Monday, May 20, 2013

Catching Up...Part 1

  Yikes.  I got pretty far behind on blogging!  This last month has been crazy busy for us and I'm hoping things slow down soon.  I don't love being this busy!  The memory card was full on my camera and so I decided to see what was on there and came across a ton of pictures that I had forgotten about.  These pictures are from when my parents were here at the beginning of April.  Houston has had a very cool spring.  Definitely the coolest one since we've lived here.  I think we were breaking all kinds of records.  On this day it was warm enough and James and Avery decided to run through the sprinklers.
  Dane was not a fan of the sprinklers at all!  He got pretty wet, which he wasn't happy about.  He felt a lot safer when he was on my dad's lap.

 Al had the week off and we went to pick our strawberries at Froberg Farm.
 Dane was in heaven.  Strawberries are his favorite food.
 Here he stuffed an entire strawberry in his mouth, right off of the plant.
  James, his bucket almost full.  We got a little carried away with the strawberry picking, but we made a ton of freezer jam and Dane was loving eating them at every meal.

  One day we went to the beach.  The kids LOVE the beach.  They ask to go back all of the time.  Maybe we will go more this summer than last.  This day was pretty cold, but Avery and James didn't care.
  The water was pretty wild this day.  I don't think the pictures do it justice, but it was the craziest water that Al and I have ever seen at Galveston.  I didn't really want the kids to go out in it.

  Dane was happy staying dry.  He loved walking/running around on the beach.  Since it was so cold there was almost nobody there.  Dane's goal was to catch one of the birds that was flying around or walking around on the beach.  That kept him occupied the whole time.  He wasn't successful, but still had fun.

Dane getting warmed up after running around in the cool air.  I don't have any pictures, but right when we were leaving Avery decided to give her left over lunch to the birds.  Within seconds she had probably 20-30 birds swarming around her, within a few inches.  It was madness!!  But she thought it was pretty awesome.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday, James!!

Today James turns 4.  He has been so excited about this birthday and we have been talking about it for quite some time.  He has been trying to grasp the concept of being 3 1/2 and up until a day or two ago he would say he was 3 1/2.  Then I would say that he was almost 4.  But he thought 3 1/2 sounded older.  His birthday celebrating is kind of being spread out over days/weeks this year.  Thursday was already blogged about... then today is the actual day, Sunday he will get recognized during primary, Tuesday they are celebrating at preschool, and some day (soon!) he will have his very first birthday party.  I just need to see what Al's May schedule is like so he can be around to help me.

We love James very much.  There is just something about him...that is makes him so lovable.  I don't know what it is.

Here are some things about James at 4:

-His favorite color is green.  I thought it was just because Avery's favorite color is green, but he has consistently said green for quite a while now.

-He loves Chick fil A.  Loves.  But he doesn't want to be bothered with the waffle fries.  He just wants the chicken.

-His favorite book is Little Blue Truck.  We've read it so many times.  It is a very cute story.  For his birthday he got the sequel and he was super excited.

-James will often make statements like, "When I was a baby..." or he will tell me about something that he used to love/a place he went/something he did when he was a baby.  They are always random, always made up, sometimes very outlandish statements.

-He still loves to suck his thumb and rub the skin on his belly button.

-He is the cuddliest little guy I've ever known.  He would cuddle all day long if time allowed.

-James follows most statements he makes with "right?" at the end.  All day long.  All day.  He has a lot of stuff to talk about.  "Mom, I am strong, right?"  "Pepperoni is spicy, right?"  "It's foggy outside, right?" "It's almost my birthday, right?"  "We live in Houston, right?"  "Birds like to fly, right?"  I love this about him.  Occasionally I will have to tell him that it's quiet time, my mind needs a rest.  I remember one morning in particular we were driving to preschool and it had been just non-stop, rapid-fire statements/questions.  When James said, "A hippo could bite me, right?"  I told him that we needed just a little bit of quiet time.

-He wants to play with friends all day, every day.  I arrange quite a few play dates for him after preschool, and he is always so excited.  A couple of his BFFs are moving in a month and he will be crushed.  I am sad for him.  Luckily he has a couple of buddies that will still be around.  Even if James has been playing all day long, after the friend leaves, he wants to know who else can come over.  It's a little bit of a challenge for me because I don't really love/need to have people over that much!  But it is good for him.

-James recently completed a little gymnastics class through the city.  He LOVED it.  I signed him up on a whim, thinking they would just do some running, stretching, whatever.  James has a ton of energy and he needs some structure and things to keep him busy.  I was pleasantly surprised when we showed up and it was kind of a legit gymnastics class!  They did all kinds of stuff on the uneven bars, balance beam, vault, and trampoline.  It was a cool little class.  I am hoping to sign him up for another one.

-Some of James' favorites include:  holidays and decorating for holidays, candy- he could eat it all day every day, pizza, cheese, cereal, strawberries, Super Mario anything, hex bugs, cars, trains, playing the wii/DS/leappad, Tom & Jerry cartoons, visiting Utah, his grandparents, going to preschool

-James is a sweet little guy and very loving.  Occasionally he will have a burst of rage/temper.  It is a little bit amusing, but it lands him in his room for some quiet time.

-He has the loudest voice.  It carries very well.  We have to remind him very often to use his 'inside voice.'  When he was a baby he had the teeniest, softest cry.  Somehow he went from that to full volume.

Well, I could go on forever here.  James has such a big personality.  But these are a few things I want to remember about him at this age.  Happy birthday, Jamie!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Avery Lately

  Avery's been a busy little gal lately.  Last week they had a 'free dress' day at school.  Avery was so excited.  The first outfit I put together for her she rejected.  Avery is usually pretty relaxed about what I pick out for her, but she said the first outfit looked to much like dress code.  Honestly, her winter wardrobe is pretty sad because almost all of it is dress code.  So I pulled out a new shirt I had got her for summer.  She was very happy with the second outfit choice :)  James wanted to get in on this picture.  Look at his hair!  He was long overdue for a cut.
  Avery, looking happy and excited about free dress day.
  Not the best picture, but Avery wore her new skirt I made her for church on Sunday.  We were in a hurry and I didn't have time to straighten everything out before the pictures, but I just wanted to document that she wore something I made!  It's a little bit big on the kept falling down.  Oh well.  Maybe she can wear it for the next few years ;)
  I was asked to help out at Avery's Valentine party at school.  They had little ice cream sundaes.  The parties at her school are on the small/dull side.  They usually have just refreshments- no games, crafts, etc.  So basically my assignment was to go around and see if kids wanted sprinkles on their ice cream.
 Had to get this cute picture of Dane in.  He got a bubble gun for Valentine's Day and as you can tell by his face he loved it.  We was laughing out loud at the bubbles.
 Today was a big day for Avery at school.  She got a special reading award.  The entire first grade lined the main hallway at school.  At the end of the parade were the principal and vice principal.  The principal called out Avery's name over the microphone and then the whole first grade chanted, "Avery!  Avery!  Avery!  Avery!" while they clapped as Avery walked down the parade
  When she got to the principals they put a special shirt she was awarded on her.
  I didn't get a picture of it, but then they each held up one of Avery's hands/arms and then they yelled, "Yeah!!!"
 Here is the group of first graders that got recognized at this awards program.

And here are all 3, at the school.  See Dane?  That is how he felt about the parade.  He hated it.  He cried through the whole thing because of the noise.  Then James started to get fired up because he wanted to be in the group shot with all of the first graders that got awards.  By the time the parade was over there was only an hour left of school and the principals said I could take Avery home with me...and Avery said she wanted to stay!!  What?!  Who doesn't take a get out of school free opportunity?!  Then James started to bawl because he wanted Avery to come home with us.  Sigh.  Some times I think it would be nice to have Al around to help me wrestle the kids at things like this!

I am proud of Avery!  She is a good student and I am happy the school here does such neat and special things for the kids who do well in school.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Avery's 7th Birthday

  Avery had a great birthday this year.  She chose to go eat at Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  That is her favorite place.  She loves the steak bites.  A birthday bonus:  kids eat free on Monday nights!  I am pretty sure that free steak bites are even more delicious than regular steak bites.  After dinner we came home and it was present time!
 Avery got a lot of fun little things.  I think the thing she liked best from me and Al was her glow in the dark hexbug.  One of the things she got was the new Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.  She collects all of the Fancy Nancy books.  It is the cutest book- the pictures and story are adorable.  I highly recommend it.  She got some Fancy Nancy chapter books too that they are just starting to come out with.  Also very cute.
 James wanted to try out Avery's new hair brush.
 Avery got the American Girl trundle bed for her doll.  She was super excited.  I am sure McKenna will love it too.
  The cake was a last minute decision, hence the #1 candle...which sort of looks like a #7, right?!  It was the only candle we had.  I thought we could just get a dessert at the restaurant since she is having a cake at her party.  Al thought that was a bad parenting move and said she needed a cake.  I think Al really wanted chocolate cake...  Any how, we ran and picked one up at Sam's Club that afternoon.  Avery was happy with chocolate cake too.  I think Al was right.  It was good we got to sing to Avery and have her blow out the #1 candle.
  On her actual birthday the boys and I met Avery at school for lunch.  It was a little hectic, but fun.  James was very excited to be at the big school.  I wasn't feeling super great that day, but one of Avery's class mates said, "Hey, look!  Avery's sister is here!" and that made me feel a whole lot better.  Avery's sister that is towing an almost 4 year old and a baby... :)  Ha ha ha!  Kids are funny.

And here is Avery with her cute teacher, Ms. Frost.  I dropped off some treat bags for Avery's class, which is why Ms. Frost is carrying around a Target bag.  That is what they do at school here (everywhere?).  You take treat bags with little goodies and pencils, erasers, etc.  It gets expensive!  But Avery was so happy and excited that it was worth it.

You can see on Avery's hoodie, the birthday badge.  She also got a goodie bag from the front office, her name announced during morning announcements, and her biggest highlight of the day....

She got to go down to the front office and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the whole school over the office intercom.  She thought that was pretty fantastic.  She also got to say the Texas pledge of Allegiance which is very similar to the regular pledge, but shorter.

We are happy that we got to have such a fun couple of days celebrating Avery.  She loved the phone calls and attention from her loved ones.

Next up:  Valentine's Day, Al's birthday, and Avery's Super Mario party.  This month is crazy!  I asked Al what kind of cake he wants for his birthday and after polishing off Dane's huge cake, and still working on Avery's he said he might be done with cake for a while :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday, Avery!!

Today our sweet Vee Vee turns 7!  I can't believe that she is 7 already...that sounds so much older than 6 for some reason!  We celebrated her birthday yesterday so that Al could be with us and so I will add pictures later.  Today the boys and I are going to the school to have lunch with her and then she is having a little friends birthday party at the end of the month.

Some things about Avery at 7:

- She is a sweet girl.  She is usually very willing to share, even without being prompted.

- Avery does well at school and enjoys it.

- She has lost 7 teeth now and that top left permanent tooth is finally making an appearance!

- Avery loves music on the radio, and she still loves Taylor Swift the most.

- She has just started taking piano lessons from a girl in the ward.  Her first song is Mary Had a Little Lamb :)

- Avery is the 3rd girl in her dance class to do the 'seal pose' and they have to do it so that their feet cover their eyes and can play peek-a-boo.  Her teacher makes a big deal about it and gives them a prize.  It's pretty crazy how flexible little kids are!

- She can be quite dramatic...!  At a recent trip to the park Avery fell off the swing (a small fall) and she declared that this park "was the worst park ever!!!"  And after seeing what happened when she woke up with a bloody nose yesterday I think it is safe to say that she will not follow in Al's footsteps and become a doctor, like she once claimed :)

- Avery is a collector.  American Girls stuff, little trinkets, jewelry, notebooks, stickers, pens and pencils etc.

- Her favorite foods are meatballs and steak

- She LOVES both sets of grandparents.  She asks almost every day when can we move to Utah/Idaho...

- At a recent church activity, while playing a getting to know you game, Avery said about herself, "I love the color matter what!"  This is very true.  Sometimes she will add that she likes purple and hot pink second best.

- Avery has some strong interests in:  Super Mario anything, volcanoes, the color green, the wii, holidays in general, crafting especially if it involves scissors, wearing new clothes (but not shopping), wishing/wanting to see snow, going to the movies, still loves Tinkerbell.

We love Aves so much.  She is a great big sister.  She is funny, loving, spunky and smart.  We are so grateful that we have been blessed with her.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

BEAR Night

 Last night was a big night for Avery.  She was invited to attend the BEAR party at her school.  It is once a year, for 1st-4th graders and it celebrates kids who have achieved excellence in both conduct and reading.  I dropped Avery off at school at 6pm to start the evening.  The school was really organized about dividing kids by grade, parents having to sign kids in, etc. so I wasn't worried about leaving her.

On the ride to the school Avery asking about which kids would be at the party and I told her it was the ones that never 'clipped down' at school and also did all of the required reading.  She said she felt bad for the kids that didn't get invited and she didn't know if it seemed 'fair.'  Sweet Avery.  I explained that it definitely was fair.  Everybody had the same opportunity to behave well in school and to do their reading and maybe they didn't make the best choices.  She seemed happy with that answer.

 The party started in the cafeteria.  As we walked in they handed her a purple tote bag to hold all of her goodies from the night.  They also took her ticket to enter it into a raffle.  There were a lot of school staff and parent volunteers/PTA members running the show inside.  Avery was seated at the 1st grade table and was served pizza right away.  I got this picture, but as you can tell Avery was a little to anxious/distracted to bother with pictures.  The kids didn't have to wear school uniforms to the party and there was a lot of excitement/buzz about that.

And Avery, checking out her empty tote.  After this I headed out to enrichment and left Avery to her party.  I picked her up at 9 and she was bubbling with news about the festivities.  She had a tote bag full of stuff she had collected.  She won two books at various games they played.  She also had some pictures that her and her friends had taken at a photo booth-  They were all dressed up in hats, mustaches, glasses, etc.  Then she had a school pencil, cup, etc.  I guess there used to be some treats in there too, but she ate those before I picked her up :) 

I am glad that Avery got to have this fun party at school.  She is a good girl and student and it's nice to show kids that being well behaved and a hard worker is rewarding.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dane's 1 year appointment

I took Dane in today for his one year check-up.  He is a healthy little guy and growing very consistently.

Weight- 21 lbs. 14 oz- 50th percentile

Length- 29 3/4 inches- 50th percentile

Head- I don't remember the number, but it was 50th percentile :)

Now I just need to work on getting him off of bottles and onto sippy cups.  I'm always a bit behind on that one.  Oh well!  Next up is Avery's 7 year old appointment in a week or two.  I am anxious to see how much she's grown.  She seems to be so much taller recently!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dane's First Birthday

 This was a picture I took on Dane's actual birthday.  James was sitting up on the bar stool eating popcorn and Dane was waiting underneath, grabbing all of the popcorn that fell down his way.  Look at that face!
 We celebrated Dane's birthday on Friday.  Al had the whole day off and was able to come to the zoo with us.  We let Avery stay home from school to participate in the festivities.  It was the perfect weather for the zoo and probably the least crowded I've ever seen our that was nice.
 Dane, looking like a big 1 year old!
 Avery, looking very grown up- almost 7!  She is next up in our crazy month of birthdays.
  Not a great picture by any means, but this is Dane's first ride on a carousel.  He liked looking up at the top and watching the mechanics of it all.
  After the zoo we headed over to Costco for some pizza.  Here is Dane with a mouthful of crust.  We also had to pick up a cake...I had baked him a cake the day before and one of the layers got stuck in the pan and came out in pieces.  I was sad because I had decorated a cute cake for my other kids first birthdays, but it wasn't going to happen this time.
 Dane, after his nap, excited about the presents.
  And he actually tried to open the presents!  He ripped off paper without being prompted.  I don't know if he remembers because Christmas wasn't that long ago or what, but he was a champ.  And what he couldn't/didn't do James was more than happy to help with.
  Here he is opening his big gift from us.  He got the zoo talker train to go with his zoo and other animals.  He also got the zoo talker jeep and most of the rest of the animals he was missing.  They are the most adorable toys and Dane loves them.  So do Avery and James :)
  Getting ready for dinner.  We had some of Dane's favorites- Chicken noodle soup and strawberries
  Here is Dane's 'zoo' cake...or dinosaur cake :)  He loved the candle and being sung to.

  Dane is our first baby that didn't cry or show complete disinterest in the cake.  We didn't even have to force his hand into the cake.  He went for it with gusto and loved it. 
  And after a while he threw manners out the window and just put his whole face down on his piece of  cake.

It was a great first birthday.  We love our sweet Dane-y so much and were so glad we got to have a fun day celebrating him.