Wednesday, September 30, 2009

fun family time has been awhile since I have blogged. With school in full swing for Olivia and all of our extracurricular activities it is hard to find the time to sit down and share my thoughts. But I love doing it, so here it goes.

We have been doing a ton of fun family things lately, squeezing every last bit out of this nice weather. I am stoked about Fall, it is my favorite time of year, but I am also sad that we won't be able to do our outdoor activities for much longer. Our summer was packed with one outdoor activity after another. I know that once it gets cold I am going to have to start getting creative in order to keep Miss Olivia from getting bored.

I think one of the last summer like days we had was during our annual church picnic, earlier this month. Each year Trinity English Lutheran Church holds their annual picnic at the Solomon Farm. Todd and I have been before but this was the first time we have taken Olivia. They have a ton of fun things for kids to do and I knew she would really get into it. I kindly volunteered to oversee the bouncy house for a short time during the picnic. I wasn't overly thrilled about watching over a bunch of little kids throw themselves into each other, but I wanted to help out. The plus was that Olivia got to spend most of my shift bouncing until she could not bounce any more. Do you think she liked it?

The other big hit was the huge inflatable slide. I thought there was no way she would climb to the top of that thing by herself. She is brave but there are some things that she is just not up for. Boy, was I wrong. I think she went down this slide at least four times. It is just another step towards Olivia becoming this independent child, no longer my little baby! I was just thrilled to see the joy on her face as she came flying down that slide.

The other big hit from the picnic was the face painting. I did not think that my Olivia would sit still long enough for something to be painted on her face, but I was wrong again! She was thrilled with the butterfly on her cheek, but not so thrilled once it rubbed off from more bouncing in the bouncy house. In fact, she was quite sad when it rubbed off. She took part in all of the activities the picnic had to offer until she wore herself out. Overall it was a fun, end of the summer day.

Next on our list of fun family time, was a visit from Olivia's Great Aunt Sue Sue. Olivia was anxiously awaiting her arrival and they bonded from the moment she arrived until she had to get back on her plane to California. Sue came to town so that she, my Mom and I could go away for a girls weekend to Indy. She received a birthday gift from her husband that allowed her to take us on a spa weekend. Nice, huh? Needless to say it was pretty great! I left Olivia with Daddy for the weekend, allowing them to do some father-daughter bonding, while we indulged in spa, shopping and food. It was nice to get away for some "girl time", but it was also nice to come home to my girl. Sue stayed in town for a few more days so she could spend some time with Olivia. They had a blast together and at the end of the visit Olivia asked if Sue Sue could come live with us. The good news is that we will be going out to California for a visit next month, so Olivia will get to see more of her Aunt Sue Sue again very soon.

The start of fall means that the zoo will soon be closing for the season. We have had such fun visiting the zoo this year. I lost track of how many times we have gone. We went again this past weekend knowing that it might be the last time we go before they close.

We made this visit extra special and let Olivia choose two rides as well as a treat to share. She picked the train and the log ride, and of course an ice cream treat. Luckily it was a pretty nice day on Sunday so ice cream was not an unreasonable request. Even though the zoo is closing we will be going back one last time for the annual Zoo Halloween. Such fun!

Now that it is starting to get chilly out I have been trying to think of activities that we can do indoors. This past weekend I came up with the idea of making our own pizzas for dinner. I had no idea Olivia would enjoy it so much. We cheated and bought our pizza crusts, already prepared. (Next time we will roll them out ourselves). We added our sauce, toppings and cheese to our own individual pizzas. Olivia loved being able to create her own pizza, although she tried to pile all of her topping into a huge heap in the middle of the dough. I helped her spread them out a bit and then we popped them in the oven. Within minutes they were ready for us to eat. I think Olivia had more fun making the pizzas than actually eating them, but it was a great family activity and not nearly as messy as I anticipated!

In other news...Olivia is doing great in school. I have more to share about that next time. Her vocabulary continues to amaze me. She tells me all about her day and things going on with her friends at school. She is still loving Spanish and I recently surprised her with a few new Spanish books. I love that she is so interested in another language, so we are taking advantage of the eagerness to learn. (I am learning too!). Her curiosity continues to grow and she loves asking questions. She hates being left out of conversations and constantly interrupts by saying, "What are you and Daddy talking about?" She is also getting very excited about her upcoming birthday. She has it all planned out in her head...who will be coming to her party, what kind of cake she wants, and of course...what she hopes to get for her birthday. She has only one request...Bendaroos.

Yes, my child has become a victim of commercialization. While watching the very educational PBS Sprout channel she has discovered a craft toy called, Bendaroos. They are these wax sticks that can be shaped into anything. For some reason she has developed an obsession for these things and asks daily if she can have them for her birthday. I hate buying things off the TV so we checked around and Todd found them at a craft store, so of course we grabbed them and put them away for her big day. I have no doubt she will be thrilled. Whether or not she will know what to do with them will remain to be seen. The look on her face when she gets them will no doubt be priceless. Now I need to get moving on the birthday party details. Is my child really about to turn 3???

I am sad that summer is over. We really had a lot of fun this year. But there are so many fun things coming up and I know that it will be a great fall/winter as well. The next big step is Olivia's move into her "big girl" bed. That should be happening this weekend, so stay tuned and wish us luck!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

right before my eyes

I had to stop and think twice this week about how it is possible that my two year old is starting her second year of school already. Not only is she starting her second year at Three Rivers Montessori, but she is stepping into a whole new territory in a new classroom with new teachers and new friends. This year is going to be quite different for Olivia as she will no longer be in the toddler classroom, but spending the next 3-4 years in the Primary classroom with 3-6 year olds. It brought tears to my eyes as I looked back at her first day of school pictures from last year. I think about how much she has grown and changed during the past year and I am astonished and so very proud of her!

Olivia was looking forward to starting the new school year. Since we did the summer program it was not very difficult getting back into our school routine. The major difference this year is that she will be going all five mornings instead of just three mornings a week, like she did last year. I got her up and ready just like I do each and every morning and tried to snap a few pictures of her before we walked out the door. Big difference from last year, huh?

Olivia's first day was last Wednesday. The returning children came on Monday and Tuesday, by themselves. The new, younger children came Wednesday-Friday so they could get acclimated to their new classroom. This week the children are all together. It will be different for Olivia to be in a classroom with children that are not only her age but others that are close to five and six years old. I am sure many of you are wondering how they operate a classroom with kids from so many different age ranges. It is amazing really. The kids work together as well as independently. Lessons are given in a group and to individual children. The kids are allowed to work at their own pace, which gives the five year olds the ability to work at a more advanced level, while the younger children can work at a level that is more suitable for them. The older kids look out for the younger ones and even help to give lessons. It really is a neat dynamic and works quite well. My initial fear was that Olivia would be intimidated by the older kids, but I really don't think that will be the case. I actually think it will be good for Olivia to spend time with older children. Olivia tends to be a leader and can be a bit bossy at times. I highly doubt that the older kids will stand for much from a 2 year old, so this should help to tame that bossiness!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how much I LOVE Olivia's new teacher, Ms. Laura. I secretly had my fingers crossed that she would be Olivia's teacher this year and my wish was granted! I am so confident knowing that for the next three years Olivia growth and development will be in Ms. Laura's hands!

Olivia fell back into the swing of things at school like a pro! I knew she would. Ms. Laura was kind enough to e-mail me some pictures of Olivia during her first day back at school. I think she wanted me to know that Olivia was OK. I knew she was, but it was nice to see just how happy she was in her new environment. Last year she was a little sad when I left her on the first day of school and this year she took off the second we stepped into the classroom and did not even look back. I just love know that Olivia is so comfortable at her school.

This week all of the kids are together and they are getting used to their new classroom dynamic. I am so excited for what this year has in store for Olivia. Being in this next level at her school will allow her to grow at her own pace and learn so many new and wonderful things. There are many fun events and activities planned for the school year so I will be sure to update you on occasion so you can hear all about Olivia's adventures.