Friday, August 30, 2013

Eli - 1 year, 32 weeks & Ava - 17 weeks

Note: 9/9/13 - For some reason this didn't publish.  So I've published it now and backdated it so that it will show up in the right order. 

Wow! I can't believe it is almost Labor Day.  The summer really went by fast.  Everything about life is fast these days.  I go, go, go from the moment I get up in the mornings until I fall into bed exhausted at night.  It seems that every moment of the day is filled with something that must be done.  A nose to wipe, a diaper to change, a phone call to make, a sippy cup to fill... on and on. 

Eli is beginning to really love music.  He's always been fond of music, but lately he seems to have taken an even bigger interest in the radio and music on the TV.  When we're in the car he likes to try to sing along to whatever is on the radio and he loves to sing "Row Row Row the Boat" in the tub.  He is becoming the funniest little man and doesn't miss a thing. 

Ava is the squirmiest little kid that you've ever seen these days.  She used to sit in her bouncy seat for hours without moving.  We'd even stopped strapping her in to give her a little more freedom.  Now if you don't strap her in she'll almost wiggle her way out in a matter of minutes.  She is developing quite the little personality and is a hit wherever we go.  She loves it when people talk to her and can flash the biggest smiles in the whole world.  She seems to light up all over when she grins. 

We have a busy Labor Day weekend planned which I'll share sometime next week.  In the meantime, enjoy this week's pictures.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eli 1 year 31 weeks (19 months) & Ava 16 weeks

So I never did manage to get a really good picture of Eli this week. I've been holding out hoping to get something better, but he wasn't cooperative.   So we ended up with an unhappy toddler who didn't want to stop watching Mickey Mouse to smile for his mom.  And taking his picture while he watches Mickey isn't effective either.

At 19 months, Eli is becoming such a big boy.  For the most part he is happy and cooperative.  Last night he was eating something in the living room and threw it across the room.  I told him that it wasn't nice to throw food and asked him to go get it and bring it to Mommy.  He said, "Okay" and then he did it!  Maybe we are getting somewhere with this listening thing. 

This week Eli is saying "Mick Mouse", "Mimmie" (Minnie), "poosh" (spoon), and "tuck" (truck).  His vocabulary is expanding at a rapid pace and he'll try to repeat pretty much anything you say.  The other night I was feeding him some apple kiwi mango babyfood (we're still not eating much table food) and he thought it was so much fun to try to say "apple kiwi mango".  It became quite a little game.  Eli loves his baby sister even if he refuses to call her anything but "the baby".  I think he's called her "sissy" from time to time, but regardless he won't say "Ava".  Every night before bed he gives Daddy and "the baby" kisses.  In the mornings when he sees her he goes up to her and says "Hi, The Baby!"  It's adorable and frustrating all at the same time.  Oh, and Eli has learned to say "War Eagle" just in time for football season.

Don't sit in front of "Dot Dog", Mama. 
And don't interrupt my Mickey Mouse trying to take my picture.
Ooops! After I wrote this I realized that I did have a funny picture of Eli to share.  Last night while eating he decided he wanted to "sip" his Pasta Premavera Baby food.  This was the result...

This week we also saw Ava learn to roll over.  Well maybe she just did it accidentally because we can't get her to repeat it at all.  She tries and gets very mad when she can't.  Ava has also found her voice and she likes it!  She loves to hear herself chatter so when she is in a talkative mood look out.  She is exceptionally easygoing unless you are trying to make her bottle when she's hungry.  In that case, she has a firey temper and will let you hear about it.  Her hair (well, peach fuzz) is filling in a little on the top but we can't tell what color it looks like yet.  The hair on the back of her head is dark brown, but the new stuff coming in looks a little red to me.  If it turns out to be red, she'll have the hair to match her temper. 

Feeling kinda chatty after daycare!

Ready for church looking like an angel.

I also have videos to share from this week.

This one is Ava during playtime.  I had hoped it would be Ava rolling over, but I'm not that lucky.

This one is Eli saying "War Eagle".  We read our Aubie book every night before bed and practice.  Football season is just 1 week away, so we have to get ready.

The last one is of Ava "talking".  She is going to be my little chatterbox. Eli cooed and made noises very early and often.  But Ava is carrying on a regular little conversation. You can see it in her eyes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Updating Videos from Maternity Leave

Today I happened to go through some videos and realized that I missed several videos from this summer.  It was probably because I was on maternity leave through mid June and then had so much catching up to do at work that I just missed posting them.  So I'll share them today in a mish-mash post of videos.  I'll update with this week's pictures tomorrow and some videos from this week. 

In May, we bought the kids a swingset.  Well, right now I guess it's just Eli's, but he'll have to share once Ava gets a little bit bigger. Eli had gone with us to check it out before we bought it from a lady whose kids had outgrown it.  He loved it so much that he didn't want to leave it.  We surprised him with it when we picked him up from daycare one day.  You can see him realize that it's in the back yard and then make a run for it.  He made it about 20 ft before he decided that his little legs couldn't take him fast enough and Daddy needed to carry him. He loves it and has had a blast playing on it this summer when it wasn't raining.  In the second video he even says "No rain"

Then last month I got these really cute videos of playtime one afternoon.  When I edited them together they turned out to be really sweet.   It may be my favorite video ever!!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Eli - 1 year 30 weeks & Ava 15 weeks

So I'm just now catching up on last week's post.  It was a wild week with very little spare time. 

At 1 and 30 weeks, Eli has sprouted a slew of new words.  "Mick Mouse", "Pooshn" (Spoon), and "Sit Down" are his favorites.  Eli loves to play in his room while he watches Mickey Mouse, but he really prefers to have some company in there.  Frequently when we get home in the afternoon and I'm trying to start supper he'll look at me, point his finger on the floor beside him, and say "Sit down, Mama."  I'm pretty sure it's the exact same way I remind him to sit down on the couch when he is standing up on the sofa sometimes climbing and often jumping.  It's really odd to see your child parrot back your behavior.  All too often I have to tell him that Mama is cooking supper and can't sit right now.  But I do my best to come sit with him for a few minutes after supper. 

At 15 weeks, Ava finally rolled over from her tummy to her back on purpose.  I haven't managed to get it on video yet because one time really wears her out and some days she is just too tired to even try.  But she is getting stronger and doing much better at holding her head up.  She still loves to be talked to especially if you can make direct eye contact.  We do lots of chatting at our house. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eli - 1 year, 29 weeks & Ava - 14 weeks

This weekend we got around to taking Eli's 18 month and Ava's 3 month photos.  We also had Brady (now 8) and Audrey (21 months) playing with us.  Aunt 'Tace' (Stacy) and I worked hard to coordinate the kids' clothes hoping to get a good picture with all four of them together.  We thought that the kids were moody and hard to deal with, but somehow (mostly thanks to photoshop) we ended up with really good pictures anyway.  


Eli is saying like a million new words this week.  For instance, this weekend he said Mickey Mouse instead of "Dot Dog".  He's trying hard to talk in full sentences saying things like "Eli and Nate played buddin' buddin." and "I want orange juice."  But our HUGE accomplishment this week is that Eli is now occasionally eating table foods, specifically, bacon, pickles, and occasionally french fries.  I'm thrilled to see him finally opening back up to real foods but I'm trying not to make too big a deal about it.  I definately don't want to scare him off again.

Ava is developing the happiest little personality of any baby I've seen.  She just loves to be talked to, she loves to watch her brother play, and she loves to cuddle with her Daddy before bedtime.  I'm also thrilled to say that she seems to have her Daddy's beautiful blue eyes.  I think I could just get lost in them.  I've only really seen Ava upset once when she was hungry right when we picked her up from daycare.  She screamed most of the way home.  But once I got in the back seat with her, she calmed down some and ate like crazy as soon as we got in the door at home.  For the most part, she's even happy when she's up in the middle of the night.  Sometimes when there's a good bit of light in the house at night, I see her smiling up at me from behind her bottle.  At that point, it's hard to be in too big a rush to get back in the bed.  When she's like that in the middle of the night I'm a little more apt to spend a few extra minutes cuddling before I lay her back down.  How could I not?

And here's Brady.  He's getting really excited about his soccer season starting back up.  We got this really neat picture of him in his soccer clothes Sunday.  I think it's one of my favorites.  Brady is such a good big brother and cousin to the little kids.  He loves to make them laugh and to watch out for them when they are playing.  He is a really bright kid and rarely misses a thing.  I can't believe how fast he is growing.  It realy does seem like just yesterday that he was running around barefoot in his tux at my wedding knocking over vases of flowers. 

And last, but not least, there is Miss Audrey.  She is sure to be the best female calf ropper you'll ever see one day.  Her favorite thing in the world is her animals.  In fact, we couldn't get her to put down her toy horse while we were taking pictures, so Suds in in most of our shots.  Audrey is a little shy like her daddy.  She doesn't give you the big grins often, but when she does Watch out!  When she grows up I have no doubt she'll be tough as nails, great on a horse, and ready for anything the world can throw at her.

And how did we end our day of picture taking in the heat?  With a picnic of cake for the kiddos, of course.  They were very appreciative!  We hope you have a good week.

If you want to see every last one of the pictures we took, you can do so by clicking this link. Family members can feel free to download, save, and print as they wish. 

Re-Creating a Bookcase for the Kids

Since our government decided that it doesn't have the money to pay us every Friday for 11weeks, Brian and I have been trying to use the extra time off to get some projects done around the house.  My first project was to refinish a bookshelf for the kids' room. 
The books in our house had long ago spilled over the top of the basket I was storing them in.  So I mentioned it to my mom and mother-in-law, who both work at schools.  I asked that they snatch me up a shelf if they happened to see any small bookshelves around that were destined for the trash heap.  So I was thrilled when my mother-in-law brought me this little treasure from her old school.  It was just about perfect in terms of dimensions, it was all wood, and it was FREE! 

I thought it would make an easy project. All I'd have to do is sand, paint, add some trim, and voila. WRONG.  Like most of my projects, this turned into a monumental effort.  

Growing up around teachers, I should have known better than to expect an easy paint fix from something that had been in a school.  Teachers are incredibly resourceful and rarely throw anything away... well maybe it would be more accurate to say that they rarely let anything actually make it to the dump.  In my experience, teachers will pile items which they no longer wish to use in their classrooms into a common area (such as the cafeteria) during the summers so that anyone else who needs it can use it.  At the end of the summer, there is usually little left and then it gets thrown out. 

Because of this recycle, renew, reuse mindset, my shelf had at least 10 separate layers of paint on it.  And here's the other thing.  Teachers are generally great at painting an old shelf, but they don't always do it the right way.  Not that they don't want to, but, let's face it, if you're trying to prepare a room for 20 children, there isn't too much time to worry about the right way to paint a shelf.  So, I can't say I was surprised when I started sanding and noticed the old paint peeling up.

This peeling is probably the result of somebody making a poor choice in the type of paint they used.  I'm betting that the orange paint was an oil-based pain and that the blue and white paints on top of it are latex-based paints.  Latex paint will not properly adhere to oil-based paint unless special primers are used.  The result is this beautiful peeling effect.  Ugh!

This meant that I was going to have to get a little more serious and take a little more time to get this done.  So off to the store I went to buy some paint stripper.  I spent one whole day in a chemical fog as I worked desperately to strip all the paint off that bookshelf.  When I finished, it looked terrible, but almost all the paint was gone. 

The next week on Furlough Friday, I started in sanding and getting this shelf ready to paint.  After I sanded everything, I went to put on my moulding pieces and realized that the base moulding I'd bought was too tall.  I spent most of the rest of the day trying to make slight adjustments to the bottom of the shelf so that it would be just right for the moulding I had.  Once I got it like I wanted, I realized that I didn't have all the moulding I needed and it was the end of the day. 

The third Furlough Friday, I finally got all the moulding I needed as well as the right types.  Then I cut and attached moulding, primed and painted the shelf.  That was a short day overall.  There was a little time for caulking and paint drying, but for the most part, it was an easy day.  When I went to pick up the kiddos I snapped this picture after I'd put on the last coat of paint.

That night before bed, we brought the shelf into the kitchen so that I could dry a couple more days out of the humidity before we loaded it with the kids' books.  Sunday afternoon, I finally got the shelf into the bedroom and loaded with books.  Overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  It looks great and there is plenty of room for more books.  
I've always tried to read to Eli, but now we can really see what we have in our library and choose from a variety of books.  I've started trying to read 3 books most nights.  I pick one, and, right now, he gets to pick one for him and one for Ava.  Soon I'll pick one and Eli and Ava will each pick one.  We don't always make it through 3 books and, occasionally, we don't read any because we are just too worn out to stand ourselves another minute.  But we know that the next time we get ready for bed, we'll have our books ready and waiting.

 Up next on my Furlough Friday project list...
1. clean out the flower beds (this is a huge embarrassment)
2. paint the rocking chairs on the front porch (another unfinished project)
3. do some final organizing in the kids' closet.
4. find a way to make some money to pay for more Furlough Friday projects.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Beauty in the Everyday Life

Lately, I've been trying to take time to notice the beauty that exists in the routine of everyday life.  It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rush of getting everybody dressed, fed, bathed, in bed, and generally cared for.  When that happens, I can quickly find myself stressed and just working hard to move from one task to the next without taking time to enjoy the little things. 

For instance, the other day, Eli and Ava got a package in mail from their grandparents.  Eli was thrilled to find some little toy cars in the box.  He immediately grabbed them and started running all over saying "Buddin, buddin, buuuuddddin."  These toy cars couldn't have cost much, but they brought him so much joy.  Who doesn't love getting fun surprises in the mail?

Then there was last Saturday night (or maybe it was Friday, I can't remember).  We'd played outside a good bit and Brian had worked in the garage.  After Eli went to bed, Brian went back out to clean up some tools and get things inside before we went to bed.  I had told him that I'd get Ava ready for bed then we'd come out and help him finish up.  I took a little longer than expected because Ava was in a wonderful mood and was feeling very chatty.  So I got distracted sitting on the bed talking to her and watching her talk back.

And by last night, I think maybe I managed to get really good at this enjoying the little moments thing.  We had a wonderful evening.  Eli ate supper while I fixed omlets for me and Brian.  Ava sat in her bouncy seat while we all ate, and Eli even asked for and ate a piece of my bacon.  I was thoroughly impressed that he would even touch it.  Eli eats almost no table food, but for some reason last night he just up and ate bacon.  After supper we played, Eli took a bath, and then we played some more.  Eli was in such a wonderful mood that we let him stay up an extra 30 minutes to play.  He was litterally laughing and playing right up until he fell asleep. 

This morning after I got up and dressed, I got Ava up to feed her just a little more before we left the house.  But she was busy smiling up at me with this incredibly huge smile.  She didn't want to eat anything else, but she was greatful just to be able to see and talk to her Mommy.  After I got her dressed, she was still all smiles and I caught this picture. 

So this morning as I sat which both kiddos on my lap watching the same episode of Mickey Mouse for about the 700th time, I felt especially blessed.  Yes, things may be hectic and wild, but my home is filled with love and laughter, the sound of little feet running from room to room, the scream of a toddler that he needs his "Dot Dog" turned back on, the cry of a hungry baby girl from time to time, an enourmous pile of laudry that means everyone is active enough to get really dirty, and the certainty that if I'm caught sitting in the living room floor I'll surely be takled by a child who wants nothing more than for Mom to play.  Yes, in these simple, hectic, busy, everyday moments there is so much beauty.