Saturday, July 26, 2014

Eli - 2 years, 27 weeks & Ava - 1 year 12 weeks

Eli's imagination has come alive!!! He is so funny to watch.  You'll catch him playing quietly with his toys making them talk and having little conversations with them while he acts out a little play.  It's completely adorable!

Friday night when we got home from work, Eli and Ava started playing with Eli's hats.  Well, Eli started playing with his hats and then Ava had to have one too.  Eli wanted to wear two hats and Ava was doing good to keep one on.  They were having a blast and playing really well together.  Typically playtime tends to be more of Eli trying to do something and Ava coming up and knocking everything over just to hear her brother fuss. 

Ava is quickly becoming a little mischief maker.  She will do things just to bother Eli and is everywhere all at once.  I frequently have to remove her from the kitchen cabinets (she will climb into them to play) and I can almost forget opening the dryer without her trying to cram 3-4 toys in.  She is everywhere and into everything.  Eli was never really one to get into trouble that way, but Ava is going to be a handful!

So that is it for this week... I'll be back soon with next week's post.

Thug-tastic blue eyes!

Two hats

Playing with hats!

More thug-tastic Ava!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eli - 2 years, 26 weeks & Ava - 1 year, 11 weeks

So having barely gotten home from a week and a half of vacation, Brian had to pack his bags again and head out Monday morning to travel for work.  I don't think I've ever seen him or the kids as upset about him having to go.  Before I put Eli in bed Sunday night I had him give Brian a hug and kiss and we told him that Daddy had to go work for a few days but would be home on Friday.  This caused Eli to tear up and didn't do anything for Brian either.  Later Sunday night we were sitting in bed almost ready to turn out the light and Ava started crying in her bed.  Brian was still sad from telling them goodnight and goodbye earlier and already missing the kiddos.  Normally, I would have gone and gotten Ava and held her until she got back to sleep then put her in her bed for the night.  But Sunday night, Brian went and got Ava and held her there in our bed until she fell asleep and then cuddled her all night.  We talked about putting her back in her bed, but decided that if it would help Brian to feel her there close that she could stay. 

All week, the kids missed their Daddy, but Joey came every night and helped me get everyone fed, bathed, and in bed.  (It is still too chaotic and wild for one person to handle.)  We did pretty well most nights, but Eli cried for his Daddy at bedtime every night and Ava was not sleeping quite as well as normal.  By Wednesday night, the longing for Daddy must have gotten pretty bad because it took longer than normal the next two nights to get Eli to sleep and both kids were awake through  the night.  Thursday morning, this was my bed.

Cuddling with each other after Mommy got up.
And Thursday night, Ava did better, but Eli was still missing Daddy very much.  Thrusday night Eli came with his Woody doll.  Woody was movin' in on Daddy's spot! 

Dreaming out Daddy coming home in a few hours.

With Daddy gone and us all having a tough time getting back into our routine, I failed to take any pictures other than the ones of the kids sleeping in my bed.  It shouldn't have been difficult to do, but it just didn't happen. 

Friday, Brian came home and he brought gifts.  Eli got a Thomas the Train with tracks and Ava got a stuffed Minnie Mouse.  I'm not sure what Eli liked better, his new toy or having Daddy home.  Friday night they both climbed all over him and rolled in the floor together. 

So that was our week... no giant leaps or milestones, but a simple week filled with ordinary moment and days.  Next week will be another only this time, Daddy will be here to share the fun!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Family Vacation 2014

On Saturday the 5th, we packed our bags and headed south to the beach (Adventure #3).  I was completely terrified of the 5 hour car ride with two children under 3 in tow, but all-in-all it wasn't terrible.  We really only stopped a couple times and neither of those was technically for the kids.  I'm telling you portable DVD players are a gift from God!

Every other year for a while now, Brian's family has gone on vacation with another family.  It's become a tradition.  We rent a large house (this year a duplex) and in recent years, we've had a private pool.  We especially love the private pool.  I've never been a fan of condo complex pools.  There is always some 10 year old being extremely loud and disruptive and I doubt Eli could have become as comfortable in a pool with older kids splashing him left and right.
When we got there and got the cars unloaded, we immediately set up the kiddie pool for the kiddos.  We had it and a pop-up shade tent over it so there was ample shade and a cooler spot where they could play in the pool without having a grownup in the water with them. 

Of course, once we got things settled we all got in the big pool before supper.


The next morning, it was time to hit the beach.  Eli and Ava were tenative about the water at first, but after we did some splashing and bouncing, they were having a blast!

 I've never been to the beach when the water was as calm as it was last week.  We literally saw bigger waves on the lake for the 4th of July than we saw in the ocean.  It was amazing!!! When we weren't in the water (Eli made sure we spent most of our time in the water too), we played in the sand.  At first Eli hated the sand because he didn't want to get his feet dirty.  Once we got over that though, we had a large time!


And after mornings at the beach, we'd typically head back to the house for a little lunch, naptime, and then lounge by the pool late in the afternoons until supper time. 

By the 2nd or 3rd day Eli was becoming very confident in his puddle jumper and more and more comfortable in the pool. By the end of the week, he was "swimming" (i.e., moving around) all by himself and able to go from one side to the next. 

The next day, we'd get up and do it again!

Monday night we decided to go out for supper.  We typically don't go out much on vacation, but cook our food there at the house or order in pizza.  It keeps costs down and gives us more time for playing at the beach and pool.  Plus, it's nice not to have to try to keep two kids dressed up and happy at a restaurant every night. I think Eli missed his nap on Monday, so by the time we got to the restaurant Monday night, he was extremely moody.  We did everything we could to keep him happy, but he was whining and griping.  Eventually, he just stretched out across a couple of chairs, laid his head in my lap and went to sleep. 

Ava, on the other hand, was having a blast at the restaurant.  I'm so glad it was just a little shack near the water and not a fancy place.  We wouldn't have made it!  This place was so casual that they had an outdoor bar for beachgoers to walk right up in their bathing suits.  So Eli's whining and Ava's generally loud baby-ness didn't really disturb anyone but me and Brian.

Tuesday morning we decided to take a break from the beach and make a trip to the outlet malls.  Well, Brian, Ava and I went to the outlets... Grammers, Eli, and Papa Garro went to a train museum.  Eli is quickly becoming as much of a railroad man as Papa Garro. 

Around lunchtime, we all met up in Foley for lunch at Stacey's Drug Store.  It is an adorable little place and we'll definately be going back.  They have an old-timey soda fountain where they serve shakes, malts, ice cream, sundaes, banana splits, and a small menu of burgers and sandwiches. 

Yes, I fed Eli icecream for lunch!
The next couple days it was time for more fun in the sun! Again, Eli had to get comfortable with his feet having sand on them almost every day.  Once we got him comfortable with sandy toes though, he was on  go! Ava generally loved the sand, but had a love-hate relationship with the ocean.  One day she loved it, the next day she hated it.  We bounced back and forth all week. 

The other fun thing we did on the beach was eat!  We had Capris Suns to drink and cookies to eat!

Daddy even showed Eli how to find sea shells!

Then later in the week we went to supper again.  This time we went to a restaurant that had a large fenced in back yard with a huge sand pit for the kids to play in.  We ate on the back porch so I could let Eli roam and play freely while I sat at the table and enjoyed my meal.  Ava still required some pretty close supervision, but it was still a refreshing dining experiance for this mommy. 
Playing in the sand

We met a nice brother and sister who played with Eli and Ava.

Looking cute in her dress and sandals.

Ooops, something caught her attention.
Then we had to do some more sunbathing... especially our little Auburn princess.

The last morning, I convinced Brian to help me take the kids to the beach for some family pictures.  We probably took 200-300 pictures and a few turned out really amazing.  I'm really happy with them and some of the ones that didn't turn out were pretty funny too!


This spot looked promising, but the sun was just too bright in our eyes!

Not sure how Brian got his eyes opened so wide in the sun... the rest of us weren't as sucessful.

Loved the lighting in this photo... not sure how I pulled that one off!

If only Ava had been laughing in this picture...



That afternoon, it was time for one last trip to the beach... and more Oreos!

Eli tried to find more Oreos in our bag... he got caught!

Eli wanted to ride the float!

These are the last pictures I took on the beach... I got some amazing ones of Ava with her Papa Garro.  We are so lucky to have him around.  He is a very sweet man and I'm pretty sure that he and Ava bonded in those last few minutes we spent on the beach!  These may be my favorite pictures ever!!!



And when they finished picking up sea shells they built a sandcastle.


The next morning, we loaded the car and headed home.  Dispite what this picture indicates, the kids didn't sleep a whole lot.  They did pretty well riding all the way home (8-9 hours thanks to traffic).  We had to stop a time or two for them, but we made it home before 7pm.  Around hour 6 or 7 of our car ride, we hit some terrible traffic and found ourselves sitting still on the interstate.  In our desperation to keep everyone happy, I pulled out the last junk food I had stashed in the car.  There was a minor disagreement about sharing Doritos that proved amusing.  The follow video explains what happened...

Fortunately, Joey and Papa Rick came to play with the kids when we got home so that Brian and I could get the car unloaded.  Eli and Ava were overjoyed to see their own house and their own toys.  That night, they ran around the house like crazy kids who'd never seen a toy before.  Their eyes were filled with total exuberance. As for Brian and I, we were happy to be home.  Vacations are nice, but we like our little day-to-day life and especially love our own bed (once you go Tempurpedic you don't go back).  The big bonus is that we have all our amazing photos to look back on and enough memories to last a lifetime.