I'm lucky, my kids love to help me in the kitchen. Whether it's just making oatmeal for breakfast or our four loaves of bread on Sundays, I can guarantee one or both kids will be standing next to me on stools helping pour ingredients or knead dough.
So, you can imagine Ava's excitement when she got her very own Easy Bake Oven from G-Ma & G-Pa for Christmas. Okay, okay, I was excited too. I had some fun times with my EBO when I was a kid and couldn't wait to see the upgrades made in the last 20 years. Well, other than updating the outside of the oven to make it look a little more modern, it's still the same. Which I can understand. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Anyway, Ava got a couple of mixes to go with her Easy Bake and chose to start her baking adventures with the sugar cookies.
She loved mixing the batter and rolling out the cookies, but was a little frustrated that she was only able to cook on cookie at a time. Then after waiting 10 minutes, as the directions stated, for her first cookie she was brought nearly to tears when we pulled a charred cookie out of the oven. However, after adjusting the time to just five minutes on the next cookie, her face lit up when a perfectly golden sugar cookie emerged from the oven. I cooked the last two while she frosted her cookie, then topped it with pink crystal sprinkles. She and Jax each enjoyed one of the creations and saved the last for Daddy.
Ava says her Easy Bake Oven cookies are the best she's ever had, must be the pink sugar crystals.
Jax's voice is so cute. I mean, seriously cute. I wish I could capture, put it in a little box and carry it around with me forever. I love it! What makes his voice even better is the way he says things, especially the words he mispronounces. I promised myself, when Ava was little, that I would never forget the way she said certain words, or funny things she said. Well guess what? I did. Apparently, when you're a mom, your memory is NOT like a steel trap. So, I've promised myself that I would keep record of some of the things the Little Dude says, so I never forget them. And of course, I have to share.
Pocsiple - popsicle
Lell - yell
Thomas the Tanchenchin - Thomas the Tank Engine
Prolly - probably
Toe-tay-do - tornado
Racky-phobia - Arachniphobia (one of his monster trucks)
These are just the one's I've heard today, so they're fresh in my mind. We've also had some funny Jax moments in the last few days worth mentioning.
During Family Home Evening I asked if there was any family business. For those who don't know how FHE works, family business is when we usually go over our schedule for the week, or discuss anything pressing. Ava raised her hand, stood up and said, "Help Mommy more." So sweet and so very Ava. After Ava sat back down, Jax raised his hand, stood up and said, "Ummmm.... tackle Daddy." So hilarious and so very Jax!
One day, after lunch, I told the kids my tummy was full. Jax looked at my belly, then at me and asked, "Because you ate the baby?" I nearly fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. Earlier in the week during preschool, I had taught the kids about digestion. Jax knew that for something to end up in your stomach, it needed to be eaten first. I tried to explain in the simplest terms how the baby ended up in my belly, but I'm pretty sure he's convinced I ate it.
Oh, our silly boy. The things he says often surprise me, but ALWAYS put a smile on my face!
The kids and I planned yesterday to go for a bike/scooter ride but just as we were getting ready, the rain began to come down. So, we waited it out about an hour and, sure enough, the rain stopped. So, we helmeted up and headed outside for some fresh air. After a few laps around the complex we headed over to the park, which was nice and soggy from the rain. And that's when the real fun began. I threw caution to the wind and let the kids play in the mud and puddles, getting as dirty as their little hearts desired. I can remember playing in the puddles and muddy goop left over from Arizona monsoons, and wouldn't dare deprive my kids of the same kind of messy fun.
Jax, of course, had his monster trucks in tow and went straight to work building jumps for them from mud (I should mention that he insisted on keeping his helmet on while playing). When he tired of that, he just took them romping through the muddy puddles. Ava, always the little baker, began creating Mississippi mud pies, and sometimes mud bombs to throw in to the puddles.
I love, love, love this picture. Jax loves to swing like this while screaming like a banshee and I just happened to click the camera at the perfect moment.
I spent most of the time taking pictures and giggling at how much fun the kids were having. I'll admit, I kinda wish I had gotten my hands dirty, but alas, there were memories that needed to be documented.
After more than an hour of muddy fun. The kids' hands were frozen (it was a pretty chilly day), their clothes filthy and they had mud in their hair. We ran back home, where I stripped them down and threw Ava in the shower and Jax in the bath, after which, they enjoyed some warm hot cocoa.
Both kids were pretty disappointed by the sunny skies today. They were hoping for more rain. I promised that as soon as it rains we'll go mud-bogging again. Looks like more mud is in my forecast.
Ava and Jax have this cousin named Nathan (or, Naterator, as we like to call him). He's an awesome little dude. He and Ava are a little less than a year apart and play really well together. But Jax, he adores his big cousin Nate. Nate loves cars and monster trucks, playing outside and sports, just like our little dude. When the kids and I were in Arizona in September, we got to hang out with Nate, his baby brother and Mama (his Papi too, but only for a little while because he is one busy guy). As the kids played outside one afternoon, Jax became enamored with Nate's "big boy scooter." First Nate would take a turn on it, then Jax. Since then, our Little Digger has been asking for his very own "big boy scooter." So, we thought it only appropriate to get him one for Christmas. When he laid eyes on his scooter he just kept saying, "Look Mom, my fast scooter! My fast scooter!" He loves it!
A few nights after Christmas we finally got around to taking Jax for a spin on his scooter. Ava led the way on her princess bike, stopping occasionally to let her little brother catch up. Andy and I were both surprised by how well Jax maneuvered his scooter and how fast his little legs could propel him.
I've taken the kids outside to ride several times since then, and Jax just gets better and braver. He's already taking his scooter down ramps, attempting to jump off curbs with it and splashing through muddy puddles on it.
And, I should add for Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Eric, that Jax proudly proclaims, "I haul rub!" as he zooms around on his scooter. He's definitely his uncle's nephew!
Our kids gave us the best Christmas gift this year: THEY SLEPT IN! Ava was the first awake (which is a rarity), coming into our room excitedly at 8 am. She hadn't even gone into the living room yet, but had seen the loot sticking out of her stocking. She quickly woke her little brother up, who was groggy, until Ava exclaimed, "Jax, hurry! Santa came!" The little dude got the biggest grin, hopped out of his bed and ran down the hall with his sister.
Like all kids on Christmas morning, ours went a little crazy! I was sure Ava would tear through her presents much more quickly than Jax, but the opposite was true. She gently opened each gift, and stared at each gift, looking it over, before moving on to the next one. Jax on the other hand, ripped off the wrapping paper, glanced at the gift inside, threw said gift into his "loot box" (Andy gave each kids a box to put their presents in) and was immediately asking for the next one. Fortunately, he was patient when we asked him to wait for Ava which allowed us to stretch out the Christmas morning present-opening, well that, and the fact that Santa wrapped some of the presents with impenetrable wrapping paper. Seriously, Andy could barely tear through it.
All Ava really wanted this year was a Barbie house. Jax asked only for monster trucks (surprise, surprise!) and a scooter. After all the gifts were unwrapped we asked Ava if she got everything she wanted. She was so sweet, saying, "Yes. I love all my presents. There's just one thing missing. But maybe I'll get my Barbie Dream House for my birthday." What she didn't know was that Daddy had assembled her Dream House the night before and set it up in the play room. So, we slyly told her that maybe she could take her new Barbies into the playroom and introduce them to her old ones. She was reluctant at first, but when we finally convinced her, here's what happened:
For the next five hours, we only saw her when she came out of the playroom for a drink or to hug us and tell us how much she loved her Barbie house (a gift from Mommy and Daddy). Jax, on the other hand, acquired what Andy and I refer to as "Christmas ADD." He moved from one toy to the other in mere seconds. One moment he'd be playing with a monster truck, zooming it across a room, but on his way to pick it up on the other side of the room, he'd be distracted by another toy and begin playing with that. This went on all day. He just didn't know what he wanted to play with the most. He built a train track with Daddy, a monster truck jump with Mommy, read books, raced monster trucks, did a puzzle...
This is my fifth Christmas as a mom, and by far my favorite. Ava is old enough to understand the whole process, to be excited when she woke up Christmas morning, to know some gifts are from Santa and some from Mommy and Daddy and to spend the whole magical day in her pajamas enjoying her favorite gifts. Jax, for the first year, was jumping-out-of-his-skin giddy about opening gifts and he too spent the day in his Christmas jammies playing. Andy and I were just as excited as the kids, not because of gifts (although, Andy got me a great one), but our hearts were just so full watching Ava and Jax and the joy that beamed from their little smiles. Special memories were made that morning, and it's a Christmas I will treasure my whole life.