Sunday, May 30, 2010
I hope, of course, this blog will help expose and introduce other parents and kids to the books we read. As a mom, it's always nice to hear the suggestions of others. Through word-of-mouth we've fallen in love with some of our very favorite characters and the kids have found some of their very favorite books.
Anyway, please become a follower of our new blog and be sure to tell your friends! If you have any suggestions please let me know. The blog is in its infancy right now, but my hope is to review several books a week. If for nothing else, I'll be able to look back over the weeks, months and years and remember the books Ava, Jax and I have read together... and smile when thinking about all the cuddle time that included!
Friday, May 28, 2010
That's Jax in a nutshell, he's an early riser, he loves books, but more than that he loves monster trucks. He's just a happy little guy, even when he walks, his step has a little bounce. It's actually kinda cute because he walks just like Andy, if Andy had a diaper on and were a few feet shorter. He's mischievous, so very mischievous. He loves sneak attacks -- if Andy or I are laying on the floor, nothing makes him happier than running up and jumping on the floor-layer. As he does so, big grin in place, he always gives this deep, impish, growly little cackle. I hope he never loses it. It's one of my favorite sounds.
So, today our little dude is two. I could say what I always say, that I can't believe he's already two. And really, I can't. But, I know that in his two years we've done alot and accomplished alot. I mean, in two short years he's lived in three states, been to Disneyland, the beach, on a few airplanes, visited several zoos, sledded in the snow, learned his ABC's, had surgery, touched a dinosaur fossil, pet a stingray, made a great friend, broken five monster trucks, read hundreds of books, squashed hundreds of bugs, eaten several handfuls of dirt, nearly given his mother at least a dozen heart attacks, oh, how I could go on.
Well, we're off for a fun-filled day of playing with monster trucks, swimming, eating pizza and chocolate cake! Happy Birthday, Jax! We love you!!!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Thank goodness for the pool in our apartment complex! It has been such a life-saver as we adjust to this climate. Not to mention it's sooo fun!
Our first day in the pool the kids' personalities really came out. Ava was extremely cautious, clinging to either Andy or me for quite some time, choosing to let her little brother wear her floaties (I should mention in advance that they're pink... that's right, our boy wore pink floaties).
We've gone to the pool several times since we got here, and I have been so impressed by how much Ava's swimming skills have improved! She's doggie-paddling, kicking with much more consistency, blowing bubbles and not freaking out if she swallows water. She's excited about learning to swim and tells me she can't wait to do it without her floaties! That's huge progress especially when you consider that less than a year ago she was terribly afraid of water deeper than bathwater. I'm so proud of her for facing her fears and learning to love to swim!
Jax, our buoyant little boy, loves to jump off the side and splash us in the face. He loves when Mommy does "tricks" in the pool (read: somersaults) and now thinks all water-dwelling animals do somersaults under the water rather than swim! He hates getting out of the pool, but loves getting to come home and run around naked while I rinse out his shark swim trunks.
I suspect we'll be spending much of our summer by the pool. We've already stocked up on spray-on sunscreen (although we're all already sporting way more color than we ever did in Utah) and we finally picked up some green floaties for Jax. Bring on the summer Mississippi, we're prepared!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
We were so lucky to have my parents here with us for four days to check out all our little town has to offer. Which is, surprisingly, alot! We, of course walked the downtown area and took a tour of the largest antique doll and toy museum in the US. I thought Ava would enjoy this much more than Jax, but when he saw an entire room devoted to cars he was just as elated as Ava was about the dolls.
Our first day out we ran into the coolest park I've EVER seen! I'm not over-exaggerating or trying to convince myself that this place is more exciting than it is. Really, this park is AMAZING!!! The slides and play area are like none I've seen before, there's a climbing wall, rubber climbing robes, balancing contraptions, a little town, a little kitchen, a giant xylophone, monkey bars, climbing tires, I'm really not doing it justice...
Every kid at the waterpark did this! It's a kid right of passage.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
My first impression of Mississippi, is, well, it's not really an impression so much as a mish-mash of thoughts. First of all, it's beautifully green! There's not a mountain in sight which I initially thought would be strange having grown up in Arizona and most recently lived in Utah, however, where this state lacks in mountains it more than makes up for in large, luscious trees! It really is lovely. With the many shades of green comes humidity and lots and lots of bugs. To be honest, the humidity hasn't been nearly as unbearable as I had anticipated. As a matter of fact, the mornings and evenings are perfectly cool, but it's that time in between that's not so comfortable. I'm told this isn't even the worst of it. I guess it's a blessing we moved here when we did to give us time to acclimate and prepare for the 100% humidity days I'm told are in the future. Fortunately, we have a pool at our apartment complex and there's a great little water-play area downtown, both of which the kids have already thoroughly enjoyed (I'll post pictures soon).
Our apartment is nice. It's similar in size to our last home, just with a significantly smaller kitchen which I affectionately call our "one-butt kitchen" because only one butt can fit in it at a time. It's also lacking a backyard, which has been hard on the kids. However, we have a cute little patio which Ava has already adorned with a tomato, strawberry and cucumber plant. Fortunately, there's also a playground and tennis court within our complex (just outside our apartment) as well as some large grassy areas and the above-mentioned pool. I really think the kids will be fine.
As for adjustment, that's been the hardest thing. Our possessions still haven't arrived. As a matter of fact, they're still in Utah. The moving company apparently doesn't have a driver for the truck yet so our boxes are sitting in the company's storage facility until a driver signs on. We were told they'd have a driver by now, but alas... no such luck. To be honest, I'm not surprised as the whole moving process has been nothing but a hassle and lack of communication on the mover's part. The hardest part though is it makes it impossible for this to feel like home. We're sleeping on blow-up mattresses my parents bought for us while they were in town this weekend. Our living room has two green camping chairs and Ava's little pink one. Fortunately, we had packed blankets and sleeping bags in the car, and I bought pillows here. Andy brought most of our bathroom things (soaps, toilet paper) etc. And we packed a few of the kids' most special toys. We each have four outfits and bathing suits (there's a laundromat in our complex). But that's about it. As I type right now Andy is on his way to Wal-Mart to get a deck of cards, just so we have something to do. As for food, we've really had to use our imagination since all our cooking utensils, pots, pans, etc. are in a moving box in Utah. Our freezer is stocked with foods we can throw in the oven and eat on paper plates. For breakfast, we've been enjoying yogurt and lunch is PB&J. We stocked up on fruit and little snacks for the kids. We're making do, but it's obviously not ideal.
The kids are doing surprisingly well. I really thought Ava would have the most difficult time as she was so sad to leave her friends, but she's surprised me and seems to really be enjoying herself. She loves all the new things we've seen and done, and she's been a HUGE help with her baby brother who has NOT adjusted well. He's having a hard time sleeping and he's simply not acting like himself. He keeps telling me he wants to go "home." I've tried explaining this is our new home, to which he responds, "No, this G-Ma and G-Pa's home." I think he though that since my parents were here, we were visiting them at their home. Andy's doing well, of course. I, on the other hand, miss Utah terribly. Actually, it's not really Utah, it's just a few things about Utah. I miss having a grocery store right up the road (we have to drive into "town" to get to one now), I miss having temples everywhere (the closest is three hours away in Memphis). I miss Ava's best friend A.J. and her mom Brittney, who quickly became one of my closest friends. But most of all, I miss my friend Joni and her kids Ethan and Avery. That's been the hardest adjustment for me. I know we'll keep in touch and visit them in Utah, but it's still not easy. I think once I get to church Sunday and our things arrive, I'll start to feel better about the move. I'm not trying to be a complainer, I'm so grateful for Andy's job and this new little adventure, but change is never been easy and this move has definitely been the most difficult for me (it's our fifth in 7.5 years of marriage).
Alright, our lasagna is done. Thank goodness for pre-made dinners. I'll update again soon with pictures of some of the fun things we've already done in Mississippi.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ava was the absolute cutest little snowgirl ever made! She danced her heart out, smiled big and just had a blast! It was so special watching her up on stage. I couldn't help but think that she looked so grown up to me (not just because she had a teeny bit of mascara and lip gloss on). All of a sudden, she's this little girl, not my baby anymore. I loved seeing the look on her face once her routine was finished, she had such a sense of accomplishment slapped across her pretty little face! I was beaming, Andy and Uncle Dusty cheered her on and Jax clapped loudly for his big sister! Such a special night for our tiny dancer!!!
Friday, May 7, 2010
Andy and I took part in Disney's volunteer program this year, collecting books for United Way. As a result, we earned free tickets for the two of us, Dusty and my best friend Jaime. Sadly, Dusty couldn't join us, but Jaime and her son Joey met us there for a day of fun. It was a sweet little reunion for Ava and her buddy (and future husband). They took breaks in almost every line we stood in to hug each other or laugh at their silly jokes. It was very sweet.
Anyway, on to the rides. I mapped out our plan of attack in advance and decided to start in Toontown (at the back of the park). However, on our way there, we were sidetracked by "It's a Small World" (Andy was dreading it) and took a ride. Fortunately, the line was short and in just a few minutes we were on the boat preparing our ears and mind for the inevitable pounding of "It's a Small World" into our brains. As soon as we entered the tunnel, Ava, Jax and Joey were in awe. The ride's been changed up a little to include Disney character in some of the countries, so it made for a fun game of "I Spy" with the kids. Seconds after the ride came to an end, Ava was ready to hop back on, but at Daddy's urging, we went on to Toontown. Here they visited character's houses (Ava's favorite was, of course, Minnie's) and rode their first roller coaster. Jax met the height requirement by the hair of his mohawk. I'll admit, I was a little concerned about the potential freak-out from one or both of my kids that could come from hopping on the roller coaster, but to my surprise, both loved it. Okay, Ava loved it, Jax had a scared look on his face the ENTIRE time, but as soon as it was over said, "Again!"
In jail in ToonTown
We, of course, hit the necessary rides: Teacups, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Pirates of the Carribbean, King Arthur's Carousel, along with some new ones. Each one elicited wide-mouthed smiles and squeals of excitement from all three kids -- and, admittedly, the adults too.
Trying with all her might to get the sword out of the stone!
My only disappointment with the entire visit to Disneyland was that the characters no longer roam the park like they did when I was a kid. Rather, they stand in designated areas, and like everything else in Disneyland, you wait in line to see them. We would have loved to have seen as many characters as possible but top priority was, of course, the princesses. Andy, being the cute dad he is, bought Ava a little princess autograph book and pen and stood in line for over an hour just so she could meet the REAL Disney princesses. She had her hopes up that Snow White would be available for a photo, but unfortunately, she was busy. However, she did get a chance to chat with Ariel, Cinderella and Mulan. She beamed!
Andy took Jax back to the hotel around eight, while Jaime and I stayed with Ava and Joey until the park closed. We ended our fun day at Disneyland with one last trip though "It's a Small World."
As we walked back to Jaime's car, Ava thanked me for the "best day ever!" She simply couldn't believe the day had finally arrived and was exactly how she dreamed it would be!