Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our Little Girl is Growing Up

Today my darling Olivia turned 4. She is an amazing human being. Smart and creative, sensitive and kind, perceptive and funny, loving and compassionate. I often look at her in wonder, at a loss for why I was blessed with this incredible little girl. And I thank God every day that I was.
My love for her runs deep; it is beyond measure, without condition. I am so proud to be her mom.

This is the year in pictures. She has grown so much - physically, mentally, emotionally. I look back at who she was just one year ago and find her barely recognizable.

These last 2 were taken today. They are the 1st "professional" photos we've had taken of her since she was 4 months old. I thought it was about time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Here's to us..Fun diner"

Cindy, Olivia and I were relaxing in her pool yesterday after spending a tedious hour in very humid, 95 degree weather installing wheels on our huge, sagging driveway gate (pix to come of course). Cin and I popped open a couple brewskies, OG popped a straw in a juice box and Cindy and I toasted with her Grandma Taylor's famous toast - "Here's to us...none finer." Olivia wanted to learn it, so we repeated it a few times.
Cin: Here's to us.
Me: None finer.
OG: Again
Cin: Here's to us.
Me: None finer.
OG: Again
Cin: Here's to us.
Me: None finer.
Cin: OK, Olivia. Your turn.
Cin and Me: Here's to us.
OG: Fun diner!
LMAO! We couldn't stop laughing for at least five minutes and then intermittently throughout the day.
It was a funfilled week. One of Olivia's 1/2 sibs and her moms came out from Pittsburgh on Wednesday and stayed for 5 days. When they arrived, Callie and Olivia ran immediately upstairs to play without missing a beat. It was as if they see each other every day. I wish they did. I wish she could see all her 1/2 sibs every single day and they could all spend time and get to know each other inside and out from this young age. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to think about them growing up together.
Anyhoo...we had a lot of fun. We spent Thursday and Friday at our favorite beach, Avon-by-the-sea. On Thursday, we dumped the twins at Cin's sister's house, but we brought them on Friday. JAKE HATES THE BEACH! There, I've said it. He screamed and cried and clung to one person or another all day long. Needless to say, he will not be going back until next year.

This is where he stayed the ENTIRE time - on someone's lap.

On Thursday night, Darcy and Mare watched all the kids while Cindy and I went to NYC to see Melissa Ether*dge. It was my birthday gift. What a fabulous show!
This was only a small part of my birthday gift, so I'll digress for a moment to tell you about it. Cindy secured our babysitter for Friday morning (the 4th) through Saturday night. She took off Friday July 4th and we were supposed to go to the beach. It rained, so we went to the movies instead. How strange to get in our little red 2-door coupe and drive down to the shore with no children. It felt a little like the twilight zone. After the movie it was clearing up a little, so we went to a beautiful new boardwalk that was built a couple years ago. There were vendors there for the holiday weekend and we walked up and down the boardwalk with no strollers to push, no hands to hold, no children crying or running away or asking for a balloon or food or drinks. Again - twilight zone. We stopped in at a restaurant on the water and had an appetizer and a couple drinks. When we got to her brother's house where we were staying for the night, we napped. That's right, you didn't read it wrong. WE napped! We got up, showered, dressed and went to a restaurant for lobster and filet mignon - my annual birthday meal. After dinner, we walked across the street and onto the beach to watch the fireworks. Then back to her brother's house and in bed by 10:30. Glorious! We came home the next afternoon, ate lunch and rested a while. Her plan was to go bowling then take me to dinner. I've been bugging her to go bowling with me for the 9 years since we met. When I walked in, I saw a bunch of our friends waiting there for me -a surprise bowling party - how fun! We ate pizza, drank beer and bowled. We had a blast. However, NO PICTURES - nobody brought a camera. UNBELIEVABLE!

Back to our company...

MaryLou and Darcy not only took care of Jake and Emma the entire time they were here, but they took Olivia home from the beach with them to go swimming in the hotel pool while we got ready for the concert. They were such generous and considerate guests. I'd have them here 20 times a year if they'd come.
Friday night we made a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows and just talked and talked and talked til we about passed out. Darcy and Mare took OG with them to their hotel for a sleepover.

snack time at the beach

We had lunch at our favorite restaurant in Avon - right across from the beach

Waiting on a wave to crash...

...and here it comes!

Emma was just chillin'-she's a beach baby

Fun painting on the outdoor easel

My little landlubber was much happier with his feet on the pavement.

Emma and Jake playing house when they were motherless on Thursday night

Saturday we left the babies with a sitter and took the girls canoeing, then came home and just chilled out for the rest of the day. The kids all ran around and played and swam and had so much fun together. They left yesterday and the tears flowed as they drove off.

It was a sullen day, but we had a wonderful family day just hanging in the yard. It was one of those days when I couldn't help but thank God for everything I have and all the people I love. I feel so blessed.