Friday, March 27, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 8 weeks & Ava - 1 year, 45 weeks

After a long hard winter we are all ready for a little warmer weather and some outside time.  Eli and Ava are finding lots of good use for the rain boots that were supposed to be saved for Easter basket surprises.  We went ahead and gave them the boots during the last snow storm so that their feet would stay dry.  Now with the warmer weather the boots are perfect for puddle splashing and tromping through the mud at the farm. 
Both kids love to visit the farm even if it's just for a few minutes.  I snapped these pictures with my cell phone a couple weeks ago when we stopped by for a few minutes to do a thing or two.  Eli was all excited to throw rocks in the pond.  Fortunately, I had some plastic baggies in the car still from snacks that we took along with us somewhere.  Those baggies were perfect for the kids to fill with rocks near the driveway and then we carried them up to the pond.  The driveway is more a dirt path, but there are a couple rocks that worked their way to the surface.  There are not rocks near the pond for some reason so we have to bring rocks up an enormous hill to the pond. 

After the 3rd trip up and down the very steep hill I declared that I wasn't carrying anyone and they had to get up and down themselves.  They figured it out in record time.  Eli was much faster than Ava but Baby Girl held her own. 

Getting down was a little more of a process... It took some creative scooting but they both made it without much help.  Eli, of course, was also pretending to be a Ninja Turtle while going down.  You can clearly hear him say "cowabunga dudes" around the 55 second mark. 

Eli - 3 years, 6 weeks & Ava - 1 year 43 weeks - SNOW DAY!

A few weeks ago we had a massive ammount of snow dumpped on us.  This is really only a once every couple years kind of thing for us so we were certain to get the kiddos out and about for a chance to play in the snow.  The best part was that it snowed so much that they even closed our office for the day so Brian and I got a paid snow day without having to take our vacation time. 

We got home from work on Wednesday afternoon and the snow was already falling.  The kids were excited that we told them to go out and play for a few minutes right after the snow started to fall.  We were all so excited that we didn't even put on coats (at first, anyway).  Eli was already in his Ninja Turtle gear ready to do battle so he kept his Ninja mask and sword with him.

We showed them how to catch snowflakes on their tounges.

Ava's tounge is always blue after daycare... I don't know why but they must be eating something blue.

After a few minutes we realized that it was COLD!  We went in and got everyone coats so we could watch the snow fall a little longer.   Note that the coat didn't mean Eli was ready to remove his Ninja gear.

And for whatever reason Ava found and insisted on wearing the baseball helmet.  Okay... whatever you want to wear, Sweetheart!

Ava also always comes home from daycare with a dirty face... at least she has fun!

The next morning we woke up to 8 inch deep snow.  After a late breakfast we bundled everybody up to go play in the snow. As is tradition, the kids were put immediately into the wagon so they could get a good look around and we could all move together. 

A week or so before, I had bought some rubber rain boots for the kids intending to save them for Easter baskets. But when this huge snow day surprised us I opted to go ahead and break out the boots as a snow day surprise and a great way to keep Eli and Ava's feet warm and dry.  When we finally got out of the wagon we realized that even the new boots weren't going to help Ava.  The snow was up to her knees.  She wanted to play, throw snow balls, and have fun, but she just couldn't take the wet legs and feet.

Eli's boots, on the other hand, worked great.  He had a blast throwing snowballs at Daddy and exploring on his own a little. 

While Eli ran around, Ava got back in the wagon.  She could have fun without being all wet.

After everyone had their fill of the cold weather fun we went back inside for a snack.  I had planned to make snowcream, but didn't have any sweetened condensed milk so we skipped that as well and just spent the day playing and watching movies.

Eli - 3 years, 5 weeks & Ava - 1 year 42 weeks

I'm still trying to catch up.  It's been a very busy spring and I've done a terrible job of blogging.

A few weeks ago we took a Sunday afternoon and went to see Pawpaw Frankie and Granny Debbie.  Pawpaw Frankie had been cleaning out some garages for work and had a whole barn full of hand-me-down toys that he wanted to share with the kids.  We had a nice visit and the kids had a blast playing. 

Among the toys that came home were a baseball helmet and bicycle for Eli.  We still have to get some training wheels for the bicycle but we're not in too big a rush since Eli still hasn't quite figured out how to push the pedals to make it go.  The helmet, however, both kids knew what to do with.

Eli has now declared he is the owner of the helmet and routinely uses it to pretend he is Ted on "The Lorax".  He puts on his helmet and his sunglasses and sits on his tricycle saying "I speak for the trees!" 

Yes, we even wear our helmet to eat supper!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 4 weeks & Ava - 1 year, 41 weeks

We finally had a decent week with everybody healthy.  We all made it through the week without missing a day of daycare so that was a small victory.  Since everyone was healthy again, Grammers offered to babysit for the weekend and Brian and I jumped at the chance to have some grown-up time and catch up on some rest from the week long fight with RSV.  On Friday afternoon, we packed Eli and Ava's bags and took them to meet Grammers about halfway between our house and hers. 

Eli and Ava stayed with Grammers Friday night and then spent Valentines Day at Chucky Cheese.  It made quite an impression on Eli at least because everytime we see a Chucky Cheese commercial he says "Grammers took me there!"  After Chucky Cheese They went back to Grammers' house and played Ninja Turtles.  We got these pictures on our phones. 

And what exactly did Brian and I do with ourselves all alone on Valentines Day?  We worked on the farm, of course!  Nothin' says romance like tractors, chain saws, and pulling tree stumps... Ha ha.   In actuality it was a wonderful day and I'll share more of our progress in another post.  We did have a nice Valentines Day dinner with my parents and sister's family.  We had some of the best steaks I've eaten in a long long time.  I can't wait to get my hands on another.  By the time we got home we were so exhausted from all the work on the farm that we collapsed into our bed and went to sleep. 
The next day after church we went to visit Granny Reba and Pawpaw John and get the kiddos.  When we got home the kids were super excited to dump all their Valentines candy they got at daycare out on the floor and have a pig-out.  I figure the sooner they've opened and licked it all the sooner I can throw it out so I let them have at it.  I think we blew through 2 bags of candy in about 30 minutes.  For the most part they don't eat it, they just taste it and then decide they don't want it and throw it away. 

After Eli and Ava finished getting all hopped up on sugar, Eli decided it was time to play the drums.  Everytime he comes home from visiting Grammers and Pappa Garro he has a renewed interest in playing the drums.  (Probably because he gets to see Pappa Garro's big drum set and occasionally play with it.)  Typically, playing the drums at home involves beating on some of my metal mixing bowls with wooden spoons but this time he got into the cabinet with my good tupperware.  Before I knew it there wasn't a bowl or lid left in the cabinet.  Eli's little OCD self had them all lined up on the edge of the carpet.  When I suggested that he didn't need to play with all my bowls he said, "but Pappa Garro has a lot of cymbals". 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 3 weeks & Ava - 1 year, 40 weeks

So while Eli was busy fighting off RSV, Ava spent a weekend with her Joey.  Apparently she had a blast because when Sunday afternoon came and I went to pick her up she definately didn't want to come home.  A few tears were shed on the way home that afternoon, but soon both kiddos were playing happily at home.  That night, we had to take a bath.  After several days of trying to fight off high fevers, Eli now always requests "hot" baths.  Poor little guy.  Ava, meanwhile, can't tolerate the water temperature that Eli seems to require... so now they take separate baths 95% of the time.  The other 5% of the time they both complain that the water is not the right temperature.  Silly kiddos!

Eli's little eyes still look sick.
Eli didn't go back to daycare until Thursday having missed almost a full week of daycare.  I knew he'd turned the corner on Wednesday when he wouldn't even sit down to watch the Road Runner and then proceeded to beat up the "mean guy" with his "sword".


And later in the week, both kiddos were into mischief.  Ava found my stash of buttons and thought it would be great fun to play in them.  These buttons belonged to my grandmother and there was litterally a boot-size shoebox full of them.  There were all sizes, shapes, and colors of buttons.  With that collection I could probably match any button on any piece of clothing you could find.  My sister and I loved playing in the box of buttons when we visited my grandmother as kids.  When I left for college I took a small tupperware container of buttons with me in case I needed to replace a lost button or do some crafting.  It turns out, playing in buttons is a universally interesting activity because once Ava found them, there was no turning back.  I'm still finding buttons all over the house a month later.   And I'm certain that my grandmother finds it very amusing to watch me find those things everywhere since I'm pretty sure that we never managed to pick up all the buttons we were playing with either.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Down on the Farm

The summer before Eli was born we decided to buy 90 acres worth of property near my parents' house.  We planned to either build a home on it or keep it long enough that we could make some profit.  For the most part, it has sat untouched except for the annual bush-hogging and occasional deer hunting. 

But recently, we traded up to a larger tractor, purchased some new heavy duty implements, and found ourselves ready to do a little work to spruce the place up.  We're hoping to build a home there sometime in the near future, but if someone walked up and offered a boat-load of cash for the place we'd probably consider selling it as well. 

Anyway, here's a sneak peek at some of the work we did in January (yes I know it's March now and I'm still behind on blogging)

I can't even find a completely "before" picture.  I guess we were super proud of the place, huh?  In any event, here's the closest things I have to "before" shots.

The road frontage had a fence (yes there actually is a fence in there) running all along it.  As you can tell, it was overgrown and a total mess.  There was also an old beat-up gate across the "driveway" up until about a year ago.  It was a poor excuse for a gate and eventually just fell down. 

Yep... that was our fence, our disgusting bushy nasty fence.

Another shot of the the front fence. 
The gate used to be right there.  This was actually after Brian had done a lot of work on the left of the driveway. 

After we got the new tractor, Brian was dying to play with it so I encouraged him to take some time and start cleaning out the front fence row.  It was a beautiful January day so the outside time seemed like a good idea.  It was still pretty cool, so I kept the kids at home for the most part, but we did take a trip over to visit for a few minutes.   Mostly they just played in the road (in the country you can do those kinds of things) while Brian kept working. 

Eli was very excited to get to drive the new tractor!

Ava was cold so I put Eli's coat on her too... Eli almost never gets cold.

They stopped to watch Daddy work for a minute.

The supervisor

Checking the place out

Playing in the road
Brian worked on that fence row all weekend.  On Sunday afternoon, he headed home just before dark and a rain storm with this and a ginormous burn pile to show for his efforts.

Until I actually saw it I had no real perception of how much road frontage was actually there.  It all felt so closed in and tiny that I only really felt like we had about 10 ft of frontage.  It is actually so much more and now you can see it.  You can tell that he didn't quite finish either (front right of photo above) but it already looks so much nicer and neater. 

Brian's next project was to cut down the big gnarled looking tree between the road and the barn. That was a major undertaking as well.  That definitely added to the burn pile but it made a huge difference as well.