18 Months with Olivia Grace

I often catch myself just staring at Olivia in amazement and joy and also sadness that this time is so short lived. She is so curious, so fun, so clever, so hilarious. I like just watching her curiously explore with toys, intently “read” books, or go wild for a food “treat” the same way her mama goes wild for pizza.

God is so good.

Many (slash most?) of you probably are well aware of how Liv’s life started out (that story here and here), and we’re still not totally out of the clearing yet (more on that below). 

But still, God is so good.

Today the OG is officially 18 months old – halfway to TWO and fully in toddler-dom…although she doesn’t toddle and instead just RUNS.

I’ve been keeping little notes each month of things I want to remember forever, since I know this time is SO FLEETING and such a blessing and I wish mental snapshots were a thing. (Hello? It’s 2020? Can we make this happen?). I shared some of those notes below, but I wanted to document a bit more comprehensively + publicly for this 18-month “milestone” since I can’t even believe we’re here already. It feels like YESTERDAY that she was a baby baby, or that we were waking up every three hours to run a feeding tube…or put back IN a feeding tube through her nose into her little belly. And now we look at her and the OG is a PERSON. She’s got spunk, she’s got sass, she’s got sweetness and a sense of humor and it’s just UNREAL. OK moving on before I get all teary at my laptop…

18 MONTHS with OLIVIA GRACE - on Coming Up Roses


If there’s one thing that’s held ridiculously steadfast since literally the day she was born, it’s this chick’s spirit. She’s feisty, she’s fierce, she’s a force to be reckoned with – she’s got so much JOY and shares it to anyone + everyone, from favorite family members to random strangers at the supermarket or the neighborhood dogs.

She’s very intentional about trying to communicate something and will put whatever she wants me to help her with right in my hand.

This girl is FUNNY, too. She’s a sneaky one. Apparently our clear coffee table makes her invisible if she’s underneath it. 😉 So she loveloveloves playing hide and seek and running to “hide” under it, where she can cleverly watch all of us “seek” her before popping out to surprise us all. Any peekaboo-style game is her jam. Also, the girl’s got game! She can throw + kick a ball already and can legit dribble it like a soccer ball, so I guess we should sign a sistah up for soccer? Ha! She will mimick laughter and laugh at funny faces, too, which is always a fun interaction.

If she hears music she’s ALL ABOUT IT – if we so much as say “OK Google…” in the kitchen, she runs in knowing it’s time to dance. We were never big on playing “baby” music and instead just let her listen to anything kid-friendly that’s “real music” – ha! So some of her favorites include Billy Joel hits, Queen, The Beatles…yanno, the good stuff. 😉

She’s still learning the concept of “gentle” and tends to be full force with anything + everything, BUT she’s clearly kind and will share even her favorite foods with me, or try to share her cup with her Minnie Mouse doll. Also the cat. Purrcy’s gotten some attempted treats from Liv before, although I don’t think chocolate chip waffles were his jam. HA.

Currently has a bit of separation anxiety and wants to always be around + helf by mama or dada depending on the mood – totally normal for 18 month age.

Liv is also fearless.


Maybe this is just a toddler thing in general, but I think it’s actually moreso a cool reflection of her personality. We’re big fans of letting her experience life and try new things – in a safe capacity, of course. She went down a big girl slide for the first time and was clearly scared – but she ended up wanting to do it again. Then we let her go down the BIGGEST slide – J held her hands as far as he could, but ultimately there was a hot sec where she was “free-falling” herself down the tube before reaching me. She looked TERRIFIED (we caught it on video) and near-cried at the end…but when we asked if she wanted to do it again, she said yes and marched herself back up the steps to go again.

Which is SO COOL to me because she feels the butterflies but does it anyway and really just embraces life.

She’s a total “higher! faster!” kinda girl – as evident by her time in the baby swings at the park – and loveloveloves being thrown in the air by daddy.


At this point, speech has been the biggest “worry,” largely because of how premature she was. Preemies typically face some speech challenges developmentally, especially when born before your brain is fully ready to go! But that being said, ranges for speech vary SO much for even “normal” births and babies, so I’m trying to just remain positive, do everything in our power to help her, and just use all resources at our disposal to get her into speech therapy if that’s what’s needed.

Babies go at their own pace, and especially if they’re more physically active, speech may delay a bit – because they’re working so hard on something else! Liv is SUUUUPER physically active, so I’m sure this contributes to any “delays” for her, too.

Currently she can say “mama” and “dada,” can do animal sounds (“moo! Neigh neigh!”), and makes reaaaaally good attempts with other words but sometimes switches the beginning consonant or isn’t 100% clear (normal “error” for her age!). So she might say “bup” or “mup” instead of “up.” Probably my favorite is when she says “Min Mow!” when she wants something related to Minnie Mouse.

Since there are certain sounds that we’ve never heard her say, that’s where speech therapy because of the prematurity may come into play to hopefully help. For example, we’ve never heard her say a “g” sound, like a “goo goo” or “ga ga” in her babbling.

For any other fellow toddler mamas in the house, or mamas-to-be, pleasepleaseplease don’t go on a Googling spree to see what’s “normal” or not for something like this, because I promise you’ll just drive yourself nuts (and also your husband – ha). There is just SUCH a wide range of “normal” for so many developmental milestones at this age, and babies need to just go at their own pace. Do whatever you can wherever you’re at to help + support their growth and development, look out for anything alarmingly “off,” and otherwise don’t rush anything!


This girl just loveloveloves to EAT, and she doesn’t have too many things she DOESN’T like yet *knock on wood*. She’s a big fan of peas and seafood which BLOWS MY MIND seeing as I can’t stand either. Also big fan of peanut butter (or her favorite treats, Reese’s), cookies, rotisserie chicken, Ellio’s pizza, green beans (yup), mini powdered donuts, drinking water from a big girl cup, or anything off of mommy or daddy’s plate. 😉

For dislikes, it’s funny – there are a few random toys that she seems afraid of that she wasn’t before. Specifically, two different cows. But she otherwise likes cows and moo’s for them, so IDK what it is about THOSE TWO only – ha!

Also used to be afraid of the vacuum, but isn’t now…or at least faces that fear like the slide and just runs right up to it, so long as she can also grab one of our legs at the same time.


Liv’s schedule has changed a bit in the past few weeks, I think thanks to a.) quarantine, b.) teething (hello, molars), and c.) separation anxiety. She is now considered an “early riser toddler” – thanks to my genetics, probs. HA. Girlfriend went from sleeping typically a solid 7 to 7 to falling asleep closer to 8 and waking up between 5 or 6. #rough

Since she’s considered an “early riser” now, she also still takes two naps typically, though.

So at least now with both J + I home, we grab her once she’s awake and TRY to family snuggle for a hot sec before all heading downstairs for some playtime before breakfast. We do family breakfast together, then Liv plays and reads with J while I hope in the shower quick. By then it’s typically around 9 so she goes down for her first nap. First nap is always a bit hit or miss – could be a solid two hours, could be a measly 30 minutes. Ya get whatcha get. 😉

Then we play or read more before lunch, do lunch together, then play and read more before second nap around 2ish. God willing the OG then sleeps until 4, we FaceTime Mimi and Papa, and then we head out for a family walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air.

Then, dinner time around 6, bath every other night around 6:30, a book, nighttime song, prayers, and then in the crib between 7-7:30.

I also wanted to include the quick notes I keep in my phone each month as she tries new things or finds new favorites! So from the one year mark onward…

12 MONTHS: (oct 17)

  • Loves peas!
  • Combs her own hair and will comb yours, too!
  • Chases Purrcy and leans on him…so cute.
  • Roars like a lion
  • Loves the swing
  • Loves mommy’s makeup
  • Rotisserie chicken + Ellio’s pizza
  • Yells DA DA DA DA at the toys in her crib
  • Climbing the steps at lightning speed
  • Loves reading in our reading chair
  • Dances with Daddy to Roger Miller songs
  • Starting to share but sticks her whole fist in your mouth for delivery – ha!
  • Shakes her head no
  • Wants to eat anything Mommy is eating
  • Dances by doing the twist
  • THE DANCING!!! ?

18 MONTHS with OLIVIA GRACE - on Coming Up Roses

  • “Hugs” by leaning head into things – SO CUTE
  • Pats knee when anyone says “Moose! Come here!” (RIP Moose…)
  • Fascinated by taking things apart and putting them back together – her Mega blox, lipstick tubes, etc!
  • Makes the “pft!” sound copying people
  • will sit and buckle seatbelts forever
  • Loves her pink star coat – wants mommy to put it on and off
  • Afraid of cows LOL
  • Blows kisses
  • full body “yes” nod
  • Snuggles on barefoot dreams blankets
  • rests head on Purrcy’s body
  • Takes things and wants you to chase her
  • Sits down with people to read
  • Dances to twist and shout
  • Tries to say “more” and “purrcy”
  • Points at words on page when “reading”

18 MONTHS with OLIVIA GRACE - on Coming Up Roses

  • favorite books: little bert’s book of numbers, goodnight moon, bears on wheels, goodnight gorilla, babies love Christmas,
  • Tried drinking water from regular water bottle
  • Loves donuts!!!
  • Also loves green beans
  • Learned “happy happy cheese dance”
  • Tried tap dancing like on Lawrence welk
  • first movie: onward (fell asleep)
  • First musical: beauty & the beast – stood up clapping the entire time ?
  • Met Minnie Mouse twice!
  • Favorite books: Any of the “peekaboo” flap books, Spooky Pookie, Pat the Bunny (which is now destroyed LOL)

  • Openly gasps when excited
  • Loves Minnie Mouse bow-toons
  • Dances to Billy Joel’s Vienna (a nice gentle sway LOL), Blinding Lights and Les Mis
  • Drinks through a straw! Almost drowned herself at first but loved it since ?
  • “Organizes” products like Mommy
  • Tried to pick Purrcy up by his belly LOL poor Purrc
  • Can point out mommy, Mimi, and nana in family photo!
  • So sneaky – loves to “hide”, especially under the clear coffee table where she thinks we can’t see her…
  • Has the cutest cheeky little smirk when she’s trying NOT to full-smile
  • Snuggles with both mommy and daddy – increasingly clingy now with separation anxiety
  • Plays “tag” around the house with us and will throw herself on a pillow as “base”
  • Will bring you the remote and say “Mi Mou?” in the hopes of watching a 3-minute Minnie Mouse short
  • OBSESSED with opening Mommy’s makeup! Tried putting on lipstick. HA.
  • Said “WOW!” in excitement!
  • Favorite books: The Pookie series, Bears on Wheels, Goodnight Moon, 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Noah’s Ark Animal ABC’s


  • When she climbs into my lap for a book or a snuggle
  • When J + I get her in fits of giggles
  • Seeing Liv’s face light up on the Ariel ride at Disney World
  • Having the opportunity to meet Minnie Mouse (twice!) – seeing her just in AWE
  • Watching her experience life’s firsts and learning to re-appreciate the world through Liv’s eyes


Being your mom is my greatest gift. You’re a true ray of sunshine, and I see God’s love through your eyes.

I love you for ever and ever

and ever

and ever.

More on Liv’s journey…

Liv’s Birth Story Part 1

Liv’s Birth Story Part 2

73 Days in the NICU


Our ONEder Woman (Happy Birthday, OG)

Read previous post:
Stop the Panic. (+ My Tex-Mex Pantry Pizza)

By now it's surely no secret that we're in the midst of a global crisis. We've all seen the social...