Friday, May 29, 2015

Eli and Ava Have An Announcement!

So this is way, way past due.  But Eli and Ava have some news they want to share with you...

Can you read these signs at all??? Getting these pictures was like trying to wrestle two alligators into a reasonable position and convince them to hold signs while doing it.  Ava was all about having her picture made, but Eli was not going to do it.  Then Eli was perfectly willing to hold his sign, but Ava had no idea what she was supposed to do with hers and kept putting it in front of her face. 

Yes, that's right, we're expecting baby #3 October 29th.  I figured I'd better go ahead and make it blog official because if you see us running around you might think I've had a few too many donuts lately.  It's not that it's been any huge secret, it's just that I haven't posted the news on Facebook or even the blog because we've been so busy. 

I've had several friends and family members say that they knew but didn't know if they were supposed to know yet.  Well, the answer is "There's no hiding it now!"  We are now in prep-mode as we brace ourselves for more fun, more chaos, and even less sleep (if that's even possible). 

Overall, I'm doing pretty well and feeling fine now.  I had super low energy the first trimester (which wasn't easy during a 50's show) and to say I've been hormonal would be an understatement.  I think things are leveling out some now that we are nearing the mid-way point.  With any luck, the next 22 weeks will pass as quickly as the first 18 have and we'll be figuring out how to wrangle 3 kids before we know it. 

Now let's take some bets... who thinks I'll come anywhere close to having time to update a blog when I'm chasing 3 kids instead of 2?   Brian's voting that this thing disappears from the face of the earth... I'm thinking I may have to slip to a post every other week but hope to keep things up in at least some sense.  I guess we'll see!

Meet Gus!

A few weeks ago we gained an addition to our little family.  World, met Gus.  Gus is a chocolate lab puppy that joined our little family in mid-April.  Brian and I surprised the kids with him after they'd spent a weekend away at Grammer's house.

Okay... now I have to clear the air about something.  Although we are HUGE Auburn fans, Gus is not named for Auburn's current football coach.  His actual name is Augustus, named after Augustus Cray.  Watch Lonesome Dove a few hundred times and you'll understand why.

In any event, after some serious warming up, the kids are beginning to enjoy playing with Gus.  He is very much a puppy and we've had a few Coppertone moments (which my kiddos do not enjoy) but overall, everyone is finally figuring out how to get along.  

One thing Gus and the kids do agree on is that they don't like to take pictures for me... And like I do with the kiddos, I took them anyway!

Eli - 3 years, 17 weeks & Ava - 2 years 2 weeks - Happy Mothers Day

2 weeks behind again... How does this happen?  Oh wait, I know... it happens because I only have internet access at work and I've been too busy lately to even begin to take a minute for blog updating.  Such is life.

In any event, we had a great mothers day.  We went to church then made our weekly grocery run.  Then we followed that up with a family get together.  Overall it was a very simple and fairly relaxing day. (Well, at least as relaxing as any day chasing a toddler and a preschooler around can be!)

One of the highlights of our family get togethers is getting to watch the trains go by the community center/fire station.  The other big highlight is always getting to see the fire trucks.  As usual, we accomplished both, ate more than we should have, and even managed a little visiting in between.

Yes there were people there besides just our little 3 musketeers, but they are such good little buddies that they tend to eat up all my camera time.  Hope that's okay :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 16 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 1 week - Eli has Fleas?... Lice?.... Asphalt?!

We suddenly made it through our 2 week spring season and jumped straight into summer.  The kids have really been enjoying the warm weather and are already building up nice little brown tans on their arms and legs from all the time they get to spend outside.  It's a shame that Brian and I are cooped up in offices all day and are missing out on these few early days of summer when the weather is so nice that you can just stay out all day.

Oh well... This week Eli had a routine follow-up at the ENT.  Since I missed a couple days of work when Brian was out of town last month and Eli got sick, he volunteered to take Eli to his appointment.  I guess Eli was excited because when it was time to go he put on his little hat, grabbed his backpack, toy, and juice, and headed out the door.

Everything went well at the doctor and his tubes are about 90% out so we go back in 6 months for what we hope to be our last check-up.  The tubes have made Eli's life so much easier and putting an end to those ear infections has made us all a lot happier.

Friday when I picked the kiddos up from daycare, Ava was dirty as she could be.  I don't know what she'd been into but she was dirty and happy so she must have been having fun.  She was wearing one of the shirts Joey got her for her birthday.  Why anyone would get Ava a white shirt I don't know but it ain't white no more...

Actually, it came clean in the wash.  I'm getting pretty good at stain sticking, pre-treating, soaking, etc.  But sometimes there are clothes that Ava manages to get so filthy that I can't get them clean.  When Eli saw me taking Ava's picture, he wanted his picture made too.  So we made an Eli picture too.

When the weekend came we didn't really have many plans for Saturday so we headed to the farm to pick up a tractor part Brian needed to try to replace and then planned to go into town for groceries and stuff.  Well, we stopped by Joey and Rickey's house to drop something off and the kids realized that the fountain by the back door was up and running again.  Well, that did it.  They had to play in the water for a while.  It was the highlight of their weekend!


We did eventually make it into town to run our errands, but we decided to grab our groceries after church instead of fighting the Saturday crowd.  After a quick trip home to grab some supplies, Brian and I left the kiddos with Joey for a while so that we could go do some work on the barn at our farm. 

While we worked at the farm, Eli and Ava got to play with Audrey and Brady.  Aunt 'Tace had come over to clean out the gutters for Joey so they kiddos got to play.  This, of course, resulted in the following interesting story.

Stacy had finished up the gutters and had 3 trash bags full of junk that she'd removed.  She grabbed two bags and had Brady (the 10 year old) grab the last bag.  Well Eli and Audrey decided they wanted to help too and Ava, never one to be left behind, tagged along for good measure to go to the trash cans.  Joey's trashcans are inside a tall gated wooden fence area so they are out of sight and don't mess up the look of the beautiful landscaping.  Well as Stacy was trying to get through the gate, the kids got under foot and she ended up picking the trash bags high into the air.  Eli poked the bottom of the trash bag and some dirt and stuff came out on his head.  Then, somehow, Eli managed to lock Aunt 'Tace in the trash can pen. 

Now, Brian and I didn't know any of this trash can business had happened.  As far as we knew the kids had just been playing and having fun.  We got home later that night and while giving the kids their bath noticed something on Eli's head.  His hair was clean-ish looking but his scalp had these little back dots everywhere.  It looked like a really bad case of fleas on a dog where you can see the fleas against the skin.  We began questioning everything... When did we last wash Eli's hair?  How could he have fleas?  Is it possible he has lice?  What do lice even look like?  How long has this been this way?  How would we not have seen this?  Are we bad parents?  It took 3 hard shampooings with Eli screaming the whole time (screaming bloody murder) to get all the crud out of his hair.  It was traumatic and painful for all involved. 

After we finally got him out of the tub and checked him again, we were pretty sure we had it all.  But we began calling the grandparents to ask what lice look like just in case.  When we finally got in touch with Joey we happened to ask if Eli got a bucket of dirt dumped on his head.  That's when we heard the whole story.  The black crud that we had washed out of his hair and had covered the bottom of the bathtub in filth was actually little bits of asphalt that come off the roof and land in the gutters.  We weren't terrible parents, he'd just done what little boys and girls do and gotten dirty.  No big deal in the long run, but we definitely had a little bit of a scare.  

So that was our excitement for this week.  I guess the moral of the story is don't assume your child has parasites until you know for sure it isn't asphalt on their head... or something like that anyway!

Eli - 3 years, 15 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 0 weeks

The day after Ava's birthday party, Brian had to go away for work for a couple days.  We missed him terribly and on top of everything, Eli turned up sick.  Yep... we have great timing like that.

So anyway, Monday morning Eli and I dropped Ava off at daycare and then headed to my office to pick up some work that I needed to get done.  Eli wasn't feeling too bad, but had run a fever on Sunday night so that meant no daycare for sure. Eli enjoyed seeing my office for a few minutes and thought it was extra fun to pull my computer case for me.

When we got home Eli played for a while and I did some work.  Fortunately, Eli was in a mood where he wanted to watch his shows on his portable DVD player instead of the big TV so I didn't have to suffer through Thomas the Tank Engine while I worked.  Soon I found him asleep on the couch like this.  

After a nice long nap, Eli was feeling much much better and it was time to pick up Ava from daycare.  The kiddos were very excited to see each other again.  Eli requested some popcorn and a movie so I put on the movie and made a big bowl of popcorn.  Guess what they had for supper?  Yep, popcorn while watching 101 Dalmatians.  For whatever reason, they got the bright idea that they could sit on the coffee table (not typically allowed).  Well, Brian was gone, they were being really sweet to each other, and I was tired so I let it slide.  They thought it was the best thing ever!

Tuesday morning everyone was back into the normal routine.  Brian came home that night and the kids were really happy to see him as was I.  It's tough handling things by yourself and just the presence of another adult can make things seem less stressful.

We have some big news to share in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ava's 2nd Birthday Party!

 A couple weeks ago we had Ava's 2nd Birthday party. Everything turned out beautifully and I believe all the kids had an amazing time.  We were predicted to have some thunderstorms and rough weather so we didn't take any chances on setting things up outside.  We had all our food and festivities on the inside and then let the kids venture outside as the weather and adult supervision allowed.

These 3 ft high Mickey and Minnie cutouts made their third appearance at a birthday party.  They were hand-made by a wonderfully talented friend of the family and have been well used.  The kids just love them.
 I hung the Happy Birthday banner while Ava was at daycare on Friday.  When she got home and saw this from the front door she smiled really big, pointed, and said "Minnie Mouse!". 

The gift table pic was taken pretty early before most of the guests arrived.  Believe me it was overflowing with wonderful surprises for our little girl by the time we started eating cake.  We are so blessed to have such generous family and friends.

Ms. Carla Gault made our cake (as always).  It was so cute with the little fondant bow  Minnie Mouse ears.  I also love that she added fondant lace and ruffles.  And, by the way, it tasted even better than it looked.  I don't know how but she always makes the best tasting and best looking cakes.

I made sugar cookies back in January for both Eli and Ava's parties and froze the ones I didn't need until April.  This was the best thing ever!!! It would have taken me another two days of cooking and cleaning to make these right before the party and I simply didn't have that kind of time.  Instead I doubled up the recipes and did both kiddos birthday party cookies at once.  You'd have never known from the taste that these had been in the freezer for 3 months. 

Fruit tray with fresh local strawberries, apple slices, grapes, and pineapple.  I think everyone enjoyed this. 

Custom water bottle labels just for my little Ava!

I did the chalk-work using a stencil, chalk marker, and regular chalk.  It turned out so cute I had to hesitate when the time came to erase this. 

Once again, I modified our burlap wreath on the front door for the party.  I think it's a really fun way to welcome our guests. 

At last it was party time!  Eli and Audrey couldn't wait to dive into the tray of cookies.  So we let them have a couple before we sang Happy Birthday. Notice the black teeth? Black frosting = black teeth = weird looking pictures. 

Mommie and Daddy got to help the birthday girl blow out her candles.  She was so excited and grinned the whole time. 

Then it was time to eat.  These ladies enjoyed their little luncheon at the kiddie table. 

Meanwhile, Eli and Ashton decided it was way more fun to make a big mess in Eli's room.   When I found them playing and having fun Eli said, "We're making a big mess!"

 I also found a couple of big kids hiding in the office room.  

When we cut the cake, some of the kiddos wanted the fondant decorations.  Audrey and Brady each got an ear, and Ava got to eat on the bow. 

Then it was time for every kid's favorite part of their birthday... the presents!!! 

Ava got a super-fun Minnie Mouse chair from Lane and Kylie.

And we got lots and lots of fun new clothes.  This girl loves her some clothes!

And outside Ava got a new sandbox as well as some sand toys!  Once the sand toys came out she was ready to go outside.  She grabbed her new sand toys and made a bee-line for the door. 

Since the weather was holding off, the kids got to try out the new sandbox.  Ava loves her cousin Ashton.  They go to the same daycare and have so much fun playing together! 

Harley joined us and found a fun little car in the backyard to ride.

At one point, Eli and Ava piled into the wagon expecting Mommie to pull them around.  I pulled for a minute or two then sent them to play with the other kids.  We can ride wagons when there aren't lots of other folks around to play with. 

Eli and Audrey enjoyed the swings again.  I just love how they are looking at each other here! 

All-too-soon the party was over and everyone began heading home.  As our guests left, the boys got some more cookies to take home and the girls each got to take home a new hair bow.  I hope everyone had a "Bow-utiful" time.  I know Ava did... she talked about her birthday for a week afterward and still occasionally sings "Happy Birthday to Ava".