Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Our friends Reagan and Amanda had a joint birthday party over the weekend. Amanda turned one and Reagan turned two so they had a clown themed party to celebrate. It was fun for the 1-2 year olds and the 3-4 year olds, which is a pretty tall task if you have ever had to throw a party.

Amanda's little cupcake. The hardest part about taking this picture was getting Amanda to wait before she attacked that cupcake.
Reagan's cupcake. She was much more patient than Amanda was.
The clown that painted faces and made balloon animals at the party. The kids had so much fun playing games with her. I was surprised that Avery wasn't scared of the clown since she is generally scared of everything else. Of course, neither of my kids would sit to get their faces painted.
One of the birthday girls!
Jack decided to hang out by the beer kegs. Matt was so proud.
Jack peeking through the circle balloon that the clown made for him.

The two big sisters enjoying themselves at the party. They posed for this picture and I think I took 12 different versions in my attempt to get them both looking and smiling at the same time.
Matt is getting Jack's love of video games started early. I am afraid for our future.
Avery is such a priss. She was eating her cupcake with a fork!
Jack wasn't afraid to just dig right in.
Nom Nom Nom
But Jack had nothing on Reagan. She attacked her cupcake! It was so cute to watch her eat every crumb.
Even though it was her birthday, Amanda made everyone else look like they were the rookies!
But in the end, the baby showed them all up! Amanda ate all of her cupcake and icing and then licked the plate clean. She was hilarious!

It was such a good time for the kids. Great party, Lauren and Elissa!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The 18th

And today he is exactly 2 months away from being 2 years old. I think we can all see where this is going, can't we...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ronald McDonald House

This weekend Avery and I went to the RMH of Austin to drop off some of the books that she received for her birthday. (click on the word "birthday" for the entry on her party) We had planned to give them all to SafePlace Austin but I wanted Avery to be a part of the process and we weren't able to arrange that with SafePlace. So when Kelly over at Kelly's Korner suggested that people donate items to RMH in honor of her daughter Harper's first birthday, we decided that it would be a great chance for Avery to participate in the donation.

We took half of the books from her party to the Ronald McDonald House and the other half will go to SafePlace (which I will have to do alone). We also took some items off of the Wish List posted on the RMH of Austin website. Here are some pictures from when we took the books and toiletries this weekend. I think you can click on them to make them bigger.

Here she is holding some of the books that we brought to donate. She told me to "carefully" hand her some--but not all--of the books because she didn't want them to be too heavy. She also told me to "pick some good ones" for her to hold. Little Miss Sassy for sure.
Speaking of Sassy, I love this picture because of the way she is standing. I don't know what she had going on in her head when she decided to stand that way but it is hilarious to me.
Here she is giving Miss Sandra, an employee at the RMH, some of the books that we brought. She told everyone her name (her full name--first, middle, last--so fast that no one could understand her) and also told them that she is 3 and these are books from her birthday party. She was quite the talker, which surprised me since she is usually a little shy at first.
Miss Sandra was very kind to Avery and did a great job answering all of her questions. When Avery asked where the books go, she showed her the game room and even let her put the books on the shelf.

Avery was showing Miss Sandra that the book was about a Princess. We are in full Princess LOVE mode around here these days. Not much we can do to stop the obsession, I'm afraid.
I love this picture because you can see just how uncomfortable Avery is sitting next to this large plastic man. She talked to him and patted his leg. She even asked for a picture with him. She just, you know, didn't want to actually sit next to him.
These large blocks were in the back of the Ronald McDonald house, which is the first thing we saw when we drove over from the hospital. She begged for me to take her picture by the blocks, which I was hesitant to do because it meant that we had to park in the street to get out of the car. There were 2 lanes going the same way, so we didn't block traffic, but it was still an actively used road next to Dell Children's hospital, so I wasn't very comfortable with it. I decided to do it, though, since we were right next to the hospital if anything bad happened. :-) She was goofing around the whole time I was taking her picture. If I hadn't been nervous about our car getting hit, I would have tried harder to get a good shot.
Last and certainly least, my attempt at a picture of the two of us. Since it was just us, I had to try and hold the camera out and get a picture of us 1. with us both in it 2. both looking at the camera 3. without glare from her glasses. It's not great, but I would say this one is as close to perfect as I would have ever come.

If you would like to know more about the RMH or the Wish List for the Austin RMH, please click on THIS link.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ah, the Joys of Santa

Luckily Santa is smart enough to know when people are out of town. Santa brought an orange scooter (perfect for a boy and a girl), pillows for school, a princess ballerina outfit, trucks, a See-and-Say and a Longhorn jersey to my parent's house in Illinois. Jack was hesitant when he first came downstairs but Avery knew EXACTLY what was going on and she was thrilled! She had trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve, which was so cute. She kept yelling downstairs to find out if Santa had come. It was pretty fun for me to watch, especially since Mom was the one sleeping with Avery so my sleep wasn't really bothered by it. :-)

Santa did an excellent job laying everything out for the kids. Meanwhile, Matt slept on the couch because he was a little under the weather on Christmas Eve. Good thing he didn't get into Santa's way.
Here's Jack as he came downstairs to see what Santa had brought for him. Notice the cookie that he has in his hand, which was left for Santa. (ahem, see above caption where I mention that Matt wasn't feeling well. Santa should have still taken a bite of the cookies, is all I'm saying.) (I mean, what kind of Santa doesn't eat the cookies?)
Avery checks out her new magic wand, the very first thing she asked Santa for every time she saw him.
Jack just loved his toys. He spent lots of time playing with each thing. He was so fun to watch.
Ah, more things that make loud noises. That's wonderful. And the mallets are just a bonus! I mean, not only can they be used to make *beautiful* music on the xylophone, they can also be used to hit unsuspecting parents on the head. That's especially fun when they get you from behind and you have no idea that it is coming. Fun for the whole family!
Here's Avery going through her stocking. Santa brought her some "lipstick" which was definitely her favorite. You know what my favorite is? It's cleaning up the "lipstick" that has been smeared all over the back passenger window of my car. That's just the gift that keeps on giving.
Jack got a lot of Yo Gabba Gabba toys and a basketball. He is such a big fan of "Gabba" so he was very excited to see what else was in his stocking. He got a Brobie, Foofa, Plex and Muno. Apparently Tootie isn't as popular because they don't make a plush Tootie. No love for the random dinosaur-ish characters.
It was a good thing that Santa left a ball because he turns anything slightly resembling a sphere into a ball. It could be a paperweight or a polka dot ornament (sorry Aunt Tina) and that boy will throw it. Hard. Which usually ends in some kind of breaking or crying. Luckily this nice, soft UT basketball was perfect for him. And the rest of us appreciated that he had something soft to throw at us. (**SPEAKING OF UT BASKETBALL, DID YOU KNOW WE ARE RANKED #1 IN THE COUNTRY?! Hook 'Em!!)
Avery playing with a whistle that was in her stocking. Santa really shouldn't have.
She couldn't wait to put on her new princess ballerina outfit. She wore it for most of the rest of the day. It was 20 degrees outside but this was all she would wear. Nothing says Christmas Cheer like trying to get your pre-schooler to put on some pants.
Here's Jack opening presents later on Christmas morning. He was a little confused about it at first but once we took it out and put the basketball goal together, he loved it. He kept saying "again! again!" when Matt would make a basket.

After Avery was done opening her own presents, she went around the room "helping" everyone else open theirs. She pretty much opened every present in the room. Which, you know, is fine for some people. I prefer to open my own presents, but whatever. I mean, Christmas is for the children, right? At least that is what Matt kept telling me when I was playing tug-o-war with Avery over my gifts so that I could open them MYSELF thankyouverymuch.
Jack got a peg toy with a hammer. We've lost those pegs approximately 17 times since Christmas. If you ever want to have a really good time, come on over to our house and help us find these things. We have to do it all the time so we can definitely work around your schedule.

After we checked out what Santa left and opened some presents, we went back over to my brother's house so that mom and I could start making our Christmas dinner. It was definitely hectic there, with all the kids playing with their toys from Santa. That is a story all on its own; and that is what I will write about next time. :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hook 'Em Horns!

National Championship Cake Balls.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This is why other countries hate us

As I predicted, there was just so much. This is what the tree looked like on Christmas Eve before we left for church. You would have thought that we were storing gifts for the whole town by the sight of the tree.

This picture doesn't even show all of the gifts. I couldn't actually get a shot of all of the presents because there were just too many of them. (Notice that Tina has a Santa hat on the top of her tree rather than an Angel or a star. She is going to have some explaining to do, is all I'm saying. I pray for her soul.)
This was just Savannah's pile, which is really surprising considering her rank in that house. Poor thing. Natalie teased that they had to overcompensate with presents because Savannah takes so much crap from them all year.
This is what a room looks like after 6 kids rip through their gifts. People can get lost, especially little ones. It is a dangerous world. And pets? Pets don't stand a chance.
Especially little rat dogs like this one. Poor little Lucky was scared to death. I don't think he quit shaking for 4 days.

The kids had so much fun opening gifts. Annabelle was probably the cutest because she loved EVERYTHING she opened. It was all her FAVORITE and she would thank us before she even finished opening the gifts. She would feverishly rip through the paper, hug the gift and thank us so much and jump up and down (sometimes there was screaming!). And then just as fast as she did that she would throw the gift down and grab another one and open it with just as much gusto as the one before. I believe she enjoyed the act of unwrapping just as much as she loved each gift.

Bella with her Zhu Zhu pet.

Natalie, a teenager now, showed much more decorum when she was opening her gifts. She sort of sat off in her own corner, perched high enough to see everyone else but outside of the circle that the rest of the group was in, and quietly opened her things by herself. This is a sparkly scarf I found on Etsy. Emma got a black one just like it.

Here we have Avery showing off her new doll with 209 pieces. I think I have stepped on the hard plastic outfits for this doll 5 times now. Every time I step on something I wonder why my sister in law hates me so much. Then I remember that she is probably just getting me back for blogging about her.
Jack can't get enough of Yo Gabba Gabba. They don't have Nick Jr. on the cable system in my brother's area so Jack had to go without watching the show for 8 days. Every day he would look up at me with sad eyes and say, "Gabba?" in the sweetest little voice. And every day I had to tell him that there was no Gabba in Illinois. (I know they make DVDs of Yo Gabba Gabba but they are surprisingly hard to find in the stores.)

In the end, the greatest gift was seeing the smiles on the kid's faces. They had so much fun unwrapping presents and "helping" the adults open gifts. Avery and Bella were at a really fun age for Christmas this year.
So other countries can hate us all they want for having too many Christmas gifts. It is always an embarrassment of riches and I'm sure a lot of these toys will make their way to the bottom of the toy box by the end of the year. But on this night, watching everyone with smiles glued on their faces makes it all worth it.
Besides, with quality gifts like this one, how could anyone deny us the joy of overspending?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fun Times with Cousins

I took approximately 984 pictures over the 8 days that we visited my brother's family in Illinois so you'll have to forgive the huge picture post. I used discipline to narrow this entry's photo count down to 14. I'll have more to say about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when I get the chance, but for now, here are some of the pictures of the kids hanging out with their cousins. They had a blast and they can't wait to go back again very soon (Avery says we are going back "tomorrow" which is going to make going back to daycare a bitter pill to swallow). Life is hard when you are 3.

Avery and Natalie after coming in from the snow. It took Avery about 5 days before she decided that she wanted to play in the snow and once she did, she loved it. She was always the last one to come inside because she was having a great time.
Making cookies with Savannah. We made cake balls, cookies, brownies, more cake balls, banana bread...the list goes on and on. I'm pretty sure the oven is still on because it was used so much.
Clowning around with Annabelle. They played together pretty well. There was one day when Bella decided that Avery was being too whiny to play with and she left to go play with someone else. And by "left" I mean that she went to a completely different house. I don't blame her; there are days that I do the same thing!
Singing the Wii sing-a-long game with Natalie, Emma, McKenzie, Lauren and Bella. It was so fun to hear the girls all singing and having fun. The house was always full of friends so there was never a dull moment.
Larry isn't capable of taking a picture that we could actually use in a photo album.
Jack kept lifting his shirt and showing his belly so Larry decided to show him up and give him a view of a real belly. Jack is still having nightmares.
Jack got tons of attention from the girls. They were all so good with my kids.
Sweet Emma played with Jack even though he thought everything was a ball and would turn innocent objects into lethal weapons.
You can't tell by the looks on their face in this stellar picture, but these girls were singing "Jingle Bells" for us before we opened presents on Christmas Eve. It was a cute little performance.
Jack was so mad that we made him take a second out of his time in the snow to take a picture. He paid us back by making a terrible face. Score 1 for Jack.
I got him back, though, by making him wear a hat and gloves outside. The thing about being the only boy is that all the winter clothes they had for us to borrow were totally girly. Safety first, though, kids. Gotta wear warm clothes if you are going to play in the snow--even if those clothes make you look like a girl.
More fun in the snow with Savannah, Bella, Elise and Braden. This time it was just Avery because I think it was 15 degrees outside and Jack wasn't good about leaving his hat and gloves on. Braden led the group over to the school to slide down a ramp covered in snow which was both fun to watch and terrifying because it just looked like a broken leg waiting to happen. Thankfully they all made it back to the house with no injuries.
Clearly Avery was thrilled to be there hanging out with her cousins. She really didn't want to leave. I can't say I blame her.