Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One and a half

Audrey turned 18 months on Friday! We celebrated with a last minute trip to the doctor because she walked face first into a tree branch and I was worried that she hurt her eye. Well, I know it hurt, but I was worried she damaged it. The doctor checked her out and said everything looks fine and clean and sent us on our way. This girl is always hurting herself!

I thought it would be fun to do a round up of her skills at 18 months:
Words: She was saying about 5-8 words at her 15 month appointment, and then for a while she stopped saying those same words. Now she's picked them back up and added a few more. They include:
All done, down, cat, doggie, ball, bobo (pacifier), outside, book, eat, TV (oops), banana, diaper, dada, mama, shoe, love you, Audrey. Of course most of those are baby versions of the real word, but we're working on it. About half of those words are new in the past month, so I know from here on out it will be more and more each week. At her 18 month check up today, the doctor told me that 17 words is not enough right now. Audrey should be saying at least 30 words by 18 months, so she referred me to Early Intervention. I have to call them and they will set up an evaluation for speech therapy. If they do the evaluation and decide she does indeed need it, then we'll start with the speech therapy and reassess in three months. I knew she wasn't talking as much as other kids her age, so this doesn't really surprise me. Mostly I find it kind of annoying, but we'll do it and see where it takes us.

In addition to words, she knows the sounds the following animals make:
Dog, Cat, Bird, Snake, Elephant, Monkey, Cow, Duck, Bumble Bee, Frog, Sheep.
She can also identify almost all of her animals in her animal magnet set  - there are 20 and she can do 16 consistently.

She can identify her body parts - head, ears, eyes, nose, chin, tongue, mouth, arms, elbows, hands, fingers, tummy, belly button, butt, legs, knees, feet, toes. Now we just need to start learning them in Spanish. :)

We watch an episode of Sesame Street every now and then and Audrey LOVES Cookie Monster. She tries to imitate his voice and its the cutest little thing. One day she was watching an episode wear Baby Bear growls and it was supposed to be funny, and she laughed! Josh and I thought that was a neat - laughing at the right time so it means she understands what is going on, right?

We walked up to the library last week and checked out some books about colors. The Manassas Park library is fairly close, and they had a lot of activity boxes for the kids, so I can't wait to get to checking those out. Audrey really liked this latches puzzle.

Her new cute thing right now is singing. I try to have music on or sing to her as much as possible even though I have a horrible voice. Now she sings too, and I absolutely love it. Her little voice saying, "Laaada Daaaaa da laaaa". She sings to and rocks her baby now, and also has started giving the doll her bottle. Imaginary play was one of the things on the doctor's checklist, so Audrey met that one.
She weighs 29.9 lbs and is 32.25 inches tall, putting her in the 85th and 70th percentiles. The doctor said they are perfect and are right on target for her. She's a grazer eater - she says she's hungry pretty much all day long it seems. I asked about that - if this is because she is truly hungry or maybe because she is bored. The doctor said it is normal for toddlers to be eating all day since they don't eat very much at each meal. We're hoping for an uneventful couple of months that will keep us out of the doctor's office, but we'll see her again for the language evaluation in June. I'll follow up with that and more soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blogging Commitment

Lexi and I decided to make an agreement to blog more. Not for your entertainment, but more for ourselves. I love going back and re-reading my blogs and plan to have it printed annually, so I need to actually keep up with it if it I want that in the future. So our plan is to have a weekly blog date where we both sit down and blog on Sunday nights. Last night was the first night, and I missed it. I have no excuse. I was on the couch watching this new tv show that Josh and I are getting in to and I just completely forgot to blog. So here is the overdue blog of stuff we've been doing lately.
 I've been home now for about two months, and so far it is working out wonderfully! I feel rested, less stressed, calmer, and happier. Audrey seems to like having me home too. Every morning I cook our eggs and toast and we enjoy our milk and coffee together, and I love that I am able to take a nap with her in the afternoons sometimes. I love that our evenings are calmer - instead of rushing to get dinner on the table, clean up, get ready for the next day, baths, bed, and then fell asleep myself, we are now able to actually enjoy our nights together and have even had some movie nights in the living room! I know Josh is enjoying it too - we get time each night to spend together after Audrey goes to sleep and neither of us are exhausted anymore.
 Most of my day with Audrey is spent reading books (who is surprised) or outside. That is ALL she wants to do! For the most part, she'll only play by herself for a short while before she is running towards me with a book in hand. I've found some activities for us to do together aside from reading so that we can have variety day to day. I threw together some color boxes and we look over them together and talk about the colors. I thought she was too young for colors, but around the time I took her out of daycare, they were just introducing color games to the toddlers, so I guess she is the right age. I also used my laminator and made her a matching game with the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear". I got the idea from a blog, and it has been a successful game with Audrey. It took a few times for her to figure out what I was asking her to do, but now she does it easily if I can keep her focused the whole time. She is getting really good at coloring now that her motor skills are getting stronger. We even had a milestone - crayon on the wall! It is right next to her coloring table, so I think her hand slipped and marked up the wall. Surely my sweet girl would never actually color on the wall. Or the toilet seat. Or the tile floor. No, not my Audrey.
 We've been so lucky this winter - so much sun and warmth and very little dreariness. I'm loving it because it means we can spend lots and lots of time outside. Audrey gets so restless in the afternoons (and I admit, I do too) so on nice days (pretty much every day lately) we put on our coats and go out in the yard. Amazingly, we already have some little yellow flowers blooming out there. She just finished taking a class at the Rec Center every Wednesday and right behind the rec center is a walking path. We checked it out last week for the first time and its very cool. We didn't get very far down the path, though, because Audrey wanted to stop and look at every log, leaf, and bug we saw! We've made friends with another mom and toddler in the class and have hung out with them once, so hopefully we will have some new playdates with them.
We went to Frying Pan Farm Park last week with some friends and got to see the new baby animals. The day was perfect outside and the kids were in just the right mood. Audrey saw the sheep and started 'baa'-ing and mooing at the cows. Although she doesn't say the names yet, she knows all the animal sounds and had so much fun pointing them out to me.

 We went back on Saturday with Joy and Ian and didn't spend as much time there, but still had lots of fun. We rode around the farm on the tractor and enjoyed some ice cream!
So now that I have Lexi to hold me accountable, I really am going to have to blog at least once a week! I want to do this for myself, anyways, and with Audrey getting bigger and smarter every day, I'm sure I won't have any trouble finding something to write about. So I'll be back here next Sunday night to write more! Maybe, if I am *really* responsible with my time I'll write before then. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grand Canyon

I'm so behind on what I want to be blogging. We've had so much going on around here, but I still haven't even updated about the rest of our wedding week!

After spending the weekend in Las Vegas, we got up early Monday morning and rented a car to drive out to the Grand Canyon. We chose to visit the South Rim because from what I've read, that is the spot with some of the easiest trails to walk and still get awesome views. The drive out took only about 3 hours and was very scenic. I love the desert, and watching the sunrise over the mountains was beautiful.

We arrived at around 10:30 am and although we were tired, we went ahead and spent the day at the Grand Canyon. The day was beautiful but was so cold! It was windy and the high was around 40. Luckily, we came prepared and had Audrey in her warmest coat with lots of blankets around her little legs.
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but really, they do not come close to capturing the vastness of the Grand Canyon. It is huge. Beautiful. Peaceful. I kept snapping pictures and then looking at them with disappointment because they didn't look like what it looked like in person. I guess that's the nature of something this Grand!

 One thing I thought was cool was that they don't have fences and bars to keep you from falling off the side of the mountain. In some places they did, but for the most part, you can walk right up to the edge of a cliff and get as close as you want. We didn't get too close, but standing out on some of those ledges was exhilarating!

 After a while, Audrey got fussy and we got hungry, so we went to the hotel and ate and napped. We headed back to the South Rim a little before dusk so we could see it at sunset. Unfortunately it had gotten soooo cold that we didn't take Audrey out of the car, we just drove the trails and then got out individually when we wanted a closer look. It was so beautiful at dusk, and in the distance we could see the storm rolling in.

 We caught a very close view of some deer and elk while we were driving around.

 We planned on spending most of Tuesday at the canyon as well because there is soooo much to see, but we woke up to a small snow storm! Although it was only a few inches, the entrance to the park hadn't yet been plowed by the time we had to check out of our hotel, so we just packed up and headed home. I really wanted to see the snow covered canyon, but had to settle for snow covered desert. It was gorgeous!
I am very happy with our short visit to the Grand Canyon, but I know there is so much more to see there, so we'll definitely have to make it back again one day. Next time we'll go when the weather is warm so we don't freeze our butts off!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Las Vegas Trip

Our trip out to Las Vegas started early Friday morning. We caught the first flight out of Dulles (as we always do) so that Audrey would be nice and sleepy for the ride. And as usual, my attempts to get her to sleep on the plane worked! We woke her up at 4am and kept her awake through our short flight to Cincinnati, but once we were on the long flight to Vegas, she fell right asleep and stayed asleep until we were about an hour away. So far every time we've flown, this has worked for us....until the flight home. Audrey was awful! She was wired and refused to sleep and was kicking us, kicking the seats in front of us, climbing all over us, hollering, whining, pushing, etc. I thought that flight home would never end, but it did and we made it home safely.

Our first day in Vegas was easy (the whole trip was, really). We checked into our hotel - the MGM Grand - and unpacked a bit and then hit the strip to meet Maria and Josh's aunt Gloria to get a bite to eat. The restaurant had a mechanical bull that people were riding and as we were leaving, the hostess asked if Audrey would like to get on it. Haha, um YES she would (YESI would like that photo op..). We put her up there and she was pretty proud of herself! It was so cute.

After that, Josh and I hopped in a cab and went down to the old part of Las Vegas to get our marriage license. We met another couple getting their license that was also from Northern Virginia. Its a small world! When we got back to our hotel room, we had a very sweet surprise waiting for us. My family had ordered us a bottle of champagne, some chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of milk, and cookies! It was a very nice treat and Josh and I enjoyed the champagne on our wedding night. The rest of the day was spent at the hotel gambling and resting. Josh's dad and uncle and their wives arrived at the hotel late that afternoon, and then my mom got in that night. Josh and Audrey retired to bed early (we were all sooo tired after being up at 4 am, plus the time change), and I stayed in the casino with Maria and mom having some drinks and winning (mostly losing) some money. Maria was the lucky lady of the trip - she won thousands! She even was kind enough to share some winnings with me, which I promptly lost. When it was all said and done, I think Josh and I both won enough to make it even and call it a day. I really want to like gambling, but I don't. I can't stand to lose money. I guess I'm just too cheap to be a gambler.

We got up Saturday morning and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel next door to ours, New York New York. After breakfast, we went back to our hotel and showered and got ready for our wedding. The pre-wedding jitters never actually hit us until we were in the hotel, and I think that was more excitement that jitters or nerves. I got really giggly...

You've already read about the wedding, so I'll just say it was perfect and Josh and I were on top of the world afterwards! We headed back to the hotel, had lunch, and then everyone parted ways. Mom and Audrey took a nap, Josh and I walked the strip with his dad and step mom, and I think Maria went and won a bunch of money again (she was doing this the whole time, just picture her with cash flowing out of her ears). Josh and I had tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil show, KA, that night. I had seen one other Cirque du Soleil show before this - Mystere. I was really disappointed in the show this time. I had been telling Josh for weeks how awesome the Cirque du Soleil shows are and then this one turned out to be nothing like the first one. He still said he liked it, but I was mostly just irritated I spent that much money on a show that I didn't even like. After the show we hit the casino for a bit and Josh actually won some money! I think he won about $150, and then we went and got some pizza with his dad and Debbie to celebrate.

Most everyone left Vegas on Sunday, so Josh, Audrey, mom and I went to the MGM's breakfast buffet that morning. It was amazing. I normally don't like buffets because they are expensive and I don't eat my money's worth, but this one was actually reasonably priced ($20/pp) and I did go back for seconds and thirds. Mom and Audrey and I walked around between hotels for a while to tire Audrey out, and then went back to our room to put her down for a nap. Maria joined us that afternoon and we walked the strip and headed down to the Bellagio to watch the fountain show. It was very neat!

We had wanted to see some more hotel attractions but we needed to get back to our hotel to get ready for another show that night.  To make up for the disappointing Cirque du Soleil show the night before, Josh suggested we go see another one, so we picked the sexy and sensual show, Zumanity. Our friends saw this show a couple years ago and raved about it, and this one did not disappoint! It was much more entertaining and fun than the other one, and it was a great way to end our weekend in Vegas. We were exhausted afterwards and went straight back to our room and fell asleep immediately!

We got up very early Monday morning so we could get our rental car and drive out to the Grand Canyon (again, early in the morning so Audrey would sleep in the car). The drive was beautiful, but the farther we got from Vegas, the colder it grew. We stopped about an hour away from the Grand Canyon to stretch our legs and the wind was bitter cold! I'll write more about our Grand Canyon visit in another post, as I'm realizing this one is quite long and probably boring to everyone except me. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Wedding

Happy One Week Anniversary to us!

Last Friday we traveled to beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada to get married. This wasn't really a surprise or a secret, but a lot of our friends did not know we were getting married this weekend. We had originally planned to have the wedding this coming summer, but as the wedding planning went along we both were feeling too stressed and were realizing how expensive weddings are and how it wasn't fitting what we wanted. When we were in Vegas a few years ago, we almost got married but decided not to because we wanted our mothers to be there. So as we went along in the planning over the past few months, we both kept coming back to the idea of going to Las Vegas. We decided to go ahead with it in January, so we had about a month and a half to plan.
Getting our marriage license
Pre-Wedding bar stop

The wedding ceremony was at the Little White Wedding Chapel at 11am on Saturday. We all got ready in our hotel rooms and then headed down to the casino for a quick drink (a shot of whiskey, of course) before the limo picked us up to escort us to the chapel. Our guests included my mom, Josh's mom, his aunt Gloria, his dad and stepmother, his uncle Israel and aunt Evelyn, and of course our sweet Audrey. My mom and Maria walked me down the aisle. Audrey was going to stand with us up front, but she decided to run around wild instead. Our minister was a black guy with dread locks...that was pretty cool! He was a very sweet man and we enjoyed chatting with him and his wife while we filled out paperwork before the ceremony. While we waited we even got to see a couple go through the drive through. We loved it! It was a very short ceremony - about 5 minutes long - and we were able to live stream it over the internet. We are so happy that our family and friends from all over the country were able to watch us get married! After the ceremony, the photographer took some pictures and while we waited for the disk, we all gathered around and took family photos. We got some good ones (aside from the super cheesy backdrop!). The limo picked us up and took us back to our hotel where we went out and had a celebratory lunch. After that we were all pretty exhausted so we took it easy for the rest of the afternoon.

The wedding planning was very easy and now that it is all done, I am so glad that we did it this way! I loved the fun and flirty dress I got to wear and the dangerously high heels. Josh looked so snazzy and handsome in his suit with a pinkish tie to match Audrey and me. The wedding was simple, unique, and definitely not traditional - it was perfectly US!
I will update again with more about our trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon! We are having more pictures taken this coming weekend so stay tuned for those. xo

The Falcons