Sunday, August 14, 2011

20 months old today!

Owen is 20 months old today!

This 20-month-old-thing makes the big TWO seem so close. I even brought up the topic of birthday party themes a few days ago. My little baby boy is almost 2 years old? How can that be! But he's changing so much - he's saying SO MANY new things every day. He just started flying through the colors, which a week ago he didn't even acknowledge. We get him to count - sort of - and for some reason the number "2" is by far his favorite. He's having a great time at daycare with his friends in the big kid toddler room. Sometimes he even eats his fruits and vegetables (not often). He's currently fighting off an ear infection and the potential return of brochialitis - this nasty wheezing cough thing - but he's been so good about taking his medication and his breathing treatment. He actually gets upset when we take the breathing thing away. Funny little man. What else entertains him? He is obsessed with Cars and Toy Story. Elmo is still his favorite best friend, but these days he also is a big fan of Handy Manny and Chuggington. We were at the aquarium today - "hi fishes!" - Owen had a great time. Time is flying by!

I can't believe that the summer is almost over and fall is almost here. What will we do without the pool on the weekends?? But I find myself looking forward to fall things like Halloween, the leaves changing colors, the weather getting cooler, Thanksgiving, our trip to Disney, and of course Owen's birthday and Christmastime.

A week from Tuesday is the 1 year anniversary of my Mom's death. It is unreal to me that it's been a year already, a year since her terrible disease won. It's been a tough year. Incredibly hard. I find it tragically unfair that she is not around to see Owen grow - she would love it SO much. The grief is just overwhelming sometimes. But now, it almost feels like my new 'new year' is August 24 - and I'm hoping that the new year will allow me to do more of what she wanted, which is to remember the good times instead of the bad. That's what I'm going to try my best to do. I certainly don't want to forget (which wouldn't be possible anyway) and I want Owen to know her name and to recognizer her face. It's a matter of finding the balance so I can keep her memory alive yet also be able to carry on living without drowning in a constant sea of grief. If you know what I mean, you understand. I hope you don't.

This all connects to some of the fall and winter events I am looking forward to. I am excited for Christmas this year - last year was so very hard - I want to make it a very special one for Owen and our family. We are finally feeling more settled in our house and our jobs and our life here. I am hoping I can find a way to make it wonderful for our little family while also loving my Mom and remembering all the beautiful holidays I spent with her. Owen deserves it! He brings us so much happiness and joy every day - we are so lucky to have him in our lives.

Anyway, that's all for now... enjoy the last few weeks of summer. x

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My beautiful little boy is 19 months old today!

Happy 19 month birthday, Owen! Time is flying by with you this year, little man!

Owen is doing great. His vocabulary has exploded in the past few weeks - all of a sudden he started repeating so much of what we say and I'm not sure I can even count the number of words he says every day. Last night we spent an extra 5 minutes during reading time before bed pointing out Owen's nose, Mommy's nose, Elmo's nose, Ernie's nose, etc. So cute!

Owen also loved Grandpa's visit from New Jersey. He called him Papa the whole week he was here - it was the first time I've heard him call someone else their name consistently, besides 'Mama' and 'Dada'. So fun! We even went to the zoo - photos of that fun day are on my other computer... will post later.

Owen is doing well in his new room at daycare. It's tough getting used to a new classroom, new teachers and new kids... but he is doing awesome with naptime and sleeping for 2 hours every day in his cot with the other kids. He loves the new freedom he has, and usually comes home a complete disaster of marker, sand, dirt, play-doh (really? they are giving my 19 month old play-doh? of course he ate some of it), sweat, sunscreen, and whatever else he managed to get his cute little hands on. He also loves water days when they let the kids play with buckets of water and hoses. We've done it at home a few times, and Owen is perfectly happy playing in a bucket of water for ages. Clearly he ends up soaking wet.

Speaking of soaking wet - Owen is LOVING the pool. He's getting braver at the pool and loves going down the little kids' slide. He ends up unintentionally dunking himself multiple times per trip, but we're guessing it's good for him to get used to that. Makes me so nervous though - can't look away for a second when he's in the water. We love the weekends when we get to do fun things like this with O.

To hold you over until next time (I guess monthly posts are now my goal!), here are some of the adorable 18 month photos we got when the photographer came to our house. There are so many cute ones... here are just a few. Enjoy!








Tuesday, June 14, 2011

18 months old!!!!

First, let's get this out of the way: I know I haven't blogged in almost 3 months - sorry. Life with 2 working parents is a bit more overwhelming than I thought it was going to be.Not enough time for, well, anything. We are all doing the best we can to balance life. I'm not going to lie - it's hard work.

Second, and most importantly.... OWEN IS 18 MONTHS OLD TODAY!!!!

Oh my god - can you believe it? It's been 18 whole months since our amazing little man entered this world.

Owen is awesome. And sometimes a bit challenging... but mostly awesome. Some of the things he's keeping busy with at home these days: spectacular overly-dramatic temper tantrums including stomping feet, fists on the ground and sobbing. Refusing all fruits and vegetables except for bananas. New words all the time - Elmo and Grover and apple are the newest cutest ones.... love it!! First big boy hair cut last Saturday.The biggest, best hugs and smooches we could ever hope for. Absolutely loves the park, aquarium, and pool. His favorite toys are his red wagon (he usually refuses to get out of it) and his toolkit. We love this kid so much. His great giggles and kisses and smiles just make life better!

He also had his first official time in the big kid toddler room at day care! I am told he did great and was only upset when they had to stop playing with the hose and water. His naps have been getting better both at home and at school - all the excitement, extra running around and activity and heat really exhaust our little man! His current teachers are very sad he is 'graduating'. Owen will miss them and all his friends in the infant room.

Starting in the toddler room means lots of changes for Owen's day, including circle time and specific 'jobs' every day, no sippy cups (!), napping on a cot (he's already been doing this in his current rooms and is loving it), and lots of kids bigger than him. I'm so excited to see how this goes... I think it'll be great. He has some great friends in the infant room but is SO much bigger and more advanced than most of them. He'll be challenged and will learn so much in the toddler room. Fingers crossed for us this goes great.

Below are some super-fun recent photos of Owen. Enjoy! I'll try not to make it 3 months before I blog again!







\


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Black eye, bloody nose, squished finger (oh yeah, I have a boy)

So this week Owen got his first black eye, a bloody nose, and for extra fun, squised his finger in a cabinet door. The black eye came on Wednesday at daycare when he got into a fight with a 3 year old and kicked his butt. Just kidding... he fell and smacked his face on a rocking chair. Poor dude. It's above his left eye (also he's in his St Patty's day gear) and looks like eye shadow.

And today at Grandma and Grandpa's he fell on one of their wooden steps (I hate those steps!) and smacked his nose. A second later blood started pouring out of his nose... poor guy! Then when getting ready for bed he squished his finger in a cabinet door in his room, which also drew blood. Get used to it, right?

And here's a pic showing how BIG he is getting! He is full-on toddler now. He's so much fun and each day talking more and signing more and expressing himself. A few days ago he started throwing insanely funny tantrums... Friday night he got mad when we took his blocks away and ran over to his wall and threw himself against it, then collapsed on the floor and banged his fists on the ground. We were like - oh my god - how could we not laugh???


Anyway... hope everyone had a good weekend. Jason and I are SORE from our 9.3 mile runs. Half marathon is 6 weeks from today!!!! http://main.acsevents.org/goto/vonderhaar

Chris xo

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Running for my mom with the American Cancer Society

Hi All - it's been far too long since I posted - so sorry!

As some of you know, Jason and I will be running the Flying Pig Half Marathon on May 1, 2011 in Cincinnati to raise money for the American Cancer Society. http://main.acsevents.org/goto/vonderhaar

All of you know that I lost my mother, Maureen Kaulfers, to cancer on August 23, 2010. She was only 62 years old and was living a life truly cut short but this terrible and devastating disease. She touched the lives of so many people - teachers, friends, students, family - but for me, the loss of my mother has left a giant gaping hole in my life. It's been impossible to know how to handle this or what I can do - so raising money for the American Cancer Society seemed like a good start.

Since January, Jason and I have been dedicated to training for the half (13.1 miles). I think Mom would appreciate that we are also getting ourselves into better shape. Last weekend we ran 8.5 miles... it took me about 1.5 hours and Jason a lot shorter. If my dear hubby will be running with me on May 1 he'll have to slow his pace quite a bit! This weekend we need to each run 9.5. It's hard but I think of my Mom to keep me motivated and how I owe it to her and my family.

We've have received some great support so far but still have a ways to go to reach our fundraising goal. Any donation would be greatly appreciated! http://main.acsevents.org/goto/vonderhaar is the link to donate.

And... here's some bonus adorable pictures of our little guy, who turned 15 months old Monday!

Owen with his FIVE Mickey Mouses (Mice?)... this picture is from February.

Cute in Chicago on Mom's lap... also mid-February...

Giant Elmo & Cookie Monster hug time!

Thanks all,
Chris xo

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Things I miss about London... and the cookie monster.

Hi All,

Owen has some new words! He can say Cookie, as in Cookie Monster. It sounds more like Kuh-Kuh, but it's pretty darn close! He also now says "boo" when he covers up his eyes and plays peekaboo. Of course sometimes he covers up his ears, chin, checks, forehead, etc and then says boo, but we go along with it anyway. He's also walking all over the place... sometimes he tries to walk and hold things, which never ends well. It's so fun to see him walking! We love it!

These days, when I have a second to think, I often find myself yearning for London. I tried to make a list of things I miss about London... not comprehensive but top of mind:
  • Having tons of friends around - not that we were doing much partying after Owen was born, but it was nice to meet up with people on the weekends, or, for me, meet up with my favo new mom friends for lunch or a coffee during the week (Trish & Hannah - that's you.... miss you girls and your kiddos!)
  • So much to do and so many cool things to see - I admit, we weren't frequenting the museums every weekend or anything, but it was so nice to be able to hop on a bus and wander through Harrods, or take a quick train to Westiminster and walk along the Thames, plan great day trips (that we might or might not have taken), etc
  • Everything within walking distance - parks, shops, restaurants, coffee, errands, gym, moms club, trains, buses, you get the point. All within an easy walk.
  • Endless possibilities of great vacation spots - again, more complicated with a baby, but still possible. I was fantasizing about a beach vacation in Croatia or Greece before we left
  • Lots of different people from lots of different places - everyone has a good story for how they ended up living in London. People are so interesting and have done so many cool things!
  • Just the general innocent life I was leading there. It was before my Mom got sick, so I have sooooo many great memories of Mom coming to visit in London, including right after Owen was born. It was so magical. Anyone who has kids can probably remember that crazy time right after becoming a parent.... now it's even more special to me because it was my Mom's last healthy few weeks. I think of how young and innocent I was when I moved to London at the tender age of 26, never realizing how dramatically different my life would be when I returned to the US.
And in the spirit of trying to be positive.... things I like about Cincinnati:
  • Our big, beautiful house. Shallow? Oh well. It's 5 bedrooms (most of them are empty because we don't have furniture) and so pretty. After living in tiny London flats for 5 years - the space is amazing. I am in the process of setting up a whole room for my photo albums and scrapbooking stuff.
  • My job - I am really lucky to be doing the cool stuff I am doing. I work on a great brand with really fun smart people, and I get to do marketing and strategy work that is super interesting and engaging. Seriously, I really like my job.
  • Being around my husband's family - one of the reasons we moved here was so Owen could get to know his family better and grow up with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.
  • Being closer to my family - 700 miles instead of 3500 is a great improvement, although I often wish I was much closer.
I'm not going to write about things I don't like about Cincinnati, as that would just not be productive, right?

And because I'm on my work computer and don't have the recent Owen photo handy that I wanted to include, I'll leave you with a cute picture of Owen one year ago.... the cuteness....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Playin' in the snow!

Thank god it's the weekend! The week seemed ridiculously long, even though it was only 4 days for me because of Martin Luther King day Monday. I had an offsite meeting for 3 of the days at the Newport Aquarium... definitely need to take Owen there as he'll love looking at the giant fishes!

Owen had another great week at daycare, even taking an hour and 45 minute nap for his teachers on Wednesday! Thursday it snowed and I was working from home in the afternoon, which was great because we took our little marshmallow out to play in the snow with his sled! It took him a minute, but once he realized how fast Dad could make him go he loved it!





And here's a belated picture of Owen on his 13 month birthday:

What a cutie!
Chris x

Saturday, January 15, 2011

13 months old, Christmas story #2, story #3, and lots of steps!

Our baby is 13 months old! Wow. We went to the doctor yesterday and she said he was doing great - moved down to the 80th percentile for weight and height... slimmin' down! She was happy he is saying 'mama', 'dada', and 'ca-ca' (cat, duh).

And finally - the rest of the Christmas update, delayed by only a few weeks! When we eventually got back to Ohio on Dec 29 (2 days late, which wasn't bad considering the stories we heard!), we had Christmas with Owen's (paternal) grandparents. Owen had a great time. Grandma and Grandpa gave Owen some super fun gifts, including a Fisher Price barn toy he can crawl under and around and make lots of crazy animal farm sounds with.

On Friday (New Years Eve), we had our family Christmas at home. At one point, Owen lost complete interest in opening up presents... he was so over it and much preferred to go play with his current toys. We put a bunch of new toys away and figure we'll bring them out in a few weeks when he needs a toy refresh. He does sometime enjoy watching Elmo from his big-boy Elmo chair.

Owen is kicking butt at the walking thing. He won't initiate it on his own yet - but is going really far from mom to dad/ dad to mom! Last night he did 15+ steps multiple times. Go baby!! It is only a matter of days (maybe weeks) until he is running all over the place. So exciting! Here are 2 quick videos:

video

video

In other good news, Owen had a great 2 weeks at daycare! Maybe he is adjusting? I hope so as it makes me sad when he has bad days. Hearing good news from daycare is an awesome change. I wish I could spend every day with Owen! I love my job - good thing - but I would rather be home with him. I never, ever, ever, ever thought I'd want to stay at home with my kids. I'll just add that to the list of things since being a mom that I was wrong about.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Chris & Fam

PS - a bonus pic of me and Gwen and our boys!