Friday, August 29, 2014

Eli - 2 years, 32 weeks & Ava 1 year, 17 weeks - Spring Valley Beach, Deer, and Football

Last weekend we took the whole family to Spring Valley Beach.  It was a great day and the water park wasn't very crowded (especially given that it was one of the hottest days of the year).  I'm sure it's safe to say that all the kids had a blast and all the grown-ups were worn out.

When we first got there, Ava was super excited by watching the water cascade off of things.   There is always lots of water running and moving in the kids play area and every 15 minutes a gianormous bucket of water (like 3 bathtubs full) dumps out from the top of the play area in a massive waterfall.

Brian and Ava got caught in the first bucket-dump of the day.  Ava was less than thrilled.

But once we found the slides, Ava was back to having fun.

I think Lane probably had the best time of his life!  I don't think he stopped once all day.

Lane doesn't like water that's deeper than he can touch in.  In fact, I don't think he likes for water to be over his waist.  But this crazy boy loved having water dumped on him.  He ran around looking for the next thing to pour water on his head all day.  I don't think he missed a single bucket dump. 
Audrey and Eli had the most fun doing these little slides and playing in the shallow water.   
Ava liked the small slides too, but she wasn't quite big enough to do them by herself yet.  This was the moment that she ended up with a face full of water.

Eli and Audrey are best buddies.  We were trying to get them to sit still and smile for a picture but they thought it was funnier to make silly faces, wiggle around, and giggle about it.

Last night when Eli saw this picture he said, "He's go 'Ritos!" (Doritos)  Eli is crazy about some "Ritos".

After lunch, Ava took a nap. She took a nap in 95 degree heat laying on a picnic table.  I was shocked that we were able to get her to sleep.  She must have been completely wiped out from all the excitement.

Lane, Kylie, and Caiden finally got together after lunch and spent some time running around in the kiddie area together.  They were like three little pirates on a hunt for some fun.  They were all over the place and having a blast.

After a trip up to the big-kid slides and one trip down, Eli decided that we needed to go back to the kiddie pool.  Even though I took him down the tunnel slide on my lap, he didn't like it.  He said it was "too dark".  So back to the kiddie area for more time in the shallow water we went.

Audrey had fun meeting and hanging out with Eli and Ava's Papa Garro. 

And Ava did eventually wake up from a nice long nap and get back in the water, though I don't really have any pictures to prove it.

And even though I don't really have many pictures of Brady, he had fun too.  He spent almost the whole day doing the big-kid slides so he wasn't near me and my camera.  Joey got some pictures of him doing one of the slides with my camera though.  It looks like he was having fun.

After the water park, Brian met up with his brother, Wes, to sight in the deer rifles.  They needed a long flat field to shoot in and the field next to Granny Reba and Pawpaw John's house was just the spot.  Deer season is quickly approaching.  So Daddy and Uncle Woo are on full alert for the next Deer-squatch siting.  They are on the hunt for the big one and spent the remainder of the weekend trying to turn our farm into deer hunter paradise (whatever that means). 
Sunday night, they were checking the game cameras and Eli wanted to see.  So I caught this picture of them.  Brian was pointing out some of the pictures to Eli and telling him all about it.  He taught Eli that deer with horns are called bucks and deer without horns are called doe.  Eli said some of the deer were mean deer.  We figured out that he was talking about the pictures taken at night.  Those pictures have that funny night-vision look to them where the eyes kind of glow and everything is greenish looking.  Regardless, Eli's trainging for deer season has begun.

In other news, Ava has expanded her vocabulary about 10 fold this week.  All of a sudden she is saying about 15 words and babbling on like crazy at times.  Eli was an early talker.  He was making a racket from the minute he was born. Ava, on the other hand, had a big brother and couldn't get a word in edgewise.  She is quieter than he is and very sneaky.  You'll catch her quietly sneaking away with one of Eli's favorite toys when he isn't looking or digging through the kitchen cabients when you left her playing in the living room floor.  She is pure mischief and is going to be a handful.  She has also developed quite the little temper.  Don't get me wrong, she is still a happy little girl 95% of the time.  But when she gets mad, she gets VERY mad VERY quickly.  We've been working on not surrendering to her little temper tantrums, but it's tough.  When she is screaming and we are trying to eat or talk to Eli about something or even just communicate about fixing supper, it is very tempting to just give her what she wants to make her be quiet.  This temper is going to be a challenge for us all.
Eli, is developing his own ideas about what happens when and the world around him.  Well, to be fair, I'm sure he's always had his own ideas, he is just doing an exceptionally good job at expressing them lately.  He says funny grown-up things like when asked if he wanted peanut butter crackers the other day he said "It's alright with me."  And last night before bed he told me "It's not bedtime.  It's book time."  If he hears us talking about what we're cooking for supper he'll say "I don't like that."  (Mostly because he still refuses to eat anything other than peanut butter.)  We have bribed him into trying cantaloupe, pizza, and string cheese in the last week or two though.  Just getting him to touch something new is an accomplishment in our book. 
One last thing for this week is that college football started last night.  Eli was less than thrilled with having to share the TV with Mommie and Daddy last night, but eventually he kind of got into it.  He was watching and said, "Look at him run!" and "He knocked him down".  Then Eli's football lessons began.  Brian began with basic terminology like "tackle" and "touch down".  I was playing with Eli and excitedly yelling "Score!"  He said, "No, Mama, don't say 'score'. You gotta say 'scorf'."  It's a work in progress. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Eli's First Cowboy Cookies

COWBOY COOKIES!  In my family you don't have to say more... I've been making these cookies since I was a little girl.  In fact, it's probably one of the first things I ever cooked completely on my own.  I've talked before about how special these cookies are.  Something about the combination of butter, brown sugar, and vanilla make these babies hard to resist.  This is definately a family recipe favorite and one that we use over an over.  These are my cryptonite. 

Eli's trip to the doctors office last week could have been completely terrible had the staff not been incredibly kind.  So, I wanted to do an extra little something to say thank you.  The answer, Cowboy Cookies! 

Eli is getting old enough now that I figure he's about ready to start helping some in the kitchen.  Maybe it will entice him to try new foods as well. (Heck, he's got to branch out from peanut butter crackers eventually.)  So when I started I asked if he wanted to come help me.  He was watching a movie and playing and declined, so I didn't push it.  But after about 5 minutes, he came into the kitchen and said "I help Mama now."  And so began our first lesson in baking. 

First I showed him where the switch was the turned on and off the mixer. 

Then I put him to work scooping flour and oats.  I was making a double batch which meant 4 cups of flour and 5 cups of oats.  I handed Eli a 1/2 cup size measuring cup so that he could do lots of scooping and pouring. (That's the fun part, right?)  Meanwhile, I counted the scoops (harder than you'd think with a tiny sous chef) and helped him to level off the scoops. 

Pouring in some oats.

Eli wanted to do it himself.  He was not happy if I touched his measuring cup.

Sometimes we counted half scoops.  It's not a precise recipe anyway.

Are there any left???

Yes there was slightly more mess than if I had done it myself, but it was a great learning experiance for Eli and something kind of fun for a rainy Sunday afternoon. 

A little messy, but a fun experiance.
The big learning point for me in all this was giving him a small measuring cup.  It happened almost by accident.  I wanted something that he could get down into the oat box so I grabbed a small one.  It was later that I realized the true genious of this because it gave him more opportunities to scoop and pour than a bigger one.  It also meant that we had to count higher.  Instead of having him help me count to 4 or 5, he was helping me count to 8 or 10.  That's a win-win in my book.  I just hope I can remember that the next time Eli wants to help or when Ava decides she is going to start cooking with me.  Here's the link to my original cowboy cookie post once again where you can find the recipe.  Now you can make some too.  I've even got a little sous chef I can loan you.   

Friday, August 22, 2014

Eli - 2 years, 31 weeks & Ava - 1 year, 16 weeks

Last weekend Brian had drill.  Frequently, Eli has gone with him to visit Grammers and Ava has stayed home.  This time, we let Ava tag along for some quality time with Grammers and Eli got to stay home with me.  So what did we do all weekend?

Ava spent some time with cousin Harley.  They played outside almost all day.  Cousins are like built-in friends... siblings that you don't have to live with!

Outside time!

You know there was some good girl talk happening here.

Sharing a rocking chair on the front porch.
Meanwhile, Eli and I spent most of the weekend with Joey.  I had told her I'd help her get some things done and fix a thing or two on her computer, so we traded time and she helped me with entertaining Eli and straightening up the house a little as well.  As I was checking the computer one last time, I realized that Eli was picking up some change with his feet.   He get's that from me!

Then Sunday, I took Eli to church and we went back to Joey's to clean out the fish pond.  Eli got to play in the kiddie pool while I worked in the pond.  He had a blast! 

Later, we went home and Eli did something very special.  I'll post all about that soon. 

When Daddy got home, Eli was happy to see him.  they spent the rest of the night like this. 

Ava was glad to be home too.  But she was also hungry.  She kept saying "eat, eat, eat".  It was like she hadn't eaten all weekend.  Fortunately, Eli tends to leave lots of food uneaten, so Ava didn't have to look far to find a plate of potato chips that were leftover from Eli's supper.  I usually leave Eli's plate alone after supper, especially if he didn't eat much.  That way when he tells me he's hungry he can't request gummies or something else until his supper food is gone.  

The last thing I have to share is a couple pictures of Eli helping Daddy put my new liscence plate on.  We've had my car for over a year now and we finally managed to get a plate on the front.  Brian had surprised me with it back in July and for whatever reason, we never got it put on.  Maybe it was the premier of the SEC network that got him motivated.  We've been thinking a lot about football season.  On Wednesday morning, Brian and Eli put it on for me before work. I think it looks pretty good, but not quite as good as the installer.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Eli - 2 years, 30 weeks, & Ava - 1 year, 15 weeks

Again, just when I have something at work that I really can't miss, Eli gets sick.   He woke up with a fever Sunday morning and it stayed pretty low until after naptime Sunday afternoon.  Fortunately, this case of Strep wasn't long lived and after a couple days at home, Eli was ready to go again.  But we had a heck of a time at the doctor on Monday.

I knew I couldn't really miss work on Tuesday through Thursday so I sent Brian on to work and Ava to daycare Monday while I let Eli sleep in and get some extra rest.  Then Eli and I got dressed and ran to my office so that I could do a last thing or two to prepare for Tuesday morning.  After our quick trip to Huntsville, it was back to Fayetteville for a doctor visit.  That is where the trouble started.  You never know driving from Huntsville to Fayetteville if the trip is going to take 20 minutes or 40 minutes.  The traffic is unpredictable and you might stop at no lights or all 20 lights.  Throw in a tractor in southern Lincoln County and you have a recipe for disaster.  Well, Monday was a 45 minute day. 

By the time we made it to the doctor we were running late (I HATE being late).  I rushed us inside and thinking Eli was just inside the door I let it close and headed to sign him in.  Then I heard the scream.  It was blood curddling.  Looking back I realized that he had grabbed the doorframe on his way in and when the door closed his pinky finger got smashed.  It looked like a crumpled up mess.  We didn't even sit down.  The nurses rushed us into the back and got an icepack and set me down at the nurses station.  The nurse practicioner we see looked at it standing right there and said, "Yep, that needs an X-ray." 

Fortunately, this clinic is filled with wonderful people and my Sister-in-Law and 18 year old neice work there.  They took our diaper bag for me and sent Alyssa (my niece) with me as a driver so that I could take care of Eli and his smashed finger.  We went across the street to the hospital, took an X-ray, then went back to the doctor's office.  Again, we didn't wait but were taken straight to a room and were out of there in another 30 minutes.  I can't begin to say how appreciative I am of all they did.  They are wonderful and assured me it wasn't the first time something like that had happened.  Regardless, I owe them BIGTIME! The finger wasn't broken, Eli got his anti-biotics, and I took us home to try to survive the rest of the day without incident. 

Tuesday morning, Eli slept in again and I went to work while Eli stayed home with Brian.  Brian had to do a thing or two for work and was sitting with his computer on the coffee table when Eli said "Wait a minute!" and then ran into his room and started banging around in the closet.  When he came back he was carrying his Mickey Mouse "puter" and sat himself down beside Daddy. Brian said he sat there for 15 minutes.


The remainder of the week went pretty well.  Wednesday everybody went back to our normal routine, my work thing went fairly well, and the kids got as dirty as ever at daycare, Ava especially.  So I assume that means they had fun.  Ava is my dirty kid.  She makes a mess wherever she goes. I should have named her Pigpen.  Only her messes aren't just clutter, they are filth.  She eats and food is all over the kitchen, she plays outside at daycare and I have to wash all her clothes twice to get the dirt out, she can't even drink from a sippy cup without having juice all over.  I've never seen anything like it!  I don't mind at all though.  She enjoys herself and is happy and healthy.  I guess she has a zest for life.  I wouldn't expect anything else out of my little mischief maker.

Sitting on Mama's coffee table.

They know they're not supposed to be up there... that is why the are smiling... Caught ya!

Since Ava is a big mess maker, we spend lots of time in the bathtub.   The kiddos love taking baths and playing in the water.  This week Ava learned that we have to sit down or get out.  She prefered to sit down.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Papa Rick's BIG Pool

The summertime fun just keeps coming with our family...

Our very own Papa Rick is the Fayetteville City Department of Recreation and Parks Director.  For a small town, we really have some fantastic facilities for our public to use and Rickey does a great job of keeping everything in tip-top shape.  He isn't just a figure head either, he actively works to keep things running.  In the spring and early summer you can often find him riding a mower on the baseball fields or checking the chemicals in the city pool when his work crews are too busy to handle it all.  Remember when Eli got to help him mow the baseball field back in March?

Anyway, Fayetteville's City swimming pool has been shut down for a couple of summers.  It was really old and had leaks and the city had to save up some money to tear it out and rebuild.  The results were amazing!!! Rickey did a great job choosing all the colors. Though I'm not certain how he did so well given his difficulty matching shirts and pants at times. (Just Kidding!)  Just look at this... what kid wouldn't be over the moon excited to do some swimming here?
Giagantic waterslide... check.  Fun mushroom that cascades water... check. Awesome kiddie pool area... check!

All new seating and pirate ship play area... check and check.

Yes there is even a rock climbing wall.  This is awesome!

Even though it is the city pool, all the kiddos in our family call it "Papa Rick's Pool"... Eli and Audrey call it "Papa Rick's BIG Pool".  The pool is open to the public for several hours a day through the summer and then at night is available for private parties.  So typically once or twice a year, we reserve the pool for our own private party.   It's always a great night.  We bring food or order pizza and swim until the kids pass out from exhaustion (or until the grown-ups do whichever comes first). 

Eli was ready to go the minute we got there.  He'd already had a big day since Grammers and Granny Reba came to visit and brought cousin Brady (yep another one) along.   Eli and Daddy made about 10 trips down the slide (and back up the stairs) before Daddy needed a break.

The first trip up... They both look a little serious.

Less serious at the bottom.

Ava in the kiddie play area.

"Do it again!"
 After a while, Daddy became the "catcher at the bottom" and Aunt 'Tace became Eli's best buddy.  Audrey didn't want to do the slide so Eli and Aunt 'Tace spent lots of quality time going up and down.

That face!
Eventually, Ava decided she was ready to make a trip or two down the slide.  She loved it!

That's Brady-1 playing with Ava as we come down the slide.

Here's Brady-2 coming down the slide.

Ready to get back in the water!