Monday, August 24, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 31 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 16 weeks: Building a Roller Coaster

We finally got the house on the market.  Personally, I think the listing turned out great.  If you happen to know anybody looking for a home in the area, please pass along our listing.

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/223-Philpot-Rd-Ardmore-TN-38449/81174872_zpid/



After a few weeks of doing nothing but work on the house day and night we were definately ready for a day at home.  Well, Sunday turned out to be our lazy day.  We watched some movies, the kids played, and after a couple hours we were all a little stir crazy.  So, Brian pulled out a Kinex roller coaster kit and got the building.  The kids were really eager at first but it took some time to get it put together (like 4 hours).  In any event, we all had a good day just hanging out around the house and spending some lazy time together.  Plus, when the roller coaster was finished, the kiddos were mesmerized.  It turned out to be a pretty cool roller coaster.





Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 30 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 15 weeks: Outside Time

We're still working like crazy to get the house ready... Last weekend, Eli and Ava spent some time visiting their Grammers and Papa Garro so that we could spend a couple of days working uninterrupted on the house. In addition to the two of us working ourselves ragged, Joey volunteered to come over on Sunday and spend a day helping. So it was a full-family, all-hands-on-deck kinda thing with some taking care of kids and others working to get the house all spic-and-span.

I'm happy to report that after a full weekend of work, the house is clean and ready to list with the minor exception of some vinyl siding repairs and finishing up the mowing/weedeating.

We were really glad to see the kids at the end of the weekend and after Grammers and Joey left, Brian went to start mowing and I took the kiddos out to play in their little pool, eat popscicles, and ride tricycles.  It is time to catch up on spending time as a family once we get this house all fixed up.

The water is never too cold for Ava and Eli likes to play with the hose.

I think the heat index was pushing 100 degrees so they were all about the cool water.

This looks like bad news!!!

Eli prefered to ride his tricycle instead of playing in the pool.

Eli figured out that he could ride his tricycle across the wet concrete and then leave tracks on the dry parts.

Water Baby!

Love this slide

"Weeeeeeeeee!"

Eli also likes to throw things in buckets of water.

"Splash!"

Eli - 3 years, 29 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 14 weeks: Daycare Days

We have been on go, go, go lately.  Brian and I have spent every spare moment we could find trying to get the house ready to list in real estate.  We're getting closer and just have a couple of punch list items remaining.  Unfortunately, this has meant that we've spent a little less family time.  So I don't really have much to share of the kiddos but I did get a couple of pictures sent to me by one of the daycare workers.  My kiddos love Ms. Brandi and love her kids as well.  Keagan is super great at sharing his toys with Eli and Ava just adores Adalynn.  We are very blessed to have them in our lives.

Ashton Bailey, Ava, and Sadie hanging out and having fun at daycare!  I think the little monkey in the playpen in the back is Adalynn but it's hard to tell for sure.

Bryson, Keagan, Eli, and Addison building blocks in the preschool room!
Getting occasional pictures of the kiddos while I'm at work always makes my day.  It's great to see that they are having fun and gives me something to smile about when I'm super busy and stressed. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 28 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 13 weeks


Remember I told you that Eli is recently obsessed with the song "Thunderstruck".  While this is an awesome song, after the first 15,000 times in a week it gets kind of old.  So on the way home one night, I suggested he let me play him some new cool songs.  It was sunny so I passed out Eli and Ava's sunglasses, we rolled the windows down, and then I progressed through the remaining AC/DC songs on my Ipod.  Well guess what??? We found a few more he likes and one that is a huge hit!  The big hit - "Back in Black" - but the song has stipulations.  We can NOT listen to it if we don't have on our Lightning McQueen sunglasses.  It just isn't done.  But anytime we are appropriately attired in our sunglasses, we can turn on "Back in Black" and watch Eli bob his head to the music.



On Saturday, Eli and Ava went to spend the day with Joey and Papa Rick so Brian and I could do some more work toward getting the house ready to sell.  Through the week we had a new vinyl floor put in the kitchen to replace the part that had water damage so now we could get to some paining.  Brian also got a strong start on cleaning out the garage.  While the kiddos were gone we painted the front and back doors as well as the trim that had to be pulled up to fix the floor.  We also replace a bathroom closet door which involved painting as well.  Painting the doors involved leaving them open for the day so we were without A/C all day this time.  It didn't really matter though, because we had lots of work to do in the garage so it didn't really affect anything.  The good news is that the doors dried just in time for us to put the hardware back on before we went to pick up the kids.  So we were able to let the house cool down a little while we were gone.  Plus, with a couple extra hours work on Sunday while the kids played outside and ate popsicles, we were able to get the garage in top shape... probably better than it's ever looked.  One week to our house-ready-to-sell deadline.

So what did the kiddos do at Joey and Papa Rick's?  They played in the pool, fed the koi fish, took a little bit of a rest/nap, and played with their cousin Kylie... then there was this little job.   All 3 grandkids earned their keep by washing windows!  Hey, we believe in child labor in our family. 


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eli - 3 years, 27 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 12 weeks

Daddy was gone again this week so it was just the 3 of us for most of the week.  Overall, it was pretty uneventful through the week.

With school still on break, there are some big kids at daycare through the summer.  A couple that have been especially kind to Ava are Macey and "big" Ava.  One morning this week we got there and the big girls had a toy that would turn hair all kinds of fun colors.  They were fixing each other and a couple of the other kiddos up.  They asked if they could do Eli and Ava and I told them that it was okay with me as long as Eli and Ava didn't mind.  Well, I knew that Eli would be a no-go but Ava sure did think it was fun to get fixed up like the big girls.  A few hours into my day I got this picture of Ava with some blue streaks in her hair.  When I picked her up the blue had faded and pink streaks had been added.  Ava felt beautiful and important that day so I'm very grateful to the big girls for taking the time to play with her and fix her hair!


Since we decided to sell our house before we build our forever home, we started our weekend off with some projects.  We met with a realtor on Friday afternoon to get some information.  We knew we had some repairs that we'd been putting off so we finalized our "punch list" before the realtor left.  The goal is to have the house prepped for sale in 2 weeks but we're okay with slipping that deadline a little if we can't quite make everything happen.  First on the list was replacing some of the sub-floor in the kitchen that had water damage near the back door as well as replacing the back door.  That was a day-long job on Saturday and a hot one with the A/C turned off most of the day.

Saturday night we had a family swim night at Papa Rick's big pool.  Both Eli and Ava loved going down the big water slide and they definitely didn't want  to leave.  Since it was a nighttime party, I didn't get any pictures.  I just enjoyed the kiddos and getting cooled off in the water.  We stayed until around 9:30pm so both Eli and Ava were good and worn out by the time we got home since our typical bedtime is 7:30.  Bedtime Saturday night was closer to 10:30 after our bedtime stories.  (FYI - we paid for that late night for the next week)

Then on Sunday, Pawpaw Frankie and Granny Debbie came to visit.  Pawpaw Frankie helped Brian finish up the last little bit of the door work and Granny Debbie played.  Eli and Ava had a blast! Before they left, we took Pawpaw Frankie and Granny Debbie to see the site work we had done on the farm.  Ava fell asleep on the way over so I kept her in the car with the A/C running.  Eli was still on go and wanted to go throw rocks in the pond.  So Eli walked up the new driveway to the home site with Brian, Frankie and Debbie.  It was hot, hot, hot!  On the way back I caught this picture of our little man showing off his farm. 


When Eli got back to the car he said he was hot and needed a break and something to drink.  I had a some Sprites still in the cooler from the night before and he thought that was a really good treat! 

All too soon, our weekend was over and we had to get ready to go back to work and daycare for the week.  It was a busy and fun weekend but all good things must end. The next 2 weeks are going to be CRAZY trying to get the house ready to sell so I don't really look for much rest but hopefully, we'll at least be so tired that we sleep really well.

Eli - 3 years, 26 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 11 weeks

This week was a total Mommy fail.  I failed to get any documentation of the kids' lives at all... No pictures, no video, nothing.  It's kind of rare that I can't find a single thing.  I honestly don't even have an excuse... well other than the fact that we were completely worn out from the previous week, day to day life is tough, and for some reason when we got home all any of us wanted was to sit on the couch and do nothing.

One thing I can share about the kids this week is that Eli has developed really unique taste in music.  Thanks to the Planes Fire and Rescue movie, he's recently been obsessed with the song "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC (sometimes known in our house as 'The Dusty Song").  He literally knows every word... like even the ones I don't know.  I'm sure it's a result of his pure awesomeness.  Ava, on the other hand, prefers James Taylor.  She frequently requests "Play MY song." which means play "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You".


So in lieu of actual documentation of them at this age, I'll share some more from our vacation a couple weeks earlier. I found a few more pictures hiding out on Brian's camera that I didn't really know I had plus a couple videos.

Playing nicely together on the beach

She's a movie star and she knows it!

A bucket of water is always fun.

Building sand castles with Papa Garro

Walking to the water with Pawpaw John when we stopped at Uncle Woo's house to celebrate the 4th.
And now the videos...

Remember how I mentioned that Ava loved to pick her feet up in the waves and let them wash her around???


And remember that I said Ava had lots of fun playing with the little girl in the mirror???

In other news...

We had a minor set back on the house-construction front which initially created massive amounts of stress in our home.  The initial appraisal on our farm land came back around $1600 an acre which is about half what we were expecting.  Since we were planning to use the equity we had in our land for a down payment, this was a huge setback.  After lots of careful consideration, a few tears, and several hours of research and arguing with appraisers, we decided to slow down, continue saving, and sell our house before we start construction on a new home.  It has not been an easy decision to reach.  We're impatient, we have baby #3 on the way, and we really liked the thought of being in a new home a couple months after the new baby arrives.  But sometimes, God has other plans.  So we found some humility and opted to wait a while longer. So for now, the farm looks like this...A driveway to a cleared building site.  The home is just gonna have to wait a while longer.



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Eli- 3 years, 25 weeks & Ava - 2 years, 10 weeks - Uncle Robbie's BBQ




Every year sometime around the 4th of July, Uncle Robbie and Aunt Lacey throw a huge BBQ and rent a giant bouncy water slide.  We don't usually get to go because we spend our 4th of July at Uncle Woo's house but this year they moved it to the weekend after the 4th and we were able to get there.  Eli and Ava were super happy about that!

While the big kids played on a giant slide, we set up a kiddie pool for the little ones.  Eli also brought his monster trucks to drive down the slide. It was a great way for the kids to keep cool in the mid-July heat!




I only got a couple of pictures of the big kids doing the slide.  It was really high and really steep so it wasn't easy to get pics. 



These two bathing beauties always love to play together. 






By the time we got home they kiddos were completely worn out.  It had been a really fun day and the kiddos had a blast.  They slept great that night which made Mommy and Daddy happy as well!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Beach Vacation - Eli 3 years, 24 weeks & Ava 2 years, 9 weeks

So once again, I'm about a month behind... and what a busy month it's been.

We ended June and started July with a vacation to the beach. 

The kiddos had a love-hate relationship with the beach right now.  They either love it or hate it depending on their moods.  

Eli has some little quirks that make the beach a little tougher for him.  For instance, he doesn't really like to have things on his feet.  So the sand sticking to his hands and feet worries him from time to time.  And he doesn't mind getting wet in the water or the pool, but the minute he's out he wants to be DRY (like bone dry).  If he gets out the water and isn't almost instantly dry he sometimes becomes motionless and stands with his arms straight out frozen almost refusing to move until someone carries him.  We're working on these quirks, but it definitely added a little bit to the challenge of getting all of us to and from the beach happily.  


Ava would pretty much always be up for going to the beach, but she wore out after a while and had to come in for a rest. 



 Ava is also a little dare devil and water baby.  She kept wanting to get farther and farther out in the waves.  She loved it when a big wave would come splash her. And if we were holding her hand she'd pick up her legs and try to "ride the waves" back out to sea. 

 

 Eli got in the ocean a couple times and enjoyed it for a few minutes.  He especially loved looking for shells and other fun things floating by in the water.  But overall, he probably liked the pool better.





But with the water a little rough, we spent most of our time playing in the sand.  



 


This is where we stayed, Pinnacle Port, just outside of Panama City.  It was a quiet little complex with a few buildings of condos at the end of a community of beach cottages.  It was very nice and I really liked that our building was a few minutes away from the main road.  
 


The unit we rented was nice with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.  Fortunately, we were able to convince 2 sets of grandparents to come with us on vacation this time so we had lots of extra help with the kiddos.  Our unit was at the end of a hallway which made it fairly quiet and (other than the night the fire alarms went off) the kids were never roused extra early by noisy neighbors.  We also like to have the ability to cook most of our own food in a real kitchen since it saves money and eliminates stress.  (Have you ever waited for a table 2 hours in the heat outside a restaurant with 2 pre-schoolers in tow? --- That is not a vacation in my books!)  I also like to wash clothes through the week so that I don't come home with a mountain of dirty laundry.

Eli's favorite in-room activity is always playing the I-pads.  Luckily, Joey brought a couple with her fully loaded with kids' games and activities so Eli and Ava didn't have to share or take turns. The I-pad is a special treat since we don't own one nor do we have internet at our house. 


 Ava's favorite thing to do was play around with all the new stuff... like vertical blinds (I promise we didn't break too many), a giant full-length mirror, and a comfy chair that could spin in circles. 


Another great part of our complex was that they had a little playground.   We visited it a couple of times after supper to run out that last little burst of energy and it was a great way to finish wearing them out for bed.






But after a good night's sleep, it's time for the beach again... 
 
Eli likes to build Ninja Turtle forts with Papa Garro.... I think this was taken a few minutes before a big wave came and carried one turtle out to sea.  Eli screamed bloody murder.  You'd have thought it carried Ava away.


Ava decided to stand in the bucket of water... I guess she needed to cool her toes off.

Eli stole Papa Rick's hat for a few minutes.

 

What the kiddos look like when you hand them a cup of Sundrop... It gets a BIG positive reaction.

But like all trips to the beach, it had to come to an end.  I think Ava was crying here because she was tired and needed a nap, but I felt the same way when it was time to go home and head back to work!
Oh if everyday could be a vacation day...