Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Getting ready for Santa

Christmas Eve is finally here and the kids are anxiously awaiting for Santa's arrival. However, we had to do a few things before he gets here. First we made a gingerbread house. I know that has nothing to do with Santa coming but I thought it would be a fun activity for the kids. They had fun decorating the house and towards the end couldn't resist a couple pieces of candy. Then we had to sprinkle reindeer food on our lawn so the reindeer would have something to munch on. Next we made cookies for Santa (we can't forget about that!). Alex and Ava had a few as well. I told them it was okay because Santa couldn't eat all those cookies himself. Before the kids went to bed we put the cookies in the living room near the Christmas tree. Now we are ready and looking forward to Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Ah, the power of advertising. Tonight Alex informed me that he wanted a Chia Pet for Christmas. Seriously? A Chia Pet? He has also been telling me for over a month now that he wants Moon Sand as well and that it 'never dries up'. How convenient. And when I mentioned that I couldn't grow anything, he told me that I should get Aquaglobes because they help water the plants for you. Huh. The child is like a walking advertisement for those As Seen on TV products. Well, as for Alex and his random wish list, I told him that Santa has already gotten all of his presents (which is completely true!), so the Chia Pet will have to wait.
Anyway, here are a couple pictures of the kids and the Christmas tree. We actually put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving but in my laziness, I am only now just posting it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I love Thanksgiving, maybe even a little bit more than Christmas. Why, you may ask? Because it is the only day of the year where you can eat yourself silly and not feel guilty afterward. Anyway, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with Shane's parents and what made it so lovely, besides spending time with them, was that I only had to bring an apple pie (at least it was made from scratch!). I don't have any pictures to share because I forgot my camera but I'm including something Alex did at school. It's a turkey feather which reads: Alex N. is thankful for, and he wrote in 'my Ava'. I thought that was really sweet and it makes me remember how grateful I am for my two little kids and the great relationship they have with each other.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First snow

We here in Valparaiso, IN live in some weird Bermuda Triangle of weather. Whenever there is a storm heading for the Chicago area, we seem to get the worst of it. Today was no different. While Chicago got nothing, we woke up to 6 inches of snow. SNOW! :( In my opinion, November is way too early for that sort of thing. However, I'm sure you can guess what was Alex and Ava's reaction. Yup. SNOW! : ) Of course we had to go outside, it was the first snowfall. The kids had fun playing and sledding down the hill in our front yard but now it is time for the snow to melt and not return until next year (I know, wishful thinking).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bye-bye, Binkie!

At last! We are done with binkies! Any of you who have children with this attachment disorder know how difficult it can be to rid them of the binkie. I am pleased to say that things went very smoothly with Ava. She still will ask for it at nap time and bedtime, (it's only been 2 days) but I tell her that it's broken and we had to throw it away (she did bite a rather large hole in it). Then she'll say, "All gone?" and I say "Yes, all gone." And that's that. No tears, no tantrum. Now if we can only get her to use the potty...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. I think it's partly because my birthday is a few days before but also because it ushers in the whole holiday season. As a kid I loved trick or treating (hey, who didn't?) and now I love dressing up my own children and taking them out. We had a fun week filled with pumpkin carving, the annual trunk or treating party at our church, a Halloween party and parade for Alex at his school, and to top it all off, trick or treating in our neighborhood. For their costumes this year, Alex was a Power Ranger, which is kind of funny because he doesn't even watch the show, and Ava was a ladybug. I didn't mean for them to color coordinate so well, it just happened that way.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oooooooh, GHOSTS!

Did you know that our house is haunted? Yes, it's true. I've never been a big believer in paranormal activity but after seeing these two apparitions, I can no longer deny it. However, I did expect the ghosts to be a little taller.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What the hank?!

You know how children love to copy what you say? Such it is with Alex (and Ava). Apparently, I have a tendency to say 'what the heck' a lot and Alex has picked up on that. However, when he says it, it comes out as 'what the hank' which is usually followed by 'you gotta be kidding me'. He generally only says it when he's irritated about something which, unfortunately was a lot this week. Anyway, Shane and I like it so much that we've started saying it, too. Hey, why not, what the hank.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I know that I haven't blogged in a while but hey, my life isn't too interesting. Anyway, our home owners association put together a hayride for everyone in our subdivision. I thought this would be a fun fall activity for the kids. The weather was perfect and Alex and Ava enjoyed the hayride but they enjoyed throwing the hay around even more.

Alex with his friend, Tanner.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ava!

Well, our little peanut turned 2 and we had little barbecue to celebrate her birthday. Shane's parents, as well as our friends, Amy and Dave and their 3 boys came over for the party. I can't believe Ava's already 2 and I'm amazed to see how much she has learned in the past year. She is one busy child and loves to talk, especially on the phone (she is such a girl in that way). Ava is an expert climber and will go to great heights, literally, to get what she wants. She is quite clever (I often think that she is too smart for her own good) and she has her own little sense of humor. She loves her big brother and can usually be found following him around. Anyway, we all had a fun time and Ava enjoyed opening her presents, with Alex's help, of course!

First Day of School

Alex started kindergarten on the 21st (which also coincided with Ava's 2nd birthday). We had been talking about this day for months and now it was finally here. Alex was very excited to start school and to ride on the bus. I, on the other hand, was a little nervous about him going on the bus and wanted to cry (but I didn't) as I sent him off on his first day. He had a great day, likes his teacher, Mrs. Pullins, and made a couple new friends. I'm very excited for him as he is learning and being exposed to new and fun things. Still, it's hard to believe that my little guy is growing up.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Day at the Beach

Alex and Ava absolutely love the water. In fact, whenever Ava sees water, whether it be a lake or a pool she'll say "Swim! Swim!". I think she's trying to tell me something. Anyway, one of their favorite things to do is to go to the beach. However, we were pretty busy this summer and haven't been able to go very often. Now we are nearing the end of summer and Alex starts kindergarten next week, so I decided that we needed to go to the beach at least one more time. The kids were a little excited. We had a great time playing in the water and Alex is pretty fearless when it comes to playing in the waves (and yes, that is Lake Michigan...who knew a lake could have waves like that).


Besides soccer, Alex has been in camp for 4 weeks. It was everyday for 4 hours and it gave Alex the opportunity to hang out with other kids his age and to do fun things. His favorite things to do were the climbing wall and playing 'Duck, Duck, Goose'. Here he is showing off the t-shirt he tie-dyed on the last day of camp.


For the past few weeks Alex has been taking soccer lessons. It's just once a week, one hour lessons where they teach the kids how to play and the rules of the game. Alex really enjoyed playing and he's pretty good, too! He scored a goal when he played one-on-one with another child and he scored another goal when they played on teams. David Beckham better watch his back!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh, Canada!

I took the kids to Canada for a week to visit my mom and step-dad, eh. We went to the zoo and saw a bunch of animals, the water park, and a safari park where we saw even more animals. The safari was pretty cool in that you drive through the park and the animals come right up to your car (and sometimes inside it) and you can feed them. The kids were a little nervous at first but after a couple of tries they got the hang of it. I think that was Alex and Ava's favorite part.

Looking for the turtle
So my mom has this Japanese garden in her yard complete with a tea house and koi pond. Someone had given her a turtle a while ago and it had been living a peaceful existence in my mom's pond until the arrival of Alex and Ava. Everyday Alex wanted to go outside and see the turtle and everyday he would ask if we could catch the turtle. We did catch it a couple of times so the kids could see it up close but after that I told them we needed to leave the turtle alone and to just watch him in the water.

Getting ready to throw some rocks
Another favorite activity of Alex and Ava's was throwing rocks into the pond. That didn't drive my mom crazy or anything.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


For the past month Alex has been taking swimming lessons at the YMCA. It would be an understatement to say that he likes water. I think Alex would be perfectly content to live life as a fish if he could...except that fishes can swim and Alex, well...he's gettin' there. He can jump into the pool without any help (hey, the kids are only 4 &5, it can be a little intimidating) and he can also swim the length of the pool (and back) with the help of a noodle or floatie belt. I'm very proud of his accomplishments. He might grow fins after all...

Here's my little fish swimming with his noodle.

Okay, I had to put in a picture of Ava because I don't think I did in the last couple of posts. Here she is eating her lunch while Alex is in his swim lesson.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Go Fly a Kite!

Alex got a kite as one of his birthday presents and would ask me if he could fly it when there was even a hint of a breeze. Finally, on Memorial Day weekend, it was windy enough and Alex got to fly his kite around.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Preschool Graduation

Where does the time go? It seemed like only yesterday that Alex was beginning his first day of preschool. Now, after 2 years of learning letters and numbers and a whole bunch of other stuff, Alex graduated from preschool and received his diploma. I can't believe it. I actually can't believe that there is a preschool graduation but the ceremony was really sweet and Alex looked cute wearing his cap. Anyway, next up for Alex is a summer full of swimming lessons, soccer, and playing outside before he begins the rigors of kindergarten in the fall.
Here is Alex receiving his diploma.

Alex with his teachers, Mrs. Gottlieb and Mrs. Fagg.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mmmmm, Donuts!

Alex and Ava love donuts. A lot. They get very excited when it's donut day and they get to have donuts for breakfast. They are particular to chocolate but on this day we just had the powdered kind and they didn't seem to mind. In fact, I don't think that bag of donuts lasted a full day (ok, ok, I ate some, too).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ava Still Thinks It's Winter

Ok, Ava really doesn't think it's still winter. In fact, I doubt she is aware of the seasonal changes. Anyway, she really likes this hat. It had been in the car during the winter and she would put it on whenever we went somewhere. Now that it is warmer, I took the hat out of the car and Ava found it and of course, put it on her head.
Ava is crazy about these boots, too. She always wants to wear them and I usually don't let her. However, this particular day she really wanted to wear these boots and Shane convinced me to let her. After I put them on I had to laugh because Ava looked so silly (but very cute) running around with shorts and winter boots. But she was happy, which is all that matters.

Happy Birthday Alex!!!

Alex turned 5 on May 5th and we had a little celebration that day where we had a cake and Alex opened his presents. That following Saturday we had some friends over for a barbecue or as Alex likes to call any get together, a "hot dog party" (if any of you are familiar with the pigeon books). And yes, we did have hot dogs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hong Kong

Yes, we took a family trip to Hong Kong in April and in case you're wondering, it's a 15-hour flight (direct) from Chicago. The reason was to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday and for a family reunion. My grandmother has 8 children and when you include their spouses and their children, the number of people gets pretty high. Almost everyone was able to make it. We had a traditional Chinese banquet to celebrate her birthday and I really enjoyed seeing family I hadn't seen in years, including 2 cousins who were born in the 11 years since I'd been there last.

I think the trip was a good experience for the kids. It took them a little while to get used to their new surroundings and Ava was able to eat some Chinese cuisine. Alex, however, did not eat one bite of Chinese food. Not one. Fortunately, we usually wound up eating at American restaurants so Alex did not starve. Food issues aside, the kids had a fun time visiting Disneyland, Ocean Park, Victoria's Peak, and swimming in the hotel pool. I have to thank my uncles Alfie and Henry and their wives Colleen and Mandy for taking us around the city. I know Ava won't remember a thing but hopefully, Alex will remember a few snippets of the vacation.

For pictures of our trip, just click on the play button.

Click to play Hong Kong 2008
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Happy Easter

We had a nice Easter, celebrating it with Shane's parents at their country club. The club brought in some farm animals for the children to see. The kids loved the animals, especially Ava, who has grown to be quite the animal lover. The Easter Bunny also made an appearance and while Alex was excited to see him, Ava was a little nervous at first. Once she realized that the Easter Bunny gave out candy, she was very happy to see him.
Ava loves cupcakes. Actually, she loves the frosting on the cupcakes. She pretty much abandoned this cupcake once the frosting was gone.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Alex's Christmas Program

Alex took part in his preschool's Christmas program and it was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. The pictures aren't so great as I was sitting in one of the middle rows, so if you can't tell, Alex is dressed up as a sheep.

Christmas 2007

I love Christmas, it's one of my favorite times of the year. I think it's especially fun when you have little kids. Alex is really into Santa, reindeer, and of course, presents. However, he is also learning why we celebrate Christmas which is the most important point. Ava is still a little young to understand everything but she did enjoy decorating the tree. We had a wonderful holiday and the kids were thoroughly spoiled by Shane's parents. : ) Somehow Alex and Ava's playroom seems to get smaller and smaller...