Monday, February 28, 2011

What a Goof

My kids are used to having balls of vinyl to step over. It comes with having a mom who owns a vinyl decal business. As I weed vinyl, I ball it up and toss it on the floor until I'm done, then I put it in one big ball before disposing of it. However, between weeding and disposal it's free for anyone to step on, play with or create with. Ava isn't as impressed by vinyl as she once was, Jax, however, can't get enough of the stuff. The other day as I weeded, I heard him chatting as if on the phone:

"Uh, huh. Yes. I can hear you. It's just me Jax, I'm calling you on my vinyl phone."

Sure to see something hilarious, I look up to see this.

Through chuckles I asked, "What are you doing?"
"Talking on my vinyl phone."
"To who?" (I know, I know, I should have said "whom")
"You on this ear (pointing to his left) and Daddy on my right one."

I had to stop what I was doing to give my little goofball a big hug. He's so full of entertainment and imagination!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sign of Spring

We've been fortunate to enjoy some beautiful weather the past two weeks or so. I'm hoping this is a sign of what to come, that maybe, just maybe, spring is on the way (knock on wood). The lovely weather stirred in me the urge to create a new spring dress for Ava. We picked up this adorable fabric several months ago, it's just taken me that long to get around to using it.

The pictures don't really do it justice. It's an A-line dress with this adorable ruffle neckline. I think it was just perfect for our fabric. But who cares about the dress, really, when the wearer is so beautiful! Really, she's just growing into a lovely little girl... with the personality to match that gorgeous little face!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Day Out With Dad

While we have been blessed to have Andy home on the weekends since he starting working for the Corp, we don't often get to go out and do things as a family. Most weekends, Andy has some sort of Scout obligation for Church (he's 1st counselor in the YM presidency) or someone is sick, or the the weather is yucky. But today the stars aligned; nice weather, Daddy was home, everyone is healthy, so we headed out for a family date to the Military Park a few minutes from our home. Our little town played an important role in the Civil War, and the folks here are very proud of their Confederate heritage.

 This is the first large monument you see on the loop.
 Here are the kids sitting on the monument (which we later found out they're not supposed to do. Oops.)

 And here they are jumping off of it.

The park was impressive. We followed a 16-mile loop to memorials, statues, even markers, cannons and a large Union ship pulled from the Mississippi River 100 years after it was sunk by a Confederate torpedo. Andy and I both enjoy American history, so we took the time to read whatever we could at each of the stops. The kids much preferred picking flowers and chasing bugs. Although, Ava was very interested in little facts we shared with her along the way. The landscape of the park, while well-maintained, is still very true to how it was more than 150 years ago. The hills, bunkers and ditches the troops maneuvered or used for protection are still visible, although covered in green grass. It was interesting to look down on those areas, or stand behind a cannon and think that that was the exact place soldiers stood, fighting, during the Civil War. It's a little surreal.
Cannons are a big deal in our little town. People even have them in their front yards.

 Did we get him?

 This was at the Illinois Memorial. We thought it was cool because Illinois' constitution was adopted on Andy's birthday (160 years earlier). 

 This guy was the Chief Engineer for the Corp of Engineers. Maybe one day someone will erect a statue to Andy :)
 This is how I distract Jax from attempting to hop on an old man's unattended bike.
The USS Cairo -- the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically-detonated torpedo.

 Daddy and the kiddos aboard the Cairo.

We spent several hours at the park, before returning home to watch our Wildcats beat Washington (basketball). The perfect end to our wonderful family day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Southern Snow

This week we're enjoying temperatures in the low to mid-70's. Ahhhhh. It's glorious! Last week, however, was another story. It was cold and frosty and we even got a visit from that white powdery stuff we saw all-to-often in Utah -- snow! After Andy got home from work one night, we bundled the kids up as best we could (I got rid of all the snowgear when we left Utah) and headed outside for a good ol'-fashioned snowball fight. Which really turned into Daddy convincing the kids to attack an unarmed Mommy as she tried to take pictures of all the fun!

But they did get Daddy a few times. Problem is, he fought back.

 Ava was like a kid in a candy store. She's been missing the snow this winter and absolutely did NOT want to go inside. But, we convinced her that coming inside was better than her fingers falling off.

As much as I don't enjoy the snow, I'm glad we got one little snow this winter for the kids to enjoy. Now, bring on spring!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

 Happy Valentine's Day! Love Ava & Jax

 Modeling the skirt and bow tie Mommy made them for Church.

Check out Ava's hair!

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Begun

Ava is a big dresser-upper. Just tonight, she came out of her room sporting pajamas, a cowgirl hat, ballet slippers and a stick horse. She calls herself, "Cowgirl Ava O'Neal." She's always loved to play dress-up and impresses me by just how creative she can get, often making a costume out of the simplest of items.

Jax has jumped on the dress-up bandwagon. But, in the manliest way, of course. It started with a cowboy hat, then a fireman's hat, then a knight's helmet, armor and sword, then he got his first pair of cowboy boots and a fireman's jacket. Then, we found the mother load. In Walmart's after-Christmas clearance, a box of three superhero costumes for $5. That's $15 less than the normal price. I couldn't pass it up, especially considering Jax's new found desire to be a superhero (don't worry, he plans to drive monster trucks by day).

He still hasn't tried on the Iron Man costume, spending most of his time as Spiderman. When he's in costume, he even requires that we refer to him only as Spiderman. We sure think our little superhero is pretty super!

Monster Mouth

I'm always searching for fun and creative things to do with my kids' food. They're great eaters, not picky at all. But, I just want to be the fun mom who makes fun food, so they can one day do the same with their kids.

I saw this idea on my friend Joni's blog not too long ago and had to copy it. We call them "Monster Mouths." Two slices of apple with peanut butter and marshmallows in between. They were a huge hit with the kids! 

Ava loved playing with her monster mouth. Jax was much more interested in just eating his.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Family Tradition

I called my wonderful mother-in-law not to long ago to get her delicious bread recipe. Her bread makes the BEST toast. As we chatted, she told me that when her five boys were younger she always allowed them to make turtles with some of the dough. So, I thought it only appropriate to carry on the fine family tradition.

  Jax's is the chunky one on the left, Ava's is the dainty one to the right.

Thanks for the great idea, Grandma! We'll be making turtles every Sunday when we make our weekly loaves of bread!