Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy 16th Olivia!

Today begins the Hibbard summer birthday season – and we kick it off by celebrating a sixteen year old! Our beautiful young lady didn’t want anything huge and fancy for her birthday. Just a day to rest and relax.

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That choice reflects much of Olivia’s personality. She loves people, but she also very  much likes to pull back and enjoy family time. She also doesn’t like to make a huge fuss or a big deal about things. Her laid back and easy going nature hasn’t changed as she continues through her teen years.

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Olivia got up this morning and donned her standard jeans and t-shirt – very much her comfort zone in clothing. Her ideal dress-up look would be a tailored suit, preferably pants, but a straight skirt would work, too. As we got going on the day, though, we realized we had not taken her birthday pictures - something we usually do several days before the big day! So, she went to pick out something a little different for her “photo shoot.” I was a little surprised when she pulled out her lacy, white Easter dress and asked Angela to choose a fancy braid for her hair. But, it’s also not that big of a surprise. While Olivia has never been a lace and frills kind of girly girl, she still loves to dress up now and then.

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Looking back over the past year, I don’t know that Olivia has changed all that much. She’s still working on her novel. We finally found an online piano lesson source, and that has worked beautifully for her. But, despite her continued love for music, writing is her ultimate form of relaxation. Most of her writing happens at the computer, but she is never without a notebook and a pencil so she can jot down the many thoughts running around in her brain. One day, that will become a finished novel that I finally get to read!

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The ever-changing dynamics of the teen years have sometimes made interaction with her siblings difficult. She and Angie are the best of friends, but with very different personalities. So, occasionally the room-sharing situation gets a bit sticky. But, they both say they wouldn’t want to change it. And as Angie pushes into the teen years herself, they are a great sounding board for each other. They both know Mom’s available, but having each other has been such a treasure for these years.

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Then there is her relationship with Steven. A ten-year-old kid brother isn’t always the most beloved of companions for a sixteen-year-old girl, but Olivia really strives to be intentionally about interacting with Steven. Oh how I love hearing them laugh together!

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Olivia’s spiritual development is always fun to watch. She’s such a Bible nerd! I guess she comes by that honestly, though. Every time she senses that Doug and I are about to toss out an observation from Scripture or a theological pondering, she loves to listen in and soak up the discussion. Sometimes she will participate in the conversation, and other times she’ll just listen – then come back later with a comment or thought. She asks questions, loves to dig, and is discovering the delight of journaling her thoughts on Scripture.

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We only have two more years with this precious girl at home. She’s a licensed driver now and is working to gain confidence in her driving. She did beautifully on her first try at the ACT, helping her feel more confident for the upcoming PSAT and other efforts to try for test-related scholarships. She still wants to go to Ouachita Baptist University, and she is starting to contemplate where her interests might lie. In the meantime, though, she’s saving up for a passport so she can experience at least one international mission trip before she graduates. The thought terrifies her, but she is determined.

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Happy birthday, beautiful Olivia! We’re proud of you, and we look forward to seeing the beautiful ways you continue to grow in the coming year!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy Day!

They’re here!!!

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We were counting the months. Then the weeks and days. Finally, the hours. Then, it was time for CHOATES!

 

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The pictures were rather minimal because, well, we were too busy gabbing.

 

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And getting hugs.

 

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Yep. Definitely a happy day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

A New Puzzle

The kids and I enjoy doing spatial reasoning puzzles together every Monday. It’s our “do something fun to get the brain going on a crazy Monday” activity. We usually do it in the mornings, but today the schedule insisted we do it after lunch.

It’s funny to watch the kids as they learn new puzzle types, because the various types show how differently their brains work. One child will be great at a puzzle another child despises. We found Slitherlink puzzles to be the type most agreed upon by all the kids. We finished our last Slitherlink package last week, and this afternoon Olivia and I were looking for a different puzzle type to do. But, everything we could find produced disagreement among the kids. Then we noticed that the site we get our puzzles from – krazydad.com – had a puzzle we hadn’t noticed before. It’s called Galaxies.  The shapes have to be rotationally symmetric. So, first we had to figure out what that meant! It means that when you rotate a shape 180°, it will be positioned as it was when it was in its original position.

I love challenging our brains this way.