Sunday, November 29, 2015


Oh what a wonderful week it's been!  Once I got over being sick over the last weekend, I've really managed to enjoy this time off of work.  I was able to have a few lunches with friends, do some shopping without kids, meet up with Scott for an afternoon weekday drink at a local bar, and still manage to knock some things off the to do list.  I also managed to find time to start watching Game of Thrones and am now halfway through the 2nd season (time for viewing slowed down dramatically once the entire family was at home for the long's a little tricky to explain all of the violence to a curious 7-year old...)  We also pulled out some of my old toys, and Ava has been having a ton of fun with MY My Little Ponies...she's been eyeing up all of the Barbies, and has been patiently waiting for us to dive into that tub of toys.

The 2nd grade classes at Ava's elementary school had their winter program this past Monday was farm-themed (E-I-E-I-Oops!) and all of the kids dressed up as a certain farm animal.  Ava was a super cute little chick!  I didn't get to see as much of the program as I wanted to, since our little guy was feeling feisty and not wanting to sit in one place. And, all of the pictures that I did manage to take completely disappeared, so I don't have too much to share here visually.

The next day, the kids put on a special "Grandparent's Day" program, where grandparents (or special friends) could come to watch the performance, and then participate in a few fun activities in the kids' classrooms.  All four of Ava's grandparents were able to be there, and then they all took her out to lunch - such an awesome way to spend a school day!  Splitting the performances into two time frames was a great idea...there was enough seating for everyone, and the parking lot wasn't completely overflowing like it usually is when there are programs like this.  Bravo, 2nd grade teachers - great idea!!

We spent a lovely Thanksgiving holiday at Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey's house.  The food was amazing and plentiful, and my parents were also able to join the gathering, so we were surrounded by family from both sides.  Truly, so much to be thankful for!  On the ride home, we also managed to do a little Chrismtas-light looking...there are a few houses in Inver Grove that really go all out with decorating (lights set to music on the radio, a Ferris wheel (not to ride, just for show), etc. and by the time we generally make it out each year to view them, there are always a parade of cars we have to deal with.  BUT, apparently, if you go early in the season, there isn't anyone else out, and we were able to take our time and actually stop in front of the houses to really look at all of the details...and Scott was a happy camper not having to deal with traffic. :)

We spent the majority of Friday out spending way too much money on a new bed for us, and furniture for the family room.  Our new bed is going to be delivered today and I am SO excited to try it out!  The new furniture will come next weekend, so the next step is to find a new home for the current ones.  Both kids were super patient (up until the end) while we did all of this shopping...I never realized how many breakable items furniture stores use in their displays.  And then I realized I won't be able to have any nice, breakable items like that for many more years (Ava was always very good and never touched decor she shouldn't...G goes all out and would grab whatever he could find, even if we tell him "no" a million times...sigh.)

Once we got home from our shopping spree, this happened!  Our office finally has color on the walls!  I am so excited to get the furniture put back in its place, and get all of our items hung up on the walls.  It's been a long two years without some sort of decent organization system for all of our office-y type things.  It's tricky to keep track of kids things without a good place to hang all of the paperwork!

Yesterday was another full day of working around the house, and working on the area below the deck (Scott and Dad), while Mom and I checked out a craft show in the area.  I managed to knock off a few more items from the Christmas list, so I'm feeling really good about being organized for the holidays this year!  Mom, Ava and I also decorated the Christmas tree in record time, before having a nice and hilarious pizza dinner.  Grandpa Doug thought it would be funny to teach the kids how to balance utensils on their noses, and while Ava managed to successfully do it, G eventually just put his spoon on his head.  And pizza in his hair.

G's reaction to the tree was priceless...last year he was only one, so not really into checking it out. This year, he walked around, named/poked at different ornaments, and managed to get a few low hanging ones off their hooks (and then desperately tried to put them back on when he realized I was watching him.)  G is really mimicking everything that Ava is saying and doing, so we've needed to start reminding her to be a good role model...within seconds of her doing something, or saying a funny phrase, there is a smaller, more high-pitched version of the same thing happening.  Super funny, but...we need to be careful on how much we laugh at.

I'm hoping for another great day today...breakfast out, organizing the office, and getting everything ready for the new bed.  AND, hopefully buying tickets for a Disney princess ice show in a few weeks!!  I feel like I need to take another few weeks off of work, just to fit all of this FUN in!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Sweetest Words

We've all heard of the Terrible Twos, right? I remember thinking with Ava that two wasn't so was when she turned three that it all went downhill. Those threenager years were tough with her! Gradually, she grew out of it, and has become a mostly sweet and smart, yet sassy, young lady. And while her ears appear to be broken at times, she still does as we ask, and very rarely disobeys.

Things are different with G.  He has fully embraced the life of a treacherous toddler. Oh, he hears what we say, and then he gives a mischievous grin, and looks you in the eye as he does it anyway. His favorite word these days is "no" followed by whatever verb/noun he doesn't want anything to do with. Sometimes there's an emphatic swat that accompanies it, and every once in a great while, he still tries to take a chunk of skin with his sharp little teeth (for the record, there have been no biting incidents at daycare...I think it must have been that one little girl who he was targeting last summer, and that was it.)  He knows immediately that his swatting/biting is very, very naughty, as it's at that precise moment he ceases to make eye contact.

So, it's all a boundaries thing with him...what can I do to get away with being naughty?  Will the benefit of the action outweigh the punishment?  I think he also plays to Scott and I differently.  Personally, I don't think G listens to Scott as well as he does to me...there appears to be more contention between the two of them than between G and me (the reverse is true with Ava and us.). And at the end of the day, G really just wants to be with me.  (Ava was this way with Scott, so don't feel like he's been shortchanged or anything!  He's had five more years of being the favorite parent.)

Last week, as we were sharing those sweet moments reading and snuggling before bedtime, I told G that I love him. "I love you, Momma" was the response (ok, fine, it was garbled, but this momma knew exactly what he was saying!) and he's been saying it every night since, accompanied by a big hug.  This warms my heart beyond belief. And it's what makes those terrible twos bearable. We've only got 11 more months until he hits three...let's see how bad it's going to get!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Another Weekend in the Books

Hunting weekend #2 is drawing to a close, and when we spoke to Scott last night, he hadn't "caught" a deer (Ava's words) at that point.  I don't think he has seen too many deer over the last two weekends, so I think the warmer weather is having an effect on how much they're moving about.

It'll be interesting to see if he decides to head up north again for the final weekend...he had mentioned that if he did NOT, then we could work on painting the office.  Clearly, that option has my vote!

It's been a rough week...I've been sick for the majority of it, we did another round of lice treatment on Ava and found some small ones (that's ok - we were expecting that...the goal was to kill them before they become mature enough to lay any eggs.  We'll do a 3rd treatment this coming week.)  And our sweet Darla's health has spiraled downwards, very quickly.  Last weekend she started scratching at her right eye, and ended up ripping off chunks of flesh, resulting in open wounds, and a very swollen face.  Scott took her to the vet, and she is now on a variety of meds to help clear the infections.  She has been very good at taking the pills, and letting me put the ointment on her wounds...better than I thought she would be.  I put together a very elaborate calendar for her meds over the next several weeks - and Ava said she needed a pill case/box like her grandparents!  Fingers crossed that things go well for her over the next few weeks.

We watched the movie Inside Out last night, and both Ava and I decided that it was a good, but very sad movie. It's all about emotions and memories - and it had me crying at a few places.  It was a good way to end a long day of being "stuck" inside with just the three of us.  We actually had a pretty good day yesterday; Ava and G played together well for most of the time, and allowed me to get some cleaning done around the house.  Darla and her cone caused more issues than either kid did....walking into walls, tripping up steps, knocking things over... 

They were being super silly after dinner last night...I love that G is now reacting/interacting with "Aya"!

I'm counting down the hours until Scott returns...this mom needs just a few minutes of quiet, alone time.  We'll see if he brings a four-legged friend home with him!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pest Control

Our fun times came to a screeching halt this week when we realized that Ava picked up lice from somewhere.  This was our first experience with it, but obviously, we had both heard how tough it was to deal with them in the aftermath.

And it's all true.  I've spent hours this week, treating and combing through Ava's hair, examining her hair strands, looking for any last little nits that I can find.  I have done a gajillion loads of laundry, all in hot-hot-hot water, so we can sleep peacefully knowing that we don't have any louse of the loose.  I have learned SO much about lice this week, and my fingers are crossed that we have eradicated them.  It doesn't appear that Scott, G, or I have had any little visitors, but we'll keep watching ourselves closely the next few weeks.  The good news is that I now know exactly what to look for, and can nip it in the nit, right away!

One of my coworkers mentioned that tea tree oil is a natural deterrent, so I've purchased some and will be adding it to everyone's shampoo, to help ward off those little buggers. 

On the positive side, I had a great week at work - very productive, with two site walkthroughs going really well.  Ava had her fall conferences this past Wednesday, and she's doing great at school.  She's above average when it comes to math, excels at reading, but could work on her handwriting.  Now we know what to focus on at home!  A few of my standard questions are, "Does she play well with other kids?  Does she have friends?"  Her teacher confirmed that yes, she's always off and running around, playing with her classmates, and in fact, she's very, very kind to a girl in her class who needs that extra encouragement.  As Mrs P. said, "Ava's a real hunny."  And that warms my heart!

Counting her Halloween loot - I think she got well over 100 pieces of candy!

Hunting season is upon us, so I was flying solo as the only parent this weekend.  Grandma Deb helped us out by picking up and keeping Ava overnight on Friday, so I had some really great quality time with little G.  He's doing so well at daycare...he's learning, he's putting words together in sentences, he's dancing all around, and his throw is getting to be pretty decent.  His latest obsession is anything with a football on it - pictures, clothing, pjs, whatever.  If we could somehow get Mickey Mouse with a football, his mind would be blown.  We've got one more year before we can sign him up for any type of sport, but guaranteed, we're going to get that kid out there (and if he doesn't like it, that's ok!) 

Yesterday morning, we checked out the craft show at the high school.  It's fairly large, and I was able to start knocking a few things off the Christmas list.  The only bummer was near the end when we had stopped to look at a booth, and Ava backed up into it, and a ton of their crafts (wooden signs, decor) fell on top of G's head, while he was in his stroller.  He ended up with a cut over his hear, and a decent size bump, but luckily, no crafts were broken.  I was so shaken up, though, and have been keeping a close eye on G...he seems to be okay, but ugh.  I also used this as a learning lesson with Ava...we tell her constantly that she needs to watch where she walks, and maybe, just maybe, this will help it sink in as to why she needs to be aware of her surroundings.  And, I did end up buying some decor from that booth, so there's one positive that came out of it!

This weekend has been a bit more low key than the last few, and I'm super thankful for the downtime.  It appears the holidays are upon us, so I need to start focusing my energy on that, and making sure I don't procrastinate when it comes to everything holiday-related!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Who Needs Sleep?

I lied.  I thought summer was busy.  Turns out that the last two weeks in October kick off some serious crazy time where there's something going on every day/night!

We kicked off the Halloween spirit a few weeks back by taking in a Thursday evening showing of Hotel Transylvania 2.  Ava and I were the only ones in the theater!

Random pic of G, watching a Mickey Mouse Halloween movie...

Last Saturday, after going out to a new (to us) restaurant in the area, and making sure all the kids were tucked safely into their beds, I headed out with my friend Tina.  And stayed out until 2:30am.  I haven't done that for a reallllly long time, and I certainly should not have done that before the very full Sunday that we had planned...

...where Ava and I met up with my friend Amy (and her daughters) for the Hallzooween event at the Minnesota Zoo...trick or treating throughout the different animal sections, crafty projects, and yummy treats.  After getting all zoo-ed out, we took the girls out to lunch - always fun to see Cleopatra, a Spanish dancer, and Rainbow Dash at Culvers!!

Ava and I then hit the road to do some shopping, and then met up with my friend Em to see the movie "Jem and the Holograms".  Good music, ok plot line, but always fun to check out a new flick with a friend!

Then came work...and a Halloween party on Thursday night!  Fun!  But, that's not the only thing that happened on was G's 2nd birthday, too!  I can't believe that it's been two years since the little guy joined our family.  He completed our foursome, and brings a different element that I didn't even know we were missing.  Love this guy SO much!!!

Pre-birthday celebration on Wednesday night...he did NOT like the candle!

But, he did like the little pumpkin mousse cake!

"I'm TWO!"

On Friday during the day, G's daycare had a Halloween party, and he went as Superman!  Ava's school also had a Harvest Party, with a parade throughout all of the classrooms.  Fun!

So, then on Friday night, Ava and I headed to a Halloween party at an old neighbor's house (they moved out of our neighborhood last year.)  G had a fever, so Scott opted to stay home with him.  :(  Ava and I had a nice time catching up with people, eating, and seeing some really creative costumes (I think my favorite was a girl dressed up as a gumball machine!)

Cleopatra and her cat!

Saturday morning, I met up with some co-workers and we did the Terror Trot 5k in the cold drizzle.  About halfway through, the rain let up a bit, and it was nice to be outside, but once we came back around the lake, it got chilly and windy again.  Brrrr!  But, these bees did it!!

Saturday afternoon we had Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey over to celebrate G's move into the next year of his life.  Scott made his fantastic turkey dumpling soup, and we enjoyed a dino-themed birthday cake...and gifts!

We transitioned seamlessly (a.k.a. no resting time allowed) to the next activity which was getting the kids ready for trick or treating with the neighbors.  We were much smarter this year and went out earlier, but still, at 7:30pm, we looked around and realized we were in a ghost town.  Where once there were huge groups of children, there were now darkened doorsteps and not a person in site.  It's really quite weird.  So, we hustled our little ones home and enjoyed a few more hours of chatting, wine and snacks.  And then we went home and crashed.  So tired.
My little cop - so cute!!!

A cop, a Ninja, Kid Flash, and Cleopatra - no one's going to mess with this group!

Taking a break to watch the Great Pumpkin


Today should be an amazing day with absolutely no scheduled plans...and it's gorgeous outside, so maybe we'll even have a chance to get the house ready for winter outside.  AND, we even got an extra hour of sleep - clearly, the universe knew I was running on fumes, and need that additional 60 minutes of rest.

Happy November!