Olivia: 18 Months


22 lbs, 15th Percentile

31.5 inches 50th Percentile

Size: 18 months

Tooth Count: 12 (including 4 molars!)

Hair: Still so wispy and thin but getting longer every day! Still strawberry-blonde and beautiful… almost enough for a pony… OK, not really.

Nicknames: Via, Doodle (Bug)

Loves: Chairs, Swimming, Sand, Vehicles (Cars, Busses, Trains, Motorcycles), Playing outside, playing dress-up, building with blocks, helping sweep the floor with her pint-sized “Moon”, Bubbles, giving kisses, going to the Zoo, Pop-Pops (Popsicles), her Bestie Bayo, Running / Playing Ready, Set, Go!, Slides, hats, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Calliou, Jumping, “Riding”



Swimming With Bayo

Cranks: Sitting in a highchair for longer than about 15 minutes, making dinners out pretty darn frustrating for mom and dad. Dinners at family-friendly / outdoor restaurants like Chicken Scratch & The Lot are frequent. Not being able to go outside. Going to bed.

Favorite Foods: “Hot Cheese” (Macaroni & Cheese), Beans, Peas, Cheese Sticks, Strawberries (“AwBeeBees”), Hot Dogs, Tomatoes (“MayMos”), Ice Cream “I-Meam”, Chicken Stir Fry,

Favorite Books: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “Things that GO”, “I love you so”, “Daddy Hugs”, “Llama, Llama, Red Pajama”, “Beep, Beep” … we read close to 10 books a night before bed.

Milestones and other things…

Understands when she’s made a poop, tinkle, or toot in her diaper, promptly announces “Doodie!”, “Tinkle!”, or “TOOTS” – When she burps… instead of saying “Excuse me” like her Mama would like her to… she says, “Nice!”

Can accurately complete some of her puzzles alone (Melissa & Doug, Chunky pieces)

Can identify several animals and tell you what sound they make.

Can put multiple words together to make short phrases (“Hi, Dog!” or “Big Ball” or “Car Go”)

Can sort of say “I Love you” although is sort of sounds like “I wub wub”

Can climb up on most anything… which we are learning is quite dangerous.

Understands the possessive, likes to identify who things belong to… “Mommy’s… Car” “Dayda’s Pillow”

Converted Crib to Toddler Bed

First tinkle in big girl potty!!

Identifying people and objects around her *Points* “Car, and, mommy, annnnd, chaulk, annnd plane”

Summer 2013 Highlights


Sedona trip with Family Gorham



Swim Lessons @ Emler Swim School

Weekend in Fort Worth for Townsend Engagement Party

Rakowska Family moves to Texas!


Fourth of July Party

Gramma G Visit


These first few weeks of August have been REALLY  hot making it really difficult to be outside much. (Huge bummer for a toddler who loves the outdoors). Most of our days filled with play dates, early morning zoo and park trips, swim lessons.

First trip to the Perot Museum of Nature & Science

Dearest Via,

I love how you say, “Help Me!” and “Up Please” … and how sometimes you get “Up” and “Down” (AKA “Noun”) confused… Your recent obsession with “Noise,” anything you can hear but not see. How you say, “Here you go” when you’re giving or sharing. How you love to hold my hand when we are walking together. How you’ve learned to ask for “Milk!” and how you still want to nurse like a newborn some days. You’ve definitely found your voice but you’re still such a sweet and gentle kid. Although your Dayda and I worry that you’ll be co-sleeping until you’re 10, we secretly love going to bed as a family. Sometimes you roll over reach out to hold Daddy’s hand while you sleep… and it melts his heart every time. Last Saturday, Daddy and I were working in the kitchen, cleaning out cabinets while you were napping in your room. We were trying our best to keep quiet but you must have heard us because suddenly (I was pretty startled) I heard your little footsteps walking through the kitchen. You’d gotten up and out of bed and walked in to find us without making a peep. Although it may not sound like much, it hit us like a ton of bricks… you’ve gotten SO big. You’re really not a baby any more. Every day you act more and more like a big kid. You’re talking more and more and really communicating what you want and need most of the time. You get frustrated easily when we try to stop you from doing things yourself… this independence means lots of clean-up for mommy but watching you experiment is totally worth it. You love playing outside and the heat doesn’t seem to get to you in the slightest. When I’m cooking dinner in the evenings, you sometimes stand at the back door and repeat “OUTside… Ball.. annnnnd Car… and Chaulk… and Plane… and DAYDA!” Almost every night after dinner, you and daddy play the “Ready, Set Go!” game in the hallway. Daddy sits on one end and you stand at the other while he says, Ready… Set…. Then you squeal “GO” and run down the hallway full speed ahead into his arms. This is solid entertainment long enough for mommy to finish cleaning the kitchen and helps get wiggles out before bath and bedtime. Speaking of bedtime, you’re still no where near sleeping through the night… but we plan on working on that over the next 6 months. You really are a sweet kid and we’re so proud of how smart and gentle you are. It’s so rewarding and wonderful watching you grow. You are the most wonderful gift I’ve ever been given. I love you, so. 



{Guest Post} In the Kitchen: White Grape Popsicles

The Original “Momma Meg,” my mother, agreed to do a couple of guest posts for me this week while Olivia, Dan and I are visiting/vacationing in sunny Southern California! Look for a few posts later this week, wonderful tips and tricks from the mom that taught me everything I know.

The Original “Momma Meg” and her Terra Bella

Well, they say that imitation is the purest form of flattery so I suppose I am hugely flattered and proud as I can be that my little girl (aka Momma Meg) is just a chip off the old block. So, as the original (aka “old”) Momma Meg, I am happy to be pinch hitting for my eldest-daughter-turned-blogger on today’s edition of Meg’s Milieu! Here’s my two cents…

Homemade popsicles were a summer staple in our house when the kids were young but you certainly don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them! Megan arrived with baby Olivia and in getting together all the necessary equipment, accoutrements, and accessories essential to having a baby in the house, I ran across the old set of Tupperware popscicle pieces.

Tupperware Brand Mickey Mouse Popsicle Molds Here $30

Martha Stewart Star Popsicle Molds Similar Here $13

In a cupboard for probably 10 years, the Ice Tups reminded me of long hot summer afternoons and what an easy, economical treat this was. White grape juice and pineapple/coconut were my kids favorites and to update it a bit, I made a batch this afternoon with fresh green grapes cut up inside. (Even without the popscicle piece of it, frozen green grapes are a delightful summer treat and I’m not a huge fan of grapes otherwise! But they melt REALLY fast and defrosted frozen grapes are not a pretty picture, so take out only what you intend to eat in one sitting!) Anyway, not necessarily a “recipe” but here’s the “how to”~

White Grape Popsicles

Prepare Welch’s White Grape Juice (If using frozen, dilute 2 parts juice concentrate to 1 part water for a little sweeter treat) in a pourable container like a 2-cup measuring cup with a pour spout. (I think frozen concentrate is preferable, but I did have a hard time finding it in my store recently. If not, the plastic bottle variety will work fine but pour it into the measuring cup for easy filling.) Cut up 5-6 grapes in quarters and put in the ice tup. Carefully fill with juice, add the stick top and freeze in the tray.

For variety, cut up tiny pieces of watermelon in watermelon juice or a little flaked coconut in pineapple/coconut for a Pina Colada tropical treat. Happy summer. Happy cold treats. Happy to have Megan and Olivia here…Gramma G

Featured Image Here

In the Kitchen: Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo

This salad serves well on any occasion. Substantial enough to be a main course, Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo makes a perfect luncheon or shower salad.

Chicken Florentine Salad with Orzo

Serves 4-6

4 Cups Spinach leaves thinly chopped

3 Cups Cooked Orzo, chilled

2 Cups Roasted Chicken Breast,  cubed

1/4 Cup Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes

1/4 Cup Pine Nuts

1/4 Cup Sliced Black Olives

2-4 Tbsp Brianne’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette

Cracked Black Pepper, to taste


Cook Orzo in salted water 8-10 minutes (or per instructions). Refrigerate to cool.

Chiffonade spinach leaves. Mix spinach, chicken, and chilled orzo with olives + sundried tomatoes.

Toss in Pine nuts.

Dress + Serve


Note: Cut back on the dressing for a healthier alternative – it’s just as tasty! This salad, unlike many others, keeps well dressed for a few days.

Brianna’s Home Style Blush Wine Vinaigrette

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Just in case you were considering using another dressing and were needing some more justification. (I know how it is… not wanting to add another bottle to your precious refrigerator space.) It’s also delicious in a simple cucumber + red onion salad.


Mom Life: Who Wears Short Sorts?

On top of dressing my 5+lb “new mom body”, (Read: slightly lumpy) I’m feeling like lots of my old stand-by outfits and favorite pieces are no longer (as) appropriate for #momlife. I know, I know. At 26, and size 2-4, it’s still perfectly appropriate (mom or not)  for me to wear short(er) shorts. Yet I’m finding that some of my pre-baby purchases make me feel like I look like the nanny instead of the mommy. I’m finding it challenging to maintain my personal style and feel like I’m dressing appropriately for this new phase of life. How did you first-time mommas resolve this conundrum?

Summer in Texas requires the following summer essentials: shorts, tanks, lightweight dresses + skirts. Darling as all of the cropped, colored and printed jean trend is, it’s just not practical July through September here. Unless you work/play exclusively indoors… but even still… I say you’re crazy.

While shopping for shorts, the following considerations were important to me:

  • Pre-baby I felt comfortable in the shortest of shorts and since I’m not ready to go the bermuda or “walking-short” route (At least not until I want to look 30) I was determined to find a perfect-fit short-short or boyfriend-style silhouette. 
  • Not wanting to forgo the printed trend, I was looking for a print that I wouldn’t get tired of after 2 wears and that paired well with neutral tops
  • Denim is great. But then there’s that 100+ degree temperature issue to consider. Lightweight materials were key.

Madewell ArtDot Shorts $59.50

Perfect with a Chambray popover or brightly colored lightweight tee or tank. These Madewell ArtDot Shortsfit at the natural waist, on the shorter side of short, but a great fit. I opted for the black and cream version of these shorts but the burnt orange is pretty adorable too! Buy Here

JCrew 3″ Chino ON SALE $29.99

A great stand-by, JCrew 3″ Chino Shorts (offered in 4″or 5″ also) are a fantastic, comfortable and colorful option.  Buy Here

Zara Floral Shorts $39.90

I fell in love with these Zara Floral Shorts –  ultimately too short for me, but I felt I should include them because they’re such a great print, good fit, and reasonably priced! Buy Here

Target Printed Cotton Shorts $17.99

I purchased these Mossimo Tie-Dye Cotton Shorts at the beginning of summer and have pretty much lived in them. The fit is definitely more like PJs than anything else – But pockets in the back make them feel substantial enough to wear out running errands or as a cover-up. Buy Here in multiple prints.

Madewell Seawall Shorts ON SALE $44.99

Purchased these Madewell Seawall Shorts  yesterday ON SALE! I’m imagining them with lightweight button-up and casual sandals or crocheted tank. I’m a sucker for an elastic waist… because on most days, comfort outweighs style. Buy Here

Featured Image Here


Momma Meg Loves: Summer Favorites

La Croix Coconut Sparkling Water

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La Croix Coconut Sparkling Water – I. AM. ADDICTED. This is SO much more than a flavored sparkling water… it’s like vacation… in a can. Like a pina colada with zero calories (and no artificial sweeteners). I guess I should emphasize – THIS IS NOT SODA. Daniel reaches for it every time I open a can, takes a swig, immediately makes the most disappointed/disgusted face + tells me it tastes like suntan lotion. I assure you, it does not. That being said, this beverage will not appeal to soda junkies. Would be fantastic in a mixed drink – Maybe Rum + Lime. Or skip the rum and just add lime. Totally refreshing and wonderful. Frequently on sale at Target but I hear they sell it at Costco.

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Frozen Grapes – My go-to, healthy, refreshing, summer snack. They’re like little mini grape-flavored popsicle bites- frozen and delicious. And EASY – it’s as simple as removing the grapes from the stem, tossing in a freezer bag, freeze overnight + enjoy. Perfect to take to the pool. Just eat ’em before they defrost. Which isn’t hard… because they’re so delicious you’ll gobble ’em up pretty darn fast.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray

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Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray – Summer in Texas can be miserable. Just the thought of heat styling my hair makes me feel disgusting and sweaty. Plus, I’d rather imagine myself 18, driving down PCH, with a salty, stickiness in my air-dried hair only achieved by a good dunk in the pacific ocean. Luckily, with a few spritzes of B&B Surf Spray, I’m good to go – fresh out of the shower. No electricity needed. Well, except the A/C. $24 for 4oz Buy Here or in stores Here

Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Moisturizer

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Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 Moisturizer – Really this is a year-round necessity, but Summer-time always heightens my awareness of the importance of protecting my skin against sun damage. This moisturizer is a bit of a splurge but is really great if you have acne prone skin or oily-tendencies. I usually mix with Laura Mercier Oil Free Supreme Foundation to create my own version of the tinted moisturizer. (Laura Mercier offers a tinted moisturizer, but it only offers SPF 20 and you can basically get the same effect by mixing foundation + moisturizer and even save a little bit!) That’s my 2 cents… Nice, lightweight coverage + protection. For Elta MD -Ask a dermatologist or Buy Here

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer

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Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer – I have a secret love for creating my own concoctions and cocktails of products. I already mentioned a sort-of DIY tinted moisturizer recipe. I’ve also been known to purchase this Jergens lotion in the “tan to dark” shade (I’m pretty fairly complected) and mix with Aveeno Daily moisturizer with SPF. Again Protection + a hint of tint. and Cost effective. Buy Here or Here ($23/3pk)

Note: With a 5 month old baby – rare are the days that I actually put lotion on my legs… or makeup on my face for that matter.

Featured Image From Here