I feel like a three-ring circus sometimes because of how much I entertain the kids, so I am always excited when they take the lead on what they want to do. Today was one such day. After reading this book:
Olivia wanted to dress in a "smock, shoes with ribbons, and a beret just like Fancy Nancy" and "paint some art" (incorporating leaves that we had collected the previous day on a nature walk). I found a dress that would work as a smock, tied ribbons to her shoes, and found a hat that would work. She didn't like the hat, and decided to put in a flower bow that she said was fancy. Then, she went to work:
And, of course, Leo had to get in on the fun! He wanted to eat the paint, though. Nicholas was up for the fun, so you can see me trying to stop Leo from sticking his painted hands in his mouth, which he thought was a hilarious game!
Olivia continues to amaze me with her memory. She is fighting going to bed at night if she has a nap and often will "read" a book to herself before bed. I know she can't read, although she is just beginning to sound out some words, and can often guess by the first letter and context clues. But, she has several very long books memorized. Nicholas and I got a kick out of her "reading" Max's ABC book to herself the other night, which is a 40 page book. She missed very little. I dared a picture of her after she finally fell asleep the other night after reading Sleeping Beauty. (The other part of this story is that Olivia is giving up her nap most days. We try for quiet time, but sometimes just get stories. She has a cupcake game that she plays by herself and it takes about twenty minutes. That is often "quiet time.")
Summer has begun, and we are outside a lot now. To the playground, to the pool, and just enjoying our backyard. Our neighbor Mallory came over for a look at the Giga ball this afternoon, but the girls were too scared to really use it. Instead, they played in the water and got the giggles. Jane and I found out that they are both big Sophia the First fans. (For the uninitiated, this is a Disney series about a little girl who becomes a princess because her mom married a king. I actually kind of like it because it isn't quite so "happily ever after" as most princess stories. And the music is catchy.) We happened to have the soundtrack in the car, as we had checked it out at the library this week. Olivia has most of the words to all the songs sung by Sophia memorized. Here is a picture of the girls giggling. My heart runneth over.
Later, after Mallory left, the kids continued to play in the pool and get even wetter.
And yesterday we broke out the Giga ball that Uncle Charlie gave to Leo as his Christmas present. It's been sitting in the closet since then, waiting for the perfect-dry-backyard-sunny-day moment, and yesterday was it. And it was right that the gift was for Leo and not Olivia, because, although she was interested in rolling it and getting in it and pretending it was a rocket ship, Leo was the one who actually like to use it as it was intended! Oh, my dangerous boy!
Our other backyard games are usually rolling, throwing, and kicking balls; pretending the area under the willow tree is a hide-out or club house; hide-and-seek; duck-duck-goose, which even Leo knows how to play now and is, oh, so cute when he does! To see him pat Olivia's head and say "Duck!" is just beyond sweet! We also tend the garden and harvest whenever we can. We've had a few peas, strawberries, and blueberries so far! Olivia loves for us to eat "al fresco" as Fancy Nancy says, but we only do occasionally because it is usually a disaster of the kids running around and not actually eating!
We've been doing quite a few pool runs, too. Leo, again, is pretty fearless, which is scary. Olivia gets scared when big kids come into the little pool and are roudy. But, we've been having a good time anyway.
CHOM continues to be a favorite, and since I hardly get to pass anything down from Olivia to Leo, I thought I would take a liberty and pass this:
We've done some sprinkler fun in the front yard when it was raining, too.
And, before gymnastics on Tuesday, Olivia and I played in the car while Leo was napping. We sang Sophia music and then played "Mom's Morning Out" where she drops me off at school and says, "Love you! See you after lunch!"
Leo's been a solid one-nap-a-day kid for weeks, and then he started getting up super early. He's getting his four eye teeth right now, and that is hurting him, I think. Poor kid!