Thursday, September 24, 2009

Writing Letters

Ava has been very interested as of late in learning to write. She began writing her name right around her third birthday and went through phases of wanting to write, wanting to scribble and wanting to write again. But these past few weeks are the most consistent she's been in her desire to write and I must say she's caught on quickly. She can now write all of her letters, although she needs a little help with 'G','S' and 'Z'. Almost daily she asks me to help her write a letter to someone.

This is the first she wrote on her own (with my help with the G and P) a few weeks ago (G-Pa is my dad):


I have more pictures of recent letters she's written, but they are in the mail to grandparents and I want them to be the first to see them.

It's so cute to watch Ava sit with her little black and white composition book (25 cents well spent) and write letters. She'll ask me how to spell a word and then I see her focus intently and then pop her head up and ask for the next letter. Maybe she'll take after her mama and be a writer. I just can't let Andy get his hands on her or she'll be writing mathematical symbols :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

IT'S BABY TIME!!!

HA! Made you look! It's not baby time for us, but for the animals at the Hogle Zoo.

We took a little family outing Saturday to one of Ava's favorite places -- the zoo. We went last year when Jax was very young, but this time he could really appreciate it.

I was checking out the zoo's website the other day and saw that it has experienced quite the baby boom: giraffe, elephant, tigers, snow leopard, crocodile. Since Ava's favorite animal is a giraffe and Jax is all about elephants these days I thought we better go see these new babies ourselves.




Baby Zuri was born August 10. The kids couldn't get enough of her. Unfortunately I didn't get great pictures of her, but you MUST check out this video on her official blog. It's adorable!

http://www.babyzuriblog.com/

And here's the kids doing their best elephant impressions.


video

The baby giraffe was next on our list, although it's quite the trek from the elephant encounter to the giraffe area so we made a few stops along the way to visit the rhinos, monkeys and few other critters.
Oh, but the look on Ava's face when she caught view of the giraffes was priceless.





As soon as she saw the baby she immediately ran over and began calling to it, "Come here baby giraffe, come on." She even starting patting her leg and clicking her tongue, like you would when calling a dog or a horse. Unfortunately, the baby giraffe has not been to obedience school because
he did not come, despite her beckoning.

After a few minor breakdowns (it had been a long day) we made our way over to the tiger exhibit to check out the babies.




I have such a hard time getting them to look at the camera at the same time!


We thought these drinking fountains were hilarious! Until Andy told Ava she was drinking lion drool. She stopped drinking for a few seconds and then turned to him and said, "No, it's water. I can taste it with my own mouth!"

Oh, one more thing. How can I forget? The zoo currently houses a Madagascar exhibit, where you can find a Fossa. A what-a? I had never heard of it either? But apparently it's a major predator on Madagascar. You'd never know by looking at the thing. It just looks like a house cat on steroids. It was pretty skittish, which Jax loved.


video

Saturday, September 19, 2009

HAPPY WEEKEND

Jax's newest favorite place to be....

UP HIS NOSE!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kickin' It

I wish I had pictures to go along with this blog post. But, unfortunately, I don't. So, my attempts at storytelling will have to suffice.

Ava had her first soccer "game" last night. Really, it was just her team split in two playing against each other. However, to the kids it was a real game with throw ins and kick offs and goalies and everything. Up until this point, these kids had never actually played with one another since they're paired up with a parent at practice. Do you see where I'm going with this? So, there they were, 16 little soccer players chasing after the ball like a swarm of bees after the kid who just stole their honey. I cheered to Ava from the sidelines, "Go get the ball." So she did. She attacked the ball, stopped it under her foot, with all the other children surrounding her and in her firmest voice, arms out to her sides she announced, "Back away kids. I have the ball. This is my ball." And there she stood for a good 20 seconds, not going anywhere, just protecting the ball with her foot. Her coach told her we had to share to which she replied, "They can go get their own balls." As the other parents chuckled, her coach looked desperately at me so I ran onto the field and whispered into her ear that the ball was for everyone to play with. Feeling a little embarrassed, I think, by all the laughter she burst into tears and ran off the field. It hadn't occurred to me that she wouldn't realize that soccer was a team sport. We have gone to watch local high school games, but she had never had to share the ball herself. So, after a little pep talk I told her to run back on the field and kick the ball as hard as she could. Within a minute she was back on my lap tears running down her face. "That boy pushed me." Another thing that hadn't occurred to me. Ava is hyper-sensitive, and there's nothing wrong with that. In any other circumstance it wouldn't be okay for a boy to push her (really, the little boy just bumped into her because, let's face it, there wasn't a whole lot of coordination out on that field), but on the soccer field it happens. So, I explained to her that with so many kids people were bound to get bumped and push, but just to be tough and focus on kicking the ball. So, she wiped her eyes, shook it off and reluctantly ran back onto the field. Her coach, recognizing she just needed to have some contact with the ball let her kick the next goal kick. And that was that. She kicked it as hard as she could, I cheered, she smiled he widest smile... and then ran off the field. This time though, she was so excited that she wanted to give me a hug. "Okay Mom, I gotta go play more soccer." So, she bounced back on to the field. I was so proud of her, she ran with the boys, chased the ball and got some great kicks in. For awhile she kept running off the field to hug me. But, after a few times she realized it was more fun on the field and there she stayed except for the occasional water break. I cheered as loud as I could for her (Andy, unfortunately, was at school) and smiled just as big as she did each time she kicked the ball or threw it in.

At the end, she made friends with a little girl on her team named Sadie. Both were pretty worn out and decided rather than running up and down the field chasing after a ball like the rest of the suckers, they'd stand in the middle of the field and chat. It was hilarious! The looked like a couple of teenagers laughing and making large animated gestures. When their coach told them to move (as in run after the ball) they simply moved to the side of the field out of the action, and continued their conversation.

As we left the field Ava told me it was her favorite day at soccer. I asked her what she liked best and she told me that she was proud because she kept trying, even after she got pushed. That's my girl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Collapse of the Bedtime Rules

After posting my last blog entry I went upstairs to get ready for bed. As I approached the top of the stairs I noticed a strange smell. Once I reached the top landing, there was no mistaking it. VOMIT. There were only two possible options as to who the spewer might be, but I already knew.

A few hours before, as I put Ava to bed she complained that her stomach hurt. I gave her a little tummy medicine and sent her back to her room. Here's the thing: Ava's tummy always hurts around bedtime. That's her excuse for getting out of bed and dragging out the waking hours as much as possible. If it's not her tummy, it's her head. However, the mystery pain usually subsides when I mention that we can't go to dance/soccer/friend's house the next day if she isn't feeling well. Then, miraculously, the illness goes away. So, tonight, I figured she was up to her usual antics. So, armed with medicine in her belly, four goodnight kisses and five goodnight hugs I told her I loved her and that she had to stay in her room. Being the obedient little girl she is, she did... even after throwing up ALL OVER her bed.

So, fast forward a few hours. I smell the smell, move quickly to her room and see her tiny body slouched over her bed surrounded by and covered in dinner, in reverse.

The sight of my sweet girl, covered in vomit, caused a horrible feeling to come over me. A feeling of complete and utter remorse and failure. A feeling that I am the worst mom in the world. I didn't believe my daughter when she said she didn't feel well and as a result, I was giving her a bath at one in the morning to remove the throw-up crusted in her hair and on her body. I asked her why she didn't tell me she had to throw up and she responded, "Because you told me not to come out of my room unless I had to go potty." Broke my heart.

As I write this, Ava is next to me slowly munching on a banana. She says she doesn't feel well, and I believe her. Tomorrow, I think we'll have to amend our bedtime rules.

My Obsession

I've got the bug and I've got it bad.

All I want to do is SEW! That's right -- ME! I want to sew. There I said it. I find myself constantly perusing the internet for fabric or tutorials. It's really become an obsession. Actually, not an obsession --- a passion. I love it! I love how pieces of fabric come together to make, as of late, dresses for Ava. Eventually, I will attempt boy clothes. In the meantime I will continue to outfit my daughter in Mama Originals.

Here's the most recent.

Up until now, I've just been making sleeveless dresses and putting cute little shirts on under them (how many white short-sleeved shirts does one little girl need? ALOT!). But, this is my first attempt at sleeves. And I must say, not nearly as scary as I anticipated. I learned a few tricks for the next time around, but overall, not too bad.

I have another dress I hope to work on this weekend (assuming I get all caught up with orders). And then it's on to Christmas presents. Ava loooooves her kitchen. Lately, we've been playing restaurant alot. So, I found several tutorials for making felt food and hope to have said food under the tree Christmas morning. I better start now.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

No Explanation Needed

These are just some cute pictures I recently took of the kids after an extra-special treat of graham crackers and chocolate frosting.




Bath time to get rid of the layer of chocolate encrusting their faces!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

YEEHAW!

Ava wants a pet... desperately. At least a few times a week she reminds me that at some point in her life she would like a cat, a dog and/or a horse. I think we may have dodged the kitty bullet when I explained a litter box to her.

In the meantime, I try to get my animal-loving kids their four-legged/winged/furry fix by taking them to the zoo or pet store. But recently, I was introduced to a place far better -- FARM COUNTRY!

This place is great! It's a giant farm (thus the name) complete with all the standard farmyard friends, but add pony rides, a "dance hall" and "jail", vegetable gardens and I may as well have taken my kids to Disneyland because they're in heaven!


Dancing in Miss Kitty's Dance Hall

When you first walk in, you're greeted by baby chicks. Ava, of course, thought they were cute and fluffy, Jax on the other hand, squealed like a slopped pig at the sight of the little featherballs.

(Listen closely, you can hear him screaming "DUCK! DUCK!")

video

After the chickies, we went outside to see the cows and horses. Ava, adores horses and was so natural petting and speaking quietly to them. Jax stomped and jumped excitedly, and would dart his hands up to pet them before shrieking joyfully and pulling his hands away.




Llama!

This was our first trip to FARM COUNTRY. Andy had to get to work so, unfortunately, the kids didn't get to ride the ponies, which sent sweet Ava into a serious state of sadness. Not being able to bear the visual of my little girl's sad face burned into my brain, I took the kids back a few days later, but this time, with their buddy Ethan.


We went through the same routine, chicks, cows, horses and rabbits. But this time, the kids spent quite a bit of time at an indoor play area. It takes kids through the steps necessary for growing fruits and vegetables, and even provides them a "soil tunnel" to crawl through. So fun!

She was determined to pose with her baby brother!


After the play area, the moment all three had been waiting for --- THE PONY RIDE! Armed with their ride tickets Ava and Ethan waited patiently for their turns, while Jax repeatedly ran away neighing. Finally though, they saddled up. And, well, the pictures explain themselves.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playing Dress-Up

Jax is a quick little bugger. It seems that as soon as I turn my back on the little dude he's up the stairs, laughing all the way. A trip up the stairs usually means venturing into Ava's territory, much to her dismay. His favorite is bopping along to the music from his sister's 'super-duper computer' -- a cute Disney princess computer Grandma got Ava for Christmas.

CAUGHT!
(please excuse Ava's messy room, she had been playing hard in it!)

And somehow, amidst all the pink, princesses and all things girly, he finds any ball, banging thing or wild animal. It's amazing! However, every once in awhile, Ava gets her dainty little hands on him and her baby brother becomes her own personal dress-up doll. I've seen him come out of her room with crowns, necklaces and cowgirl hats. Fortunately, he's completely unaware of how socially unacceptable it is for a little boy to be prancing around in a tiara. All he knows is that his big sister, whom he adores, is playing with him.

Just the other day Ava let me in on all the dress-up fun and this is what happened:

Of course, The Little Princess...


She said I was a good witch because bad witches only wear black hats... and because I'm nice. She knows how to butter me up!


And, the royal bumblebee. Does it get any cuter?!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Soccer Day

Ava went to her very first soccer practice today. She's been looking forward to this day for weeks and couldn't stop talking or asking about it today.

The little soccer program she's in is great! It's for 3-4 year-olds and focuses on very basic skills: kicking, stopping, dribbling, throwing the ball in. Ava's team is the Seattle Sounders. They wear green shirts. I was sure she'd have a little issue with the color of her shirt, however, she told me that since her soccer shorts had pink on them she was okay. PHEW!


The kids break up into little groups and spend about 10-15 minutes at three different stations. Ava started at the kicking station where I discovered that she much prefers to kick with her left foot. We kick the ball around in the backyard on occasion, and she usually just kicks with whatever foot is closest to the ball, but today, in an organized setting lefty prevailed.

She was so cute winding her little leg up to kick her size three ball (with pink designs, of course). If the ball didn't go where she wanted it to, she simply picked it up and moved it into the position that would provide her the best shot at the goal. It was only the first practice, right? She'll get the hang of it. She did have some great kicks and even "scored" a few goals.



Her favorite activity was throwing the ball in. She did so well, staying behind the line, keeping her feet planted and using both hands to throw the ball in, and quite far I must add. While at this station, she was supposed to throw the ball in and then run onto the field, where I would kick the ball to her and she would stop it. The first few times, she used her hands to stop it. After her coach and I reminded her that we don't use our hands on the field, she got creative and began picking the ball up between her elbows. Eventually though, she got the hang of it and had some great traps with her feet.

*You can hear Jax in the background in this video. The little guy wanted so badly to play with his sister. We brought him a ball of his own, but it just wouldn't suffice because it wasn't what the big kids were using.

video

Ava was pretty pooped at the end of practice. But, told me she can't wait to go back next week. That's my girl!