Oliver Patrick: Two Years Old!

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Sunday, August 28, 2016 3:41 PM

Our little guy decided to go ahead & turn two, whether we like it or not.  I knew I was having a hard time with it when we walked into the zoo gift shop after our day at the zoo for his birthday, and the sight of a Mama Bear/Baby Bear t-shirt display forced a hard-swallow of a quickly rising sob.  Later that week, back in California, I steeled my face over when Patrick (proud of his getting-something-done) announced that he'd taken down the crib.  I mean, he hadn't slept in it for two months, but taking it down...just so final.  It's not that two is all bad, it's just that it's so grown up, and so much about growing up and not being a baby anymore, and Mamas like babies.

But Oliver is just as sweet at two as he's been all along and so we boldly (and/or weepily) go forth into this new year.  He makes us smile and laugh every day and although the strong will is rising and the limits are being tested, there's so much cuteness to balance out the fits of temper.

Oliver at Two:
~ He weighs about 28 lbs and is about 36" tall as of his checkup last week.  So if that thing about doubling their height at 2 yrs to get their future height is true, we have a 6' gentleman on the horizon.
~ It's hard to say what his favorite food is...(ummm, fruit snacks?)  He does consistently go for the olives and/or blueberries on his plate, and, a little funny, he loves salad, but I suspect it has a bit to do with the ranch dressing.  He is not a picky eater necessarily, but he's not a big eater either...and I'm trying to cherish this time before he's a teenager and the grocery bill triples.
~ He loves, loves, loves to sing!  He pays very close attention to lyrics and often will start singing along after just one or two listens.  He spends a lot of his day singing, usually a medley of ABCs, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (which he calls Teedle Teedle), and also loves Jesus Loves Me, Peace Like A River, and now sings along to my Homespun CD, since we used that for nighttime for a few weeks.  Last week, I started him on Sing Over Me for bedtime, which Vianne has been using for about 3 years.  I have never once heard her sing along to it though, or sing any of the songs throughout the day, but Oliver is already singing along!  He also listens intently when there's music on in the car and often sings along to Sara Groves & Steven Curtis Chapman now, too (much to my delight!).
 ~ He still loves his books.  His favorite book is anything that you will read to him pretty much, but he's always had a special place in his heart for My Pet Book by Bob Staake, and he loves Put Me In The Zoo and books where you can feel textures.  He loves Bear Sees Blue and Little Green and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his Richard Scarry books.  He also really likes look & find books.
~ He has his front eight teeth, about four molars, and is presently working on all four canines, which have been slowly making their way out for several weeks.  He has quite a thick head of hair at the moment, too, and I may need to YouTube some haircutting tricks soon.
~ His vocabulary continues to multiply daily and he copies a lot of what we three say.  It's so cute to trace back his phrases to Vianne, which he often uses out of context.  At bedtime, I ask them what song they want to sing and he says, "I pick...I know!" Because that's what Vianne always says, but he didn't pick up on the part where she actually then names a song :-).  He is pretty good at pronouncing words correctly but there are still moments when I have no idea what he's saying, and he calmly and persistenly repeats them, with a sort of pitying look in his eye, as if to say, "Silly Mama, it's perfectly clear."
~ Although he is still quite the Mama's boy (not that I'm complaining, sweet little snuggle-bug), he seems to thrive on outings and loves to get out and explore the world.  He does great in the car (once we get past that initial struggle into the car seat) and is a pretty good sport wherever we take him.
~ He loves family & friends and often talks about family members and friends from church (his favorites are Addi & Kaliyan). Since being back from Oregon, he often asks "Grandma's house a bit?" - he gets this from Vianne who always asks in stores if we can "look at the toys a bit?" :-)  After a recent visit from Patrick's family, he often asks about Granma, "Papa", & Uncle Jon, and loves to play along when Vianne declares that we are "Rebekah, Ava & Ian" or "Emily, Bea/Margot & Edmund."
~ He's pretty much got the alphabet song down, and is starting to learn 1-10, and is getting pretty good at his colors, and even a few shapes.
~ He loves to play dress-up with Vianne.  He's often the Anna to her Elsa, is quite fond of her Wonder Woman costume, but is now branching out into Olaf, super heroes, and cowboy with the acquisition of some more masculine options he got for his birthday.  He generally adores his big sister and they are starting to have quite a lot of fun playing together, especially since he's so often willing to go along with whatever she comes up with.  They love imagining together and playing in the sandbox & playhouse in the backyard and riding around the house on one of their many bikes or riding toys.
~ He's just now starting to show some interest in television, but still won't watch for more than a few minutes.  And, to be honest, most of the interest is in pushing the buttons of the remote.  He usually wants to see Sheriff Callie, and more recently a show called Dive, Olly, Dive!, but if there's talking and no song, he loses interest pretty quickly.
~ He's having a rough time sleeping through the night since the transition to the big bed.  So he comes and gets me half way through every night and I, too tired to care or do differently for now, have been sleeping in his room for most of the summer.  He often cries out in his sleep, seems to be having frequent bad dreams or something, so it's hard to find the motivation to get all firm about sleeping alone for now. (yawn)  He also has effectively given up his nap, or rather I've stopped encouraging the taking of one, because when he does, he has a very hard time going to sleep at bedtime.  So, down time for me is complicated at the moment...but...we press on.
~ He is a very affectionate little guy and still loves to snuggle & be held and gives lots of hugs and kisses.  He also is very sensitive about hearing the word "no", mostly from people other than me, and getting in trouble, and has this signature jutting-bottom-lip pout that turns to a heartwrenching sob in slow motion when he's upset.  It's so cute that it's hard not to laugh in his distress.
~ He loves Elmo, Mickey Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh & friends (he sleeps nightly with his Tigger). He also loves to look at "pip-bers" (pictures) - on the phone, on the computer - and if I stop, he says, "More pip-bers!"

This is the photo shoot we did on his birthday while we were at Grandma's house in Oregon - our sweet little sailor!

 Love this smile!

4th of July 2016

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Friday, August 26, 2016 4:16 PM

This was our first July in Sacramento, so naturally our first 4th of July (or "four-cha-ly" as Vianne calls it) here, too.  I was a bit bummed to find out that Natomas doesn't do anything special for the day; as it's part of Sacramento, it assumes (I guess?) that its residents all go to Tahoe or want to cram in a stadium with thousands of other people.  This small town girl does/wants neither.  

But there's a city north of here, Woodland, where we shop at Costco so are somewhat familiar with, that reportedly had some festive goings-on, and when I awoke on the 4th feeling particularly Canby-Days-sick, I decided to hop in the car with the kids and head up there.  They'd been up since the crack of dawn & by some ungodly hour like 7:00 a.m., we'd already gotten our outfits on & read all our holiday books & even searched Amazon & Netflix for some kind of holiday-appropriate show (to no avail). 

So we left for Woodland's bike parade with plenty of time to navigate anticipated traffic & parking issues.  The parade was on Main St., so when I got to Main St., I kept driving down waiting for a blockade to appear, to run into a detour and see crowds gathered.  But none of these arose.  There was one block where there were 10 or so folks milling about, so I turned off on a side street where there was one other car parked and we walked down to where we'd seen the small gathering.  Within a few minutes, a group of patriotic bikers emerged from a plaza, and by this point maybe 25 people had gathered to watch.

Don't get me wrong: it was adorable. It just was also a bit laughable, thinking I was going to have trouble parking & may be stuck in leaving traffic for an hour.  Apparently when you do a bike parade in some towns, it means just bikes, not the other parade elements, and the parents are all walking alongside the bikes, therefore this doesn't leave a lot of folks to watch the parade, just a few willing grandparents and any Canby transplants desperate for small-town charm.

So the bikers headed a few blocks down to a park, where the fun really started.  There was a gazebo with a band playing Americana music, there were bouncy houses and a playground and free snow cones and games and crafts.  And I tell ya, this Mama was SOLD.  It was awesome.  The kids were thrilled and my heart was filled with small-town joy.  Maybe the best part was that the large crowd of locals only stayed for about a half four, so by about 10:45 (the parade had started at 10:00) all the activities were going strong but there were only about 30 people milling about.  So we got snow cones (there had previously been a huge line) and made crafts and Vianne got the princess bouncy house to herself for like 15 minutes.  

Anyway, hooray, Woodland, CA!  You made this Mama's 4th of July morning.

 Back at home, we got ready for our family evening BBQ...
Afternoon amusements: red, white & blue M&Ms
 Spray ball

 beach balls
 (how cute are they?)
 and patriotic selfies



 Then we fired up the grill

 and waited for the burgers to cook
 then sat down for a perfect picnic (Vianne gives it a thumbs up!)

 MMMMM...all the essentials!

 I had been wanting to make an English trifle for a long time so thought I'd try one out for an ironic twist for the 4th (and while berries

Family approved!

Testing out the firework-watching bench
Vianne's first sparkler!
Fun with the camping lantern while waiting for it to get dark...

To round out the day, Daddy put on our own little fireworks show!