Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anniversary Sod!

Our house had a very exciting week!  After months of staring at a yard full of dirt and weeds, we were finally able to make it green.  680 yards of wonderful sod...laid by my husband and friends...amazing!  Ava has been our little sod monitor, trying to keep everyone, including the dogs and ME, off of the grass until we say it's okay to play on it.  That's our little rule follower!

Not only that, but had gutters added to the house as well this week, so we no longer have soupy mud puddles after a rainfall.  I know this doesn't seem very exciting, but considering that it's been almost a year without a yard, coupled with the heavy rainfalls earlier this summer, it's been a fantastic week at our house!

Plus, we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, so that feels like a pretty big accomplishment, too.  I gave Scott gutters, and he gave me sod.  Did you know that the 9th anniversary traditional gifts are landscaping/home maintenance items?  Yeah, I didn't either...but I love it!


The backyard in process...it's done now!







The best part is that we had a very large wooden post in our front yard (see the first pic) which marked the water main.  Three grown men were not able to remove it (and Scott is VERY strong) so the chainsaw came out at 9pm, and now we're post-free.  I laughed pretty hard watching them trying to remove it...we still have no idea why it wouldn't come out of the ground!

Ava took advantage of the warm weather, and constantly running sprinklers...silly girl!



G's doing so well...he has two top teeth just trying to poke through.  And I'm trying to encourage him to let go of the furniture and walk to me.  It's just a matter of time!  Walking (running) will come in handy when he realizes he can get away from his big sister...especially when she's trying to tickle him! :)



Ava had a lot of fun at Mackenzie's birthday party yesterday afternoon (this is the little girl in Ava's class who she made friends with right away.)  It was super convenient to walk through the neighborhood and drop her off at the party...and then G and I were able to enjoy the nice weather and extend our walk a little bit more.  I also had the chance to chat with another neighbor and her son.  I know I've said it before, but we live by some really great people!

As Ava and I were walking home after the party, she told me that she's going to have a sleepover and invite all of the girls at her school.  When I mentioned that to Scott, he informed me that he would promptly be leaving the house if that ever happened.  I suggest that perhaps we start with ONE person spending the night...and go from there!

Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug are back in town for a few weeks, so we asked them to watch the kids last night, so Scott and I could go out for our anniversary dinner.  We went to a new (to us) restaurant and enjoyed the weather out on the patio.  We then headed to a bar in town, but didn't want to stay out too late, in case the kids had overtaken my parents...  Turns out that everything went really well while we were gone!

Some adult time!


My beautiful anniversary flowers from Scott :)


We've got a million and one things on the agenda for today...apple orchard/pumpkin picking, shopping, working in the garage (that would not be me!) and gettin' stuff done around the house.  Whew...should be a great day!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Spanky's Growl

Some days, my kids really crack me up.  And some days, they make me want to pull my hair out!  A few nights ago, Ava woke up at 6:30am screaming bloody murder.  That was one of those moments where you wake up, the heart is pounding, and you run into the room, expecting the worst.  But, then you're greeted by a sobbing 6-year old, doing her best to avoid a...mosquito.  To be fair, the mosquito had really attacked her, as she had 7 big welts on just one of her legs (must have been hanging outside the covers.)  No worries, little girl, it's Mommy to the rescue.  And then Mommy went back to bed.

Then, last night, she ran and jumped into her bed, but in the process, managed to catch her knee on the bookcase next to her bed.  I've noticed that both Scott and I deal with things like that in the same manner...we minimize the issue, and try to make a joke out of it.  Scott told her that if it kept hurting, he'd come into her room in the middle of the night, and take an axe to it, so she doesn't have to worry about it anymore.  I told her she was lucky that Daddy was going to use an axe and not a chainsaw...at least with an axe, it would be a surprise, and she wouldn't hear him coming.  To an outsider, I realize that sounds a bit...weird.  But, in the end she was totally laughing and had forgotten about her knee.  (NOTE: we would NEVER hurt our kids like that...) 

She looked at me the other day and informed me that I didn't have eyes on the side of my head.  This came a few days after I busted her for drinking chocolate milk every day at school (we have set days when she can have chocolate milk, and the rest need to be white milk.)  We had a nice little chat about lying, and I told her I WILL ALWAYS KNOW when she's lying.  Good thing she doesn't know about the eyes on the back of my head!  She was only looking at the side, I guess.

We had a thunderstorm pass through yesterday evening, and at one point Ava told me that "Spanky was growling."  I honestly thought she had lost it, as Spanky hasn't been with us for 1.5 years.  She then informed me that the thunder was Spanky growling, and that he was with Grandpa Bruce and Great-Grandma Adeline.  They were all eating Popsicles, except for Spanky who was eating all of the dog treats.  And Great-Grandma had pulled Spanky's tail, which is why he growled.  In the end, it was a really sweet conversation, and it's clear that no matter who we lose in this life, Ava will always remember them, and knows they're in a happy place now.

What I'm seeing is that we're teaching Ava that it's ok to laugh at herself, and try to lighten up heavy situations.  We need her to realize that life doesn't always have to be serious, and there's always a more positive way to approach situations.  I think we're doing okay so far!

G's a little young, so we don't know what his personality is going to be like, but I'm hoping that he maintains his easy-going nature.  His little voice isn't so little anymore...he's taken it up a few decibel levels, and is working on very specific sounds.  We're hearing "hi!" coming from him often, and this morning he said "Mama" so clearly that both Ava and Scott repeated it back to him, independently.  And that made this mommy very happy.

I was feeding him yesterday, and he realized that his teeth serve a purpose.  He bit down on the spoon, and wouldn't let it go.  It became a game with him, and after each time we would do that, we'd laugh and laugh.  It was the first time that he realized he could do something, to get a reaction like that.  And he was pretty darn pleased with himself!

We do have a new rule in the house...if you feed the baby the first bottle, you have to do the first diaper change.  Scott fed G his first bottle yesterday morning, so I could get some more sleep.  I was woken up again around 8:30am, to G chattering away in his crib. I went in to get him up for the day, and couldn't believe what I saw.  It looked like he had taken a stuffed animal and had ripped it apart...all over the inside of his crib.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that the "stuffing" was wet.  And THEN, I realized that his diaper had literally exploded.  This wasn't a little leak, this was an all-out ka-BOOM!  By the time I got the poor kid disengaged from all of the "pee pellets" and got the bedding changed, I came up with that new rule.  And I promptly told it to Scott when he came home from working yesterday.  Those diapers can only handle so much, and this one had maxed out.  And there sat G, smiling and chatting away.  Poor second kid!

G and his mohawk, enjoying a bath...


I went to Paint Nite with a neighbor last week...it was a great setting for it.  A little Italian restaurant, good wine, and great company - couldn't ask for more!



Feeling very blessed (and busy) this week...there's just not enough time to get everything done!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Sad Goodbye

Scott's family lost a very special woman this past Monday.  Adeline, Scott's grandma, passed away peacefully in the early afternoon.  Her passing was so quick that her family wasn't present during that moment, but very soon after, they were able to be by her side.

It's been a rough week...the wake was on Thursday evening, and the funeral was on Friday morning.  There have been a lot of tears, lost sleep, and many questions from Ava.  She knows that Great-Grandma is now with Grandpa Bruce and Spanky, and all of the other family and friends that went before her.  Ava understands that she won't be able to see or talk to her, in person, again, but she knows that she's still with us, at all times.

When sad events like this happen, it's always interesting to see how life alters a bit.  It makes one think a little bit more about the brevity of human life, and how we should celebrate each moment that we are alive. On the other hand, it's also a practical reminder that we need to have our personal affairs in order, so the ones who are left behind know exactly what needs to be done.

Adeline and Ava - July 2008


Adeline and Ava - January 2010


Adeline and Ava - October 2010


Adeline, Tatiana, Jenna, Ava and "Chubs" - November 2011





Josh, Adeline, Jenna, Ava, "Chubs", Calleigh and Tatiana - December 2012




Adeline and Ava - June 2013


 Scott, Dee, Ava, Adeline and G - December 2013



Adeline was the last living grandparent for our little family...I'm grateful that Ava was able to meet my Grandma Elsie (although she passed when Ava was too young to remember her), and I'm extremely grateful that Ava was able to build a relationship with Adeline...without a doubt, she will always remember her!

The pastor made an interesting comment at the service..."Where Adeline is now...no one is planning funerals."  There is no pain or human anguish...just light and love!

Rest in peace, Adeline - we love you and miss you!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A New School

I've never been a mom who gets teary-eyed when dropping a child off at school or daycare.  I always figure that navigating through new situations, no matter how difficult, can only help my children prepare for future scenarios.  Plus, we've got a lot of other stuff going on, so there's not much time to sit around and think about how much I miss them.

However, this week was very, very different.  I dropped G off at daycare on Tuesday, like normal, and then Ava and I headed up to her new elementary school.  I wasn't 100% sure which door to go in, where to take her backpack, and how to sign her in.  We were both a bit lost, but when you follow a) signs and b) a herd of parents with kids, it's not too hard to figure out!  A very kind employee showed me how to use the online check-in system, and warmly welcomed Ava to the before-school program.  They were just about ready to sit down for a meeting (do the kids have "meetings" in elementary school now?  seems so...work-like) so Ava just needed to take a seat and listen up.  I nudged her along to the mass of kids sitting on the floor, and she hesitated.  And that hesitation just about put me over the edge.  Here is our outgoing, super-social girl, for whom shyness is never a factor.  Tuesday was the first day I ever saw her stop, unsure of herself.  I had turned back to watch her, and couldn't really run back into the room.  All I could do was watch her stand there, not sure what to do.

So, I made myself walk out that door, wipe away some tears, and drive into work.  I knew she would be fine once she got into the group of kids, but yikes, that was more emotion than I was expecting to have.  The good news is that later that morning, one of my neighbors let me know that she was looked for Ava in the before school program, since she was dropping her son off for his first day of Kindergarten.  Apparently Fletch and Ava's little faces lit up when they saw each other.  Yay!

All in all she had a GREAT first day of school!  She loves her teacher, has already made new friends in her class, and she even brought home a phone number of one of her new friends so we can set up a play date. Now, I just need to make that phone call so they can have some fun together!

She wants to be a BAKER when she grows up...now that's one that I do believe!



G had another fun first...he's been pulling himself to a standing position on the furniture, and walking a few steps while holding on to it.  The other day he managed to stand on his own for a few seconds and then fell over.  We're thinking his first independent steps are just right around the corner!!  His bottom two teeth are definitely through, and Scott thought he felt his top teeth poking through as well.  They do pop in and out, so I didn't see them, but I wouldn't be surprised if they come out soon.

Scott was a single parent for a few days this week, as I had a work trip to Boston.  It was not a flawless travel adventure, by any means.  I didn't get to my hotel in Boston until after midnight on Tuesday night, and then met up with everyone for breakfast the next day.  I think I got about 3 hours of sleep that night.  The meeting with our clients went relatively well, but after that, it was a downward spiral of mishaps!

One of our VPs was whisked away to the airport in a lovely Town Car (she had an earlier flight) so the three of us that were left were set up with a different transfer.  So different, in fact, that it wasn't even a taxi.  It was a "delivery" service.  And not a nice one.  After some confusion, we realized that the guy sitting out in the lot in his personal '90-something Buick was our ride.  Turns out that HE was a nice guy, which was a relief.

So then we hit really bad Boston rush hour traffic.  Bad like, "are we going to make our flight??" bad.  We got to the airport, flew through security, only to realize our flight was delayed.  A lot.  We spent many, many minutes calling American, tracking down crew members, a pilot, and a gate agent, who finally confirmed that yes, we were going to miss our connecting flight in Chicago.  So, AA re-booked us for a 7:50am flight from Chicago to MSP, and we headed off to find a place for dinner.  We enjoyed our dinner, had lots of laughs about our "adventure" so far, and were beyond grateful that we were stuck in this together.

Things looked up for a bit at that point...the gate agent who had eventually helped us, also re-booked us on the Chicago-Boston leg so we were sitting next to each other, in bulkhead.  Extra leg room - woohoo!  Plus, the flight attendant from 1st class took pity upon us (I think we were entertaining to him) and brought us all the 1st class goodies...blankets, headphones, warmed mixed nuts, warm cookies, wine, etc.  It was awesome.  He was our "flight angel" - and we let him know!  There was only one questionable moment on that flight...right as we were going to start taxi-ing to the runway, a man jumped up, ran down the aisle and tried to get off the plane.  Ummmm...  He had left his iPad in the gate, and after a 30 min delay, the captain finally let him leave the plane, for good.  We were all a bit nervous though...

We landed in Chicago after midnight, got to the hotel after 1am, and were back up as a group before 6am (2 hours of sleep that night - wow!)  Our regional jet to MSP was packed, so I was lucky enough not to have to check bags, but my co-workers did (annoying, when all you want to do is be able to walk off the plane.)  We also hit really bad turbulence - to the point where the flight attendants were pointing out where the bags were located in the seat pocket in front of us.

And then we made it back.  And I went to work.  And I was exhausted...wearing clothes from the Boston airport, a bit delirious, and worked a full day.  On Friday my director asked me to try to leave early, so I got out of there at 4pm.  I do appreciate that, but man, this week was a really screwy one.  Glad it's over!

Looking forward to a fresh start this week!