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S: By: Elena Ferdinand (Mommy) 2011


1: LEO July 23 - Aug 22 ON THE GOOD SIDE Generous and warmhearted Creative and enthusiastic Broad-minded and expansive Faithful and loving ON THE DARK SIDE Pompous and patronizing Bossy and interfering Dogmatic and intolerant

3: I spent a good portion of yesterday reading A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard the 11 year old that was kidnapped in 1991 and held captive for 18 years as a sex slave. Yes, unfortunately you read that right. I read most of it while you napped for 3 1/2 hours. It was sad, gruesome, and jaw dropping to name a few but mostly UNIMAGINABLE not that you'd really want to imagine any of the horrible things this poor little girl was subjected to. Before you came along, I used to be fearful of the world to a certain, I think, healthy extent. I avoided the news as much as possible and thought that ignorance was bliss. Don't get me wrong, I was not naive in any way. In fact I was quite the opposite! I was very much aware of the world around me, the things that could happen and did happen. I have even thought out in great detail ways to protect myself against an attacker in all kinds of different situations like in a parking lot, if someone was in the back seat of my car, if someone had broken into my house, etc. but then I realized it is sort of impossible to prepare for the unpredictable. So, how was I aware of the world around me without watching the news? Most of the time there was a social event to blame. A birthday party, wedding, baby shower, family BBQ etc. I would over hear someone talking about last nights news or current headline and found myself, although scared, a bit curious by what always seemed to be horrific and gruesome! No matter how unimaginable I thought these crimes were, I found myself still trying to put myself in the shoes of these victims trying to imagine there pain. I am, and always will be, sympathetic to both the victims and survivors of these horrific crimes. I wrote a post to you once before based around the Mt. Vernon, NH home invasion that started out something like this: Dear Livvy, I can't believe we live in a world where I could say something like "I would take a machete for you" and people would not even flinch as if it were a normal, or even rational, statement. We all are familiar with the old phrase "I would take a bullet for you", but a machete? C'mon now! Since when do we live in a horror movie? It seems like I blinked my eyes and the world went from bad to worse. I shudder to think what it will be like when you are grown. It takes actual effort on my part NOT to imagine it. It only gives me anxiety. Now that you are in my life I've chosen to watch the news every morning. Not to see the horrendous crimes being committed but to catch the product & food recalls, weather, economy statistics and so forth. I like to be informed for my family. I feel it is part of the entire stay-at-home mom job description. I didn't intend this post to be gloomy or depressing and it's not like I needed to read an autobiography of someones ghastly life as a sex slave to open my eyes in any way, but boy was it a reminder. A reminder that scary things really do UNFORTUNATELY exist. I can only do my part in keeping my little part of the world, my family & friends, safe by praying every night. More important than asking God to keep us all safe is to make sure it's known that I am grateful for every day that has passed that we ARE and have been safe. I can only hope for it to remain that way. As a new mom one of my BIGGEST fears is that something will happen to me or, God forbid, you. I wouldn't want you to grow up without a mom, without my love, and the values I feel you need to have. If something happened to you I would undoubtedly fall apart. To type that very sentence was hard enough for me. You are my life, my everything, a little piece of me just learning to walk, talk, gesture who discovers and learns new things every day! It's absolutely the most amazing thing I will ever experience. Besides being healthy, I will pray that you are always safe! I will do everything in my power to protect you and, like Kimberly Cates (the mother of the Mt. Vernon home invasion), would take a machete for you. | Dear Livvy

6: Dear Livvy | When it’s warm outside it brings me back to my teenage years when I was in high school. Warm days, to me, have a certain smell. This smell takes me back about 20 years. I don’t have many good memories of high school, only a handful of days worth remembering. Not many teenagers know how fortunate they are to be so young and to have the world, as they say, in the palm of your hands. I did, however, realize how lucky I was. For some reason it was always the easiest remembering this when the warm breeze would graze my face, the grass would tickle my bare legs, the mist of a sprinkler from a nearby lawn would spritz an arm as I walked by, and the sound of birds chirping replaced the noise of a busy city’s Main Street. No matter how much I had on my mind the sun was always a cure for the blues, confusion, or just simply boredom. It would comfort my body and relax my thoughts. If anything seemed impossible to fix, I was able to remedy it now! I was driving to Auntie Lola’s house the other day with you in the back seat and it was beautiful out. I had the sunroof open and the fresh air was just dancing around the car and through our hair. I took a deep breath desperately searching for that smell to take me back. It doesn’t always come easily and I started to wonder why. All of a sudden it was clear! With you in my life I’m less interested in being somewhere else even if that somewhere else is also a wonderful place. Nothing could ever top being in the moment if that moment includes YOU!

11: This was your first time sleeping away from your crib so I had been anxious to see how you would adjust. The first night we laid you down in the Pac 'n Play and without a fuss you were off to sleep. I could not believe how easy it was and was excited to share the news with Auntie Lola who was sleeping in a different room. Apparently I spoke too soon because each day after that first night, it became a project to put you to bed. We'd try to put you in the Pac 'n Play and to my horror, you would let out these God awful screams! Screams that were very unfamiliar and heart wrenching! From then on you slept with me and daddy in bed. Let's just say your daddy and I didn't get much sleep during these nights. We were constantly afraid of rolling over on you! When one of us had to go to the bathroom we had to wake the other one up to make sure you didn't roll off the bed. Since your mommy has a small bladder, I was up at least three times during the night to pee which means that so wasn't your daddy. I felt so bad having to wake him each time. Your first time at the beach was exciting though I think a bit overwhelming. You didn't care for the ocean too much and when daddy tried to dip your piggies in the water you started to fuss. He tried a few times but you were not having it! When I put you in the sand you gave me a look of uncertainty, quickly started to cry and put your hands out to be rescued. I had you sitting on the beach towel for a bit but you became bored very quickly. Throughout our vacation we decided to give the beach another chance but, as we expected, you did not like it any better than the day before. You are still young and I'm sure as you get older you will come to appreciate it more. Most of our remaining days were spent swimming in the pool, laying out, eating great food, walking around shops, but most importantly spending time with family! When you have a 10 and 1/2 month old they sort of run the show. We scheduled everything around your naps, bottles and solid foods. We had such a great time that we already booked for next year! Just when I thought the vacation couldn't get any better, on our last day, you said Mama for the first time! You crawled over to me and said it while poking at my feet so I'm pretty sure you knew exactly what you were saying. Yes my heart melted and I bent down to scoop you up in my arms. The perfect ending to the perfect vacation! | Dear Livvy

12: Dear Livvy | When I first started showing you how to eat solids, I would open my mouth wide to show you how it’s done. That was about 4 months ago. To this day, when feeding you, I notice that I will open my mouth and shut it with each bite you take. It has become a natural, sometimes uncontrollable, reflex. It takes some good effort on my part to not do it. I laugh at myself each time secretly thanking God no one is there to witness my odd behavior. Now I share it with the world, written in this letter, so when you get older you can have a laugh too! So apparently I have to get moving and start feeding you finger foods already. Don’t think I haven’t tried. You just weren’t interested in them much. We tried giving you a piece of cereal, the ones that dissolve in your mouth. Although you picked it up, surprisingly, you DIDN’T try to eat it. Daddy broke it into pieces and tried to put a piece in your mouth. Instead of IN your mouth, however, he got it ON your mouth. It just stuck to your bottom lip while you gave us this confused expression. I have to admit I haven’t tried again after that. I’m a bit scared, okay petrified, that you are going to choke. I’m not so sure how I would respond in an emergency situation. I’d like to think I will be excellent under pressure, a supermom to the rescue, but that wouldn’t be realistic. I pray that I’m never put to the test but if I was that I’d be able to save your life! Oh the things that mothers think, okay worry, about. I think I am going to try a banana this time. Even with something that I know is soft and easier for you to swallow, I still find myself worrying. On another topic, I was in the bathroom this evening and saw one of my fashion magazines was still in its wrapper unopened. I actually forgot about it. Imagine that? Boy, have my priorities changed. It used to be the minute I received the magazine in the mail I was already thumbing through the pictures before I even sat down, relaxed and actually read the articles. Too funny!

29: Laconia | cuteness | sweetness

40: Okay here is a little change. I figured I'd write this post as a list. There were just so many things about you to report. As Sesame Street would say, the number of the day is 28. Yes a mix of 28 facts, milestones, and randomness. The letter of the day, of every day, is L as in Love Letters to Livvy. 1. I love you. 2. I may love you TOO much if that's even possible. 3. You are the most adorable thing I've ever seen in, my almost, 35 years. Yes, this year, mommy will be 35 years old. Yikes! 4. I can't help but to love your daddy more for helping me create such a wonderful little girl. 5. You are standing on your own. 6. You are taking steps on your own. 7. You are falling down, yes, all on your own. Don't worry though. Mommy is always there to kiss the boo boos which, let's face it, are more and more these days. I try not to have a heart attack every time you fall down and go boom-ba-la ;o) I did expect this would come with mobility. 8. You have created what we like to call 'The Livvy Shuffle' as daddy would say. It's between a scoot and a crawl and we can't help but to laugh every time you do it. 9. You are moving quite quickly throughout the house and mommy can barely get a minutes rest. 10. We had to child proof the cabinetry in the kitchen and now you sort of pull on them with this confused look on your face. I'm sure you are wondering why the hell they do not open now. I realize that I've taken all your fun away. I'm a horrible mommy ;o) 11. You are just starting to show more interest in the foods that mommy and daddy eat. So now you are eating a wider variety of foods including: a. daddy's oatmeal, b. scrambled eggs, c. jello, d. yogurt, e. cheese sandwiches, f. hummus, g. french toast, h. pancakes, i. chicken, j. cheerios, k. alphabet pasta etc. I was just starting to get nervous too that I had a picky eater on my hands. 12. You are pointing with your little chubby dimpled finger at almost everything and anything. 13. I have to restrain myself often from eating you up. 14. You are referring to things as 'dis' and 'dat' as in 'this' and 'that'. 15. You are repeating words and actions more frequently. 16. You are finally starting to like peek-a-boo and actually play along much more willingly. 17. It's much easier trying to get you to giggle. 18. It's almost impossible to change your diaper now as you can barely sit still. 19. You love the pool and seem to have no fear when it comes to water. 20. I am writing this post as you are feeding yourself your afternoon bottle while sitting in your highchair. I've been starting with one bottle a day but soon I hope to report that you are drinking all your bottles by yourself. 21. You are responding well to the word 'NO' which, let's face it, is used more often than your actual name. 22. You are quite attached to me and as much as I may complain that I barely get a minute to myself, I secretly love it and wouldn't change a thing! 23. You like to listen to music and have me (or Nana) dance around with you in our arms. Until our arms fall off. 24. You and Rocky are getting along just splendidly! Sometimes I have to keep you from touching his ears because they are VERY sensitive. He is very good with you and you with him. I promised myself I wouldn't let you be one of those pooch abusin' toddlers. 25. You like to unfold the clean laundry that mommy just folded. I have to laugh or I just may cry ;o) 26. As I try to think of #25, you are laying tummy down in the living room with your bum in the air grunting like there was no tomorrow. Yes, you are doing your afternoon poop and mommy can smell it a room away! 27. You are making this new sound in your mouth which could only be the sound of teeth grinding. I don't know where you picked this up. I guess it must be weird to suddenly have things in your mouth. 28. Your 1st birthday is just around the corner and mommy can barely contain her excitement! | Dear Livvy

45: Dear Livvy | You may think this is an over-share, but I had to post it anyway. Yesterday, after waking from a nap, you were a little distressed because your nose was stuffy. When I picked you up out of your crib I saw the culprit, a pretty BIG boogie, right at the edge of your nostril. Not to be gross but it would move in and out with every breath you took only making you more and more frustrated. I managed to remove it but, because you were crying and squirming, I wasn’t quite sure where it went. I looked at my hands, sleeves, tummy, than onto you, but it remained a mystery. So later, a few hours later, I’m in the bathroom washing my hands after a diaper change and I see something on my forehead. Well, low and behold, wouldn’t you know the boogie was stuck to my forehead all that time and I didn’t even feel it? Ah the tribulations of being a mother. There was nothing else to do but laugh at myself. Although lately it seems like I’ve been laughing at myself way too often. Livvy Livvy Livvy what am I going to do with you? You crack me up. I can’t even imagine what I did before you for laughs. If that’s not gross enough, I have another funny story. I was changing your stinky diaper, a rather messy diaper, if you know what I mean. It was the kind where it conveniently burst out the sides of your diaper, ran up your back and almost into your hair, sort of an explosion if you will that had me breathing out of my mouth. I must have used about a dozen or so baby wipes to clean you up but, apparently, not good enough. When I was finished and picked you up from the changing pad the phone rang. It must have been a longer phone conversation than expected because the bath I had intended to give you was put on hold. After the phone distraction I had forgotten about the bath entirely as I moved on to other chores around the house with you attached to my hip. It was strange but, where ever I went, the smell of poop seemed to follow. I don’t know how it happened but you must have, at some point, touched the poop and were toting it around with us. After giving us both the once over, I finally found a bit of smeared poop on the back of your hand and under your fingernails. I thought to myself How in God’s name? I was dumbfounded. When changing your diapers I was always VERY thorough and this was no exception. I rolled my eyes, at myself, and wiped your hands clean with a wet soapy paper towel. No distractions this time, you were given a bath immediately. Okay enough of these gross, somewhat disturbing, topics. I hope to have a more pleasant post for you tomorrow although, undoubtedly, less funny.

50: I'm drafting this post two days early because I know I want to do something extra special for your birthday but I'm not sure just what yet. I'm hoping to have, not only pictures but, a video to share also. So I'll have to be all up in Daddy's Kool-Aid these next few days to the point of annoying so that I am sure to get it! I bought Daddy an awesome camcorder as a gift for Father's Day last year when you were still in mommy's tummy. I knew that he would have loved to get some footage of the delivery. Then before we knew it, the day was upon us and I was hee, hee, hooing through labor pains and it was the furthest thing from our minds. Of course after all was said and done, and you were finally here, Daddy took some great footage of your first few days in this world.... er, well in Brigham and Women's Hospital. I can't believe that's almost exactly a year ago today! So... your first birthday theme you ask? I didn't particularly have one for you because you seemed to like many characters that it made it difficult for mommy to choose. Don't fret though, I still bought decorations! While it IS mostly Mickey Mouse themed, I decided to throw a few Sesame Street (Elmo) items in the mix also. I bought 2 dozen balloons, Happy Birthday banners, Minnie Mouse plates & napkins, gorgeous pink colored table cloths, and streamers all for your viewing entertainment! Don't think I stopped there. I had to buy you a dress specifically for your birthday. C'mon now. It is the cutest dress ever! It was a bit of a splurge but it's not like I go spending this amount all the time so I like to think my decision is justified. It's a fantastic color for you. And you, my baby, are going to be the belle of the ball! Before I move on to pictures, I just had to recap some of the milestones you met this year. Mommy is so proud of you. - week of 4/4: cut your first bottom tooth. Ouch! - week of 4/11: clapped - week of4/17: cut your second bottom tooth. Double ouch! - week of 4/25: tried an actual food (Egg Pastina) - 5/4: ate a Stage 3 food! Go Livvy! - 5/5: stood for a good 5 seconds by yourself - 5/8: used a level 4 nipple on your bottle - 5/13: moved into a sitting position from being on your tummy - 5/27: sported your first pony tail! - 5/30: MEMORIAL DAY / took your first dip in the pool and liked it - 6/2: chewed and swallowed your first finger food! You had 4 apple cinnamon Graduate puffs. | Dear Livvy

51: - 6/5: tried your first cheerio. You weren't quite sure what to make of it. - 6/14: stood up in your crib by yourself for the first time. What a greeting I got after your nap! - 6/20: tried your first sip of orange juice and liked it - 6/22: cut your third tooth! Your upper front right one! - 6/23: ate pasta with meat sauce - 6/30: crawled for the very first time - 7/8: said Mama for the first time and, yes, I melted - 7/19: pointed at something for the first time - 7/22: took multiple steps without falling. Go baby it's your birthday, go baby it's your birthday! - 7/24: stood up by yourself without the help of anyone or anything - 8/5: tried soft serve vanilla ice cream right from the cone - 8/6: tried whole milk - 8/11: had lamb chops, strawberries, and honey dew There were so many more milestones you met but I started Love Letters to Livvy in April so the ones above are the only ones I have record of. I look forward to the days, weeks, and years ahead as you meet more milestones. I feel so fortunate to be able to witness all of your firsts and will forever be grateful to Daddy for making that possible! I love our family more than you could ever imagine and have never been so committed to something in my life. The first half of this post was written on the 11th of August, 2 days before your birthday, while the rest of it is being written now, 2 days after your birthday. Today you had your 1 year check-up. You did great considering you had 3 different shots. I just love your pediatrician! I feel like we really lucked out with her. She never rushes us and really takes the time to answer any questions I may have which, let's face it, are always a considerable amount! Developmentally she said you were either on target or advanced. She was happy to hear that I was feeding you healthy foods and that you were actually eating such a wide variety. She joked that you should teach her children to eat lamb. That's right baby, lamb! You love Mommy's lamb chops. So your stats you ask? Well baby, you are growing that's for sure! In two months, you grew one inch. Your head is a half inch larger and you are a pound heavier. My chunky monkey! You know Mommy's just kiddin'. You are anything but. In fact, you are a peanut. Not even an entire peanut. Just a 1/4 of a peanut! Weight: 18.9 lbs. (12-13th percentile) Height: 28 inches (17th percentile) Head Circumference: 17.5 inches (32nd percentile)

52: 8 | 13 | 10

80: Dear Livvy | Let me tell you how amazing you are! Yesterday I had you on the floor in the living room playing among your toys while I cleaned out my two inboxes that just happened to be spilling over with hundreds of unread emails. I had been putting it off as it really is a tedious task. Anyhoo, I look over and see you crawling for the first time. If I had been on a chair I would have fell off it. Luckily for Mommy I was sitting on the floor with the laptop on, well, my lap. You didn't even realize that you just met a milestone as you went about your usual business. I clapped, screamed and swept you up into my arms for some major kisses and hugs! I immediately called daddy to report the good news but unfortunately his cell phone was dead. Next on my list was Nana. She was all excited and came right over after work to see it for herself. You really surprised me. I would have bet my life that you were going to skip right over crawling and into walking. You have been doing so good with pulling yourself up into a standing position with the help of almost anything and everything. I have seen you standing on your own many times while distracted with a toy unaware of your feat. You stand so well and strong. Unless you are reaching for something, you are on your flat feet too! Way to go! With a little help from Mommy or Daddy you take multiple steps. The next thing I know we have walked around the entire house. I'm so glad that I have something good to report as the last few days have been difficult for you. You are just getting over a nasty cold and if that isn't enough, you are cutting another tooth! I hate to see you sick but I love that all you want to do is be in Mommy's arms! It makes me realize just how much you trust me to take care of you. We cuddled a lot this past week and I let you watch a little more TV than usual considering the circumstances. I have been seeing Mickey Mouse and Elmo in my sleep! It's almost the 4th of July and we are preparing for some fun upcoming events. Unfortunately Daddy is now sick having caught our cold so I pray that he feels better by next week. I would hate to see him sick on the week he takes off from work! I hope to have taken a lot of pictures over the next week so prepare to be overwhelmed with adorableness! Love you baby.

97: life is good...

98: I was yelling at Rocky this morning for trying to eat one of your hair bows and I thought to myself, as I chased him around the entire second level of the house, that this is my life now. In these types of situations, I try to imagine myself from a distance like I was watching myself on television. I laughed hysterically, almost deliriously, trying to maintain my balance as I fought to remove the hair bow from Rocky’s clenched teeth. After a bit of tug o’ war, a little doggy drool on my sweatshirt, I was able to retrieve it intact. What was I thinking? You’d think at 8 years old, he’d know better. At least he doesn’t eat his poop anymore. I guess he’s making progress. Mommy’s life used to be contracts, conference calls, performance reviews, adult conversation etc. Now, and just to name a few, it’s poopy diapers, pee pee dog crates, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, boogie sucking, ear cleaning, hair washing, nail clipping, bottle feeding, removing dried up squash and sweet potatoes from the belt buckles of your highchair (and my pants), book reading, nursery rhymes all while trying to find time to write blog posts looking out from behind dirty eye glasses smudged with tiny finger prints and tongue marks. To think I was a little apprehensive in the beginning about quitting my job to be a stay at home mom. I knew it was the right decision, but wasn’t sure I was going to like it or be any good at it. Now, however, I don’t see myself doing anything else. Don’t get me wrong it can be monotonous and predictable at times but also quite entertaining. I feel like someone should be watching me on TV to share in the laughs. I think being able to laugh at your self is healthy. Lord knows it keeps me sane. So, Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday. It will be the first time that I will be celebrated and recognized as a mom. At this time last year, I was just about going into my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I was uncomfortable and worried about the delivery. I couldn’t wait to meet you and see what you looked like! Although I’m supposed to be celebrated, I just wanted to take the time to tell you that you’ve changed my entire world for the better so thank you! It’s difficult to remember life before you and, to tell you the truth, I don’t want too. Yeah I had a great life before, but it’s a million times more wonderful now that you are in it. Love you baby! | Dear Livvy

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