Monday, November 16, 2009

a sweet celebration

Last week our sweet Olivia turned 3...yes, 3! I can't believe it and I don't want to believe that my little girl is growing up, but it is happening so I better get on board. Don't get me wrong, she is fantastic, but I would give anything to just stop time right where it is for a few years and enjoy this stage a little while longer. Aside from a few monstrous moments from time to time, Olivia is the sweetest, most loving, bright, full of life child on the planet. I know I am a little biased but I am allowed to be since I am her mother, right? Well, since I can't stop time I am just going to enjoy every second of her younger years before she decides that spending time with her mother is the most uncool thing on the planet.

Last week her birthday celebration spanned several days. She actually turned 3 on November 4th, but the big celebration took place on Saturday. I just love making a huge fuss over her on her special day, and I don't think she minds. The day of her birthday started with a special birthday breakfast...apples and a breakfast bar with a candle in the middle. Exciting I know, but this is Olivia's standard breakfast most mornings. I think I could have stuck a candle in the middle of anything and she would have been happy. All she wanted was to hear us sing "Happy Birthday" to her before blowing out that candle, and she blew it out like a help! We packed up her school things and the mini-muffins she was bringing as her birthday snack and headed off to school. She had a huge smile on her face the entire morning and was just itching to get to school so people could continue to make a fuss over her.

Later that morning, Todd, my Mom and myself visited Olivia's school to share in the special birthday celebration. Each child takes part in a special ceremony on their birthday, called the "walk around the sun". This involves the child walking around a small table that has a candle on it...once for each year of their life, while holding a globe. During each lap around the table something special about that child is shared. I wrote four special quotes that could be shared, one for when she was born and her 1st, 2nd and now 3rd year of life. After Olivia "walked around the sun" three times we all sang "Happy Birthday" and she blew out the candle. It was a cute little ceremony and she was beaming with pride the entire time. I must admit it brought a slight tear to my eye. I was proud of her for all that she has accomplished in her three short years of life.

After the ceremony there were a few minutes before she would be dismissed so we got to go with her onto the playground. The second she got outside she immediately ran for her BFF, Laurel. It was a cool day but there were tons of leaves on the ground and the kids were just having a blast running through them. It was fun just seeing Olivia in her element. Next it was off to the baby sitter's for the rest of the day but the birthday celebration would continue that night.

Olivia's birthday present from us was a surprise trip to Build-A-Bear. I thought she was old enough to appreciate the joy of making your very own teddy bear. I think she was in teddy bear heaven, once we stepped into the store. The first of many choices was deciding what style of bear she wanted. I was pleased that she picked a type of bear that she does not already have. Next it was time to stuff the bear. The people that work there are very friendly and helpful and did a great job of making Olivia feel special on her birthday. On top of that it was a Wednesday night, and the mall was dead, so we had the place to ourselves.

After her bear was stuffed and sealed with a kiss it was on to the grooming stations. She really enjoyed fluffing and combing his fur. I could tell that she formed an immediate connection with her bear and they were going to be lifelong pals. Olivia's one true love is her stuffed animals, or "stuffies", as we call them. She takes after me in that way. I wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by tons of stuffed animals, especially when I slept. The final step in the bear making process was to pick out an outfit.

She changed her mind multiple times before settling on a cute little ballerina outfit. I can't say that I was surprised considering she loves to dance. What does surprise me is how many outfits there are to choose from and how quickly one can empty their wallet with all of the accessories that are available. When it was all said and done she had created her bear and aptly name it "Ballerina Bear". It was a fun birthday activity and one that I think may become a tradition each year.

The last stop on the birthday train was to my Mom's for presents and a special birthday dinner. Olivia was thrilled to open her presents. She got a ton of beautiful clothes from my Mom and a few special things from us, including an Olivia book, a hand puppet kit and the one thing she wanted more than anything else...Bendaroos! Needless to say, she was thrilled and relieved that we were able to find them for her.

After a yummy birthday dinner of spaghetti it was finally time for cake. She sat on pins and needles while we sang to her one last time, anxiously waiting to blow out those candles. With a little help she blew all three out on the first try. I sure hope she made a special birthday wish. There was only pure joy on her face as she devoured that cake. It is the simple things that bring her such joy. For me, watching Olivia enjoy every moment of her special day brings me all the joy I need. When the day was over I tucked my three year old girl in bed, kissed her and told her how much I loved her. I walked out of her room wondering how she made it to three in a blink of an eye.

Olivia's birthday week came to an exciting climax that weekend with her birthday party. Many of you know the party had an "Olivia" theme. For those of you who do not know what I am talking about click here to learn all about Olivia the Pig. It is a series of books based on an adorable little pig who seems to have the exact same personality as our Olivia. Once she was old enough to notice she quickly caught on to the fact that she shared the name of this cute little character. There is even an "Olivia" TV program on Nick Jr. My challenge was finding a way to decorate for the party since they do not make "Olivia the Pig" birthday decorations. So I got a little creative. First, I called on a friend of of the Mom's from Olivia's school, who makes adorable dresses. She found some super cute "Olivia" fabric and came up with this great little dress for to wear at her party. She was so excited to wear it!

And then there was the cake? What to do? I so desperately wanted a cake in the shape of "Olivia the Pig" but I did not know if someone could pull it off. The secretary at Olivia's school is an amazing baker and she specializes in cakes. I told her what I wanted and she said, "no problem!". I was speechless when I picked up the cake on the day of Olivia's party. I had seen some of her work before so I knew she was good, but I never imagined the cake to be this perfect! It was the perfect touch to the "Olivia" party! You should have seen the look on Olivia's face when I showed the cake to her for the first time...priceless!

After our guests arrived and we enjoyed dinner we moved onto presents. Olivia excitedly tore into each present and was beyond thrilled with each gift she received...and she got some nice stuff! After all of the presents were opened and we were left with a hurricane of wrapping paper she stood up and announced to her guests, "Thank you everyone for my presents!". I was so impressed, and so proud of the fact that she is so polite and grateful. A few people even pulled me aside later and told me that she came up to thank them again for the gifts they gave to her.

Next, it was time for cake! Olivia's favorite part of birthdays. As you can imagine Olivia was not at all embarrassed, having everyone standing around her and singing while she waited to blow out her candles. She was ready to dig into that "Olivia" cake! Oh and before I forget we made a special treat for the kids to eat for dinner...pigs in a blanket! Appropriate, right?

When it was all said and done, I had a huge mess but a very happy three year old. It was hard for her to go to bed that night. I am not sure if it was because she was so excited about all of her presents, or because she knew that once she went to sleep her birthday week would officially be over. Regardless I think her party was a huge success and filled with wonderful memories. Olivia is so lucky to have so many generous family and friends in her life. We are lucky that they all took time out of their busy lives to celebrate with us.

I am so excited to see what the three's have in store for us this year. I have a feeling there will be many ups and downs, but never a dull moment! I look at Olivia and I am so proud of the little girl she has become. Well mannered, kind, caring, happy, smart...the list goes on and on. I know I have not been the perfect mother, by any means, but seeing how well rounded she seems to be makes me think I am doing something right.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away. I have not even begun to think about Christmas, nor am I ready to. I just realized that I still have not blogged about Halloween or some of the other fun fall activities we took part in. I will be sure to include all of that in my next post. One final, Happy Birthday, to my sweet Olivia! I can't wait to see how you will amaze us this year.


Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear that Olivia had the best birthday ever, she is one lucky little girl. I loved her Olivia the pig dress and cake, so darn cute. Love Aunt Sue Sue

Wormie said...

Thank you for posting so many great photos! We were so sorry to have missed the party, and it's so great to be able to follow along on your blog! Sounds like she had a great day. Her cake and dress were beyond adorable!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to have been a part of all of Olivia's birthday activities. She continues to bring me such joy and amazement. I look forward to her 4th year.

Erin said...

Happy Birthday, Olivia! I can't believe she is three. What a cutie pie. Great birthday planning, Jess- the cake was awesome! Here's to a great 4th year for Olivia!