Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving and tree picking

Happy Thanksgiving! It came and went already but I hope everyone had a great time and ate a ton of yummy food, I know I did. We spent the day at my aunts house, Olivia skipped her nap that day so she was a little cranky but not as bad as I expected. She wasn't too interested in eating for some reason, she only had olives, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes (nice combo). She doesn't take after me when it comes to her appetite, Thanksgiving food is the best! After Livy went to bed, me and Paul went to the movies to see Horrible Bosses 2, it was hilarious! We hadn't been to the movies in over a year so it was pretty fun. Friday morning we went to get our Christmas tree, it's a tradition for us. We meet up with my sister and some of her friends and my brother in laws family. They cook food on the grill, the kids run around and we usually go on a hayride (we skipped that part this year because it was so cold). After all that, we look for our tree. I know it sounds simple but it's a challenge to find a tree that is the right size, color, shape and isn't too bare. It also snowed two days before we went so all the trees were covered with ice and snow. This year we found it fairly quick though and I even helped saw it down for the first time. I was doing okay but then it felt like the saw was stuck on something so Paul finished the job. Olivia kept running up to every dog she saw but once they got too close, she would run in the other direction, it was so cute and funny. 
 Left: My adorable nephews with Olivia.
(It's impossible to get a picture of all three kids looking and smiling.)
Right: The Stensland fam.
When we got home, we decorated the tree. Olivia wasn't much of a help, she had more fun taking ornaments off the tree rather than putting them on. The cats are worse though, they play with the ornaments, drink the tree water and rip our stockings down.

 The picture on the right was taken on Thanksgiving.
On Saturday morning, we went to my friends house for a playdate. She has a daughter who is three months younger than Liv. It was adorable to see them play together, they even ate a snack together at her little table. After that, I did some more Christmas shopping with my mom but I'm still not even close to being done. I have to work today so I'm not getting anything else done but it was a fun weekend and I'm glad we did everything we had planned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Weight check

Yesterday I took Olivia to the pediatrician for a weight check, since there is six months between her 18 month and 24 month visit, we thought it would be a good idea. She didn't gain that much but I'm not surprised because while she was sick, she barely ate. She's been eating much better the past five days though so hopefully she will make up for it. She is now 20lbs 2oz, at her 18 month visit she was 19lbs 11oz, I'm just glad she gained and didn't lose. The doctor isn't concerned since she is still on her curve so I'm not going to stress about it. Her speech therapist came today, well actually.. I thought she was a speech therapist but apparently she is a teacher who helps with language development. She mentioned today that a speech therapist will start coming for Liv in January. I feel like it's been kind of pointless, I thought we were working on speech this whole time. I know language development is a stepping stone to speech though so it hasn't been a complete waste but I was a bit confused at first. When she left, I put Livy down for a nap and ended up taking one with her. After our long (lovely) nap, I decided to stop at a few stores and get a jump start on my Christmas shopping. I have a whole list of presents I need to buy but it wasn't a very successful trip. I only found a few things I needed. I also wanted new curtains for our bedroom, last week I got a new bedspread and it bothers me when they don't match. I found a similar color for only $10 but when I got home, I realized it was only one curtain, I need two obviously. My mom checked the store for me but there weren't any left so now I have to go to a different store tomorrow morning which is a pain. The rest of the week we are going to be really busy and I don't want to wait all the way until next week. Not the end of the world but just an annoyance, I felt stupid for not actually reading that there was only one in the package. Speaking of annoyance, my phone has absolutely zero space left. It wont even let me take a picture, which is what I use my phone for the most (after texting). I guess I need to start carrying my actual camera around everywhere now because I can't afford a new phone or more space. I deleted pretty much every single app, picture and video too but it has been pointless. It's supposed to snow tomorrow but I've been hearing all different amounts, anywhere from 1-12 inches. As usual, I'm hoping for zero!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Children's museum

Yesterday we took Olivia to a children's museum, I think I was more excited than she was. It was a bad idea to skip her nap because after about an hour she just wanted me to hold her and she was being really clingy. She had fun though, they had these "toddler caves" on one of the floors for 1-2 year olds. It was an under the sea theme, there were some tunnels and caves to run through, there was also a few slides. Paul put Liv on the slide and I was waiting at the bottom but she wasn't too excited about that, she was trying to grab the wall on the way down. The other floors were cool but they were for older kids. I think she was a little intimidated by the big kids because there was so many of them and they were running around and bumping into each other. Each room had a different theme, there was a room for music, cars, trains, boats, farm animals, dinosaurs and more that I can't think of right now. By the time we got home Olivia was exhausted and more than ready for a nap. I went out to lunch with my mom and we got some Christmas shopping done. I also got a ton of errands done that I've been meaning to do lately. I got in the mood to organize things and that doesn't happen often so I had to take advantage. The bad news is that today my whole entire body is sore and I have to work all afternoon/evening. Olivia has a runny nose again but I'm hoping it's just allergies and not a cold, she just got over a cold last week so if she's sick again that will be a bummer.

Liv was relentlessly trying to pop the water bubbles.

 Of course she's closing her eyes in all of the pictures that she took with me.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Citrus Lane review - November 2014

It took a while this month but Liv finally got her Citrus Lane box today. Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box for babies/toddlers. You pay a certain price per month depending on how long you want to subscribe (it’s cheaper for the longer subscriptions). Every month you receive four to five items for your child and sometimes something for you as well. The boxes are age and gender appropriate (or you can pick neutral). This box is for a 21 month old girl.

Everything Olivia got in her November Citrus Lane box.
Melissa & Doug chunky puzzle:  This is the item we got to pick this month. All the choices were really cute, I almost picked the ballerina but I liked the mermaid a little better. The flash wasn't working on my camera when I took this picture so you can't tell but the colors are so bright and pretty! I really like Melissa & Doug toys, they are great quality. Even though Olivia has a lot of puzzles, I'm still glad we got this. I'm going to stash it away for her birthday, it's for ages 2+ anyway so it will be a nice little gift for her. Retails for: $9.99
Plan Toys veggie play set:  I love these, they are adorable and I can't wait to give them to Liv (another toy I'm saving for Christmas). It will be fun to see her pretend to cut veggies and cook them. We got her a play kitchen for Christmas and I wanted to buy some play food to go along with it anyway so it's perfect timing. Retails for: $10.00 (Just an estimate, the whole set comes with five veggies and a cutting board.) 
Barefoot Books - Bear Takes A Trip:  This is a really nice book but I feel like we have so many right now. Olivia has only been letting me read her certain books lately so I decided that I'm gifting this one. I definitely don't mind getting them though. Retails for: $6.99
Annie's snack mix These are yummy. Livy likes the cheddar bunnies and I like the pretzels. I don't mind getting snacks in the boxes but I don't think they should count as an item (it's more like a sample). In my eyes, we only got three things this month but they are a little more expensive so I guess it evens out. Retails for: <$1
Add ons: I got both of my add ons practically for free this month (thanks to credits and coupon codes). The Boon fleet bath boats are a little young for Liv but I got them as a gift for a friends baby, they are really cute and sturdy. We already have the Zoli bot cup in pink but the straw is starting to fall apart so I was very excited to see the purple one. Sippy cups were a challenge for us so we went right to straw cups and this one is awesome because no matter how Olivia tilts the cup, she is still able to drink from it. Even though it leaks from time to time and the straw only lasted for 6 months, I would still recommend it. I'm pretty sure you can buy replacement straws too.
I loved the box this month and I can't wait to give Olivia the toys! The total value of this box is about $28. Not a great value this month (but maybe my prices are a bit off). I also think the items we got are really cute and good quality, enough to overlook the value (for this month at least). I got a six month subscription and with coupons, I paid about $15 per month so it's still worth it to me. If you're interested in getting a Citrus Lane subscription for your child, you can use my referral link to get 50% off your first box - Melissa's CL referral. It's a subscription so make sure you cancel after your receive your boxes or you will be charged again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Excuse me baby

I took Olivia to the library again today, I think the highlight of her day was on the way in when we saw a squirrel. She started squealing, she was so excited. She watched it run up a tree with a huge smile on her face, the things that make her happy are so random. We were the only ones there at first but after a few minutes some other kids showed up. Then a big class of kids (I think they were four year olds) came running in and almost knocked all the little kids over (not on purpose). I think Liv got scared at first but then she was playing with them, one little boy kept playing peek a boo with her. He was making her laugh and it was really cute. Then she was playing at the train table and a little boy was trying to push the train around the track but Liv was standing in the way so he kept saying "excuse me baby" over and over. It was quite comical, I couldn't help but laugh and Liv was looking at him like he was a crazy person. We actually saw Liv's first play group teacher there, she said she thought she recognized her. She was really nice and I was sad when she retired, she asked how old Olivia was now and mentioned how big she has gotten. I don't notice much because I see her everyday but when I look back at pictures I'm always amazed, she doesn't even look the same to me.

Big girl.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Too cold for the playground

It didn't end up snowing on Friday so I took Olivia to the playground. She hated the swings but I think she was just annoyed because it was so cold. Everything was wet so maybe it actually did snow and then melt, I have no idea but we only ended up staying for ten minutes. Since the playground was a bust, I ended up taking her to the library. The children's section is really cute, they have a play house, play kitchen and train set. Olivia was running around playing with everything, she really loved the play house. It was fun to finally get out of the house, she had a good time and I enjoyed seeing her play. She's been eating better too so I think she is starting to get over her cold.

 She's a better cook than mommy.
On Friday night I didn't sleep much, I only ended up getting about 3 hours. I had so many things to do yesterday but I only did half of what I wanted to do, which really bums me out. I was able to get a haircut though so I was happy about that, it's been almost a year since my last one and it was out of control. I was so exhausted by dinner time (I was falling asleep on the couch) so I went to bed way earlier than normal, I fell asleep before 9. Unfortunately, I woke up around 1am and couldn't fall back to sleep until 6am. So of course today, I'm tired again. It's a never ending cycle of bad sleep habits, I don't see that changing anytime soon. I have to work today and I'm not exactly looking forward to it, hopefully it goes by quick.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cooped up

Things haven't gotten much better with Olivia, she still has a runny nose and cough. She's been super picky with food but she has done a little better (barely) the last few days. I actually called the doctor again because she gets me so worried. She was being lethargic all day, she just wanted to lay down and she didn't seem herself. He told me the symptoms could last another week but as long as her breathing is normal and she doesn't have a fever then she is okay. He also said that if she was still not feeling well by Tuesday then I should bring her in again so he could check her just to make sure everything is okay. I talked to him for a good fifteen minutes about her heart and my concerns. One of the holes (I can't remember which one) is now restrictive (that's a good thing) so it's not even an issue anymore. The other hole is pretty small and it would be unlikely that it could cause an issue, if it did then it would be over a period of months (not days). I felt a little better after talking to him but I haven't been in the best mood lately. I don't even really know why, maybe because Olivia has been sick. Seeing her sad makes me sad, especially today when she wasn't acting herself. I'm also still a little sick myself, it seems like this cold will never go away. It's been two weeks and yet I still feel sluggish, all I want to do is sleep to be honest. I think if I could just get two or three nights of good sleep, I would feel so much better. We've been cooped up in the house for almost a week now and it's driving me crazy, I want to get Liv out and about but I'm worried it will just prolong her being sick. I don't want to bring her around other kids and have her spreading her germs either. I was thinking that we could go to the store or library tomorrow but its supposed to snow tonight so if it does, I am definitely not leaving the house. I don't do well driving in the snow but maybe we could play outside, last year she wasn't too impressed with snow but now that she's a bit older she might actually enjoy it. Here's to hoping Liv wakes up tomorrow feeling better!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Things I never thought of

I remember when I was around 19 years old and I went to my first dentist visit without my parents. I had to fill out a form, there were tons of questions about having different diseases (check yes or no). I remember going down the list (quickly and slightly annoyed) checking no for all of them. One of those things was heart disease. When Olivia goes to the dentist, she will have to check yes. I know that doesn't seem like a big deal but the fact that a simple visit to the dentist can be dangerous for her is so scary to me. Heart disease was never something I gave much thought to but now, it's always in the back of my mind. If I overhear someone else's conversation and heart disease, heart failure or a heart attack is mentioned, I freeze. It always stops me in my tracks and I try to listen in, I probably shouldn't but I always want to. Even when I see commercials on TV for medication and they say "Do not take if you have heart disease", it makes me cringe. I see so many people asking questions in the heart group that I wouldn't even think to ask. Will Olivia be able to ride roller coasters? Will she be able to go to a haunted house? Can she take certain medications? Will she be able to have kids? I have no idea. I always write down all these kinds of questions so I can ask her cardiologist. I will be sad for her if she has to miss out on experiences. When people look at Olivia, they see a normal kid. She runs around and plays, she looks healthy but I feel like her heart disease is always hiding in the shadows, ready to flip our world upside down again. When I can't fall asleep (often), my mind starts to wander. I think about when she is older, if she will be embarrassed about her scar or if kids will make fun of her. I will do my best to teach her to be proud of herself but I know I can't shield her from everything (I wish I could). When she's my age, will she take care of herself? Will she go to her cardiology appointments like she's supposed to? I know, I think way too far into the future but even when she's an adult, I will remind her to be careful. I know she is okay right now, I will always treat her like she's a normal kid. I wont let her heart disease define her but it's definitely a part of who she is. It's her story and there are so many little reminders of that every single day, it can never be just brushed aside. Even when people ask me about having another baby, the first thing that pops into my mind is "Will the next one have heart disease too?". I don't know what the "normal" baby experience is, I feel like I was robbed of that. When Olivia was born, she was rushed away from me. We weren't able to spend all of our time in the hospital room together, she was in the NICU. I couldn't hold her for weeks, I couldn't breastfeed her, I could barely even bottle feed her. If the next baby is completely healthy, I feel like the experience will be so different. As much happiness as I had with Olivia, there was a lot of sadness that came along with it. I was scared most of the time and then I felt guilty. I wanted to just be happy that my baby was here and alive but I was so nervous that I would lose her. I don't want the next baby to go through any of that, it would break my heart just like it did with Olivia. This turned into a long ramble, I feel like I just typed out a bunch of scattered thoughts so I hope this post actually makes sense. I always wonder if other heart parents feel the same, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.

So thankful for this beautiful little miracle.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The inevitable

Yup, it happened. I passed along my germs to poor little Olivia and now she's sick. She has been having a really rough time since Wednesday. I brought her to the doctor and he said it's just a cold, luckily her lungs sound clear so that's always a relief. She has been coughing so much that she starts to gag and she threw up a few times because of it, it makes me feel so terrible for her. She has no appetite, all she has been eating is tiny bites of food here and there. I'm glad she's getting plenty of fluids though because I feel like it's helping, she had a low grade fever for one day but it didn't last too long. She hasn't been sleeping well either, which is understandable. Obviously since she hasn't been sleeping, I haven't been either. On Thursday night I only got two hours of sleep, that's a new record for me. We've just been relaxing for the most part, I was sad that we missed our last playgroup class but I couldn't bring her there sick, all the other moms might want to kill me. Plus, I don't think she would have been in very good mood anyway. I hope this cold doesn't last much longer because I miss my happy baby and I just want her to feel better.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Germs love me

I don't even understand how it's possible but I'm sick.. again! I mean seriously, I was just sick last month. I'm sure it has a lot to do with lack of sleep (around 2-3 hours a night) but this honestly just sucks. I really hope that I don't get Olivia sick, I'll feel even worse. I'm quite the baby when I'm sick but I'm trying to push through. Yesterday and today, I've been playing catch up. I had to do all the errands, laundry and dishes that I neglected during our very busy (but very fun) week. I had to work all afternoon/evening and it was a very long night, I'm exhausted now. Time to cuddle up on the couch, catch up on my shows and eat excessive amounts of leftover Halloween candy, hoping that I wake up tomorrow feeling much better.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


On Tuesday my mom asked if we would go to the pumpkin patch with her and I said of course, I love it! When we got there, we went on a hayride but about halfway through, the tractor stopped and it wouldn't start again. Apparently the driver didn't realize there wasn't enough gas in the tank, we had to walk all the way back. That was a little annoying since I had to carry Olivia the whole way and she gets heavy after a while. It was fine though, we let her run around and she loved seeing the animals. She also loved picking up the little pumpkins, there was a big box filled with them and she kept taking them out one by one and then putting them back in. She was entertained by that for a good fifteen minutes. They also had these cute little playhouses, Olivia kept running in and out of them. She was looking through the windows and she wanted me to play peek a boo with her so we did that for a while. After the pumpkin patch, we went out to eat and Liv actually ate really well. All the running around must have worked up her appetite.

Sitting on a pumpkin with Mama and on the hayride with her Gigi (Grandma).

On Wednesday we had a Halloween party at work and I dressed up as Wednesday Addams (too lazy to buy a costume or put in effort). Not that many people could figure out who I was which kind of surprised me (who hasn't seem the Addams family?!). The people who knew, gave me props on my costume so it was okay. It was a pretty fun night, it wasn't as busy as I was expecting it to be though.
On Thursday morning I took Olivia to playgroup. The teacher mentioned last week that they could wear their costumes to class so I brought it. Only five or six other kids wore theirs (out of about twenty). It was still really cute to see the kids dressed up, one little boy was in a Cookie Monster costume and Olivia kept running over to him to pet his "fur". To my surprise, she kept her costume on the whole time without a fight. It was fun as always, I'm bummed that next week is the last class until January. It's something that Olivia really enjoys so I hate when they have a break because I miss it (and I'm sure she does too).
Thursday night me and Paul went to a ghost story lecture (I can't think of a better way to describe it) at the library. Paul had gone two years ago and he told me about the really cool ghost footage they showed, the people that spoke that year were paranormal investigators. I was expecting the same thing this year and I was really excited because it was my first time going. Online it explained that they would be telling ghost stories and the haunted history of our town. Unfortunately, it seemed to be more of a ploy to get us to sign up for the ghost tour they have every weekend. The lady who was speaking would mention a cool ghost story and then say "but I can't tell you about it because I'll give away the secrets of the tour". I wasn't the only one who was annoyed by this, other people started to walk out. We stayed because we didn't want to be rude but it was definitely not what I expected. It ended pretty early so me and Paul went to get a drink and some food since we had time to kill. We talked about taking the tour next year but I guess we'll see.
Yesterday was Halloween! One of my favorite holidays, I love all of them but Halloween is so much fun. In the morning Olivia was wearing her cute little pumpkin (with a mustache) shirt from her Gigi, she looked super adorable. While she was napping, I had to watch a few Halloween shows and my favorite movie Hocus Pocus. After her nap, I got her up and quickly fed her so we could all go trick or treating! The first house we went to, they gave Olivia two pieces of candy. She did not let go of those two pieces of candy for the entire night (by the time we got home they were a disgusting melted mess). She wanted me (and only me) to carry her to every door and I swear I thought my arms were going to fall off. She was dressed as a cat and it was really funny because Paul had a flashlight so when we wanted her to follow us, he would shine it on the ground and she would chase it, as a real cat would. One of the houses we went to had a dog dressed up like a hot dog, Olivia went wild when she saw him. She was yelling in excitement and the dog started barking, the lady handing out the candy thought it was hilarious. We weren't out for too long because she started to get antsy towards the end but her entire bucket was filled with candy so we were done anyway. This year more people were able to figure out her costume, besides the occasional person who thought she was a skunk. We picked the perfect costume for her because of course, as you all know, she is obsessed with cats. She's a crazy cat lady in training. After trick or treating, I brought Livy to my aunts house down the street so she could see her all dressed up and Paul stayed home to hand out candy (which he actually enjoys). I didn't get to hand out any candy this year, I love seeing all the different costumes but that's okay since I saw lots of kids walking passed us while we were out. We got home around 8:30 and by that point it was raining, so everyone went home. After Liv went to bed, me and Paul watched American Horror Story: Freak Show (the episode that aired on Wednesday) and it was my favorite episode so far, I was so happy but I wont spoil it for anyone. Anyway, we had such a fun Halloween and now let the Christmas countdown begin! (Totally kidding by the way.)