Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a heart shaped day

Valentine's Day...not my favorite holiday but one that Olivia was very excited about this year. She started talking about making and handing out valentines weeks before, so when she found out there was going to be a valentines party in her class we immediately got to work. Olivia has been working on learning to write her name in school. She is doing a great job too. Luckily most of the letters in her name are quite easy to write. She is still struggling with her v's and a's, but overall she is making great progress and it is looking more and more legible each day.

She signed 17 valentines for her class. I was very proud of her. We almost thought the Valentine party was not going to happen because of the snow we got that week, but they were back in school just in time. That day she came home with a box full of valentines and treats. She was super excited! We also took a big tray of homemade Valentine sugar cookies to school, made by Mom, for Olivia to share with her friends. Olivia tried to take credit for the cookies by telling her friends that she made them herself. I think it was pretty clear, by the look of the cookies that a 3 year old did not make them. I wish I would have taken a picture of the cookies because they were so cute. That Saturday Todd and I went out for our Valentine's dinner and Todd's Mom came over to spend the evening with Olivia. Gangy had a wonderful Valentine's gift that she was dying to give her. The first gift contained an adorable little outfit with hearts all over it, that will fit her perfectly next year. She immediately tried it on.

After she was all dressed she was instructed to open the next box, which contained a Madame Alexander doll with a matching outfit. It was the cutest thing. Olivia and her doll "Natalie" looked so adorable dressed as twins. It was a very thoughtful gift and I am sure next year Olivia will love getting dressed up for Valentine's day, just like her doll.

The next morning, which was actually Valentine's Day, I made a special breakfast of heart-shaped pancakes. It took forever to make them, but they sure were delicious. My theme of heart-shaped food continued throughout the day, but more on that later.

After breakfast we all got dressed to head out for a bit. Of course Olivia had to wear something red. Look at this diva. She is too much in her sunglasses! Looks like she thinking, "Stop in the name of love!"

We thought we would check out the Fort Wayne Food Expo that was going on that day, but it turned out to be pretty disappointing. Instead Olivia thought she would burn off some energy by running around our nearly empty Coliseum for a good 3o minutes. She had a blast! She was up the stairs, she was down the stairs. There are a few statues that she was quite fascinated with and most importantly there was plenty of room to run, jump and skip.

After wearing herself out we decided to head home for lunch. Olivia decided she felt like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (big surprise). So to make it a little more exciting I of course cut the sandwich into a...you guessed it...heart! I forgot to take a picture of it, but I think you've got the idea. Lunch was topped off with a few Valentine's sugar cookies made by my Mom...yum! After a nice long nap for Olivia and myself (Happy Valentine's Day to me!), it was time to start pulling our ingredients together for our special Valentine's dinner. We decided to make homemade pizzas so I sent Olivia and Todd to the store while I got started with the dough.

By the time they got home I had Olivia's heart-shaped pizza all ready for her to start preparing. We did this activity earlier this winter and she really enjoyed it. She very carefully covered her pizza with the sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and cheese. It was funny watching her concentrate as she tried to create a perfect pizza.

After a few minutes in the oven our pizzas were ready to eat. I think we all enjoyed our special Valentine's dinner. It was nothing fancy, but we had fun and enjoyed spending time together. We all exchanged small little gifts and lots of kisses were handed out that day! I think Olivia's favorite part was the red and pink jelly beans we gave her for her jelly bean machine. Nothing better than candy to make your day a little brighter! She had so much fun getting ready for this holiday and we made sure she had a memorable day. I look forward to continuing all of these little traditions with her again next year.

So a few weeks ago our wonderful Indianapolis Colts headed to the Super Bowl once again. We all went to my Mom's to watch the game and we were all decked out in our Colts gear, hoping it would bring good luck. Well not this time. They lost, but we had a fun night. I even think Olivia(sort of) enjoyed watching the game.

Not much else going on with us right now. We are starting to get a little bit of cabin fever here in cold Indiana. As much as we would love to take a trip to somewhere warm, I think we would just be happy to get out of town for a night. We are thinking of taking Olivia to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. I think she is at the right age where she will enjoy herself and appreciate it. Plus, it is something different and a change of scenery for us. Check back soon, as I will probably have some great pictures from our trip to the museum.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

just passing time

It's the middle of the winter and we are just passing time until Spring arrives. It has been a pretty decent winter actually. We have had a few heavy snow falls which has made for some fun time outdoors. Those of you with little ones know that it takes longer to get them ready to play outside than the actual time you spend playing in the snow. But it is all worth it when you see how much fun they have. Olivia is no exception. Every time there is enough snow we venture out to do some sledding, make snow angels and just burn off some energy!

We have a pretty decent hill in our backyard which makes for some fun sledding. Olivia has a choice. She can either go down the hill in her sled, or she can slide down in her saucer. Both methods have proven to be equally as fun for her. That is apparent in the continuous squeals, each time she flies down the hill.

This particular snow fall did not produce good packing snow, so making a snowman was out of the question. We opted to make snow angels instead. She is still catching on to how to make a perfect snow angel, but they are getting better!

Playing in the snow is by far one of our favorite winter activities and the perfect way to wear her out! I can always expect a good, solid nap from her after an hour of running around outside. Gotta love that! I am so grateful that my girl is still taking good afternoon naps. I can usually get anywhere from 2-3 hours out of her on the weekends, which allows me to get a ton of stuff done around the house. I count myself as lucky considering many of my friends that have kids Olivia's age are no longer napping. I will mourn the day her naps end for good. For now I will continue to enjoy the breaks!

In other news, Olivia is doing great in school. She is just thriving and learning so much. She impresses us constantly with the new things she learns. Recently they have been studying the continents in class. They learn a song that helps them to remember all seven and then they spend time learning about each one. The song is one of Olivia's favorite and they also performed it during their holiday program. For awhile it was about all she would sing around the house. She loved to perform it for us so it was not hard catching it on tape. Here she is singing the Continent Song with her North America puzzle.

After they learned the names of the continents each child had to pin-punch each continent out of construction paper and lay them out to create a map. Pin-punching teaches fine-motor skills as well as patience. It takes a long time to punch out all of the continents, and I know she worked very hard on it over the course of a few weeks. A couple of weeks ago Olivia came home with her completed continent map. She was bursting with excitement to show it to us and beaming with pride, knowing that it was something she created all by herself.

As a reward for her hard work we took her to Build-A-Bear so she could pick out a little something for her bear. We made a big deal out of it and made sure she knew that we were proud of her. Little did I know that would come back to bite me in the butt. The following Monday morning, as we were getting ready for school, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, I am going to work really hard at school today!" I said, "Oh yeah, well that's good." She continued by saying, "Yes, and after I work hard at school you can take me back to Build-A-Bear!". What a stinker! I thought we were doing the right thing by showing her how proud we were of her. I was not expecting her to believe that every time she did something good she would get a big reward. I explained to her that going to Build-A-Bear was reserved for very special occasions and every other time she worked hard I would tell her I was proud by giving her a big, huge hug. It must have worked because I have not heard anything else about going to Build-A-Bear since then. Whooo...dodged that one!

Olivia is definitely mature for her age, as you can tell by the way she rationalizes things. She seems beyond her years in many ways. Lately we have been giving a little more responsibility around the house. She has always been responsible for cleaning up her toys, but her responsibilities have recently increased. She now helps me load the washing machine and move the clothes into the dryer. She also sets the table for dinner every night. As she gets older her list of chores will grow, but for now she is a great little helper!

On the flip side, we have been experiencing more of her nasty side. It usually comes out when things do not go her way. Depending on which one of us is on the receiving end of her nastiness she will usually take it out on us. Lately if she is angry with one of us she will say, "I am not going to be your friend anymore!". I do not know where she is learning to say those things. I know that we have never taught her to speak that way. It seems to me that she throws around hurtful words to help make herself feel better when she is frustrated. We are working on channeling our anger and frustration in the proper ways, but it is a work in progress. You would never know she could be nasty by looking at that sweet face!

She continues to be a busy bee. We have a ton of toys and activities to pass the time during the cold winter months, but Olivia has been more interested in playing make-believe lately. She has a basket of dress-up clothes, which she loves. She will throw on one of her outfits and make up a whole scenario. I love watching her little creative mind go to work. Her make-believe scenarios usually involve some of her favorite characters including, Dora, Corduroy the Bear, and various others she considers friends. We always try to do craft projects with her to pass some time and although she enjoys doing crafts, she is not the most artistically gifted child. Her coloring and drawing skills are not very strong, and I believe that it because she is just not very interested in it. I watch her when she colors and she just rushes through it. I was a bit concerned at first but I have come to discover that this is simply an area that does not interest Olivia a great deal. That may change down the road but for now there are not many drawings being displayed on our refrigerator!

We are now looking forward to Valentine's Day. Olivia is very excited about this holiday. She has been busy making cards for her family and figuring out how many valentines she needs for all of the kids in her class. We will continue to stay busy until this cold weather passes so we can welcome Spring with open arms. Then again, staying busy with Olivia is not a hard task to accomplish.