Last winter marked Lauren’s first snow, but this year was Lauren’s first fun in the snow!
This past Thursday we had a pretty snow fall – huge, wet flakes that seemed like they’d never stop coming down. Lauren absolutely loved everything about it; the way the snow crunched under her feet when she walked on it, how she could catch the flakes on her tongue, and how cold it was every time she touched it. She was so amused by how it was just falling from the sky and turning both Mommy and Hailey’s hair white. She got so excited to see it accumulate on her shoes as she drug them through it and got such a kick out of stomping her feet on the porch to get the snow off of them.
With Friday also came the sun and the snow didn’t last long, however, Lauren did get to spend a little time outside with her Daddy and they had a wonderful time. They managed to find a spot with just enough snow left to make a snowman – while it had quite a few leaves in it, LP thought it was so neat to have a snowman of her very own! They also tired to sled a little but most of the snow was already gone from the hill so it was more of just riding around in a box in the back yard – still great fun for LP. However, Lauren’s favorite part of the day was, by far, the snow balls. She didn’t want to throw them at anyone or have them thrown at her, she just wanted to carry them around. I guess that’s better than Hailey who always wants to eat them. LP didn’t mind the cold at all and the only way we could get her to come in was by carrying her – there was no way she was going to leave the snow on her own and definitely would have spent all day in it if we would have let her.
The most touching thing happened that Friday afternoon when we went out to get the mail. All of the snow had melted and poor little Lauren spent several minutes walking around the yard, checking for any site of her snow balls or snowman. When she couldn’t find any, she turned to me with those big eyes and shrugged as to say, “I don’t know”. I responded, “All gone.” Head down, she walked back to the front door, but before she walked inside she stomped her feet, just in case…
To check out more of our snow adventures, click here.
This is one of Ryan’s favorite stories so I thought I’d put it in writing so we could always remember. There is nothing exceptional about it, but if you are around Lauren for very long, it’s easy to imagine exactly what happened…
Last week at play group, Lauren was uncharacteristically adventurous. Our one hour play group usually consists of about 45 minutes of Lauren clinging to either my hand or leg as she watches me play, trying to persuade her to join in, 10 minutes of LP actually playing and then 5 minutes of her sitting in my lap as she watches me and the other kids sing. However, last week it only took about 5 minutes of encouragement from me and then Lauren was off. She played with the kitchen set, vacuumed the floor, strolled around a baby doll (and truth be told, she also took a ball for a walk but knowing how much she likes balls, this really made more sense than the doll anyway. At home she regularly shares her sippy cup with her balls in addition to all her stuffed animals), she played with a train set, a doll house and of course more balls. She went from toy to toy, checking them out and having a great time, keeping a very close eye on me the whole time. It didn’t take long for Lauren to realize something was amiss the times that I thought I’d try to stand back and observe her play. She would immediately locate me in the room, grab my hand and pull me along to where she wanted to go next. When it was time to clean up, I could tell LP wasn’t done playing. I let her continue to check out things as I put toys away and found a place on the floor in the other room for songs. Again, it wasn’t long before Lauren went into seek and grab mode…however, she couldn’t seem to find me this time. I continued to watch her as she ran by me into the middle of the room, eyes searching for me. She found herself in the middle of the song circle but was not inhibited for now she had a better look at everyone. No words came out of her mouth, just a simple gesture – arms out, palms up, shoulders shrugging as to indicate her “I don’t know” response. I could see the thought process. She’d ask herself, “Where’s Mommy” followed by a quick “I don’t know”. Seconds passed (in Lauren’s world, that’s an eternity) and she still couldn’t find me. She started making circles, looking at each face, arms flinging out & shoulders shrugging…her circles got faster and faster and faster. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Worry took over her face. One of the educators finally asked a distressed Lauren what she was looking for and LP’s only response was an “I don’t know” shrug as she circled still faster and faster. Suddenly, she stopped! Her eyes finally met mine. She smiled. I smiled. She pointed at me. I pointed at her. She ran into my arms as if she hadn’t seen me in years. It was such a touching embrace. The whole room giggled as they shared this sweet moment with us. It’s a feeling of pure love that I will never forget and one that makes Ryan laugh each time he thinks of how cute Lauren must have looked in the middle of that circle searching for her Mommy.
This weekend marked yet another first for Lauren…her first trip to Stillwater. As much as Ryan and I love going back there to visit, it’s been more difficult since we had LP. It always seems that we have other things we have to do, or it’s too hot or too cold, or just too late to fit it in the day by the time we think about going – but Sunday was perfect! While it was a little windy (when is it not windy in Stillwater), it was a sunny and warm 71 degrees there. With both a girls’ basket ball game and a wrestling match that day, there were plenty of fans wearing orange around town to remind you what Stillwater is all about.
To Ryan and me, Stillwater is a place of many wonderful memories from college: friends, parties, football & basketball games, The Weed, ORANGE, and late night/early morning visits to Shortcakes. It also holds sentimental value as the place we met, our first date, our first kiss, the place he proposed to me, and our first apartment together as husband and wife (a week does count!). As we reminisced on Sunday, we also were so very happy to share this special place of ours with Lauren. And while a lot has changed since we lived there, some things
will always remain the same. Lauren got to enjoy her first cheese fries at Joe’s. We visited the geese & ducks at Theta Pond and told Lauren about the swans that use to live there. LP got to walk the halls of the Student Union and dance to the library’s chimes. Before leaving town, we had to drive by where Ryan’s apartment once was (where he proposed) as now it’s just a huge mound of dirt being prepared for the new athletic village. We headed down the strip, noting which bars where still there and which were not. We marveled at the new stadium’s continual construction and all the other new buildings on campus and around town in comparison to 11 years ago or even our last visit. It was such a wonderful day, thinking about what was and wondering what will be. We truly hope that Lauren is able to enjoy Stillwater the way we did…well, maybe not exactly like we did since we are talking about our daughter. But, until she’s old enough to make her own decisions about college, we will continue to share with her the rich tradition of OSU…GO POKES!
To see more pictures from Sunday, click here.
A couple of days ago I took Lauren to a local kids store to see what toys she enjoyed playing with – specifically I wanted to know her reaction to a play kitchen now that the Christmas rush was over and she could have a few minutes to play without fear of being trampled by another child. What started off as just an experiment turned into an hour of play for Lauren. She absolutely loved the kitchen – washing dishes, getting food out of the frig and onto the table, and sitting at the just-her-sized-table along side a baby doll, enjoying some pretend conversation. It was so fun to watch and all I could think was how we needed something like this at home so I could join in too!! My quest the past few days has been finding the right kitchen and the right place to put it. Hopefully before too long I’ll be asking Lauren, “What’s for Dinner?”
Lauren has a new favorite spot for her afternoon snack…in front of the mirror. And it’s not so much that she’s watching herself eat as it is she’s watching her snack be eaten. That’s right, she so enjoys seeing the food in her mouth. She will take a bite and immediately stick out her tongue to see the food in her mouth. She then smacks it a couple of times (sometimes with her mouth open so she can see it each time and sometimes she must want to be surprised) and then out the tongue comes again to check out what the food looks like now. She will continue this…seeing a few little bits left the next time and then finally when the food is completely devoured she takes another bite – adoring herself and her food consumption in the mirror must be a real treat!!
Another month gone – another month full of wonderful stories & memories that we will cherish forever. Over the past month, Lauren has learned so much. She is quite good at feeding herself with a spoon or fork now – rather insistent at times – and has finished off a whole yogurt with hardly any mess. Peas and corn still get away from her, but who doesn’t have that problem occasionally. The trick is to make sure she’s hungry, or she just likes to play which translates to “let’s see how fast Hailey will chase after this food that I fling on the floor”. She loves to dance with Mommy, play horsy with Daddy (it’s too cute when she decides it’s her turn to be the horse) and has learned to “skip” or “hop” – both look the same to an untrained eye, but I’m sure in Lauren’s world there is a huge difference (video to be posted soon). She has a whole new nightly routine now that her chair has been moved next to the sofa in the game room. She uses her chair as a step stool, hurls herself over the sofa’s arm, barely missing Hailey (who must abandon her perfect spot on the throw pillows), runs down the length of the sofa, slides down to her bottom with a plop, twists around, and then slides to the floor and back to her chair. And the routine starts again. The only thing that might be cause for a detour is if Hailey chooses to get up on the old blue recliner instead of back on the sofa. Lauren then feels obligated to run the dog off the chair in order for poor Hailey to be in place seconds later on the sofa, just to make another mad dash for her life as LP launches towards her again. I’m definitely going to have to get a video of this – it’s quite entertaining although Hailey doesn’t find it at all amusing. And while all of this commotion is rather exciting, I think it’s the quiet activities that Lauren likes best.
The past month has been filled with hours of coloring (which Lauren is so fond of now – it’s a daily must), playing with puzzles (I am at awe at some of the pieces that she knows where they go and how to “wiggle them” into place), and of course, her all-time favorite, reading. If you’ve been around LP for any amount of time, you know she has never met a book she doesn’t like. She enjoys looking at picture books, reading story books, and browsing magazines and catalogs (usually for dogs and cats – and believe it or not, she generally finds one no matter what it is she’s looking at…she spotted a dog in the Williams-Sonoma catalog yesterday!). She loves checking out my cookbooks and even likes flipping through reference books that have no pictures like the phone book or dictionary. As long as she can find a nice cozy lap to plant her bottom on, she will sit and look forever. And you will not hear me complaining because each time she walks up to me with a book in her hand, turns around and walks backwards until she feels your legs and plops down, it’s such an awesome feeling. She’s sharing something that she loves so much with me…I relish each book no matter how many times we’ve already looked at it! To check out more of the pictures I shot of LP on her 16 month birthday this past Tuesday, click here.
Or perhaps I should say, “Mini Hailey”. We may have issues with Lauren’s clear obsession with dogs…specifically Hailey. As of late, Lauren has started mimicking Hailey. For instance, LP will see Hai licking her foot so what does Lauren do?? She plops down on the floor and attempts to lick her foot. So far, I have caught her licking the floor and her own toys. What’s worse, I’ve diverted her within seconds from licking Hailey’s toys and Hailey’s foot. And if you’ve ever been around Hailey for very long, you know her bizarre action of licking the air (like a frog trying to catch flies) and yes, I’ve seen LP copying her. Let’s see, other things that Lauren likes to do after seeing Hailey do them…carry a ball around the house in her mouth, wipe her face on you or the sofa or the floor, decides she needs a drink of water because Hailey is drinking (luckily she’s not attempted to drink out of Hailey’s bowl), and it never fails – if Hailey is smelling something so does Lauren (or at least makes sniffing noises in the direction of the object). I feel so blessed that we don’t have a dog that likes to smell people’s bottoms – I think we’d have a HUGE issue then…
I do need to add that it’s really not just Hailey that she imitates. She will give her Daddy a kiss goodbye in the morning (including the puckered lips with smacking sound) after she sees me sending him off to work, she will drink water when I’m drinking (as well as offer her sippy cup of all of her stuffed animals in close proximity – also mimicking the sound of guzzling water for the animals and ending it with a loud “ahhhh”), and now in addition of her copying you when she hears you laugh or cough, she also imitates you sneezing – and is pretty good at it too! Might we have another actress in the family or just a comedian?!
I knew it was inevitable; however, I wasn’t quite prepared for it to happen so soon…Lauren’s ball pit that she got for Christmas already got its first hole. It was actually more of a rip and after three unsuccessful surgeries (Ryan and I tried the provided patch, we used clear mailing tape, and we even attempted to cut a section off thinking we could patch it better that way), we threw in the towel. There was only one last attempt in hopes of salvaging any remains…amputation.
Lauren so enjoyed the top part of the ball pit. Driving in and out of the windows was her all time favorite past time ever since her Daddy showed her she could fit through them. Unfortunately with the top part now unable to hold air for more than a few minutes with all the pressure of her heaving her little body in and out of those windows continually, we didn’t feel safe with it deflated nor did we have enough air to keep it inflated…so off the top came. It’s not the same, but LP seems to be enjoying it still. On the plus side, her hair gets less staticy and it appears to be consuming less of the room with only the base left. To see the ball pit’s evolution, click here.
Anyone who has been around Ryan and Hailey when they are eating ice together knows how impressive it is. For those of you who have not witnessed it let me try to do it justice with a measly explanation.
Ryan can spit a small piece of ice at Hailey and she will catch it 99% of the time. It doesn’t matter how fast it is, how small it is, how straight or crooked it comes at her, Hailey can catch it! She catches pieces that I never see leave Ryan’s mouth – I just hear her chomping on it seconds later. This amazing feat has not gone unnoticed by Lauren either. Early on, she was startled by Hailey each time she lunged for the piece of ice, but as she became familiar with their routine, she was just as fascinated by it as everyone else. She would watch and many times laugh after Hailey successfully nabbed an especially difficult one. However, mere observation got old and now she participates in the game. Of course, I don’t allow Ryan to spit ice at Lauren, but Hailey and LP take turns getting small ice pieces from Daddy and now Lauren actually requests “ice” by name. To my despair, it’s the first word that I’ve heard her say that definitely has a draw to it – “iiice”. Let’s all hope she doesn’t pick up too much more of her Mommy’s accent.