Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Real Princess

I just had to post this. After years, seriously YEARS, of wearing her crown across her forehead and years of said crown leaving impressions in said forehead, Ava has finally progressed... or at least her crown has. As of last week, she became a crown-on-her-head-where-it-belongs type of girl. That's right, no more dents in her head. The move came out of necessity after Ava (wearing her crown on her forehead) and one her friends bumped heads. The force of the bonk coupled with the crown against her bare skin actually cut Ava's forehead. From then on, the crown went on top of her head. I asked Ava if she was okay with the new placement of her crown and she replied, "Yes, because now that I'm four I can be a real princess, and real princesses wear their crowns on the top." There you have it, the official crown placement rules from a self-proclaimed official princess.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Jax, as I've told many times, is obsessed with monster trucks. He eats with them, he sleeps with them, when he comes out of his room in the morning he always has atleast three in his hands. His favorite is Gravedigger, which he watches almost daily on Youtube with Daddy. If you're familiar with Gravedigger (and if you're not, don't worry, I don't judge) you'll know his theme song is "Bad to the Bone" which our little dude loves to sing. However, he's taken it a step further. As of late, he's requested we call him "Bone." Just yesterday, Andy was joking with Ava, making up silly names for her. When she told him those weren't her names he asked, "What should I call you?" to which Jax quickly replied, "Bone." Just plain and simple, "Bone." He didn't even look up from the page on which he was coloring, he just kept drawing (a monster truck, of course). It took us a few minutes to stop laughing. Then, this morning, before Andy left for school he asked Jax, "What's your name?" to which Jax responded, "Bone." So, apparently, it's sticking. Bone it is.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Safety First

I'm a worrier. I'm not ashamed. I may one day be a crazy old lady sitting in a corner, hugging myself and rocking back and forth... but we'll jump that hurdle when we get to it. For now, I'm a run-of-the-mill worrier. As a result, my completely safe, completely coordinated, very capable husband has to wear a helmet when he rides his bike to school. He's one of just a handful of BYU students who does this, I'm sure. He thought I was silly when I first demanded he wear his helmet, but caved when I agreed to allow him to keep his head shaved so he didn't get "helmet head." It's not that I just want him to be safe, because I do, but I want him to be a good example to our kids. Because Daddy wears his helmet, Ava knows she has to put hers on before saddling up on her bike.
Jax wears his on his trike. As a matter of fact, even as he drove his little ride-on car around the backyard he insisted on a helmet. Andy couldn't find Jax's so he went for the next best thing --- his.

Jax loved wearing Daddy's helmet and I loved that even at 22-months he knows our family's helmet rule, and is quick to follow it.
Making his monster face

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Having a Ball

Ava has pink cleats. Actually, they're little black Nike cleats with a pink swoosh and pink soles. She's been waiting to wear them for several days now. Today, she finally got to lace those fancy things up and take them out on the soccer field. Because today our little princess started spring soccer. She's been counting down the days, not only because she loves soccer, but because she'd be on the same team as her friend A.J. (who also has pink Nike cleats).

The girls
The only problem? Today wasn't very spring-y. Rather than running in the sun, on green grass with birds chirping in the background, these poor kids played on a windy, cold, overcast, grassless day.
Things started out good, the excitement seemed to keep Ava warm. She worked on kicking and passing drills with her teammates and after 20 minutes, it was game time. At this point, she had enough adrenaline pumping through her veins to keep her legs moving. She chased the ball, was aggressive, had several great kicks and even came *this* close to scoring a goal.
Throw-in... her favorite!
She was smiling and giving it her all, and then, the cold kicked in. I don't know at what point she realized she had no feeling in her fingers, but I saw it on her face as soon as it hit her. She looked at me, a little scared and ran off the field. I quickly bundled her in a blanket and rubbed her body for warmth. After a few minutes, she was back on the field. A minute later, she was back off. Again, I warmed her up and back in she went.
Running back on to the field together
But then, she got kicked in the leg, not hard, but she got two shots this morning and that just happened to be where the kick landed. I think the cold coupled with the kick made the pain seem much worse. At that point, she was done. She and A.J. both ran off the field and bundled up together in a blanket. Despite our attempts, neither myself nor A.J.'s parents could convince the girls to give it another go. They had checked out. Ava said, "We'll go back out on Saturday" (their next game day).

This is how Jax watched the game.

Despite checking out in the end, Ava did great! She played hard, she tried her best and she had fun! Ultimately, that's what it's all about. And she had a great little cheerleader in her baby brother who kept yelling, "Go, Ava!" "Get the ball, Ava!" Not to mention, she looked darn cute in her little soccer uniform!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Palm Sunday

Our Family Home Evening lesson this week was about Palm Sunday (which is this Sunday), which celebrates Jesus's entrance to Jerusalem the Sunday before He was crucified. On this day, as the Savior rode in on a donkey, the people laid palm frawns and their coats on the ground in front of Him. After telling the kids the story, I let them act it out.

Jax was Jesus, and used Ava's stick horse as a donkey... complete with sounds effects.

I made makeshift palm frawns with pencils and green tulle, and just grabbed a few coats off the coatrack. Simple, but the kids loved it and reenacted it several times. The best part is, it stuck. I overheard Ava telling the story of Palm Sunday to her little friend today. I couldn't help but smile.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Boy Bed

After a few foiled attempts to escape the confines of his crib, Jax is now sleeping in a big boy bed. Okay, actually it's just his crib mattress on the floor, but he's not in a crib anymore. That's a big deal! We had planned to move him into Ava's toddler bed when we moved to Mississippi (she'll be getting a twin bed) but we had to move Operation Big Boy Bed up a month-and-a-half for fear Jax was going to break a bone.

The operation commenced last night. I really expected Jax to take to it well. He loves Ava's bed and is constantly asking to sleep in it. He "helped" Andy take apart his crib and said bye-bye to it when Andy took it out to the dumpster (not wasteful -- necessary, that thing was on its last leg). However, when it came time to actually sleep on it, he just wasn't having it. First, he slyly snuck out a few times -- smiling at me each time he popped his little head into my room. Then, there was the "Great Book Disaster" in which he decided to methodically remove as many books from his shelf as possible. Next, he chose the "shake your groove thang" method, choosing to dance in the dark, by the light of the hall light. After that, we kept the door open but put the gate up so he couldn't escape. That's when the crying began. I don't mind the crying. Well, it's not that I don't mind it, it actually breaks my heart. But, when it comes to sleeping I'm all about letting my kids cry it out, it's a necessary means to an end. I've done it when both were babies and it worked just fine. However, last night was especially painful. Jax cried for 30 minutes, screaming things like, "I want my Mama!" and "Mama, all done sleeping" and "Go bye bye, want to go bye bye." Finally, I caved and went in to hold him and explain to him that I was just in my room. I laid him down, tucked him in and left. Five seconds later, he was crying again. So, I gave in. I trudged back to his room, placed him on his mattress, and layed on the floor next to him. A few minutes later he was asleep... or so I thought. He must have sensed my absence because within five minutes he was back at the gate yelling for me. What was I to do? At Andy's suggestion, I closed the door. First telling the little dude how much I loved him, in case my actions made him doubt. So, he cried. It lasted about 15 minutes. It was some serious crying. But slowly but surely it got a little quieter, meaning he was moving further from his door, and eventually into his bed. Once he hit the bed, he was out.

Naptime today was quite a bit better. We did our normal naptime routine, I closed the door, he cried for 10 minutes, then it stopped. When I went in to check on him, here's what I found:

Conked out!

He'll get the hang of it. To be honest, I'd much prefer he cry because of the new bed, than cry because he broke a bone trying to climb out of the crib. The good news is, he does love his big boy bed for jumping!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Girly Fun

Ava's whole life has been surrounded by boys. All my closest friends with kids her age have boys. There's nothing wrong with that. She loves her buddies, but has been longing for girl friends. Well, ask and you shall receive. Ava has become quite close with a little girl from her dance class, A.J. They are only three months apart and get along like peas and carrots. At dance, they stand next to each other, they are always partners, they wait for each other while changing shoes, the hug each other when it's time to leave. It's really very sweet. It helps that A.J.'s mom and I have become pretty good friends too. Anyway, during a playdate at our house, the girls got their fill of girliness, playing make-up, dress-up, princesses and performing with Ava's microphone. Both repeatedly exclaimed what fun they were having.

They even let Jax get in on the dress-up fun!
After A.J. left Ava became sad and told me she was really going to miss A.J. when we moved to Mississippi. Leaving her little friend has been a big concern for our little girl. Brittany says A.J. talks about it often also, which has sent her into tears a few times. It's so sad, yet so sweet. We've assured the girls that they will keep in touch via Skype and can even be penpals. But until that time comes, we'll make sure they get as much play time together as possible!

Brittany (A.J.'s mom) and I recently signed the girls up for soccer and were sure to get them on the same team. I'm excited to see our tiny dancers on the soccer field, because if they're as chatty as they are in dance, I'm not sure just how much soccer they'll be playing :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost Five

Our Ava Grace turned four today! I say it every year, but I can't believe it. Sure, we've accomplished and experienced a lot in the past year, but it seemst to have flown by. Ava could hardly sleep last night, the excitement was just too much for her to handle. She finally gave in to the sleepiness and conked out around 11 pm, only to wake up at 8 am exclaiming, "Today's my brithday." After which she told me that four makes her a big girl and big girls are allowed to eat cookies for breakfast. Unfortunately for her, the Mommy card trumps the birthday card and she had Trix for breakfast.

We planned an eventful day, first opening a few presents followed by dance, a special birthday phone call from G-Ma & G-Pa and a phone call from Snow White. That's right, a real Disney princess called to wish our princess a happy birthday. She was so shocked to hear the voice on the other end of the phone that she wasn't quite sure how to respond. Finally, the snapped to and told me she couldn't believe Snow White knew it was her birthday. Later in the day, she got calls from Daddy, Joey, Ms. Jennifer (my good friend), a treat from her buddy Dylan and a bedtime call from Grandma & Grandpa.

At home, our wonderful friends came over to play and make cupcakes. Ethan and Avery gave Ava an adorable mini-cupcake baking kit that she could barely wait to use. Fortunately for us, cupcakes were on our agenda.

Because you can never fit enough fun into one birthday, we made a trip to the park to play and soak in the nice weather.

To top the day off, we let Ava choose where she'd like to go for dinner -- so, Chuck E. Cheese's it was! Ethan, Avery, Joni, Bob, Uncle Dusty and Ava's dance buddy Isabelle and her mom and brother joined us for pizza, cupcakes and games (Ava and Jax are having an actual birthday party next month when all the family is in town for Andy's graduation). Ava loves to watch the little robotic animals perform the Chuck E. Cheese show, but when the real deal came out to wish her a happy birthday she freaked -- tears, trembling, clinging to my leg. I wasn't prepared for the reaction, but then I put myself in her shoes and realized that if I were four and a giant rat came at me waving his big, dirty paw at me, I'd probably be a little reluctant to run up and give him a hug. Jax wasn't a fan either. So, while the other kids gave fives and had their pictures taken with the Chuckster, mine looked on from afar. Although, by the end of the night both were willing to give him five.

Uncle Dusty taking a ride on the Monster Truck

Jax loved this monster truck until we put a token on and it started moving. The only way we could get him back in is if I went in with him

Of course, the boys playing a car game
After about an hour of games, the kids cashed in their tickets for prizes and we headed home. Jax was exhausted and went to bed immediately, but Ava was still running on cupcake fumes so she, Daddy, Uncle Dusty and I played a round of Yahtzee, Jr. Disney Edition. Ava is at the age now where she really enjoys playing games, so it's quickly become a nightly tradition for us to play a few rounds of Uno, dominoes, Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders before bed. Now, we've added Yahtzee to our repertoire.

When all was said and done Ava thanked me for a great birthday.
Wearing her new ladybug earrings from Daddy
She loved her presents, even wearing her new earrings from Daddy (it's a tradition) and loved spending time with her friends. I loved watching the excitement and joy on her face this entire day. She was just glowing. To be honest, I was actually a little sad putting her to bed tonight because it meant the day was coming to an end. We have to wait a whole year for another birthday. As a matter of fact, at the park Ava asked if she could go down the slide five more times because she's almost five. I'm still getting use to her being four and already she's looking forward to the next year.

We've had such a fun year watching Ava learn and grow. She's an amazing little girl! In the past year she's learned to write, started reading, excelled at dance, joined a soccer team, become interested in dinosaurs, geography and sea creatures. There's so much more, so much has happened. I mean a year is a long time. At least it's supposed to be, but it seems that as my kids get older the years go faster. A friend of mine commented today on my Facebook page that she remembers the day Ava was born (my friend was at the hospital). I remember it too, I mean when I really think about it, I do. But, so much has happened these last four years that the day she was born seems like a little twinkle in time. Ava has kept me busAdd Imagey, she's kept me happy, she's humbled me and she's reminds me every day why, when she was just a week old, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Because, so much has happened in the last four years that I couldn't imagine missing a single moment of it.

Happy birthday, Little Squish! We love you!!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


These kids of mine are dino-crazy! They play dinosaurs, they talk about dinosaurs, they watch "Dinosaur Train," they "roar" when they're angry, they sing dino songs. I'm tellin' you, dino-obsessed! I've been wanting to take then to the BYU paleontology musuem for quite some time, but for some reason we never make it in. However, after taking Andy to school one day last week we decided to stop in. Soooo glad we did!
This cute little museum was just perfect for Ava and Jax -- hands-on exhibits, lots of fossils, gems and minerals and views of actual paleontologists working on casting bones.

Allosaurus -- Utah's official state fossil

This is what happens when I try to get them to look at the camera by asking, "where's the red light?"

Fossilized dino poop

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Nice Surprise

Friday night is movie night. We make homemade pizza and watch a movie together. It's our little family tradition. This week though, our little family tradition turned into big family fun when we got a surprise visit from Andy's brother Curtis (Kleinman brother #3) and his family. They were passing through Utah from Arizona, en route to Idaho to visit Courtney's (our sister-in-law) family. How lucky for us that our house isn't too far from the freeway and they were able to hop off and spend several hours with us.

As we ate BBQ chicken pizza, the kids watched "Robots" and the grown-ups chatted. Andy and Curtis talked school, work and random things that only the Kleinman boys talk about, while Court and I shared favorite craft blogs and talked about things that only moms talk about. Ava was in heaven having baby Bracken around to dote on and Jax just couldn't get enough of his big boy cousin Nathan.

Watching "Robots"

The I am a Child of God Museum in the Church History Museum
Saturday we met Curtis/Courtney and the kids up in Salt Lake for some fun on Temple Square followed by (FINALLY) some yummy Mexican food. That's right, I said it, after two years and with just two months left in the great state of Utah, we found a worthy Mexican food restaurant. It's called the Red Iguana. I had seen it on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on The Food Network (love that show) and have been wanting to try it since. So glad we did! We all loved it, the kids enjoyed their bean burritos and we all enjoyed some quality time together! Thanks for the fun Curtis, Courtney, Nathan and Bracken!!!

Disney on Ice

The Little Miss will be four Wednesday. FOUR! When did that happen? In her head, she's still three-and-a-half. She assures me she will remain that age until her birthday when she is officially four. Anyway, lucky for us Disney on Ice was in town last week so I thought it appropriate to take my Disney-loving daughter to see the show as an early birthday present. Just minutes before we headed out the door, the sweet girl asked if her little brother could come along. She thought it would be something he would like. I'll admit, I was a little hesitant as I questioned Jax's ability to sit still for that long, but Andy was swamped with homework and I just thought it was so nice that Ava wanted to include her brother, that I agreed.

Prior to the show, we got to take a look at a display of Disney princess dresses and even meet two "real life really real princesses" (Ava's exact words) -- Cinderella and Tiana. Ava, of course, was jumping out of her skin.

Once we got to our seats it was only a few minutes before the show started. In the meantime, we got a $10 bag of cotton candy (that's right, $10), complete with this awesome hat

Once the lights went off Ava, of course, was hooked/ Jax, however, wasn't all that convinced this was a good idea, repeatedly telling me he was scared UNTIL Mickey came onto the ice, a few minutes later, all the "Cars" characters rolled out and Jax was in the zone.
I loved seeing the looks on their faces when a familiar character came out onto the ice, or they heard a favorite Disney song.
Because we didn't have a ticket for Jax, he had to sit on my lap, and sit he did for almost the entire show. The last 15-20 minutes were a little rough (during the Tinkerbell portion of the show) and he much preferred walking up and down our empty row trying out each seat and seeing what kind of stickiness he could find on the floor.
When all was said and done and the kids were begging for more, I quickly rushed them into the bathroom to change them into their jammies (that's right, I changed my kids in a public bathroom). As expected, Jax quickly fell asleep in the car. Ava, on the other hand, was wide awake. I think it was a combination of the excitement from the show and the massive amounts of cotton candy she consumed. Regardless, she couldn't stop expressing just how much fun she had and how grateful she was I had taken her. It took another hour to get her to sleep after we got home, and when she woke up the next morning the first thing she started talking about was Disney on Ice... and then asked when she could have the leftover cotton candy.