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.

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


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 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!!!! 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.

Gotta get pictures up...

I haven't had much time to blog this week. I could roll out a list of excuses, but I'll spare you my lame, and likely whiny, reasons for my absences from blogging and just get to the good stuff.

I'll try to quickly sum up the week. However, I'm giving you fair warning that my "quickly" is not equal to the average human being's concept of quickly. I'm a talker, which means subsequently, I'm a novelist. Or so it seems.

So, our week has been jam-packed with school, tests and grading for Andy. Kids, boards, bows and a teething baby for Bekah. Ballet, birds, crafts and exceptional and repeated use of the word "no" for Ava. And, last but certainly not least, teething, tooting, eating and rolling for Jax.

The kids and I haven't seen a ton of Andy this week. His school schedule is either picking up, or we're finally getting an actual glimpse of what the next two years will be like. There were days this week when they didn't see Daddy until dinnertime. If Ava doesn't see Andy before he goes to school, she is quick to ask his whereabouts when she wakes up. And Jax always gives Daddy a giant, gummy grin when he comes home. And then he vomits on him.

This has actually been a slow week for me, business-wise. It's good and bad. Good, because it's allowed me the opportunity to work on some new products and designs and get a little bit more done around the house. Bad, because no business means no money. C'est la vie. It's going to pick up here in the next few weeks, so I should enjoy the brief lull.

Ava Grace had her first experience with Utah snow Wednesday. We didn't get a ton at our house, but enough to leave a nice blanket on our car. As Jax napped she and I went out and played in it and attempted to catch snowflakes on our tongues. However, I'm sure anyone who might have captured a glimpse of us, tongues hanging out, probably thought we had some,well, mental issues. There I was, my short stumpy tongue, barely making it past my lips, doing my very best to give the snowflakes something to land on. And Ava, oh, sweet, uncoordinated Ava tried to chase after the snowflakes with her tongue (which, by the way, is longer than her mother's) so, she looked...uh... special. But who cares! She was laughing the whole time! Eventually though, the cold became a little much for the little "flatlander," as Ralphie would say, and she hightailed it inside and had her first cup of real hot cocoa... well, half hot cocoa, half cold milk. As for the "no" thing... she's just testing out the waters; seeing just how much she can get away with with Mommy and Daddy. She's quickly learning, not too much! The "no-ing" seemed to have peaked early in the week, but after discovering that it's not gonna fly with the parental units, it already seems to be tapering off. She's a smart girl.

The view from our front window

Thursday was ballet day. Ava's favorite day of the week. Honestly, I'm already seeing a developmental improvement in her. She's becoming so much more comfortable with her feet, rhythm, etc. She's my little Prima Ballerina.

Jax is a sitting man now! He's been "sitting" for about a month now, but only for about 20 seconds before toppling over. Now, he can sit for long periods of time, which he loves because it allows him to be a little more at Ava's level, which means he can play with her... which means, the Battle of the Toys is looming. He's also quite the roly-poly. I'm telling you, I'll lay him on the floor, turn my back, and when I turn back, he's several feet away from me. It doesn't take the little speedster long to get across the room either. We joke that his round body shape is conducive to effective rolling techniques. I don't think it will be long before he's crawling, either. He tries so hard to scoot himself while playing on his belly. Ava loves to put things just out of his reach and "encourage" him to try to get it. And, boy does he try! He get's his little legs pumping so hard, and he gets the most determined look on his face. Soon enough, buddy.