Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lewis and Clark

The basement of the Magic House had the Lewis and Clark exhibit. We all enjoyed climbing into the tents and checking out what was in all of the chests and barrels.

Here's Avery firing up the grill...

and Al and Avery enjoying a slab of buffalo.

Fish Pond

One of the neatest parts of the Magic House was the catch and release fishing pond.

Avery caught a fish with some help from Al. Then she carried it upstream to the drop off spot.

The little brook runs through the mini land part of the Magic House and you can follow and watch your fish travel back to the big pond.

The Magic House

On Wednesday we went to the Magic House. It is an older historical home that has been transformed into an amazing children's museum. It has 3 floors, an attic, and a basement, so you can imagine that there was a ton of stuff to see and do.

Avery played with sand, water, static electricity, race cars, balls, giant legos, tunnels, indoor slides, music, lights, etc.

There were tons of science experiments set up that were really neat, but a little too old for Avery. One of my favorite parts of the Magic House was the little mini land. They had a mini grocery store where you could grab a shopping cart, fill it with groceries, scan them and work the register. There was a pizzeria where you could pretend to make the pizza, wait on tables, dine, and work the register. Then there was the mini bank, the post office, the library, the news room, a giant tree house, etc. It seemed like endless things to check out and do. Avery loved crawling through the tunnels the most, and the painting.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My First Wedding Cake...!?!

Al's sister Jen is getting married on July 11th. Avery and I are flying out to Phoenix for the big event (Al will be back at the hospital by then). I was very surprised (and flattered) when Jen asked me to make the wedding cake for hers and Dave's wedding. I have baked countless cakes and have decorated a few birthday cakes and tons of sugar cookies...but never a whole huge wedding cake.

Here is a very, very rough version of Jen's and Dave's wedding cake. I wanted to do a practice run to figure out the construction of the cake. It was really cool putting it together and adding each tier on top of the other.

I did some research on what I would need to make it all work, to make sure that the layers stay in place and that nothing tips, caves in, etc. I learned that with heavy/moist cakes, like these kinds, you need wooden or plastic dowels inserted in each layer. Then on top of each tier is a plastic plate supporting the next layer.

Of course for the big day the frosting will be more evenly applied and it will be all decorated and sparkly and with flowers on top.

Jen picked Italian Coconut Creme cake, and a chocolate chip and yellow cake with chocolate shavings, all with buttercream frosting.

Avery was dying for a piece of cake and so immediately after we took these pictures we dove in. I am excited for the real one that I will decorate. I guess more pictures of that in a couple of weeks!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Picnic in the Park

Tuesday we decided to pack a picnic and go to a big park. We packed a partial lunch and took along a blanket and books and headed out for the day.

We stopped at a little French bakery on Olive and got some filled croissants...Al got a ham and swiss one and I got spinach and feta. And because the desserts looked sooo tempting we wound up with a peach turnover and a chocolate eclair.

It was pretty hot and humid that day, but we found a huge tree to spread our blanket under. We tried to have our picnic, but Avery was too excited when she saw the huge park and so we ended up eating in shifts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

3rd Year Celebration

Yesterday we had our end of 3rd year celebration day. We took Avery to the zoo in the morning. It was pretty crowded, but still a lot of fun. Avery was more focused on the zoo train than the zoo animals...but still a lot of fun :)

Of course that all changed when we got to the penguin house. Avery was in fine form for her favorite animal. I had so many cute pictures of her that I couldn't resist posting quite a few. She was absolutely elated to be in there. Several times she grabbed the edge of the glass, about ready to hurdle herself over and join in on the swimming. We got splashed a few times when the penguins would dive into the water and Avery would just giggle and clap her hands in excitement.

The video is just a glimpse of Avery's happiness at the penguins. I love it when she laughs :)

After the zoo we went out to lunch for Afghani food. We went downtown to the 'nice part of the ghetto' to this little restaurant that Al had been to before with some of the residents he works with. The food was really good (think Indian food) and Avery was thoroughly entertained by the decor of the restaurant, which included bright red and orange paint, gold script on the walls, and tons of gold and ornate accessories hanging on the walls. Lunch was a success.

After an afternoon rest Avery helped me make pizza cups, something she learned in one of her cooking classes, and then we went to the DQ for some ice cream.

It was a great day and a great way to celebrate the end of Al's (and mine and Avery's!!!) third year of medicine!!! Only 1 more to go! It is weird to think that we will be moving in less than a year and starting an adventure somewhere else (who knows where!?!?)

We have a lot of fun things planned for Al's two week summer vacation and so I'm sure we will be posting more soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Potty Chart

I have been toying with the idea of potty training Avery for a while now, but haven't just broken down to get the job done. I keep putting it just doesn't seem like that appealing of a job...

Anyway, Al and I have been getting Avery used to the idea of the potty and going potty, etc. And although I know a lot of people are against the whole bribery thing, I am completely for it when it comes to potty training. Avery loves the movie 'Cars' and is obsessed with the little toy cars that you can collect and play with. So I made her these hastily put together potty charts so she can 'earn' some cars. She already made it through the first chart. She had to go 5 time and then she got Lightening McQueen. On this chart I increased it to 6 times and then she will get 'Green Ramone.' Every day. several times a day, Avery looks at the boxes and sees how many boxes have been covered up with a sticker. She understands that when all of the boxes have a sticker on them, she gets the car.

Well last night I could hear Al chuckling and talking to Avery in the hallway. It turns out that she came across some stickers and was standing in front of her potty chart, trying to cover up the boxes with the stickers she found! She is so sneaky!! I don't know where she got that from! And I find it oh so amusing that she thought that we wouldn't notice...ha ha ha!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Onion

This morning while I was getting dinner ready to put in the oven Avery came in the kitchen. She wanted to see what I was doing and so I put her up on the counter so she could watch and we could chat.

When I pulled the onion out Avery got really excited and yelled out, "Yummy, yummy Onion! Onion!!" and then I started to cut it into rings. She said, "Want a bite of onion!" I told her that the onion was 'too hot' and that she might not like it very much. She just kind of shrugged that off.

Then when I looked back at her a couple of minutes later she was holding a piece of onion in front of herself and I watched as she started licking the onion. I waited for a big response on that but all she said was, "Mmmm."

I put the rest of the onions in the pot and while I was doing that Avery said, "The onion made me sad."

I looked up at Avery and her eyes were streaming tears from the onion. It was so cute and so funny! I just love the way she expressed what was happening as a result of licking the onion. What a cutie!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ladybug sprinkler

Avery got this new ladybug sprinkler the other day from Grandma Nette and she loves it. She didn't really know what it was for at first and would just carry it around like it was a stuffed animal, pointing out the eyes and all the colors, etc. She informed me that the part that hooks onto the hose was the ladybug's tail.

Anyway, yesterday was a really hot and sunny day and so we put Avery's swimsuit on and set the sprinkler up. She absolutely loved it. The water was freezing but she didn't care at all. She got soaking wet! She would run through it, sit on it, jump over it, try to drink the water, etc. I know that this sprinkler will be a good summer activity for us.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For Grandma Nette

Tea Party

Avery was invited to a tea party today. Another mom in the ward had it at her house and when we got there these little princess tables were all set up with the dishes and the food. I thought it was so cute that she had cut all of the crusts off the sandwiches and cut them into little triangles.

The moms were pretty entertained by the kids all dressed up in their finest and there was a lot of picture taking going on. There were a couple of boys there too and their mom had dressed them up and had them wearing ties.

Avery spotted the Cars chair right away and made a dash for it. She didn't get up for quite some time, I'm sure afraid that somebody might sit in it. And then even after she was done eating she carried the chair around for awhile.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Look What Avery Built

Avery built these 4 different tracks all by herself. I think she did a great job!

We played with the trains earlier this morning. I helped Avery build a big track and then we got out her Littlest Pet Shop animals and we set them up inside the loop of the track to make a 'zoo' that the train would ride by.

After the zoo was set up and we had the train going we got out her Little People school bus and loaded up the kids so that they could go on a field trip to the trains and the zoo. Avery thought that was pretty fun.

But tonight Avery got out the tracks and the only thing I helped her with was unzipping the backpack that holds all of the tracks. When she got the tracks finished the way she wanted them she got out her cars and trains and had them ride around for a while.

The Museum of Transportation

Saturday we went to the Museum of Transportation. It is in Des Peres, which was only about 30 minutes away.

There were TONS of old locomotives there. I wasn't keeping track, but I would say over 100. There were engines, cabooses, dining cars, coal cars, etc. This was a dream come true for Avery. She just loves trains.

There was all kind of information to read about all of the trains, but it is hard to do with a two year old. But it was really neat just to look at all of the different trains and the years they were from.

You get to go inside quite a few of the old trains, and that was a lot of fun to see the seats and all of the controls, some of the bunks, etc. It was great to see how much had changed over the years. The picture of Al and Avery at the bottom, with the green background, was in one of the older engines. The seats were like wooden crates and there were just tons of gears and controls in there.

We also rode a mini-train around the museum grounds a couple of times. The conductor let Avery yell, "All aboard!" through the microphone to everybody else on the train. She thought that was pretty special. And she got excited every time the train would whistle.

There was a part of the museum that had lots of different old cars that had been restored. It was interesting to read about the old cars, and how much people bought them for back in the day. Avery thought some of the cars were like the ones from the movie 'Cars.' In the one picture Avery and I are standing in front of 'Flo.'

We spent a few hours there and probably could have spent a little more time, except for that we were all starving and Avery was going to fall over from heat and exhaustion. She fell asleep about 5 minutes after we put her back in the car. It was a very fun outing, I think we were all pleasantly surprised.