Olivia loves our sprinklers, and I can't keep her out of them. After "rescuing" her several times, I realized that she wanted to get wet. She is dressed up from her last day of Kindermusik on Monday, which we will miss greatly until August rolls around and we can sign up again.
A lot of photo/video moments have come and gone in the past few days. Some of them I missed are Olivia sitting with me among our blackberry and blueberry bushes eating the freshly picked, warm fruit....and then when we walked back down our hill, wanting to walk back up for more; me putting Aquaphor on Olivia's skin next to her lips because they are chapped from drool (I think she is teething) and her signing "Thank you"; Olivia putting away her folded bibs--a chore she always does, but I haven't got it on film yet; Olivia taking things to her daddy, two rooms away on command.
Here is one picture I did get. Olivia's hair is almost long enough for pig tails!! I am so ready for that. Here's the preview:
Here is a really bad habit. After dinner one night, Olivia took her spoon and launched it to the floor. Nicholas busted out laughing, so Olivia did, too. Here is the resulting cause and effect:
I barely caught the tail end of Olivia and Daddy sword fighting with fly swatters:
And, now that she's walking so well, the fountain park is even more fun! We had a play date with our friends Leslie and Will today. We had lunch at Chic-Fil-A and played in their "Play Place", then we went to the new cupcake place in town, and finally we hit the fountain park. Fortunately, Leslie brought some shoes that her 20 month old, Archer, had grown out of for Olivia. The shoes I brought were too slippery, and the Keens worked great! Even if they didn't match!
Will was super sweet to Olivia and held her hand in the play place to make her feel comfortable going up in the tube. I was there, too, but he coaxed her into coming up. He kept saying, "Baby Olivia, come on! It will be fun!" So cute!
The 5.5 hour drive home was a little daunting. Olivia, despite being up at 4:30, only took a 45 minute nap on the way to Atlanta. Because Nicholas met us in Clemson, we were in two cars. We decided to stop at the Atlanta Aquarium on the way back to break up the trip. We had a lot of fun!
On the way in, I got a picture of the protesters of the dolphin exhibit. Whatever.
Then, the lady next to us in line offered to take our pictures because she heard it would make it on my blog! (I looked tired, too!)
Olivia and I taking in the Deepsea Adventure exhibit.
Nicholas and Olivia looking at the Coldwater exhibit.
Checking out the beluga whales, my favorite part of the aquarium.
We saw lots more, but I didn't have the camera on the ready. The rest of the trip home was rough. We made several stops, and I even had to pull over at a rest area a sleep for 10 minutes while Olivia was taking her second (35-minute) nap. Nicholas pulled over with us and kept an eye on us. It's great to be home! Now to get the house clean and all the laundry done!
We headed up to Clemson on Wednesday and Nicholas met us there later that evening. We walked with our friends Tony, Juliet, John, Christopher, and Keats Penna at the Botanical Gardens--our old meeting place where Ringo and Keats would run wild and Juliet and I would get a walk. We went out to a new pasta place in town that was awesome, but Olivia apparently didn't appreciate. I ended up leaving with her and going back to the hotel and putting her to bed. Her schedule was off most of the trip and she slept well only one night.
The next day we joined the Pennas at John's final swimming lesson. Olivia played in the sun room while the other kids were getting their lesson.
I didn't get as many pictures as I should have, but here is one of the last night when we had dinner at the Pennas' house. Tony is Mr. Mom here holding Olivia, and his son, Christopher, who is six months older than Olivia. John, who is almost five, is peaking out from behind.
After dinner, we all played in the living room. John is a delight and wanted to be in, and then see, every picture. I have to admit that seeing John is a measure of how long we have been gone from Clemson. We celebrated his first birthday the summer we left. He is a little boy now, starting Kindergarten in the fall. He has a great sense of humor now, too!
Christopher, although shy, can light up a room with his little smile. He kind of peeks around his mom or dad or brother to look out and grin at you. He's a real sweetheart!
Now, with Olivia in the mix, they sat pretty well for pictures. I was impressed. I think that all the musical instruments that the Pennas had helped. I am going to start hunting for tambourines and little drums, too. Olivia really liked them.
It was great to be back. I was pretty nastalgic because Nicholas and I lived in Clemson for five great years--we were married during our time there, we got Ringo, we kind of made ourselves there. Our life is so good because of our time there. It was nice to walk around campus and see how it had changed and what had stayed the same. The rural campus, to me, is so refreshing and so beautiful.
Nicholas went out with his adviser, Brian, and his friend Jason a couple of times while we were there. Olivia and I tagged along for lunch of Friday and had a good time.
The only hang up on the whole trip was Olivia's awful sleeping, and therefore, my extreme exhaustion and crabbiness. On Saturday morning, Olivia woke at 4:30 Eastern and would not go back to sleep. We ended up leaving Clemson at 8. This is Olivia and me in the bathroom around 5:30--she was putting on my sunglasses, but she wouldn't let me get a good picture.
Olivia and I headed up to Atlanta on Monday to meet my friends Lisa and Jay from grad school. Olivia did surprisingly well in the car, taking a two hour nap and then singing with the Kindermusik CDs we had. We stopped once at a McDonalds and split a $2.99 chicken nugget meal with milk. She was mostly into looking at the other kids play on the "play place" thing, and eating a few chicken nuggets.
On Tuesday, while waiting for the Braves game, we sneaked off to the Aquarium, but didn't stay long because Olivia needed a nap. Unfortunately, we didn't make it back that day, so we paid a load for only about 30 minutes of looking around. But, Olivia did love the fish!
Then we went to the Braves vs. the Mets that evening. Jay's sister Jill also came with us. Jay and she could talk shop, while Lisa and I commented on how good the game food was. Olivia made it almost six innings (quick ones, with several no-hitters) before we went back to the hotel to go to bed and let the others finish. Olivia didn't sit still for long, we walked around quite a bit, so we didn't see too much of the game.
Are in. See Lindsey Smith's webpage and click on the clients tab. Click on Kraft. The password is Olivia. Please don't "favorite" any pictures, but feel free to look at the ones I have already done. Let me tell you that Lindsey did a fantastic job on these given what she had to work with. Olivia was not having her at all because, although we had just had a great Kindermusik class, we had a terrifying experience when we stopped at a McDonald's right before the shoot. A man tried to grab Olivia and it scared both of us. So, coming from that, these are great! It took a long time just to get these. I think there are several really great ones! The profiles pictures at the end are for Jane since she thinks Olivia has the same profile as Nicholas. I think those pictures turned out super cute!