Fun at the Fair!

Yesterday we took our annual trip to the State Fair. Yes it's corny, but we always have a great time and our fair has lots of animals and fun (and free) stuff for the kids to do and see. Plus, who doesn't love a fried funnel cake once in a while!

Here are some highlights from the day. . .

Boys in heaven!

Major highlight of the day- the original Batcopter from the TV series with Adam West is owned by a private individual. He brings it to our fair every year, and this year we got to go up close and personal. He even has two original props from the show (a Batarang and Batman's radio) and graciously allowed the boys to hold them while I took the picture. (the man standing with the boys is the owner who decided on his own to be in our picture!)
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Annual highlight of the state Natural Resources area is the "archeologist dig"

the giant magnetic animal puzzles

and the beautiful butterfly garden (I can't believe I got this close!)
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Lunch for the goats

Makes me wish I was still a hairdresser!

Ava loves the ducks

Benji loves the ducks, too
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Isn't this just adorable? We did enter to win it, but I'm sure all we'll get is a bunch of telemarketer calls

Gotta go milk that fake cow

Ava's first trip on the Merry-Go-Round

I'll just say it was VERY hot and we all needed VERY large drinks!
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Wordless Wednesday

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Linking in Prayer

All of you reading this right now, please click here, read, and pray fervently for this family.

To My Beautiful Daughter

I don't want to ever forget the way you looked at me tonight when I rocked you before bed. . . The way your eyelids drooped and the way your damp hair felt against my arm. . .

Ours is a bond like no other. . .You seem to cling to me like the air you breathe, and you are my partner in this journey of womanhood. There is no one else as similar to me as you. . .

I cherish the way you want to follow in my daily steps, eager to share in everything I do. I am completely in awe of the fact that I will be the one to teach you about all things feminine, and about becoming the woman that God intended you to be.

Someday too soon I will hold your children as I held you tonight. Don't grow up too fast, little one!

I love you, beautiful baby.
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"I Do"

I overheard this gem of a conversation yesterday in the car:

Alec: "How do you marry someone?"
Benji: "I think you just kiss"
Alec: "No, I think you have to go somewhere like a church and kiss there"

slight pause

Alec: "Oh, and you have to give your wife a ring, too"
Benji: "And then you dance?" and he starts humming the Star Wars theme song
Alec: "Nope!"

Today it came up again, and Alec added this amidst hysterical laughter from he and Benji: "I think you say "I do" and then kiss their wiener!"

Hmmm, not sure where that last little bit came from, or why they're contemplating the mechanics of a wedding. . .


Wordless Wednesday

Baby Benji
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Butter Buns

I like to sit Ava in my big single sink while I fix dinner if it's hot outside (we don't have central air) and let her splash. Usually I"m careful to remove all breakable, spill-able or sharp objects from her reach before I set her in.

Tonight wasn't one of those times! I turned from the stove and noticed a wad of something cream colored in her hand. Upon closer inspection, I realized that she had a handful of butter. She smiled up at me and cheerfully announced, "Peem!" (her word for cream- Desitin)

She had covered her lower region very thoroughly in unsalted, organic butter, and yes, there was even a chunk in her tiny little butt crack! Clean up in aisle 12, please!

I, uh, don't have any pictures of this one. Something tells me they might be a tad inappropriate...I'm sure you all can use your imagination as to what that looked like!


Parties, Furniture, and Date Night

My mom's birthday was Friday ( here's me and the kiddos at her house), and she had us all over for a delicious meal that she insisted on preparing herself! I couldn't get her to see that it was just not right for her to cook her own birthday dinner, but gave in when I realized that it would mean a meal that I didn't have to make but got to eat. She's an excellent cook; we always had dinner parties when I was a kid and everyone raved about her food. Thanks mom, for your scrumptious birthday dinner!

Ava and Nana (my mom) doing one of Ava's favorite things- covering her appendages with stickers. She proudly wore them the rest of the night

For her birthday, I made my mom a photo book from Shutterfly. It was the first time I had made one and it turned out really nicely. You can put in text, choose your own page layouts, cover style, basically like you were a publisher. I'll definitely do it again.

This is the other thing we did this weekend. It's an old pie safe, which had it's original milk paint finish until a now- deceased family member of Marvin's decided to give it a surprise makeover. It was in Marvin's house when he was a kid, and his parents were not thrilled when they came home and found it with it's newly painted and newly de-valued exterior. Since it's virtually ruined as a collector's piece, I"m giving it a makeover of my own so it will fit in with our new office. This is the "before" shot, hopefully by the end of the week I"ll have an "after" shot...

Marvin also surprised me with a night out on Saturday. He had his mom come up and sit with the kids (she actually took them to the park for a picnic, which they loved) and we went out to dinner and a movie. I can't remember the last time we did that and it was really nice. We went to a new restaurant that had just opened and had some nice carrot cake for dessert, and then went and saw Will Smith's new movie, Hancock. It's about a super hero with a bad attitude and a drinking problem.

I can definitely relate to the super hero with a bad attitude thing- sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to be a super hero as a mom, and it overwhelms me and I do have a bad attitude! I don't go throwing cars into buildings, though!
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Alec Playground

Alec has a high tolerance of pain where Ava's concerned! One of his favorite things to do is to lay down on the floor and say, "Come on Ava! Play on the Alec playground!". He screams with laughter when she hits him, pulls his hair, or pulls up his shirt and pinches his belly. Not sure why she can get away with all that but none of the rest of us can. . .
I can already see a special bond forming between the two of them, I can't wait to see it when they're older. I'm sure Alec will give any prospective boyfriends of Ava's something to think about!
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The End

Today marks the end of my adventures in running a pet shop on my front porch.

I emailed the mom of a friend of Alec's from school last year on a whim to ask her if she wanted our last little kitty, Marble. She had seen Polly at one of Alec's birthday parties and had fallen in love with her, saying that if we ever didn't want her to keep them in mind.

Not 5 hours later, Tara was standing on my front porch holding Marble and Polly was saying goodbye. She licked him all over his little head and paws; it was so cute and sad.

It was harder than I expected to say goodbye to them, but I was getting so tired of the dirty, furry towels, overflowing litter box, dog crate, and various dead critters decorating our front porch. I"ve cleaned it all up and am so ready to return to normal.

Now it's off to our local Humane Society to participate in their low cost spay/neuter clinic so this doesn't happen all over again!


Wordless Wednesday

Didn't know they sold these at Trader Joe's!
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Recipe Roundup

I"m looking for some free software/downloads that will do the following:

I can input my recipes, it will automatically generate a week's worth of meals in a list, complete with a shopping list for those recipes.
Once I've used it for a while, it will automatically tell me when I'm out of a certain thing based on the grocery lists it's been making.
I'd like to also be able to download recipes to it from various websites.

Anyone got any suggestions? And yes, that means you who read my blog daily but don't comment!

Dancing Queen

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Bedtime Snack

Snacktime strawberries with his "geep" last night...look at those tired eyes!
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Toddler Troubles

One of these is not like the other. . .

I am actually sometimes afraid of this stick-wielding little girl

Orneriness personified

This morning I went to get Ava out of her crib. Alec (one of her favorite people) came too and when Ava saw him smiling and saying good morning, she hit him, shook her head no and turned her back to him.

That has been the story of our life around here for about the past 4 weeks. The boys never really did the "terrible twos" thing, they were quite sweet and compliant till they hit three or so. I am extremely worried that Ava will bring a whole new meaning to that phrase for us.

It's gotten so bad that I basically have to follow Ava around or hold her unless she's napping. If I dare try to put a dish in the dishwasher, go to the potty, or fold a shirt it's tantrum city. There's an abundance of hitting, throwing, pinching, and full volume screaming. If she asks for something and I give it to her she doesn't want it anymore and collapses on the floor screaming, but if I don't give it to her she collapses on the floor and screams.

I am becoming extremely discouraged and find myself wishing these babyhood years away. I feel really guilty about it; I can't seem to muster one positive thought or feeling towards her. I love her to pieces, and I know from experience that these phases come and go, but that doesn't make it any easier!
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I just read this post about the measles outbreak. I share many of the same perspectives as this mom about these issues and it was nice to see it written out.

8 Weeks

Polly's kittens are growing fast! This little kitty's name is Marble and he still needs a home. The other two have been claimed, one by us and the other by my good friend Sarah. I read online that if you want the mother cat to teach the babies to hunt they should stay with her until they are 12 weeks. Polly is getting started on that already; she's brought a crow, a blue jay and a shrew (all VERY dead) to our porch and the kittens are pouncing around with them. It's kind of cool watching nature unfold out our front door, but watching the black flies swarming around the dead critters during hunting class is not very cool!
I'm anxious for this to be over and to only have one kitten to keep track of instead of three.
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Splash Down!

This afternoon we went to a local splash park. We'd never been before and wow was it fun! Ava was less than thrilled, she spent the time playing on the hot slides with Daddy. I managed to get the boys to stand still for a couple seconds to snap these pictures. The best part about the park is that it's free!
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