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! :)