Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Swim Lessons

Andy and I both taught swim lessons in our younger years. So, I always assumed we'd just save money each summer and teach our own kids to swim. However, we've learned that's much easier said than done. Despite our best efforts to teach her to swim, Ava is a little hesitant in the water. I don't want to say fearful, because she loves being in the pool, but she won't put her face in, freaks out when she gets water in her eyes and annoyed when people splash. Andy and I have both tried to help her feel comfortable in the water, but thought it best this summer to enroll her in swim lessons and see how she does when it's someone other than Mom or Dad teaching her. Jax is quite the opposite of his big sister. We have to always keep our eyes on him in the pool because the boy has no fear. He jumps in, he goes under water, he tries to swim on his own. But, we put him in lessons anyway, just so he had something fun to do.

The kids started lessons Monday. Ava is in Level 1, Jax is in a Parent/Tot class (because of his age) with Andy. I sit pregnant on the side, under the awning and offering quiet encouragement to Ava via facial expressions and thumbs-up, and try my hardest not to jump in and take over the lesson (the teachers are VERY inexperienced). I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure how Ava would do, especially when the first day of class her teachers (there's three of them) told her to do "bobs," which require her to go completely under water, blowing the air out of her nose and mouth. She looked at me and grimaced, but I gave her a smile and mouthed, "You can do it." So, she tried. She didn't make it ALL the way under, but she went further than ever before, even getting her eyes wet. She popped her head up and immediately looked at me, a big smile (which is so cute with a missing tooth) and a bit of pride on her face. From there, she did great, doing everything she asked, smiling and giggling. When lessons were over I greeted her with her towel and a big hug, telling her how well she did. I asked how she felt and she said, "Great! I got braver today." She sure did.

Doing her "bobs"

 Practicing her kicking. I just love her face! She's working really hard to make big splashes.

Today, she even wore a life jacket and floated in the deep end. It took some convincing from her teacher and me for her to let go of the wall, but once she realized the life jacket made her buoyant, she did fine. Some of the kids in her class were jumping off the edge, going under water and bouncing back up, but she said she wasn't quite ready for that, and I'm not going to push her. At the end of the day she said, "I think I was even more brave today than yesterday."

Jax excels in his class. His teacher seems impressed by how much he can already do in the water. He loves splashing around in the wading pool and "diving" for the octopus (a little sink toy that he throws in and retrieves once it hits the bottom). He puts his face in, blows bubbles, kicks and even goes all the way under the "raining mushroom." Today, he went into "Ava's pool", as he calls it (the big pool) and jumped off the side. He didn't even want Daddy to catch him, he just jumped in, went all the way under and then let Andy help him up to the surface. The best part of his class though, is the special time Jax and Daddy have together. It's not very often that they hang out just the boys, so I love seeing them playing and enjoying the pool with each other.
How handsome is he?!

 The kids really love their swim lessons and can't wait to go back each day. I love seeing their smiling faces and hearing their excited giggles as I watch them during their classes. And, I especially love how worn out they are after their lessons which makes them  fall asleep quickly each night!

Look At Those Faces

While we were in Atlanta we got the kids red, white and blue star popsicles (or pocsiples as Jax calls them). The kids loved them, although Andy tasted them and said they were disgusting. I think when you're a kid, the presentation is much more important than the taste. Anyway, I had to snap a pic of their faces as they inhaled the popsicles.

No, her tooth hadn't fallen out yet. If you look closely you can see that she's pushing it forward with her tongue. Gross.

And, of course, their tongues afterward.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Blueberry Patch

One of the great things about living in the South is access to local produce farms. Blueberry patches are especially popular this time of year, and the kids and I couldn't resist an opportunity to stock our freezer full of the delicious blueberries. So, one morning after we dropped Andy off at work we drove about 20 minutes to a nearby blueberry patch and picked two gallons of berries.

 Fortunately, we went early enough in the morning that it wasn't too hot and the humidity didn't kill us. However, as our 90 minute excursion neared the end, the sun was beating a little harder and both kids were sweating and red-faced. They spent a little time on a nearby bench before heading back out to help me pick the last of our blueberries. At which point Jax told me he needed to rest because his legs were broken. It's a good thing there was a shady spot not too far away for him to plop down in, wouldn't want to do any more damage to those broken legs.

That afternoon we canned delicious blueberry jam (sorry, no pictures), Sunday morning it was blueberry crumb muffins for breakfast and today we'll be giving lemon blueberry poppyseed bread a try. Of course, we've all been snacking on blueberries for the past few days and I've frozen several bags, but I think we'll head back out this week and pick two more gallons, so we can make more jam, some syrup and freeze enough to last us through the end of the year. Maybe this time we'll take Daddy along, you know, so he can carry Jax, just in case his legs break again.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baby Bumpin' It

A few family members have asked for pictures of my bump. So, without further ado, I give you... my belly

There you have it. We're creepin' up on 36 weeks now. I'm feeling okay, except for the exhaustion, and a six-day headache I recently suffered. Oh, and I've been having contractions off and on, which I NEVER had with the other two, and this baby is WAAAAAY lower than her siblings EVER were. But I'm not complaining. I'm grateful for this little girl in my big belly! I just can't wait for her to come out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Georgia on My Mind

Our family took a little five-day vacation to Atlanta last week. Actually, it was a work trip for Andy (he was presenting at an Army Corps of Engineers conference), but playtime for the kids and me. Atlanta is one of those places you visit once and you're good. It's a wonky city, but it has lots of fun attractions. The kids and I (and some friends) went to the Atlanta Children's Museum, awesome parks and the pool. Then, on Friday, Andy's conference ended early so our little family planned a visit to the Georgia Aquarium. It's the largest aquarium in the world and certainly didn't disappoint. My only complaint is that it was ridiculously busy, which is to be expected, it just didn't make it any easier for this super-pregnant lady to get around without getting bonked in the belly.

I could try to explain this aquarium to you, but I wouldn't do it justice. I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. 

As I said before, our friends were at the same conference, so we got to hang out with them all week. Plus, we swapped babysitting so the grown-ups would have a chance to attend the Atlanta Temple. Andy and I haven't been to the temple together since we lived in Utah (over a year ago), so this was an extra-special trip for us.

This was our last major hurrah as a family of four. It's hard to believe, but on our next vacation, our backseat will be filled to capacity with kids! 

Monday, June 20, 2011


Ava has had a loose tooth for months! We've thought for three weeks now that it would come out any day, but that stubborn little booger was just hanging on by a thread. Ava could twist it, push it straight out with her tongue and every time she said a word with a "P" or "S" in it, the movement of her tongue would force that tooth to shoot forward. Plenty of people offered to just pull the tooth for her, but Ava said she just wanted to let it come out on its own. I was all for that plan until the last few days when I became concerned her tooth would finally decide to come out while she was eating and she'd end up swallowing it. So, I encouraged our little "Loosey Goosey" to wiggle and twist with all her might. Still nothing. Then, last night I came up with a genius plan. I offered to "help" Ava brush her teeth. She has a battery-powered toothbrush, which I very gently used to get her tooth extra clean for the tooth fairy. Before we knew it, Ava said, "Mom, is my tooth coming out?" And sure enough, we finally broke that last stubborn thread and all that was left was a teeny little hole in Ava's mouth. We got to see plenty of that hole last night, because our toothless girl couldn't stop smiling (or staring at herself in the mirror).

Ava held onto her tooth for quite awhile last night before finally sticking it in her tooth fairy pillow. All she wanted from the tooth fairy was a silver dollar. Turns out, silver dollars are hard to come by these days and have been replaced with gold Sacajawea dollars. Knowing this, I taught Ava about Sacajawea a few weeks ago and explained to her the currency change. So, she beamed this morning when she woke up and found her very own gold Sacajawea dollar in her tooth fairy pillow. She's still holding it as I type this post.

It's hard to believe that we're already at the stage where our little girl loses teeth. I swear, she just got those things! She's got another loose one right now, but who knows how long it will hang around in her mouth. But, the tooth fairy would be wise to have a gold Sacajawea dollar on hand, just in case.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

All Worn Out

Andy had a conference in Atlanta this past week. Since it's just a 6.5 hour drive, Andy opted to save the government some money and drive instead of fly, which means, he got to bring his family along. Some friends of ours did the same thing, so the moms and kids got to hang out in Atlanta for a week while the dads attended a nerdy engineer conference (not the official title).

There's a lot to cover and I haven't made it through editing all of the pictures from our week, but to give you an idea of how much fun the kids had, here's a little preview.

That's right, that's Ava and Jax sleeping peacefully in the same hotel bed. The two were so tuckered out at the end of one of our days that they plopped down in bed together and conked out --- a definite sign of a good week!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Yippee for Three!

Jax turned three May 28th, but we were without internet so I couldn't blog about the exciting day. First let me say, WOW! He's three!! And it's been a long time coming. He's been wanting to turn three since Christmas, because after Christmas we start the countdown to birthdays (Ava's in March, mine in April, Jax's in May). So, he's been talking for months about being three. Let me tell you about our big three-year-old boy. Well, he's big! He hasn't been in for his three-year check-up yet, but here's an idea. Our little boy wears the same size shoe as his five-year-old sister (that's an 11), he weighs just three pounds less than said sister and is taller than many of his four-year-old friends. He's a giant, solid, beefy, rough and tumble guy.

(Birthday Boy on his birthday morning)

As I've said many times before, he's fearless. He'll try anything, jump off anything and then laugh when he falls. His first love is monster trucks, but his latest obsession is Ninja Turtles. He loves to wrestle, beat up imaginary bad guys (or Daddy), do ninja kicks and somersaults. But here's the thing, in all his ninja excitement (I should mention he's Michaelangelo... always Michaelangelo) he sometimes forgets that not everyone else is, well, trained in the art of Ninja Turtlery. Just recently, my three-year-old had to apologize to an eight-year-old and a 7.5-year-old for attacking them, oh, and making them cry. Did I mention these were on separate occasions? No? Yes, they were. Oh, and while I'm mentioning things, it might be worth noting that one of the attacks occurred at church. Granted, it was after all the meetings were over and a big group of boys were being wild in the Primary Room and Jax was just getting in on the "fun." While I figured out how best to approach the situation, teaching Jax that we can't beat up our friends without making him feel bad since he wasn't really trying to hurt anyone, I couldn't help but notice the pride oozing out of the sides of Andy's little grimace. I knew what he was thinking, "That's right, my boy just beat up an eight-year-old."

 (Such a boy)

Now, he's not all ninjas, monster trucks and attacks on big kids. While he's every bit the boy his Daddy always hoped he'd be (he loves basketball too), he's also the cuddliest little sack of sweetness. His smile warms my heart, and fortunately, I get to see it often. He wakes up each morning, climbs into bed with me, cuddles up against me and showers me with kisses (and tries to push Daddy out of the bed). Or, he gently tries to open my eyes, then giggles as I snap them shut. It's a wonderful sight and sound to wake up to. He randomly tells each of his family members throughout the day that he loves us. And it's not just an "I love you." It's "I love you, Mommy" with a nuzzle or a hug (or sometimes a really tight squeeze around the neck). He's always the first to thank me for making dinner, or for reading him a book. He's the first to ask if someone is okay when he senses sadness, the first to help someone pick up something they dropped. He rushes ahead of Ava and me when we walk into Church just so he can hold the door open for us. Just today, I asked the kids to clean up the playroom, Ava went in then quickly came out and said, "Jax already picked up my Barbies for me." Sure enough, our thoughtful little guy had cleaned up his sister's toys, without being asked and without a word about it. When Ava and I thanked him, he said, "I wanted to serve Ava." Made my heard melt. But my favorite is anytime Jax sees a member of the military in uniform, no matter where we are, he'll run up to them and say, "Thank you for your service." He loves, loves, loves to do this and I love to see the look and the serviceman/woman's face when they hear those words coming out of the mouth of such a young child.

(Daddy's little baller)

I know, I know, he sounds like the perfect little boy, right? Well, he kinda is. He definitely has his moments. He's easily frustrated and super-stubborn, but he's also very obedient and is good about calming himself down and "trying again" when necessary. He does throw fits on occasion, but always apologizes afterward. He's pretty awesome!

 Look Mommy, I'm a GEEK! (Grandpa always says the Kleinman boys are a bunch of geeks)

 Andy and I are so grateful for our "Little Digger" (as Andy likes to call him). He's the perfect compliment to his big sister and the two of them together bring us such joy and happiness! Happy, Happy 3rd Birthday, Jax!!! We love you!!!
(Don't worry, we celebrated Jax's birthday in true monster truck style. Party post to come soon!)