Sunday, June 29, 2014

Birthday Celebration!

Last Sunday afternoon, we had Ava's birthday party with some of her little friends.  At the last minute, a few people weren't able to make it so she was pretty sad about that...but she had fun with those friends who were there!

We went to the Eagan Art House, which is a place that holds a variety of art classes, for both children and adults.  We decided on a "Frozen" theme, so the kids decorated crowns, made a watercolor and pastel castle picture, and molded Olaf (the snowman) out of some Magic Modeling compound.  We topped it off with cake and gifts...and another birthday party went into the books! :)

Excited to start the party!

Amy, the instructor, helping Luke and Lynkoln with their crowns

Trying to get un-sticky from the crown jewel application!

Isabel S and Ava making their Frozen castles

Luke and Lynkoln working hard on their castles

Isabel W painting her castle drawing

I took this pic of Amy helping Lynkoln with his Olaf snowman, and then realized that Luke was having a staring contest with his Olaf...funny!

Isabel W did a GREAT job with her Olaf!

Yum, yum - birthday cake time!  MUCH better than the watermelon cake, in my opinion...!

This has been a crazy week...we've had stuff planned every single night, so Saturday night was the first evening that we could hang out at home and not have to rush anywhere after our dinner out.  Felt good to take it easy...

Ava went to a new dentist on Monday morning, and she liked her so much, she wanted to schedule her next 6-month check up for Tuesday! Baton twirling was a success on Monday night, so I gave in and bought her a baton.  Turns out our neighbor twirled baton in high school, so I'm hoping she can show Ava some tricks.

Tuesday night I went with some friends to a painting event in downtown Minneapolis...2 ciders, and a few hours later, and I ended up with a painting that I like!  It makes me smile, so it'll go on our walls, somewhere...

On Wednesday, I took the day off of work and my friend Emilie and I went to a four-hour furniture painting workshop.  I painted some shadow boxes for Ava, and Em painted a crate to use in her living room.  We really liked the owners of the warehouse - they served us wine and cheese halfway through the event!  It was very fun, and I'd love to go back and do it again.

Thursday night was the last dinner with my parents for a while...they've headed back to Colorado for a bit.  But, before we know it, they'll be back!  They accomplished quite a bit in their three weeks here...their condo is now almost entirely furnished, including all of the kitchen items!  As my dad stated, the next visit is focused on "Technology Implementation."  :)

Friday was another day off of work (no daycare) and I had hoped to take G and Ava to the zoo, but the weather was acting funny, so instead we went to the library, and took care of some things around the house.  Then Grandma Deb picked them up around 1:30pm, and I was on my own for the afternoon!  Scott and I drove up to South St Paul after dinner, and joined the family for the Kaposia Days parade.  It was a perfect night for a parade, and everyone had a good time!  Both kids spent the night in SSP, so Scott and I took advantage of the kid-free time, and headed back to Rosemount and went to a local bar for a few drinks.  It was a great way to end a fun Friday!

On Saturday, I picked up G, but Ava wanted to spend one more night with Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey, so he had us all to himself.  Lucky little guy!  Never fear, though, Big Sister Ava will be back soon enough! :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lucky #6

Even though the state of Minnesota might float away in the next few days, we've managed to squeeze out some fun times!  And, we even saw the sun for several hours, so we might dry out at some point...

Monday night Ava started her baton twirling class...we weren't able to watch, but could hear everything.  My favorite line was, "We don't throw things in this class.  Like batons.  And certainly not at the mirror!"  It makes me wonder how many times a baton has been sent through the air, like a little arrow, shattering whatever is in its path.  Fortunately, her class was accident free.  And now we need to decide if we're going to invest in a flashy pink-tipped baton, or if this is a short-lived interest.  In any's a unique one - just like Ava!

At 1:59a.m. on Wednesday, our little peanut turned 6!  Of course, we were all sleeping at that time, so the party didn't start until several hours later.  She had a great day at daycare with cupcakes and pedis, and then that night, our family (plus both sets of grandparents) headed out to Chuck E Cheese to eat pizza, play games, and be kids.  I'm honestly not sure who got the most tickets from the games...Ava, or her dad and grandpas...!

Normally I wouldn't talk about a cake, but with this one...I have to.  I bought a watermelon cake mix to make for Ava. It's pink with black "seeds", and the frosting is green.  All watermelon flavored...and I thought I was going to throw up while making it.  I despise artificial watermelon flavor.  But, I love my daughter...

And in the end, it tasted way better than it smelled! :)

Make a wish!

 Stubborn candles!

Surprisingly good...and half gone!

And then yesterday was filled from top-to-bottom with all sorts of fun activities.  Scott worked all day (boo!) so Ava, G and I kept ourselves busy.  I was re-potting some plants in the morning, and our neighbors (who are moving...sad...) were outside loading some belongings to be moved.  To keep the kids busy, Mary suggested that they have a lemonade stand.  It kept them occupied for hours!  And they made $15 - not too shabby!

 Once G got up from his nap, we all headed over to our pool...I'm really impressed with how nice and clean everything is.  There were a ton of people there, and we had a great time!  We met another neighbor whose youngest daughter is six, and will be in 1st grade at Red Pine...just like Ava!  I also learned that there is a strip of houses, down the street from us, that all have daughters around Ava's age.  Looks like we need to take a walk around the block to meet them!

Ready to swim!

Zonked out from his day in the water...

Last night, we met up with our very dear friends, the Winfields, for a late dinner.  My parents joined us for a bit, as they hadn't seen Darren, Tiff and the girls for several years.  I wanted a picture of me and Tiffany, and their daughter Evy jumped in at the last minute...hence the open-mouth expressions in this one!  Every time we see them, I wish they hadn't moved away - we love hanging out with all of them!!

Today will be a busy's Ava's little friends party this afternoon.  Should be fun!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Want a Clown Mask!

Busy, busy week...where does the time go?!

  • On Monday, she and two other kids in her class got to take part in an ice cream party...all because they completed their reading logs every month this past school year.  I was sad to hear that only two other kids were able to eat yummy ice cream, but...happy for Ava!  She is such a reading machine, it's crazy! I signed her up for the summer reading program at the local library, so we'll be keeping it going throughout the summer.
  • On Tuesday, her school went to a local park and had all sorts of fun outside.  We had given her a dollar to participate in the "dunk the principal" game. I know she doesn't have the best aim, but I pleased to hear that she at least threw the ball in the right direction.  Needless to say, there was no dunking done by Miss Ava.
  • Wednesday was her last day of Kindergarten!  I cannot believe that her first year of school is done.  She has learned an incredible amount these past 9 months.  I am so proud of her.  I'm also thrilled that we no longer have to drive up to So St Paul everyday!!  This summer, she's at Sheila's house with G, so it's one stop-n-drop deal in the morning, and it's awesome.  I can get into work a little earlier, which relieves the rushed feeling I used to have when I walked through the door, and people would meet me at my desk.  Now I have a chance to get through my emails before people start looking for me. :)
  • She had a good first few days at Sheila's house.  We did get the comment that she asks a ton of questions...about everything.  There was even a comment made that she's asking questions like an 8-year old would.  Yep, that's our non-stop chatty, sassy, smart Ava!
  • We're getting ready for her 6th birthday next week...which also means I need to find her size 6 clothes that are packed away somewhere.  Hm...note to self.  Anyway, it's going to be a fun week with baton twirling on Monday (gulp) and birthday gathering #1 on Wednesday, #2 on Saturday, and #3 on Sunday.  
  • And about that birthday...I asked Ava what she'd like for her birthday, and she said she'd like Elsa and Anna dolls (from Frozen,) colorful barrettes, and a princess tent.  Not too bad.  And then she added that she wanted a clown mask...because she's funny.  Um, that's a big no. No clown masks allowed.
  • He's scooting all around!  He's been making trips between the bedrooms, and now he's realized that he can go after the dogs a little bit.  He giggles and smiles whenever he sees them, and he loves to pet their fur.  One of the two is very patient with him. :)
  • He's now had all of the veggies, and we've moved onto apples with him.  I feel so much better about giving him apples and cereal for breakfast, than smooshy peas at 8am.  Since we're doing so well with different foods, I figured now was a good time to make his baby food; therefore, I spent some time yesterday steaming green beans and carrots, pureeing them, and freezing them into little portions to take to daycare.  I was so darn proud of myself!  And then I decided to give him green beans for dinner.  Turns out that homemade green bean baby food isn't quite as smooth as commercial baby food, and we ended up with a bit of a gagger.  And a projectile vomiter.  So, we're putting the green beans back in the freezer, and we'll give my carrots a shot next!

  • Scott and Wendell (our old neighbor) worked very hard last Sunday to put in the first tier of our retaining wall behind our service door.  Ava supervised, and I stayed out of the way, so it was a successful day for everyone!
  • We were hoping to get sod laid this weekend, but with how much rain we've received this spring/summer, the price of sod has skyrocketed.  Luckily, Scott knows people, so we're able to get a bit of a discount on the pricing, but it also means that we're going to be delayed for a few more weeks.  Sigh.  Scott was out weed-whipping the weeds this morning, so at least it's not as obvious that we have a forest in our front yard.  And when the weeds bloom, it'll be so colorful! :)

I like how Ava's stool is at the top of the dirt pile.

First tier - done!

  • I'm switching my position at work a little bit, and I got a promotion (not related to the job change) so that's good!  I'm keeping busy, so I'm not 100% sure where my day goes.  There's definitely no down time on our team!
  • Scott's got a business opportunity in the works, so there may be some news on that in the coming weeks...
Other happy stuff:
  • My parents are in town this week...because they closed on their condo in Rosemount! Their new part-time residence is less than a mile from our house.  I still can't believe that they have their own place here...and it's a nice one!  I stopped over last night and had the chance to check it out, as well as meet some of the neighbors.  It's very clean, nice and safe - perfect for them! (It really is great - it has a lot of amenities that they will be sure to take advantage of, like a woodshop, craft room, car wash on site, library, workout facility, etc.  Pretty nice for a 2nd home!)
  • It was my mom's birthday this past Tuesday, so we went out to dinner with them.  I don't recall the last time we've been able to celebrate multiple birthdays, and Father's Day together.  It certainly is a great start to the summer!
Notice those blue toes?  What were we doing??

I think this turned out really cute - we worked hard on it!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

And Happy Father's Day to Scott (and my dad and Grandpa Whitey!)

Ok, time to get moving again...we've got a brisket smoking, and are expecting the grandparents over later this afternoon for dinner.  Should be a great day and upcoming week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


What a fun week we've had!  Lots of stuff going on at work, around the house, and with the kids.  Ava's last day of school is this coming Wednesday, so last Thursday, four of the eight Kindergarten classes presented the Kindergarten Program (the other four classes were scheduled for another time - I can't imagine what it would be like to have all of the 150 squirmy, excited Kindergarteners on one stage...all at the same time. Yikes!)

Not only was Thursday Ava's concert day, but it was also her day to bring birthday treats to school (the summer birthdays have been treating the class over the last few weeks.)  So, of course what would happen on Thursday morning?  Ava woke up feeling a little under the weather.  We watched her closely and decided to send her to school, hoping that she would last through the day.  And she did!  She was back to her normal self by Thursday night...thank goodness for short lived sickness.  She was excited to be the Birthday Girl on Thursday, and she was thrilled to be on stage, performing all of the songs they've been working on.  Check it out here!

Ava is looking forward to her last day of school, as well as hanging out with Sheila and all of the other kids at daycare this summer.  When Ava came in with me to pick up G on Thursday afternoon, right away Sheila said, "Wow, she looks like Dad."  She sure does!  If she had dark hair and dark eyes, she'd be a mini-Scott!

Ready for the concert!

Ava and Ms. Meister (her teacher)

G had a big week, too...he crawled for the first time!  He's been rocking on all fours for a while, and then he would belly flop, and kick all appendages around...but the only way that works to propel yourself forward is if you're in water.  And he was on carpet, so...not so much.  But, he finally pieced it together, and now he can move!  It's certainly not fluid or fast, but he's got the basic skills down.  And now I'm realizing how much bigger this house is to baby-proof!  He and Darla had a little meeting while he was crawling around our room.  Watch it here!

We also made it through carrots and squash, so we're expanding beyond the green veggies.  Plus, we've now added cereal with cinnamon to the menu for breakfast, and he seems happy-ish about that.  I don't think anyone could be happy-happy about rice cereal, but at least we've made it less bland.


A little computer time to start off a Saturday morning...

Look at me go!

Taking a break...

Now that the rain has finally stopped, Scott's going to be able to get started on our retaining wall in our backyard.  Sod will be put in next weekend, assuming that the grading of the yards will be completed.  It is going to be SO nice to have a real yard again!  I'll need to take before/after pics to show the progress.

Today should be a great day...the sun is shining, both kids are smiling and happy, and Scott made bacon.  What else could we want? ;)  Happy Day!