Thursday, January 28, 2016

Eli - 3 years, 49 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 34 weeks; Mae - 9 weeks

After our Christmas celebrations, we spent the night at Grammers' house.  Brian's cousin Ann Marie is expecting a baby girl in February and we had to go to the baby shower.  Since daycare was closed, Eli and Ava had planned to stay and spend a couple extra days with Grammers.  So between baby showers for the girls and baby sitter for the boys, everyone was sticking around until late Sunday afternoon.

But before we could go to the baby shower, we had to do some baking.  Grammers had volunteered to bring something to the shower and Ann Marie requested dirt cake.  Well to make dirt cake baby shower appropriate we decided to tint the cool whip layers pink and green and serve it in a trifle bowl instead of a flower pot.  This was supposed to be a simple 15 minute project - yeah right!  It turned into a 2+ hour ordeal which included massive quantities of cool whip and pudding and sending Papa Garro to the grocery store for extra supplies.  It was one of those projects that got out of control very quickly and took way longer than it was supposed to.

First we couldn't decide if we needed one recipe worth or two.  So to be safe we started out making 2 recipes worth.  Duh - one would have been perfectly fine.  I still don't know what we were thinking.  Ava wanted to help so I sat her on the counted and put her to stirring.

 But then the double batch recipe started to grow...

We quickly managed to dirty almost every bowl in the kitchen and use up all the counter space.  But something wasn't quite working right.  The pudding mixture part of the recipe was way too runny and wouldn't set up.  Oh well, we thought maybe it would thicken with time and adding it to the cream cheese mixture.  Nope, now we just had runny cream cheese.  We (quite stupidly) went ahead and added the cool whip hoping for a miracle.  NOPE.  We were going over the ingredient list when it hit both me and Grammers at the same time... she'd bought cook vanilla pudding instead of instant!  

At this point we sent Papa Garro on a supply run. We would have to start all over.  We had begun this Dirt Cake process around 9am thinking it would take 20 minutes and knowing we needed to leave around noon to get to the shower in time to help set up.  Now it was well after 10 and no one had showered or dressed.  Remember it takes some serious time to pull together 3 kids, 2 women, 1 man, and pack a car with all the new toys and stuff that wasn't staying with Eli and Ava.  

Our second attempt at Dirt Cake went much better than our first.  This time it really did only take 20 minutes.  We then began the process of getting everyone showered, packed, dressed, etc and managed to pull it all together just in time to rush out the door around noon.  

We'd decided that Ava and Mae would go with Grammers and I to the shower and Brian could take Eli and visit with Pawpaw John for a while.  Ava was very excited to get to go to her first Grown-up Party.  We put on her Christmas jumper, white tights and a white shirt.  She looked pretty adorable all dressed up! The trifle bowl dirt cake looked pretty good and no one would ever have guessed that it was as big a mess as it actually was. 


 Mae also looked sweet in her snowflake dress-up outfit and matching head band. 

At the shower, Ava felt very grown up and behaved fairly well.  All the ladies hosting and attending the shower were so very kind to my girls and helped out holding Mae and entertaining Ava.  There were even some Snoopy toys that Ava was allowed to play with.  When it was gift time, Ava was so excited to see all the new baby stuff that she sat on Aunt Teresa's lap beside Ann Marie and watched all the gifts be opened.

In all the chaos of the day I didn't manage to get a picture of Eli to share.  Then the kids spent the next few days with Grammers and when they came home it was time for Day 2 of our Christmas festivities.  I have a few pictures of those Christmas celebrations but no others so for now I'll just put one of my favorites from the Christmas Celebrations thus far in here. Love this up-side down laughing boy!

Oh, and thanks to our little Dirt Cake episode I now have a new way of describing anything that doesn't go as easily as planned by putting Dirt Cake in front of the name.  Like when we have those mornings where no matter how hard you try you can't get everyone out of the house on time that would be "having a dirt cake kinda morning".  Yep... I think that works as a good descriptor of much of my life and I'm gonna use it!

Christmas Celebrations - Day 1

So here we are a week before Christmas with 60 degree temperatures.  Guess somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature that it's December now. That's okay, I like the warm weather and the kids hate coats so we'll take it!

Our first Christmas celebrations always start the weekend before Christmas.  We get up early in the morning and head to Birmingham to visit with Brian's family.

On the drive down, Eli had a hang nail.  But he wouldn't let me clip it.  He insisted on doing it himself.  This was the first time he clipped his own nails and so far he hasn't let us do it again.  Guess the last time was the LAST TIME.

We start out at Pawpaw Frankie's house.  It was at this point that I realized that my camera battery was dead and I would have nothing for pictures but my cell phone.  Doh!   So I didn't get great pictures.  But I'll still share what I have.

It turns out that my camera wouldn't have done me much good anyway.  Guess what?  It's really really hard to help two preschoolers open gifts, hold a baby, open the baby's gifts, and open your own gifts at the same time.  Who'd have guessed? 

This was the only picture I got of Mae.  Yep, I did good - NOT! 

Since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to get some pictures of everybody outside in shirt sleeves before we left.  Fortunately Pawpaw Frankie had remembered to charge his camera so we actually got these pictures instead of just the out of focus mess my cell phone was taking.

We stayed there until mid afternoon and then we loaded into the car and headed to Grammers' house.  Eli and Ava each insisted on holding some of their new toys in the car.  But within minutes of leaving the driveway they were out.  Eli with his bag of toys on his lap and Ava leaning against her new toy kitchen.


So we spent the evening at Grammers' house.  Still I have no camera so I get blurry pictures.  Oh well. And once again I was holding Mae most of the time so I failed to get even one picture of her at Grammers' house.  I will do better next year!

As you can tell by this point the kids are all completely spoiled!  We already have so many toys that Santa is gonna look like a chump.  I guess that's what happens when you have big families like ours. 
More Christmas fun to come...

Eli - 3 years, 48 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 33 weeks; Mae - 8 weeks

Our Christmas Celebrations are just around the corner.  But first we had to get hair cuts to get ourselves looking good.

Eli simply adores his big cousin, Brady.  Eli also HATES having his hair cut.  But this time Brady offered to let Eli sit in his lap during the hair cut.  That made it way better.  Thanks Brady!

 Ava is still completely in love with her baby sister.  She routinely begs to hold Mae and I think Mae is starting to enjoy it as well.  I have a feeling these two are going to be super close.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Eli - 3 years, 47 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 32 weeks; Mae - 7 weeks: Birthday Parties, Blow-ups, and Baby Noises

After a fun night of Christmas Parade watching, we had an equally busy Sunday ahead of us.  Eli and Ava went to one of their best daycare buddies and cousin Ashton's 4th birthday party.

Ashton had a Princess Tea Party themed birthday. It was so cute.  They had borrowed a silver tea service from one of Ashton's grandmothers and had some dress-up stuff for the little girls to dress up in.  Ava had a blast, Mae did pretty well just hanging out and eating her bottle, and Eli thought that the party was too girly to be any fun but was glad that he didn't stay at home anyway!

Princess Ava

Mae was ready for a party

Tea and desserts for the little girls.

Eli was ready to play baloons but the girls were only interested in doing girly stuff.

 On the way home, we stopped by our neighbor's house to check out her Christmas blow-ups.  Ms Dianne was super nice and offered for us to stop by and take a closer look so on our way home we stopped to let the kiddos see her blow-ups from outside the car.

Eli had been dying to get closer to Spiderman since the minute he was up.  Eli walked right up to him and punched him in the face!  Take that Spiderman!

Ava liked exploring all the different animal blowups. 

And Eli would look at something else for a minute and then go give Spiderman another wack!

They both had to check out the helicopter with propellers that really spin. 

Then it was time to get home and settle in for the week ahead.  During the week, I snapped this picture of Ava holding Mae.

And during the week, Mae became really really good at smiling and cooing.

 I tried so hard to get a video of her cooing and grinning.  I got just a little bit of jabber and then she decided to get fussy.

On Saturday morning, Eli, Ava, and Brian went to Birmingham for the weekend while Mae and I headed out with Joey and Aunt 'Tace to do our annual Christmas shopping trip.  Mae was a champ and hung in with us through multiple stores and a full 12 + hours of shopping.  She was in and out of the car a dozen times, spent a large part of the day in the Moby wrap, had one massive diaper blowout (our apologies to whomever emptied the trash bins at the Hobby Lobby, and was pretty worn out at the end of the day... heck, we all were. It was really almost too warm to be Christmas shopping, but it helped a lot to not have to worry with coats and scarves when we were in and out of the car.  Fortunately, we managed to finish up all our Christmas shopping and are ready for our Christmas celebrations to start next weekend! 

Christmas Parade

After almost a full day of lounging around the house, we took the kiddos into town to watch the Christmas Parade.  We met up with some of our cousins on the square to enjoy the parade together and let the kids hang out for a bit.  We love to watch the parade near Bagley and Bagley Insurance on the square.  It's a great spot where the whole parade goes by and there is an awning we can stand under if it happens to start raining.  This year it was super warm and we didn't really need much in the way of coats.  We parked a couple blocks away and walked up to the square.  Eli and Ava had their strollers to sit in and make things more comfortable, and Mae was in the Moby wrap against me.  The parade was a huge hit with our kiddos and they especially loved watching it with Audrey and Brady.

Old Man Eli looking at his Black Friday ad and dreaming of all the presents Santa will bring.

Ava can't wait much longer!