Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Olivia!

Birthdays around our household are pretty darn special . . . and a little bittersweet.

With every passing year and with every "one year older", we are always reminded of how fast time goes. When you throw something like cystic fibrosis into the mix, a chronic disease that strives to cut precious time even shorter, the slap of that reality stings a little bit more each year.

None-the-less, we also know that no one is promised the gift of tomorrow and that for anyone of us, cystic fibrosis or not, today could be it. Thus, we live fully every day, making the most of our time together the best we can and know that if and when our tomorrow never comes, we are thankful and blessed for the time we've had together, the memories we've made and the faith that we will all see each other again one day.

Thus, Jeff and I strive to make the kids' birthdays, the "celebration of life" and the "gift of another year" as special each and every year as we can.

If you know Olivia, then you know she has been a fan of wolves for the past few years. We do not know exactly why or how it all came about, but it did. She calls wolves her "wolfie-babes" in a high pitched-little voice. Someday she wants to have one for a pet, she howls like a wolf quite often, in fact, I'm sure the neighbors can hear her! She has wolf shirts and wolf books and wolf toys and wolf stuffed animals . . . you get the picture, she's a 'wolfie gir'l!

So, over the summer, I did some googling and found that we are fortunate enough to have a Wildlife Science Center not too far from our home, just a 15 minute drive south to the Forest Lake/Columbus area. Bingo, this was definitely one of the to-do items on her birthday list. She also had been wanting to go back to the Amercian Girl doll store at the MOA, so we promised her a trip there for her birthday as well.

Olivia was counting down to her birthday since this past summer, really and once October hit, she'd tell Jeff every night and myself everyday how many days were left until her big day. It was so sweet how absolutely excited she was for her birthday to arrive. Thus, we started our celebration a day early.

On Friday we did our schooling in the morning, headed to Jeff's work for lunch with daddy and then all 4 of us headed down to the MOA. First stop, was the American Girl doll store. Olivia had fun picking out a few things for her American Girl dolls and then our second stop was to the Lego store. Landen wanted a Minecraft lego, it had nearly 1,000 pieces and he had it finished by Saturday evening. We also decided to hit up a few rides at Nickelodeon Universe. Olivia wanted to go on a rollercoaster, it looked a little frightening but that's how she rolls - fearless, so daddy and Olivia rode on that. Landen is not a fan of rides, he gets a queasy stomach so he and I waited while they whipped around. When it was over Jeff and Olivia were both smiles, although Jeff did inform me that he thought it was a bit much for Olivia!

The rollercoaster Jeff & Olivia are riding on.

I wanted Landen to get to go on a ride so I convinced him to try the ferris wheel with Olivia and I and he did. I tell you, that kid had me laughing the whole time, un-engineering the entire ride and the unsafeness of it, he's a mini Jeff in the making, he cracks me up, I love it! We survived the ride however and had a good time. After those two rides the kids said they were done so we headed out of the city, beat the Friday rush hour home and finished up our schooling all before supper.

I'm not sure how forced his smile was here on the ferris wheel as he was nervous!

Saturday, for Olivia's actual birthday we headed down to the Wildlife Science Center for the Harvest Festival. Let me tell you, that place was so neat. We've been to the MN Zoo numerous times and have never been lucky enough to see any wolves in their enclosure, they are always hiding but at this place, we saw so many, it was a dream come true for Olivia. We saw wolves upon wolves, pumas, a porcupine, a hawk, owls, snakes, bears, a stinky raccoon and cute husky dogs. My favorite husky was a little pup named 'Gary'. It was an awesome experience and so neat and cool to be able to deliver something for Olivia that she so adores. We will definitely be heading back to that place!

One of the many wolves we were able to view up close.
Notice the puma behind the kids, he was huge and intimidating.

The lynx - a pretty cool looking cat.
Olivia was pretty content to sit atop Jeff's shoulder
and observe her wolf friends.

After that we hit up Split Rocks for arcade and a pizza lunch. The kids rode dirt bikes later in the day, we celebtated with a wolf cake and of course presents and then we headed over to Aunt Darci's for supper. It was a great day!

Our best attempt at "wolfie snarl" faces.

The 100 piece makeup pallet from brother Landen was one of Olivia's favorite
 birthday gifts. I love Landen's look of wonder as he watches her reaction.
Olivia said she was most excited for her wolf cake so I had some big
expectations to fill.Thankfully, she was pretty pumped when she saw it
and I was grateful to snag the edible image from Amazon!
Olivia had a super awesome birthday. The weather was beautiful, it was packed full of fun, an all around great day. I think she was a little sad when her big day was over. It's been a glorious 7 years and I hope this year holds great things in store for Olivia with many lasting memories to be made.

Happy 7th Birthday Olivia!