Saturday, December 21, 2013

We Elf-ed Ourselves

Today is our first family Christmas celebration for the year.  As we begin our festivities we hope that you are having a wonderful Christmas season.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Video Catch-up

It's my last workday until January so I thought I'd share a bunch of videos that I haven't shared yet.  Enjoy!

Ava's first attempts at crawling.

One of my very thoughtful co-workers picked up a Monsters University popcorn bucket because he knew how much Eli loves it.
An average playtime at our house.
What happens when Daddy goes into the garage.
Eli has cabin fever and couldn't stand go to one more day without playing outside. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eli - 23 Months and Ava 33 weeks - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

So here we are all caught up again and just a week shy of Christmas.  How did we get here?

At 23 months Eli's favorite things are books, outside, trucks, and chips.  Things we dislike are most good-for-you table foods, jeans (though Mama makes him wear them sometimes), and having our hair brushed (though Mama make him do that sometimes too).  Our funny thing this week is that we've discovered that Donald Duck has a tail and we aren't really sure about that.  Eli looks through his Mickey Mouse books over and over pointing to Donald's tail and saying "Dond-dald Duck tail!".

Eli is very much a creature of habit and likes it when things go just the way they've always gone.  I'm sure it gives him comfort and assurance.  We have pretty much the same routine everyday though it never seems to get any easier to convince him to get dressed.  But once we are dressed and out the door, our day goes relatively smoothly.  In the evenings we eat supper and then Eli can watch a movie he likes or sometimes an episode of Mickey Mouse while he plays.  We ususally end up watching one of the Toy Story or Monsters Inc movies, but sometimes we shake it up a bit.  I have plans to introduce him to Shrek soon too.  Then around 7pm we have to tell our TV friends "night-night" and give control of the remote over to Daddy.  We usually read a couple of books, play in the floor some more, and then kiss Daddy and Ava goodnight before we go to bed. 

Eli's Grammers brought Eli this shirt from Harvard when she was near there for a conference a year ago.  We finally wore it the other day. 

My future Harvard man loves to read and study his books so maybe he could get in one day.
The one thing we have been missing a lot lately is warmer weather.  It's been too cold lately for Eli to get outside to play and he had a bad case of cabin fever.  So yesterday when we got home and the temps were still in the 50s I let him play outside for the last 15 minutes of daylight.  It was enough to satiate him though if it hadn't been getting dark I know he could have played for hours.  
At 33 weeks Ava finally had her first nubby tooth pop through on her bottom gum.  After this tooth came in, Ava has gone back to sleeping in her own bed and sleeping much more soundly.  This is a welcome relief to Mama and Daddy.  Ava wants to be into everything.  Pretty much if it's on the floor she thinks that it is fair game to play with.  She especially loves the brightly colored Christmas wrapping paper that's been around the last week or so.  She loves to crinkle it and shake it to hear the funny noises it makes.  Sometimes things end up in her mouth, but mostly she isn't serious about eating them.  She just wants to lick on them to see what they taste like.  

It took some serious doing to get everyone out the door this morning.  Daddy was gone for work and Joey (who usually comes to help us) was out of commission with a dental surgery.  So it was just Mama and two kiddos.  About 7pm last night I felt like I was doing well when we had our daycare party treats ready, both kids bathed, and Ava drifted off to sleep.  Unfortunately 15 minutes later Ava woke up and decided it was party time.  My ego was sufficiently deflated.  Guess I'm not super-mom.  It was 9pm before Ava went back to sleep and even then she didn't go willingly.  So after Ava was down I had to get Eli in bed and then had to pick up the house a little and shower myself.  It was 10:30 before I got to sleep.  Then I heard Ava rolling in her bed and was up again by 4:30 this morning.  I laid there for a few minutes before I gave up and just got dressed anyway.  I know that I will be glad to have Daddy back in the house and I can't wait to see what Eli does when he sees him.  All in all our first night of Mommy flying solo wasn't too bad and I think with a little practice I could figure it out again.

Today is the kids Christmas party at daycare.  Joey had them each a special Christmas shirt made this year, so we proudly put on our new shirts.  Then I had to scrounge for pants to match because apparently Ava doesn't have anything but pink pants and all of Eli's jeans were dirty.  Fortunately, I found somepants that were part of a different outfit to put on Ava and I found Eli some brown pants in the bottom of the drawer.  We were running about 30 minutes late this morning, but we made it to daycare all dressed in our Christmas gear.  I'm sure we'll pick them up after they've had all kinds of sweets and fun today.  They will probably be exhausted and cranky, but it won't matter.  We'll just have to survive until bedtime which will go much better with Daddy's help tonight.

Our daycare party treats.  Yogurt parfaits with oreos , green sprinkles, and candy canes.

Eli grinned really big when he saw his shirt this morning.  He loved his truck shirt.  He still didn't want to take off his jammies, but he liked the looks of his new shirt.  And yes, he did have a coat, but I took it of so that I could take a picture of his new shirt. - Bad Mommy!
Ava's snow-globe shirt has tiny little beads in it so that it actually shakes.  We found these green pants in some hand-me-downs from our cousin Audrey and I even got some little dress shoes on her this morning.  The shoes didn't make it out of the house, but at least I tried.

To all our co-workers.  This is one of the primary reasons we've been later than usual the last couple of weeks.  The daycare has this giant inflatible Mickey Mouse (aka Hot Dog) out front.  Eli thinks that he has to go see it every day.  This morning we were already 15 minutes late and Eli didn't want to leave his Hot Dog.  He kept saying "touch it".  So we spent some time visiting with Mickey this morning.  Don't tell Eli, but we will be so glad when Hot Dog isn't out there anymore and we can get into daycare without having to stand in the cold for 10 minutes. 

Eli 1 year 47 weeks and Ava 32 weeks

So I'm finally catching up on the post I didn't write last week and then I'm going to try to get to this week's post. 
At 32 weeks Ava was definately beginning to teethe.  She was been a little cranky, but mostly just not sleeping as well as usual.  She was much needier through the night than normal and frequently ended up sleeping on top of me in our bed.  It was exhausting because it meant I wasn't really sleeping and Brian wasn't doing too much better with her frequently taking up space in our bed.  But when she isn't hurting, Ava is her normal happy self.  We are exploring more and more table foods and Ava loves to try them all.  Thus far we haven't found anything that she doesn't like.  The only eating problems she has is that she wants to eat whatever the rest of us are eating.  She does not like it when you eat in front of her and she can't have any. 
Our big adventure at 32 weeks old was that she got to go on the annual Christmas shopping trip with Mama, Joey, and Aunt 'Tace.  We started around 7am and didn't get home until right at 8pm.  Ava hung in well and only got bad cranky one time toward the end of the day.  I think by that point she was tired of being held, car seated, and generally restrained from moving.  Overall, she seemed to have fun though and spent a great deal of the day introducing us to all the other shoppers.  Everyone stops to chat with Ava and when they do she gives them a special wide mouth grin. 
I wouldn't quite say that Ava is crawling but she can definately get where she wants to go.  She almost Army crawls and kinda scoots her way around the house on her tummy.  She does her best to keep up with her big brother, but she is going to have to get much faster if she's going to compete in the races he runs. 
Wearing my monkey 'boggin that my cousin Kylie gave me as a hand-me-down.  We've been shopping all day and had to stop for some supper.  I ate sweet potatoes!

Here I am sitting in Mommie's lap at our table at home.  I get to do this when I finish all my food or if I can pitch a big enough fit to stop everyone else from eating.

After supper I like to play with "Ba-ba-bunny" in the floor.  I can wrestle him to the ground and then chew on his ear.  I always win that game!

At 1 week shy of 23 months old, Eli got to go to one of his best buddies' (who also happens to be a cousin) birthday party.  Ashton is a sweet little girl who loves Eli every bit as much as he loves her.  They go to daycare together, so when we were invited to share in Ashton's 2nd Birthday Barnyard Bash we gladly accepted.  Eli had so much fun playing with the tractors at the party and loved watching Ashton open her gifts, especially the Mickey Mouse gifts.  We took these pictures on our phones and when Eli sees them he points to Ashton and says "Sissy".  I guess he loves her so much he wants to have a special name for her.  So I hope it's okay with her mama and daddy if Eli calls her "Sissy". 

While Ava was out shopping with the girls, Eli and Daddy went to Birmingham for a weekend with Grammers.  Eli got to go see Aubie and Santa Claus and Eli got to go to the children's science center and run around like a mad man playing with all the gadgets and hands on exhibits.  Eli loves spending time with his Grammers and I think he definately benefitted from some one-on-one time.  It used to always be all about him, so it's good that from time to time he gets to have the attention all to himself again.  Ava enjoyed her one-on-one time as well and Mommie got a few things accomplished while she was back down to just one kiddo for the weekend.

Eli's other big news is that he has moved himself out of the highchair at mealtime.  He started getting really upset when it was time for him to sit in the high chair.  It's understandable because at daycare only the little babies sit in the high chairs.  Eli now sits at the kiddie table with the big boys and girls.  So one day I asked Eli if he wanted to sit at the big table like Mama and Daddy.  He promptly stole the seat that Daddy usually sits in and hasn't missed a meal in it since.  We aren't eating well, but we are at least sitting at the table like a big boy. 

Playing on the hay bails at Ashton's B-day party.  Yep.  That's Eli's "Sissy".

Eli loved Ashton's ride on tractor so much that we worried that he wouldn't want to leave it when we left.  He was a perfect gentleman though and walked away without any trouble.

Eli in his newly claimed spot at the head of the table.   Notice that we are usually accompanied by small plastic dinner companions.  Eli's favorite thing right now are BBQ Potato Chips.  If we play our cards right, we can convince him to eat some other things by witholding the next few chips. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Eli - 1 year 46 weeks & Ava 31 weeks (7 months)

By the time we made it thru Thanksgiving we were finally all back to a healthy status.  Then it was time to decorate the Christmas tree and watch the Iron Bowl.  What an Iron Bowl it was.  Being Auburn fans, we were thrilled with the way the game turned out albeit as surprised as anyone with the way it ended.  I won't say much more about it other than to let you know that we all four wore our Auburn gear all day Sunday in celebration.  We looked like the Auburn Clampets going through Walmart on Sunday but we were happy and our team won.  Here's hoping for an SEC championship win this weekend. 

Now at 7 months old, Ava is just almost crawling. She can scoot pretty much anywhere she wants to go and periodically gets up on all fours before falling back down.  Ava is very squirmy. She is going to be incredibly active and wants very much to keep up with her big brother. When we are playing around the house, she does a combination of rolling and scooting to get across the living room. 

Ava still doesn't have any teeth, though I'm convinced that they have to be on their way because she is very drooly and loves to chew on everything.  Eli had 4 teeth (I think) by this age, so we are awaiting the first tooth anxiously at our house.  She is loving the taste of "real" food and would probably eat until she made herself sick if we'd let her.  I think Ava is most anxious for those teeth to come in so that she can start eating some of the things we're eating.  If she sees us eating something she does her best to get her hands on it and opens her mouth up wide like a little bird.  My this is a welcome change from Eli who is our pickey eater right now. 

Ava is still just about that happiest baby we've ever met. But she does get very angry if we are a little too late with the food and when it's Eli's bedtime and she is tired and wants Mama as well. 

I'm getting everything that Eli drug into the floor.

Drooly face!
At nearly 23 months, Eli is quite a handful as well.  He is all over the place and runs almost everywhere he goes.  He wants to be completely independent and frequently makes the request/demand "myself", meaning I want to do it myself.  Sometimes this works out and he can accomplish what he wants and sometimes he can't.  We are learning to allow him to try by himself first and then offer help as a second option. 
Eli is not a very good eater, I'm afraid.  He pretty much only eats snack foods and will not try any new foods (unless it's candy).  We subsist on a diet of peanut butter crackers and apple sauce type foods.  He loves potato chips (especially BBQ flavored) and if offered ice cream, he jumps up and down like crazy.  We do eat some healthy snack foods like yogurt, bananas, apples, and grapes too.  We are doing our best to offer other foods as well, but it is tough.  I am convinced that his food issues are fear related.  He ate wonderfully this time last year and really stopped eating when he had a stomach bug last January.  I'm hopeful that as he continues to be able to communicate and understand a little bit better, we can convince him to try some new foods and assure him that they are not going to make him sick. 
This week Eli's favorite movies are the Toy Story movies.  We do still occasionally watch Mickey Mouse, but Toy Story (1, 2, and 3) is our staple these days.  It is so bad that we even routinely carry the disc sleeve with us in the car so that he can hold his favorite characters and continue to talk about them.  The up side of watching that is that Mom and Dad aren't nearly as worn out on Toy Story as we are on Mickey Mouse. 

"My do it!"

The result of self feeding... yogurt everywhere!

"My see it, Mama."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eli 1 year, 45 weeks & Ava 30 weeks - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

After almost 2 weeks of having sick kiddos, this Thanksgiving we were especially thankful for our supportive family, our health, and the doctors and nurses that worked so hard to take such good care of us. 

For Thanksgiving we made the trip down to Birmingham to attend the annual Thanksgiving feast at Granny Reba and Papaw John.  Over 50 people were in attendance and traveled from 3 different states in order to attend.  It was wonderful to see everyone, the food was amazing, and the kiddos had an amazing time seeing their relatives. 

Ava had a blast playing in the floor and cooing at everyone.  She made some new buddies in her Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  We spent a lot of time in the living room avoiding the cold while we watched the Macy's Parade.

Eli's favorite thing to do at Granny and Papaw's house is to play basketball with Granny Reba.  I can't believe how blessed my children are to have great grandparents who want to be involved and who feel up to playing with the kiddos.  I was also completely awed by the fact that in the midst of preparing food for over 50 people, Granny took time out to go play basketball in the cold with Eli.  I struggle sometimes to remember to take time to play.  I can get very focused on a task at hand and convince myself that there just isn't time to stop and do anything else but check items off my list.  That 15 minutes made his whole weekend and the next time I think I'm too busy to stop and play when he asks, I may just have to pull out these pictures and remind myself that playtime is important too.  

Eli didn't get his fill of outside time by any means, but it was very cold and near lunchtime so we made him come inside to play.  He wasn't thrilled with that idea at first, but after a while, he made the best of it.  Grammers showing up at just the right moment didn't hurt either.  She is always a wonderful playmate for Eli and he loves her so much!

After lunch we settled in for some more visiting, Ava took a nap, and soon it was time to head home so that I could make the Black Friday sales at Walmart.  Everyone was a little cranky on the car ride home, but we finally made it.  We got the kiddos settled into the house with Daddy and Uncle Woo Woo (visiting to do some hunting) as babysitters and off I went to do some Thanksgiving evening shopping. 

We have much to be thankful for this year including becoming a family of 4, happy healthy kids, a loving extended family, a beautiful home, and much much more.  I hope your holidays got started in as wonderful a way as ours did. 

Eli - 1 year, 44 weeks & Ava 29 weeks

The kids were sick... This is what we did.
Breathing treatments and lots of medicine
 Playtime when our fever is down

Bouncing babies to sleep when the fever comes up

Eli - 1 year, 43 weeks & Ava - 28 weeks

We are finally are better.  I missed 2 weeks of work to stay home and take care of Eli and Ava and thank goodness I wasn't alone.  On Monday two just over two weeks ago now, Eli woke up wheezing and coughing and feverish.  I knew immediately that this was different from just any old cold.  Brian stayed home with Eli and I and we took Ava on to daycare.  That day, we were told that Eli just had "The Croup" and the beginnings of an ear infection.  We got an antibiotic shot and went home to attempt to get better. 

By Wednesday Eli's sickness has blossomed into a double ear infection, RSV, pneumonia, and the croup that he already had.  At some point, I developed a fever myself and had to fight off this lovliness, Brian had some nastiness in his sinuses, and by Thrusday Ava woke up coughing as well.  Given that Eli had RSV, we took Ava to the doctor immediately and then on Friday we all went to the doctor again where the entire family ended up with antibiotics.  Before this was over, we had to call all hands on deck with both grandmothers and both parents at our house.  It was CRAZY!!! 

By the first of the next week (Thanksgiving week), Eli was on the mend and Ava was at her worst.  Given that RSV is so dangerous for kids under 1 and the fact that no one else at daycare was sick, we ended up keeping both kiddos home for the entire second week.  It wasn't as dramatic as it sounds since the daycare was closed both Thursday and Friday. 

So with all that going on, it's a wonder that I had any pictures at all for that week, but I was fortunate enough to get them at the start of the weekend before all this went down.  So here are some shots of Eli and Ava for that week.  I'll try to catch up on the remainder of the weeks I've missed very soon.

Showing Ava how to crawl.

Ava is in love with her big brother.  Look at her grinning at him from behind.

Trying to get some forward movement.

An exceptionally happy little girl!

Friday, November 22, 2013

What we've been up to

I realize that it's been a couple weeks since my last post. I haven't forgotten or disappeared. Things got busy at the end of last week so I never got around to posting and we've been home sick all this week. I honestly haven't been to work all week.

Eli has a double ear infection, RSV ( respiratory virus), and pneumonia. We are a very sick little man.

Ava has fought hard to avoid getting sick as well. Thus far she just has the beginnings of a cold.

We've been to the doctor 4 out of 5 days this week. This is what our house looks like right this minute. Hopefully I'll be able to update again next week. Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Eli 1 year, 42 weeks & Ava 26 weeks

It's been a rough week at our house.  On Sunday afternoon, Eli began running a little fever.  That was the first sign of the stomach bug that would ransack all four of us before the middle of the week. 

I had been scheduled to spend the week in Washington, DC for work, but on Monday night after having kept Eli home from daycare. I just had this bad feeling that I souldn't be going.  After talking with my colleague, we decided that it was probably best if I stayed home and let her handle this trip alone.  Well, that feeling was right because at 2am Tuesday morning, I woke up with the worst stomach bug of my life.  By noon Tuesday, Ava was being sent home from daycare and Brian's tummy was uneasy. Fortunately, I had the worst case of any of us so everyone else was sparred the violent grusome experiance that I had.  Ava did have several large spit-ups, but by the time we'd be getting her cleaned up she'd be smiling up at us again. 

We are so blessed to have the support system of family that we have during times like this.  It's tough when any of us get sick, but when the Mommy gets sick at the same time things get much tougher very quickly.  Brian was wonderful and helped as much as humanly possible.  He waited on me almost 24 hours straight in addition to taking wonderful care of Ava and looking after Eli while he was feeling less than himself.  Brian and I also each have wonderful moms who came to the rescue again.  My mom drove to my house four times (I think) Tuesday, and Brian's mom came from Birmingham after work and stayed until Wednesday afternoon.  This included a mid-night trip to the ER with Ava (when we thought she was getting dehydrated) then sitting up with her all night feeding her less than an ounce of Pedialyte every 20 minutes or so to be sure she kept it down and stayed hydrated.  My children are very blessed in the grandparent department.  We also owe some thanks to our extended family to include siblings, cousins, and friends who happen to work in ERs, doctors offices, etc. and took the calls when we were trying to decide if we needed to take Ava to the ER.  Thanks to you all and we'll try out best not to do that again!

In any event, by Wednesday morning, I was well enough to stand upright again (though not for long) and Eli was his usual wild man self.  I got Eli to daycare and then headed home to spend the remainder of the day trying to rest while I worked in some light housework to remove all germs associated with "The Death" (our pet name for this bug).  Ava spent Wednesday with her Grammers building back up her food intake and by Thursday we were all back to our ususal schedule.  (Though I was a little worse for wear.) 

With all this sickness, I didn't have a chance to take the kids pictures this week.  Fortunately, Uncle Woo and Aunt 'Lissa visited last weekend and happened to get a couple of shots on their phones.  So this week, those will be what we use. 

Eli has found some buckets that I was using for my crafts and has confiscated them to use as hats.  He frequently hands one to Brian and puts one on his own head.  Then he likes to butt both bucket heads together.  Walking with a bucket on his head usually results into him running into furniture, but he's tough so it's okay.  Eli is also still completely obsessed with "Backpack Monsters" (Monsters University).  We watch it at least once a day, but we ususally watch "Hot Dog" (Mickey Mouse) too. Truthfully, Brian and I are so tired of Mickey that we kind of encourage the Monsters.  Though it may be time to find Eli a copy of Monsters Inc. too.

Ava almost always has the gigantic smile on her face.  As I said before, even after a bad spit-up this week she would just look up at you and grin like this.  I swear nothing is going to phase this child.  Ava's favorite toys are her green O-ball (like the one Eli has always loved), her Ba-ba-Bunny, and her butterfly with the crinkley wings.  She loves to shake them, grab them, taste them, and wrestle them.  Other toys she enjoys are pretty much anything that Eli wants to play with.  She loves her brother very much and wants for him to play with her very much.  Eli does occasionally, but Ava can't get enough. Though you can't see it in this picture, Ava's hair is beginning to come in nicely.  The peach fuzz is almost gone and the real hair is filling in ever so slowly. 

Ava's big milestone this week is that she's learned to make Raspberry sounds.  In fact, she's really good at it.  From all the baby books I've read I know that this is an important step in the process of learning to talk.  She also likes to make all kinds of other sounds including "Ba-ba-ba-ba" and, this morning, "Da-da-da-da" (though I'm not sure she realized that she'd made that "da" sound when she did it).  Last night before bed, I managed to get a video of Ava making her noises.  I'll share it here and then close for this week.  Here's hoping that next week will be an improvement over this week. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

About the middle of October we took some family pictures.  I think it's going to be an annual thing for us.  Christi Haney of Christi Haney Photography took the pictures.  She does an excellent job and is a great value.  For a very reasonable fee, she provided a disc of 25-30 pictures and the release to print unlimited copies.  I haven't found anywhere that is a better deal. 

This year we took pictures at my Grandmother's house.  She is getting ready to sell her small farm and move in with my aunt so I wanted to get a few pictures around her house as keepsakes.  Eli was in less than a great mood (that is putting it nicely) so we had a hard time getting any pictures where he wasn't screaming.  Fortunately, Christi has two kiddos of her own and is very patient. 

This is the swing where my Grandmother took us on imaginary adventrures to what we thought was the best place on earth, Opryland.  We'd swing for imagining all the rides and adventures along the way.

My sweet Granny Mot who has probably swung no less than 50 kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and great-great grandkids now in that same spot.

When the whole family is together we're so many that we spill out onto the front lawn.

Eli loves a wagon!

Ava loves to play on her tummy.

The peaches, plums, and pears off the row of trees always made wonderful ammunition during our war games.  Usually we'd all end up in trouble over the plum-stained clothes.

The road on the hill just above the house.  I think this is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole world when the sun beams down through these trees.

A great big Thank You goes out to our neice, Kylie, as well. She tagged along and helped us get smiles from Eli and Ava. When we finished, Christi got a few amazing shots of Kylie as well.