Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

This is one of our Christmas pictures

It's 10:58 pm. The kids have been asleep for several hours. Santa has already stopped at our house. I should be asleep. But, truth be told, I'm excited! Ava had a hard time falling asleep tonight, with the images of Santa , reindeer, presents and snow swirling around in her head, it's no wonder. I feel that same level of excitement, just for a different reason. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow, go downstairs with the kiddos and see their faces when they catch their first glimpse of presents. Jax will be excited about the colors and paper (the kids loves to crumple, attack, eat and stare at paper). The look of awe on Ava's sweet little face will come from the unknown... knowing that inside of all the packages are presents... but what? This is her third Christmas, but the first where she really knows what's going on. That's fun for her... and me.

I can't wait. I hope I can sleep tonight. If not, I'll be waking the kids up early... isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Learning from Ava

Andy and I have made a conscious effort this year to teach Ava about the true meaning of Christmas. Of course, we've read the nativity story to her and even took her to a live nativity at the Provo Tabernacle. We've explained that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday. She's got all that down, but trying to explain to an almost three-year-old that Christmas isn't all about the presents can be difficult. In all fairness, Ava hasn't been all "Gimme, gimme" that's not her personality anyway, but occasionally, if she sees something she likes in a store (usually a book) she'll say, "Maybe I can ask Santa for that." I mean, her letter to Santa was more concerned with how things were going at the North Pole with Mrs. Claus and the reindeer, than asking for gifts. However, she is definitely excited for the presents she knows will inevitably come. And, I'll admit, there have been a few occasions when Ava was being a little naughty or disobedient and Andy and I used the "Santa is watching" threat. With all the hustle and bustle and excitement over getting gifts, it's so easy to forget or overlook opportunities to teach about the true meaning of Christmas (do I sound like Charlie Brown, yet?). So, in the past few weeks I've taken every chance I could to teach Ava about service and recognizing how her heart feels when she does something nice for someone else...

So, that's a long preface to the actual story I wanted to tell in this post. Ava and I began, this week, doing our semi-annual "sorting of the toys." I try at Christmas-time and birthday-time (when I know she'll be getting new toys) to go through her toys with her and allow her to choose toys she would like to give to little boys and girls who aren't as fortunate as us. Ava likes doing this. Sometimes, choosing toys to keep and donate can be like Sophie's Choice for her, but she does it. And, if it's just too difficult a decision for her I allow her to keep whatever toy or toys that caused the dilemma. I figure, if it's that difficult for her, she's probably not ready to part ways with the toy. Anyway, we began this time going through her stuffed animals, of which she has a plethora. At the very bottom of her stuffed animal bin lay two doggies. I don't even think she knew they were in there. I laid them both on the floor and told her she could choose one to keep and one to give away. First, she decided to give away the floppy dalmation and keep the floppy brown dog. Then, she changed her mind, then she hugged them both and said she wanted to keep both (she looooooves animals!). I agreed. But then, she surprised me. She said, "Mommy, I want to give something to a poor little girl. She can have one of my dollies." Then, she ran over to where all her dollies are and chose her very favorite one. "Here Mommy, we can give a little girl Maggie." Shocked, I said, "Honey, are you sure. You can keep Maggie and we can find another toy to give away." "No Mommy, another little girl can have Maggie. Maybe someday I can get another Maggie." Tears welled up in my eyes as I agreed and stuck Maggie in the giveaway bag. After Ava went to bed, I considered taking Maggie out. But, Andy helped me realize that would go against what we were trying to teach Ava. She had made a choice. She chose to give something she loved to another child, just to make that child happy.

I had a harder time parting with Maggie than Ava. She hasn't thought twice about it. It amazes me that Ava, at not even three, realizes how important it is to give to others, especially those who aren't as fortunate as we are. She told me that she knows a little girl will be "so happy to play with Maggie", and that it made her heart happy to give her away. We've been trying this Christmas season to teach her, but I think I have a lot to learn from my little girl.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More, Mama, Mmmmm....

Eating solids has unleashed a side of Jax we had never seen before. He's very aggressive when it comes to food. If I don't shovel it in fast enough he'll grab my hand (with the spoon in it) and shove it into his mouth. If that isn't an option, he dive-bombs into the spoon, lunging at it with an open mouth. I try, between bites, to sign "more" to him (while speaking the word), but sometimes there just isn't enough time. He does say, "mmmm" when he wants more. That will do for now. It took Ava about six-weeks after the introduction of sign language to make her first sign. Jax, may however, just stick with the attack method. It seems to work for him.

He took this apple off my plate while I was helping Ava. Little Sneak!

However, while he's not yet signing, he is saying "Mama." Initially, Andy and I thought he was just making the "mamama" sound, but yesterday, when I walked upstairs he began whining and said, "Mama." Then, today, when Andy and I came home from the Temple (Dusty babysat) I picked Jax up and he said it again. And, tonight, when I left the room he stared crying and asked for me. Sweet little boy. I know he knows who I am, but it is so special to hear him say it. I felt the same way with Ava, and still, to this day when she sweetly says, "I love you Mama" it makes my heart so happy! I am one lucky Mama!!!

Special Delivery

So, rather than driving to Arizona with two kids after Christmas, we decided to ship them.

Ava played in this box most of the morning, but at one point wanted her little brother to join her. This is the end result. Eventually, she asked us to get him out because he was squashing her leg (she only weighs five pounds more than him).

Snow, Leaves and Ava

I've been looking forward to snow for a few weeks. I just wanted one good day of snow, preferably Christmas Day, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Well, as the old saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for." Because now, my nose is cold and leaky, my toes are constantly like blocks of ice, and my knuckles turn white when I drive because of how tightly I grasp the steering wheel. We got about six inches today (which I hear is nothing) and a few inches Tuesday. Even though I dread the cold, I will say this (through chattering teeth) -- snow is fun! When used properly, of course. And it's even more fun when you have and awestruck child to enjoy it with! Unfortunately, Andy was sick and Jax has an ear infection so they stayed inside. But, they sat in front of the sliding glass door so Jax could watch all the action. I think he enjoyed it just the same.
Tuesday, Andy's youngest brother Eric and his girlfriend Karly came to town for a brief visit. We all woke up to a blanket of white outside and within a few hours we were bundled up, carrot in hand (for our snowman's nose, of course) and outside tromping through the white stuff. Ava was in Winter Wonderland! She immediately collected a large handful of snow and began packing it between her pink-mittened hands and threw the end result (still a handful of snow) at Eric and then shrieked with glee. After that was out of the way, first order of business was, of course, building a snowman. Actually, it was a snowprincess, according to Ava. So, we packed and rolled and, I must say, making three giant snowballs and plopping them on top of each other is not as easy as one might assume. Rolling part of her snowprincess
Look, they're the same size
Snowprincess-making is a very exact science... and I'm not scientist. Thank goodness for Eric and Karly, both old hats at creating snowpeople. Finally though, our snowprincess was complete. She's still in our backyard, although hidden beneath new snow (along with my pink scarf... shoulda never let her borrow it).Uncle Eric and Karly introduced Ava to the joy of eating snow

Once the snowprincess was done, I gave Ava a bottle of water mixed with food coloring and let her "paint" in the snow. She splattered pink and purple everywhere, she's quite the little arteest. After all the water ran out, we created Snow Shreks. Ava has these fun little molds of Shrek and Donkey. They're actually for her sandbox, but work just as well in snow. She made about 10 Shreks and half as many Donkeys. They look pretty cool, but when you have multiple heads all over your backyard it can actually get a little creepy. Oh well, she enjoyed it!

Making a Donkey (from Shrek) with Uncle Eric

After about an hour, Ava was ready to go inside for hot cocoa (her new favorite treat). I asked her which she liked better, playing in the snow or the pool. Her response? "The snow because I can build a snowprincess. And, I get to drink hot cocoa."

While I'm here, here's some pictures from last week (pre-snow). We borrowed our friends' rake and finally raked up all the leaves in our backyard (just in time). We let Ava run and jump in them before bagging them up. I think her smile says it all!
Entering the leaf pitHow cute is she?!

Ninja Catch!

Andy has been asking... no, no, begging me to blog about this. He's convinced Ava is a Ninja. Just last week he was giggling to himself about how clumsy she is, now, he's sure she's got special powers.

So, the other night I was organizing a small sampling of our enormous photo collection, when SURPRISE! Ava sneaks downstairs with a well-thought-out excuse for why she's out of bed. However, in the middle of giving said excuse, she notices pictures of her from babyhood and excitedly asks if she can look too. Usually, I'm strict about schedules and bedtime, but, I thought this a good opportunity to spend some quality time with my little girl and simply reminisce. She and I begin shuffling through pictures, I tell her about the full head of hair she had when she was born, how she loved to eat peas and butternut squash, about the first time she giggled and how after that Mommy and Daddy would do anything to make her laugh. During this process, I came across several in which I could see such a close resemblance between Ava and Jax, but one in particular was uncanny. I tossed it to Andy (who was sitting on the couch), he gave me the typical guy response, "Oh, yep" and then tossed the picture back to me frisbee-style. At the same moment, Ava was looking at a picture in her left hand and lifting her right hand to, I assume, brush the hair out of her eyes. But, at the moment, a magical force in the universe rained down upon our little girl and while still looking at the picture, she caught (between her index and middle fingers) the photo Andy had just sent sailing through the air. She then stops, looks at the newly acquired photo like it was nothing, set it down and began looking at others. Unbeknownst to Ava, her Daddy was staring at her dumbfounded. I don't think he's ever been more proud in his life.

So, now, Andy thinks our daughter is a Ninja. Either that, or she has amazing luck. Not only was there the Great Photo Catch, but more often than not, if she drops something -- a cup for example -- it lands right-side-up with no spill. At church Sunday, Ava had a Ziploc baggie full of snacks. As she was wiggling around, she launched the open baggie off her chair and behind her. I was sure I would see galaxy of fishy crackers covering the floor. I turn around, not a single fishy hit the ground. Amazing. But, on the other hand, she tripped over her feet twice today and fell right on her booty. Maybe she's a part-time Ninja.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fun on the Freeway!


Ahhh, the man of my dreams!

These pictures are a couple of months old, I meant to post them then, but obviously didn't. This is what we do at 9:30 at night when we've been at a standstill on the freeway for a good hour.

This was on the way home from Ruth's reception. We're not really sure what caused us to crawl on the freeway between Salt Lake and Provo, but it wasn't fun! Jax slept through the whole thing, lucky little squish!

So Much Catching Up to Do

Are you there blog, it's me, Bekah.

It's been awhile. I realized that the lost blog I wrote made me sound like a terrible parent so I better blog some more so that's not the first think people see on this page.

Well, so much has happened in the past week-and-a-half. Where to start? Hmmm... well, Jax is getting bigger by the day... no, probably the minute. He went in on the 1st for his six month appointment. I get so excited to see how much he officially weighs. Drumroll please.... 22 lbs and he's 29 inches. He's GIGANTOR!!! The good thing is he's proportionate - 95th percentile for weight, 99.9 for height. So, he's huge. I'm okay with the fact that I'll never know what it's like to cradle a tiny baby in my arms, or to have a child who wears clothes meant for their age (Jax has been in 12mos since he was 3 mos... I actually just moved him up to some 12-18 month stuff last week). I love my big babies! There's more of them to cuddle and love...

Here's some recent pictures of our little... I mean big, squishy boy.

Check out the ghetto booty!

While I'm on the subject of Jax, I thought I'd post some pictures of the little chowhund eating! He started baby food on Thanksgiving and he is inhaling like a true Kleinman. So far, he loves everything I've given him (we had some issues with rice cereal in the beginning, but now he devours it), but his favorites are carrots and butternut squash.

Ava LOOOOVES to fee her baby brother. She's so helpful!

Mmmm... carrots!Double-fisting it with an apple slice and a teething ring (or eternity symbol as my math nerd husband points out)

Ava is getting more excited about Christmas by the minute. Today, we made a countdown chain. I know, I'm a little late, but hey, there's still 15 days left, that leaves plenty of time for chain-tearing fun for all. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Christmas fanatic. I start playing Christmas music November 1st every year. I just love the feeling. And I'm passing it on to Ava... hooray!!! This time of year is extra fun this year because Ava is so much more aware of what is going on. She loves the music, the decorations, the letters to Santa, but she especially loves the nativities! We are actually nativity-less right now. We started out with two this year, but found one (plush and kid-friendly) was missing Mary, so we turned to the other, more breakable set. Within 15 minutes of it being out of the box, I heard a crash in the kitchen and found Ava standing over a beheaded Mary. Not a good year for Mary in the Kleinman house. Regardless of our lack of nativity scene, we have had the opportunity to talk to Ava alot about the birth of Christ, we even went to a live nativity last weekend. In her letter to Santa, Ava told jolly old St. Nick that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birthday. Don't want the fat guy thinking it's all about him!

We got our Christmas tree December 1st. Here's hoping it makes it to Christmas... and that we get rid of it before February, this year! Uncle Dusty came over to help us decorate. Ava oversaw the decorating effort, directing everyone as to which ornaments they were allowed to put up, where those ornaments were to be placed and if they were put on incorrectly.

Jax and Uncle DustyThe final touch!

It's a wonderful life!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Scariest Day of My Life

I have never been more terrified in my life than I was for a few brief minutes today. The four of us went to Lowe's to check on a new drillbit. Ava kept wandering away from us, but Andy and I always had an eye on her and corralled her back. Except once. I'm not sure what happened. She was just 10 feet away from us looking at cordless drills, then all of a sudden, she was gone. My heart stopped... then it did the opposite, beat with such intense speed that I was sure it would pop out of my chest. Andy and I both raced to the end of the aisle, expecting to see her just on the other side. She was nowhere. I had Jax on my hip and began racing up and down aisles calling her name. Andy went the other way. I covered enough stories as a reporter to know that kids can disappear in an instant. I, of course, was thinking the worst. I immediately found a Lowe's employee and notified him that we had lost Ava (if that doesn't make you feel like a terrible parent, I don't know what does). Tears in my eyes, I began explaining what she looks like, what she's wearing, even that she has some little purple marker dots on her cheeks which she put there earlier in the day. What happened next really impressed me. Lowe's went into CODE SARA. They immediately locked all the doors in the store and announced to employees over the loud speaker that a little girl with a red jacket was missing. I waited impatiently. Then, after a few minutes (although it seemed terribly longer) I heard Ava crying and Andy came around the corner with her in his arms. She had wandered quite far in the store. When Andy found her, she was just looking around, not for us, just scoping out the goods. She only began crying when Andy explained to her how frightened we were and that she cannot walk away from us.

Of course, as soon as I saw her, I began crying. I felt so silly, but I was so relieved. Ava was so concerned about me, she told me, "Mommy, I'll stay by you so you don't cry." Sweet girl!

So, to say the least, our new rule is "hold a hand or hold a cart." That way, she's always attached to us somehow. I would never put a leash on my children, but after tonight, I can understand why some parents do.

I'm just thankful everything's okay. And tonight, when I check on the kids before I go to bed, I'll probably linger just a little longer and say a little prayer of thanks for my blessings!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Surviving Black Friday

I'm a glutton for punishment. Or so one might think when I tell them I got up at 5am this morning, got ready and stood in a line outside Target with a thousand other idiots... I mean shoppers... all hoping to get a good deal. Oh, did I mention that I had Jax with me?

The little dude was actually quite the trooper. He just hung out in his stroller and watched all the freaks...uh, I mean shoppers (again)... scurrying through Target, their arms full of presents. He was actually likely the most comfortable person in the store, decked out in his jammies and bundled in a snuggly blanket, chilling in the reclined position while someone else did the work. Not too shabby. I was sure he would fall asleep at some point, but he was just so interested in the hustle and bustle.

I went to Target with a list, a plan, and a map of the store in my head. When I arrived, the line wrapped around the outside of the store and back to the street... where I stood. Of course, I wasn't the only person needing to go to electronics, so when the doors opened the mad dash began. I felt like a cow. We were a giant herd of desperate Christmas shoppers. I thought that people might take it easy when they saw me with a stroller, but apparently, that just ticked them off more. One person in the herd actually took an empty cart and stuck it in front of me so I couldn't get through the crowd. I had to wait five minutes in one spot for some nice kid to let me through. Here's the thing too, you would think the elderly women in the herd would have seen me, remembered what it's like and had a little compassion. No way! They're the most vicious of all. They come donning their jogging suits and orthopedics tennies, ready to rumble if necessary. So, to say the least, the thing at the top of my list was gone by the time I made it over to the shelf. Fortunately, other people who had been hoarding several of this particular item, began shedding boxes as the hour went on and I found one tucked away in the men's clothing department. SCORE!

Never in my life have I wanted to leave Target! I love Target, but had it not been for the miraculous discovery in the men't department, I just may have. That's almost blasphemy for me.

I used to get excited about Black Friday shopping. Maybe I'm getting too old for it. I dunno, but I think next year I'll just shop online.

Gobble 'til You Wobble... or Spin Yourself Dizzy!

I have been excited about Thanksgiving for weeks. I love making Turkey Day dinner. That's kinda weird, right? I get nostalgic for the smell of turkey, marshmallow yams and pie. I don't really even care that much about eating the food (although I do my fair share), I just love making it. I'm sounding a little freakish.

This year marked our first Thanksgiving in Utah. We weren't alone, Uncle Dusty joined us and for that we are thankful! We bought a little half turkey (actually, I only paid 17 cents for it because I had collected enough turkey vouchers from Macey's -- the greatest grocery store EVER!) which was perfect in size and taste (not to toot my own horn). I made my famous yams, some fresh green beans, stuffing and rolls. Uncle Dusty made delicious mashed potatoes (Andy was so impressed that one of his brothers could produce such fare) and a yummy apple pie (I made cherry cobbler and bought pumpkin pie from Costco... mmm... pie).

The table was full of food, our bellies were empty as we sat down preparing to indulge and engorge, Ava says, "Mmmm... Mommy this looks delicious. I'm gonna get stuffed." And she did. The toothed-Kleinmans weren't the only ones filling our tummies. Jax has his very first taste of jarred baby food yesterday -- one day shy of his half birthday.

We've already given baby cereal a try to no avail. But, I thought I'd give it another whirl, maybe he'd forgotten about the taste or texture. But that kid has a mind like a steel trap! As soon as I put the cereal up to his lips he made this face, like he had just smelled the worst stink. As soon as it touched his tongue, he began gagging. Maybe that was a bad spoonful, let's try again. Same thing, except this time, there's some dry heaving. Okay, so rice cereal is a no go. I let Ava choose what Jax should have for Thanksgiving, she picks green beans.... ahhh, pureed, jarred, green beans... just like the pilgrims did it. This one goes a little better. Initially, Jax didn't know what to think. I think he was just confused by the new taste and texture. But, once he warmed up to the beans, he chowed down about 1/3 of the jar. He promptly spit part of that up soon after. But, hey, I'm sure he wasn't the only American regurgitating his food yesterday.

Jax's first bite of green beans



Ava ate her weight in food, I'm sure of it! She never ceases to amaze. For being so thin, the girl can put it away. She had an entire plateful of food, then moved on to the desserts. A sliver of apple pie, a sliver of pumpkin pie (both with heaping spoonfuls of whip cream) and a bit of cobbler. At that point I cut her off, despite her pleas.

Copying Daddy


Now, here's where it gets good. This is how you know my child is deprived of sugar. About 15 minutes after she finished stuffing her amazingly stretchy stomach, she began spinning. We encouraged her to let her food settle a little while before she sent it into blender motion. But, she was set on spinning. We're not talking just a few spins around the kitchen either. No, she spun for a good 20 MINUTES! I'm not exaggerating. And as she spun, she sang... loudly. She performed the "Little Einsteins" theme song, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Mr. Grinch," "Rudolph," the "Super Why" theme song, "I Just Can't Wait to be King," and "I Am a Child of God" -- all at the top of her lungs. Even a few near biffs later didn't throw a wrench in her spinning. Andy, Dusty and I couldn't stop watching her. We were all prepared to see her Thanksgiving dinner in reverse, but more than anything, we were amazed. How does one spin that long? I kept thinking to myself, "So this is what a sugar high looks like."

Here's a brief video we took of the Spinning-capades. Sorry it's sideways.

video

Once Ava came down from her Happy Place we retired to the living room to watch "Wall-E" followed by "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving."

It was a great day! I'm so thankful to have an amazing family to have spent it with. Had it been any other day, I might have been sad to see it end. But, to be honest, I'm happy it's over... because that means Christmas is just around the corner.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Candyland


Ava is really into board games these days. I think she likes the "little guys" that come inside of most games. She plays with the pieces just as much as she plays the game. Her new favorite it Candyland. What's not to love? It's a game about candy. And it's definitely got a hip makeover since my days trudging through Gloppy's Chocolate Swamp.Helping Daddy move his "guy"

Ava does really well playing Candyland, unless, of course, someone else gets Princess Frostine. Then, there's nothin' sweet about Candyland. She doesn't care so much that Princess Frostine is the second-to-last stop before entering the Kandy Kastly. No, no, she just likes that she's a pretty princess skating around on a frozen pond. Fortunately, most times we've played Ava has actually drawn her favorite card... without me stacking the deck or anything. The girl is lucky. If we were the gambling type, I'd take her to Vegas.

The Princess Frostine card

She also thinks that drawing a card that sends you back is kinda fun. If Andy or I get sent back to the Gumdrops or even the Gingerbread Tree (the furthest back) she always wants to come along. Sweet girl, keeping her loser parents company.

We've played Candyland several times since getting it ($5, thank you Wal-Mart) and Ava has won 9 out of 10 times. And we're not talking "winning," I mean, she really wins, fair and square. I may start stacking the deck in my favor just so I can put a mark up in my win column.

My new favorite photo!


I snapped this picture of the kids the other day and I am just in love with it!!! The looks on their faces are just so THEM! Ava has a sneaky little grin and Jax is just so happy!! LOVE IT!

Bathtime Party


Ava loves to bathe with her not-so-little brother. Jax is still in an infant tub, but Ava doesn't seem to mind having only a sliver of tub for her, her boat, her ponies, her baby dolls and anything else she thinks needs a good washin'. Nope, I don't even think she cares if she gets clean, she just LOOOOVES being in the tub with Jax. Her job is to wash his toes. And boy does she wash them. I timed her during their most recent bath party and she spent THREE MINUTES washing her brother's tootsies. Those are the cleanest little piggies this side of the Mississippi. Jax loves bathtime, with or without his big sis on board, but he definitely kicks and splashes out of excitement much more when she's around. I tried a few days ago to put him in the actual bathtub, but he's definitely not ready. He's a pretty good sitter, but his slick little heiny was slipping all over the place. And, I'm pretty sure he was purposely tipping over in an attempt to drink the bathwater, which, by the way, he eventually peed in.
Check out all the rolls!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Day of Firsts...

I never thought this day would come. I've been waiting for it for over five months, but to be honest, I had kept my hopes very low. Today, Jax experienced a baby rite of passage. He sucked his toes. I loved it when Ava first stuck her little piggies in her mouth. I had hoped Jax might do the same, but to be completely honest, I had kinda come to terms with the fact that he likely wouldn't. There is a lot of belly in between his mouth and his toes, I was sure the little chunker wouldn't be able to contort himself in a manner conducive to toe-sucking, or that if he tried, he would suffocate on his own chub. But, lo and behold, he did it. As Andy changed his mega-poopy diaper (Jax's, not Andy's) the little dude just popped those little toesies in his mouth and started gnawing. In all actuality, there wasn't a whole lot of sucking going on, just chomping. He's teething, so I guess his toes are just as good as his fingers, my fingers, Andy's fingers, Ava's fingers, teething rings, toys, books and anything else he can get in his mouth. Anyway, he seemed so happy to have his toes in his mouth and pretty darn pleased with himself. To be honest, I was pretty pleased too. He's got such a fun little personality, he really is just a happy, goofy, little guy. This, is just icing on the cake.


Add Image
While we're talking about firsts, Amazing Ava had a HUGE first today! She traced her own name, ALL BY HERSELF!! As she and I colored tonight, she asked me to write her name, as she always does. As she spelled her name out and I wrote each corresponding letter, I watched her color and noticed she's gotten so good at coloring in the lines. Granted, she stills veers out, but she really has learned to control her crayon well. So, I thought I'd write her name in dotted lines and see what happens. To my total and utter amazement, she did it, no problem, on the very first try. I was so excited! She asked me to do it a few more times and then moved on to drawing pumpkins. I don't think she realizes how big this is! Soon enough, she won't need the dotted lines, she really is amazing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday is a new family tradition we started a little over a month ago. It's Andy's favorite day of the week! Ava talks about it all week, and on Tuesdays wakes up and announces "It's Taco Tuesday! Raise the roof!" (courtesy of Andy). But, for one so excited about Taco Tuesday, she doesn't eat a whole lot of taco.

Not to toot my own horn, but I make some pretty tasty tacos. The meat is spiced perfectly, taco toppings are plentiful and I fry my own shells. What's not to love? Ava gobbled them up when she was younger. But now, she eats all the cheese, sour cream, tomato, beans and a little meat. The shell remains untouched. However, she'll grab another shell, make herself another taco and do the exact same thing.

Ava's taco

Tonight, however, she barely even ate any taco fillings. Instead, she ate ketchup! Yep, ketchup. One might ask why ketchup was even available to my 2 1/2-year-old on Taco Tuesday. Let me tell you, it's because her Daddy thinks it's not a sin to put ketchup on his tacos. Have you ever heard of anything more disgusting? I'm pretty sure he learned it from his Grandpa Kleinman, who, legend has it, put ketchup on everything... even his ice cream!

Ketchup helping #1
Anyway, Ava just began pouring it on her plate and eating it with her fingers. She had four helpings of ketchup. Now, I know many, if not most parents would simply take the ketchup bottle away. But, we've been trying to give Ava more freedom in her decisions, lately. That's not to say I let her eat whatever she wants. She still has to have her recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies and I still limit her sugar. But, at breakfast and lunch I always give her several choices and allow her to decide what she'd like. Dinner, the rule is, you eat what's on the table. Technically, ketchup was on the table.

Life goes on after 8 PM

Ava discovered this week that Mommy and Daddy stay awake long after her 8PM bedtime. How? She never went to sleep. Actually, as I write this blog, she is up in her room stomping around and yelling that she needs toilet paper to wipe her eyes (I've already given her about half a roll), because she's crying... because I closed her bedroom door... because she kept sneaking out. It's a snowball effect, really.

It all started Sunday night. I put Jax to bed a little after seven. Then, we started the routine with Ava: bath, jammies, brush hair, brush teeth, read scriptures, pray, read a book, sing, lights out. We've been doing it the same way since she was a baby. However, I think, until this week, she thought we went to bed soon after she did. Little did she know, we stayed up for several more hours working, reading... and sometimes, yes sometimes, eating ice cream. She was none-the-wiser and we were okay with that. This week, she's the-wiser. The past two nights she's come up with every excuse to come downstairs: she has to ask me something, she needs a hug, she needs a Care Bear, she wants us to tell her something (nothing in particular, just something), she wants to know about planets, I forgot to give her an Eskimo kiss, there's a tag in her jammies, does Daddy have to go to school tomorrow?, etc. There's so much more. Each time, we march her back up to her room, explain why it's so important she go to bed (you need energy, you don't want to get sick, it's time for all little girls to go to bed, Mommy and Daddy are going to bed soon, are you going to make good choices?) And each time we explain that if she didn't stay in bed we'd have to close her door (she prefers it open, I think, so she can see us if and when we come upstairs). Eventually, we close the door. Little stinker can open it! Sunday, she didn't go to sleep until almost midnight. Monday, 11. Tonight, who knows?!

However, I must give her credit for ingenuity because tonight after her normal round of excuses and our normal marching her back up to her room routine, she came downstairs naked. Andy was worried that maybe she'd had an accident. Nope. Turns out she didn't like the way her pull-up (she wears them only at bedtime) felt, so she needed to take it off... and since said pull-up was under her jammies, those came off too. So, I take her upstairs, re-pull-up and re-clothe her, tuck her in, explain once again why it's so important she sleep and give her a kiss and hug. She promises to stay in bed. Five minutes later, she's downstairs. So, we do something we've never done before and have only read about in parenting books. Put the gate up. Ugh, I feel terrible! She's not an animal in need of a cage, just a stubborn (read: smart) little girl. But, all the parenting books say it works. I'm not convinced yet. I went upstairs a few minutes before I began writing this blog and she was standing in her doorway (behind the gate) with a microphone in one hand and a maraca in the other. Apparently, she's performing in protest of the gate.

It's gonna be a loooong night...

Friday, November 7, 2008

GrosgrainStore.com Grand Opening & Giftcard Giveaway!!!!!!!!

I love-ty, love, love, love this blog!!! She is so golly, gosh, darn talented that I'm a little envious... okay, a lotta envious! If you have kids, you'll want to check this out... and hey, you can win a gift card. Not too shabby!!!!

GrosgrainStore.com Grand Opening & Giftcard Giveaway!!!!!!!!

Move over Monet!




It's getting pretty chilly outside. Actually, Utahns (how obnoxious is it that there isn't an 'a' between the 'h' and 'n'?!) say this is warm compared to what we'll be experiencing in a month! GREAT! All I can say, is thank goodness we're going to Arizona for two weeks! Anyway, because it's been so cold and because neither mine nor my children's blood is used to the frigid conditions I've been trying to come up with some fun indoor activities for Ava, Jax and I to do together. Ava is really into "projects" lately, so I accommodate.

Wednesday we decided to begin decorating for Thanksgiving. I'm already playing Christmas music, but Andy says it's much too early to actually begin decorating and make it public that I get all holly-jolly as soon as Halloween wraps up, so we focused on Thanksgiving. I wasn't too original, we just made turkey hands, but I was a fun Mommy and did it with paint, instead of the normal tracing method. Ava LOVED this! At first, she liked getting her hands painted and seeing the prints they made on the papers. But eventually, her interest in that waned and she became much more involved in creating her own personal mess... I mean masterpiece. She fingerpainted for a good 45 minutes. And I just watched her and talked to her the whole time. I love watching her create. She has a reason for everything. "I'm going to put red right here, but only with my pinky because I just want a little bit," "I have to wash my hands off before I get green because I don't want to mix it with orange."

Her pictures turned out lovely and will soon be displayed on our kitchen wall above the dinner table... as soon as I buy some tape.