Sunday, November 19, 2017

Utensils are Optional

G has recently discovered the closet where we keep all of our board games. I often find him playing Hi Ho Cherry-O, Candyland (aka "the gingerbread game"), and the memory game all by himself. Last week, he discovered our Twister game, and thought it would be fun to play with Ava and me. I politely declined (not sure I could become a pretzel at this age) and offered to run the spinner for him.

After some begging, Ava was a good sport and joined in the game with her little brother. She actually did a great job and followed the rules, while G didn't quite grasp the full concept of keeping his various hands and feet on the correct colors while moving around. He ended up just sorta flopping around on the game board instead. And eventually he just decided it would be more fun to use his sister as the game board. I'm not 100% confident that Ava thought that was very fun...

I got a head start on our Christmas shopping AND enjoyed a huge craft fair with my mom last Sunday. I'd say I'm about 65% done with my Christmas shopping already, and I'm planning on working on some more gifts and our cards in the upcoming week. Hooray!

Ava worked very hard on her math homework this week, and with some prodding managed to finish up some assignments with the end goal of minimal work to do this weekend. We always work on weekend homework after breakfast on Saturdays so we don't have to deal with the tears and frustration on Sunday evenings. I still believe we made the right choice to keep her in the advanced math class. I reached out to her math teacher and advised her of our decision, and her response back was perfect - she's incredibly supportive and I think this will help push Ava to focus more and try harder in her schoolwork.

I had a super busy week with plans every evening Mon-Wed, so by Thursday, I was pooped. Good thing I'm off of work November 17-26! I thoroughly enjoyed my day off on Friday, and was able to spend more fun time with Ava and G yesterday since I wasn't trying to cram all of my weekend chores into 2 days. Plus, I have some fun plans in the upcoming week (can't wait to see the Justice League on Tuesday with my mom!) and we're set to host Thanksgiving on Thursday. Fun times!

Scott had a very long work week, and ended up working another full day on Saturday, so we treated ourselves to a fun night out. At my parent's recommendation, we went to the Lakeville Brewing Co. The food was fantastic, the beer was great, and the atmosphere was perfect for kids. Great choice to go there! After that, we headed over to Fleet Farm and walked through Toyland so the kids could get all amped up and excited for Christmas (and then we burst their bubble when we didn't buy them anything...ha!) I have to run back there this week for another reason, and it'll be a great time to pick up some toys for them for Christmas.

I swear, he does know how to use a fork...

Ava's been begging me to put up window clings for Thanksgiving, so I better get that going. And next week, we'll decorate for Christmas! The holiday season is really here!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Little Chef

With Scott gone hunting, it puts me into the spotlight of needing to feed my children. Yikes! Last weekend, we had pizza with my parents and mac and cheese...easy peasy. This weekend, I decided we needed to incorporate some veggies and home cooked items into the menu.

We did splurge on Friday night...we went to a local Barnes and Noble since they were hosting a book fair for Ava's elementary school. Ava had fun running around with a neighbor friend, and even Garrett ran into someone he knew from daycare! It was crazy and chaotic, and I might have been a little crabby by the end of the night. After the book fair, we went out for a fast dinner, and the hit up the grocery store to pick up goodies for this weekend. We walked through the door at 8:30pm, and we were all exhausted. I'm pretty sure that everyone was sleeping by 9:05pm!

Fletch and Ava with Big Red (the mascot for their school). 

G wasn't so sure about meeting the cardinal, but by the end he mustered up enough courage to give him a high five!

In any case, Saturday was full of fun things...doing a Thanksgiving art project for G's daycare class, helping Ava practice for her speaking part in the upcoming music program, and making Grandma Goers' infamous banana bread recipe. Yum! Ava was a huge help in preparing it, and she even had the brilliant idea of putting Nutella on it, once sliced. Double yum! See, we never have Nutella, but last night, I bought some, out of the blue, without even thinking about the banana bread. Clearly, it was meant to be...

For Saturday dinner, I put my Pinterest-ing skills to work, and pulled out a child-friendly recipe (cheeseburger biscuit cups) that Ava helped me prepare. It was easy, yummy, and gave us a good chance to work together today. After dinner, we settled in for a movie (new to all of us) and then they both hit the hay after cleaning up from a long day. It was a pretty great Saturday...not nearly as lazy as last weekend.

Our deer hunter will be back today...he was successful this weekend, and has already taken in his deer to be processed. This should be the last weekend that he will be gone for a while, thank goodness. Although, now we're getting into a good routine when it's just Mom running the show!

My mom and I are hitting up the huge craft fair in Shakopee this afternoon...can't wait to see what fun stuff they have available for the holidays. The countdown to Christmas is ticking by quickly!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Gladiator and a Ninja

What a fun and busy week! We started off the good times with G's fourth birthday last Sunday. We invited the Minnesota grandparents to join us for dinner, cake, and presents...and it was fun! G had a blast opening his gifts, blowing out the candles, and eating mac and cheese (Scott made a marvelous turkey dumpling soup for those of us that didn't want mac and cheese. Yum!)

Trying out a Halloween bomb by Ava!

G also received a happy birthday call from the Paw Patrol on Sunday morning, so that was exciting...once he figured out who was calling him. Haha!

Halloween was just two days later, and man, what a day. I took the day off of work, and then learned that G's daycare was having a Halloween party, so I was able to spend a hour with all of the little kids. It was really neat to see G interact with his little buddies. Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug were able to join that fun event, too, so G had quite the audience to entertain.

As soon as Ava got home from school on Tuesday, we started getting her dressed and ready to go out trick or treating. When G got home, we got him ready to go and headed over to the neighbor's house. Scott stayed at home to hand out candy and enjoy some peace and quiet. We had pizza with the neighbors and then a whole crew of us headed out. Once we hit up our house in the trick or treating path, G decided he was done and stayed home with Scott. Then, we lost the other little once she got to her house, so we were down to four kids, all nine years old, and all fully capable of begging for candy on their own. Soooo, we moms had a great time walking with our coffee mugs of wine, and keeping an eye on things. We were out for just under two hours, so at around 7:30pm, the neighborhood goes dark...and we went back to the neighbor's house for a little after party and a candy sorting event. What a fun, fun night!

Our lovely gladiator and fierce (aka adorable!) ninja!

Wednesday night was Ava's school conferences. I had a very enlightening conversation with her teacher about math. Ava hasn't been enjoying math as much this year, and isn't trying to understand as well as she should. Turns out she's in an accelerated math class, and I think the pace is too much for her. Math is so important to understand, and while I don't like pulling her out of an accelerated class, I think it's best that she goes back to the standard class and really understands what she's learning.

She and I spent at least an hour yesterday working on the end of her loooong assignment, she totally understood it, and was already beginning to memorize some of the bigger number equations. I want her to know that math can be fun...and that it should always make sense in the end! She's super advanced in reading, and doing really well at her other subjects, so we're not concerned about anything else.

She's #1!

On Thursday night, I had a long-awaited happy hour with some girlfriends. We enjoyed pedis and a nice dinner out. It's so important to take the time to enjoy friendships, and ensure that all parts of life are being taken care of. I truly value my friend time, and need to make sure those relationships are solid!

This is deer opener, which means that Scott's been up north since Friday afternoon. When we spoke with him last night, he had seen lots of deer but hadn't shot any yet. This time of year can get to be a bit long with Scott gone for many weekends (3 down, only 1 more to go!) so my parents invited us over for dinner with them on Friday night. We had a great meal, and then Ava spent the night with them. They live in a condo, and there's limited space, but they have the option to rent the guest room in the building. Grandma Karen and Ava stayed up until almost 11pm, watching a movie, playing games, and talking. They took her out for breakfast the next morning, back to the condo for crafts, and then to Michael's to decorate her very own Christmas tree! I think they all had a fantastic time.

Happy plate at breakfast!

Meanwhile, G and I were being super lazy at home...we watched some tv, I watched a movie while he was napping, and then last night, once Ava was back home, we all watched The Emoji Movie. So fun and cute!! And so much screen time...and I'm ok with it. It was a lazy, lazy weekend...

He loves hanging out in the tub...

He just wanted to crawl into the tub one day while I was getting ready for work...pjs and all!

After such a busy weekend, you'd think there would be more sleeping...but the time change totally threw off G. He wandered into my room at 5am today, and was wide awake. Maybe next year he'll sleep in...But, knowing this family of early birds, probably not!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pumpkin Brains

Should I be worried that Garrett was super excited to see how the brains were going to get out of the pumpkins last night? Thank goodness for Ava...I turned my back for 2 seconds and he picked up a knife and was trying to poke a hole in one of the pumpkins. Luckily, his big sis stopped him and took it away!

I feel like the entire year is a lead up to this time. G's birthday kicks off the holiday chaos for us...his birthday is TODAY (Happy 4th Birthday to my most favorite little are so loved!), Halloween is Tuesday, and in a few short weeks, we will be eating turkeys and giving thanks. And then shortly after that, we'll be kissing under the mistletoe and leaving cookies and eggnog out for the fat man in a red suit. And THEN we'll be bidding adieu to this really weird year and welcoming a new one. We can then take a break for a bit, until we head to Florida in February for a visit with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey. There is so much to do in such a short amount of time. It's fun, chaotic, magical, and exhausting!

G loves to have his animals be in the pictures!

Back to last night...Ava had picked up the biggest pumpkin possible at her baton class (they were giving pumpkins to all of the students,) so we had to gut that one. I had picked up two much smaller ones a while ago, and I knew we were only going to carve one of them. I had bought a surface etching kit, so doing that with one of the pumpkins was my contribution. The whole process was so much easier with an extra set of (Ava) hands. Ava designed the faces, Scott cut, Ava scooped, and then Scott carved the two pumpkins. I etched mine and was then responsible for the finer details on cleaning up the pumpkins. G ran around with a Sharpie (argh) and supervised the whole process. Teamwork!

Ava had her Harvest Party at school on Friday, so she's tested out her costume already. G has a Halloween party on Tuesday at daycare and since I took the day off, I'm going to stop by and "oooh" and "ahhh" over all of the adorable kids. We're planning on having pizza with the neighbors on Tuesday night and then heading out in the 'hood to beg for candy...and we adults will sip wine while walking. Fun for all!

We also have Ava's first conferences on Wednesday night, and I have a fun girls happy hour planned for Thursday night. I'm ready for next weekend already! Did I mention it's hunting season, so I'll be missing my other half during some upcoming days, too.

Ok, time to get this birthday day started! The pups from Paw Patrol will be calling G this morning to wish him a happy birthday...can't wait to see what he thinks about that!