Sunday, December 18, 2011

Countdown to Christmas!

Another full week filled with fun Christmas activities...Ava helped me make fudge this past Friday night, we had a great drive last night looking at all of the Christmas lights in the area, and today we visited Santa (after a wonderful brunch at Tavern on France.  Where Mommy had a mimosa in preparation for the long line to see Santa.  Thank God for planning...)  After that nice, long event, Scott and Ava took a trip around the mall on the train...I never thought I'd see Scott squeeze into a little train car - but look what he does for his girl!

We've also been having fun counting down the days until Christmas using Santa's beard and cotton balls (there are circles on his beard with a date in each circle - each day, we glue a cotton ball to the beard, and on the 25th, the last circle will be filled!)  This should come in handy as EACH day Ava asks me if we can open presents.  It's never too early to learn patience, right?!

So, Ava did great with Santa today (after our hour+ wait in line.)  Santa asked her if she liked the Princesses (Disney, of course) and when she said yes, he wanted to know which was her favorite.  Her response: Barbie.  WHAT?!  Have we learned nothing over the last year?  Even Scott knows that Barbie is not a DP.  After some more thought, she then changed her answer to Sleeping Beauty.   Next question from Santa: "Have you been good this year?"  Dead silence from all three of us.  And then Ava looks at me to answer.  I wisely kept my mouth shut, but let it be known that Santa didn't miss that exchange!

Oh!  Someone I haven't mentioned lately...George!  George the Elf, that is.  Ava's been having fun searching for him every morning, and reciting the rules back to me (she can't touch him, etc.)  Not sure if she believes he really talks to Santa every night, though...

And BIG news.  We now have a son-in-law.  Apparently Ava and Hermey the Elf have plans to get married.  And she is pretty darn excited about it.  All of his friends have been to our house (and sitting in MY chair at the dinner table.)  And today, Ava was holding my hand, as well as Hermey's, and when Scott tried to displace Hermey so he could hold her hand, she told him no...Scott was instructed to hold Hermey's other hand.  So cute and so funny...and I'm really hoping this isn't what it's like when she really meets the human (or elf) that she will marry!

Enough chatter - bring on the pics!

Two things I like about this - she's gripping the headboard with one finger, and both Cinderella and GloWorm have their arms in the same position.


Crazy static lately!


She barely stood still long enough for me to take this while waiting in line for Santa.


Now, I'm clearly a city girl, but this looked like Ava was helping to deliver a baby from this bear.  I giggled to myself and Scott rolled his eyes at me. :)

Also, the little boy next to her kept asking her what her name was.  After the 5th time, she fondly referred to him as her "little brother" (because he was annoying her?)


Choo-choo!


Naughty or Nice?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hermey! Hermey!

We are in full Christmas swing here at the Goers' house!  All the presents are wrapped (with just a few left to buy), Nutter Butter Santas have been made (see below for picture!), and the annual viewing of Rudolph has been completed.

Let me tell you a story about our red-nosed friend.  I asked Ava (before we watched it), if she knew what the story was about.  She told me he was a deer (pretty good)...and then I explained to her that he's a special deer that pulls Santa's sleigh through the sky, and that his nose shines bright red.  As I was saying those words, I thought to myself..."Huh, that sounds really...weird."  The look Ava gave me and the complete silence that followed confirmed that thought.  However, never fear!  She thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie on Friday night!  And since then, Hermey (the elf who wants to be a dentist) has been a permanent fixture in our house.  He's eaten all of our meals with us, spent the last few nights/naps with Ava, took a bath with her, BUT, politely exited the house to go outside and work for a bit when Ava had to use the potty.  Santa must have known that Ava was going to get so attached to Hermey...one of her stocking stuffers just happens to be about Hermey!

We also had the great joy of taking our picture for the Christmas card this year...I won't include the final picture below, but instead, a few of the outtakes.

Hanging with Saint Darla here...


So hard to keep the eyes open!


And here we go...

Smile!  No, really, SMILE!


Helps to look at the camera


Stay in one place, young lady!


I actually really love this one!


Scott wanted to use this one and label it: "I have to poop!"



The Nutter Butter Santas...yum!


This week, we'll be making fudge, looking at Christmas lights, and visiting Santa.  Hard to believe Christmas is just two weeks away!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sweet Angel...?

Don't let this sweet face fool you!  Ava is continuing to be a little naughty at daycare AND at home...especially with not listening.  I'd say she's mastered the ability to ignore those people around her!  Argh!


On a funny note...our daycare provider puts up winter-themed items in her bathroom at this time of the year.  For example: snowman towels, snowflake shower curtain, etc.  One day this week, as Ava was sitting on the potty, she noticed all of this new decor and kept telling Debi "How a-DOR-able!" everything was.  It makes me wonder if Ava's really an older woman trapped in a toddler's body...

Well, the tree is up, but I didn't get a chance to wrap the Christmas presents yet...BUT!  I bought everything we needed to make fudge, as well as Nutter Butter Santa cookies.  Today, I ran into a lady in the grocery store who was making the same fudge recipe that I use, so she kept asking for my advice.  It's not too often that I can give baking advice! :) 

And we're going to make time to look at Christmas lights and check out the Holidazzle parade in Minneapolis!  Ava and I have a few fun little Christmas-themed craft projects to do this week.  So far, it's been a fantastic holiday season! Cheers!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another great holiday can go into the books!  We've had an excellent weekend...started off by a great Thanksgiving gathering at Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey's house.  Lots of good family time spent - and wonderful food, too!  Since the weather was unseasonably nice, the girls also got to spend some time outdoors playing.  With how late our summer started this year (late June), it's amazing that the MN true winter hasn't hit yet...  I, for one, am very thankful that we've had an extended fall, and we're not into the deep freeze yet!

Getting ready to catch the ball from Daddy


Tatiana and Jenna


I know this is blurry, but I love the enthusiasm in this one!


Pondering his next move...


Great-Grandma Addy, Tatiana, Jenna, Ava and Savante (and Santa!)


Jenna eating nicely with a fork, Ava eating piggy with her fingers.  Sigh.


Tatiana smiling pretty for the camera!  What does Jenna see on her fork??


In addition to turkey day, I also managed to get about 75% of our Christmas shopping done (late Friday afternoon - I'm not one to get up and shop at midnight!) and we even decorated the tree/house for Christmas! Compared to how far behind I felt last year, this feels amazing that we're at this point already.

Last night our good friends, the Winfields, came to town, so we met them for dinner at B-52s in Inver Grove Heights, and then they all came back to our house for a bit. The girls had a blast playing, and I think the dogs were a little confused by all of the high-pitch squealing that was taking place. All I can say, puppies, is you better get used to it...it's just going to get louder and louder!

Even today has been busy - we spent far too long this morning shopping for a linen closet door. I'm pretty sure my eyes were glazed over, one hour into it. Happily, we brought one home, and my dear husband is staining it right now. The bathroom remodel project will be wrapping up soon! Our goal is to put the house on the market early next year, so we can move into a different neighborhood and a larger house. We can only hope the market is kind to us, so we can move on this quickly!

Many things to be thankful for this week/month/year.  Sometimes it takes a big change in life to shake things up, so one can refocus the energies on other areas.  Lessons learned are my biggest blessing right now - no matter how hard they have been!

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with great moments!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Turkeys!

What a great week it's been!  Super busy at work, but we made time to have fun around the house and with friends.  And...I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving this week...we're almost done Christmas shopping for Ava, so at least we feel a bit ahead this year.  Thank goodness, because last year, we were really late with things.

To celebrate the very NEXT holiday, Ava and I went to my friend Emilie's house today, and made turkeys out of tissue paper.  It was a glue-y, sticky, messy fun time!  Em is great with kids, and Ava is no exception.  And Em's dog Lily did really well with Ava, too - we weren't sure how that was going to go, but we were pleasantly surprised! 

We have some fun Christmas crafts lined up in the next few weeks...I haven't done projects like these in forever.  I forgot how fun they are!



Sticky!


Ava cleverly placed this cow sticker on her shirt...it looks like it's nibbling on the doughnut!


Now that Ava has longer hair, Scott enjoys styling it during bathtime...



Success!  She's catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror!


Sometimes Ava needs to do some heavy lifting in the house (a.k.a pony ride), while Mommy takes a nap...




Looking forward to a fun week - at least it'll be a short one at work, so we can spend more time with the family at the end!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pony Pony Pony!

Last weekend was deer opener for rifle, so Scott's been gone the past two weekends.  Ava and I have had a fun time hanging out, but we are definitely ready for Daddy to be around on the weekends. But, we make the best of our time while we have it.  We had a cooking weekend last weekend....we made cookies, muffins and pizza.  Lots of fun, and pretty messy!


And when Daddy came back, she helped him make mashed potatoes one night for dinner.  It appears that pants are optional while making dinner...!


One of my co-workers has two daughters who have outgrown some of their toys.  He happily passed along ALL of their My Little Pony toys.  I think we now have a herd of 50+ ponies, shoes, brushes, and various accessories.  It's crazy!  I only had 2 ponies when I was little, and I'm pretty sure they didn't have all of the fancy things to go along with it!

The nice thing is that we're using them as a potty training tool, too.  Ava's got #1 down fine, but she refuses to go #2 in the toilet, unless we catch her mid-act.  So I've told her that everytime she tells one of us that she has to go potty IN the toilet, she can pick out a pony from the neverending collection.  She was pretty excited by that idea...during her nap yesterday, she instructed me she had to go...but she had already gone in her pull-up.  She still thought she deserved a pony...but I'm staying strong on this one!  Something HAS to work to get this girl 100% potty trained! :)

Playing with the slide, house and a random Sleeping Beauty doll that was mixed in with the ponies (bonus!!)  This kept her attention for hours yesterday.  As long as she was happy, I was happy!



We'll see how many ponies we bring into the stable over this next week...I have a feeling they're going to be EVERY WHERE in our house!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Boo-time!

Halloween was definitely a fun event this year.  Last year, Ava sorta figured out the trick-or-treating thing...this year, she was all over it!  She loved getting dressed up as Alice in Wonderland, loved hanging out with her cousins to beg for candy, and she's still loving all of the treats she managed to score.  And I'm trying hard not to eat all of her candy.  It's very, very hard to resist.

Leading up the big event, we were very, very busy...

We managed to carve 5 pumpkins within 1 hour, the night before Halloween.  I used patterns, Scott free-formed his.  Ava wouldn't even help scoop the seeds out, but she had a heck of a good time poking holes in the sides of all of the pumpkins.  The next day, we had a pumpkin carving contest at my work - Scott's "BEER" pumpkin took 3rd place!  He was quite proud of himself.  His other one received a comment about looking stoned.  Clearly, he's the artiste in this family!




At daycare, there is always a little party with treats for the kids, and this year, I thought I'd get creative.  I don't know what I was thinking...  My friend Jean had posted some really cute treat ideas on her blog (Typical Suburban Family - same place where I got the spooky spider cookie recipe.)  I thought it would be fun to make the candy dipped pretzels in white/yellow/orange coating, covered with Halloween sprinkles.  330 pretzels, and 5 hours later, I was finally done.  Not sure I would do this again - but my mom had a great idea...using the big pretzel rods and just dipping a part of those - that would have been MUCH faster.

But, they turned out cute, so it was worth it in the end.  I've already started looking ahead to some new Christmas ideas...check these out!



The Saturday before Halloween, we headed down to Grand Meadow to spend the day/evening with the Winfield family.  Tiff and I took the girls (Isabel 4, Ava 3, and Evie 9 mos) to the Hall of Fun in Rochester.  The Rochester school district decorated a hall with different fun exhibits with activities appropriate for younger kids.  The girls got all dressed up...and it was perfect because the first exhibit was to go down the rabbit hole!  My little Alice loved the rabbit hole...she kept wanting to go through it, over and over, and over...!

Now that I think about it, that was a really busy weekend...I'm kinda looking forward to some downtime before the next round of holidays starts up!

Back to Halloween...that night, I rushed home from work, shoveled in some dinner, and we headed out to meet the family for the candy adventure.  Overall, the kids (Calleigh, Tatiana, Jenna, Ava and Savante) did really well...most of the time, they listened to us, said please and thank you, and kept in good spirits.  My very favorite part of the whole evening was one particular house on the route.  They had a four season porch where all the kids went into to trick-or-treat...5 kids went in, and only 4 came out.  I could see Ava's little Alice dress sticking out, so I went to check to see what was happening.  As I walked up, I heard a woman say, "Off with her head!"  Turns out the woman who was handing out candy was dressed up as the Queen of Hearts!  My Alice found her Queen...perfection!

After that, we headed back to Great-grandma's house to celebrate her birthday...cake and more treats!  Needless to say, the kids were hopped up on sugar!  Ava finally got to bed that night, but when I went to check on her around 10pm, she looked at me funny, and in her sly, little way, asked me, "Do you smell something in my pull up?"  She knew very well what was there...and it was stinky!



Ava and Jenna


Calleigh and Tatiana


Alice and her Queen!


The squirrels have been enjoying the pumpkins...


A few non-spooky pictures...
Happy to see Daddy!


Reading her American Girl catalog...oh dear...


Time to eat some candy! :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Family Time!

I can't believe we're already halfway through October...it's been a busy fall with trips, hunting, family visiting, work, play, etc.  Plus, we're getting ready for Halloween and trying to take advantage of the last few warm weeks of the year before the snow flies.

Last weekend, my parents visited from Colorado - they hadn't seen Ava since last Thanksgiving, and they couldn't believe how big she has gotten, as well as how chatty she is.  Scott and I think there was some definite bonding that happened, as my mom called this past week to say hi to Ava.  Not me.  But Ava.  :)

Here are just a few highlights from their visit:

Reading with Grandma Karen


At the Afton Apple Orchard


Climbing up the tire mountain...


And back down...


Lots of swings to play on!


Although, I think she might be a wee too big for this one.


Not so sure about feeding these animals...






On the hayride


Helping Grandpa Doug find the perfect apple!



Yum!


All smiles except for the short one...


Still not smiling...


There we go!




Great family picture!


Yeah, I don't like black licorice either, Ava...


Making Spooky Spider cookies!



Hm. This was an interesting experiment in hair styling.


Look at the fear on her face...



Grandma Karen might not have the most artistic talent - but at least she tries!  We debated if this rendition looked like Princess Belle, or a witch.  The witch got all the votes!


Happy at dinner!


Saying good-bye... :(



Not related to my parents' visit, but still fun stuff we've been doing...

Ava got a balloon animal at On the Road Again in South St Paul...not sure what this really was supposed to be...



Our pumpkins!


The last pepper plant in our garden produced some lovely crop!


Out with my friend Tina - Ava couldn't get enough of her!