Wednesday, July 29, 2009

summer fun - part 2

OK, so our summer fun continues. I am going to start all the way back to 4th of July weekend. We did not really have any plans for the holiday and it turned out to be sort of a crappy day weather wise, so at the last minute we decided to invite my Mom and some family friends over to our house for a cookout. Unfortunately we could not really cook out because it was raining but after dinner we were able to sneak outside and do some sparklers for Olivia. Now Olivia is not a fan of fireworks. In fact she dislikes all loud noises, so I knew that she would not be interested in anything that made noise. I thought that sparklers would be a safe bet because they are fun to look at and are pretty harmless. I figured she would not want to be any where near them but would love to watch them from a distance. Boy, was I wrong. Our brave girl decided she would hold a sparkler all on her own. It took me a minute to be comfortable with the idea, but she was very careful and they were very safe sparklers. Check her out in her red, white and blue dress. So patriotic!

Bad weather aside, it turned out to be a fun night. As soon as the loud neighborhood fireworks started Olivia decided she had enough and walked herself upstairs to bed. I am not a fan of fireworks myself. It is not the fireworks as much as it is the noise they make, so I cannot blame her for being afraid. In case you forgot here is Olivia first reaction to fireworks during her first 4th of July.The next day we drove up to Michigan to spend the day at the lake of our close family friends, The Fortes. We have taken Olivia there a few times before but this the first year I knew she would really enjoy everything. She spent most of her day playing in the sand. The Fortes have lots of grand kids so there were tons of sand toys for her to play with. She would get covered in sand and then just walk to the edge of the lake to rinse off. She loves playing in the sand but she is not a big fan of having sand all over her body. Yet another trait she picked up from her mother.

Olivia's favorite part of the day was when Papa Fred took her out for a boat ride. She has never been on a boat before so she wasn't sure what to think at first. Once the boat started picking up speed she would just squeal with delight. She especially liked all of the bumps the boat would make when we would hit the wake of other boats. We sat together at the front of the boat and snuggled as we whipped around the lake. She had a great time!

After a full day of playing it was time for a snack. She was treated to a nice big bowl of ice cream. I don't think I have to tell you how much she enjoyed that. It was a fun filled day at the lake and she crashed hard once we got home.

Another new adventure for Olivia this summer has been her newest, favorite toy. After seeing this toy at a friend's house my Mom decided that Olivia must own one. So the next day Todd and I rushed out and got Olivia her very own sink table. The first time Olivia played with the sink table her dress was removed so that we could avoid it getting soaked with water. Because we did that one time she now refuses to play with it unless we remove her shirt first. After Nana bought the sink table for Olivia, Olivia thanked her and asked if she would like to come over sometime and play with her. My Mom said of course and Olivia replied by saying, "Great...but you have to take off your shirt!". Oh, the mind of a two year old.

One day Olivia was really into her make believe while playing with the sink table. I rushed outside and took a little video of her. She likes to pretend she is making tea and soup and then serve it to people. I asked her what she was doing and this was her reply...

In case you had trouble hearing what she was saying, she told me that she was making tea, milk...wine and beer! When I asked her where she learned about that she said, "Nana taught me." I was shocked that she knew anything about wine and beer and it is obvious that my Mom is not spending time teaching my daughter about various alcoholic beverages. She does know that we like to drink wine and that Daddy sometimes has a beer, but we have made it clear to her that those drinks are for adults and not for children. Although I laugh hysterically each time I watch that video, I am nervous that one day at school, when asked what she is doing she will tell the teacher, "I am making wine and beer." That would be an interesting conversation with the teacher. What I have learned is that there is nothing that Olivia does not absorb. Her mind is like a sponge and once you tell her something, she never forgets!

A few other things that we have done this summer include attending a Tin Caps baseball game for my company picnic. This was our first time seeing a game at the new stadium and it was great until the rain came and ruined our fun. Luckily we had already eaten our food and been able to enjoy a few innings before making a mad dash to the car. The good news is that we got to turn in our tickets for another game and we will be taking Olivia back in a few weeks.

We have also been enjoying a ton of fresh vegetables from our garden this summer. We are growing tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumber, lettuce, peppers and basil. Olivia is a HUGE vegetable eater so she is enjoying the freshness of eating things straight from the garden. She loves nothing more than helping me pick things, immediately washing them with the hose and popping them right into her mouth. If it were up to her she would even eat the green tomatoes. It was hard to make her understand that only the red ones are good to eat. I am amazed by how big some of our veggies have gotten, especially the green beans. Check it out...

I love that I can feed Olivia fresh vegetables from our very own garden. I am hoping that in the next few years she will become more involved with the planting and maintenance of the garden.
She calls it her garden, but I have done all of the work.

It has been a crazy busy summer. I have even more to share but it will have to wait for future posts. Olivia is about to finish her summer camp program at her school. She has had such a great time. I have a ton of pictures to share from all of her adventures. We have also been busy helping my Mom get settled in her new place. She not only retired from teaching this year, but she also moved out of the home she lived in for 30+ years and into a very nice condo, just a hop-skip-and a jump from us. We have been celebrating her retirement while working to make her new place feel like home. She has a lot to look forward to in her retirement, including spending more time with Olivia! It is hard to believe that the summer is almost over, but so far it has been fantastic!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

summer fun - part 1

Oh, summertime! Such a great time of year. We have been so very busy this summer...I don't even know where to start. I think I will just start at the beginning. Olivia loves playgrounds. I think she goes at least once a week to visit one of her favorite playgrounds. Her Daddy usually takes her after he picks her up from the baby sitter so I am usually not with them. One Friday we both picked her up and headed to a huge park in our area. It was a beautiful evening and Olivia had a great time!

She even made a friend that day. There was an adorable little boy there with his Daddy (I can't remember his name, but he sure was cute). Olivia, being the social butterfly that she is, immediately started talking to him and seeing if he wanted to play with her. Before I knew it they were going down the slides together and picking flowers in the field. I just love watching little kids interact with one another. They ran around together for quite awhile before it was time to go.

So far our weather has not been too hot this summer. We have had a few steamy days, but overall it has been perfect. What better thing to do on a nice summer day than enjoy an ice cream cone? After visiting the park that night we grabbed some dinner and some ice cream before heading home. In the past Olivia has always shared things with us. Well not anymore. She is only interested in having "her own" of everything. There was no way she was going to share an ice cream cone with one of us. So we decided that she could probably handle her own little cone. Do I even need to tell you how much she enjoyed it? I think these pictures say it all!

When she finished the cone I asked her where it went. She said, "Mommy, it went in my belly...see?" I was surprised how little of a mess she made while eating her cone. I figured she would be covered in ice cream, but she ate it so fast there was no time for it to melt all over her. Big surprise there! But I just had to kiss her big ice cream covered face when she was done.

Another favorite activity of Olivia's this summer has been swimming. We have been spending a lot of time at Uncle VJ's pool. It is a great way to cool off and a great way for Olivia to burn energy. Not to mention that she absolute loves to swim! I know I have mentioned that because of her many swimming lessons she has become very confident in water. All she needs is her swim vest and she is good to go. No need for Mom and Dad to hang around trying to help. Nope...not interested!

Olivia had a swimming buddy that day too. Jack had come over for a swim as well. Jack is my sister in law's niece's boy (got that?) and he is very close in age to Olivia. He was not as confident in the water as Olivia but he was more than happy to sit on the step with her and splash around, and she was more than happy to take a break from swimming to play with him.

One of her favorite things to do is jump off the edge. She will do it over and over until she is out of breath! I am just amazed by how fearless she is in the pool. I think those swimming lessons really paid off. Although I get a little nervous by how confident she is I think I would rather her love the water than be deathly afraid of stepping into a pool. A big thanks to Uncle VJ and Aunt Chris for letting us come over anytime to cool off and take a dip!

Another one of Olivia's favorite summer activities is taking trips to the zoo. The African Journey is now open and I hear it is wonderful. Todd has taken Olivia a few times, but I have yet to see the newest addition to our great zoo. I hope to go soon though. I cannot even count how many times Olivia has been to the zoo this season so far. She even got to spend the day at the zoo with her Montessori teacher from this past year. She loves all of the animals but is even more fascinated with the rides. Aside from the carousel, her favorite thing to do is ride the horses. She has a favorite mini horse that she tries to ride each time. Her name is Gayle and she is great!

We are only half way through the summer and I know we have already gotten our money's worth out of our zoo pass. Such a great summer activity! Well those are some of the fun things we have been up to so far this summer. I have lots more to share but I am going to save the rest for my next post. I have some great pictures from The Forth of July, a recent trip to the lake and Olivia's new favorite toy. It is hard to believe that the summer is half way over already! I think it is safe to say that Olivia has enjoyed every second of it so far!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

daddy days

This post is a little late. I meant to do a nice post on Father's Day to recognize both Father's Day and Todd's birthday, and I am just now getting around to it. The holidays were back to back this year and as always, I am posting way after the fact. Better late than never, right? I love my blog, I really do, but it is extremely time consuming. It takes me an entire evening to write my post, upload my pictures and proof read before publishing. I know, sounds strange, but that is just the Journalism major in me. I am very particular. Yes, I graduated from IU with a journalism major and this is the only avenue in which I utilize my degree. Therefore I feel the need to make it as perfect as possible! Sometimes it is hard to find the time to do that.

So back to the purpose of this post...Todd (or Daddy) as he is commonly referred to in this house. Olivia is a total Daddy's girl. She loves to wrestle with him, play at the park with him, or just snuggle on the couch. There is definitely no denying how much she loves her Daddy. Todd just eats this up too. He loves nothing more than spending time with her. He jumps at the chance to take her to the park, or the zoo, and he is by far the best bath giver in the house. He has been in charge of Olivia's baths from the beginning. Once in awhile I get the pleasure of bathing Olivia and I have been told by her, "You are doing it wrong!". I have come to accept the fact that I do not give as good of a bath as Daddy does...and that is OK.

The weather was beautiful on Father's Day and we were excited about our pool party at Uncle VJ's (Todd's brother). The entire family was getting together to celebrate the holiday and Olivia was looking forward to showing off her swimming skills. This was our first trip to VJ's pool this season and until now Olivia had been attending ongoing swimming lessons at the YMCA, another activity she enjoys with her Daddy. I had not seen Olivia swim in over a year but I knew that she has gotten quite good. Boy, is that an understatement! This kid is a pro in the pool! With just a swim vest on Olivia can do it all. She jumps off the edge, treads water and even goes under...all without any help. Of course I forgot to bring my camera to document this great day, but I will be sure to share some swimming pictures later in the summer. It was a great day filled with family, food and lots of swimming, and we all had a great time.

By that night we were all worn out. Olivia did surprise her Daddy with a great homemade card she made at summer school. She also gave him a book of car washes, but I think that gift was a little bit for her too since she loves going through the car wash with Todd. Since I had gone the whole day without taking any pictures of Olivia and her Daddy I pulled out my camera to catch some snuggle time and before bed reading. I think Todd had a fabulous Father's Day.

The celebrating continued the next day with Todd's birthday! It is never too exciting when your birthday falls on a Monday but we did our best to make it a special day. I took Todd out for lunch and that evening we all went out to dinner. Olivia sang "Happy Birthday" to her Daddy every chance she got and she was counting the moments until it was time for cake. Now Olivia understands that it is not her birthday but that does not mean she does not want to help blow out the candles or help open presents. To her that is the best part about birthdays.

What better way to finish the birthday celebrations than with a BIG birthday hug! I think it is clear to see that Olivia loves her Daddy. And why wouldn't she? He is the best Daddy in the world. I love nothing more than to sit back and watch them spend time together. They have a special bond. One that is different than the one that I share with her. Their relationship is special and it makes my heart melt. One of my favorite sayings says it all, "Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad." That could not be more true. So Happy (belated) Father's Day and Birthday, honey! I hope that your two days were special.