Celebrating Easter 2011

The Sunday before Easter we decided to have our morning bagels at Woodward Park. Libby loved exploring the flowers, grass and trees...

It amazes me how much she's changed in just 12 months! Here's us this time last year, when she was just 12 weeks old:

A few days later, Libby met the Easter Bunny for the first time. She loved him! The boy in line before her screamed and cried, but it didn't phase Libby one bit! When it was her turn, she ran right up to him and said, "Up!" and then proceeded to touch his ears and glasses. She was only mildly annoyed that she had to turn away and look at the camera!

Sadly, the rain started on Good Friday and continued all weekend long. So Easter Sunday was rained out. We decided not to go to church due to the weather. Nevertheless, we had fun at home. Libby enjoyed getting her first Easter basket. 

We had a lazy day and just stayed close and snuggled. J made a delcicious dinner with lamp chops, mashed potatoes and asparagus. Hopefully next Easter Libby will get to hunt for eggs! For now, she's thrilled to crack open the plastic ones we filled with Annie's Bunnies Graham Crackers and put in her basket.

First Tornado Warning of the Season

Today we had our first dangerous weather of tornado season. I didn't even know there was a serious weather front on our radar until I was getting ready to leave work and a co-worker said, "good luck with the storms tonight." I was like, "what storms?" and she said, "oh, you have to tune into the radio because they're predicting tornadoes tonight." Gulp. We don't have TV and I mainly listen to the local public radio station that broadcasts NPR. Aside from the National Weather Service Alerts that interrupts their broadcast during imminent dangerous weather, they are not huge on posting tons of weather information. So, on the drive home I tuned into KRMG, which is the local talk radio station (read: CONSERVATIVE talk radio) and that supposedly has the best radio weather reports.

Once I got home, I mentioned to my mom that there were reports of severe weather on the way...so she tried to tune her TV in her room to a local station. She doesn't have cable, so she uses a digital antennae, which means that in severe weather it generally fails. And of course, it wasn't working that well, but she did manage to get spotty coverage from Fox23. I nursed Libby and she fell asleep for a second nap of the day, which she has dropped had since before her first birthday and typically only has one nap daily. I placed her in her crib and carried on with checking email, getting dinner items ready and tidying up around the house.

At 5:30 p.m. the radio blared a warning and the tornado siren at Harvard and 41st went off. I jumped up from the computer, scooped Libby out of her crib and headed to our bathroom, which, aside from the hall closet, is probably the safest place in the house to ride out severe weather. My mom rounded up the four dogs and got them into the bathroom. Next she brought in blankets and our couch cushions. Meanwhile, I nursed Libby while sitting in the tub, as she was fussing and I didn't want her to start wailing which inevitably leads to a quartet of small dogs howling together in unison. Mom turned up the radio in the living room, grabbed our purses, extra diapers, bottles of water, extra batteries and her medications and returned to the bathroom. She heard the cat outside the door so she opened it, grabbed her and placed her in our linen closet so she'd be away from the dogs. There we were: me, mom and Libby with four dogs and a cat...all stuffed into our teeny 1950's tiled bathroom. I loaded new batteries into our combo flashlight/radio (it also has a crank, just in case it loses juice) and turned into KMRG so we could hear the reports better.

They're located near 71st/Yale and we're at 41st/Yale and we got very scared when they broadcast that they were evacuating the building. They also reported the ominous green sky that sometimes comes before a tornado. The sky darkened the small window in our bathroom and my mom began to cry behind a couch cushion. I continued to nurse and rock Libby as the sirens blared and the reports from the emergency radio intensified. All of the sudden it got extremely bright outside. I looked out the window and it was eerily calm. No leaves bustled. There was no sound. After about 3 or 4 minutes the sky darkened again and thunder clapped. It began to rain hard and fast and then the hail came. And the wind kicked up again. After that the sirens stopped. We're not 100% sure but we think that tornadic activity passed over our house. Swirling clouds, at least. That explains the green sky. And it makes sense since that is what the radio station reported as well and they're not far from us. Thankfully, that was all it was here. The folks in Tushka were not so fortunate. And it's a reminder to us that we need to be prepared. It's Spring in Oklahoma and that means it's tornado season.

Color Color! Circle Circle!

Libby LOVES to color with her color crayons. She also loves to look at her books with colors in them and sort her toys by color. She can identify and say: yellow, purple, blue, green, black, orange and pink. She can also identify red, white and brown but doesn't say those words yet. Here she is enjoying "color, color" time in her room today:

She's also started shape sorting and identifying shapes. She is consistently identifying circles, stars, and hearts. She'll wind her little pointer finger around and around saying "circle, circle" when she sees a ball or the water knobs in the bathtub. She'll trace the opening of her cup repeating "circle, circle." It's really cute! I've got to get it on video...that and her counting. Many of her books are counting/number oriented and I've always pointed to the illustrations and counted out loud. She's started to copy me and will point at each object and say "two, two, two..." The other day I said, "one...two...." and she chimed in with me. My mom read to her and right on cue, after she said "six," Libby said "seven..." Libby also seems to have her books memorized. We have several collections of 3 or 4 books in a series. For example, four books on manners titled: Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and Sorry.

As you can see, they're all the same size and feature the same illustrated pig family. Each has a different colored cover. And Libby knows which is which. She will say "excuse me" and then go an get that book. And same with the others. J swears she's reading the titles or knows the words. I think it's more that she has memorized the colors of each cover. In any case, we're both amazed that she'll consistently bring us the correct book, even though she has several similar ones. She does this with her other series books as well.

After her nap, we took a nice walk to the local playground:

Libby loves to look at the trees, birds, squirrels and flowers. She wants to touch everything and will walk with us for most of the way. We are constantly amazed by our Little Being and the person she's becoming with each day. We're so lucky to be her parents and able to witness her development.

Where Children Sleep

Leah at The Little Birdy posted a link to this book by James Mollison.  He takes photographs of children and their beds, all over the world.  The images and stories are fascinating and sometimes distubring.  You can view it online here. Be sure to read the stories that accompany the photos. Reviewing it tonight made me extra thankful for the life I live and the home we are able to provide for our sweet little girl. Wow. Just wow.

16-Hour Day

Today was long! We headed down to our tour and meeting on the campus of California University of Pennsylvania this morning. Thankfully, we took advantage of the business center at the Hampton Inn and printed out Mapquest directions. We also got some for the drive back to the airport so I could make it to my flight on time!

The school was lovely and perfect for our seminar this summer. I hope our attendees feel the same! We had a delicious lunch that included local veggies and herbs that the chef grows in campus! Nice.

Thankfully, Mapquest came through and I was at the airport in about 40-minutes. I was super early, but that was fine by me. I was headed home to see my loves! After 5 days away last month, I knew if I could be gone only two days and one night this time, that's what I was gonna do. Plus, this way, I get ALL of Friday off and can be home with Libby rather than using it to travel home. But that means putting in a 16-hour day. By the time I get home it'll be midnight (yay for free WiFi at the airport)!

This is the first time since the TSA restrictions post-9/11, that I've flown with just a carry-on. I found a mini-sized hair mousse that did the job. Otherwise, I would have had to check a bag, which seems silly for just one night away. But, my hair really looks awful without mousse taming it's curliness. I got to the airport and changed out of my work clothes and into jeans and a sweater. I also pumped and dumped. This will be the last time I ever pump. I stopped pumping during the work day after I got back from Chicago last month. It's been great to not have to deal with it (pumping AND scalding milk) and I've been able to work though lunch (rather than coming home at lunchtime to nurse Libby) and get out of the office around 2:30 p.m. each day, which is great! I brought the pump on this trip just to keep up my supply and relieve pressure. I pumped once last night and once today. That's it! And dumping my milk was sort of weird. And now, once I am home, I will clean it all up and store it away until we're ready to use it for baby #2. Who's is just an idea, at this point!

Since I got to the airport so early, I've had a leisurely time in the AirMall and got this adorable stuffed owl to bring home to Libby. It's the Olio Owl from Mary Meyer's Print Pizzazz line of plush toys. She says "Awwwooooollll" and "whooo whooo" all the time, so I think she'll love this little guy! It's so hard to be away from her...even for just 24 hours...cannot wait to be home and in my own bed!

Going to California...Pennsylvania, that is...

Yep, there is a California, PA and I am headed to it tomorrow. Supposedly it's 20-minutes from where I am tonight...the Hampton Inn in Belle Vernon, PA. It took us two hours to get here from the Pittsburgh Airport which is about one hour and 15-minutes longer than it should have taken us. Two of my colleagues and I are here to visit the site where our summer seminar is being held this July. We've rented a car and a GPS system. That apparently sucks. Because it said "reaching your destination, on right" when we were smack dab in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness my colleague had her iPhone and Google App. It got us to our final destination tonight...the Hampton Inn.

This place is a trip...it's positioned strategically at the parking lot of a Walmart and down the street from a Kmart. There's a Big Lots and Payless Shoes within sight. We're in BARGAIN central, apparently. We had a late dinner at Sonny's Grille, which looks like a converted Long John Silvers. (ETA: It WAS a LJS..at least according to Yelp! LOL!) But the food was tasty, actually. I had blackened tuna and baked baby potatoes and a nice salad. I also had the caramel apple pie. Delish! We normally stay at Hiltons or Renaissance Hotels when we travel for work, but this Hampton Inn was the best hotel in the area (which is why we're staying here and not in California, I guess). It's fine and honestly, what I like about this level of hotel is FREE WiFi access and free breakfast! You have to pay $19.99 for both at a Hilton!

I have to say this is my first trip to Pennsylvania and it's pretty. But it also looks sort of shabby. Maybe that's just according to my Western eyes since being from the West Coast and now, living in the midWest, we don't have towns as old as the ones here. Let's just say that many of the buildings look worse for the wear. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what California, PA looks like. We're headed to California University of Pennsylvania bright and early tomorrow. And then sprint back to the airport so I can fly home to Tulsa. My colleagues have elected to stay an extra night in Pittsburgh, but I intend to be in my own bed by midnight!

Awesome Weekend: Part One

After a week of gray, misty, overcast skies and near freezing temps we were rewarded this weekend with blue skies, gentle breezes and a 76 degrees of sunshine! After a crazy week at work (not one, not two, not three, but FOUR big deadlines met!) and too many nine hour days and working through lunch,  I was ready to just relax and enjoy my family.

Friday afternoon my mom and I took Libby to the playground at 41st/Riverside...

First, my dear hubby let me sleep in until 9 a.m. He got up with Libby and I awoke to the sounds of her finishing her breakfast..."all doooooonnnnneee!" We hung out while J whipped up some delicious pancakes. The windows and doors were open and the cross breezes felt awesome as we drank our coffee and ate our pancakes. The backyard has been alive with birds of every color...blue, red, black, brown and shades between...mating season is in full effect and it's fun to see their little dances and rituals. And see them building their nests...readying themselves for the little eggs that will surely result from all of their Springtime fun!

Libby's really into her dolls lately...and is loving this double stroller my mom picked up for her from Target:
She's also really obsessed with "BEADS!" And loves my necklaces and earrings. So I let her wear this Kukui nut lei that we brought home from our wedding in Hawaii....

Pop was in town for the gun show and stopped by for a few hours.

She just had to show him her babies...and stuffed elephant, of course!

And then we headed out to La Fortune Park where we played on the toddler-sized equipment:

And then watched some ducks for a bit...

What a great start to the weekend! And I love that Libby gets to spend so much quality time with her grandma...they are best buds!

Awesome Weekend: Part Two

The weather was still great come Sunday, so mom and I took Libby to the Tulsa Zoo at Mowhawk Park. Libby's been to the aquarium twice (once here in Tulsa, well, technically, Jenks and the first time was in Seattle, last October)...but this was her first time to the zoo. And it was my first time to the zoo here in Tulsa and the first time I've gone in about 15 or 20 years!

We started with the elephant exhibit since Libby is obsessed with "eh-a-fence" but there was only one out and she was way across from the observation area so Libby hardly saw her. And lost interest quickly. So it was on to the giraffe exhibit. Again, only one giraffe, but he was eating and easy to see.

She had been in the Ergo about 20 minutes at this point and wanted "down!" She was funny watching the giraffe and kept saying "ball!" because he was eating some food from the green ball tied to the fencing.

Across from the giraffe was the zebra enclosure...

I love this photo of Libby with my mom...
Despite bringing the stroller, in addition to the Ergo, she wanted to walk on her own at this point. So we put on her "puppy backpack"...which is basically a kid leash. I never thought I'd be one to use one with my kiddo, but she doesn't want to hold hands and wants to walk on her own. So this is our compromise. And she loves the thing! She asks for it all the time at home. And in the car I let her hold it (sans the long tail) and she's super excited when we arrive at our destination to wear her puppy backpack! That said, we're still working on holding hands and staying with mommy, daddy or grandma!

We headed to the Big Cats...the tiger and lion....yes, again, just one of each. And ongoing theme at the Tulsa Zoo, at least on this day...

Then we saw some penguins...

And checked out the bears (black and brown) as well as some lemurs and made our way to the train. This was Libby's first train ride! She was thrilled that the "big kids" in front of us were wearing backpacks too...yep...a monkey and tan puppy version of her kiddie leash! Apparently, all the cool kids wear them!

At the train stop was the carousel, so we went for a spin on the ferocious looking tiger! Libby had a blast! And so did I...I love just seeing her experience new things and enjoying the moment! This was her second time on a carousel (the first was in December at the mall when we had her holiday portraits taken).

One of my all-time favorite photos of me with Libby.
There's a lot of emotion in my face here!
Oh, I should mention that on the train ride Libby asked to nurse, so we did. And then a little more on the bench while we waited for our turn on the carousel. I have no idea if others saw us (I nurse without a cover, but am discreet by wearing a nursing tank under my top so I can lift up my top and still be covered underneath...

At 14 months Libby's still going strong with nursing. During the week it's about 2-3 times a day, but on weekends it much more. And I am okay with that...at least for now. She's still my baby and nursing is so beneficial for her AND for me!

Anyway, then it was off to the petting zoo, where ironically, we saw some mama sheep nursing their lambs. And Libby got to touch some goats!

After about two hours in the park she started to fade...which was understandable as her nap time was nearing AND we'd been in the 80 degree weather and walking in 30 mph winds! So we wrapped up our visit with a stop by the otters and headed on our way home...

Libby stayed awake during the 15 minute ride home but then promptly fell asleep for nearly 3 hours which is record napping for her! I am sure this is just the first of many more visits to the zoo to come. We had a great day and a wonderful end to our awesome weekend!