in leaps and bounds every day. Her language has made immense progress in just the last month. She has become a little parrot and mimics a lot of what we say. Usually she repeats the last word in our spoken phrases. She still picks the syllables that are easiest for her to say and doesn't say the sounds at the end of the words. She is also picking up on her colors very easily and even learning the firs letters of her alphabet! Laurel has recently started singing! We've been singing her Itsy Bitsy Spider which is her current favorite. She loves to do the finger movements and I've caught her singing it to herself. She also likes to "drive" the bus when we sing The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round. We've also started singing Old McDonald and she gets excited to hear about the animals on the farm because she knows her animals so well now. Her favorite animal right now is Molly:). Mom's little dog has been with us for several weeks now, during her visits and keeping her inbetween. Laurel loves to walk the dog, is excited to see Molly when she comes home, asks about her, and insists on bringing the dog in the car and checks on her all the time.
We continue to struggle with eating new foods. I've discovered that if I offer Laurel something she really likes, like strawberries, she will try a new food - after much crying - but she will try it. Sometimes she likes the new food and sometimes she spits it back out, but it's progress!

to nyc and back

From May 15th until the 21st, I was in New York for our yearly exhibition at the National Stationery Show. This was my first time away from Laurel for an over night. I was very sad to leave and missed her so much! Good news is, she had a perfectly great time at home without me! She came to the phone when I called, but was easily distracted away by her playtime. I know she asked about me while I was away, but she was mostly her same cheery self! So while away, we stayed in New Jersey and commuted in by bus. We did have our token baby on the trip, Leora brought Delaney and her parents came as well to babysit. The show as a whole was really nice! We didn't have high expectations due to the economy. We met our goals and were able to breathe easier. The booth came together smoothly and we even ran out of promotional materials and had to print more! The buyers were very enthusiastic and mostly frustrated by the fact that they couldn't spend more money! So many people were just looking and the orders that we took were low amounts, but that was expected. As before, we really enjoyed face time with our clients and chumming around with our fellow artisans, some of whom we only see that one time every year!
Upon return, I was so excited to see Laurel! I almost think she grew while I was away! Reports tell me that she had some good days at school and that they figured out a key factor in keeping her happy all morning. Keeping her shoes on! She makes it through most of the morning's activities but then gets upset when they take shoes off and go to play in the gym space. Last Thursday they kept her shoes on and she was great! Laurel still gets upset when we drive up to the school, she recognizes the route we take. And she definitely in a fit when we leave her. But she quickly calms and joins in with the class and the teachers are so thrilled with her progress!!
Mom came to stay with Laurel for a couple of days. Alex had some unexpected time off from work and was able to be with her while i prepared for the show and the first couple days that I was away.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

For Mother's Day we went to Huntington Gardens in the morning. Just for a short time to take some photos. Laurel loved the koi fish in the ponds as usual and it was just gorgeous weather. Afterwards, we drove down to OC to the clubhouse in Alex's parents' neighborhood. They have a really nice playground for the kids, a barbeque area and a few lovely pools. Laurel was very timid and scared at first, but we started out in the water very slowly. The kiddie pool was very shallow and she was willing to sit on the first step in the water. Soon after, we were on the steps on the big pool. Before we knew it, she was playing in the water and jumping into our arms from the side of the pool. It was such a joy to watch her learn and grow!

I dont' seem to have a pic of her actually enjoying the pool:).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We love fishies

We're getting our first pet in the Velez household - fish! Laurel has taken a liking, no...a fish. She watches Finding Nemo at least once per day. The infatuation has the impact of her Elmo obsession. She asks for it first time out of bed and anytime we come through the front door. She asks to sit on the couch and watch "fwishhies". Just like Elmo, we have to leave the house to get away from the fishies! We went to Disneyland last week. Alex's company is the middle of a transition and he's had some unexpected time off. So we took the tot to Disney and she had a great time! She's been twice before, but each time we go she seems to pay more and more attention to the attractions. She particularly enjoyed the Finding Nemo ride - of course. And she's starting to develop a fear of things that are naturally on the scary side, like the dark Pirates of the Carribbean ride. She danced to the music in the parade and finally met Mickey and Minnie in person. Being a weekday, the park was much less crowded, so we were able to get some photos. Laurel stared at them dumbfounded like she was meeting a celebrity and couldn't think of what to do in their presence.
Laurel continues to go to her little school and we continue to work on the separation. She can go without us something for a short period of time. But I still wait for her in the parent room for them to call me in when she gets upset. Someday...sigh.
She is learning new words almost daily.
"shar" is shark
sky has a very soft s
mah-yee is molly, my mom's dog
"wat" is rat (the little rat in ratatouille)
she copies a lot of words when you say them but then doesn't say them again. but she's slowly increasing the vocab. she's also asserting herself more. probably a terrible two preview, minus the tantrums. she will drop to her knees and refuse to walk if you try to encourage her to do something that she doesn't want to do. we shall see how that progresses.
We have potty training on our horizon. We bought Laurel her first potty! She does sometimes point out to us that she pees and poos. So we're taking that as a cue that she may be open to the suggestion of a potty. She often accompanies us to the bathroom and she's aware of what we grown ups do. Laurel has also moved out of the baby tub and into the big tub for bath time. She seems to like the play space a lot more and is enjoying some new tub toys.

I will be going to NYC in a couple of weeks for our annual trip to the National Stationery Show. I can't believe it's that time again already. It really snuck up on me this year. But we also have a lot of custom work that we haven't had in the past, so we're feeling a bit spread thin. We have 2 new everyday lines of cards and notes and 3 new lines of holiday plus a custom holiday album. I'm really excited about some of the designs and hope we have a positive outcome. The show is looking to be a real question mark with the economy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

We had beautiful weather for our Easter holiday this year. Megan and I decided to sing in the Easter choir for Bel Air Pres. this year. The choir was almost 100 people strong and made for a very enjoyable experience. We sang for Palm Sunday, Maunday Thursday and Easter morning. We had rehearsal at the holiday bowl on Saturday morning and sang for the service on Sunday. After the service, we drove down to the Velez house in OC for a family gathering, egg hunt and lunch. We had our own egg hunt and egg dying on Saturday. Laurel didn't understand the egg hunt at first, but once she got it figured out, she was searching for the eggs every time we went outside! she says "Eeee?" for egg. We also dyed eggs and she found that really interesting. She wanted to see the eggs while they sat in the cups being colored. She liked to help using the egg scoop and we had to repeatedly dye several of the eggs over and over again because she kept asking for more.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the latest with laurel

Laurel had her 18 month appt. a couple of weeks ago. She is 23 lbs and 2 ft., 8 inches tall. The 2 year measurement will be the one that really tells us something about her adult height. But for now, she's in the 60th percentile for her age for height. She's usually 75% but the doctor looked at her chart and she tends to have a growth spurt followed by a plateau. This is a plateau, so soon we will have another jump in height! Her weight is low as usual - the 25th percentile. And her head circumference is 75%, so she's still a little head on a long stick:). Her torso is definitely long for her age. She's now wearing 24 months for any shirts that snap at the crotch. Her pants are still 18 months since she's narrow at the waist. She's still fitting her size 5 shoes and continues to be infatuated with her little pink crocks! She has to have them on from the moment she wakes up in the morning to when she goes to bed.

Laurel starts a baby play school tomorrow. She'll be going 2 times per week, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She was definitely becoming bored with the play sessions at Gymboree and is becoming more aware of the kids around her. She is now looking to actually play with them. Her way of approaching other children is to offer to share something with them, or pick up something they tossed aside and give it back to them. So I think the play school will be good for her social skills and allow her to play with people her size, in a way that will be a learning tool. Hopefully it will help her language skills and we're also going to work out attachment issues. Because she takes so very long to adjust and warm up to anything, I'll be going with her for several weeks, but hopefully she will learn that when I leave, I do come back.

Her language is expanding, so that's been fun. No 2 word combinations yet, but there's total comprehension and some response now. For my memory:), I'm going to try to make a list of everything she has learned to say between 12 and 18 months. She didn't really talk before her 1st birthday, so we're making progress!
"No" - of course!
"Yah" - yes
"duhn" - done
"moh" - more
"poon" - spoon
"toe", "mou" for mouth, "eayah" for ear, "noh" for nose, "eye", "behyee" for belly
"dohr" - door
"buh buh" - bye bye
"mo-mo" - elmo of course!
"heyah" - hair
"gee" or "doh" - for doggy, the syllables aren't together yet:)
"pitty" - pretty
"good guhl" - good girl
"boon" - balloon
and she makes the noises for cows, ducks, sheep, horses, pigs, dogs, lions, and a cat says "cat"!

In addition to talking, she's developing her own hobbies - like wearing our clothes and shoes. Her shoe obsession actually drives her to insist that we take off the shoes we're actually wearing so that she can put them on. I've given her the bottom drawer in her small dresser for dress up clothes. They're basically clothes and jewelry that Megan and I have grown tired of and Laurel find pretty. Laurel still loves to shop and has started to pull clothes off the rack and say "oooo" and pull them over her head! She also enjoys taking rides around the neighborhood in the little push car that we have. She sits in it and "drives" it and I push and steer from a handle that comes up from the back. She's also gotten more familiar with Copper Willow. She recognizes the parking lot and asks for Elmo, knowing I usually put the video on when we're there. I've collected a lot of her toys and some books at the shop and I put out the basket and she plays by herself with Elmo on in the background while I get some small tasks finished. She loves the swings at the swingset is starting to recognize the nature around her. We take her for "nature walks" and point out the flowers that are blooming, seeds that have fallen, etc. She loves it when I blow dandelions and she can watch the little seeds float about. She continues to like balloons and ask for them whenever she sees them. She's become a lot more playful and says "tick-y, tick-y" and tries to tickly us. She wrestles with Alex and he pretends to be asleep and reaches out and grabs her. She squeals and is so thrilled! But best of all, she remains a cuddly girl and gives lots of kisses and hugs...and of course loves her blankets. Some things don't change and that's just fine by me:)...until someday she'll have to give up that thumb, but it's cute for now!

Friday, March 6, 2009

18 months!

Laurel just reached another milestone - turning 18 months old! Today, we went to Sears for a little photo shoot. Typical to her personality, she was timid and scared at first but once she had a chance to warm up, we got some great shots!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Getting into 2009

Laurel has really started showing some new and fun personality traits just recently! These photos are proof:). She has always been girlie, loving jewelry and such. Now she loves to dress herself up. Putting on hats, hanging shirts over her head, putting on our shoes, etc. She's even hung underwear around her neck! She's collecting purses, just likes to carry them around. In the car once, i turned around to see her wearing one as a hat (see the quick pic!) She's just been so funny lately:).

We also took Laurel to the beach last week. It was the first trip where I was determined that she would walk in the sand. She didn't like the loose sand much, so we carried her to the shoreline. Then she wore her little crocs as she adjusted. Soon she was running about, thrilled with herself! And off with the crocs and much fun was had. Tide was low and she loved to splash in the small pools of water. It was so exciting because I just love the beach.

Laurel has been fairly out of sorts this past week. In addition to having a cold, she is cutting 4 molars. So, we've had many cranky episodes. But for the most part, a real trooper.

She has added a couple more "words" to her vocabulary. "ca-ca"is cracker, "bubba" is bubbles, "tit" is sit, and "beep" when the milk is done in the microwave. Still no "hi" or "bye". But always "mo-mo!" for elmo and she will grab the remote and try to put it on herself!