Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jingle Bells

Here's Laurel singing with her preschool for the parents on the last day before Christmas break. Such a sweet sound, brought tears to my eyes they were so cute!:)

video

Friday, December 10, 2010

The holiday season

The holidays are definitely in full swing around here! We put up our xmas tree right after thanksgiving. Forgot to mention that around the actual time. Been so focused on baby and functioning our daily life that, yes, we did put things up on time! We used our first ever artificial tree, just a small 4 footer. Comes pre-lit and everything, no dropped needles. Nice! I remember being disappointed when our trees in my childhood home went to artificial, must later - once i was out of college i think!. But as an adult, i really appreciate the fake tree:). Laurel picked out a Sleeping Beauty ornament at the disney store and she sits atop our tree this year. She was very enthusiastic about decorating. She has been that way for each holiday this fall She hung ornament on top of ornament, crowding all of the bottom branches, but she had a lot of fun doing it:). She's also helped me start on some wrapping. Audrey's room isn't really occupied yet, so it's turned into xmas prep central! Wrap, ribbons, etc cover the floor. Laurel is in charge of the tape and picking out packaging labels for each gift. She also picks out the paper for each person.
We also got our elf on the shelf right after thanksgiving as well. After much encouragement, and rejecting names like "chair" and "tv", Laurel named him Beepbo. He keeps watch over her in various locations each day and brings a tiny gift in her advent calendar each morning. Laurel is somewhat into it. Most days she doesn't remember until I point him out. Maybe next year she'll be more excited for his "visit".
We had a run in with Santa at the mall, just a quick lap sit. Last year she wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole and this year she's very excited. She was still reluctant to sit and wouldn't talk with him, too bashful. But she did sit on his lap! We'll bring her back again right before xmas to have a better photo opp.
Things continue to be busy at Copper Willow, printing holiday cards and getting items ready for 2011 wholesale. I'm definitely feeling behind. Planning for the holiday event last weekend and having Audrey come along has put me far behind. But again, I feel lucky that she's an easy baby. She comes to work and sleeps in the carrier. She has a good schedule of about 1.5 hours of wakefulness and then she is ready to eat again and jump back into the carrier. So when things get really tight on time, I know she is going to be easy to deal with. Eventually she will be bigger and it won't be so easy, but we'll figure out a way to make things work then. Audrey's hair is starting to grow back in already. She was pretty much bald on top and a nice fuzz is growing in fast. Unfortunately, at the same time, her skin has broken out in a bad case of baby acne. Pretty much all over her face and patchy across her scalp. I keep her baths mild so that there's no irritation, but she definitely has sensitive skin. She will get rashy reacting to heat as well. Poor baby. But it doesn't seem to bother her, so we'll just wait it out. She's already growing as well, most of her newborn things are starting to be too short on her. Wow, time flies!

Monday, December 6, 2010

holiday pictures



Copper Willow hosted a holiday shopping event this past weekend. Whew that was a lot of work for me! I'm exhausted. But it was a fun weekend. We had a silhouette artist in who cut silhouettes of both Laurel and Audrey. What a treat:). I also had Kara, our resident photographer at the studio, take pics of the girls for our holiday card. Here's a nice shot. Audrey had to come spend the weekend with me at the event. She's not taking to the bottle too well and she is quite attached to me, crying really hard for anyone else. If she doesn't have a good morning nap, she has a rocky day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1 month!

We've made it to the one month mark:). This I remember to be full of wakefulness and struggle with sleep for Laurel, so I am hoping to have a change with Audrey. So far, Audrey is definitely waking up more, but as long as we have a good morning nap, she does ok for the rest of the day with naps. With no pacifier, she likes to nurse to sleep, then we prop up on the chest for a burp and go to sleep. Sometimes she wretches around for a while but when she's out, she's out, slack jawed and all. Audrey is also losing her hair, big time:). All of the top of her head is balding and fast! On our way home from Thanksgiving, she twisted and turned so much that her hair jumped ship. She'll be growing a baby mullet before we know it. I don't know how quickly the hair will grow back in but it's quickly receding. Audrey is also starting to coo and every now and then make some smiles. Some of the smiles are wide mouthed and some are a genuine ear to ear grin. But there's no predicting it, so no pics of the smiles yet. Her coos come out sounding like "hi", which is fun, we're having very early conversations. I say hi, she said hi back, lol. We're on a good night time routine, again helped by good sleep during the day. We start our bedtime around 6:30 with nursing and rocking, sometimes a bath prior. Audrey's skin is sensitive and so is her body temperature, so she doesn't like bath at all. I'd hate to put her through it every night the way she screams:(. Some nights we don't have to go in at all and some nights we have to rock her repeatedly to get her to stay down. But she definitely knows her bedtime and starts getting craking between 5:30 and 6 pm. She's still waking twice at night, sometimes with a feeding around 11, sometimes not. Occasionally she's gassy in the morning, but not consistently and so a normal morning has her waking around 7. If she's been gassy, we're both in and out of sleep all morning long.

Laurel has gotten so much better with the baby crying. That's a huge relief. If we're in the car, she will be nervous about it and point out that she's crying, but there's not much I can do about it! Audrey does cry pretty much every car ride, so I really don't look forward to running errands and try to stay close to home. At least for now until Audrey gets better with her car seat. Laurel is always on spit patrol. She will point out a spit up very quickly and run to get a towel and rag off Audrey's face. Laurel is getting good at occupying herself when she has to. While I put Audrey down for bed, Laurel plays games on her iphone and watches shows on tv. She's become very independent, gung ho to do everything herself because she's a big sister now. She can hoist herself up onto the potty and wipe all by herself. I tried to hoist her up the other day and she complained about doing it herself, got down, and got back up on her own. Laurel is a little better at helping herself to her toys and playing a bit by herself. She wants to look at Audrey all the time and asks if she's awake. She likes to squeeze her "cheekies" and kiss her on the head. Laurel continues to go to school and is doing very well. She's made some little friends and is really enjoying their company. It's helpful to me that she goes to school right around the corner from the shop. I can just walk to pick her up. Audrey comes to the shop with me pretty often right now because she sleeps in her bjorn carrier and falls asleep. It's not the most convenient position, but i can press with her strapped to my front. Laurel is very sweet, she picks flowers for me on the walk from school:). Laurel is starting to draw with more recognizeable figures. She drew a huge circle with a circle inside and a tiny stem - the circle inside was the bite on an apple! She also can draw large circles with eyes, stick legs and arms and a string of hair. Laurel is able to put on her own clothes - after whatever battle takes place to choose an outfit! Most of the time she wants to wear dresses and I had to put away all of her summer ones so she wouldn't pick them from the closet to wear. She's picky about shoes still, but she's able to put some things on herself so it helps get out the door! Her conversation is more inquisitive, asking what things are, why things happen, where things are. She asked me when she would get boobies! I told her not until she was older, to which she replied - when I'm 4? She asked Grandma the other day where her Daddy was. Grandma replied that he was at work. Laurel said, Daddy loves to go to work? Grandma said, well, I'm not sure he loves it, but he likes it ok. All in all, she's becoming quite the independent free spirit - which also comes with some stubbornness. We've taken to bargaining on how many bites of food she has to eat before she's done, or what kind of clean up has to be accomplished before the next action of play. It's an interesting transition:).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

I of course forgot my camera! My brain is missing lately:). Will add some photos later when i snatch them from someone else.

For Thanksgiving this year, we started out with a lazy day. Up in the morning to watch the parade - which Laurel was interested in for about 5 minutes, despite my enthusiasm! Oh well:). The day flew by and it was time to drive down to Christy and Mike's. They had our family as well as Mike's over, so it was a full house. They put on a very nice buffet dinner and we sat around and chatted for most of the evening. Laurel as usual was running a muck with Amber:). We were joking that the two of them will be trouble some day - quite the pair! Audrey was pretty good in the car on the ride down. I was anticipating lots of crying but she fell asleep. She doesn't like her car seat, just like Laurel as a baby. She slept a lot on me, which was good, she is getting much more aware and active now, which makes naps touch and go. The drive back was a headache though, there was an accident and the drive took 2 hours, rather than 45 mins. Oye! Audrey cried on and off on the drive back and she twists her head back and forth when she cries. I had a hat on her and i think all of the movement pulled out lots of the hair that was already thinning and falling out. Now she's balding on top:).

Monday, November 22, 2010

sisters!


Here's a cute shot of the sisters "playing". It's really just Audrey gazing at Laurel in awe and Laurel playing with Audrey's "cheekies". Laurel loves to see when Audrey is awake and her voice gets all high and squeaky when she talks to her. She tries to tickle Audrey and Audrey just watches her and stares. I can tell Laurel will be a source of entertainment down the road for sure:).

Friday, November 19, 2010

week 3

So far, 3 weeks with a new baby and a 3 year old has gone pretty well! We've managed ok with daddy away at work during the day. Of course it helps emensely that Grandma is around the corner and Aunt Meg is off from work for a short while. Both are over the assist whenever they are free and I'm ever so thanksful! Mostly to keep Laurel entertained. We're slow to get started in the morning and I don't want to her watch more tv than she has to. This week, we got out a little more than I expected to, and I even put in some time at the shop. Laurel had a Thanksgiving lunch at her preschool, though she didn't really eat any of the Thanksgiving fare. But it was still fun to see the kids and other parents gather for the holiday. Thursday, we met up with her class at the library for a story time in the meeting room. We ran a little late, doing my best to get out of the house on time just takes longer than usual! Laurel got her first library card and we checked out a couple of books to take home for naptime reading. Audrey has spent a lot of time in the baby bjorn, handed down by Leora. Much more comfortable across the back than the jeep carrier we used with Laurel. Audrey falls right to sleep in it, just like Laurel did. Again, something about being bound tight to Mommy's chest. She's been a good sleeper at night still and I'm going to get her on a night schedule soon. She is definitely looking to go to bed earlier, her tired cues kick in right around 6:30/7pm. So we'll be trying that to see if she goes down easily. I decided to get her thrush medication filled. She's had a white coating on her tongue that hasn't grown but hasn't gone away either. The doctor wasn't positive that's what it was, but gave me a prescription to take home just in case.
Audrey is starting to be more aware - she follows well, keeps her eyes very wide open. She likes to make a little "o" shape with her mouth and is trying out facial expression. She's fun to watch. She takes your face in very attentively and really watches how your face moves. She's not mimicking yet, but she's exploring her own face as well.
So far she's been pretty similar to Laurel. I think my one wish is that she'd take a pacifier. It's a love/hate object - when Laurel had it, it was a blessing to be able to put her to sleep with it...but then we were constantly running in and out of her room to pop it back in when it fell out:). Audrey wants nothing to do with it and instead likes to linger at the breast and that's definitely an asset Daddy doesn't have!

Monday, November 15, 2010

2 weeks



We've hit 2 weeks! Everything is going very well. Basically tired, but not horribly. Audrey continues to sleep and eat very well. She's having a little more wakeful time, but not a lot. She's sleeping a bit more predictably during the day, late morning and during laurel's nap in the afternoon for a long stretch. She's starting to show signs of wanting a bedtime, so we'll start to work on that soon. We went to the doctor and weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz! Putting on weight, growing like a weed:). When measured, she came up as more like 21 inches, not 21.5 like mentioned at the hospital, but oh well. Alex is back to work as well. I think he's looking forward to a little break from the home responsibilities. He was such a great help though, entertaining Laurel, cleaning and taking care of the house.
Audrey's skin has been flaking off and I can't tell if her hair is holding on or thinning a bit. She'll be out of newborn clothes quickly. I had a 3 month outfit that I know Laurel didn't wear this young, fitting Audrey pretty comfortably! She's making great eye contact, follows very well. Her neck is also very strong, she'll be trying to hold up her head before we know it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

more visits



Christy and Mike came to see the baby today. Angie and Joe came up as well and they all brought food and cooked us a fantastic meal! Our apt. is "cozy" so we all sat closely for dinner and then spent some down time afterwards together. Audrey loves to sleep on other people - particularly women (maybe because of the padding!) but it gave me a nice rest to hand her off to someone else for a while.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Laurel's 3 year check-up

Laurel had a doctor appointment to check in after 3 years. She's 32 pounds and 38 inches tall. All in all, a healthy girl! I asked about a couple of minor things that I've always wondered about - like the webbing at the corner of her eyes (just the way she's made), and the little bump on her leg (birth mark).

I ended up coming back to the doctor later in the day because Audrey's umbilical stump was bleeding. The scab had fallen off over the weekend, but the inside of her new belly button was oozing. The doctor looked at it and determined that there wasn't anything of concern, no infection. But he did cover it with a bandage so that it could clot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

one week old


On Friday, Cyndy and the girls came for a visit. Laurel was at school for the morning, but was beside herself with excitement to come home and see her cousins. Alex said she was content to play at school when he showed up, but when he mentioned that the girls were at the apt., she ran for the car! In the garage, she was saying - hurry daddy, hurry! The usual giggles and excitement bubbled up when they all saw each other and then they ran to play in Laurel's room. Sierra was interested in holding the baby often, but each time she sat with her, Audrey filled her diaper:). As per usual, Audrey was a good baby, little complaining, happy to sit with her Aunt.

Audrey's first week thus far has been going pretty well. She sleeps a lot, poops constantly, eats very well. We had a couple of fluke nights where she slept for a huge stretch of time - 5-6 hours. I've gotten a decent amount of sleep too, so we're faring pretty well. Mom has cooked for us and I've made a short trip to the grocery. That trip ended up being too much for me physically, still very exhausted. Laurel and Alex have been taking daily outings together. They've walked for ice cream, gone to the movies. Laurel has gotten to be much more loving with Audrey. She's tolerating the crying jags better and better each day. Laurel herself is still a bit more obstinant and stubborn that usual. She's talking back and pushing the envelope. But we're hopeful that it's a phase as she gets used to the changes in the house.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Family of 4!




We welcomed Audrey Grace on November 1st at 7:01 a.m. She weighed in at 8 pounds even and measured 21.5" long. She's lovely and our first couple of nights have gone so well. We stayed 2 days/nights in the hospital and went home Wednesday. So far, she's a pretty easy baby:). She is very alert, only cries for the usual reasons, and sleeps very well! Laurel was very excited to visit her new sister in the hospital. I cried like a baby myself when I saw them first meet each other:). My babies! She is mostly enthusiastic about the baby, wanted to hold and kiss her at the hospital. We did have a difficult jag where the baby cried and Laurel sobbed because the crying upset her. On our second day, Laurel didn't want to come into the room and was very emotional. Since we've gotten home though, she's gotten a little better with it and just gets wary around Audrey when she cries. Audrey is enjoying her swing, but mostly loves to be held. But her most favorite thing so far is milk:). Mine has just come in and she can't get enough!

My last entry on Audrey's pregnancy blog is her birth story:)
http://babycrowd.com/jr/online/velezbaby2/

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010




I'm actually writing this well after Halloween, but am back dating it to be on Halloween so the posts are in order:). Audrey's birth came the very morning after, so we have been occupied;).

On Halloween, Laurel donned her Jessie costume yet again and we went Trick or Treating with the Mauck family in their neighborhood. I waddled around 7 days past my due date:). Laurel was gang busters about visiting the houses until we went up to one or two that had particularly scary decorations. After that she was very apprehensive:(. But once she got her candy, after much encouragement to approach, she was more than eager to go on to the next one. Watching the little ones go up to the door and say trick or treat was just too cute for words! I really enjoyed being the parent walking them around.

Laurel has really loved Halloween this year, much to Alex's delight. It's his favorite holiday:). She is so sweet how excited she has been. She's always so eager and easy to please. Her enthusiasm has been so endearing. She's game for anything and is so fun to be around:).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Baby Shower





This past weekend was Alex's birthday and my baby shower. Christy hosted both on Alex's birthday at her house. The shower was small, just a few close friends and family. Some husbands and friends of Alex's came after the shower for a bbq. It was a really nice time with friends:). The kids all got into the backyard pool, which was so cold! Eventually they all ended up clustered in the hot tub which was just warm.
For the shower, we played some games, one being selecting the best baby sculpted from play dough:). I got several things I needed off of my registry and lots of sweet new baby clothes. It's nice to have some things new for this baby since I have so much that I've saved to hand down. I thought Laurel would want to take part in the shower and open gifts, but she was too busy playing with her cousins and friends. She's turned into such a social butterfly. She knew everyone at the shower of course, but even when we go to the park or Grandma takes her to the library or elsewhere, she always looks for other children and wants to befriend them:).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Disney Halloween


Halloween started early for us this month. We wanted to take part in the Disneyland trick or treating, but earlier in the month, not knowing how I'd do with all the walking. Laurel decided she wanted to be Jessie for Halloween. She is so very excited this year. She wanted to choose yet another princess costume but after showing her all of the options online, she picked Jessie. I let her put it on when the package came and she didn't want to take it off:). She makes the cutest little Jessie ever!
Grandma came a long and we met up with Rob, Cyndy and the girls in the park. The lines for candy were long, but the rides were open and we were able to jump onto a few that normally have huge lines during the day. Laurel as usual, was thrilled to spend time with her cousins. They squealed and ran about together. They are so cute. The park put on a fun Halloween parade and a really nice fireworks show. As usual, Laurel was so sad to leave "Mickeyland" and her cousins:(. But I'd had my fill of walking and needed to waddle back:).
She is now asking for more Halloween and points out pumpkins and decorations on stores and houses wherever we drive. Anything Halloween gets a "yeah!", "ok!" and "lets do it!" from her:). Her enthusiasm is contagious. This is going to be the most fun I've had on Halloween yet. She will be having a little party at school at the end of the month too.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Starting Preschool

Our baby has officially started preschool! Laurel started at 1st Class Pre-K and everything has been fantastic. Her teacher is young and the kids call her Teacher Sugar. I stayed for her entire first day to see what they do and Laurel had a great time! I think her time at the Twispp program really helped with her independence - she didn't need me there at all. But I was curious to watch her first day. The kids all show up around 9 am and play either at the tables with set out activities, or on the carpets with play things. At 9:45 they clean up and they are moved to the alphabet carpet and they each have to find letters that the teacher assigns them. They go over the day of the week, month, season, weather, etc. They have a snack and then they have story time and other carpet activities. Around 11 they go outside for playtime on the playground and then come back in at 11:45 and wash up for lunch. Some children stay until 1 and eat lunch on site. I pick up Laurel at 12, so she can start on her lunch, but we wrap up and leave. The best part is that her little school is right around the corner from Copper Willow. Until the baby comes of course, I can work during her school hours and get so much done! I am just happy that she likes the school and will be able to make some new little friends. I'm so proud of the growth she's made!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Laurel turns 3!

Today is Laurel's birthday! We just got back from eating out for her birthday and opening presents. Making a prompt post while I can before I let too much time pass. :)

On Sunday we went to Disneyland for a big celebration. I made appts. for Laurel, Amber and Sierra to have their hair and make up done at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and then lunch at Ariel's Grotto to meet the princesses. It was a great day! Laurel had a lot of fun and loved being all dressed up. Aunt Cyndy and Uncle Rob got her a very nice sleeping beauty costume complete with crown, purse and gloves. Laurel opted to have her hair put up with pink hair extensions and pink bouffant. She doesn't like the idea of a bun in her hair because she is too concerned about the status of her "curlies". She loves her curly hair! She wore her fancy hair and makeup all day with her Aurora costume.

The lunch was a lot of fun because so many princesses were there. They posed with Ariel upon entering the restaurant and then Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Aurora walked around the room for pictures. Laurel is loving Aurora the most right now, maybe just because she wears Laurel's favorite color - pink! When Belle came around, Aurora was after her and she ran up to Belle and said "look there's Aurora"! So funny:).



We were able to ride on a couple of rides and got some dole whip ice cream. The park was quite busy because most kids started back at school this week. I was pretty exhausted from walking around the park all day. The baby weight is really taking a toll on my muscles and feet. So by the time evening arrived, we were ready to head home and get cleaned up. We thought Laurel's hair definitely needed to be washed out!:)

Today we had a pretty chill day. Laurel went to her gym class and she got a birthday sticker. Otherwise, I asked her what else she wanted to do and she just wanted to spend time at home. So we hung out in her room and she made me food in her kitchen and played with her castle. After a nice long nap for us both, we got ready to go out for dinner. We met up with Ryan, Leora and kids for pizza. Grandma and Aunt Meg came along as well. I baked and decorated a cake in the princess theme - Aurora of course! Laurel was very excited for her birthday all day. She enjoyed even singing to herself and announcing that she was 3! When we got home from dinner, we opened presents. She got lots of new things for her play kitchen, some new costume wear, the leap frog reader, and some other little toys and clothes. It was so hard to get her to go to bed right after! We'll have to open presents earlier in the day next year so she has time to play.


She is definitely looking and acting like a three year old. There was a two year old boy in her gym class today and she looked so much older than him. She's thinned out a little bit and her cheeks can't be described as chubby anymore. She's verbal and active and makes funny comments. She's a very entertaining little person!:)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To Georgia!

We've recently returned from a relaxing visit to my aunt and uncle's home in Georgia. This is something I hope to do annually if we can. Living in a city, I really want my children to know life in a less urban setting. It's very fortunate that we have familiy in a nice rural setting about an hour outside of Savannah. I really love their company and know Laurel and the baby will really enjoy knowing them as they grow up. Laurel was last there just before she turned one and though she didn't remember it, she warmed up quickly!

We went for a week with mom. Laurel was a great traveler as usual. She watches videos on the little player, does stickers, colors, etc. She fell asleep at one point on the way there, so that makes life a little easier. And after 2 years old, we have to buy her a seat, so I didn't try to cram her onto my already crowded lap. The trip back was just as easy and we were delayed on our flight out, so she fell asleep then too because it had gotten so late.

The trip highlight for Laurel was easily the pool. She's a water baby for sure! There were plenty of floaties for Laurel to hang on to and jump into - she liked to jump off the side of the pool into one of the disk shaped floats. She made some great progress in the pool, even blowing little bubbles at the surface. Just near the pool, some birds had made a nest and the babies had hatched, so when we were outside, we'd peek in and see the little mouths gaping open:).


We of course ate lots of great food, Aunt Peggy is a great chef. Laurel helped on occasion and even had her own little apron made for her! On one comic instance, she helped make a really nice peach/blueberry pie. We were taking pictures of her with the "masterpiece" and she lost her balance and everything fell onto the floor! We also made some very creatively decorated sugar cookies:). The peaches in the pie were from a peach-picking we did shortly after arriving. We picked a ton! Laurel was a pro at the picking and later instructed me on how to do it right "mommy, you have to twist and pull!" Got it:). We ate those peaches all day everyday for the rest of the week!

Laurel also had some great time with animals. We visited a farm with goats, chickens and sheep. Later in the week, we went to a friend's who train horses and Laurel came out of her shell and road one! She didn't want to get off! I was so shocked that she was so bold, usually she's so shy to new things. Laurel also enjoyed some time with the cats. Occasionally she got out of control and over excited with them, but they were very chill and patient with her squealing. She also liked to watch the hummingbirds and other birds that frequented their feeders.


Overall, Laurel stayed on about pacific/mountain time:). So we stayed up later and woke up later. I went to bed with her though, so I got nice long nights of sleep. Laurel enjoyed the snuggle time, she's such a cuddler! Laurel enjoyed some down time in the evenings. coloring and doing puzzles. Aunt Peggy set us up with lots of kiddie things so Laurel was very well entertained. Plus she loves to wrestle and Uncle Don was a good sport to humor her on a nightly basis. So, it was a great visit and went by too quickly, as good times do! Hopefully we'll go again soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Moving on from toddler school...




Lately Laurel has been disenchanted with her toddler school. She's been going Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11:45. Overall, it's been a fantastic experience for her. I am so grateful for the amount of progress she has made as a result of the school. At 18 months she was terrified of being separated from us and cried and was so clingy and dependent. You'd think that would be ideal and as much as we love her, we knew she needed to grow as a little person. I'm sure I posted about it back then, but the transition to leaving her alone was rough. She cried and was so sad. It was a long process for me to leave her alone. But she made friends, became social, learned to follow instruction, sit and listen, etc. Even now, I find her doing something out of a school habit, like tucking her socks into her shoes when she takes them all off. I've caught her reading and book and turning it around to show her "class" at home:). Some of her favorite songs to sing are from that school.
Anyway, lately she hasn't wanted to go and has gotten upset. With preschool approaching in the fall, we decided it would be a good time for her to have some summer fun and a break from school before starting up with bigger kids in the fall. She is also aging out as younger kids are coming into the class, she may be a little bored.
The last few times I took her to the school were sad for me. I didn't like to see her unhappy again and also I was recognizing that she was getting older and isn't a baby anymore. The early years have gone by so fast for her! I think I'm going to be that kind of mom that cries at each stage of life:).
These are some pictures of her last day of school, which was a field trip to the beach - turned out to be a chilly day, but she still had a blast!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Laurel sings

Sometime in May Laurel made a huge language leap. She'd been speaking in phrases just fine but now the sentences are flowing and she babbles and holds up full on conversations. It's so much fun! She used to say something and I would comment. Or I would ask a question and she might make a comment. Now we go back and forth and she has opinions and questions. Laurel is also developing personality with her comments. She can be stern and ordering or excited, mischievous, sad or just plain happy. She will even declare that she's so happy or that she's sad. Occasionally she will be mad and even fold her arms on her chest:). When she's ordering she will point at you and reprimand. It's hard to keep a straight face! She can never hide her excitement over doing something she wants to do and even giggles with glee. I always used to look forward to when we would hear a lot of chatter, well sometimes the chatter doesn't stop. She has tons to say from the back seat of the car and always interrupts her bedtime books to make comments.

Laurel also started singing her songs independently. Sometimes when we sang she would sing along but now she will burst into song all by herself. Abcs, itsy bitsy spider, slippery fish, twinkle twinkle, 3 little monkeys, etc. Three little monkeys is especially amusing because she sings it with such gusto! I will have to get some of her other songs on video. And she doesn't like to be interrupted. She has to finish her song if she's started it. Much like the disney cds in the car. We don't get out of the car until the song has finished.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saying good bye to the baby potty!

Laurel is officially doing her poops in the potty! A big milestone for her because she was so apprehensive and scared of it for so long. She's been great with the pee for a while, even perching herself up on the big toilet without a potty seat on top. Much like getting started on the pee, it just took a good push. We told her she had to make all of her poops in the potty before she could go swimming. And ta da! Every now and then she asks for a diaper but we tell her no and she accepts it and goes in the toilet. At first it seemed like she really held onto it and waited as long as possible before reluctantly doing her #2 in the potty. But now she will sit and sometimes it just pops out and she's surprised and pleased with herself. She loves to run out to whomever will listen and say that she has peed and pooped:). She of course gets tons of praise, so who can blame her?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

baby girl!



Here's a picture of Laurel at our 20 week ultrasound:). She came along for the big news that she's going to have a sister! I didn't think I'd care either way, but I was so excited to find out we're having another girl. Laurel and she will be so lucky to have each other. The news is still just 85% confirmed by the doctor, so we'll have another look at our 22 week detailed ultrasound. But for now, we're on cloud 9!:)
Laurel decided to try out the "stirrups"!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Weekend in San Francisco

Over Memorial weekend, the three of us drove up to San Francisco for a quick visit to our old stomping grounds. We drove up late Friday night and checked in at about 1 am. We all shared the king bed together, nice and cozy:). Laurel has had quite a spring for little colds and was snotty and cranky on the drive up. Though we were constantly blowing her nose, she seemed in pretty good spirits. The weekend was very busy for tourism, so we stayed out of the city and decided to take some public transportation. Saturday we took BART into the city and then rode a trolley car over the middle of the city down to the Fisherman's Wharf area. Normally an area I really liked visiting, it was so crowded and not very easy to navigate. We did make it over to the sea lions and grabbed some ice cream on the pier. Shopped a little and ate at Ghirardelli Square. We rode the F train around to the BART station again and made our way back out to the hotel. I picked the hotel in favor of a pool since Laurel is really enjoying water right now. She calls the hotel a "hotel-o". Not sure why:). The pool temperature was too cool for our liking but we endured it and got out when Laurel's teeth were chattering, even if she was upset to be getting out.
On Sunday we decided to drive in and visit Golden Gate Park. We walked around Stow Lake and saw lots of turtles and ducks. Laurel really wanted to ride the paddle boats, but once again it was a crowded day. We walked over to the newly renovated Science museum in the park. It was closed before Alex and I moved to LA but has been refurbished and was a lot of fun to navigate. Laurel really enjoyed the butterflies in the rainforest and the fish and creatures in the downstairs aquarium. We capped our day with a visit to Japantown and ate at our favorite Japanese restaurant. Oh and more swimming in the cold pool:).
Monday, we had the intentions of getting up and running into the city for brunch and to check out the Golden Gate Bridge, but our fog-free luck ran out and the city was socked in. So we headed home early. All in all, a fun weekend and Laurel was a trooper with her sniffles.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Laurel's time without Mommy

Laurel spent this past week without Mommy, while I was in NYC for the stationery show. The show went pretty well this year compared to the past year, a pick up in the very down economy, hopefully. It was a nice time for Leora and me to just take care of ourselves and enjoy the city a bit. We ate some good food, did a little shopping and even took in an off Broadway show. The trip went by quickly.
Leaving Laurel this year was harder than last. Last year she didn't seem to notice or care that I was gone. She was very upset to see me leaving at the airport and it made me get sad and teary as I was walking away. I hear she recovered fairly quickly and enjoyed her time with Grandma the rest of the week. She stayed with my mom during the week days and Alex picked her up in the evening to come home. Over the weekend, she went down to Orange County to visit Alex's parents and to play with the cousins. Time with Amber and Sierra is always in demand and Laurel just loves them like crazy. She had some fun party time with them and took naps with Amber.

I was very excited to see her when I got back...needless to say:).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

With my mom out here this year, we had mother's day to celebrate for more than just myself. Things are hectic in OC as everyone gets ready for Christy's wedding, so we decided to stay local. Megan and I looked up some options for the day and decided to go to Malibu. We ate a brunch at Gladstone's and then afterward went to the Getty Villa. I've never been to the Villa before and it made for a really nice outing. As we've done before, we let Laurel play photographer and so here's also some snippets of her "skills":).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting ready for NYC again!

We've been working hard in preparation for our trip to NYC with Copper Willow again this year. This year Leora and I will be going alone, no babies and care-givers in tow. Laurel has been spending a lot of time at Grandma's while I work on printing samples and getting things packed for the trip. Alex has also been a great help on the weekends since I've been in the studio almost every day of the week.
Laurel continues to be a trooper and goes wherever I need her to go. At Grandma's she enjoys all of the puzzles and crafts that Grandma has for her. "Puzzles!" tend to be her first request when she walks through the door. Laurel's language continues to expand. She's starting to get chattier and is putting together more sentences. A language surge seems to be just around the corner!

Potty training continues to go well! She has the pee down pat, just need to wait for her willingness to put #2 in the potty. True to her very clean nature, if she has the tiniest of pee leak on her panties before getting to the potty, we have to change. So I've started carrying spare underwear everywhere. She's gotten better at trying public potties - bought her a Dora potty seat that she really likes. Cumbersome to carry around but it means less fuss when out of the house. We have discovered that her panties have to be completely removed when peeing on the public potty because her stream has actually arched out of the potty onto the floor when she first starts peeing. Odd, but everything has a solution!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010





Looking back through the blog, I realized I've skipped Easter! Guess that's what happens when life gets busy! Easter weekend was quite full for all of us. Mom, Megan and I had been practicing every Thursday for weeks now to sing at the Hollywood Bowl on Easter morning.
Friday evening we dyed eggs with Laurel. We did the same last year, but the older she grows, the more hands on and excited she is to do holiday activities. Alex picked up some egg coloring kits and one included Disney princess stickers, so that was an instant hit! We dyed about 18 eggs, some being dropped along the way:)...and she wanted to do more and more!
Saturday we had rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl and the performance on Sunday. Laurel and Alex came to the Bowl with us for the early a.m. call time. They spent time running laps around the arena. After the service, we drove down to Orange County for the afternoon at Alex's parents' house. They hired the "Paella Man" to come and make a huge serving of paella for everyone. The biggest pan I've ever seen! Laurel ran around with Amber and Sierra as usual. Amber has declared Laurel to be her best friend. They have little tiffs throughout their play, but they're sharing a great bond as cousins. We also had the pleasure of meeting Mike's family and having the two families mix before Christy and Mike get married in June. All around it was a really nice day. Unfortunately Laurel had been working on a cold, so she was sniffly all day and her poor little nose was red. In pictures, her nose is flared a lot, to keep the snot from running out! She hasn't yet mastered blowing out of her nose. When she smells a flower, she blows out, not in, but that hasn't carried over yet to blowing her nose.

It was also around Easter that we announced our second pregnancy! I am keeping a blog again for this baby - http://babycrowd.com/jr/online/velezbaby2/. We planned for the kids to be 3 years or more apart, so this one is right on track, due around October 24th. We waited until towards the end of the 1st trimester to announce because of the bleeding and minor trauma I had with Laurel during her 1st trimester. Around the 11th week with this one, I also had some minor bleeding, but experience gained me some composure and I went on with life as normal. Laurel is starting to understand that a baby is going to be in the picture, but until I actually "show" more, she probably won't grasp the idea. Anyway, I'll be keeping my baby posts on the other blog so I have them to save for the 2nd baby!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our little character

I hear a lot of people complain about kids at the age of 2, even 3. I definitely have some moments where I can see complaining about some of the things she does, but the rest of the things about her right now are just priceless! I'm actually really enjoying this age. I'm finding that as kind of a relief. I'm sure there's more difficult behavior to come - we haven't hit a temper tantrum stage yet - but right now, I'm having a lot of fun with her.

She's started to sing! Laurel has the sweetest little voice and I just love listening to her. She's initiated her "slippery fish" song for a while now with the first few words. But now she can sing along with most of it. I will find her playing or wandering around singing "twinkle, twinkle" or "itsy bitsy spider". her words will go something like this...
"itsy spider...up water spout...down rain, wash spider out...up sun and dry rain...itsy spider up spout 'gain". So cute! The other day she sang for Mom and Megan and abbreviated it to "itsy spider - watch out!" It was so funny we were laughing for the longest time. Laurel seemed proud of herself that we found her so funny. Laurel also sings some of the words to the mickey mouse theme song. We listen to a

Disney collection of movie and tv songs in the car. So she can officially spell her first couple of words, she just doesn't realize that's what she's doing. M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, mickey mouse - donald duck! - mickey mouse - donald duck!

She's become a good grocery shopping helper. She knows she gets a reward in the end - m&m's at the checkout - but she's made the task a lot more pleasant than it used to be. She sits in the cart seat and helps put fruit into the bag and tosses boxes back into the cart. She also loves to help at home. She's always eager "I help, mama!" When we get home with the groceries, she runs and finds her step stool and I had her things that go in the cupboard and she sets them up on the counter for me. I'll open the fridge door and tell her to put this or that where they belong. The same applies to cooking. She gets that step stool and stands up so she can somewhat reach the counter and likes to help stir, dump in the measuring spoons and cups full of ingredients. Sometimes the meals take little work and she wants more cooking action!

Laurel is a super love bug. She is more cuddly now than she was last summer. She has accomplished her running and walking skills, is working on her expert chatting skills, and has more time for cuddles and loving. She gives spontaneous kisses which always make my day. Sometimes she grabs our faces by the cheeks and lays a big juicy one on our lips. Those are real heart melters. When she's happy and content, she'll reach over and grab my arm and kiss my hand...or my elbow, whatever is closest! She's even walked up and kissed our rears if she's feeling lovey and that's the highest she can reach! Her hugs are super fierce and tight and she loves when we do the same back. She calls them "everyone kiss" or "everyone hug" and she means alex and I both taking one side of her and hugging and kissing her cheeks at the same time. She's an excellent morning cuddler. She comes into our bed at night still and so in the morning, loves to squish up to one of us for morning cuddles. It's the best feeling. And of course, she's learned "I love you" and knows what it means, so we hear that spontaneously now and then.

Laurel has gotten so funny! She makes funny remarks and does silly or quirky things. Sometimes she doesn't even mean to be funny, she just cracks me up anyway. Right now she wants to go up and down the stairs without any assistance. To the point where she will furrow her brow sternly and order me to wait at the bottom of the stairs. She will use vocabulary that I've never heard her use before. Last week she didn't want to wear the shirt that was picked out for her, so I asked her to pick something else out. She really wanted to wear her pink minnie shirt. She giggled with excitement when I put it on her and then said, "oh I'm so gorgeous!" I cracked up! There's so many in this funny category that I will definitely need to start writing them down on a regular basis!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Potty training - for real this time!

Over the past year, we've had lots of potty interaction. We got her little potty last summer because she was expressing an interest, but she wasn't ready to make that leap yet. The interest turned into a fear of it, so we let it go all fall. Eventually she was ok with sitting on it again, but was nervous about doing anything into it. Finally, we had a major breakthrough!

Laurel got another cold over the weekend, but it was really very mild, mostly snot. But the snot was heavy, so I kept her home from school on Tuesday. I'd heard that not only do the kids have to be ready, but the parent has to be ready too. Ready to help with the progress, deal with the messes, find potties in public in emergencies. I'm not sure I was actually ready before, it all sounded exhausting! But when she was home, I woke up that morning and thought - that's it, I'm done with diapers. I don't want to change them anymore. So she got up in the morning and I told her we were done with diapers and it was time to pick out panties. There was a little whimper, but before I knew it, she was in panties and fine with it! I put her potty in the living room and we had a low key day. She was in just panties and a shirt and she sat on the potty a lot. And she peed!! There was so much excitement. She likes to see the potty process the whole way through. So she pees, we wipe, we carry the pee in the little bucket to the toilet, pour it in, flush, wash hands - the end! I was just shocked by how easily she accepted the potty-only option.

We are on our third day now of potty use! She had one accident yesterday when she was playing outside and I think waited until she couldn't hold it anymore and completely soaked her panties, pants, socks - and shoes!! She was very upset. Otherwise, she will sit when I ask her and she is taking less and less time to start a flow. She's also decided that her reward choice is to watch Donald Duck (50's-60's era) shorts on you tube. So it's been easy to say, time to pee-pee and if you go, you can watch a Donald! Instant crowd pleaser.

Before I had Laurel is used to think bribery was not a good idea. But it really works for Laurel. Her personality type means she's cautious and says "no" before even trying something. So I've stopped looking at it as bribery, but instead believing I am rewarding her for good behavior, following instructions, trying new things. She embraces reward and praise and I enjoy making rewarding her. She's been such a good girl with the potty, I am so happy to finally have tackled this with her!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Busy Spring!

I've been just swamped at work this spring. Good because things are sailing along well, but bad because we are overloaded and have gotten behind. Orders came in from the Gift Show in New York in abundance - that was Beginning of Feb. We've had some great custom work as well. Between the two we're starting to need to reassess our need for hired help. So things should get interesting. I'm usually reluctant to hand over my work to someone else, but I also need to realize I can't do it all! That's been a tough one.

My mom has been a great help. She is working in the store and takes Laurel a lot of mornings for me. It's nice to have the extra time to get things done in the morning so that I can really appreciate my time with Laurel in the afternoon. Laurel is always a good sport and loves spending time with everyone. The attachment she had as a baby is long gone and she really enjoys other people now. She loves being at Grandma's apartment and she's lucky that my mom has sent up a fun environment for her there. Laurel loves to feed the fish and the hamster and tends to the dog a lot. Molly is very patient with her now, at first being afraid of a tiny person! Laurel is very loving and gives her kisses. Grandma has tons of puzzles and books and keeps a cupboard stocked with creative games and toys. A lot of the time I have no plans to leave her at Grandma's, but Laurel will request to go there.

Laurel is doing really well at school and her teachers have even commented on her progress. She is talkative, follows directions, very active in her gym time and is all around happy with fun to be around. I was told she is "awesome to have in class", by one of her teachers. Makes me so proud she is doing so well, but it also means she is growing up so fast! She has no trouble expressing herself to us. The sentence structure sometimes misses "and", "in", "on", and other conjunctions, but she knows more than enough words to completely express herself. We are working on saying "no, thank you" when refusing something instead of getting upset. Her regular please and thank you is coming without prompting, so she's turning into such a polite little girl!:)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Potty!

Laurel is using the potty! Not all the time or even everyday, but she has used it and we are so excited! We've all be sick for a long time this winter. The nastiest cold bug I've ever experienced has just been cycling through the people in our home. Laurel brought it home mid January and Alex immediately got sick. I then got it shortly after and it stuck with me for what seems like forever! It would fade and then rage on with new symptoms. Anyway, being sick left us at home a lot with little desire to leave. Perfect time for potty. Alex and I were home with Laurel and she agreed to panties. She just wouldn't pee on the potty so we dangled stickers and candy in front of her and so she sat and sat. Finally she peed and we almost held her down so she wouldn't stand up! But finally having an official bladder emptying on the potty seemed to relieve her apprehension. We of course had much rejoicing:) - singing, dancing, saying bye to the pee in the big potty and a whole strip of stickers! Laurel is decorating her potty with lots of stickers of Ariel, Mickey and other Disney characters. But otherwise, her potty inclinations seem to be dependant on what she can get, not because she wants to use it. So we still use diapers a lot. Hopefully though she will make the full transition soon. She just has to decide she doesn't want to wear a diaper anymore! She really doesn't make any accidents in her panties, so we are so very close!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Moving Copper Willow!

My January has been consumed by a big move in my business. Last fall, Leora and I decided it was time to think about moving. We were outgrowing our space and as a whole, the old space wasn't up to snuff. After viewing lots of spaces and even going through some bidding on a couple, we landed a space in the arts district of Culver City. Not a super busy area as of yet, but just down the street from the super busy downtown area, so hopefully the trend with travel that way. We signed our lease around Christmas and immediately brought in a contractor to ammend some walls and paint. We moved out of the old space by the 18th, which was very strenuous. We had movers relocate the machinery of course, but we really had so much stuff otherwise! Lots was donated, recycled or trashed. Lots still left over from the old owner. The set up of the new space quickly followed so we could honor a "soft" opening (no publicized) for Feb. 1. The space is looking great! Still lots of details remaining like some lighting and painting, signage, some shelf stocking, etc.

My mom has been a great help during this process. I've had to be at the shop constantly, so she's pitched in a ton of free time to help with Laurel's care. Mom is also one of the vendors who will be participating in our co-op retail space. She's going to be making paper floral arrangements.

Laurel seems to like the space a lot. Lots of room for her to run about and right now, too many things for her to make mischief with! I've been keeping her out for the most part because our heating unit is being replaced and it's been very cold.

We've had a ton of rain. Both during the move and mostly during the set up of the new store. The temparatures and moist weather have made the experience less that comfortable. In one of our many outings to the "mickey store", I bought Laurel some Minnie rain boots that she just loves to wear:).

Laurel is breaking out of her Disney-only clothing rule. She loves dresses, red and green ones especially. If it's not something Disney, she will wear a dress. If it's neither of those, I have to find some feature on the shirt or about the pants that is so pretty and cute that I can gush to her about! Laurel's favorite non-Disney things are those passed down to her by her cousin, Amber - 8 months older. If I tell Laurel it is Amber's sweater or shoes, she loves to wear it!
Laurel is still resisting the potty, so we're just waiting it out. But in food, she's made some acceptions. She is now enjoying peanut butter - especially on apples. She just loves it. She doesn't like to hold the apple with peanut butter because she doesn't like to get the peanut butter on her fingers. She's a clean, non-sticky girl. She doesn't like mess, gunk on her hands, and therefore won't touch things that she knows will mess her hands. Laurel's motor skills are advancing nicely. She is becoming very confident on stairs, eagerly using the hand rail to go up and down and insisting on doing it herself. on some stairs she will even slowly stomp up the stairs without using the rail at all. She's quite proud of herself:). Laurel's vocab has made some great leaps too. She's been working on her 3+ word phrases all of January but only recently starting talking about how she feels - I am tired, I am hungry for dinner. Also things that she wants or needs - I need napkin, I want tv on, etc. She just seems like a sponge lately!

Laurel is becoming a great little friend to other kids at her play school. She talks often about her friend George and my mom saw her playing and holding hands with some other tots when she picked Laurel up one day. Kids seem to be drawn to each other, so whenever we go anywhere and she runs into someone else her size, an interesting interaction occurs. They talk and giggle, sometimes shy, but then they play and get silly.
When playing she likes to push baby dolls in her stroller, play with her characters in the castle, serve and play tea, do puzzles, read books, color and paint. Her favorite thing is stickers still, lots of sticker books litter the house. She also likes the potato heads and play dough.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Christmas 2009


Christmas this year was pretty chill. We didn't travel much this fall at all now that most of our loved ones are located on the west coast. As Christmas came closer, I realized I had shopped for pretty much everything in needed and was ready way ahead. That was nice. Copper Willow's schedule though has been hectic. All in good ways, but all at the same time! Our holiday album was only in a few stores this year, it's debut season, but was a hit! So there was lots of busy-ness in custom-land. We've also decided to move! That's a big deal. We found a spot on Washington, in what hopes to be an up and coming area of Culver City, in the arts district. Our contractor has started and should finish up after the new year for a mid-Jan move for us. It will be quite a project as we still haven't fully gone through everything left over by the previous owner! But the new space is bigger and should be a really nice paper and printing haven for our little business.
In the midst of all of that, Laurel had gotten ready for Christmas. Presents slowly started collecting under the tree. She helped me wrap by putting some tape on, picking bows and scribbling her name on the tags. She even remembered which presents are for who, just by the wrapping!
Christmas Day started at Laurel's usual wake-up hour, 8 am. (Over time her 7/7:30 wake up got pushed later and so did everything else. She goes to bed around 9:30 and naps around 1:30...she's a night owl). Mom and Megan were with us in the morning to start with Laurel's stocking and breakfast. We then went for the presents and after all of that was finished, there were many naps taken! After everyone arose, we drove down to Mike's house in Yorba Linda. Christy and Mike got engaged a few weeks prior and so there was a lot of celebrating and toasting for multiple occasions!
Laurel was great with opening presents with great appreciation. Her Disneyland princess castle was easily a hit. She also has a tricycle, some new clothes, some new dress up items and some games and play figurines. The present opening in Orange County was a flurry of excitement and flying paper as usual. The kids were the best part, I think we could have all just watched them as a present:).