Saturday, July 31, 2010

24 Hours...ALL FOR ME!

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is August 1.  It seems like we were just heading up north to celebrate the 4th of July.  I don't understand why time is flying by so quickly...  I know I've said before that I'd like more than 24 hours in a day, just to get more "stuff" done.  Not even fun stuff, just ...stuff.  So, this weekend we had plans to visit Darren, Tiff, and Isabel - and usually I am super excited to catch up with them.  This week, though, I just couldn't gather enough energy to be excited about leaving all of the "stuff" behind at home.  So, because Scott could sense I was nearing a breaking point, he offered to take Ava to the Winfield's house without me, just so I could have some time alone.

And I was so relieved and happy that I actually cried.  And then I put together a list of all of the things I was going to do in those 24 hours.  So far, I've done pretty well.  The highlight of the day was sitting outside for a few hours, doing absolutely nothing (ok, that might not have been on my "to do" list, but it was nice anyway).  I listened to the windmill hitting the tomato plants (yep, they're that high now), a few dogs barking (not mine), and just soaked up the sun.  I didn't even read - just gave my brain a chance to zone out.  And I feel great now!

The dogs and I have a pretty exciting night planned - mani/pedi and a movie.  Truly, no better way to spend a Saturday night in a quiet house!

Little Ava had quite the experience earlier this week at daycare.  She was kicking a ball around the backyard, and it landed right on an underground bee hive.  They immediately swarmed her, but not the other little girl next to her.  Just Ava.  (We think it's because she was wearing a yellow dress the exact color of pollen - she must have looked like the biggest flower ever to these bees.)  So Debi came over to get them off of her, and then they turned on her.  Both Debi and Ava were stung several times, and while Ava didn't have any bad side effects, she did wake up that night in tears, and had a hard time falling back asleep.  We think she was probably reliving the experience.  Poor kid.

She's also asserting her independence more and more...not wanting to have her diaper changed (really, Ava?!), fighting me getting her dressed, fighting me brushing her teeth, fighting US, in general.  She's got quite the set of legs and arms on her...glad we moved on from biting, but hitting and kicking...?  Yikes.  Every morning is a struggle to get her ready to go to daycare.

This is why I needed some time alone.

However, I couldn't let them go without trying to get a few pics of the start to their Daddy/Daughter adventure.

It started out so well...



Uh-oh...this doesn't look promising.


Notice how her hair is flying out at the back - she was shaking her head while starting to yell.



This one just made me laugh...she had dropped Scooter and then was freaking out about it.  So, Scott tossed him to her.  I LOVE how he's flying through the air, arms out, tail up, coming straight for Ava.  I actually laughed hard at this for 2 minutes.  Another sign I needed some time alone.


Such a girl...mood swings and all.  What's with this face?  And the shaggy hair? 


OMG.  A happy face.


I think right before I took this, she looked at me and said, "No camera, Mommy."


And off they go...have fun!  I know I will.


Looking forward to seeing them tomorrow...it sounds like they've had a good day swimming and golfing (Scott, not Ava), and hopefully she's now asleep so Scott can have fun with Darren and Tiff tonight. 

I am also looking forward to my remaining 12 hours of freedom...!  Yeah!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden & Guns, Part II

Apparently this month is all about our garden and my gun class.  Scott finally felt what it was like to be a hunter's widow this week...I was gone 4 out of 5 nights, and he had the bulk of the household/child responsibilities on his shoulders.  Wednesday night was the first night that I had spent with Ava since Saturday night! 

So, what's been going on?  I feel like I've been taking my gun safety class forever, but I am officially done and certified.  Thursday night I took my test - and got 100%, thank you very much.  It was pretty easy - I figure if an 11 year can do it, so can I...and I did!  However, last Monday when we were in class (held at Gander Mountain), I noticed a 5-year old boy playing with a toy rifle (bolt action - see, I did learn in the class) right next to our room.  He picked it up, and looked like a pro handling it...and it made me realize that I really had NO exposure to any guns growing up.  With Scott being such an avid hunter, it's important to both of us that Ava takes this class as soon as she's old enough.

The good news is that I've learned Scott is very safe when he does anything with guns.  In the past, it has always unnerved me a bit when he would take them out, but now that I know what he's doing, my comfort level has risen a ton.  And, I will admit, I think hunting is a lot harder than I originally believed...not so much a matter of just picking up a gun and shooting it.  So, it looks like I learned several unexpected things in this class.

This morning we had our range day at the Dakota County Gun Club.  I was a little nervous when I showed up, but the instructors showed us exactly what to do.  We shot 15 rounds (5 standing, 5 bench, and 5 kneeling.)  I didn't do too bad - 10 of the 15 hit my target.  And none hit the crazy birds that kept flying in front of us.  Seriously, bad idea, birds.

So, I'm done.  I'm official.  And I'm happy!  I haven't done anything new like this in a long time, and I needed to stretch a little outside of my normal hobbies.  Yay, me! :)



We had more corn out of the garden tonight.  I swear, if our garden could eat the rest of the yard it would.  I realize I posted a pic just a few weeks ago, but it's even bigger now.  My neighbor stopped me the other day and asked what the plants were on the left side of the garden.  I looked at her and said, "Two tomato plants."  But, really, it's more like they're tomato trees...they are incredible.  They are going to take out our windmill. 

Take a look in this pic - divide the garden in half...the entire left side is just two tomato plants.  Ridiculous. 


Do you know how hard it is to work from home with a toddler on the loose?  I was booted from my normal work space and displaced to Ava's little table.  I don't know if those little chairs are really ergonomic...!  Not only that, but Ava shoved me aside, and put all of her toy cookwear on my laptop.  Scooter, Puppy, and Black Bear had a better view than I did.  How's a mommy supposed to get any work done?


 Finally, I banished everyone outside...which was okay with her.  She hung out with Daddy in the garage.


Our little Lucky dog is getting a little white in the face.


I usually take the pics during the week, but I was slacking so bad this week that Scott had to step in.  I think he'll be happy to have his wife back to help out with things!  And I will be happy to have a little more free time.

I realized Scooter hasn't made much of an appearance lately.  Ava likes to change Scooter's diaper every morning before I change hers.  I don't let her actually use a wipe or any cream on him...we just pretend to do that part.  So, earlier this week, turns out that under TWO sets of adult eyes (male - so I can't be held responsible), Ava managed to get the cap off of the A&D ointment.  And Scooter's purple fur became very, very sticky and gross.  I think Scott has now learned that a quiet toddler is not necessarily a good thing...:)  It took a while to get Scooter all clean, and boy, Ava was very happy to see him last night when I presented him to her.  It was like long lost friends had been reunited...super cute!

I need to reunite with my long lost friends...the couch and the tv.  Night!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's Time!

Ava's been showing an increased amount in going potty...and not in her diaper.  She freaks out if her diaper gets dirty, and lets us know when she wants to be changed.  At daycare last week, she went in her diaper and then started to take off her shorts while she was outside so Debi could change the diaper RIGHT THERE.  If she sees a commercial for Pull-Ups, she talks about going potty.  If either of us go in the bathroom, she tells the other that "Mommy/Daddy going potty!"

So, it's time.  And of course, I have no idea what to do.  I know there's charts and books, and rewards and movies, but I really have no idea how to pull it all together.  Well...thank goodness for Facebook - I put out a call for help on ideas, and got many great responses.  I think the overwhelming comment was that we need to take a weekend, let her drink all she wants, and put her in underwear, so she feels what it's like to be wet. 

We've got the plan, and now we just need to execute it.  And that's the tough part.  We'll see how it goes - and I'll be sure to post updates.  Just not too detailed of ones. :)

Before I forget - Happy Birthday, Papa Doug!  Hope you and Mom are enjoying the beautiful Colorado weather!

Ava's going to spend the evening/night/tomorrow with Grandma Deb and Tatiana.  They're going to take a trip to the splash pool in SSP, so that should be a blast!  I hope the weather is wonderful so they get a chance to have fun in the sun!

My gun class is going well - on Thursday we learned all about the best place to shoot and kill a deer.  And tomorrow night, I'm pretty sure I'm going to learn how to gut a deer.  I thought I was signing up for a class on firearms.  Not hunting.  Oh well, never hurts to learn something new, right?  I just might never eat meat again...!  This Thursday I have my test, and then Saturday morning, we'll be at the range for our "field experience"...I think all of the girls in the class are excited - there were a lot of questions about range day on Thursday night.  Scott's going to bring out some of his guns for me this week, so I can review all of the different parts.

Now, onto the cute stuff...!

Ava still loves the big caterpillar I bought for her when she was six months old - now it's become a very comfy body pillow.



We had pudding for dessert last night.  What a mess.  And Scott was having fun showing Ava how spoons can be toys, too.  He's just a big kid in disguise!






She was fascinated by the Disney Channel this morning.  She refused to stop and pose for the camera.



I think Scott and I are going to try to see the movie "Inception" tonight while Ava's gone.  I've heard that it's amazing, jaw dropping, funny, and all-around awesome.  That works for me!  Once again, thanks to Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey for taking Ava overnight so we can spend some time together - we appreciate it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garden & Guns

I remember the first time I saw the Garden & Gun magazine when I was visiting Atlanta.  To a girl from the west, the concept of a magazine about gardens AND guns was completely foreign.  But clearly, it made an impression...enough so that I can now actually blog about gardens and guns!

First, our garden...it's amazing.  Our corn is close to 6' tall and has started to tassle.  We should be eating some fresh corn in just a few weeks.  Our two tomato plants have gone nuts, like usual.  I'm glad we've cut back on the number of tomato plants we grow - these two should produce enough for Scott to can at least one batch of his salsa this year.  And our peppers...we've already had several hot banana peppers in our meals, and we just had our first green pepper this morning with breakfast.  I am so impressed with how well our garden grows - and that credit all goes to Scott.  He does an amazing job watering, weeding, and harvesting it throughout the summer. 


And now for the guns...anyone who knows me knows that I love animals.  I don't hunt.  And I don't have any interest in picking that up as a hobby.  However, I married a hunter...and he loves guns.  As a result, we have many, many guns in our house (we do have a gun safe, so they're not just laying around.)  After many years of discussion, we decided it was time that I took a firearms safety training class taught by the DNR - just to be safe.  Last Thursday was my first class - I went into the class not knowing anything about guns...and now I'm interested in learning more.  I've got 12 more hours of training, and then a range day near the end of the month.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to getting out to the range and practicing.  And Dad, I think I'll stick with the .22 for now, and save the 12 gauge for a little later. :)

I suppose since this is a blog about Ava, I should mention her, too.  As usual, it was a busy week, but good-busy.  This morning we were eating breakfast with the peppers from the garden, and it was a little spicy.  Scott and I were discussing that perhaps he had put in too many peppers into the skillet.  Ava picked that time to look at us and say, "Hot!!"  I think that got my point across to Scott. :)

Ava's been dragging her little chairs around to every light switch she can reach - she loves turning things on and off.  Scott got us at the back door yesterday afternoon working on the kitchen switches.



Today's going to be a busy day - lots to do around the house, plus I have homework (?!) for my gun class tomorrow night and I need to finish reading a book that's due back to the library before the end of the day.  So, sorry for the short blog this week, but this mommy's got things to do!  Happy Sunday!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Fourth!

Happy Birthday, America!  We celebrated by heading up north to spend the weekend with Scott's best friend, Dan; Dan's wife, Sara; and their son, Hunter (he is exactly 10 weeks older than Ava, and a super easy-going kid...Ava was a handful in comparison!)  They had a camper set up for us, so we even had our own space to use - always a good thing when dealing with a toddler (who may or may not have napped enough!)

We drove up on Saturday midday, and when we got there, we found everyone in the backyard, playing in the pool, the sandbox, and on the play equipment.  It was HOT and muggy, so we tried to stay in the shade as much as possible.

I love the trees that you see on the side of the road in northern Minnesota...so different than what we have in the cities.



Notice that there aren't any children playing in the sand box...


Oh, there's one!


Ava's first deer stand experience - Scott is bound and determined that she will be a hunter!


Hangin' with Hunter in the pool...


After dinner, we decided to spend some time indoors.  The kids had fun playing with Play-Doh...and I tried not to freak out too much when all of the colors got mixed together.



After the kids were in bed, we had some fun times with the bonfire.  And the bugs.  Even with the strongest bug spray possible, we still got attacked.  After an hour or two, I gave up and headed inside.


The next day we got up and hung out for a bit...Ava loved playing with all of Hunter's toys.  She was particularly fond of his play guitar.  I think this kid looks like a pro!




Dan inherited some land just outside of Cromwell, and Scott's been helping him clear the land everytime he's been up there.  This time, they needed to chop down some trees and also do some shooting practice while we were there. 

I'm taking a gun safety class starting this week, and Scott thought it would be wise if I had at least shot a gun once before I got there.  I shot a 22 that has been in our family for 60+ years...pretty cool!  And, I even almost hit the target a few times.  It was fun!

Scott's working on the tree here...




Safety first!  Ava loved Hunter's ear protection!


And then she got bored...so we hung out in the truck while the guys finished up.



Saturday night we went over to the lake to visit with more of Dan's family.  Unfortunately, Ava didn't take a nap, and was well on her way to a meltdown by 7pm, so we didn't stay too long.  That girl is NOT shy...she was making friends with everyone...makes it hard to keep up with her!

My first view of our land up north!  We bought into 80 acres with a few other couples last year...I was happy to finally see it for the first time!





It was a great weekend, but it was really nice to come home today.  Hope you celebrated with your own type of fun!