Saturday, September 18, 2010

summer wrap-up

I think it is safe to say that summer has come to an end. The temps are cooler and leaves are starting to fall. Olivia is back at school, starting her 3rd year at Three Rivers Montessori. Yes...her 3rd year! Hardly seems possible. Before sharing pictures and her excitement about going back to school I need to fill you in on our end of summer activities.

A good portion of Olivia's summer was occupied with soccer. She participated in two sessions through the Parks Department. She liked it so much the first time around she decided to do it again. It was pretty much the same skills and games, but different kids and most importantly the same coaches. It was a great activity for her. She learned a lot, made a ton of new friends and got some great exercise. There were some pretty hot days this summer but it did not seem to bother Olivia much. She says she can't wait to do it again next year but we will see if her interest level is still the same. I hope so because I think she makes a great little kicker!

The coaches of the program were the best! Olivia loved all 3 of them. They worked so well with the little ones and made sure that they had the best time. Each time we arrived at class she always greeted them each with a huge hug and she never left before telling them thank you. Here is Olivia with Coach Amanda, Coach Caitlyn and her favorite, Coach Yahya!

Another highlight of Olivia's summer was her private trip to Black Pine Animal Park with her teacher, Ms. Laura. Todd and I won this trip for Olivia at the school fundraising auction at the end of the school year and she could not wait to go. We took Olivia to Black Pine last year and she loved it. It helped that we had a special behind the scenes tour thanks to one of my Mom's former students, Kellie. She is a volunteer at the park and she showed us a great time. I arranged it so that Olivia and Ms. Laura would visit Black Pine on one of the days that Kellie was working. Kellie was kind enough to give another behind the scenes tour to Olivia and her teacher on their visit.

Olivia loves Ms. Laura and was thrilled to be able to spend the day with her. They were able to see many of the animals up close and personal which has now become a regular occurrence for Olivia. Kellie made sure they saw everything that day! One of Olivia's favorite animals is Johnny the Camel. He is a very gentle animal and one of the highlights at the park. We found out just a few weeks ago that Johnny had to be put down due to health issues. We were all sad to hear the news but Olivia was so happy that she was able to see him once more. Throughout the day Olivia was able to feed many different animals, including a large black bear named "Ben". Olivia and Ms. Laura had so much fun that day that they decided to make it a class field trip this year. Kellie told Olivia that she could be director for the day and help show the kids around since she has been to the park a few times already. She is thrilled about that idea and cannot wait for that field trip!

Taking trips to watch our local baseball team (The Fort Wayne TinCaps) play was another activity high on Olivia's list this summer. Overall Olivia attended 4 TinCap games. She went with her school for a field trip, for Todd's 20th high school reunion, for my company picnic and as a reward for completing the summer reading program at the public library. We love going to these games because there are so many fun things for kids to do. A couple of times I brought my camera along. The night of my company picnic was warm so Olivia enjoyed running through the fountains they have at the park. It was a great way to cool off!

Now she is deathly afraid of the team mascot, Johnny TinCap. So much so that we have to watch very carefully to make sure she does not come into direct contact with him while we are in the stadium. She loves him from a distance but she is still harboring her intense fear of mascots so I try keep it a pleasant experience for her. Since she has no interest in having her picture taken with him like most kids do we settled for a picture with the giant Johnny bobble head statue. Olivia does not have much interest in the game itself but still finds a way to use up all of the time walking around the stadium, playing games, having snacks and visiting the TinCap store.

She was most excited about the last game we attended because she earned a free ticket by completing the summer reading program with us this summer. Once she ticket came in the mail she could not wait to go to "her TinCap game". The field trip was the "school TinCap game", the one for Todd's reunion was "Daddy's TinCap game" and the one for my company picnic was of course "Mommy's TinCap game". She was most excited about her game, probably because she earned it. My Uncle was in town visiting and he came with us. Olivia got a megaphone as her reward for the summer reading program and a free meal that night. She also got her face painted and played numerous games. It was the perfect night for a ballgame and fun was had by all! The TinCaps season is over now, but we can't wait to go to more games next year! Seems to be one of Olivia's new favorite summer activities!

Like most summers we made many trips to the zoo. We love having the zoo pass because it allows us to come and go as we please and not feel like we are wasting money because weonot stay long enough. I cannot tell you how many times we have gone. Olivia loves for us to take her to the zoo but she was pretty excited when her cousin Eric and his girlfriend Jackie offered to take her. She loves spending time with them and they are so good with her. I gotta hand it to my teenage nephew. He actually goes out of his way to spend time with his 3 year old cousin. He offers to take her places and spend time with her, and she loves it!

As the summer started to wind down and the pools started to close we were looking for a way for Olivia to cool off on one of late summer hot days. She loves visiting the splash pads around town so a late afternoon trip to the park was the perfect fix. A little time splashing around in the fountains followed by some time on the playground, and Olivia was one happy girl. While she was climbing and running through the playground she ran into one of her little friends from soccer. The two of them had a great time using their imaginations and going on "adventures" together. She was sad to say good-bye but hopes to see her friend at soccer again next summer.

So as I mentioned at the start of this post, last month Olivia started her 3rd year at Three Rivers Montessori School. This is her second year in the 3-6 classroom and with her teacher, Ms. Laura. Over the summer our school merged with another montessori school in town. This allowed our school to grow and it also brought many new teachers to our already wonderful staff. Olivia has a new secondary teacher in her classroom this year, Ms. Julia...and of course she fell in love with her from the start. To kick off the school year the teachers held a class picnic the Friday before they headed back to class. This gave the kids a chance to meet their new classmates as well as their new teacher, Ms. Julia. Of course a handful of the kids from last year returned which made Olivia very happy. And no big surprise here but she quickly made new friends as well...a skill that comes quite easily for Olivia.

With the class picnic out of the way the stage was set for the start of another great year at Three Rivers. Olivia was super excited to get back into the classroom but even more so, she was excited to show off her new ladybug backpack! When we asked Olivia what kind of backpack she wanted this year she immediatley said, "ladybug!". My Mom was kind enough to get her this adorable backpack to kick off the new school year. The ladybug on the backpack even came with a name, "JuJu". This is currently Olivia's prize possession and she treats it like one of her friends.

She headed off to her first day of school with the biggest smile on her face, just excited to kick off the new year. I really hope her love for school and learning stays with her over the years. In just over one month she has already started the beginning stages of reading. Her teachers are working with her on C-V-C words. Ok, come on...know what that means? I must admit it took me awhile but I finally figured out it meant, consonant-vowel-consonant. She is learning to sound out each letter and put the word together and she is doing a great job! I can only imagine what she will have learned by the end of the school year if this is what she has accomplished in the first month!

So that is a quick review of our final summer activites. Now that we are heading into fall we are really looking forward to all of the things the change of seasons will bring. Olivia is back in her dance classes again and this year she is not only taking tap but ballet too! She is starting back at swim lessons this weekend and of course Halloween is just around the corner. (You'll have to wait until my Halloween post to see Olivia's costume for this year!). And most important we have a birthday coming up. Yep, our little girl is actually going to turn 4 in November! Don't even ask me how that is possible, because I can hardly believe it myself. If there is one thing I can believe is that Olivia will continue to keep us on our toes and make us smile. That is just how our little girl lives her the fullest!