Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween with the Little Monsters

There is way too much candy in our house right now. Not only did Ava make out like a bandit, but we didn't hand out all of the candy in our jumbo-sized bag from Costco. There's enough chocolatey, sugary goodness to send a small country on a sugar high. Thank goodness for college students. We'll be pawning a large portion of the candy stores off on Dusty. That's good sustenance for a bachelor and his roomies, right?

Anyway, on to the kids. As soon as Ava woke up this morning she was ready to jump into her Minnie Mouse costume. We compromised - she eat breakfast sans dress and ears and as soon as she was done she could wear it. I've never seen the child eat so fast. Because Ava was prancing around like a Disneyland employee, she thought it only fitting her little brother do the same. So we saddled him up in his Squirt (the little sea turtle from "Finding Nemo) costume. Holy cute!

I should seriously send a picture of the kids to Disney, they could use them in some sort of advertisement. And I could reap all the rewards. Hahahaha (evil cackle). This morning, we had to run to the fabric store, the kids in costume, of course. Every person we passed told Ava and Jax how cute they were, and every person we passed got to hear Ava's shpeel about her costume, "I told Mama I wanted the pink Minnie costume, but the Disney Store didn't have it in my size. So, I chose the red one." Then, she would hold on to the sides of her dress, give a little sway, and smile. The people ate it up... not to mention Ava LOVED all the attention. But, hey, when you're that darn cute TAKE IT ALL IN! After the fabric store, it was off to Story Time at the library with Ava and Jax's friends Dylan and Adam. As we walked, Jax began to spit-up... a lot! All over Squirt. Poor little sea turtle. I wiped him up, trying my very best to save the costume. Twenty minutes later, more vomit. By the time we got home, the costume top was pretty well soaked. I didn't worry though, because I'd just throw it in the washer, right? WRONG! It says to just wipe it with a damp cloth. Okay, Disney, don't make costumes for babies if they can only be wiped with a damp cloth, come on! I'm sure I could have just washed it and hung dry it, but it wouldn't have been dry for tonight. So, we resorted to the back-up - a Mickey Mouse costume that we happened to have on hand (long story).

The kids were adorable as Mickey and Minnie.

We went to our ward's Trunk or Treat. Ava was so excited about the candy (do I deprive my child, or what?!) that every time a tiny piece was dropped into her bag she asked, "Mama, can I eat it?" I told her she could choose a piece when we finished Trick or Treating. I've never seen a child more excited to be DONE Trick or Treating! She, of course, chose a mini-tootsie pop. She savored that little sugarball on a stick, as if it were the only one left in the universe and she, the luckiest girl in the world, had been granted the final licks. As a matter of fact, I caught her chewing on the stick because, "It still has some candy taste on it."

Jax, although he spent the night in the stroller or in mine or Andy's arms, was pretty pooped at the end of the night. Ava however, still reeling from her sugar-induced high, was a different story. When we got home, she wanted more candy. Tomorrow, I told her. "Can I sleep in my Minnie costume?" "You can wear it tomorrow." "Can I keep my nose on?" (I painted a little black one on her) "Honey, it will get all over your sheets when you sleep, but we can paint one on tomorrow." "Tomorrow, sure is a busy day," she says. I laugh, but feel a little bad because in her head she heard a lot of "no" come out of my mouth even if I never said the word. So, I let her keep her nose on. Sheets can be washed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Lovely Afternoon

Halloween is two days away and we are just carving our pumpkin. The delay was due greatly in part to Ava's inability to decide what she wanted carved into her pumpkin (a bird, a happy face, a witch, a house, a princess, a silly face) and mine and Andy's hectic schedules. I knew that we couldn't go on like this much longer or Halloween would pass and we'd finally have a carved pumpkin on our porch November 1st. It's like those people who still have their Christmas trees up in mid-January. So, I manned-up and, armed with a carving knife, a plastic scoopy thing and a couple of designs, I took the kids outside and we tore into the pumpkin. Ava never could decide on just one feature for our pumpkin, so we went with two. Why let a perfectly good pumpkin side go to waste? So, if you were to walk in front of our pumpkin you'd be greeted by a silly face, but go behind, and oh, there's a crow. We're fancy!

Ava and her pumpkin... and some leaves in her hand.

Now, if you ask Ava, she'll tell you that "WE" carved the pumpkin when in all actuality I carved, she took a few pumpkin seeds out, told me it was slimy inside the pumpkin and went about her business, occasionally asking, "Are you done yet, Mommy?" Jax, meanwhile, sat in his exersaucer on the back patio, and, promptly stuck any leaves that fell from the trees in his mouth. So, Ava's job became less about pumpkins and more about keeping her little brother from choking on a leaf. It all worked out.

After the great pumpkin carving extravaganza we pulled a blanket outside, enjoyed the gorgeous weather - sunny and 70 with a light breeze, and made leaf rubbings. However, the leaf rubbings were not nearly as interesting as the katydid crawling on our blanket. Ava watched that thing for a good half hour. We talked the whole time, of course, and it provided me a great opportunity to teach her about camoflauge, why birds eat bugs ("That's disgusting. I don't eat bugs!") and the ingredients in pumpkin pie (she wanted to know).

Checking out the katydid

It was just one of those great afternoons, playing in the backyard with my kids, looking at bugs, playing hide-and-seek. Perfect!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Food Glorious Food!

Jax is a big boy. I don't feed him anything other than good old fashioned Mama milk, but apparently I'm producing pure cream, cuz' the kid has more rolls than Cinnabon. I nurse him every three hours or so, but I've noticed in recent weeks, he still seems hungry. When we eat, he eyes our food, salivating, and wishing with all his might that his hand-eye coordination will kick in at that very moment allowing him to snag our dinner and make it his own. It seemed to me he was ready for solids. After talking to a friend, I reluctantly decided to start giving him solids when he turned five months - today. I would prefer to wait until six months (per American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation), but the kid acts like he's starving.

So, Jax had his first taste of "real" food today,

His first bite

Big Sister wanted to help!

well, he had his first taste of something other than breastmilk - rice cereal... mixed with breastmilk. Andy and I were sure he would devour it. But, much to our surprise after only a few tastes he began making "bitter beer face" and letting it run out of his mouth. After repeated attempts I gave up. So, he doesn't like rice cereal. When Ava was a baby I was told I had to start her on rice cereal, but apparently, now, it's not a necessity. Many doctors actually suggest starting babies out on fruits and veges because they don't terrorize the digestive system like rice cereal. Good to know.
Mom, what is this junk?!

I think I'll wait the extra month though. I don't think he's going to starve. The little squish definitely has enough fat stores to hold him over. And then, we'll give peas a try. I don't know though, he'll have a few teeth by then (if these darn things will ever actually come through) and Jax is a Kleinman... he may just go straight for the steak.

Haha! I'm all messy!

A Funny Conversation

I was in Ava's room this evening, while she and Andy were in the bathroom finishing getting her ready for bed, when I heard this:

AVA: Daddy is that your razor?
ANDY: Yes, that's my razor.
AVA: Do you need to shave?
ANDY: Nope, I already shaved today.
AVA: Did you shave your forehead.
ANDY: No, I'm just losing my hair.
AVA: That's too bad.

I couldn't stop laughing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finally, the Family...

This one will be quick. I just wanted to get up a picture of the four of us. We don't have very many of these because either Andy or I always has to be taking the picture, although Ava is proving to be quite the photographer. But, we wouldn't want her behind the camera because a picture without her or Jax just isn't very important!

Fortunately, my good friend Camille was on hand last night to take this photo for us. It's at my dear friend Ruth's (Camille's sister) reception in Salt Lake.

Oh, and of course, Ava's new favorite Care Bear, Funshine Bear, is now an official part of the family and since he made the trip with us to Salt Lake, we thought it only fair to include him in the picture. Okay, okay, to be honest, Ava and Funshine are a package deal these days, so we had to include him if we wanted her in the photo, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Mourning...

The news came as a shock to us today. It pierced both Andy and I in the hearts, like a hot, dull arrow. Painful, numbing, heartbreaking. We were sitting at home this afternoon, Andy home for a brief break before returning back to school. The kids were napping, we were relaxing with some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and SportsCenter. That's where we heard it. And sadly, the news didn't come from a comforting voice, nope, we had to hear it from the obnoxiously loud, I'm-sure-he-spits-when-he-talks, mouth of Dickie V. Say it ain't so...


It pains me to even type the words. We may live in Provo and Andy may attend BYU, but we are Wildcats to the death! We knew the day would come in our lifetime, I mean, the guy is 70-something, but I think a little part of us hoped that his insanely well-coifed, iconic, silver hair held some special power that gave him immortality... or atleast another NCAA Championship. But alas, it is no more. The man who made Arizona Basketball a powerhouse, is no longer at the helm.

So, now, we are in Limbo. What happens to our beloved basketball program? Only time will tell, but for the time being, we are in mourning. Don't call, don't write, nothing will console this unquenchable pain burning in our bosoms. For the time being, we'll be wearing black and spending most of our days sitting on the couch eating bonbons and Ben & Jerry's... until we feel ready to move on. Or one of the kids needs us... or Ava starts eating our ice cream... or we realize we really don't have that much black.

Okay, but we're mourning in spirit.

At the Arizona-Oregon Game in Eugene 2006

Our little WildKitten May 2008.
Pics of Jax in Wildcat gear to come. Stay tuned :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Riding the Shame Train

It's been a long time since I've been on the bus. I think the last time was in college. My car had died, both my roommates were gone, Andy was in class... all my options were exercised. The thought of riding the city bus gave me the heebie jeebies so badly that I actually considered not going to class. Seriously. I've never had a frightening experience on the bus, as a matter of fact, with the exception of some foul smelling armpits, I really don't have anything to complain about. However, when Ava recently expressed her desire to ride the bus I became a bit uneasy. But, after about 750 rounds of "The Wheels on the Bus" I caved.

So, today was bus day, and I gotta tell ya, it did nothing positive for my lukewarm feelings toward mass transit. I decided we'd ride the bus to the mall. It's a straight shot from our house and Ava really loves the Disney store. So, our destination was set. I get the kids ready and step outside. It's windy, cold, blustery and altogether miserable. "Ava, it's kinda chilly, are you sure you don't just want to drive to the mall?" I say with a hint of pleading in my voice. "It's okay Mommy, I'll get my princess jacket and a blanket for Jax." She's so thoughtful. The kids are bundled, the diaper bag is packed, we begin our journey to the bus stop. Now, before I go on, I should mention that prior to our journey I checked the "bus rules" online because I was going to have a beast of a stroller with me and I wanted to make sure the stroller, the children and I all got on the bus safely and at the same time. Strollers are, of course, okay, but you have to fold them up and stick them under a seat. The thought of this made me tense, and I'm pretty sure I felt my blood pressure spike (that's okay, it's naturally really low, thanks Dad for the good genes). So, the bus pulls up and I feel my insides do a loop-de-loop. I have visions flashing through my head of Ava getting on the bus, the door closing, and my 2 1/2-year-old taking a trip down route #850 by herself. Or, I see myself collapsing as I struggle to load my 28lb daughter, 20lb son and 20lb stroller on the bus. Snap out of it. Here we go. Jax is on my hip, Ava holds tightly to my hand. I help her up first. She immediately runs to get a great seat, "Come on Mommy, I saved you a seat." In my head I'm envisioning millions of germs attacking my daughter. Good thing I have four different kinds of sanitizer in the diaper bag. I feel Jax slipping. I do that Mommy thing where you kinda hop to hoist your kid back 0n your hip, and in the meantime, I drop the stroller. My heart is pounding. Okay, I retrieve the stroller and toss it onto the bus, literally. Jax and I climb up, I push the stroller with my feet in front of our seat. Screw the transit authority, there's no way I'm shoving this sucker under the seat. Okay, we're in - all three of us and the stroller, we're seated and here we go. Ava immediately begins singing "The Wheels on the Bus" quite loudly. People giggle, but no one joins in. Ava, obviously distraught and a little disillusioned because not everyone on the bus is singing the song that, she assumes, you're supposed to sing on the bus says, "Everybody!" I join in, but no one else does. Oh well. Ava and I provide in-flight entertainment.

The trip to the mall was only about 10 minutes. But it seemed to satisfy Ava, for the time being.

Two hours later it comes time to leave. I rush to the bus stop with the kids, remember, it's still miserable outside and the wind, which obviously has a sense of humor, is blowing right against us. I feel like I'm climbing Kilamanjaro as I push my weight into the stroller trying to get it up the small hill where the bus stop sits upon it's peak. We make it, just in time according to my watch. "The bus should be here any minute, honey." I get Jax out of the stroller, throw the diaper bag on my shoulder and fold up the stroller. Any minute now... any minute. 25 MINUTES LATER... it arrives. My kids have red cheeks from the cold, Jax is starving, Ava is wet from playing in a puddle. Strike 2, Utah Transit Authority. As we get on the bus, same struggles, but we make it. I have to say, I am shocked that on both trips no one offered to help me get the stroller in. I dunno, if I saw a woman with two kids, and the one being carried is obviously breaking her back, trying to get her stroller on a bus I would offer to help. Oh well, we made it anyway. Almost home. I pull the cord before our stop. The bus driver drives right past it. That's alright, we'll walk. As we get off the bus I start going toward one door, Ava toward the other. I put the stroller out first. Ava doesn't move. She plants her little sparkly brown shoes in the middle of the bus and won't budge. "I want to go out the other door." I know she does, but, I'm already half-way out the front door. Selfish, I know, but at this point I just want to get off this moving hell hole (okay, it's not that bad... but I have a flare for the dramatic) and get into my warm house. I sense a little meltdown coming on, so Jax still on my hip, I walk on the bus pick Ava up and walk out. "Mommy," she says in her most stern voice, "that wasn't very nice. I wanted to go out the back door. That was naughty." I apologize. She forgives me. I put the stroller back up, buckle both kids in and begin the sweet walk home.

I'm not going to lie, the bus is not my favorite. However, it could have been worse. And like I said, I have pre-conceived dislike of buses which likely magnified today's issues. Regardless, I tried to put on a happy face and make it a fun experience for Ava.

When we get home I ask Ava if she had fun on the bus, "Yes, I liked it." "Good, I'm glad." Without missing a beat she asks, "Can we ride it again tomorrow?"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Sweetest Things

Andy and I say it all the time, Ava is the sweetest little girl. She is so kind, sensitive and thoughtful. Sure, she has her moments when things are hers and only hers, when she's a bossy little sassy-pants (I don't know where she gets that from) and on occasion, she has to go to timeout. But she honestly is a great two-year-old. Knock on wood. She doesn't hit, well I take that back, she's hit a few times in her short little life and when she has, she starts crying out of remorse before I even have to say anything. She doesn't throw major tantrums. Instead, she throws what we call "fits." They're more Ava's brand of dramatics and theatrics than actual anger-induced rages. The best is when a fit comes on while we're in front of the mirror (usually when it's time to brush teeth) because she will stare at herself, watching her face contort as she cries. It's pretty entertaining for all parties involved. Anyway, she's two. She has her moments. But those moments are small in comparison to the sweet little moments that flavor our days. Today was no exception, as a matter of fact, today she was extra sweet. I mean, she was so sweet she gave me a little toothache. Here's a taste of the sugary goodness that is our Ava.

This morning, Jax was up first. He and I were downstairs doing our morning business when Ava came down and announced her awakeness (that's not a word) with a perky little "Hi Mama, I'm awake." I reply, "Hi honey, I'm happy to see you." She smiles, gives me a little hug and says, "I love you Mama."

Later, at lunchtime, as Ava was enjoying her delicious cream cheese and jelly sandwich (something my Dad introduced me to as a child) and I was cleaning the kitchen she asked, "Mama, can I help you with the dishes?" She loves to help load and unload the dishwasher, but I was about done so I told her she could help me next time. "Okay, thanks Mama." Silence for a few seconds, and then out of the blue, "Thanks Mama for making me this lunch." It was just a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, I didn't have to think twice while making it, so for her to thank me for it... ugh, it just made my heart melt.

Even later, Ava and I were watching "Dumbo" in mine an Andy's bed (Andy, of course, was watching football downstairs) when Jax woke up. I went into the chunky monkey's room, was greeted by a big gummy smile, and brought him back into my room. Jax lights up when he sees his big sister, he smiles at her and kicks his legs and flails his arm with glee. "Hi, big boy!" she says, "Mama, come lay Jax by me, I want to cuddle him." I know that someday in the near future cuddling will be out of the question for these two, so I can't resist the opportunity to see them loving on each other. Ava puts her arm around her baby brother, it's a funny sight. She's obviously taller than him, but only about eight pounds more... so from the stomach up, they look about the same size. Jax tries to eat Ava's hair. Moment over.

Tonight, as we were getting Ava ready for bed, she grasped tightly to her little "Children's Hymnbook." Whenever both hands were available or she was able to put her head down (there wasn't a toothbrush in her mouth or a brush in her hair) she would quickly flip through the pages, determination on her face, as if searching for a specific song. Finally, she stops and begins singing with great gusto, "I Am a Child of God." Before Ava was born, but was doing acrobatics in my belly, I used to pray that she would have a love of music especially hymns. I don't know what made me begin making that request to my Heavenly Father, but I just did. The day we brought her home from the hospital, I knew my prayers had been answered. As we left the hospital Ava was asleep in her carrier. Andy attempted to put her in the car delicately, but it being his first time, he failed miserably. He jostled the car seat and made loud noises as he snapped her in. But, Ava didn't move. Then, he turned the car on and the classical music station I listened to while I was pregnant came on (it's supposed to make your baby smarter). Ava woke right up, but didn't cry. She was completely calm. So, fast forward to now. Ava hears a song a couple of times and has it memorized. She sings as she plays, she sings as she eats, she sings as she pees. She knows a large portion of the songs in the Children's Hymnbook. She loves music. And she wants everyone around her to love it as much as she does. As she belted out "I Am a Child of God" tonight, she asked Andy and I to join in. We smiled at each other as she emphatically sang each word, and of course, she was standing in front of the mirror watching herself. She's sweet... and a ham. She's a honey-glazed ham.

We started this blog for our parents. I know they miss Ava and Jax terribly. They miss out on a lot of these little moments so I thought it so important to share them. This is just a miniscule glimpse into the joy Ava brings us each and every day. But, it's enough to illustrate just how awesome she is. I'm so thankful that Jax has such an amazing big sister to look up to. And I can't wait to see him grow into a little person, with a fun little personality, which, no doubt, will be greatly influenced by Ava.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ava and the Pumpkin Rejects

Going down a 30ft. slide with Daddy. Check out her expression. But she got up and went right back on it.

I told Ava last weekend we would go to the pumpkin patch. But it snowed, so this weekend, with temperatures in the 70's I had to keep my promise. So, today was pumpkin patch day. Well, not so much a patch as a giant, four-sided shelf covered in everyone else's reject gourds.

I kept seeing ads in the paper about HeeHaw Farms and all the pumpkin-hay-animal-corn festivities the place had to offer. All the children in the advertisements looked to be having a yippy-ki-yay-hee-haw of a good time. So, coming from Arizona, I'm expecting something along the lines of Young's Farm: huge, fun, fall-ish. If Young's Farm (RIP) was the pinnacle of fall festivals, then Hee Haw is more like the muddy slush at the bottom of the hill after the snow has melted. Maybe I'm a fall festival snob and I've been spoiled by Young's Farm, it's giant pumpkins and delicious food... mmm. Or maybe this place really was a little ghetto.

My feelings aside, Ava has no recollection of Young's Farm, so we were working with a clean slate and, to quote my father-in-law, she thought the place was "the bee's knees." Hay. Check. A giant pit of dried corn to play in. Check. Stinky, dirty animals to pet and freak your germophobe mother out. Check. Pumpkins. Check. Her favorite, however, was a little barrel train pulled by a tractor. Each "car" had an animal head (wooden, not real) attached to the front. Ava chose the rooster. Her other options were a sheep, goat, pig and cow. I think she made the right choice. The tractor took her into a corn maze, where she was out of our sight and we out of hers. Andy and I were prepared for her to arrive back at the "loading area" terrified... or that at some point she'd jump out of the moving vehicle and come running out of the corn maze leaving a giant Ava-sized hole in the stalks. But she surprised us. She stayed on the train the whole time. And when she came back into our sight, she was smiling. No tears, no concerned look on her face, just a big grin and a floppy little wave. Isn't it appropriate that the world's largest 4-month-old is in the pig?

After lunch (which consisted of microwaved hot dogs and a corn dog for Ava) we decided it was time to pick out the perfect pumpkin. I had visions of a perfectly round, tangerine-colored pumpkin, with a long stem that had those little curly-things hanging from it. We would tromp through the pumpkin patch, see the pumpkin and the heavens would open up and shine a light upon our glorious gourd. First of all, there was no tromping. There was no patch. Okay, there was a patch, but there were no pumpkins in it. Instead, the pumpkins sat upon shelves in front of the "patch." Okay, fine, I can choose a pumpkin off the shelve. Atleast I won't get dirt in my shoes. We begin assessing each pumpkin. They weren't round, they were lopsided and lumpy. Most of them weren't even completely orange, they had odd green blotches speckling their skin. They have pumpkin leprosy. It's a good thing my little girl has a Charlie Brown-complex. She kept choosing the sorriest of the lot - the rejects of the rejects. We finally settled on a roundish pumpkin. Although one side is flat near the bottom so our pumpkin leans a little... it's a drunk leper pumpkin. We had the intention of only bringing one home, but Ava fell in love with a little spotted one that has a split down one side and is covered in pumpkin boils. It's pretty ugly. Oh, but she loves that weird little pumpkin.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ballerinas and Raspberries

I'm slacking in my blogging duties. I promised myself I would make a concerted effort to blog daily. Well, just a few weeks as a member of the wonderful world of blogging and I've failed. So, I'm going to treat it like a diet... oops, I ate an entire chocolate cake, the diet begins tomorrow. Oops, I forgot to blog several days in a row, the attempt to blog every day begins tomorrow.

Alot has happened, it seems, since my absence from the blogging sphere. First of all, my parents came for a surprise visit. My dad worked it out with Andy but I was none the wiser. So, imagine my surprise when I answered the door on a Friday morning and my mom and dad were standing there. My dad, of course, had a camera in hand to capture the confused look on my face (as well as my bed head and general morning dishevelment). "Did you take a wrong turn?" I asked. The best reaction though came from Ava. Oh my goodness, the look on her face when she came downstairs that morning and saw G-Ma and G-Pa sitting in the living room. Her first question was, of course, "Did you bring me more Care Bears?" Priorities. She adores my dad and spent the entire weekend being a "Goof-a-roni" with him! She's even become so much more comfortable with my mom. She was so excited to show G-Ma the new vinyl on her wall and her ballet shoes. It was wonderful to see my parents, I only wish the visit didn't have to be so short. At least it will hold us over until we see them again at Christmastime.

Speaking of ballet. Ava finally started her ballet class. She is in love with ballet!! As soon as one class ends, we have to count down the days until the next (she goes on Thursdays). Wednesday nights are like Christmas Eve for her. She is so excited she has a hard time falling asleep. Thursdays she prances downstairs in her jammies, Care Bears in hand, and ballet slippers upon her little feet. The class is great! It's a "Mommy and Me" type class, geared toward toddlers and their short attention spans. The focus is primarily on helping children become comfortable with their bodies, their coordination and their toes. The songs are silly, but they're rhythmic and full of goofy little directions for the kids to follow (pretend you're going on a bear hunt, tiptoe, walk across the bridge with one foot in front of the other, etc.). Ava's favorite is the "Freeze Dance." She gets to wiggle and dance however she pleases, until, of course, the song says "FREEZE!" I love watching her dance! First of all, she's ridiculously cute!!! But most importantly, she is blissfully happy and LOOOOVES to look at herself in the giant wall mirrors!

Jax loves going to ballet too. He's enamored with his big sister, so he just follows her with his eyes. And he LOVES it when we get to dance with Ava. He smiles and giggles... and drools. As if he didn't already have enough saliva leaking out of his mouth, his new trick creates even more! He's blowing raspberries now. But it's not your typical raspberry (if there is such a thing). Sure, he gets his tongue out there some of the time, but more often, he does this weird thing with his lips. He pushes them together and blows until he gets the desired effect: a spray of spit, the raspberry noise, a laugh from his sister... It's pretty darn cute! I don't even mind that most of the time he blows them right in my face.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My To-DID list

I am so busy! It's every mom's motto. And for us, it's good, because my being busy means business is good. It's really good. As a matter of fact, it's great! Orders for signs, wall stickers, tutus and bows have been coming in on a daily basis. Orders mean money and money means we get to eat. Alright, it's not that drastic, actually we're saving up the money my business brings in for Christmas and to send Andy to China next summer. I just need a break from him, so I figure sending him to roam amongst 1.6 billion people is just the ticket. Okay, that's not true. Actually, he has the opportunity to go to China for two weeks with a group from the Engineering college to study some of the amazing structures the country houses.

Anyway, back to the crazy schedule. I've been going to bed late every night for the past week, but when I lay down it's not just my head hitting the pillow. I bring with me a TON of guilt. I feel guilty because I had to spend time, while the kids were awake, working (read past blogs about my guilt issues) and I feel guilty for everything I didn't do. I have big plans for every day, I even make a list in my head. But at the end of the day, when I mentally check things off, I realize how few checkmarks I make. So, I roll those things over to the next day, and the next day... and the next. Un-checkmarked tasks just rollin', rollin', rollin' through my head... making me a bit crazy. There are three loads of unfolded laundry sitting in my living room right now. My refrigerator needs to be cleaned out. Our room looks like a 2 1/2-year-old ran through it. Oh wait, one did. Ava's room needs curtains. Jax's room needs vinyl. The list goes on...

Tonight, as I was lamenting out loud about all I hadn't accomplished, Andy reminded me of something President Monson said at General Conference this weekend. Basically, loads of laundry will always be there, even in 20 years. Instead of worrying about the laundry, enjoy now!

So, I began making another checklist in my head, instead of the things I need to do or haven't done, I started thinking about things I DID do today...

1. Taught Ava about her sense of hearing. We've been working on her five senses. Each day I explain how each works and we do a coordinating activity. She loves it! And she understands it. Today, as I was talking to her (long after her lesson) she very methodically placed one hand over each ear and said, "Mommy, I can't hear you. I'm blocking the sound waves."

2. Worked on several custom designs for customers.

3. Played in the backyard with the kids... got my feet wet with dew and searched for leaves.

4. Sang "Patty-Cake" about a gazillion times. Jax loves it and I'm a sucker for his big gummy, cheeky smile!

5. Got the kids some winter clothes... and subsequently mentally prepared myelf, just a little more, for a Utah winter.

6. Took a nap. See above about the lack of sleep. It was necessary, otherwise, my camera could end up in the crisper... again.

7. Played puppets with Ava and Jax. I was the seahorse and the whale, Ava the shark and the bird. Jax just tried to eat them.

8. Took a quiz to find out which 90210 character I am. Hey, I didn't say I was always productive with my time. I'm Donna, by the way.

9. Made dinner. I do it every night, but it's still an accomplishment.

10. Hung out with the fam tonight.

My list of "DIDS" isn't long. I didn't accomplish, many or even one HUGE task. But all the little things add up. And when I look at the list, I realize just how many of those "DIDS" involve my family. The DID NOTS aren't people. They're inanimate objects. They'll still be there tomorrow. Well, except the laundry I'm definitely folding that tonight. But nothing will change tomorrow. My kids will. They'll be a day older. So will Andy and I. So, I'm going to live for now. That's not to say I'm going to let the dishes pile up, but instead of budgeting my time around chores and business, I'm going to budget around kids and husband. That way, my to-do list is always full of checks.