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!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Playing Wii

Otherwise known in our house as "Ready?"
Ava and Matt have been ski jumping in the afternoons after school. Ava's got an old tv or stereo remote (not sure where it came from) that is her wii-mote and a rag towel as her Wii Fit. They stand together in front of the "big box of happy" and try to score a personal best.

Tennis is up next!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Playing with Two

We're not there yet, but Ava's definitely showing signs that she's nearing two. She's got a will of her own and when you play with her, you play by her rules. Here's a game of "night-night" from a couple weeks ago.

Just try...

...to tell me this isn't the cutest kid on the planet (excepting your own children, of course).

Love that girl.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Last Swim of the Season

As the weather cools down here in the Vegas valley (finally!), we have to close down the most fun part of this house. It's funny to think that a pool temperature of 88 degrees is too chilly, but with such dry air, it really is "refreshing" to swim at that temperature.

Ava came a long way with her swimming this season. She's a confident doggy-paddler with the help of her yellow innertube suit. She's willing to jump off the edge of the pool alone, as long as willing arms are near by to bring her back above water. Looking forward to next year, water wings, and, hopefully, swimming lessons!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Great Outdoors - Overnight Adventure

After enjoying our previous weekend's hike and picnic at Mount Charleston, we decided that it was time to take our outdoor adventures to the next level: CAMPING! Using the same "build-up" approach we had taken with the hiking and picnicing, we decided that our first night's stay in a tent should be relatively close to home and plan not to exceed more than 24 hours of camping. We are very fortunate to have such beautiful camping (and a radically different climate) only an hour drive from Las Vegas. We had been "planning" this adventure for a couple of weeks. Of course, we did not make a reserveation for a camp site on Labor Day Weekend. This proved to be both a curse and a blessing. We embarked for Mount Charleston early Friday morning hoping to arrive before everyone else from Las Vegas and therefore claim one of the many "space-available" campgrounds. Unfortunately, every other family in Las Vegas had the same idea. We toured all the available sites (in the hundreds) looking for a spot to set up camp. Only after resigning ourselves to a day trip, did we find a spot to pitch our tent. It turns out, that the "Old Saw Mill" picnic area is also a tent-only campground. Fantastic! We found a place to camp after only and hour of driving around the forest "slightly disappointed" that the entire park was full.

After we found the perfect spot to camp, we setup the tent (Ava was very helpful), ate lunch, and explored the forest. (And, yes, Ava put the pink hat on her head herself, and she did not take it off for the rest of the trip.)

The temperature dropped down into the 40s overnight which gave us a bit of a chill in our tent. Fortunately, the fire was warm and the coffee was hot. Camping turned out to be great fun for Ava. She seemed to really enjoy exploring nature and running around "off the leash." The only toy we brought along was a small plastic bucket and shovel. She spent the better part of the day putting rocks and dirt in the bucket and then dumping them out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hiking at Mt Charleston

In search of cooler weather, we've been venturing into local higher elevations. Mt Charleston is about an hour away from our front door and offers just the escape we need.

Ava loves getting out into nature (read: mucking in the dirt) and it's such a welcome break from the heat that we find ourselves relaxed and refreshed when we descend again into the valley. Looking forward to using the mountain again in the winter for sledding and other snow sports!

Ava's Big Girl Room - Step 4

Growth Chart, book sling, and corner for vanity table

Kelli's artwork will hang over her bed

Window tie-backs with ladybug print, hairbows will hang over changing table/dresser

Cutie hairbow holder from Carrie

Coat & hat rack

All that's left to do now is for Matt to build her bed and move it into the room. Can't wait to get her all moved in!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Blogging Frenzy

We're doing lots of updating here in blogland today. Ava was feeling a little left out. Creative Daddy set up a creative station for Ava to get some work done.

Drawing upon inspiration from being out after dark yesterday, she drew multitudes of crickets on her Magnadoodle.

Yay for getting some work done even with a toddler in the room!

Meet Thomas

Our dear friends, the Hoffmans, welcomed a new baby boy into their family at the end of August. (Can't believe he's a month old already!) We are so lucky to be able to get to know Thomas at this early age and, at a recent dinner gathering, Ava got to hold him for the first time.

Ava's enthralled with this little guy. Her face lights up just looking at him. Of course, Grace has to supervise to be sure Ava's being nice to her much-loved baby brother.

It's hard to believe that Grace looked at Ava in much the same way as Ava does Thomas at just a few months younger than Ava is now. Oh my, how time flies.

Sarah & Grace on coming home day with Ava, 24 November 2007

So happy to have these people in our lives!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two Passports to the Republic of Texas

I know, I know, I know…this post is WAY over due. (28 days overdue for those of you who may have been counting.) Ava and I visited San Antonio just over a month ago so that Ava could spend some quality time with her Grandparents and Great-Grandparents before she grows up and moves off to college. Unfortunately, Sally had to remain in Vegas and go to work, so Ava and I travelled to San Antonio—just the two of us. Ava and I missed having Sally with us on the trip, but the trip was a nice opportunity for Ava and I to get to know each other. The first stop on the trip was of course the “Big House” at Air Force Village II for dinner with Mahgie and Poppie. The following day Mom and Dad hosted a party so the Great-grandchildren could meet each other (and be photographed together.)

The party was good fun and I think that everyone would agree that the fajitas were spectacular!

August in San Antonio is hot and humid! Much of the time, Ava enjoyed relaxing in the pool, playing in the sprinkler, and blowing bubbles in the backyard at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

During our visit to San Antonio, Mahgie and Poppie were gracious hosts to Ava and I for an overnight stay at Air Force Village. Ava and I had a great time playing at the AFV—there’s a pond near Mahgie and Poppie’s bungalow with a walking path. In the morning, we all went for a walk to feed the fish; Ava made sure to remind us of the importance of pausing to smell the flowers along the way.

Stopping to smell the flowers

Mahgie and Poppie's 65th Wedding Anniversary Tree

Feeding the Fish

The heat and humidity kept us all inside most of the week playing either McDonald’s or Fischer-Price Little People. The F-P Little People Farm Ava was playing with was the same farm I played with when I was her age. Of course, there really is no substitute (at home or on the road) for casting a toy aside in favor of its packaging. In the end, I think Ava settled on the VW Beetle car as her favorite San Antonio toy. (I’d have to agree with Ava. If I recall, the VW car was the source of many sibling scuffles between Maureen, Michael, and me.)