Thursday, July 29, 2010

a little bit of this, a little bit of that

So I never thought I would need to keep a social calendar for my 3 year old. That is exactly what I have had to do this summer. This child has been involved in more activities than I can keep track of. It has pretty much been a constant stream of fun things, one after the next. She has gotten so used to being so busy that the first thing she asks each more is, "What are we doing today, Momma?" I feel bad on the rare occasion that we have an event-free day. She has grown accustomed to her "always on the go" lifestyle. So in this blog post I am going to attempt to summarize everything she has done thus far.

Let's start with all of Olivia's water activities. This child is the happiest when submersed in water. I have a rule that when the weather is nice we are outdoors, and when the weather is hot we go to the pool. We always find a way to do something that involves water. Early in the summer Olivia had some serious fun on the water slide at her cousin's birthday party. Long after everyone else was done sliding she just kept on going. In fact, I had to pull her away when it was time for cake. That is rare!

Most weekends we can be found at Uncle VJ's pool (Todd's brother). It has been a pretty hot summer so far so we jump at a chance to cool off at the pool. Olivia's swimming has improved drastically. All of those swimming lessons have really paid off. Not only is she super confident in the water but she is starting to do some things without her swim vest. She still has a ways to go before swimming solo but she is making strides. I am so proud of her! Olivia enjoys herself the most when some of her cousins are swimming with her. It is much more fun to have swimming buddies.

Most of you know that soccer has been occupying a lot of Olivia's time this summer. The local Parks and Rec department offers a ton of other fun activities for the kids to choose from during the summer months. One of the activities that Olivia chose was a Diego Adventure. It was a one hour program that involved crafts and going on pretend animal rescue missions (similar to what Diego does in the TV show). Aside from Dora the Explorer, Diego is one of her favorite characters. She loves pretending to be Diego while going on animal rescue adventures. I think she was the only girl at the program that day but she that did not bother her one bit. She had a blast!

One of our unsuccessful outings this summer involved the opportunity to meet Olivia the Pig. Our local library branch was hosting a visit by Olivia the Pig on a Saturday afternoon. When I told Olivia about the opportunity meet her namesake she was thrilled. That morning she got dressed in her Olivia the Pig dress. She even brought her Olivia the Pig book and doll along with her to show off. The librarian first read an Olivia the Pig story to all of the children before introducing Olivia herself. As the enormous mascot entered the room Olivia took one look at her and burst into tears. She ran into my arms and refused to let go. She wanted nothing to do with Olivia the Mascot and she kept begging me to leave. I tried to reason with her but she was not hearing it. She was terrified of this mascot and wanted nothing more than to get out of that room as quickly as possible. I was really disappointed because I was dying to get a picture of the two of them. Instead I got a picture of a very unhappy little girl and a picture of my Mom with Olivia the Pig. If anything it will be a good story to share with her one day. Olivia is one of the bravest little girls I know, but when it comes to mascots she is not afraid to tell everyone how much she dislikes them. Will she grow out of this fear one day? Hard to tell, but I sure hope so. I do know that for now we will be saving a lot of money on trips to Disney World!

One of the coolest thing Olivia has done this summer is attend zoo camp. My Mom offered to do this camp with Olivia and she could hardly wait. It was only three mornings but it was a great experience. She got to go behind the scenes of some of the exhibits, and get up close and personal with some of the animals. She was very interested in learning all about the animals and was always the first to answer any questions. I believe she is a teacher's pet in the making.

Each day they rode one of the zoo rides and they always came home with a craft. On the second day of camp she made a little friend and they spent the rest of their time together side-by-side. Olivia always enjoys every experience to the fullest and this was no different. The zoo is one of Olivia's favorite places to go so this camp was perfect for her. She will definitely be doing it again next year. It also gave Olivia and Nana some great bonding time.

Last month we celebrated Todd's birthday. Olivia loves birthdays and goes out of her way to make them extra special for people. She is always willing to offer help opening presents, but what she is really holding out for is cake. She knows that her birthday is little over three months away. She is already planning the type of party she wants to have and is constantly adding to her ever growing birthday gift list.

As if Olivia has not been busy enough this summer she has also spent some time at the lake. My Mom took her to Lake George to spend the day at her friend's lake cottage. It was a day full of swimming and boat rides. The weather was perfect which made for a great day at the lake.

We also spent the day at our family friend's lake cottage in Michigan this month. Sue and Fred invite us every year and we usually go up there at least once. This year two of their granddaughters (ages 8 and 11) were there which made the day even more fun for Olivia. She loves playing with older girls and they paid so much attention to her. We spent a lot of time on the boat that day and Olivia even went tubing for the first time. I was worried she would be scared to try it but I went with her, along with the two little girls. Olivia amazes me in that she will try anything. I thought for sure she would be apprehensive, jumping into that tube, but no way...she faced the challenge head on. We had so much fun tubing around the lake. We were exhausted by the end of the day.

This seems to be the summer of trying new and exciting things. A few weeks ago Olivia was invited to a birthday party at a roller skating rink. It was an older girl but her Mom thought that Olivia would maybe want to try rollerskating for the first time. It was a shaky first attempt, but it was fun. She had a really hard time staying on her feet, and most of the time she was roller skating over my feet. Aside from her severe fear of mascots, there is really nothing that Olivia is afraid of. She is a very brave little girl and always excited to try something new. We have covered a lot of ground this summer. With less than one month left before heading back to school we are going to try and see what else we can pack into this crazy-busy summer!

Friday, July 02, 2010

abc...123

When faced with a sudden wardrobe malfunction during her recent dance recital Olivia told me that she just, "kept on dancin'!". And she did exactly that! Olivia had been practicing her tap routine since last fall, anticipating the chance to get back on the "big stage" to perform again. The week leading up to her recital we practiced her routine every night. It helped that it was a song that she really grew to love over the months...ABC-123 by the Jackson 5. After showing her a video of the Jackson 5 performing that song on American Bandstand she looked at me and said, "Who is that singing, mommy?" When I told her it was Micheal Jackson she looked at me with the most confused look on her face. She has always liked Micheal Jackson's music so I wasn't quite sure how to explain that the little boy singing that super cute song was the same man she has seen on TV and listened to in the car. She is obsessed with the song and walks around the house singing it or listening to it on her CD player.

I was super busy the weekend of Olivia's recital because I am a teacher at Northeast School of Dance. The recital was being held the Saturday and Sunday of Fathers Day weekend and I had to be there both days for the rehearsals and evenings for the actual performances. Olivia's class was performing on Sunday so I took her with me to the rehearsal that morning. Olivia has made friends with a few of the girls in her class and they have enjoyed dancing with each other all year. Here she is with a few of her little friends as they wait their turn to rehearse.

It was the first time the kids were wearing their costumes and practicing their routine on a big stage. Even though it was just a run-though I snapped a ton of pictures and tried to hold back my tears of joy as I watched my little girl do the same thing I did at that age! Olivia is very comfortable on the stage and seems to enjoying performing...shocking, right? Not only is she a pretty good little tapper, she has great stage presence as well. All of the kids did a great job with their run-through, which made me even more excited for her actual performance that night.

We arrived a little early to the recital so I could get her ready backstage. I made sure her hair was super curly that night and for the first time I put just a dab of blush and lip gloss on her so she would show up on stage. Putting make-up on a three year old is no easy task! Once she was all "made up" I decided to do a mini photo session with her. She was just so stinkin' cute that I couldn't put my camera down.

Once the rest of her little tap dancing friends arrived we did a group photo. How cute are these girls? Next we sent them backstage and I dashed out front so I could watch from the audience.

Olivia was so excited to perform, especially knowing that me, her Dad, her Nana and our good friend Cindy were watching in the audience. As she was walking on stage her little hat slipped off and fell around her neck. It was still dark and I could see her try to get someone to notice what happened so the hat could be fixed before the music started. But no one noticed and as the lights came up and the music started Olivia was dealing with an official wardrobe malfunction. I thought for sure she would panic and not dance with that hat hanging around her neck. I felt terrible for her until the music started and she started dancing like a pro. If was as if the hat was not even there. I was surprised because we never talked about what to do if something happened to her costume while she was on stage. I was so completely impressed with the lever of maturity she displayed. She did not let that hat get in her way of performing a dance she had worked all year to learn. And she performed like a pro I might add. I was one proud mommy!

The most important thing is that she had a good time out there. She did not let a little problem get in her way of enjoying her performance. When she got off stage I asked her what happened with her hat? She said, "I don't know, but I couldn't stop dancin'!" She was pretty proud of herself. Now that I am teaching at the dance studio she has become a favorite of all of the dance girls I teach. She loves being at the studio and watching the older kids practice. I hope she enjoys growing up at that dance studio the same way I did. I have a feeling she will. It was another successful recital for Olivia. Take a bow!

Now dance is over until August, and although she is still practicing her dance whenever she gets the chance, we have been busy with other things. Her main summer activity has been soccer. She said she wanted to try it this summer so we signed up her through the local Parks & Rec department. She just completed the first session and she liked it so much she will be going back for the second session next week!

The coaches are so great and Olivia loves them. Her favorite is Coach Yahya. He is a tall, skinny African man and all of the kids seem to love him the best. You can tell he is a great soccer player but he really seems to enjoying teaching the kids. She has learned many of the basic soccer skills, some coming easier to her than others. They play games and the parents even get involved sometimes. It has been a great summer activity for her and she is learning a lot too.

It is hard to believe that we are in July already. I have only scratched the surface of all the things Olivia has done so far this summer. She is one busy girl, but she seems to like it that way. I am always cautious that I may be putting too much on her, but so far she has loved every activity. I want her to experience as many things as possible and get as much out of her young years, before life starts getting difficult. So what's next? Stay tuned!