Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scrumptious Success

Today was it -- BAKE SALE DAY! After spending yesterday elbow deep in chocolate, batter and cookies we were excited for today to finally arrive.

We started the bake sale at 9a.m. with two long tables full of baked goods. I am so impressed by the families in our ward who donated their time and their baking skills for this cause! Really, these tables were full, so full as a matter of fact, that we had to put some of the items off to the side until we had room for them. It's a good thing too because the flow of traffic to our little bake sale stayed pretty consistent the entire time we were out there! In the end, we raised $313.25 for the church's relief efforts in Haiti. Not too shabby when you consider we were selling items for only 50 cents a piece.
Satisfied customers -- the kids' buddies Noah and Max (I love all the chocolate on Max's face!)

Ava and her cousin Annmarie (Andy's cousin Candace's daughter) bringing in the traffic

Ava, Jess and me near the end of the bake sale

I am so humbled by this experience. I know it was "just" a bake sale, but it felt so wonderful to give my time to raise money for people in need. I have had trials in my life, but I have never been violently torn from my home by a natural disaster, separated from my family and left wondering if they're still alive. I have never had to withstand such a tragedy and I doubt I ever will. I feel so blessed to live in this country and to enjoy the every day comforts given me. I'm grateful for the wonderful people who stopped by our little bake sale, some of whom would buy a few dollars worth of treats, hand us a $10 or a $20 and tell us to keep the change. I'm grateful for everyone who baked, helped set up and held signs, because while it may not seem like much it was a great help! I'm thankful for my good friend, Jessica who helped me plan this whole shindig! She made signs and announcements, and sacrificed a Saturday with her family as she helped set up/clean up and everything in between! But most of all, I'm grateful for my little Ava. It was her desire to help the people of Haiti that sparked the bake sale. It was an almost four-year-old little girl who inspired me to take action. I'm pretty amazed by her!

What an amazing experience! I'm excited to put all this money in an envelope so Ava can give it to our Bishop tomorrow. From there, he'll send it where it needs to go to ensure it makes it to Haiti. My heart is so full right now!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Help for Haiti Bake Sale!!

As I looked through the paper one day, Ava caught a glimpse of one of the tragic pictures from Haiti. Concerned, she asked why the people were so sad. So, as gently as I could I explained the earthquake and it's affects to an obviously saddened little girl. She immediately announced, "We should help them." I had been having the same thought since news of the earthquake broke, but our funds are limited and I wasn't sure I had anything to offer. But, seeing the look on Ava's face and recognizing that this was an opportunity to teach her a valuable lesson about service, I knew I had to find a way to help that would not only involve Ava, but be meaningful to her. The first thought that popped into my head -- BAKE SALE! So, I enlisted the help of a good friend and sisters from our ward and together we've put together what will surely be a DELICIOUS bake sale!

(this sign was donated by the good people at Kinko's)

If you're in the Provo area, it's this Saturday (30th) from 9am-1pm at the LDS church on 800 N. 700 W. -- just follow the delightful aroma of home-baked goodies.

ALL proceeds will go to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Haiti Relief Effort

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Hawk

Poor Jax. Poor, poor Jax. The kids is adorable, absolutely adorable but he has a mom who is always saying, "Wouldn't it be cute if..." As in, wouldn't it be cute IF I made him wear this goofy hat. Or wouldn't it be cute IF I gave him a spoonful of peanut butter just so he can smear it all over himself and I can get a good photo? I'm not saying I've done that... okay, I have. Totally NOT worth the clean-up. Anyway, at night as I get Jax ready for bed, we wash his hands and face which always includes me putting water in his hair and styling it in strange ways. Sometimes he has spikes, sometimes I slick it back, but mostly I put it in a mohawk. Well, one night, Jax decided he liked the mohawk so much he ran in and showed Daddy. Andy laughed and declared how cute it was, Ava called him "Fire Baby" (because his hair looked like fire) and he was sold on the mohawk. The next day, when I told him it was time to do his hair pointed to his head and said, "HAWK!" How could I deny him spiky hair when he asked like that? He was so proud of his "hawk" that he made us all touch it -- walking up to each of us, putting his head down and ramming his hawk into our hands. The kid is cute no matter the hairstyle, but I gotta admit, I'm a fan of THE HAWK!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Dead Dinosaurs

I can't express enough how much our kids love dinosaurs right now. It's a constant topic of discussion at our house. Ava has even decided to trade in her "Princess and the Frog" birthday party for a dinosaur one. That's saying something.

Ava's little friend A.J. from her dance class really likes dinos too, so we capitalized on their new obsession and took a trip to the dinosaur museum. A.J. had never been and this was our third trip, so Ava served as the tour guide. I'm very impressed by how well she remembers (and pronounces) the names of dinosaurs and little facts about them. However, at one point we came across one that neither of us had heard of to which she exclaimed, "A.J., that's just a big dead dinosaur. Let's move on." Well said.

This time around was especially fun for Jax because he was big enough to play with most of the exhibits.

The favorite was the water play area. It's full of sand, water and little plastic dinosaurs. It's like a kid's dream! Ava and A.J. confiscated all the plastic trees and made a forest for their dinosaurs to roam in.

Jax just hoarded as many dinosaurs as he could in his giant man-hands.

It was all fun until Jax got a bunch of sand in his eye. But, he was such a trooper as I held him down and stuck my finger into his eye to retrieve the sand. However, this wouldn't be the first time I had to do this. Read on...

A giant scale that compared their weight to a dinosaur's.

Hangin' out on Protoceratops.

Ava and her very favorite dinosaur, Triceratops... or what's left of him.
This is what he gives me when I ask him to smile. Goofball!
The girls kept calling this guy "Bruce," as in the name of the shark in Nemo. Jax just kept saying, "Big... Shark!"

And for the grand finale, the dig! A giant mock-dig site where the kids make like paleontologists and use little brushes in search of bones.

As one might assume, this is also where Jax got MORE sand in his eye. He got sick of all the digging business and thought throwing sand to be much more appealing. However, his plan backfired when he tossed a handful of sand right into his eye. He wasn't so calm about it this time around, screaming, wiggling and using his sand-covered hands to rub his sand-infested eyes. It did not go well. After a few minutes I got most of it out, but when we got to the car I noticed his eye was red and swollen. I was prepared to take him to the doctor, but at some point in the car he began crying and within a few minutes the swelling had gone down. Problem solved.

We love this place! It's fun and education and satiates my kids' need for all things dinosaur. I wonder if they have something like this in Vicksburg, MS. I'm not counting on it!

Pretty Play Date

Most of Ava's friends are boys. It's not that she gravitates toward boys it's just that most of my friends have boys, and, let's be honest, when kids are this age they don't necessarily choose their friends... it's us moms who choose OUR friends and the kids play together by default :) However, Ava is getting to the age where she is beginning to want GIRL friends. She loves her little boy friends and they always have a good time, but unfortunately for her, princesses and dress-up are not games said boys are willing to play (or that their dads want them playing). So, our little princess has been asking me for quite some time to set up a play date with one of the girls in her primary class. When I say asking, I mean begging... repeatedly. The moms and I had talked about it, but never took action. Finally, Sunday I became proactive and invited Ava's little friend Eva (pronounced Ava) for a scheduled playdate Monday morning. Our Ava was thrilled, but oddly nervous. She asked me Sunday night what she should play with Ava and if Ava would like her toys. It was actually sweet that she was so concerned with being a good hostess.

So, Monday rolls around, Eva, her mom and little sister arrive and the playing begins. Eva's sister is about six months older than Jax, so he was excited to have someone his own size around. The Ava's got right to business getting out the kitchen toys and playing a very creative version of "Don't Spill the Beans." Somewhere along the way the dress-up box was opened and its contents strewn across the room. Here's the thing about the dress-up box, it's full, I mean tutus-sticking-out-of-it full, so there are plenty of options. Of the options there are two that Ava isn't quite ready to share: her Dorothy dress from Halloween and her fairly new Snow White dress. These are the dresses she rotates wearing for Quiet Time every day. I know how attached she is to them, but her friend didn't, which created a little little girl tension. I had to think of a way to move their focus out of the dress-up box and I found myself uttering words I swore I never would, "Do you want to put make-up on?" WHAT?! I was a little shocked at myself, but seeing the immediate excitement that poured out of the girls, I knew I couldn't take it back. So, into my closet I went and got a bunch of samples from my days selling Mary Kay. I lined up eyeshadows, blush and lip gloss for the girls, along with their respective application devices. They immediately dove right in and went to work painting their faces.

How does this stuff work?

Ava applied eyeshadow to this one eye for a good five minutes.

The finished product!

I tell you, those little squares of make-up have magical powers! They brought joy and peace and fancy faces to our little home, AND kept the girls occuppied for close to an hour. They scraped every last shimmer of blush and eyeshadow from the strips and applied and reapplied lip gloss until their lips were so slick they could have slid right off their pretty little faces. My only regret was giving them purple eye shadow because it ended up looking like I had clocked them both in the eyes. But they didn't care, they were so happy. It was cute to watch Ava posing and admiring herself in the mirror, batting her eyelashes and making kissy faces. But here's the thing, now she thinks it's an everyday occurrence. I told her she could play make-up the next time we have a play date, to which she replied, "Well then can we have a play date everyday?" I fear I've created a monster.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Bedtime Battle

How do little boys know how to make gun noises and throw balls rocket-fast and wield swords without anyone teaching them to do so? Boys just come with an innate ability to be soldiers and trucks, daredevils and knights in shining armor. Even at 19 months, Jax is such a boy. Tonight as we got the kids ready for bed he found Ava's plastic sword and began waving it around making this noise as he did it, you know, like a sword slicing through the air really fast. From there, he moved on to impaling his dad and growling at him victoriously with each attack. Ava, seeing what fun her brother was having quickly grabbed her pink light saber, and well an epic bedtime battle began.

First they both just waved the swords at each other, then discovered what fun it was to clink them together, then they lightly tagged each other with them, which turned into Ava accidentally whacking her brother in the head... of which I just happened to catch a picture.

Jax, being the gentleman he is, slowly placed the sword down rather than seeking vengeance and knocking his sister's block off. As I consoled our little knight, Ava grabbed the sword handed it to Andy and said, "Daddy, since Jax is dead you can have his sword." Apparently, she knows a little more about midieval history than presumed. Jax didn't seem to mind, he moved on to lining up trains...

while his sister continued to poke him with the sword.

If this really were midieval times, I wonder which of our children would be the white knight and which would be the dark knight.... hmmmmm....

Monday, January 18, 2010

These Kids Crack Me Up!

I don't have any pictures to post {Sorry} but I do have some funny little stories about the kids.

We'll start with the most recent. Both Ava and Jax have been having a hard time being away from me. It started after we returned from vacation, which I can totally understand. They were away from home for two weeks, sleeping in four different beds and constantly on the go. They got all out of whack. Anyway, tonight when I put Ava to bed I told her I was going to the gym -- that was a BIG mistake! She went into a panic and began crying almost uncontrollably. I gave her a hug, a kiss and my pillow and explained why I needed to go to the gym. That didn't seem to help, but I knew I needed to go, so downstairs I went. About five minutes later I hear her crying/yelling, "I can't calm down! I'm all worked up! I can't stop!" I wondered what prompted this, so I went upstairs and hear Jax from his room saying, "TOP! TOP!" which is how he says "STOP!" It appears the little dude just wanted some peace and quiet to sleep in. I couldn't help but laugh at them "arguing" through the wall.

Jax thinks it's HILARIOUS to try to eat my feet. My feet are ultra-ticklish, so when he gets them I squirm and shriek which only increases his attempts to insert my foot into his mouth. A few days ago as he attacked my "tootsies" as he calls them, I accidentally kicked him. Not hard, but enough to stop him in his tracks. Now, he knows that kicking and hitting aren't allowed in our house so, with his most serious face he said, "No! No!" then pointed to the stairs and announced, "My-mout" (TIME OUT) which is where hitters and kickers go in our house. At least he knows, right?

Speaking of the mancub, he has become quite the little helper! He is always so good about picking up toys when it's time to clean-up, but the best part is, I usually don't have to ask him. Just tonight, as I picked up puzzle pieces he walked right over and began helping me, all on his own. And I can almost count on him helping me unload the dishwasher, unasked. Usually, as I put the top rack dishes away, he'll pull out the bottom rack and begin putting the silverware in its drawer. He can't actually see into the drawer so he just drops everything in. But, I never go in and correct it because I want him to know just how much I appreciate his effort. Sweet little man!

Ava has been great about keeping her room clean lately! We had a little issue last week and some important toys had to go to time-out. That night, I explained to her that it's important we try to keep our house tidy, because we want our home to be like a temple -- clean and a place where the Spirit can abide. That really struck a note with her, so since then, she's been so wonderful about cleaning her room and is always asking for jobs to do around the house.

On another Ava note, she says the funniest things --- don't all parents say that about their kids? We've made it a habit to read each night from the "Friend" (it's an LDS magazine for kids). This month's mag includes a story about a little boy who chose to ignore another little boy who had called him mean names. After the story, as is standard, Ava and I discussed. I explained to her why the boy chose to ignore the mean kid, rather than retaliate. So, I ask, "what would you do if someone called you a mean name." "Ignore him," she replied. "What else?" I ask. Now, I should stop here and say that I fully expected her to say something like, "walk away" or "tell him that hurts my feelings" but instead, my sweet, non-violent little girl says, "I could, well, I could kick him or something." Oh my heck, I tried so hard not to laugh but I couldn't help it. She totally caught me off guard. After composing myself we talked about why kicking probably wasn't the best choice. She decided she would only kick pirates, big bugs and bad guys.

So there you have it, just a few little stories to give you a glimpse of what I enjoy every day. Who needs TV or other forms of entertainment when I have my own little sitcom/circus/drama/excitement right here?

Friday, January 15, 2010

She Really Wants a Sister

Ava loves her baby brother, but she really wants a sister. She asks me atleast once a week when she'll have a sister, if she'll ever have a sister, and what we should name her (right now, she's leaning toward Ella). There have been times in stores when she'll choose things to buy for her "baby sister" which leads other shoppers to look at her, then Jax, then my belly. It's always very awkward.

The other day, I asked Ava to play with Jax for a bit while I folded laundry (which is impossible with Jax around). About 10 minutes in I hear her giggling like a madwoman as she directed Jax to "stay still" and "put your arm in here." Then, I hear her excitedly "whisper" (if you know Ava, you know how unwhispery her whispers are) "Go show Mama." Next comes the pitter patter of Jax's feet and he comes bounding into my room with an impish smile slapped across his adorable little face. Oh my heck, I don't think I've laughed that hard in a LONG time! Of course, I immediately had to parade Jax downstairs so Andy could get a glimpse of his boy.

Now, it's your turn!

In his defense, I don't think he had any idea what his sister had actually done to him. He simply referred to the crown as his hat and when I asked him what the things were on his back he said, "Bee! Buzz, buzz!"

Ava isn't getting a sister anytime soon, lucky for her her baby brother doesn't mind playing dress-up... at least for now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas Day -- Rocks, Poop and the Park

I promise I will get around to posting the Christmas morning pictures soon, atleast I'm actually posting from Christmas Day now!

We spent December 25th in Phoenix at my parents' house. And I gotta say, good choice by us. The weather was AMAZING! It was in the high 60's and sunny most of the time we were there. As a matter of fact, while our friends in Utah were shoveling snow, we were out on a family hike -- WITHOUT jackets!
Andy, my brother Ben and my dad carrying Jax

My guys

Digging for rocks

We did a lot of exploring and by the time we hiked back down the trail my pockets were full of rocks the kids had discovered. Another of Ava's discoveries? POOP! The trail we hiked on is frequented by people on horseback and, well, horses poop. Each time Ava came across a dropping she felt inclined to inspect it (with her eyes, of course) and announce what she thought the horse may have eaten that day. Here's Andy, Ava and G-Ma perusing the poo.

After our hike, my dad and Andy took the kids to the park while my mom and I made Christmas dinner. The kids love going anywhere with G-Pa, so despite their tired eyes and hungry tummies, they played their hearts out at the park.

We had such a wonderful time spending the week with my parents and can't wait to see them again in a few months!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I'm a sucker! Every year, I give in to commercialism and buy Ava a pretty new Christmas dress. Does she need it? NO! Does she have a gazillion other dresses? YES! But, there's just something about a fancy new Christmas dress that I just love. I smile when I see Ava touch it and stroke it delicately as it sits on a hanger, or the way she dances in front of the mirror once it's on, or spins for Daddy as he tells her just how beautiful she looks. She's always adorable, but I especially love her in a Christmas dress. And while Jax doesn't twirl around or admire himself in the mirror, I gotta say he looked pretty darn handsome in the outfit G-Ma bought him this year. He loved his little jacket and kept pointing to it saying, "Daddy!" because Daddy has one too. Here's my fancy little kiddos who, I might add, are just as cute in play clothes and lunch all over their faces!

(I should add that Jax was not at all interested in having his picture taken and was pretty annoyed that I made him close his dump truck book so he could pose with his sister).


I'm kinda jumping all over the place, blogging about the present and now back to our Christmas vacation. I still need to get the Christmas pics up, but before I tackle that big job, I wanted to post some photos from our family bowling outing. A fun time for all! So fun, as a matter of fact that all the menfolk stayed behind to play another game while the moms, grandmas and kids went back home for lunch.

A Big Week

As if vacation weren't exciting enough, it's been a pretty stellar week in our house.

First things first, Ava started Primary this past Sunday -- she's a Sunbeam!! In our church, children attend nursery from 18 months - the January after they turn three. Once they're three and January hits, they go to Primary (Sunday School) which is broken down by age group. The youngest Primary kids are called Sunbeams. Ava has been patiently waiting to be a Sunbeam since the day she turned three. Many of her friends turned three late 2008, so they got to move up in January 2009. But, because her birthday is in March, she had to wait almost a whole year. Once December hit, I began preparing her for Primary -- how we act, what we do when we want to ask a question, etc. So, once Sunbeam Sunday finally rolled around, she was ready. She walked into the Primary room, sat next to some of her little friends, gave me a kiss and told me I could go to my class. After church I wanted the full report on her first day of Primary and she told me she got to say the opening prayer in front of all the Primary children IN THE MICROPHONE! Oh my goodness, she was so excited! I gotta say, so was I!

In other Ava news, she finally got to ride her brand new bike outside! Jax and I accompanied her for a few laps around the block (me on foot, Jax in the stroller). Ava maneuvered all the corners and sidewalk bumps like a pro, and even kicked it into high gear to show me her "super speed." We were out for about a half an hour, Ava smiling the whole time. It wasn't until she pedaled into our driveway that she realized just how cold she was (it was about 20 degrees out) and began yelling, "My hands are freezing! I can't feel my hands!" Next time, she'll wear gloves.

Jax was in desperate need of a haircut, and I was in desperate need of professional help. The kid will not let me cut his hair. He wiggles, he screams, he freaks out about the clippers. I've given him some pretty bad haircuts since I began cutting his hair just seven months ago. So, I decided to take him to a cute little place called Cookie Cutters. It's actually a hair cutting place devoted to kids. What an ingenious idea! Rather than chairs, the kids sit in some sort of vehicle. Jax chose a blue car that actually beeped and Ava chose a pink car (of course). As the stylists cut, the kids got to watch a movie OF THEIR CHOOSING. Jax chose "Cars" (DUH!) and Ava chose "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" (Double DUH!). I wasn't too worried about Ava, she's had her hair cut before. So, I focused most of my attention on the little dude. He seemed okay in the car, until the guy came at him with clippers, that's when he frantically began saying, "No. No. No. Out. All done." When I informed Weston (Jax's cutter guy) that Jax was afraid of the clippers he busted out an ultra-quiet pair, and some bubbles (with a screwdriver shaped bubble wand) for Jax.

After that, the mancub was fine. He sat quietly, honked his horn, blew some bubbles and laughed when Lightning McQueen jumped over the wreckage of cars and stuck his tongue out Michael Jordan-style. How great is that?! I am totally sold on Cookie Cutters!

After their cuts. Ava had about two inches cut off, Jax looks like such a little boy now and less like a baby!

And speaking of Jax, the big boy is done with his binky!!! He hasn't used it at bedtime or naptime all week, as a matter of fact, he hasn't even asked for it. He was pretty attached to that thing when it came time to sleep, so I was pretty surprised by how easily he gave it up. But, quite possibly the biggest news of all is that he has peed on the potty twice now! Every time I change his diaper he tells me he wants to "go potty." So, I take him in, he for about 15 seconds then says, "All done!" But THIS time, he came at me saying, "Potty! Potty!" So, I took him in and sure enough he had to go potty! I, of course, began cheering and clapping. Jax barely even cracked a smile. He had no clue what the big hoopla was about and simply got off the potty, washed his hands and went back to his normal business. Then, the next morning as I was getting him dressed I asked if he needed to go potty, he said yes, and he did! Now, I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched and going out and buying "Thomas the Tank Engine" undies just yet, but the prospect of having him potty trained soon is just so exciting! Ahh, to have NO diapers in our house for a while... that's a happy thought!

Obviously, this is NOT where Jax went potty, but I couldn't resist this picture I took last week of Jax literally sitting on the pot!

So many exciting events in one week, I just wish Andy could have been here for it all! He returned home last night after a week in Mississippi, visiting the lab where he'll be working in a few months. He thinks he's really going to like it there and is even more excited about his job than before. He met some nice people, toured Vicksburg and even saw a Piggly Wiggly! Ahhh, the South.