Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Friday Night Lights

Now that we are officially into Fall, we decided to start checking off some items from our Fall bucket list.  We took advantage of a rare, cool Friday night to meet up with the Stephensons for a Memorial High School football game.

 Yes, she wore her Ariel costume.  I can't even.

To say Olivia had fun would be a huge understatement.  To say she watched more than 1 minute of the football game, would also be a huge overstatement.

As soon as Emma arrived, the silliness began.

Much of it stemming from a certain, silly daddy

From the minute we arrived, she was determined to get some snacks.  And, once Emma and Paige got there, they wore us down so were off to find some snacks..

I think they liked half-time the best (but who I am to judge - so did I!) and that started a little marching in the stands to match the marching band.

We also grew weary of telling them not to climb on this rail and eventually landed on "Fine.  Sit on the rail,  But you can't stand." Parenting at its finest.

And Olivia and Emma were thrilled with the Mustangs and ran to greet them (sweet little Paigey stayed far away safe with mamma!)

Unfortunately Memorial lost but I think this will be a fun Friday night event for the rest of the Fall!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Chapter Four

I recognize I am like a broken records, but I just cannot believe how quickly the years are flying by with Olivia. Over the past year, we have seen such growth in Olivia – physically, mentally and emotionally.

She spent most of her time as a 3 year old in Toddler II and Primary I. We loved both of these classes dearly. In Toddler II, our teacher was described to us as a modern Mary Poppins. She is absolutely lovely and has a stern but sweet manner with the kids. They all love her and Olivia was no exception. In this class, she mastered potty training and started becoming more adept with her handwriting, fine motor skills, and early math. And, around 3 and a half, we moved up to Primary 1. I was a little unsure about this room because I had heard that the teacher was pretty strict with the kids. And, on the first day of class, I came and got Olivia a little early, right as the kids were coming down from music class. As soon as she saw me, Olivia ran out of line and started to run to me. Very quickly, she was stopped by the teacher who told her in a very nice but firm voice that she needed to walk in line and when they got to the door, she could get out of line and go with me. I was a little surprised by this, but Olivia seemed unphased. She got back in line, walked to the door, and then ran to me. As we left the teacher wished her good bye and told me she had a great day. And, that was the last time I worried about this teacher/class. Olivia probably needs a little bit of ‘sternness’ every now and then; and watching this woman “discipline” her in a way that was firm but kind, was another great lesson for mom as well. (I can’t even with how much I love this school and all the lessons they teach me….that’s a blog post for a whole other day when I’ve got a box of tissues!). Primary I was by far one of the best classes we have had. In this class Olivia mastered writing all of her letters, can count to 100, and is starting to learn to count by intervals (2s, 5s, 10s). She knows all the continents, can say the pledge and knows tons of random facts about stars, space, dinosaurs or whatever other topic they were learning about. And all of that is great and we love it. BUT, bless Miss Maria for also helping us shape Olivia’s character and personality. I have mentioned before that friendship has been something we have been struggling with at school. Especially the girls – sometimes they love each other but when they don’t, it can get pretty mean. And Miss Maria navigated this treacherous water about as well as she could. Not giving too much attention to it, but also letting the girls know that kindness and empathy and being a friend is important and that if you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend. In addition, Miss Maria helped reinforce the food habits we have been trying to teach at home. Olivia is now very concerned about what food is healthy and what food is junk. She likes the idea of eating healthy foods (although actually eating them is still sometimes a bit of a task!) and when we tell her no to junk food, she usually will accept without a fight. We recently moved up to the next class, Primary II so we are excited to see what new learnings and friends this class brings.

And speaking of food, Olivia’s appetite is pretty consistent. Her favorite food is still Zoe’s (chicken roll ups, rice, chicken orzo soup) and I’m pretty sure she would eat that every day if we let her. And cheese is still at the top of the list, as well as yogurt. Plus she still has Cheerios for breakfast every morning. Other than that, we have gotten pretty adventurous with food this year – Indian, Thai, Mexican, etc. She can usually find something she likes at most places and is usually willing to at least try a bite. We have been obsessed with Plated for the past several months, and I’ve enjoyed letting her help me cook and try new recipes.

She has always been pretty independent, but we have really seen an increase lately. She is pretty self-sufficient – she gets up in the morning and can get herself dressed. I help with the hair and oversee teeth brushing. We moved all her bowls/cups/plates/utensils to a bottom shelf where she can reach, so she can get breakfast by herself. And, at night she has the routine down pat. That being said, she needs a lot of supervision to actually follow through on the task. Left to her own devices, she would play all night half naked in her room!

Olivia is naturally about as girly as they come. She loves all things dresses, sparkles, jewelry and makeup. She wears dress up clothes every opportunity she gets.

With age has come some understanding of the big emotions that she feels and I hope we are giving her the words to verbalize those, so she always feels she can express herself to us.  One small "progress report" that she is going to be okay came recently on a morning when she was particularly upset about her clothes and couldn't find anything she wanted to wear.  I let her change about  four times before school and finally I put a stop to it because we had to leave. She was pretty upset and crying because she didn’t like her dress and didn’t think she looked “pretty.” For the first half of the car ride, I tried my hardest to convince her she was pretty and did look pretty, to no avail. And then, she told me “Mommy, stop worrying about me. You’re worrying about me too much!” And, what she was saying was exactly right. I have read all the books and know that I should just let her express her feelings without trying to fix it, but in that moment I didn’t give that to her. So when she said that, it was such a great lesson and I am so glad she was able to articulate what she needed from me, when I couldn’t give it to her. We rode in silence for the rest of the way to school and, by the time we got there, she was fine and I didn’t hear another word about the dress.

I mentioned in an earlier post that while Olivia is now braver and more willing to be with people other than me, she remains a mamma’s girl. Which is true and I obviously love! But, the relationship that has bloomed most during this three year old year is the one with her amazing daddy.   And this relationship is my very favorite one to observe.

Matt is amazing in many ways, but the way he handled Olivia constantly choosing mommy over daddy was nothing short of the epitome of unconditional love. For the past three years, he did not waver on her when she didn’t pick him or pushed him away. He didn’t get mad or upset. He didn't try to diminish me or my relationship with her.  He didn't try to take her away from me.  He just kept showing up. Over and over. He found his own little ways to bond with her and created this amazing relationship. Their beautiful relationship is silly and loud and sweet and smart.

He makes her laugh harder than anyone, scares her silly, teaches her all kinds of things that I wouldn’t think she was ready for, and loves her fiercely.

He pushes her to try new things, but remains close by to catch her if she falls.  He knows her inside and out and would move mountains for her.  This little one hit the jackpot with her dear old dad and I suspect she knows it.

Soo...on to her birthday.

She woke up at around 5 am (again!) calling for us, so we wearily went in and crawled into her bed as we all tried to slowly wake up.  All of a sudden she said "Wait.  Whaaaatttttt's that?"  I turned on her lamp so she could see what was waiting for her...

Because dress-up is basically her constant state at home, I decided to corral all the dress-up stuff together into a dress-up station.   As soon as she saw it, she gasped, jumped out of bed, immediately shed her nightgown and picked out a princess dress.  She then offered me the chance to be her first "guest" in her dress up station.

And, once we were both sufficiently "made up" she noticed her balloons as well!

We then headed to the living room for a few more presents...

She got a slew of presents but the favorites seem to be an "O" necklace that is matching with mommy + her aunts

And a Peppa Pig treehouse from daddy & his friends at work

And she pulled the last number off her birthday countdown!

We ate breakfast and then she and I went back to play in her room when we heard the doorbell ring.  (Note that it was now around 6:30 am, so still dark outside).  She was a little apprehensive about such an early doorbell ring, so we went to check it out together.

It was a present from "Elsa" inviting her to a tea party that afternoon!  As luck would have it, a local "storybook cottage" was having a Frozen Tea Party that afternoon, so I couldn't resist getting her tickets.  (Again, I was grateful for this moment of "little" and seeing how excited she was about Elsa leaving her a present.)

So, after nap we headed to our tea party.

First, all the kids got to play dress-up with Elsa (although almost everyone came all dolled up already!)

Then it was time for some tea and cookies

Followed by a "princess makeover"


Then, they all got to color a picture frame that held a picture of them with Elsa, while Elsa read them the "Frozen" story.

Showing off her handy-work

 And, we headed to Zoe's on the way home for dinner before we tucked our FOUR year old into bed!

This little one makes my heart soar and lights up our world.  Happy birthday to our dear Olivia!