A note from the writers

Blogger seems to be having some trouble with its videos. They've been uploaded correctly and will run sometimes. If you can't see them now, come back another time and try again. It's totally a game of chance to get them to run. If anyone out there has a fix, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks!

Monday, August 31, 2009

We've gone green!

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say we're going green, but we're making definite strides here in our house to be more eco-friendly. You already know we do cloth diapers and love them, but I've felt ready to really step up to new changes in the last few months.

First, we ran out of most of cleaning supplies this week. I have been wanting to switch to homemade household cleaners for a while, but wanted to use up what we had first. Well, that was this week and this weekend I made a whole new set of stuff.

In order to get the house disinfected and smelling good, we're relying on plain vinegar, essential oils (lavender and tea tree), and a little bit of pure, unscented castile soap. I picked up some cheap spray bottles at Wal-Mart during my Friday grocery shopping and filled them with the following:
-Plain Vinegar
-Half-and-half plain vinegar & water
-Delicate All-purpose cleaner (see #14, but the others are great ideas too!)

The vinegar & water solution is perfect for glass cleaning, the all-purpose cleaner is really all-purpose, and the plain vinegar is for toilets. We're using the all-purpose cleaner minus the soap plus 1/2 cup vinegar to mop. After a round this weekend, our house smells & looks clean. Plus, I'm on a natural, do-gooder high - as opposed to the chemical high housecleaning usually brings with it.

I will admit that we have one new homemade household cleaner which isn't quite as environmentally friendly, but is really working wonders. Mix 1 tablespoon liquid fabric softner with a spray bottle full of water and use to dust surfaces. I've been doing this for a couple of weeks and it's been awesome. It's a way better dust repellant than Pledge and doesn't make the TV screen streaky. Loving it!

In other green progress, we've decided to not use papertowels anymore, opting instead for cloth napkins (which we already had) and rag towels for spills. So far, we're not missing them.

I'm also currently campaigning for a clothesline. We've got a difficult backyard and a budget, so finding a workable solution has been a challenge. I think I've found our resource, so thought I might share here. I'd like this one and will likely hang it in the garage, but other great options are here also.

I'll post an update in a few weeks to let you know how all the changes are going, but I'm excited about this new direction!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A quick note...

...Ava peed in the potty for the first time tonight! Just wanted to be sure that got documented somewhere.

That is all.

A Little Update

We're long overdue for an update here in blogland, but I figured Matt ought to write about his and Ava's trip to Texas. Look for that soon. I was busy here, but didn't do anything that merited picture-taking. :-)

Until we get that post up and going, here are a few videos from dinner today which are mildly entertaining.

This one is long, but hang in there, she's a real drama queen toward the end.

Such a polite girl...and just tickled about it.

Bye-Bye. Love you.

Monday, August 10, 2009

So hot, she's cool

Ava's got a double ear infection today and has got quite the fever. Luckily, though, she's discovered that shades make her cool.

Ready for a Trip

Matt & Ava are headed to Texas. Ava's packing her backpack and dolls....she's ready to go!

Ava's Big Girl Room - Step 3

This weekend saw us doing some more work on Ava's big girl room. We finished up the lighting project for her room...

...and then started working on a few of the wood craft projects that are part of the finishing touches. I'm headed back to classes soon, so needed to get these finished.

First...a gypsy-friendly growth chart....

...and then a coat and bag rack.

I'm still working on a few sewing projects and will finish them up next week. Check back for more soon!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ava Videos

Sometimes a moving picture says even more than the thousand words a still photo can. So, here's about a billion words. :-)

Reading Books, July 18, 2009

Playing Piano, July 30, 2009

Twirling, August 1, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Handy Man

Ava and I are pretty lucky to have a live-in handy man. Matt's knack-ish tendencies come in really handy when, say, we want speakers wired for our stereo outside and, oh yeah, we want them on a switch inside. Matt spent one Saturday afternoon recently doing just that for us. Now when we go swimming, we have tunes to keep the party flowing from inside to outside. These electrical skills are going to be put to good use again soon as he wires the new light for Ava's room. We love our handy man!

Here he is hard at work trying not to solder his finger off...

And here's the fabulous finished project...

And don't think that Ava and I don't help while Matt's working his magic. We're right there...snuggling and napping because the work is exhausting!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Ava @ 20 Months

Ava turned 20 months last week. It seems that each passing month brings so much more independence and vocabulary with it. It's nice to know that our baby is growing into a truly wonderful and funny little girl but, looking back, it all seems to have gone so quickly.

Subversive propaganda T-shirt from Uncle Michael

Ava is becoming quite the independent little girl. She walks into school by herself now and greets everyone she meets on the way in. She leads the way to her classroom and is very happy to see Miss Kristin every morning. Drop-offs are a breeze these days and it's such a relief to know that she enjoys her time there. We bring home Ava's artwork about once a week and she's very proud of her creations. We hang a couple pieces in the living room and she likes to go point to it and say "Art. Ava." I love that she feels pride for doing things well.

Opening presents from Bama & Bampa Caspers.

Ava is also becoming quite a good little helper...as long as you have the timeline to let her. She enjoys picking things up and putting them back in their homes. She also enjoys wiping things with a dustrag. She's a very orderly little person and is proud when she cleans things up. No idea where she could have picked up a piece of genetics like that (wink, wink).

Sesame Street has become a morning staple in our house and gives Mommy and Daddy a little transition time on those 6am weekend mornings. (Thank goodness for the new Tivo and weeks' worth of saved episodes!) However, on the one Saturday morning Matt did sleep in, our early riser requested Star Trek. She watched half an episode before requesting a switch to Sesame Street. I think Matt's heart broke a little when he learned he'd slept through that.

Strutting in Mommy's heels.

Imaginative play has come to live at our house, as well. Ava and I spent a while playing "time out" a few days ago. I was the misbehaving child and she was the mommy. Pretty funny to see yourself acted out through the lens of a toddler. Ava also likes to share her milk and her hugs with all the stuffed dolls and animals hanging around in her playroom. Recently, after finishing reading a book, she pretended that Elmo was reading it and helped him hold the book in his hands.

Although we've been battling colds and ear infections the last couple of weeks, Matt and I keep remarking that this is a really fun age. Ava is communicative, independent and just a tiny bit stubborn. But, she's also very sweet and snuggly still. We don't take any toddler hugs for granted, though, as we know that could change at any moment. Her musicality hasn't waned much and we have regular dance parties in the guest room and, increasingly, listen to her sing her own tune from the backseat of the van. Love this little girl!