Wednesday, December 31, 2014

growing up

This Fall our Olivia celebrated her 8th birthday. I am not sure where the past 8 years have gone, but more than that I cannot believe what an amazing young lady our Olivia has grown to become. Anytime one of our girl's birthdays rolls around we prepare for what seems like a week long celebration. Well, this year Olivia's birthday celebration spanned the better part of two weeks. Crazy, I know!


First up...the birthday itself. We did our best to make the day special for Olivia. A special breakfast in the morning and lunch with Mom that day at school. My Mom made special cookies for her to bring as a birthday treat to share with her friends.



That evening we went out for a casual dinner followed up by the exciting stuff...presents and cake! Cecilia was not thrilled about the spotlight being on her sister, and she made it known. The celebration continued anyway and Olivia was thrilled with her gifts. Finally, she blew out the candle and made her birthday wish. She had a fantastic day!




The thing Olivia was most looking forward to was her "friend" birthday party. Very early on she decided that she wanted to have a mani-pedi party. I heard of a local nail salon that had adorable pedicure chairs for little girls and a room suitable for private parties. After seeing it firsthand we were sold! It was simply adorable!




Olivia and 7 of her closest friends from dance and soccer came together for an afternoon of pampering. The girls took turns getting their nails done and enjoying snacks and crafts. From the looks of it they fully enjoyed the relaxation.





It was super cute to see their brightly colored fingers and toes when the pampering was complete. But before the party wrapped up there were presents to be opened and cupcakes to be enjoyed! I have never seen this girl smile so much in my life. She was having the best time with her closest buddies, and it could not have made her happier. It was a fun girly-girl birthday party and according to Olivia...it was "the best day ever!".





The following weekend the endless birthday celebration continued with a small sleepover with a few friends from school...past and present. She could only invite so many to her mani-pedi party, so I told her she could have a few of her closest school buddies over for the night. She invited Laurel (a girl she has gone to school with since she was 18 months old), Paikea (a girl she has been very close with for many years, who recently moved to another school), and Ellie (a girl she has gone to school each year she has attended Peace).The girls had a fun evening of games and silliness. These girls have more or less grown up together, so they were really looking forward to spending the night together celebrating Olivia's birthday. Seeing Olivia with her friends during the various birthday celebrations just made me realize what a great group of girlfriend she has. She is truly blessed!


The (almost) two-week birthday celebration finally commenced with the annual visit to Takaoka. Todd's Mom has taken us all to this very fun Japanese restaurant for the past three years to celebrate Olivia's birthday. She looks forward to it so much...as do the rest of us! The chefs are always entertaining, and the food...so good! By the time dinner was over we could officially put Olivia's 8th birthday to rest. I think it is safe to say she welcomed age 8 in style!



There were other things that went on in November, besides celebrating Olivia;s birthday. I know...hard to believe. Cece has been taking tap class again. This is her second year. Parent visitation happened before Thanksgiving and Todd was able to observe. I was not able to attend which is probably a good thing considering Cecilia's behavior typically takes a turn for the worse whenever I am around.



Cece participates in tap class when she feels like it, which is most of the time. She spends much of the time being silly, just like she does in every day life. Regardless she looks adorable and I have been reassured by her teacher she does know the steps and listens in class. 


Each year the girl's school puts on VIP Day. This is a day that they get to bring someone special to school, to show them what they do in the classroom. My Mom and I were planning on splitting duties between Cece and Olivia's class, and each spending half of the time in each classroom. The day before I started feeling under the weather and I could not bring myself to go into their school that morning. Come to find out, I had strep throat, but even more disappointing is that I had to miss this special day at their school. The girls still had fun showing their Nana all of their favorite "works".



Another wonderful event the school puts on each year is the Thanksgiving Feast! This is when the kids gather together to enjoy a "kid friendly" Thanksgiving meal. I decided to swing by and see the girls while they enjoyed this special time with their friends. It probably wasn't the best idea where Cece was concerned, as my presence was distracting and kept her from eating. Olivia was fully enjoying breaking bread with her school friends. 




By the end of the November the holidays were on our mind and it was time to start decorating for Christmas. The first decorations we put up were the girl's individual Christmas trees. They had so much fun looking at all of their little ornaments and finding special spots for them on their trees. They needed a little help spacing the ornaments at the end, but the trees looked fabulous!



Every year our dance studio performs at the Festival of Trees. This was something I did every year with the dance studio growing up and this was Olivia's 2nd year performing in the show. It's a fun little event and she loves being a part of it. The Festival of Trees is a great way to kick off the fun holiday season!


After the performance we always take time to walk around and see all of the beautifully decorated trees. Some of them are simply amazing. The girl's favorite, hands down was the "Frozen" themed tree. 





Santa was in attendance at the Festival of Trees and Olivia was excited to sit on his lap. Cecilia, on the other hand just wanted to watch from a distance. It was hard to tell at that point if Cece was going to have any interest in getting close to Santa during our official visit leading up to Christmas. She is one unpredictable kid.


To say we were excited for the holidays was a huge understatement. With both girls still believing in Santa (I think Olivia has her doubts, but chooses to believe), they just love everything having to do with Christmas. It was my mission to do everything in my power to make sure they had the best Christmas possible. I will share all of our holiday adventures next time!