A Decade of *Love* and *Happyness*

Olivia's had her birthday this weekend.  10 years old.  On her "wish list" she listed a number of things and then, at the bottom in big letters she listed:



This is just so Olivia.  From the sentiments to the misspelling to the exclamation points.  This is my girl.

This week we saw an overdue expectant mother from our church congregation walking through our neighborhood, walking through her contractions and trying to get something going.  It reminded me so much of Olivia's entrance into the world.  We were living in San Diego at the time, near a golf course.  And I was so uncomfortably miserable near the end, David would take me out and make me walk that golf course.  We walked for miles and miles.  I told Olivia this week that it didn't work, it only made me tired.  The day she was born I awoke to contractions about 4 and tried to lay quietly so I didn't wake David.  At about 5:30 or 6, I woke David and told him my water broke.  He said, "Are you sure?"  I don't know why he always asks me that.  I'm always sure.  Olivia arrived a couple of hours later.

And she brought love and happyness with her.

Here is a top ten list of some of my favorite things about this darling girl:

1.  She has a great sense of humor.  Really great.  Around our dinner table, she is nothing short of hilarious.  David and I just sit and grin at each other over our water glasses.  The other day she did this impression of a chicken talking to a chicken salad that had us busting.

2.  Olivia is (without question) the most empathetic person I know.  The day I got released from my young women's calling she sobbed all through sacrament meeting for me.

3.  She is desperately in love with Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I find this absolutely charming.  And I can't wait to introduce her to Anne.

4.  Olivia loves to watch David and I kiss.  She starts hanging around when she knows David is about to arrive home, just so she can catch us.  She takes pretend pictures while we kiss and then closes her eyes and says, "Ahhhh."  This makes David and I both quite nervous about her dating years.

5.  She makes pretend quote marks in the air for everything and anything.  I find this hilarious and terribly endearing. 

6.  Of all my children, Olivia gets in trouble the most at school, usually for talking.  Last year she sat next to a boy named Willy and she would regularly "have her card pulled" for talking to him.  When I would ask her about it, she would say something like, "Oh Mom, I had to tell him how nice his handwriting looked.  He was doing such a good job."  This always took the wind out of whatever I was going to say.  I once suggested that she wait until recess to encourage Willy, but she told me that he needed it right then.  (see #2)

7.  Olivia was born to be a mother.  She mothers everything.  She mothers all her friends and all her "enemies."  I'm often sorry that I'm the mom when she is so clearly the natural at it. 

8.  Olivia loves anything lemon.  Her birthday request is always lemon pie, and I took lemon muffins to school on Friday for her birthday celebration. 

9.  Olivia has only recently started liking chocolate.  For years she would pull the chocolate chips out of her cookies until I started making a plain batch just for her.  At kids quilt retreat this year she said seriously, "Chocolate changes people."  (see #1)

10.  Olivia loves seafood.  Tonight we had Garlic Shrimp Linguine and candles and toasted the birthday girl.  We went around the table and told all the reasons we love her and reminisced her birth.  Olivia did all the funny lines.  She's heard it before.  And then she had two pieces of lemon pie. 

Happy birthday, Livy.

I hope it was full of love and happyness.