The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Very fun...but very busy! It felt like we flew from one activity to the next. The one nice thing was that Olivia had a two week break from all of her activities. No school, no tap class, no swimming. She was able to spend a little extra time with her babysitter, my mom and myself, and just have some fun.
Our Christmas festivities started on Christmas Eve. A tradition of ours is to open one present the night before. We had something special for Olivia that she had to open on Christmas Eve. If you follow my blog you know that Olivia got her first Build-A-Bear for her Birthday. I thought that her bear needed to have a Christmas outfit. She was thrilled when she saw the Santa suit and could not change her bear's clothes fast enough. We dressed up her bear and she took her along to church and the Wilhelm's annual Christmas Eve party.
Olivia really enjoyed the children's service at our church this year. She rang the bells with gusto as we sang some Christmas songs, and actually managed to sit quietly through the brief service. It was a fun way to kick off our Christmas Eve. Next we headed to the Wilhelm's for their annual night before Christmas party. Olivia spent the night running around with the kids while snagging cookies off of the desert table. We made sure we put her in her Christmas jammies before heading home, since we knew we would get home late. When we got home Olivia put out her cookies and milk for Santa, as well as carrots for the reindeer. She went to bed without a fight, knowing that the sooner she went to sleep the sooner Santa would arrive.
I am grateful to have a child that does not wake up at the crack of dawn to see if Santa has brought presents. We all slept in and slowly made our way downstairs. Olivia was thrilled to see that Santa and the reindeer had eaten her treats, and left presents under her tree. She quickly ripped through her gifts and was pleased that he had brought her exactly what she asked for. She had four simple things on her list...Hungry Hippo, Elefun, a stuffed kitty cat, and Elmo place mats. It was pretty easy for Santa to take care of her list!
After some breakfast we headed over to my Mom's for our second Christmas of the day. There are no words to describe the abundance of presents that there were to open. Olivia received some wonderful presents from my Mom. One of her favorites was a wooden pizza set. The pieces are stuck together with velcro and split apart with a pizza cutter. There are various toppings so you can customize your own pizza. Olivia has told us in the past that one of the things she want to be when she grow up is a "pizza cooker", so this present was right up her alley. She was also pretty excited about her jelly bean machine! After all of the presents were open we were left with a hurricane of wrapping paper and ribbons. It is a tradition that we take all of the bow and decorate Todd. Isn't he cute? Everyone received some great gifts and we all had a great time!
After my Mom's annual Christmas brunch we packed up and headed to Todd's parents' house for our 3rd and final Christmas of the day. Now picture 8 grand kids all opening presents at the same time! And I thought we had a lot of wrapping paper at my Mom's! Once again Olivia received some great gifts. Her favorite was a chef's outfit. It came with an apron (embroidered with her name), a hat, oven mitt and a few other accessories. She immediately requested to put it on and spent most of the evening walking around pretending she was a chef. So as you can imagine one of her favorite things to do right now is put on her chef's outfit and play with her pizza toy. She is now officially a "pizza cooker".
It was a long day, so we were ready to head back to our house to relax. Olivia was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She spent the whole weekend after Christmas playing with all of her new, fun toys and games. Believe it or not the day after Christmas she started listing what she plans on putting on her list for next year. Always planning ahead! The week between Christmas and New Year's was pretty uneventful. My Mom spent one of the days with Olivia and took her for a visit to the "Christmas house". This is a house belonging to one of my Mom's friends that displays more Christmas decorations than you could possibly imagine. Olivia went last year but did not express much interest. This year was a different story. She had a great time! She wanted to see how everything worked and spent most the time pressing buttons on the things that made noise. This is now another one of Olivia's yearly Christmas traditions.
New Year's is usually a low key event for us. We typically go to a friend's house and play cards, waiting for the clock to strike 12. This year Todd and I won a New Year's Eve package at the Downtown Hilton. My Mom was kind enough to babysit so we could enjoy a night to ourselves. The package included dinner, the party and a night at the hotel. It gave us a reason to get dressed up and enjoy some time alone. It was a nice evening and a great way to ring in the New Year! 2009 was a rough year for us. We are glad to see it go, with the hopes that 2010 brings much better things our way!
Now that the holidays are over it is time to get back to reality and our regular routine. I am excited about what this year may bring. I have no doubt it will be another fun-filled year with Olivia. She continues to delight us with her bubbly personality, quit whit, amazing brightness and beautiful smile each and every day, and I plan to keep you updated on a regular basis. Happy New Year everyone!