Monday, September 29, 2008

Chunky Monkey

I will never have a tiny baby. Both of my kids were just under 9 lbs. at birth and both exploded into giant babies from there... harvesting rolls upon rolls and cheeks that rest on their shoulders. If Ava was chunky, then Jax is the Chunky Mothership!

Ava and I took the mancub in for his four month appointment today. I was prepared for him to tip the scales, I mean, I lug the kid around all day and I have to separate his rolls when bathing him. Trust me, I know. However, I just didn't realize the extent of his girth until he was weighed and measured. Watching the numbers move on the scale is always exciting for me. I have always loved seeing how much my kids weigh. Maybe, it's because I play a little guessing game with myself and I like to see how close I am to their actual weight, or maybe it's just that I like to have an actual number associated with what I feel in my back. Either way, after I laid Jax on the scale, I watched the numbers move rapidly. I was pretty sure the thing was going to explode. Finally, they stop. I get excited... DOH! They're in KG. Darn you metric system!! I start trying to figure it out in my head, but Ava is playing on the big-kid scale so, I get distracted and somewhere along the way I forget to carry a one or move a decimal... I dunno. But I had to wait for the nurse to get out her calculator and give me the official number. 19 POUNDS 11 OUNCES!!! That puts him in the 99.9% of boys his age. WOW! Then they measure him. 27 INCHES! 95%. Okay, atleast he proportionate. But that doesn't make him any smaller!

Here's my favorite part. The nurse says to me, "Wow, he's a big boy." As if that's the first time I'm hearing that. Then, the question I get at least twice on a daily basis: "What are you feeding that kid?" Before I give my response, I have to make it clear that I get this question ALL THE TIME! I got it two years ago with Ava, and here I am again. With Ava and even in the beginning with Jax, I was always so polite, "Oh, (haha) nothing he's not supposed to have. He's just a good eater!" But, to be honest, that just got boring. So, I look at the nurse and say, "I usually just nurse him. But he has the occasional cheeseburger." It takes her a second to process, but then she gives an uncomfortable chuckle. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.

So, I have a big, giant baby! There's just more of him to love!! And to be honest, I wouldn't have him any other way. Like I said, I've never had, nor will I ever have a tiny baby. I just give birth to giant bolgna loafs! But, they're healthy, their happy, and oh, they have the most kissable cheeks! I love my Chunky Monkey! He's the Squishiest!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Speaking in Storybook...

When Ava was a baby and Andy gave her her blessing, she was blessed with so many wonderful things, including a love of reading and learning. I knew I would see this come to fruition, eventually. I just had no idea that eventually would be so soon.

At 2 1/2 she's already a little bookworm. We go to the library weekly, read several books daily, and often, when I think Ava's been a little too quiet I go to her room, expecting to see her constructing a bomb or something, but instead she's sitting quietly on her floor reading. As of late, her love of books has been apparent in the way she speaks. You see, because she doesn't always speak like a normal human being, instead, she speaks in "Storybook." Let me give you a little taste:

Today friends of ours from back home were in town and planned to stop by for a visit. They have an adorable little girl, just a little older than Ava, whom Ava adores. When I told her Kaili was coming over she said, "'I'm so excited!' Ava exclaimed." First of all, who talks like that?! Secondly, what 2 year old knows the word "exclaimed?" It gets better. While playing with Kaili, she and Ava were trying to catch bugs in little Tupperware containers I gave them (don't worry, we won't be using those ever again!). They saw some above our porch light far too high for their little arms to reach, so they looked to the tallest man in the backyard and asked him to get them. Andy explained he just wasn't tall enough, Ava responded, "'Oh no, he can't reach them!' Ava and Kaili cried." We're so used to her narrative that we sometimes forget that it might be a little surprising (and adorable) to others.

I love Ava's imagination! That she gets so lost in books that they become real to her... that she thinks of her life as a story. I know that some day she'll realize that she's the only person outside the pages of her books that speaks that way, and she'll eventually stop. I'll miss it when she does. So, until then, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the story. Because let me tell you, the person telling it is quite the little character. This is what Ava chose to wear Friday night to our Ward Social.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mommy ADD

I'm having a tough time focusing these days. My brain is all over the place. A great amount of my daily attention stores are spent on the kids, as it should be, but I've found that I just don't have enough attention power left over to distribute equally to everything else in my life. So, I try to cheat and give multiple things my attention at the same time, which kind of defeats the purpose. It's like in high school (and maybe even college) when you use the largest font, something like Comic Sans, and then bump it up to a 14 point so it appears like you wrote more or at least met the required page count. Oh, don't even pretend you didn't do that. Anyway, that's what's going on in my head. I have a million things to do every day, but I just don't have the attention span necessary to complete it all, so I bump up the font and try to cheat. And in the meantime, I forget something along the way. Today, I sat at the computer, feeding Jax, writing invoices and eating lunch. Ava was going potty. She finishes her business and calls to me to come wipe her (you get used to it). So, I detach Jax, he starts screaming, I set him down, he screams more, I take care of Ava, Jax is still screaming, I get Jax, Ava asks me to read to her, we sit and read (and I finish feeding Jax), then we go play dress-up. Oh my goodness, look at the time, Jax is rubbing his eyes, Ava has that look on her face... naptime! I put the kids down, Andy comes home from school, I need a nap. But there's a rumbling in my tummy... did I finish lunch?

So goes my day. I'm beginning to think I have a severe case of Mommy ADD, or is it ADHD? I never know the difference. Do all Mommy's suffer from this problem? Is it diagnosed? Like I said, I focus on the really important things - my kids. But when it comes to everything else, I'm fidgety and... I should probably disclose that right now I am watching "That 70's Show" and it's taken me like 20 minutes to write this much. Case in point.

I have never had a hard time focusing. I used to be in the zone. Start a task, complete a task, move on. Next! I'm so out of the zone now I can't even see the zone. I can't even see the entrance to the zone. The zone is a dot! Now, I'm like a fidgety five year old jumping around on the way to the zone, but I'm never gonna get there because, oh look, there's something shiny. Get the idea?

Okay, so I don't think I'll ever be in the zone again. I've officially left the zone. And that's okay. Because I was danced out of the zone by the two most adorable little dance partners. And when it comes to them, I know all the steps. I have tunnel vision. Sure, maybe while we're dancing we'll take a break to look at bugs, or change diapers or learn about the sense of smell. But then, we'll just keep dancing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boogers and Spit-Up and Germs... Oh My!

Today is not a good day to be me. Being me today is pretty disgusting!

The kids are sick. Ava's nose is dripping like a leaky faucet, her voice is so raspy she sounds like she's been smoking a pack a day for 30 years and her business in the potty... well, you don't need imagery for that. Jax on the other hand doesn't have a runny nose... his is clogged up, which can't be fun when your nostrils are tiny to begin with and you already sound like a pug dog when you breathe. He's got a yucky little cough and he's vomiting all over the place... more than normal.

So, my hands are rough from washing them so frequently, I haven't showered because I spent my normal morning shower time cuddling with the sickies, I've changed my pants three times and my shirt twice because that's the number of times Jax has slimed me, I've got paint all over my rough hands because I've spent the kids' naptime working on boards and I spilled mustard on my shirt (the third one) while eating lunch (my first meal of the day).

So, I'm gross. Today would not be a good day for Ed McMahon to come knocking at my door with a check for a million dollars and a TV crew! Although, I wouldn't turn them away, maybe I'd just suggest they stay upwind of me.

Andy will be home in a few hours. I'll have to apologize to him that I'm gross, that I haven't cleaned the house and that dinner isn't ready. He'll say, "Lovey, no worries." It's a pretty standard response. But to be completely honest, I'll apologize only because it seems appropriate, because in reality, I'm not sorry. Well, okay, maybe a little. But I've loved today. I feel terrible my kids are sick. But I have loved just cuddling with them, reading books, watching SuperWhy and Sid the Science Kid (gotta love PBS), playing "I Spy," singing silly songs, playing with Ava's hair, rocking Jax... it's all been so nice... once you get past the boogers, vomit and other gross bodily emissions.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Check Us Out

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at

I found this fun little application online. I couldn't resist. I think it's definitely us!

Get that thing out of your mouth...

I use to be anti-binky. When Ava was born I swore I would sooth my child sans pacifier. That lasted about a month. Then, I told myself she could only have it when she was screaming in the car or at church. So, in protest, Ava, already wise beyond her ears even as a newborn found her own solution... her fingers. She began sucking on her middle finger and ring finger, while her pointer and pinky rested on her face as if she were saying, "Rock On!" I used to tell myself, I'd rather her suck on her fingers than a binky. I'm not sure what my hang-up with the plug (as some people call it) really was, maybe I thought it looked a little ridiculous... who knows. Anyway, I was happy she chose her fingers over the binky. Fast forward two years, oh, how I wish I could go back in time and pop her tiny little fingers out of her mouth, because she's still sucking on them. The thing is, you can throw a binky away, cut it up, hide it... you can't do that with fingers. We're trying to break her of the habit. She's gotten better, really she has. She used to suck them while reading, while watching TV, while sleeping. Now, she just sucks them when she's really tired. And it's so funny, often, she'll ask permission to suck her fingers.

So, when Jax was born, I was all about the bink. I waited until he was about a month old, at the suggestion of the American Academy of Pediatrics. But as soon as I could, I was shoving that thing in his mouth. Now, I should be specific, I don't put it in his mouth every time he makes a peep. Just when he's screaming uncontrollably or it's bedtime. The bedtime thing is more because the American Academy of Pediatrics (I should be their spokesperson) says that putting a baby to sleep with a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS. So, I do it. Now, as of late, Jax has been spitting out his binking more and more... and, *GASP* sucking on his fingers. Well, it's not so much sucking as a slobbering, chewing, sucking, licking, thing. He even has sound effects to go with it. You'd think I was feeding the kid a rack of ribs. Anyway, like I said, it's not really a consistent suck. I've been chalking it up to teething and exploration. Hey look, fingers. That is until yesterday. So, I'm in the kitchen making dinner. Jax is in his Exersaucer, sliming his hand and growling like a lion feasting on a gazelle. Then, the noises stop and I hear sucking. I look over, my jaw drops. There he is, sucking on his fingers. Not just any fingers - his middle and his ring finger. Rock On! What?! I've done everything to prevent this. I blame it on Ava. Monkey see, monkey do, right? Or maybe, my children just have a genetic predisposition to finger sucking. Who knows. Regardless, I take a picture. Andy wasn't there to see it and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have believed me if I simply told him.

So, what's a formerly anti-binky-now-pro-binky-anti-finger-mom to do? I know Ava will eventually stop sucking on her fingers. Either she won't need them, she'll get made fun of by mean peers, or the calluses on her fingers will begin to scrape the roof of her mouth (seriously, she has calluses from all the sucking). But, I don't want to fight this battle again.

I guess the reality is, I can't do anything... that is unless I want to put hot sauce or pepper on my kids' fingers, but I can't bring myself to do that. There's that stuff you buy at the store that smells like nail polish, yeah, it's gross apparently but Ava just powers through until she's sucked it all off and she gets to the fleshy goodness that are her fingers.

So, here we go again. I'll still keep campaigning for the binky. But, I have a feeling that as Jax gets more and more coordinated he's going to realize his fingers are much more accessible... and maybe tastier than a piece of latex. I dunno, I've never tried it... just an assumption.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Look at the Elephant Poop...

Saturday was Zoo Day! We've been getting Ava excited about this special family outing for weeks... and I'll admit, hanging it over her head at times when she was being naughty.

Aside from getting lost on the way to the Hogle Zoo (come on Salt Lake, how about some signs with arrows at least pointing us in the general direction) and Jax's freak-out on the zoo train, the trip was a great success! Ava, of course, was in heaven. I'm telling you, if she doesn't grow up to write children's books or be a dictator, then I think she may just be a zoologist. There is no doubt in my mind that she could have stayed there all day, and probably most of today had we let her.

The zoo is great in so many ways. First and foremost, it gives us time together as a family. Secondly, as stated above, Ava is on cloud nine. Third, it provides us such a great opportunity to teach Ava about animals, habitats, continents... and poop. Now, anyone who knows our family would autmomatically assume that all poop-related questions, comments, or general statements would be directed to Andy. But it seems yesterday, I was fielding all the turd questions.

It all began with the elephants. Quite possibly responsible for the mother-ship of all poopies. I was so excited to take Ava to see the elephants. As we approach the elephant exhibit, I see two... I get a little giddy inside. In my head, I'm imagining the look on Ava's face when she sees the pachyderms... excitement, joy. However, when we got closer, the look that came across her sweet little face was concerned, puzzled... and then disgusted. "Mommy, look at the elephant poop!" There it was, taking center stage to the giant jungle beasts... a big stinking pile of elephant poo. What do you say to that? All I could say was, "Oh, yep sure enough." I had never experienced an awkward silence with my daughter until yesterday. Fortunately, she changed the subject. "Oh look, that one has tusks." Phew.

However, I wasn't quite out of the woods yet. Little did I know, that Ava would have poop on the brain. While at the giraffe area, Ava got to watch a zookeeper spraying one down with some sort of solution (that smelled a lot like Windex) that helped keep the flies away. As I explained this to Ava, she asked, "Does the zookeeper clean the giraffe." "She does. She takes care of the giraffe, just like Mommy and Daddy take care of you. She gives him a bath, and brushes his hair." "Does she wipe his heiny when he goes potty, too?" Here's where it gets tricky. "No, giraffes don't need to have their heinies wiped." "Do they poop?" she asks. "Yes, they poop, but they don't wipe." "That's disgusting!" Well said, honey.

Okay, this has to be the last of the poopy conversations, right? Wrong. We also talked about the bowel movements of tortoises and monkeys.

Now, the day wasn't all #2. We did get to see some pretty cool things. Ava loved the white alligator. She's so fearless. At her age, I cried at the sight of Goofy at Disneyland, so there's no way I would have gone right up to the glass and stared a crocodile in the face. But she did. She was so polite too. She introduced herself to him, asked him his name. Told him she liked his tail. You know, just normal icebreaker stuff.

We spent quite a long time at the giraffes. There were six in all, but Ava was just enamored with the baby. She made friends with him too. She actually became quite possessive of him, yelling to a group of big kids, "Please don't look at the baby giraffe. He belongs to me." I think the giraffes may have been Jax's favorite too, because that's where I fed him.

Ava really loved her day at the zoo. You know what, and so did Jax. He may only be four months old, but it was so neat to watch him just taking it all in... looking at all the people, the trees, feeling the wind on his face. He was so content. As we left the zoo, I asked Ava if she had fun, of course she emphatically answered yes and told me she wanted to go back another day. I asked if she learned some neat things, again, an emphatic yes. That's what it's all about.

Hey, I learned a few things at the zoo, too:

1. There will always be some dough-head who taps on the glass, despite the giant sign telling him not to.
2. The giant brass tiger sculpture is just as exciting to a 2 1/2 year old as the real deal.
3. Jax does not like trains... at least not now.
4. Kangaroos have really creepy looking tails.
5. Ava can sure spend a lot of time talking about poop.

Stay Squishy...

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Big Trampoline...

Fridays are gymnastics days. Ava used to take gymnastics "classes" but got pretty tired of having to wait her turn and do what the teacher told her to. My little independent gymnast. So, instead we go Fridays from 11-12 for open gym. There she can run amuck from apparatus to apparatus (oh, the germs!) spending as much or as little time on each as her heart desires.

The gym we go to has two sections, a large, more professional-looking area, and a smaller, more colorful, much more padded area. Ava has always gone straight to the latter side of the gym, where balance beams aren't that far off the ground, bars are within reach and everything looks like a box of Crayolas exploded on it. But today, she surprised me and headed straight for the "big side" as she calls it. She started out on a trampoline strip - running back and forth and then flopping onto a red mat (FLOP TIME! Just for you G-Pa), laughing hysterically each time as if it were a new experience. I love that! Then she announced she would begin jumping. Now, my daughter is talented in so many ways: she's smart, she has a memory like an elephant, she has great rhythm (you should see her shake her booty), but master jumper she is not. Let's face it, white girl can't jump. Her "jumps" are more of an over-exaggerated toe-up. Although, I must say, in recent weeks her feet have actually been getting off the ground on occasion... and both at the same time.

Anywho, while "jumping" something at the far corner of the gym caught her attention: pigtails. These pigtails were flying and flailing about. These pigtails were attached to a little girl. And this little girl was jumping up and down on the mother of all trampolines. Large it was not, but extra bouncy... ooooh yeaaah.

So, off she went. Her little legs chugging along while the rest of her body tried to catch up. Finally, she arrives, steps foot on the trampoline when the mouth on the head attached to the pigtails says, "You can't get on here. Only one person on this trampoline." Oh, the look on Ava's face. I could have stuffed those pigtails into that little brat's mouth. Sorry, Mama Bear Complex. I want to say something, but bit my tongue to see how Ava would react. "We can share the trampoline," she says and steps on and begins bouncing. That's my girl! And boy did she bounce. This was the bounciest of all trampolines. Both feet were in the air, her knees were bent, her arms were flapping about, her smile stretched from ear to ear. Awesome! Then pigtails says, "Please get off, you're going to break it. There's too many of us on here." Ava ignores her, "Look at me, Mommy." So, the little girl with the pigtails, which at this point, I think may not be so much a hairstyle but a disguise for her horns says, "Fine, if you won't get off, I'll make you get off." She begins to jump with all her might and bounces poor Ava off the trampoline. Yeah, she's evil. I was sure Ava was going to start crying, but instead she gets up, says, "hrumpf" looks at the girl and with her most stern voice says, "No, no, girl. That wasn't nice! You don't jump me off the trampoline!" I wanted to laugh because here is this teeny little girl giving a 10-year-old the what-for. So, my brave little toaster hops back on the trampoline. The evil-girl now says, "Get off." Ava ignores her again. Beelzebob tells me to get Ava off. I ignore her. Her cousin jumps on the trampoline. She yells at him to get off. He ignores her. So, everyone is having a good time. Except for Pigtails. Secretly, I'm glad. Take that you little turd!

Eventually, Ava gets all bounced out. She leaves the trampoline and says, "Bye, girl." Hey, she got to bounce, she's not going to hold grudges. As we walk away she holds my hand and says, "Mommy, that girl wasn't being a good sharer. But I was. I shared the trampoline. That was a good choice." "It sure was, honey. Doesn't it feel good to share?" "Yes, Mama. Can I have some fishy crackers, now?"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things that made me happy today...

Today was a rough day. Well, it started overnight. Jax just didn't have a good night. I think the poor little guy is teething. He soaks at least two shirts a day with drool (check out his shirt in the picture) and chews on everything! He's been a great sleeper since the day he was born, and in recent weeks I've been putting him down at about 7:30 and don't hear from him again until 6:30 the next morning. Not last night. He woke up several times and then at about 3 am was talking and shrieking and cooing, apparently, he thought it was time to play. It took me another hour-and-a-half to get him to sleep, and then he was crying 30 minutes later. Rough night.

So, to say the least I was exhausted. I don't think I've had a good night's sleep in a year. Seriously... I was terribly uncomfortable almost my entire pregnancy, then I had a newborn at home, now I have paranoia. That's what happens when my children sleep through the night, but rather than being grateful and doing the same, I wake up several times to make sure said children are still breathing.

Anyway, I'll admit it. I woke up grumpy. So did Jax... and so did Ava. Jax spent most of the day crying and expecting me to hold him... which can be pretty painful since he's almost 20 pounds of dead weight (don't worry, a post on his massive amounts of chunk will come). The fact that Jax needed Mommy all day upset Ava who also wanted Mommy most of the day. Fortunately, we had a little playdate... which was good, Ava has a new friend... or at least I hope she's still Ava's friend, considering the Squish spent a good portion of the playdate yelling at her friend or crying. Poor thing.

So, today was tough. It was just one of those days. Days like today make me sooo thankful for the other 99% of days... you know, when I'm better rested and my kids are their normal, happy selves. However, I feel like it's on days like this that I really need to get over the frustrating events of the past 24 hours, and try to focus on those things that made me happy. Because, I'm grateful for every day with my kids... even the ones like today.


1. Even in the wee hours of the morning, Jax gives me a huge grin when I appear over his crib.
2. When Ava woke up this morning, she came into our room and began stroking my hair to let me know she was awake.
3. Ava remembered to bring panties downstairs with her when she woke up (she wears Pull-Ups at night)
4. The kids got to see Andy before he went to school today. Ava begged him not to go... so cute!
5. Ava's imagination! Today, I got to be the Mommy Lady Bug and she was the Baby Lady Bug.
6. Jax's giggle as we danced around the kitchen with Ava
7. Making cupcakes with Ava.
8. The look on Ava's face and the giggle she let out when I caught her taking tastes of the cupcake batter. "I was being sneaky, Mommy."
9. Ava telling Andy that he could only eat the cupcakes with chocolate frosting because the ones with pink frosting were just for her.
10. Andy came home in the middle of the day before he had to TA this evening!
11. How content Jax was just laying on a blanket in the backyard. He loves to be outside!
12. Both kids took really long afternoon naps!
13. Ava chose an acorn squash as her "new vegetable" at the store (she gets to choose a new fruit or vegi every week) because, "I like squirrels."
14. Jax's silly sounds!
15. Ava asked for Daddy to get home safely during her prayer tonight.
16. I got to work out.

There, all better.

Stay Squishy...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Very Merry Half Birthday

In exactly six months Ava will be three. Three seems so much older to me than two. It's only been six months since she turned two... boy has it flown by. I imagine the next six will zoom by even faster!

When she woke up today I said, "Happy half birthday!" She looked at me like I was loony. Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. I used to anxiously count down the days until my birthday, beginning at 364, and made sure that everyone else in my path was aware of just how many more days until I turned a year older. And we're not just talking the big ones - you know 5, 13, 16, 18... nope, every single birthday. I want my kids to be just as excited about their birthdays, alright, maybe not JUST as excited. Looking back, I was pretty obnoxious.

So, I've decided to celebrate half birthdays as well. I'm not talking all out with presents, balloons, guests, etc. I just want my kids to be excited about being halfway through a year. Think of how important a half is to children. Have you ever heard a five year old say they're just five, when they're actually 5 1/2? Those extra months are important to kids. If only they knew that when they grew older, being "-and-a-half" meant being closer to a year older... and in my case, 30 (3 1/2 more years). Eek!

When I explained to Ava what a half birthday was she asked, "Is today my Cinderella party?" "Six more months, honey. When you turn three." That did the trick. I did, however, promise cake. And Ava got to pick dinner for the night - homemade pizza bagels. Actually, her first choice was Chuck E. Cheese, but given that we're currently living off of savings and student loans, wasting money on cardboard pizza and a robotic singing rat just wasn't in the cards. Try explaining that to a 2 1/2 year old. "How about we make pizza bagels together. And your special job can be putting the cheese on?!" She loves to help. Such a big girl! Oh, and she loves cheese!

So, tomorrow morning when Ava wakes up, she'll be closer to three than two. Three opens up a whole new world of possibilities and activities for us. Three means soccer, the big girl ballet class, jumping on the big trampoline (Ava told me last week at gymnastics that she'd do that when she turned three)... and preschool. And preschool means that soon enough she'll be old enough for kindergarten. WOW! Didn't we just bring her home from the hospital, like, yesterday.

I know, I know, I'm getting way ahead of myself. But I think it really hit me today that she's a little girl now. She's still my baby, but to everyone else, she's a little girl. Weird.

I guess it's true. That trite piece of advice that every relative, friend and stranger gave me when Ava was a baby, and now with Jax too: "Enjoy it. It goes by so quickly."

Trust me. I do!

Happy Half Birthday, Doodlebug!

Stay Squishy...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Tie for Daddy

Jax spits up... A LOT! He doesn't have acid reflux or anything, I'm pretty sure he just eats until he's full to the brim and sometimes a little more. Things are bound to leak out. Anyway, it seems his favorite time to erupt Vesuvius-style is Sunday mornings, five minutes before we should leave for church and while Andy is holding him. Now I don't know if he or his vomit have tie-dar but it's almost inevitable that Andy's tie will suffer the brunt of the eruption. In the past few weeks Andy has gone through several ties. Some of them can be saved with a little spot cleaning, others will be buried in the following day's trash like Pompeii.

So today, Ava, Jax and I decided to get Daddy a new tie. For complete disclosure I should mention that I'm not at all sad that Vomitron (our nickname for Jax... so cute when Ava says it) ruined some of Andy's ties. To be completely honest, I hated a few of them... some of them... okay most of them. I mean, ties with geometric shapes and poopy green paisley print should be sent back to, what, the 80's? How did my fashion-challenged husband even acquire such hideous ties? One might ask. Well, let's just say he was a manager at DI for a few years and took full advantage of his employee discount. Anyway, so vomit or not, new ties were definitely needed. We decided to go to the Missionary Mall - home of the washable tie and two-year guarantee. I told Ava she could choose Daddy's tie. So, she chose a bubblegum pink tie with white diagonal stripes. Before I go on, what is with pink guys' clothing lately? I just don't get it. I guess if I wear blue they should be allowed to wear pink - equal opportunity colors. Anyway. I had to explain to Ava that pink is just for her and me and that Daddy probably wouldn't want a pink tie. So, next she chose a melon orange one with aforementioned diagonal stripes. "You know what, honey, Daddy really likes red, or green, or blue. Can you pick a tie in that color?" She looks, her eyes light up, "That one." She points her little finger emphatically at a green argyle tie. Strike three. I point out a snazzy red tie with thin blue stripes and a blue one with darker blue stripes. I appeal to her patriotism. "Ohh, honey look at these, these are the colors of the American flag." She gets excited and chooses the red one. Now, here's how I know she's spent way too much time in her 2 1/2 years on this earth shopping with me. As we approach the counter to pay she says, "No Mommy, I think we should buy the other one." Okay. We do the switcheroo and head back to the counter. "No, I think I like the red one." I don't have anywhere to go, so we put the blue one back and get the red one (Jax's preference... it'd the one he smiled at when I asked him if he liked it). Just to be sure I say, "I think Daddy will like wearing this one to church." She responds matter-of-factly, "Oh yes, he'll look lovely."

When we get in the car I ask Ava if she had fun buying Daddy a tie. She tells me she liked the Ava-sized drinking fountain in the store... as illustrated by the huge water spot down the front of her shirt. I've been trying to teach her lately about service, charity and simply doing nice things for other people. So I ask, "Do you think Daddy will like his tie?" "Yes." "Do you think he'll be happy when we give it to him?" "Yes." "How does that make you feel knowing you did something for Daddy that will make him happy?" "It makes my heart happy." I smile. My heart is happy too.

Stay Squishy...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Battle of Room 10

"Nursery is for babies," so says my very mature 2 1/2 year old. At least it was today. Sundays are always hit and miss with her. Either she is so excited to go to church and nursery, or she fights us on it. Today was the latter. This morning she wanted to stay home and "practice my sign language" (her exact words), then she told us she could stay home alone, when we explained that wasn't an option she told Andy that he should go to church with Jax and I would stay home with her. Hey, I gotta give it to the girl, she knows what she wants.

So, based on the pre-church negotiations, I knew we were in for a battle... quite possibly all out war while there.

Of course we arrived a few minutes late... due in large part to aforementioned negotiations with the Toddler Monarch. Now, before I go into the next part of the story I must preface it by saying Ava is usually pretty reverent during Sacrament Meeting. Sure, we have to remind her on occasion to use her "whisper voice," but honestly, she's great. She folds her arms as we walk into the chapel, and does the same while waiting for the sacrament. Today, not so much... the battle continues. Because we were late we ended up sitting in the foyer and it's a good thing. The little nut was running around like a crazy person. Stomping, twirling (see previous blog on twirling), yelling at Andy, demanding snacks... good times.

So, as the first notes of the closing hymn were played I began to mentally prepare myself for, what I was sure, was about to ensue. I was suiting up for the great "I-don't-want-to-go-to-nursery-but-honey-nursery-is-fun" battle of, well... every other week. So, you can imagine my shock and awe when following the closing prayer she said, "Time for nursery?" GASP! Did she just ask me to go to nursery. Sing the Hallelujah chorus, bust out your best bottle of sparkling apple cider, the doodlebug wants to go to nursery.

So off we marched, with a brief layover at the loo, to Room 10. The door opens, Ava hesitates, she looks at me, "If I don't cry can I have a Smartie?" Smart girl. Ahh, if only all the world's problems could be solved with a delicious sweet, but a little tart, candy treat. "Sure honey, and when I come back to get you I'll give you a big hug and kiss." "And a Smartie?" "Yes, and a Smartie." Priorities, Mom.

Now, I must say. I am not above occasionally bribing her. I know there are mothers, doctor-types and psychologist-types who would gasp at the mere mention of bribery. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I did it while potty-training (one yogurt-covered raisins for #1, two for... well, you get the idea). I'll do it for nursery. Treats such as Smarties are such a rarity for Ava that she pounces on the opportunity to get one. And let's face it, I'm not giving her a cigarette.

Anyway, I gave her a hug and a kiss, walked out the door, a little in a shock-induced daze and went to my classroom. I sit, so far so good. Lesson begins, so far so good. Ten minutes into the lesson, so far so... and there she is... tears pouring down her precious little face. Brekke, the wonderfully, patient angel of a nursery leader says, "She has to go potty." Ava repeats amidst sobs, "Mommy, I have to go potty." I feel terrible that she is so sad, but laugh a little inside because she's so smart. She doesn't have to go potty. She just knows that if she says she does, she gets to see me. She duped the nursery leaders. I'm telling you, the kid is a genius! So, to humor her, I take her to the potty. She sits. And sits. And sits. "Oh Mommy, I forgot, I already went potty. But I don't want to go back to nursery." I compromise, "Can I go play with you in nursery for five minutes?" It's a deal.

And we're off. Back to room 10. We're in. Ava begins to cry, "Mommy, please don't leave. Stay with me." The sweet little thing climbs up on my lap, "Mommy, I just want to cuddle with you." How can I resist that?!

I end up taking her to Relief Society with me. No biggie. She does fine in there... not to mention we sit in the very very back.

Here's the point of this all. FINALLY! Ava loved her nursery in Prescott. Initially, the transition was tough. But once we got through the first month, we were golden. She loved the leaders, her friends, the activities... she was comfortable. Here, it's different. It's not as organized. They don't have a fun craft to bring home every week. The nursery is so huge it's split into four according to age. That's hard for Ava, she prefers kids a little older because she's so advanced. I asked Brekke if Ava plays with other kids in nursery and she said no, that she kinda goes off in a corner by herself. My heart dropped. I want her to be happy and enjoy playing with the other kids. It breaks my heart to think of her so sad in there. I know that one day she'll go to school and not everyone will like her and she won't like everyone, and it makes me sick to think someone will say something unkind, or she'll have a fight with a friend or feel left out. I never thought I'd deal with that same concern in nursery.

So, what do I do? I can't take her into Relief Society with me every week, for several reasons. Primarily because she needs to go to nursery so when it comes time to be a Sunbeam she'll be prepared (although, she already has the song down), she needs to be around other kids, but also because I need to be able to go to RS and pay attention to the lesson. I need that spiritual nourishment.

So, I brought the question to Ava. She seems to have the answer to everything else. "Honey, what do you think would help you in nursery." "I don't want to go to nursery." That's obvious, I try again. "I know you have a hard time sometimes. But your teachers and friends in nursery love you." "I want to go with you." Alright, let's go a different route. "Ava why don't you like nursery?" "Nursery is for babies." I wish I could properly describe the look on her face. But any description just wouldn't do it justice. She was so serious, so grown-up, so full of attitude. "For babies?" I say. "I'm a big girl. I want to go with the Mommies." I am obviously not going to win this battle, I mean, the look on her face told me we could go back and forth on this one for a while. So, I resort to my fool-proof weapon - food. "Ava, would you like to make a treat with Mommy to take to nursery and share with your friends next week?" She looks at me, her eyes get big, "Yeah Mommy, that would be great." And curtain.

So, there you have it. We may have a peace treaty in the works. I think she just needs a little more time. Time to get comfortable with the change, the people, the toys. It'll happen. Until then, it's treats all around for the kids in Room 10.

Stay Squishy...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Be brave, Mama...

Tonight was our first date night since Jax was born. Andy and I actually got to go out... without kids... at the same time. BYU hosted a dinner for new Grad students. Food, eh. Dessert, YUM!

I have been both looking forward to and dreading this night for two weeks now. Looking forward to it because it meant some quality time with the hubby... dreading it because quality time with the hubby meant leaving our kids with a babysitter. Well, I should clarify, we didn't leave them with some squeaky-voiced, Zac Efron-loving, Hannah Montana-watching teenage girl... we left them with Uncle Dusty, and as far as I know he doesn't watch Disney Channel in the afternoons. However, as much as I trust Dusty (and his friend Ashley, who I called in for back-up), I have a hard time leaving my kids. Andy might say I have a hard time relinquishing control. Maybe that's part of it, but for the most part, I just dread the idea of not being with them. I'm not some lunatic mom, although it sounds a little that way... let me explain.

When I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom, I promised myself that I would give my all to make sure my children are, healthy, happy, intelligent, energetic and all those other wonderful adjectives. But most of all, I want them to know with every fiber of their being that they are loved. Even when Ava is naughty and has to go to time-out, I always make sure to tell her that I love her, but I just didn't like the decision she made. Anyway, my kids are my life. From the moment I wake up... let me rephrase, from the moment one of them wakes me up (Jax with cute little shrieks and coos, Ava with a pat on my head or a Care Bear in my face) to the moment I go to bed (and sometimes in between) I am fully focused on my kids. Granted, during naptimes I work on signs, tutus, cleaning, cooking, etc. And of course, when Andy is home, he gets some attention too :)

Because my life is my kids, it's difficult for me to allow someone else to take care of them. Part of me feels guilty because they're my responsibility, part of me fears I'll miss something, and yes, a tiny part of me worries that Ava will watch a little too much TV or con her way to a sugary snack (there aren't many in our house), or that Jax will cry the whole time... I could go on and on. But won't for fear that anyone reading this will think I'm a little, well, crazy. Are some of my fears irrational? Totally! But they're real.

I know some people might think I'm an over-zealous mom. I know others who say we Mom-folk deserve a break. I'll admit, every once in a while I wouldn't mind going pee without someone in there with me giving me play-by-play, "Mommy, I heard your pee. It's tinkling," "Are you going to wipe now?," or reading a book without pictures, but I'll have time for all of that... in a few years. Right now, I just want to drink in every moment I can with my kids. I know it sounds trite, but I will never get back these times with Ava and Jax. That's the reason I knew I had to stay home with them. I want to be there for everything, or as close to everything as I can possibly get.

So, I have a hard time leaving them. I think it says something that I actually WANT to be with my children. I know plenty of moms who are counting down the minutes to bedtime as soon as their kids wake up, or anxiously looking at the calendar and rejoicing when August rolls around and school is back in session.

I'm not going to lie, I've had my days. I mean, there are afternoons when Ava is 2, going on 16. She can be whiny, dramatic and bossy (ask my parents what I was like when I was 2). I've had to seek refuge in the kitchen, or send her to her room for a "break." But after a few breaths, from both of us, we talk it out. I ask her to explain why she's feeling the way she is, how she can better solve her problem, how she should talk to Mommy. Then we hug-it-out... I add in a few sloppy smooches, Ava giggles and my sweet little girl emerges from the Drama Queen fog. I love those moments. I cherish those moments. I would take a thousand whiny afternoons for half as many of those moments.

I am so blessed to be a mom. Not just any mom, Ava and Jax's Mama! There's nothing greater! So, I have a hard time leaving them. I'll still do it. Because as much as I cherish each and every moment with the kiddos, I cherish those "couple times" with Andy. And as much as he and I love to go out together, holding hands without Ava saying, "No, Daddy! Please don't hold Mama's hand. She's my Mama. I want to hold her hand," talking uninterrupted (although we spend a lot of time talking about the kids), laughing and just being us... we love going home and the excited look on Ava's face when we open the door and she runs to us with big hugs, and tonight, Jax's big smile when he saw us. It's coming home that makes going out so wonderful! Oh, and the kids were fine :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The new business...

Ava loves ballerinas! She wants to be one when she grows up... at least for now. But more than being a ballerina, Ava loves that being a ballerina means she gets to twirl. She loooooves to twirl. In the living room, the bathroom, the backyard, the grocery store... if there's even the smallest open area I can guarantee she'll twirl in it. She twirls and twirls until she's dizzy. And after she's fallen down she gets back up, her eyes shaking like a cartoon character, and twirls some more.

Her recent infatuation with ballerinas naturally led to a desire for a tutu. So, I went online, looking for the perfect pink tutu. First of all, they were expensive. Second, Ava didn't like any of the ones I showed her. She had very specific instructions for her tutu: first and foremost, it had to be pink, then fluffy, sparkly and "really very twirly" (her exact words). I searched and searched and surfed the web... nothing. So, I decided to be ambitious and make my own.

Turns out, I like making tutus.

And so... the birth of our newest business: Little Squishy Tutus and Frou Frous

We still have our vinyl signs and decor business. It's doing very well and keeps us very busy. But still, we felt like the tutu business would be great for us too!

So, there you have it. The shop is almost completely set up. We just need to download the actual pictures of tutus and we'll be up and running. Be sure to check it out. There's a link to both of our businesses on the side of our blog.

Stay Squishy... and twirly :)

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Legacy... Care Bears

I was a Care Bear fanatic as a child. I'm pretty sure I owned every one every made. Really, they're just glorified stuffed animals, but my parents were willing to shell out the money to ensure I had an entire Care Bear (and Care Bear Cousins) militia in my Foxy Pink (that was really the paint color) bedroom.

My mom used to always tell me she hoped I had a daughter just like me. And not because I was sweet and angelic and she wanted me to breeze through parenthood with a perfect child like she
did. Well, Ava is already quite the sassy-pants, so Mom, check back with me in 14 years and we'll see what kind of 16-year-old she is. Anyway, one thing I have already passed on to her is my love of Care Bears. I had no idea they were even relevant anymore. But, just like lycra leggings, Keds and fluorescent colors, Care Bears have apparently made a comeback. We happened to be surfing channels one Saturday morning. Ava, basking in the fact that I was actually allowing her to watch TV, when we came across the Care Bear cartoon. Before I go on can I just ask, oh Saturday morning cartoons... where have you gone? What happened to the days of you gracing every major network from 4am to lunch time on Saturday mornings? Now, your time is fleeting. You appear for but few hours and then leave... with some show about woodcutting or mortgages filling what used to be the shoes of He-Man, Thundercats or Saved by the Bell.

Anywho... Ava decided she wanted to watch Care Bears and it was love at first sight. It just so happened that the next week we were at Target and they had teeny tiny Care Bears. She carried a pink one and a blue one around the store (they were brother and sister she said), hugging them and explaing the sights and sounds to them just as I do for her and Jax. While there, I remembered that my poor parents have an entire storage unit; a good portion of it filled with my childhood junk. Among the Barbies, Popples, Rainbow Brights and other playthings of the 80's, were oodles and oodles of Care Bears. I promised Ava I would call G-Ma and G-Pa when we got home and ask them to send her some of Mommy's old Care Bears. Boy, was that a Care Bear-filled car ride home. "Mommy, how many Care Bears to you have?," "Are they yours but you're giving them to me?", "Where are they?," "Does G-Pa have to search for them?" Mom and Dad were of course thrilled to have to scale the mountains of stuff in the storage in search of Care Bears. Anything for Ava.

When Dad found them he called Ava right away and told her. The cute little thing went and put her shoes on and said, "G-Pa, I'm coming to your house to get them. I'll be right there." We had to explain to her that Phoenix is a looooong way from Provo and it would be easier for G-Pa to send them in the mail and let the postman bring them to her. After some cajoling (she's stubborn) she finally gave in.

A few days later four of Ava's Care Bears arrived (the others will be sent in waves). However, after all the anticipation she didn't get to play with them until the following day. First of all, they were DISGUSTING! They've been in storage for at least 16 years. That's a whole lot of dust, dirt and bugs building up on their synthetic fur, which, by the way, was no longer soft and fluffy. No, it was rough and grimy. Not so loveable now, are we Care Bears? But after a spin in the wash and a tumble in the dryer they were as good as... well, they were when I put them in storage. Ava was so excited to get to play with them, but then she was a naughty little stinker. We warned her that if she disobeyed and made bad choices the Care Bears would have to go in Time Out (which, for her, is worse than having to sit into TO herself). A few, "NOs" and "I'm not gonna obey" and freak-outs later... the newly free Care Bears found themselves on the business side of the corner until the following day.

I wanted Care Bear Day: Take 2 to be special for Ava, so before she woke up the next morning, I lined them up on the Island of Sodor (her Thomas the Tank Engine mat in the middle of her room) so they greeted her when she woke up. Oh, the excited gasp that came out of her room that morning! She grabbed Hugs-a-lot (her favorite, and new Everywhere Companion), Lion Heart (a Care Bear cousin, which she often shares with Jax and Daddy), Cheer Bear and LotsaHeart (the elephant) and brought them downstairs and immediately wanted to call G-Pa to thank him.

It's amazing to me that something so simple... little stuffed animals with hearts and rainbows and stars on their bellies have carried over from my generation to my little girl's. I guess that's how my mom felt about me and Barbies (although Barbie got much skankier in my generation), or Andy's dad felt about his boys and toy cars. I love that Ava is finding so much joy in toys that once brought me the same joy. Some moms pass on words of wisdom, recipes, talents to their daughters... I pass on Care Bears.

Stay Squishy...

P.S. The pics are of Jax and his first encounter with LionHeart (looks like he's gonna fight him) and Ava with Hugs-a-Lot. Before you ask, no, I did not cut her hair. It's still beautiful and long and curly at the ends. It's just tucked in her shirt.

Why We Did It...

So, we did it! We've joined the rest of modern civilization and created a family blog. I'm not sure why the delay. This seems like something we would have done a long time ago. Okay, maybe something Bek would have done a long time ago. Andy, not so much. Well, now it almost seems a necessity. We've moved from our families and thought this was the perfect way to keep them updated without having to pick up the phone. You remember the phone right? Fits in your hand, sometimes rectangular, sometimes in the shape of a football, sometimes a banana. You know, we used it before e-mail and text message. Ahhh, it was a simpler time.

Anyway, we created the blog for our families and friends. Despite the fact that Andy's parents are horribly technologically un-savvy, we thought we'd do it anyway. Maybe it'll serve as motivation for Mom & Dad K to throw caution to the wind... and their typewriter too, and figure out how to use that confounded computer thing-a-ma-jig sitting in Dusty's old room.

So, here we are. We've been in Provo now for almost two months. Wow! Two months. Andy started school this week and is already swamped with homework. It was so nice to have him home for the summer, especially right after Jax was born, but now I've gone back to being an almost-single parent. Ava misses him terribly when he's gone. She asks several times a day when Daddy will be home from school or if she can go visit him. You should see the look on her face when she hears his keys in the door. Priceless!

Jax, well, Jax is HUGE! He's quite the chunky little monkey. He turned three months old on the 28th and is already tipping the scales at a whoppin' 18 pounds. I swear, I see other babies his age (you know the ones who haven't smashed the weight percentile charts to smithereens) and I think to myself, "Wow! Jax could eat that baby." But, oh my goodness, he's so cute. He wears all the rolls and chunk so well. I can't imagine him any other way. And his smile... it melts me. He doesn't just smile with his mouth, his whole face smiles. He's such a happy, sweet baby. We're two for two in the great baby department!

Alright, that's enough for now. We'll be back for more very soon.

Stay Squishy...