Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

This is one of our Christmas pictures

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Learning from Ava

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

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

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More, Mama, Mmmmm....

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

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

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

Special Delivery

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

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

Snow, Leaves and Ava

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

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

Making a Donkey (from Shrek) with Uncle Eric

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

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

Ninja Catch!

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fun on the Freeway!

Ahhh, the man of my dreams!

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

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

So Much Catching Up to Do

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

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

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

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

Check out the ghetto booty!

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

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

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

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

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

Jax and Uncle DustyThe final touch!

It's a wonderful life!