Friday, June 26, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 23 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 8 weeks

So after our day at the lake on Saturday, it was time for Fathers' Day.  Eli and Ava had actually given their Daddy his card on Saturday morning before we left the house but that didn't mean we didn't have lots to do.  After getting everyone up, fed, and a little fishing, we headed off to Pawpaw Frankie's house to visit.  As usual, we had a really yummy lunch (Boston butt, baked beans, and salad) followed by (you guessed it) MORE HOMEMADE ICECREAM!!!

As you can see here, Eli didn't like it at all...




We had a wonderful visit and all-too-soon it was time to move on to the next thing.... Brian and I dropped Eli and Ava off with their Grammers to spend the week while we logged some extra hours at work, took care of some extra things around the house, and generally accomplished all the things that it's impossible to accomplish with two kiddos in tow.

Apparently the kiddos arrived back in Grammers' neighborhood just in time for the snowcone truck!  As I would expect, Ava loved it and Eli was not a fan of the snow cone.

Run, Papa Garro!!!

Yum!

Monday, they had some fun at Chuck-E-Cheese...
Where a kid can be a kid!


Then Tuesday they had the biggest day of all... meeting cousin Brady at Grammers' school to play in the gym, going to McDonald's for lunch and the playground, and then swimming in a friend's swimming pool.  

School is fun... especially with Capris Sun and gummies.

Just hanging out in the tunnel

On the move!

Water baby... I'm sure she's in the kiddie pool because she couldn't do the big pool by herself yet.  Miss independent.

Eli swimming with a new friend!

By the time they were headed home Eli told Grammers, "I'm tired of all this go go going... let's go home."   No one can keep up with Grammers when she gets going so I'm not shocked that Eli was ready for some down time.  They've spent most of the rest of the week just hanging around the house and having some fun.  They did go out to visit some family and out to eat Thursday night but nothing too exciting. Eli is a bit of a homebody so that suits him just fine.  

Ava loved the Mandarin Chicken at the Chinese restaurant. 

Eli loves to watch you tube videos on Grammers' Ipad.  (There's a reason we don't have one at home!)

As nice as it's been to accomplish a few things this week, I believe we're both ready to be back with our kiddos.  In spite of how nice it is to sleep through the night uninterrupted (not kicked, pee'd on, or forced to run across the house in the middle of the night), we're excited to see them and get to hear about their week from them.  It should be interesting.  

Next week will be busy busy busy again.  So it may be another week or two before I update but rest assured, the update will come eventually.  Until then, have fun and enjoy some of your own summertime adventures!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 22 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 7 weeks - Uncle Woo's Lake

Saturday morning after a long hard week of work and daycare, we loaded up the kiddos to go spend a day playing with Uncle Woo and Aunt Lissa.  They live on Lake Logan Martin and recently became the proud new owners of a pontoon boat.  Since we had plans to visit with Brian's dad for Fathers' Day on Sunday, we decided to make a weekend of it and spend Saturday hanging out with Uncle Woo and Aunt 'Lissa. 

Eli and Ava love them some Uncle Woo and Aunt 'Lissa time and it's easy to see why.  Living right on the lake makes their house a virtual playground in the summertime.  We arrived just before lunch and picked up some pizzas to share.  After lunch, we changed into bathing suits and puddle jumpers and headed out to give Eli and Ava their first experience on a boat.

Things started out a little rocky since it took a few minutes to gas up, get situated and actually get going.  To top it off, we had to hide under the shade canopy for a few minutes during one of those sudden summer rain showers (or downpour depending on your perspective).  By the way, during the rain, both kids begged to go back inside... for a minute I didn't think we'd make it.  But after a few minutes the rain moved on and we finally got started.

Ava kicked back immediate and was ready to ride.

Brian pushed the boat back from the dock then we went to pick him up... In this picture Eli said, "We're leaving you, Daddy!"

After getting Brian we made sure the kiddos had life jackets before we headed out.  Within a few minutes they were some happy campers riding on the boat. 




Then they got brave and started looking over the edge... 




 We spent about 2 hours on the boat and then tried to cool off in the lake a little.  Just as the kiddos were warming up to the water another little thunderstorm blew up and we had to hightail it to the house. 

That night after supper, we had some homemade ice cream.  This was also a huge hit! Especially for Eli since ice cream is his favorite food.


More fun ahead for next week's post... stay tuned!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 21 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 6 weeks

This week's pictures were taken early one morning before we headed to work/daycare.  I was having trouble convincing Ava to participate in getting dressed until I mentioned that she could wear some of her new Audrey hand-me-downs.  Well that perked her right up.  She looked adorable and must have felt cute too because she was ready to have her picture made.



Eli was in a good mood too.  He was up and at-em jumping on the chair first thing that morning.  It took a while, but I finally convinced him to be still enough to get a quick picture. 

Well, just after I grabbed the photo above, Ava decided that she was going to take a picture with "My Baby Eli" as she calls him sometimes.  She promptly climbed into the chair with him, and wrestled him into taking a picture with her.  I have a feeling this won't be the last time I get pictures where Ava has to grab him by the neck to make him be still...



Then Eli decided that I needed to take a picture of him "hiding".  So out come the laundry basket and in went Eli and his pile of toys. 


I don't know why we seemed to have so much time this particular morning, but the kiddos' last request before we had to go out the door was to "wrestle Mommy".  So I laid down and let them pounce on me for a few minutes.  They thought this was great fun.  Again, this was my view looking up from my back on the floor. 


Eli - 3 years, 20 weeks, & Ava - 2 years, 5 weeks

While I was away for work, Eli and Ava were home with Brian doing very well.  Since I wasn't there, Brian sent me these pictures early one afternoon. 

Brian had made chili and that was just fine by Ava.  Apparently she loved it and ate it several nights in a row.

Eli spent a lot of time parked on the couch watching TV.  That works just fine by me because when there is only one person and two kiddos, it can be tough to keep up with everybody. 

All three nights that I was away,  Eli and Ava both slept in the bed with their Daddy.  Again, when we're down to one person things like that just have to happen sometimes.  Survival is key.  I was so glad to see them on Thursday afternoon and I think the feeling was mutual.  When Ava saw me she just giggled and giggled over and over.  It sure was nice to get away for a day or two, but it felt even better coming home.

NYC - The Lower Manhattan Quick Trip

The first week of June, I had to go up to the New York/New Jersey area for a couple days of work meetings.  Honestly, I was dreading it.  The last time I went away for work hadn't gone so well... the kids screamed themselves to sleep every night, I felt terribly guilty for leaving them (and for leaving Brian with two very disgruntled kiddos), and my late afternoon flight that was supposed to get me home around 9pm got delayed for like 4 hours, landing me at home around 1am the following morning with a 5am wake-up call and full day of work in the office ahead of me.  

This trip went much more smoothly.  The kids were reasonably content at home with Brian, though I think they got a little cranky by the end of the week.  My meetings (which I expected to be 2 days of being yelled at by a customer) went much much better than expected.  And we finished up about a half-day early and found ourselves with an afternoon to kill.  My coworker/friend and I opted to drive up close to the city and take the ferry across the river.  We killed a whole afternoon in Manhattan and had a very pleasant afternoon. 

As much as I hate to admit that I enjoyed time away from the kiddos, it was really the break I'd been needing.  I was feeling very burnt-out on parenting and I know that I wasn't doing my best job.  After a couple days away and getting to be an actual grown-up for a few days, I feel like I came home re-energized and with my patience reserves replenished.  It was nice to eat a meal without getting up from the table a dozen times to fetch napkins, more juice, another cracker, etc. and I'd just about forgotten what it was like to sleep through the night without wandering from bed to bed in the wee hours of the morning.

So, Eli and Ava, if you ever do read this, know that I promise to make trips like these up to you someday.  I promise that when you have kids of your own and I see that you are getting burnt out and tired, I'll babysit so that you can have a couple days to regain your sanity as well.  


Here are some quick pics I caught with my cell phone as we wandered around Manhattan for an afternoon.

A shot from the ferry dock.  The buildings on the left are in Jersey city.  the tall building on the right is the new World Trade Center in Manhattan.  The Hudson lies in between.

 Looking up at the world trade center from the docks along the Hudson.

First stop was the 9/11 memorials.  These were really impressive.   Fountains in the place of the old tower foundations.  The walls around the fountains were elbow high.  Water cascaded from about 3 feet about the sidewalk down into the main reservoir and then down into a very deep smaller reservoir that I couldn't see the bottom of.  I wonder how deep it really is in the center.

Each of the two fountains was surrounded by plagues listing names of those who'd died in the attacks. Fire department and police units were listed together.  

After looking at the memorial for a few minutes, we made our way over to see the National Stock Exchange on Wall Street.  Along the way, I grabbed this picture of the beautiful Trinity Church.   

I didn't get pictures at the Stock Exchange or at the famous statue of the Bull because there were just too many other people around.  I'm definitely not standing in line to take a photo.   After hitting most of the famous landmarks within walking distance on Lower Manhattan, we took a cab up to Chelsea Market and then walked back down from there.

The walk from Chelsea down to Manhattan was one of my favorite things.  Along the way we saw some interesting architecture and got a bit of a feel for what things are like away from the tourist areas.  


I love these little brownstones.  When we were in this neighborhood it was quiet and you'd have never really known a million tourists were within a mile or two down the road.


After we walked through neighborhoods for a while, we made our way over to the river and walked along the water the remaining way back to the ferry. 

The last pics I took were of a baseball field about 3 blocks from the world trade center.  It was really odd to me to find a baseball field there.  The field didn't have grass and dirt.  It looked like colored asphalt but softer.  But the kids there seemed to be having a ton of fun learning about the game from their coaches which is the important thing.  Leave it to me to think a baseball field was interesting... 



I turned on the pedometer app on my phone when we boarded the ferry and then checked it again when we got off the ferry.  In total we walked over 5 miles.  Since I'm not used to that and am about 5 months pregnant, I had sore muscles for about the next 3 days.  Regardless, I think I'd do it again.  If I did it more often it would probably be good for me.  I don't know how anyone in New York could be too much overweight.  With all of the walking all the time, I bet if I moved there I'd lose 10 lbs in the first 2 weeks. 

Eli - 3 years, 19 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 4 weeks

As busy as Memorial Day weekend was, it was a good thing that we had a short work/daycare week to follow.

By the time Friday rolled around, we were all ready for some down-time.  Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas.  The forecast called for rain all weekend so Brian had to cut grass as soon as we got home Friday night.  The kids love to ride on the mower, so they were super excited to see it come out of the shed.  Each kiddo got a short turn on the mower with Daddy before we made them come to the front porch.  They begged to stay outside and watch Daddy cut grass, so the three of us hung out on the front porch while Brian worked.



It was hot and we were all ready for something cool, so I let them eat popsicles before supper while we hung out on the front porch.  Then it got later and later and I noticed it was past supper time.  Brian wasn't finished and I knew he wasn't going to come in until he was, so we opted for a front porch picnic.  Both kids had a super-nutritious dinner of popsicles, popcorn, and juice.  Normally I try to do a little better but sometimes it's not worth the battle of dragging everyone in while I find and fix something healthy (or semi-healthy) and the kids were both having so much fun.  Sometimes I think the memories of simple treats like that are more important in the long run anyway.

While we were just whiling away time on the front porch watching Brian mow the grass, the kids were doing all kinds of silly stuff.  At one point, Brian disappeared behind the corner of the house and Ava said "Dadddy's all gone!"  I tried to get her to do it again, but I didn't have any luck.  Eli, however, was feeling especially full of himself and decided to show out a little.



Then Eli randomly started shaking his head like a wild man.  I know he's seen a video of himself from late last summer doing the same thing after swimming in the pool so he was probably mocking himself. When I asked what he was doing he said, "shaking my head off".   Like I said, Eli was feeling very feisty that afternoon...