Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The end of Kindermusic class

Well, Olivia and I had a blast. I wasn't sure back in March if it was too early. I knew Olivia loved music the moment we had her back home. For the 12 week program will only missed 3 classes I think. Olivia loved her teacher and all the "baabee!" (babies) too. Her teacher had such a magical voice and she knew what "items" would grab these infants' attention. Olivia espeically loved the instruments and the bubbles. She went from just sitting and listening to the music, to rolling and crawling around. I think she was the most active participant there. On Monday marked the last class and she got her little certificate. AWWWW. Her first one. Have to put that in the memory book too. :0) I'll try to keep up with the songs that she's familiar with, but nobody sings it better than Paula the teacher.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father"s Day

Hi everyone, first things first, I would like to wish happy father's day to both my brothers and my dad. Every year I was able to see how this day made them so proud, for the first time I understood.

For my first Father's day, I had decided to start a tradition! Over the weekend I participated in the Tour du Courage, an event to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer. This was the first edition of the event and was organized by a good friend of mine who recently successfully beat the disease.
This was a 2 day cycling event, with an Uphill 3.5km Time trial in the Laurentians in the morning, a 55KM mountain stage in the PM and on Sunday morning a 35KM team time trial. There were 20 teams and (just over 120 cyclist) that raised over 150,00 for the cause. Our team of 6 where able to raise just under 7K.
The weekend was awesome. Saturday, on the final stage, as usual Mel's timing was always impeccable, arrived 10 minutes before I crossed the finish line. I could see her and Miss O there cheering me on.

It's funny how things change when your a dad. Now every time I'm not having a good day at work, training, or competing, or I feel things are really getting tough and slipping, I think about my daughter, and it gives everything some perspective.
The additional pride I get now when I do something, because I want to make her proud and show a good example to see things through, and everyday to remember what is important in this world.
It's funny how she already changed the way I approach things. Between Mel and Olivia's determination, resiliency , and "happy go lucky" attitude, it's much easier to get upbeat and smile, and push!
As I always say, it's easy to be good in good time, but a true champion is good in tough times.
I always got my inspiration from Mel and still do, but to see Olivia it really makes me appreciate what life is all about. I now have 2 strong "girls" loving me, looking up to me, supporting me and changing me, and making sure I do the right thing.
My father's day was nothing out of the ordinary!!! Well other than this year I am actually a father! So, being Mel's husband and Olivia's "Papa" just makes this extraordinary.
Racing in the morning for a cause that i believe in, and that affected people I love and loved, having BBQ with my dad and just enjoying him and my mom play silly with Miss.O. Then spending time with my wife driving back to Ottawa while drinking our latte and eating our chocolate brownie, stopping for icecream, having dinner together!!!!! get back in the routine, bath, Elmo and dodo....
I'm the luckiest person ever, thank you to both of you, for defining me as a papa and re-defining me as a person.
No, my first father's day was nothing special it was just everything I ever wanted!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Circus...oops I mean still birthday party #3 - Part 4

After the singing and dancing, the party came to an end. We said our goodbyes to some family and friends. Their presence during this day made it so very special. I hope Olivia looks back at these pictures and videos to see how much people love her.

It was late afternoon and all that was left was the immediate family. We all gathered under the tent to recount the days' events. We were all so tired, but happy that the day went so well. Even the cousins, who were busy running all over the place during the party, decided to have some quiet time. We decided to open the presents then. As much as I would have loved for everyone to be there during the "opening of the presents" and I could thank them personally, it was less chaotic in the end. However, when I asked Audrey and Nico to help, they both grabbed gifts and opened them at the same time. hahahhaha. I had to tell them to do it one at a time because I wanted to keep track of it all. All the kids were excited to open. Olivia was most excited about the tissue paper she could eat. hahahahha

After the presents we decided to do family pictures. The white tent proved to be a good backdrop for the photos. Our first family photos of the entire family. I look back at these pictures and I think about all the family group photos of just Martin and I. Years of waiting to hold our little one in these photos. Finally a complete family picture.

Once pictures were done. Oddly enough it was time to eat again. Thank goodness there were tons of leftover hamburgers and hotdogs. We quickly set the tables outside and had 1 long dinner table. All that was missing was the candlebras in the middle. hahahah. At the end of the table was little Olivia, hanging on to stay awake, but in the end passed out in total exhaustion.

She had a wonderful day. She played with the other kids, she danced and sang. She ate happily. She was absolutely great with all her friends and family. Yes, it was a circus, but it was the best birthday party ever. This party meant even more than just a first birthday. Yes, we might have gone overboard with 3 parties, but each one the memories we made are priceless. Each gathering was a celebration of family and friends. I can't thank everyone enough for making this day for Olivia extra special. You're love and support was truly felt. Our family is truly blessed to have some wonderful people in our lives.

Family and friends - Part 3

Friday, June 18, 2010

Birthday Party #3 - Continues - Part 2

Once everyone seemed like they had enough, the caterers started packing up their stuff. THen it was time to get Olivia ready for her TOL ceremony. I brought her upstairs and changed her into the hanbok we bought in Korea for her (not realizing that her foster mother had bought her one too). Sooo, we gathered everyone to the front table and Martin did his speech. I don't know about anyone else, but I was emotional. Martin was emotional. Everyday, we count our blessing that this little wonder is really ours. It was her first birthday and everyone (well most of them) that we loved was there to witness and celebrate with us.

SO the TOL ceremony continues, and little Olivia chooses the SPOOL OF THREAD (again..yay!) and a spoon (which meant either good cook or good eater...hahahahha). To much of papa's disappointment, the googles and money that he directed her to was not chosen. hahahahhaha After that, we quickly got her out of that outfit because she was sweating buckets, and the party continued.

Because Olivia LOVES music, out birthday gift to her was a musician who came to play kids music. HE WAS THE BEST THING! He performs during special events, but also has special music classes like Kindermusic. He sat down with his guitar and the kidss made a circle around him. Olivia loved it. She was bouncy and clapping away. So were the rest of the kids AND the parents. He played typical and non-typical songs. SO it was very entertaining. The classic thing I will always remember was when he was singing "Oh MacDonald" and asked Quinlan for something you find at the farm, he yelled out "AN EGG!". And the song continued. HAHAHAHAHHA He brought out instruments for the kids At the end, he gave Olivia a cute stuff monkey as a birthday gift and sang one of her favourite songs "If you are happy and you know it..".

Birthday Party #3 - Ottawa - Part 1

Okay..finally, the last birthday party. Boy this was the one that stressed me out the most. Although we did everything to make sure that we wouldn't be stressed. Our final numbers for the party turned out to be more than 60 people including kids. Where the heck are we going to put everyone as I sent out the EVITE (there were a few hand written ones, but seriously...there was no way to send them all out).

Sooo..we decided on a backyard bbq. Great! We found a great caterer who specializes in backyard bbqs and told us we could get all you can eat hamburgers and hotdogs and salads. Super...done! Then it was just up to us to find the other "stuff". Thank you Costco! As the preparations were underway...sure enough..the weather forecast slowly changes to partly cloudy to scattered thundershowers!!! PANIC. Soo..on Thursday the week of the party...we called a rental company for a tent. A 20x20 tent! In our backyard. For the party. SHEESH. As I watched them set it up on the Friday...all I was's going to be a circus. We joked around about having Tita Melissa climb to the top to put a flag on the peak. hahhahaha


Well..the day of...the house was full. My family from Brampton and Martin's brother's family from Moncton filled the Savard residence. It was great! The children were up running around and playing and the Martin and Max were quickly setting things up in the backyard. Me? Well...I had a hair appointment. :0P
When I came back it was 10:30. Oh oh...Olivia hasn't had her nap yet! SOooo I decided to take her into the car and drive around till she fell asleep. And it worked..and it made all the difference. She woke up about an hour later to find everyone dressed and ready to go. I brought her upstairs and put on ther "Annie Brocolli" outfit, and she was ready to party.

AN ASIDE...while we were changing at 11:30 the phone rang to tell us that the face painter/balloon maker person had the stomach flu and they were going to send another replacement. Ugh.

Shortly after 12 people started coming and the tent was quickly filling up as the SUN began to shine and it was hot! GO FIGURE! It was the most beautiful day! We were sooo blessed. In the end it was still a good idea to rent the tent, because it was the extra shade we needed that day. It was sooo hot.

Family and friends gathered together yet again to celebrate this occasion. For many guests it was a time to catch up on things because they haven't seen each other in awhile. The kids were busily playing and running around in the backyard. We had Olivia's playstructure out and the kids were making good use out of it. Finally the face painter (who didn't do balloons though) came around 12:30 and the kids lined up eagerly to have some special design painted on their face. It was a great idea, and the artist was fantastic!

The food was fantastic. It wasn't those cheapy burgers and hotdogs. It was real patties and huge hotdogs. So wonderful. After meeting most of the guest...Olivia was under the tent playing with her friends...I took Olivia in for a quiet lunch inside. I know it must have been overwhelming for her to have all these people wanting to to touch her and kiss her and take pictures. Mommy and Olivia had a nice lunch in the air-conditioned kitchen, while papa entertained and greeted more people.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A little cousin time before the party

Olivia's cousins from Moncton came down for the big event. It was Olivia's first meeting with Nico and Melodie. They had a blast.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birthday Party #2 I'm taking advantage of a sleeping baby to update my blog. There is birthday party #3 to write about that happened this weekend. But first things firsts, birthday party #2 was just as memorable.

Olivia's birthday was on Thursday June 3rd, and then the next day, Martin left for New Hampshire for a race and we (Olivia, Tita Melissa, and I) ventured back to Brampton for a family visit. However...before we left a we had a "small" disaster. Our fridge broke. I thought no worries, repair guy will come in early Friday morning to fix it and we would be on our way. Yay... didn't happen quite like that. Sigh. He came and opened the freezer and there was literally inches..inches of frost in the back. He ha dto chisel his way through to the wires in the back. THen...he told me that he couldn't work on it now because of all the frost, we had to let it melt OVER THE WEEKEND! SOOOOOO....Friday morning...scrambled to find containers to save my food and take it with me to my parents house. Ugh. Needless to say most of it couldn't be saved. I cut my losses and packed up the car and we left.

OMG...Olivia has been a dream on road trips so far. But this road trip took us * hours. We left at 2pm and arrived close to 10pm. She had a good sleep but there was summer construction that wasted travelling time and an accident. Sooo..we stopped and walked around...had to stop again to have dinner...and then stop again..because it was bedtime and she had to be comforted by mama and not tita Melissa. So we had to switch drivers. Ugh. But we made it safe and sound..and poor Tita Melissa who had been a real trooper lost her bed to Olivia and I. She had to sleep in the guest room on a futon. We slept well though. :0)

In the morning...Olivia was up and ready to face that days adventures. Lola and Lolo were up already busy cooking for the "family" dinner. My sister and I had breakfast and left with Tita Jen (whose birthday was that day) for a pedicure. YAY! WE came back and lunch was ready. Lolo had made some birthday noodles "pancit" for Olivia and Tita Jen. Nice big fat noodles and Olivia loved it. Then it was nap time.

When she woke we got ready for another birthday party. My good friend from high school's son was turning 2. They live in Ohio now so it was extra special to see them on this occasion. I have to say...going to kids birthday parties when you have your own kid is pretty amazing. Truthfully, for many years we were the "childless" couple, always playing with other friends' kids. It was so different this time.

Unfortunately it was a short visit, as we had to get back home to our "family" dinner. I put this in quotations because our family is huge. As I mentioned before in this blog, I love our gatherings. It would be loud and there would be lots of people. We came home quickly to find the party had already started. hahahah. People had arrived earlier that I thought expecting to have a chance to play with Olivia before other people arrived. OOPS. Anyways...Olivia was feed her special birthday meal. There was pancit, rice of course, chicken, shrimps, typical filipino fare (plus desserts!) Then came her icecream birthday cake! Lola really spoiled her. We cut her a piece and she played with it before she put it in her mouth. She loved it. Oh oh. hahhaha.

Olivia again was super in a big crowd. It has been 3 months now, and we were more comfortable with people interacting with her more. Again, my family is super respectful of the fact that it has only been 3 months, but she was great! Everyone was amazed at how great an eater she was. Really? She's not 25lbs for no reason.

The night quickly wore her out, so after opening the presents, I gave her a quick bath (because she was sooo dirty with food), and we said our goodnights. We jumped into to bed and she feel asleep quickly despite all the noise from the party still going on downstairs.

Lola and Lolo threw a wonderful dinner for Olivia. They cooked and cleaned all day to make this day special. And it was. She is a very lucky girl. I am so happy that my family in Brampton was able to participate in making this birthday very special for Olivia. I always dreamed of this day. Celebrating my child's first birthday with all the relatives.

The next day we would have to leave back to Ottawa (and take Lola back with us).

To make it short, our drive back to Ottawa the next day was amazing!!!! We didn't stop. Lola moved to the back when she woke up at Kingston and played with her until we arrived to Ottawa.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

She's 1 today!

YAY! The big today...somewhat anticlimatic. hahahaha I had big plans. We were going to go to the gymnastics centre where Olivia could crawl and bounce around. Then have a fabulous lunch. Then if we were lucky a long nap. Then a traditional Korean dinner. Well..the day didn't start off as planned, of course.

I'm not complaining. Olivia slept in till 9am today. WOOHOO! Well..not really, because she woke up at 4am and wanted to play. After 45 minutes...I couldn't handle it anymore and stuck an ELMO DVD in and hoped she would go back to bed. I don't know if she watched all of it, but somewhere around 6am she was sideways asleep. We turned off the TV and didn't' wake up till much later. Well..she would have slept longer if Papa didn't induce the wakeness. sigh.

We came down for breakfast and she was a great spirits. Of course she was, she slept in until 9am!!! But then my plans went out the window. The gymnastic place didn't have drop ins till 2:30...ugh. we would go to China town and pick up some last minute things for Olivia's birthday party..then have lunch, then go to a indoor play area. But... as we got onto the highway...Olivia fell asleep. We didn't' have the heart to wake her up. She missed Chinatown, and we took out food and brought it home. She had a great hour and half nap. Gave her lunch...and finally grandpapa came. YAY!

There was a fiasco about a toy Tita Melissa bought at ToysRus that we needed a truck to bring it back home. SO thankfully, grandpapa brought his truck down and we went to pick it up. We came home set up the play structure. Then it was time to open gifts.

Well..there was one gift that she had to open. Foster family delivered a special package for Olivia for her birthday. We opened it and read the letter from foster mom. Needless to say, all 3 women in the room had tears in their eyes. hahahah. Olivia must have thought what the heck was going on. They gave a lovely hand made teddy bear and wrote on it. She also gave some little trinkets for Martin and I. It was so very thoughtful. I can't wait to send them pictures of Olivia and her TOL.

After that we got ready and she had her first birthday cake. Chocolate with vanilla icing. Not fancy, but made with love. Tita Melissa helped put the icing on, and grandmama helped me not burn it. hahahah She hesitantly put her fingers in the icing. Not sure what to do with this white stuff on her fingers. Then we placed the fingers in the mouth. Then she went back down to the cake for more. sigh. We feed her some chocolate cake. I'm thinking this is not a good thing. She liked it. She liked it a lot! :0)

Finally we went for dinner. Ohhh they were so very nice. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone. We ordered lots of food and it was delicious. We told them it was Olivia's TOL and they gave us complimentary kimchi pancakes (which Olivia loved) and a birthday cake made out of rice flour. They even provided us with objects for Olivia to choose for her TOL ceremony. You'll see in the pictures what she chose. We are so happy with her choices. hahahaha

The owner's wife also came down to lend me her hanbok which was made from beautiful silk. She gently took it out of a box and dressed me up. It was sooo beautiful and was very touched that she let me try it on. It made the evening even more memorable.

The night was fantastic. We got home and found another present by the door from the neighbour across the street. Again...people just pouring their hearts out to this little one. We gave her a quick bath, and she quickly went down for the night.

Was it everything I expected it to be? You was perfect. Lots of love, lots of kisses, lots of smiles. What else could you ask for?