Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Musical in the Making.


It's not every day your seven-month old baby gets to be on stage in a musical, so I wanted to make sure I document the experience. Here are a handful of pictures from our rehearsals for A Christmas Carol.

Overall, Oliver has handled all of the busy schedules and new environments exceptionally well. I was a little nervous about the idea of bringing my baby to rehearsals at first, but Ollie has adapted to the theatre life so wonderfully, and I'm glad our family decided to have this little adventure together.

This is not to say it's all been easy, though. Bringing a baby to rehearsals is a lot of work, and even though Oliver is so good-natured... it's still tiring for us sometimes! Bringing Ollie to rehearsal is like going to church every day for three or four hours. Packing the diaper bag, finding a quiet place to nurse, creating a safe place to play, stifling cries backstage during the show, and getting the baby to sleep at the theatre have all been challenges we've faced while practicing for the musical.

Bringing our baby to rehearsals has definitely helped us become better parents, though! I've learned so much about how to be more flexible, how to ask for help, how to relax a little, and how to use my authority as a parent. This rehearsal process has been a growing experience for-sure, and in more ways than one.

I love watching Oliver explore and discover during rehearsals. The world has become a lot bigger for our son during the last few months. He's made new friends, visited new places, and learned so much. I think all three of us are glad to be finished with rehearsals this week... but we're excited to open our show and share what we've learned with our friends and family.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Vibes.


This picture perfectly sums up our lives right now.
We are in the final stretch of rehearsals for A Christmas Carol,
And the late nights are beginning to take their toll.

Ollie has been so patient and good-natured during the whole process.
All of our castmates keep telling us how surprised they are
By Ollie's sociable personality, even when 10pm rolls around.

Some days I think Kyle and I are feeling the effects of 
Late night rehearsals MUCH more than Oliver is! Ha!
Babies are so energetic and resilient. It amazes me.

Today we have the night off!! Can I get a big HOORAY?!
Oliver and I have a birthday party to attend late this afternoon,
But after that; a night of jammies, takeout, and TV is in order.

We open our show in two weeks. Then our lives resume
With a LITTLE bit more normalcy
(At least every-other night!)

But for now, I'm off! Today I'm taking advantage
Of Oliver's nap time, to catch some extra ZZZ's of my own!
Happy Weekend, All!

P.S. Oliver is indeed asleep in this photo.
I know, it's a little weird how his eyes are cracked open.
He gets it from his daddy-o ;)

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Happy Halloween


This year we dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz.
Aunt Brooklyn found this lion costume at the store,
And I couldn't resist buying one for Oliver after that!
We thought about other options, but I just loved the lion too much!

I knew I wanted family-themed costumes this year
(Because the years are limited where Mom gets to choose costumes)
So after we found the Lion,
I brainstormed some ideas for Kyle and I to match.

I mean really, who doesn't want to see babies
Covered in fluff and fur during Halloween?
I'm taking advantage of the cute costumes while I can,
Because I know that one day Ollie's costume choices 
Will probably be much different from Mom's top picks.



******
Halloween was such fun this year!!
Ollie and I had lunch with Aunt Alisa and Grandma DeYoung
Because kids in costumes got free lunch! Hooray!
Thanks Mom DeYoung for treating us to lunch during the day.

Later in the afternoon,
Ollie and I drove to Mr. DeYoung's workplace,
To bring treats to his coworkers and show off our costumes.
Mr. DeYoung works with some wonderful friends!

Then, it was time to visit Grandma and Grandpa Paxman!
We went to the fire station to see my dad,
Where Ollie got a Halloween gift and his first trick-or-treat!
Grandpa sure knows how to spoil Ollie ;)

Our last stop was at Grandma's house!
Ollie got ANOTHER Halloween gift from Grandma,
And then we took off his costume so he could eat his treat.
Oliver LOVED his Tootsie Pop!

All in all, I think Ollie really loved Halloween.
(Who doesn't love grandparents, attention, toys and a little sugar?)
Mr. DeYoung and I especially loved the holiday this year too,
Because Halloween is definitely more fun
With a baby to show-off and play with ;)

And to finish up, here are some more pictures of
Our Little Lion.
(Because it was way too hard to choose just one.)




Thursday, November 2, 2017

October Activities

It's been a busy month full of so many fall festivities and family get-togethers! I'm always sad to see summer go... but the autumn season has been splendid so far, and I can't wait to celebrate the upcoming holidays with Oliver this year. We were able to enjoy many different outings, parties, and activities this month! I've hardly had time to sit down and write about it... so here's a recap!


1. Kyle and I have hosted a Harry Potter Party almost every year since we've started dating. We just about did away with the party this year (since our apartment is so small), but two of our friends gave Ollie that darling muggle ensemble pictured on the top left... so we couldn't resist an opportunity for everyone to see him dressed up in his outfit! We spent Saturday the 14th visiting with some friends from the neighborhood. I'm glad we hosted the party this year. We really enjoyed the company of our friends that night (even if we were all crammed into our tiny living room). 

2. Mom Paxman wanted some family photos among the fall leaves this year, so early in the month we spent a sunny Saturday at trappers loop with my family to take the pictures! The mountains are beautiful in October... and we loved exploring the dirt trails together to see the vibrant colors.

3. Rehearsals for A Christmas Carol are well underway, and we are loving every minute of our experience at the theatre! I've said it before (and I'll probably say it again) that performing with my little family is such a dream come true for me. Oliver has been so patient with us during the late-night rehearsals this month... and we are getting excited to open the show!

4. Earlier this month I was able to attend TWO nights out on my own with some friends! First, I went to a baby shower for one of my good friends in our ward! Lindsie Cornia is such a cute mama, and I was SO excited to celebrate the upcoming arrival of her baby with some friends. The following evening I went to my cousin's annual "Witches Night Out" party that she hosts every October. I am just so grateful for good girlfriends (and for a husband who was willing to be home with Ollie while I was away!)

5. Watching the Peanuts Holiday Movie Collection is one of Mr. DeYoung's favorite traditions. Kyle has all three of the holiday shorts, and we make it a point to sit together as a family and watch them every year. Peanuts animations have proven to be Oliver's favorite choice of entertainment on the TV... so I guess he definitely takes after his dad! We had a relaxing night watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" together in our cozy home.

6. Mom DeYoung organized a fun family-outing to a local pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago. Mr. DeYoung had to work that day, but Ollie and I bundled up for a day of play with the DeYoung Cousins! Unfortunately the wind picked up during our outing, (we're talking blustery, BLUSTERY winds) so we had to leave the farm early. We still had a nice time at Grandma DeYoung's home with the family, though!

7. We were able to enjoy a wonderful weekend of General Conference at the very beginning of the month. It's hard to believe that during the spring conference, Ollie wasn't even born quite yet! Oliver watched conference with us (we all stayed in our jammies for most of the sessions), and he particularly liked listening to the choir sing. I love that General Conference creates such an uplifting and rejuvenating weekend when it comes around twice a year.

8. Ollie attended his first DeYoung Halloween Party this year! We look forward to Mom DeYoung's shin-dig every October... it's a blast seeing all of our family dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Jana always prepares a marvelous, festive dinner... and it's fun watching the kids play the Halloween games, too.

9. We spent Halloween with Grandma Paxman this year, and she was so nice to play with Ollie while Mr. DeYoung and I carved our pumpkins! Usually we try and carve pumpkins earlier in the month (so they can sit on our porch for a few weeks), but the Halloween season just ran away from us this year! Oh, well! I'm happy we at least found time to carve them. Better late than never, right?

******

As you can see, we had a pretty busy October... jam-packed with the best kinds of activities! Halloween has never been my favorite holiday, but it's definitely more fun when you have kids in the family. Oliver doesn't understand most of the festivities yet, but we loved dressing him up and introducing our family traditions to him. The next post is totally dedicated to Oliver's Halloween costume... so stay tuned!

Happy November, all!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ollie-Isms: Six Months

We have made it halfway to a year! I'm sad and nostalgic and excited, all at the same time. Oliver has grown so much in the last month, and his little personality is really starting to show through! I feel like the last month has brought more milestones than most of the other months, and I look forward to seeing how he keeps growing from here!


Ollie-Isms: Six Months

-We call it "crazy face", when Ollie starts to shake his head from side to side. I've noticed that he does it when there's something to look at on the ceiling, or just when he's particularly when he's excited. Sometimes if I start to shake my head, he'll follow my lead. Silly boy!

-Oliver has FINALLY decided he likes being on his tummy sometimes, and now he rolls over unassisted. I've decided that Oliver is generally a content little boy... which is why he's happy to be on his back so often. If the little man really wants something though (a toy, a blanket, or just our attention), he's definitely capable of rolling over all on his own.

-Ollie is a pretty big thrill-seeker! His favorite games are the ones where the action builds... and we love watching him kick and squeal in anticipation. Ollie also loves being tickled, startled, hung upside down from his legs, and tossed up into the air. He is such a playful baby!

-While he's always been vocal, Oliver's chatter has recently become much more varied and intelligent. Instead of just cooing with "oohs" and "aahs", he now loves to say "ba ba" and "da da" on the daily. Hopefully soon (with constant encouragement from me), he'll start saying "ma ma", too.

-He may not have the word down yet, but Ollie has definitely developed a small attachment to his mama in the past month. Oliver isn't afraid of strangers, but if he's tired or fussy there's only one person who can make him happy. A part of me loves the connection I have with him, but I still force myself to put him down often and let him play with others... because Heaven knows we don't want to create a little monster in the future. ;)

-The Little Man has also recently discovered how to move his bum and hips around... and he loves to wiggle back and forth. This flopping around is now an expression for when he's hungry, excited, or mad (baby fit, anyone?). He also tends to wiggle in the same fashion while he's eating... and we're not quite sure why. Ha!!

-We've just started introducing solid foods to Oliver, and it's been so fun to try new things! A few weeks ago we let Ollie have a sip of ice water from Kyle's cup... and surprisingly he LOVES it! Now Oliver has a no-spout sippy cup of his own, and once he has it in his hands he gets angry if you take it away.

-Oliver loves meeting people, and he's developed his own system for introducing himself to somebody new. Ollie always reaches a hand out to the cheek or neck of whomever he's meeting, and we love this little greeting he's created for himself.

Ollie's Stats: Six Months

Eye Color: Blue as can be!

Clothing Size: He's fits into all of his 3-6 clothes now. He's also still wearing size 2 diapers.

Hair: Almost all of his baby hair has fallen out, but there's still one dark soft spot at the back of his neck. All the rest of his hair is new, and it's grown in a very light brown color (with some strands of blonde mixed in, I think!). People still comment on how much hair he has... but he doesn't have quite as much now as he did when he was first born.

Food: Oliver nurses every two-three hours, but we just started solid foods a week ago as well! Oliver is a very good eater so far. He LOVES his rice cereal, and sometimes we can't spoon it out fast enough! Today we introduced peas, and surprisingly enough he enjoyed those too.

Sleep: We're in a musical as a family right now, so Oliver's sleep schedule has been a little weird. Rehearsals go until 10pm every night, so Ollie's bedtime is fairly late. Sometimes he'll fall asleep at rehearsal but sometimes he doesn't go to bed until after we get home at around 10:15pm. As a result of this change in routine, sometimes Oliver gets up twice in the night now... once at around 1:30am and once at around 5:30am. I try not to complain too much, seeing as it's our fault for messing with his schedule. He's still a good boy, I think he just gets a little over-tired sometimes!

Likes: ice water, the new sippy cup, his lollipop teether, his swing (it's made a comeback), rice cereal, peas, the rubber ducky, the yellow crate on the changing table, the umbrella stroller, being outside, reading stories, playing patti-cake,

Dislikes: being in the backseat of the car by himself, the paper shredder, the blender, being left in a room alone, wearing socks or shoes, nap time, the pacifier (sometimes)

Nicknames: Ollie, Dude, Mister Mister, Little Man, Bub, Bubba, Bubby, Big Boy, Social Boy, Little Son, Good Son, Happy Son, Handsome Son

Milestones: Sitting up on his own, rolling over both ways, using more consanants in his speech, eating new foods, drinking water from a sippy cup


Oliver,

I'm sort-of in denial that you've already been with us for six months. Another stretch of the same time and you'll be a year old! How do the days fly by so quickly? This last month has seemed especially full of milestones... and all of the sudden you're sitting on your own and rolling all over the place! I love watching you figure out the world.

You've made a lot of new friends recently, and everyone raves about how handsome you are and how happy you are. I couldn't agree more! Everyone simply adores you, but I'm pretty sure I still adore you most. Thanks for being my pal every day... I couldn't feel more blessed to be your mama.

Lots of Love,
Mom

Friday, October 6, 2017

Taking Stock.


Making: We just started the process of putting together our Halloween costumes! After MUCH debate... we're going with a Wizard of Oz theme this year! Kyle and I purchased more of our family's costumes than we have in years' past, but we still need to make a few things ourselves. I'm going to glitter paint some ruby slippers, and Kyle is going to make a scarecrow hat. I'm excited to see how our costumes turn out!

Cooking: I have recently gotten into making french macarons! (Which is technically baking, but close enough right?) My sister and I watched an episode of Master Chef Junior where they made macarons; and after that... I was determined to master them myself! Macarons are finicky little treats... but I've had a blast learning how to bake them and create different flavors. Maybe I'll post my recipe here one day soon.

Drinking: We just purchased a new flavor of Stephen's Hot Cocoa called "English Toffee", and I really enjoy it! I have to limit myself on the hot cocoa intake... but when my cheat day comes around, you can usually find me with a mug of English Toffee Hot Cocoa in-hand!

Reading: I just went to the library last week! I checked out A Christmas Carol (plus a few cheesy, LDS romance novels) to read over the next few weeks. I've really taken up reading during Oliver's nap time. I should probably be doing more productive things... but I love spending some "me" time during the afternoon reading a good book!

Wanting: An iPhone 7 Plus. Usually I could care less about having the newer phone models... but I reeeealllly want the camera that comes on the iPhone 7 plus. That portrait mode seriously has me captured! I love using a big depth of field on the photos I take with my DSLR... and to have something similar on my phone camera would be a dream!

Looking: At my sweet baby boy's face. Ollie is enjoying an early-afternoon nap next to me, and I love glancing over at him while he rests. I could stare at his soft eyelashes and rosy cheeks all day long.

Playing: Our iTunes Halloween Playlist! My favorite is The Glee Cast's "Thriller/Heads Will Roll" mashup. We pull out this playlist every October... and it definitely gets us excited for the spooky season!

Wasting: Vegetables. I purchase them every grocery trip and I try to be realistic about how much we'll actually eat... but I always end up throwing some things out. One week we'll eat a lot of one particular kind of produce, and the next week we barely touch it! Any tips on produce management out there?

Wishing: My parents didn't live so far away. I shouldn't be complaining: my family lives a lot closer than some peoples' do, but sometimes I wish I could zip over for lunch or a quick visit. Forty five minutes can feel daunting when you're on the interstate most of the way (traffic) and you have a baby in the back seat.

Enjoying: Having my husband home during the evening!! School for Kyle was a long road (as I've mentioned many times before), and I'm grateful he's finally finished! Having him home after work is such a blessing. We have so much more time for family things now, and it makes me really happy.

Waiting: to buy a home. I LOVE the apartment we're in now, and we're in no big hurry to move (there is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a homeowner)... but we are in the phase of waiting and saving for a house of our own. It's very scary and very exciting all at the same time.

Liking: Lip gloss. For YEARS I have been a bright-colored lipstick wearer, but ever since having the baby I just don't feel like wearing bold colors every day. Now when I'm home with Ollie, a lightly-pigmented lip gloss is usually what I wear... and it's been refreshing to do something different. Trivial, I know, but I just picked up a new tube of lip gloss at Walgreens today, so this is what's on my mind! Ha!

Wondering: The best ways to introduce solid foods to a baby. We've already started the rice cereal (which Oliver LOVES), but there are so many opinions on how to handle introducing new foods. What foods do I introduce first? Should I puree my own foods or buy from the store? Do I nurse before or after meals? And the questions go on. We are having a blast adding to Ollie's new diet though... it's such a fun chapter.

Marveling: at how fast my baby grows. I can't believe that he's been with us almost six months. It's crazy how time flies! I get sad sometimes, but mostly I marvel at the growth and progress he shows us every day.

Needing: more sleep. Haha! But isn't that the request of every new parent? Ollie's sleep patterns have been changing lately... so we're trying to re-figure his schedule out. It's worth it though, being a parent is the best thing I've ever done.

Wearing: Baseball caps. It's a new favorite accessory of mine, especially when I don't want to worry about styling my bangs. My new personal fad started when Kyle got me a baseball cap from his work. They're comfortable and versatile and they make for an easy hair day! I might have to buy a second ball cap soon.

Noticing: That the days are getting shorter. I know everyone else RAVES about the autumn daylight savings time because we gain an hour of sleep... but part of me always misses the sunny evenings.

Thinking: About all of the other productive things I could be doing right now. Folding the laundry, taking the car in for an oil change, cleaning the bathtub... but journaling is important too, right? ;)

Loving: my life! I know that sounds cliche, or boastful, but I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for my many blessings. I love being a stay-at-home mom, I love being in a musical with my little family, I love our apartment, I love our ward, I love the friends I have, I love Kyle's job and the people he works with, I love my family... life is so so wonderful and I'd be silly not to post about it while taking stock.

A New Show!


I am SO THRILLED to announce that Oliver is going to make his stage debut this winter! Our entire family was recently cast in a local production of A Christmas Carol, and we are super excited for the opportunity to perform together! Being in a musical with my family is seriously a dream come true.

I heard about this production before Oliver was born, and when the director (my dear friend and mentor, Jim) told me he would consider having a baby in the show... I knew I wanted my family to audition.

When autumn approached and auditions were calendared, Kyle and I discussed the possibility of doing the show as a family and decided to go for it. Because Oliver is still so little, we decided we would only perform in the show if all three of us were cast (because I'm just not ready to leave my baby home for three or four hours every night quite yet).

Auditions were so exciting. This was my first time back at the theatre since having the baby, and I was ready to be involved in something creative again.  Kyle and I kept our fingers crossed that the stars would align and we'd be able to perform in the show.

We were elated when the production team called and offered all three of us roles! Kyle will be playing Fred Anderson (Scrooge's nephew), and Oliver and I will be playing Fred's wife (Sally) and Fred's son. This was fantastic news, because not only were we cast in the show together... but now we also get to be a family on stage!!

I'm sure I'll be sharing more details about A Christmas Carol here soon, but we can't wait to get started on the show! We had our first practice this week (thus, the picture of Oliver sleeping in the pack n' play while we learned music) and I think it's going to be an unforgettable time.

I'm sure rehearsal life with a baby is going to be a bit crazy... but I'm so happy we get to have this experience and share these memories as a family. I wouldn't want Oliver's first Christmas to be any other way!