Thursday, January 18, 2018

Olivia's 15th Birthday

Olivia's birthday this year was spread out over a few days. We kicked it off by going on a tour of Split Rock Studios which does displays for national and state parks, museums, visitor centers, and other organizations. 

There were several projects in the works that we were able to see. One of the projects is a new agricultural center that will be opening in Wisconsin. Some of the pieces were being constructed in the wood shop.

There was another job in which a big mural was being painted for a nature center. When it is installed, there will be wooden structures that come out in front of it that have hands-on activities for children to do.

There were intriguing sculptures around Split Rock Studios, including this one that Olivia liked.

We learned about 3D printing and the steps that happen before something is printed.

We saw another sculpture that was created by Split Rock. The level of detail from head to tail was impressive.

The girls spent the afternoon with Mary who is like a grandmother to them. We've known Mary know for at least six or seven years. It's been a long time. We went out to dinner with Mary and her husband, Art, at our favorite Chinese restaurant. This was an early birthday dinner that Olivia requested.

The next day, Olivia's actual birthday, was started with breakfast and opening gifts.

Sometimes - when there are gift cards involved - the item accompanying it might be practical or kind of an odd gift to receive on one's birthday. In this case, she received a box of Q-tips. She actually needs Q-tips so she thought this was the gift. We had to suggest to her that she may want to look at the underside of the box. She was surprised and happy to see a gift card there.

One of the gifts she received was a puzzle that had a Frank Lloyd Wright image on it. Between that and the other 3D puzzle, she's adding her to her puzzle collection.

Olivia received fewer gifts than past years because her big gift was the 2,000 piece puzzle that featured the wildlife of the U.S. being framed. So, the framed puzzle was Olivia's major gift for the year.

For lunch, Olivia wanted to go to the Lutefisk Dinner at church...not for the lutefisk, but for the meatballs. There were over 600 people who attended the dinner that was held from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. We arrived around 12:30 p.m. and waited for our numbers to be called to go to the dinner.

While we were waiting, we watched a slide show and listened to Don play the violin. It was a nice way to spend 45 minutes.

There were generous helpings and a wide variety for lunch. If people were still hungry, they could go back for seconds. The girls were the youngest ones there. Enjoyed seeing many people who we had nice conversations with before and during lunch.

Bill came up to chat and we told him that it was Olivia's birthday. He began singing "Happy Birthday" to her and then Sophia and I joined in.

After a very light dinner, Sophia brought out Olivia's birthday pie: a French silk pie from Perkins.

There were quite a few candles on Olivia's cake this year. Hard to believe that she is 15 years old already. Time has gone by way too quickly.

Holding back her hair, she's ready to blow out the candles.

She's blowing out the candles...

and there she's getting the last one.

The pie was topped with lots of whipped cream and chocolate swirls. We also had fresh fruit - pineapple and blueberries. Actually, that was just me who had the fruit. Everyone else had the pie. As much as I wanted to have a piece of pie, I also was on Day 10 of the Whole 30. Well, that just meant more pie for Olivia.

After dinner, we were told to look out the window on the second floor. The number "15" would be lit up in sparklers.

Weird thing was: they didn't want to sparkle.

After multiple tries - and a closer look at the package that they came in - we realized they were not sparklers. They were the "firecrackers" that, when a string is pulled, shoot out confetti.

No wonder they didn't sparkle like fireworks...they were just paper. Oh well. Talk about tricky packaging - they came in a container just like fireworks and were labeled with similar names. Next year, we'll purchase fireworks around the 4th of July and just hold onto them until the girls' birthdays that both fall in the winter.

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