Saturday, September 22, 2012

this n' that

Sigh...summer is over. The temps are dropping and our days of lounging by the pool are a thing of the past. School is in full swing for Olivia and Cecilia is working very hard at morphing from a sweet little baby into a full grown toddler. We have been squeezing in a bunch of last minute summer activities including a few trips to the zoo, a night at the TinCaps game and the amazing Fort Wayne air show. The official end to our summer begins now. We are getting ready to pack up the fam and head to Disney! We are all excited, but no one as much as Olivia. She has been counting down the number of sleeps until we hop on the plane to begin our week of fun. 

Throughout the summer we haven't been able to visit the zoo as much as we would like. It has just been too flippin' hot! Once it finally started to cool down a bit we immediately took the kids. Cecilia has gone from a quite observer of the animals to a very active participant. She took notice of just about everything, pointing and squealing when seeing something she liked.

The girls and I took a ride on the carousel...Cecilia's first time! She loved it! My favorite part of taking the girls to the zoo is watching them enjoy it together. We will try to squeeze in a few more visits before it closes for the season.

My sweet Olivia reached a milestone over the summer. She finally was able to overcome her fear of mascots! Yes, I have a (almost) 6 year old that is afraid of mascots...or big-headed mascots, as she refers to them. She received a free ticket to a TinCaps baseball game as a reward for completing the summer reading program at the library. We decided to leave Cece home and just enjoy the game with Olivia, as it was her accomplishment.

After years and years of being terrified of Johnny...the TinCaps mascot, she shocked me by rushing up to him and giving him a hug. I quickly snapped a photo to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me. I extremely proud of my girl for beating this fear of hers. I know it was not easy and it look a LONG time, but she did it and just in time for our trip to Disney!

That same night at the TinCaps game Olivia checked off a second accomplishment...scaling the rock wall. She tried this last year and chickened out about half way up. She decided it was worth giving it another shot this year. She scaled that wall in no time flat. I was incredibly impressed with her bravery and willingness to accomplish something she put her mind to. 

A few weeks later we attended another TinCaps game, this time in one of the suites. I've got to say, that is the best way to take in a game. Great view, good food and drink and a personal visit from Johnny. In the past this would have been a nightmare for Olivia, but now she actually looks forward to running into him at the games. It was a fun night for the whole family!

Last month there was a unique event taking place in Fort airshow. This was something we thought would be a cool experience for Olivia, but also thought it was one that Cecilia should sit out. Todd was totally in his element with all of the military aircraft on display. The various planes flying through the sky doing tricks was quite a sight to see, but also one that was a little too loud for Olivia. 

Even with earplugs the noise was a bit much for her. She was begging to leave until she came across one of the kid's activities. My brave girl could not wait for her turn to jump and flip on this contraption. It took her mind off of the noise and capped off our fun airshow experience. 

Aside from our end of the summer activities we have just been spending lots of time at home, enjoying our girls. Cecilia is about to turn 15 months old. She is becoming more vocal and making her feelings known pretty regularly. In the past it would be easy to distract her when she was unhappy about something, but that is getting much harder to do. She is a feisty little thing and also quite stubborn. Olivia has always been able to dictate what Cece does and when she does it, but she is quickly realizing that her sister won't stand for that much longer.

She is growing up very fast and trying to do things that I do not recall Olivia trying to do at this age. She climbs up on a little step stool we keep by our kitchen counter. This allows her to get to things and be at our level, making her feel like a "big girl", I'm sure. She knows that I don't really like her being on that stool as I fear her falling off, but she usually just looks at me with her sly grin. I get this look from Cecilia on a pretty regular basis.

Just a few weeks ago I stopped nursing Cecilia, much to my disappointment. For the past several months I was only nursing her twice a day...first thing in the morning and right before bed. Well as she found her independence she decided that she no longer had much use for me. I was devastated, knowing this would be the last time I would nurse one of my babies, but realized there was no use forcing her to do something she clearly no longer was interested in doing. So, my baby no longer relies on me for her nutrition. Just one more step towards her independence. I mean she is already trying to put on her own shoes.

It was a fun summer. The girls spent countless days at the pool, which was the only way to stay cool during those scorching, hot days! I am now looking forward to enjoying Fall with the girls. We have lots planned. But's off to Disney!

Monday, September 03, 2012

surprise visit

School started back up a few weeks ago. That means summer is more or less behind us and it is time to look ahead to the fall. There is still some last minute summer fun to be had, but I think we are all looking forward to some fun fall activities at this point. It has been one long, hot summer!

The weekend before starting school my Mom and I took the girls to Michigan for a few days. Olivia was looking forward to seeing her Great Nana Cleo and Uncle John. What she did not know was that her Great Aunt Sue Sue was visiting as well, and was waiting for Olivia in Michigan. Keeping Sue's visit a surprise proved to be quite difficult, as I nearly blew it multiple times. Luckily Olivia never caught on and was genuinely surprised when we walked into my Grandmother's house and her Sue Sue came around the corner. It was a wonderful moment that I was lucky enough to catch on tape.

Not sure how we managed to pull it off, but we did and Olivia was on cloud nine, knowing that she had many days ahead to spend with her Aunt Sue Sue. While in Michigan we took a trip to the old fashioned candy store, the beach at Lake Michigan, the playground, and even had a dance party on my Grandmother's patio...Olivia's idea of course!

Michigan's weather was cooler than expected, but we had to make it to the beach. Putting Cecilia's little toes in the sand for the first time was something that had to happen during our visit. We threw on our jackets and headed down to the water, despite the chilly temps.

Watching my sweet girl experience the beach for the first time was delightful. She had an incredibly difficult time trying to walk in the sand, but Aunt Sue Sue was more than happy to carry her around while she got used to this new experience. Once she got used to the sand she was happy as a clam, digging and playing. It was chilly and windy, but the sun was shining and my girls were having fun!

On Saturday we headed home. The good news...Aunt Sue Sue was coming with us and staying until Wednesday. This made Olivia very happy. We started the week with the return to school. As if having Sue in town was not exciting enough, Olivia was ready to get back to school with her teacher and all of her friends. This was the start of Olivia's 5th year at Peace Montessori. Technically this was the start of her kindergarten year, but she was returning to the same classroom she was in last year. Her classroom goes through the age of six. She completed the majority of her kindergarten work last year and will continue working on the advanced work this year. She is one smart little cookie and I am excited for what this year has in store for her.

We allowed Olivia to play hooky on her third day of school. I know, I am an extremely bad influence and setting a terrible example, right? Well it was Aunt Sue Sue's last day in Fort Wayne and Olivia wanted to spend it with her. Sue did not get to see much of Olivia during the week, since she started school the day after we came back from Michigan with Sue. We kept Cecilia home from the sitter's most of that day as well. Sue loved being able to spend time with both of her great nieces before heading back to California.

That afternoon we went to the park. The girls ran around freely and enjoyed the playground and the splash pad. We followed that up with some frozen yogurt. It was a fun day and the perfect way to cap off a fun visit. Sue said her goodbye's to Cece and the rest of us accompanied her to the airport.

I had no idea Olivia would have such a difficult time saying goodbye to Sue, but she took it very hard. The tears were flowing and her little heart was hurting as she hugged her one last time. It will be awhile before she sees her again and Olivia knows that. My Aunt summed it up perfectly. She said that although it was hard to say goodbye, Olivia not wanting her to leave it made her realize just how special their bond really is. I guess she will just have to come back for another visit sooner, rather than later! Hint, Hint!

Talking about Aunt Sue Sue's surprise visit made me realize that I never blogged about Olivia's summer trip out to California. As soon as school was finished for the summer my Mom took Olivia to visit Sue alone. It was her first trip without Mom and Dad and the first time she would be away from us for an extended period of time. She counted the days until it was time to get on the plane and could not wait to land in California and see her Sue Sue. I had tears in my eyes as I dropped my girl off at the airport and said goodbye for a full week, but knowing how much fun she was going to have made it much easier. 

Her week in California was non-stop fun. The best way for me to show just how much fun Olivia had is to highlight the best parts of her trip. They kicked things off with pedicures...a tradition during our many trips to California.

She saw both of her second cousins...Justin and Ryan. Things always get silly when they come around!

There were nights at home at Sue Sue's house that included making s'mores and spending time with her Great Uncle Ron, otherwise known as "Uncle Big Ron". She loves nothing more than getting tickles and cuddling up with him.

And yes...there were trips to the wineries. The adults needed a reprieve from kid related activities and Olivia understood that. She was more than happy to tag along as the adults did a bit of wine tasting. Who knew that during a stop at one of the wineries she would become a pizza maker. The owner of this particular winery took Olivia under his wing and she became his right hand girl. She helped make and deliver wood fire oven pizzas to all of the guests. She had the time of her life.

And of course there were trips to the beach...multiple trips to the beach. Visiting the ocean is by far Olivia's favorite thing to do while in California. She could easily spend the entire day there. It's like her home away from home. She is simply happy at the beach.

During her week long visit she went to Jamba Juice...

Took everyone out for yogurt...

...went to the park, the acquarium center and out for many nice meals...

During her last night in California she went across the street to have dinner at the neighbor's and spend some time with her best pal...Peter. Peter is a dog, and one of the sweetest dogs at that. Olivia met Peter a few years ago and she looks forward to seeing him each time she visits. He is a calm, good natured dog and seems to love Olivia.

It was a week jammed packed of fun activities. She had the time of her life and hardly ever showed signs of homesickness. When the week was over she was ready to come home and after a extremely difficult journey home she made her way back to us. I was beyond happy to see my girl, but also so happy she had such a wonderful trip.

If one thing is clear it's that Olivia loves her Great Aunt Sue Sue. She has developed a very special bond with her over the years. Cecilia is getting to know Sue a little better with each visit. We just need to make sure that she is able to see her on a regular basis. California is a long ways away! Thank you, Sue for making this summer fun for my girls...especially Olivia. They both love you to pieces!

I realize that I did not spend my usual time bragging about Lady Cecilia. No worries I will have plenty to share next time around. She is growing like a weed and her little personality is blossoming more each day. Never a boring day in our lives with my two amazing girls!