Christopher came over to say good-bye before heading off for his last tour with the Marines. Another of Olivia's cousins, and Christopher's brother, Jordan came along. Within minutes she had them playing all sorts of goofy games. There was no shortage of giggles, squeals and screams. I have never seen a child so sweaty and exhausted, but most importantly truly happy. She was sad to see him so go, but we were all happy to hear he would be coming home again for a long weekend at the end of May.
Another exciting development in Olivia's world is the addition of her new, fancy swing set in our backyard. After MANY man hours and lots of help from our family friend, Dennis the thousand piece monstrosity was standing tall and ready to be tackled by a rowdy three year old. I am pretty sure that my husband will not be putting another one of these together again in his lifetime. But he did a great job and I know that Olivia will get countless hours of fun out of her new toy. She is most looking forward to inviting some of her little friends over to play.
Our constant fun of late continued with a super fun birthday party for Olivia's cousin Brendan last weekend. It was at this new ice/sports area in town, Canlan Ice Sports. But there was no ice skating taking place at this party. Nope...it was a party full of bouncy houses!!! One of the ice arenas was full of about 9 different blow up monstrosities. From the second we stepped into the wide open space the child just exploded with energy and went wild. She ran from one bouncy house to the other, hardly stopping to catch her breath. She did stop at one point, turned to me and said, "Mommy...this party is FANTASTIC!!!". Olivia is still talking about Brendan's birthday party from last year at Gymnastics in Motion. I thought it would be hard to top that, but apparently all it takes it a room full of bouncy houses and very few rules to follow. It was a huge success with Olivia and I think we will be going back ourselves for more bouncy house fun in the near future.
This past weekend we also packed in our first trip to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo for the season. Olivia had been counting the days until the zoo opened, but we were afraid to tell her that we might not be able to make it because of the weather. It was a wash-out of a weekend. It rained on and off for most of it. Because Saturday was packed with a swim lesson and birthday party, Sunday was our only chance to go. The forecast was rain for most of the day and when we broke that news to Olivia the tears started flowing immediately. There was no way I was going to deny her a trip to the zoo that she had so been looking for to, so we got dressed and rushed over hoping to squeeze in some time before the rain started.
We decided to take in the African Veldt first. It is the newest part of our zoo and the part I believe has the best animals. It actually turned out to be a great day to hit the zoo. Because the weather was sketchy not many people were there, and because it was cooler more of the animals were out and quite active. We got some crazy close views of the male and female lions. The monkey's desperately wanted some of the popcorn we brought with us, and there was a leopard that was sitting right up against the fence staring right into our eyes. Just as we were heading over to see the giraffes the rain started, and it kept coming down. So our trip to the zoo was short lived but fun while it lasted. I have no doubt that we will be going numerous times this year and I am really looking forward to it. It is one of Olivia's favorite activities and she seems to enjoy it more each year. I think she is learning to appreciate the animals more now and seems interested in learning more about them.
With Spring here it reminds me that Olivia is just about done with her second year of school! I cannot believe how much my little girl has grown during these two years at Three Rivers Montessori. She has learned SO much this year...not just knowledge but better social skills and problem solving. Her Spanish is amazing! She has even started to throw Spanish words in her normal conversations. It is pretty impressive. She is back in swimming lessons, this time at the Carroll Natatorium. I think we outgrew the Y. The cool thing about the Carroll Natatorium is that they place your child base on their ability, not just their age. Olivia is pretty confident in the water and has learned a lot over the past few years. I am thinking that she will start swimming without a floating device this year. And as if Olivia is not busy enough she will be showing off her tap dancing skills in her second Northeast School of Dance dance recital this summer. She has been working hard all year and is itching to get back up on the "big stage" to perform for everyone. I am now teaching at the dance studio too so it is going to be an extra special recital this year. So much to look forward to...stay tuned!