Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sleep? No Sleep!

Well, we survived hosting our first slumber party. Ava will be 10 years old tomorrow, and instead of planning a fancy party, we decided to keep it "simple" and have her invite a handful of good friends over for a night of fun, and apparently NO sleep.

Guess what? We succeeded on both counts! The girls did have a great time, though...they had a pizza dinner, followed up by 3 bingo games with prizes, decorating their own HUGE pieces of cake, and opening gifts. The rest of the night was a blur, honestly. We tucked them all away in the guest room, with access to the Roku and internet for their devices...we heard them A LOT, but didn't see much of them. There was an attempt to play a 2am game of hide 'n seek,which we squashed. And finally at 4am, we laid down the law and told them it was time to go to bed. We had to quiet them down them again, 45 minutes later, and they finally went to sleep. Crazy!

They loved the color changing flames that I put on each of their cake pieces

They even let G join in the fun with the cake...

BUT, all of the girls had fun, and made some good memories, and that's what counts. Ava was a little cranky yesterday, but not as bad as I would have expected. We made her go to bed at 8pm last night, and she fell asleep almost immediately. Today should be an even better day now that we're all running on a full night's sleep again.

After 4 hours of sleep...not too crabby.

With all of the fun to be had this week, we got a little behind on Ava's summer lessons. We are now caught up with week 1, and will be focusing on the week 2 items this week, so we can get back on track. Now that she's finished one week's worth, I think she realizes that it won't be that bad. My goal is that I want to keep her mind sharp and not lose all of the lessons that she worked so hard on this past year.

G had a pretty good week, too. He and his friends went to the splash pad on a hot day, and then he and Scott enjoyed the "Dad and Donuts" breakfast on Friday at G's daycare. It was Scott's first time attending a breakfast there, and I am so glad that he finally went to one. I reminded him that G only has a little over a year before he starts Kindergarten, and he won't have that opportunity in the future.

I took Friday off to prep for the birthday/slumber party, and I had a pretty darn good day, as well. I got enough stuff done earlier in the day, which gave Scott and me a chance to meet up with my parents for drinks/apps before Ava's party started (before we picked up G.) It was a great way to kick off the weekend before the crazy slumber party times began!

Also, we want to wish our fathers a very Happy Father's Day today! My dad is someone who I look up to and respect, on all levels. I wouldn't be the person I am without his guidance and support through life.

Bonus picture! Everyone says that I look like my mom, but there may be a slight resemblance to my dad, too ;)

Scott's time with this dad was cut short several years ago, and I know that he misses him every day. The bond that they shared was obvious, and it's clear that he loves his father, with all of his heart.

Scott's stepdad has also played an important role in Scott's life, and thanks Whitey for motivating Scott to become the successful person that he is today!

And of course, our two little kids wouldn't be the people that they are growing into without Scott's daily love and support of them. No matter how crazy they drive him, we are all lucky that Scott is their father!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Finches and Fish

We officially have a fifth grader! Ava’s last day of school was on Tuesday, and I was so pleased to see that all of her grades improved to the top level for this past trimester. Besides the lesson in procrastination last week, she has really applied herself in recent months. She is focusing very well in school, and getting her work done there, so she has minimal homework. Hooray for good habits!

To keep her sharp and focused, she’s partaking in 8 weeks of math and reading lessons (done at home) over the summer. I don’t think she’s too excited about it, but, a few hours of lessons during the week will still leave her plenty of time for fun in the sun!

Last day of 4th grade!

G had another rough start to the week, but we had some long talks with him, and the last few days were very pleasant at the point where he was complimenting his friends instead of getting mad at them. He’s such a sweet boy, when he wants to we’re going to do what we can to keep him surrounded by positive role models.

Last Sunday, my mom, Ava, Annie (blond) and Michelle (brunette) headed out to the American Girl Bistro at the MOA for our traditional mother's day celebration brunch. We thoroughly enjoyed the food, and then spent a few hours doing some shopping. It was a wonderful day to spend time with family!

Update on the bird/nest took me all week, but I finally figured out what kind of birds have taken up residence in our hanging planter. The daddy bird was hanging out on our gutter, and when momma bird flew away (after I tapped the basked to let them know I was going to water the plant,) the daddy bird flew down and landed in the lilac tree, which is right next to the hanging planter.

Once I got a good look at him, I was able to do more research. They are house finches! The one egg that has hatched produced a cute little baby bird, but the other two eggs haven't done anything. I'm a bit stressed thinking this little guy is going to fall out of the nest and land on our jagged rocks below, but, I'm not going to do anything else, and will let nature take its course.

Ava was at home with us starting on Wednesday of this week...and she and Scott headed up north for the weekend, so it’s been just me and G at home over the last few days. Scott and Ava have had a, four-wheeling, and enjoying nature.

She was pretty excited to catch this one!

Meanwhile, G and I have had a great time hanging out at home. We’ve watched movies, cuddled, and had so much quiet’s been fantastic! We were supposed to see a movie in a park last night, but, the weather changed those plans. So...we watched the same movie at home (and stayed dry!)

We also helped my mom celebrate her birthday a few days early. They had us over on Friday night for dinner and cake. G was so well-behaved and I think he enjoyed being the only kid there, without Ava to outshine him.

The other half of our household will be home in a few hours, so it’s going to get a lot more noisy shortly. We better enjoy this quiet time while we have it!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Doppelgangers and Division

This was the last full week of school...Ava has two more days next week, and then she's out for the summer! I cannot believe that she will then be starting her last year of elementary school. Seems like a huge milestone for us...

Ava was a little stinker this week, and neglected to tell us that she had TWENTY pages of math homework due by Friday. Scott had been asking her every day if she had homework, and the answer was always no...until we "caught" her trying to catch up on those 20 pages of long division problems. Oh boy...she worked on those for hours and hours, and even lost access to her Kindle for a few days. We had a nice long chat about 1) procrastination, and 2) lying. When I dropped her off at the before school care on Friday morning, I advised the director that Ava was not to play until she finished her homework. And, she succeeded! We have no idea how much of it was correct, least she learned the lesson about procrastination.

Since she finished the work, it means that she was able to play in the kickball tourney on Friday, and will be able to participate in the yearbook signing event this week.

Glad it all worked out in the end, but we were pretty disappointed that it got to that point. We're going to have to come up with a different plan for monitoring homework next year.

G also had a bit of a rough week. He started off with some potty issues, and then morphed into being naughty at daycare. But, by Thursday, he got back on track and was our (mostly) sweet boy again. He's taken the big step in realizing when he has to go #2, and will hustle off to the potty, all by himself. Recognizing it is half the battle, I think!

I had a half day on Friday, so had a chance to visit with my friend Emilie for a bit, and then Scott and I were able to meet up for a few apps and a drink at a local bar. I picked up a few movies for the night, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching "Ferdinand" and "Black Panther". G went to bed before BP was done, but Ava, Scott, and I all stayed awake, for the entire movie. It was REALLY good. Makes this DC girl want to start tackling the Marvel movie list that I put together. I'm pretty sure there's not enough time to watch all of the TV shows and movies that I want to see!

We also discovered that a bird made a nest inside one of our hanging plants. Whenever I watered the plant, a bird would fly out of it, and I couldn't figure out why...until I took the plant down in prep for a storm, and happened to look inside. Now, I'm much more careful when I water the plant...I always take it down, and water away from the nest.

I'm a little worried about when the eggs hatch...the plant is right above rocks in our landscaping, and it's at least an 8' drop to the ground. I'm picturing little baby bird bodies in the rocks. Ugh. We need to find a place to move the plant, so it's still protected, but won't be as big of a drop if the babies jump out. And, how do I water the plant if there are baby birds in there? Scott told me to let the plant die, but I'm not sure I'm on board with that idea... I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually.

One day last week, Ava and I were following this car on the way to her school. The dog that kept poking its head outside of the window looked SO much like Darla, I couldn't stop staring at it. It's hard to see in the pic below, but I couldn't let this doppelganger get away without taking a pic.

This morning, Ava, my mom, and I are off to celebrate a belated Mother's Day brunch at American Girl at the MOA - and then to do a little shopping afterwards. Should be a great way to spend an overcast Sunday!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

S'mores and Stars

I cannot believe that Ava only has 6 more days of school left...and then she'll be a 5th grader, and starting her last year of elementary school! When did that happen?

They are having so much fun the last few weeks of school...this week, the 4th graders went on a field trip to the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. The fact that she is getting to see all of these places (as will G, when he gets older and is in school) and also that my parents are making an effort to get to know MSP better, brought me to the conclusion that we need to have more family outings. So, the goal is that once a month, we're going to pick a place to visit, and head out on a Sunday to explore. I think it's important to travel to these locations, and experience these adventures together.There are a ton of places that I've never been (I didn't grow up in MN, so I didn't get to do field trips like these) and I always hear people talking about them. NOW is the right time to check them out!

G had an "ok" week...he hit a few friends at daycare, and he was really emotional (missing me) near the end of each day. I'm not really sure what's going on with him. BUT, I do know that we went an entire week without any potty training accidents/smudgy underwear, so he was able to pick out a new prize from his potty bag! Baby steps in all areas, I guess...

I had some intense days at work this week, and on Wednesday afternoon (I was working at home,) I gave myself a 10 minute break and walked to Ava's bus stop to meet her. She was SO excited to see me, and I was SO excited to get out of the house for a few minutes. I need to remember to take the time for those small moments before they are gone.

I had Friday afternoon off, so I was able to meet up with my friend Tina, and we went to a movie and had a few drinks and apps afterwards. It was super nice to be able to hang out with her during the day, and really enjoy the time together, without worrying about getting home too late to see the kids before bed time.

On Saturday, Scott, Ava, G, and I all headed south...they dropped me off in Rochester, where I met up with my friend Tiffany. We had our annual birthday massages/pedicures, and did a little bit of shopping. Meanwhile, Scott and the kids headed over to Darren and Tiff's house, and the kids all had a blast playing outside, splashing in the pool, being loud, and getting dirty. We grilled out, made s'mores, and thoroughly enjoyed the perfect weather last night, after the kids were winding down a bit. All four kids played SO well together...there were zero fights, and everyone had fun. Now that G is getting older, he can actually play with the girls and keep occupied, without needing us 100% of the time. It was so delightful to be able to actually talk to Tiff and Darren and not have to worry about babies and toddlers being mischievous. I'm pretty sure we haven't had that experience for oh, probably the last 10 years, ever since Isabel and Ava were born (they are 8 months apart in age.)

We're going to work around the house today, and then prep for a little gathering tomorrow afternoon...looking forward to continuing the fun for another few days!