Sunday, May 23, 2010

Where Did the Weekend Go?

Somehow after an extremely busy week at work we managed to pack in a ridiculously busy weekend. One of these days I am going to just sit at the pool all weekend (lord knows I need a tan!) and relax. I just can't seem to find the time to do that. Here are some pictures of just a few of the things we did this weekend. I wish I could say this was all we did but it is only about half of it.

We started our weekend at a wedding for one of Matt's friends from work. They had a lovely ceremony at St. Austin's Catholic Church and then the reception was at the Zilker Park Clubhouse. It is on a hill overlooking the park and the city skyline. Had it not been 95 degrees and humid, it would have been really awesome.

Don't get me wrong, it turned out to be a great time, as the pictures will show, but those first few hours before the sun went down were definitely rough. Most of the reception was outside and the dinner was in an open building with no AC. Thankfully there was a pretty steady breeze and lots of booze.

Clint and Andrea right before their first dance. I believe she was also wearing Chuck Taylor shoes under her dress.
Not quite as pretty as the bride and groom but we loved the city skyline in the background so we couldn't resist taking a picture.
Here are some of the guys toasting the groom. The Mojitos were definitely flowing all night.

Clint was showing off his new ring to the group. He was saying that it felt odd to have a ring on that finger.

Marco (the guy you can barely see with his hand on Clint's shoulder) was asking Clint if his ring felt tight. Matt could see where this was going already.....
Then Marco laughed and told him that it was supposed to be tight; that's the way women like it so their husbands can't escape easily. Obviously Matt got a big kick out of that.
By the end of the night, the guys enjoyed plenty of drinks and started sharing the love. Matt was clearly taken by surprise when Marco grabbed his face and went in for a kiss.
And just when I thought the night was winding down, in came the mariachi band. You can absolutely never go wrong with a mariachi band. They were a lot of fun and guests at the wedding started salsa dancing, which was neat to watch.

On Saturday Avery went to a super hero birthday party for her friend Reagan. It was at a gymnastics place near our house. She had so much fun playing on everything....and so did the adults.

Here are Jay and Alex on the balance beams. Jay is the one who is airborne in this picture.
And here he is after his graceful landing. He was a good sport about the whole thing.
I'm not sure I could have expressed how much fun Avery had better than this picture can express.
Reagan and her HUGE birthday cake. I love the contrast between little tiny (6 year old) Reagan and this giant cake.
Micha made super hero capes for all the kids at the party. Avery was not excited about putting it on when she first got it but the minute we got home she demanded that I put it on her and then she refused to take it off. Even when we went to Target. Even when she was watering flowers. Even when she was eating dinner. Hilarious.

And here is her certificate indicating that she graduated from Super Hero Training.

I love this picture of Avery talking to Gary because of the big smiles on their faces and on little Aja's face in the background. When I told Gary that Avery is an official super hero now, she corrected me and said, "not quite yet, mom. All that 'tificate' means is that I completed the training course." When will I ever learn?

Little man Jack had a good weekend, too. He played around in the yard, terrorized the flowers that we planted a few weeks ago by giving them a little too much "love," and spent some time at the new bouncy place by our house. I don't think I have ever heard him laugh so hard.
I think this picture wraps up my feelings on the weekend. It was busy. It was hot. It was sweaty. And it was so much fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Balancing Act

When Jack was born our pediatrician gave us some advice on parenting a newborn and a toddler at the same time. She said that when both children were crying at the same time we should tend to Avery first. She reasoned that a toddler was much more aware and observant than a newborn. So, Avery would know when we were choosing Jack over her but Jack wouldn't know if we chose Avery over him.

It was useful advice that came in handy many times in that first year.

And then I noticed that we sort of continued that trend in Jack's second year. When they both needed something at the same time, we tended to give Avery what she wanted first. Partly I think we were just used to that but also I think Jack was just more laid back than Avery so he could be patient while we tended to her. It did occur to me, though, that we would need to figure out how to break this pattern eventually. I didn't want Jack to think he was second best just because we always got Avery's need filled first. I also didn't want him to learn that the squeaky wheel got the oil, even though that was exactly what was happening around here.

The thing is, it's difficult to determine who should get first priority when they are equally in need of something. Some things are obvious, of course; like if one of them is dumping water all over the floor while the other one is pulling books off the shelf. The wet floor wins every time. But other situations, like when they both want to read a book (but not the same book), the choice isn't so clear.

I haven't quite figured out how to reason with a 2 and 3 year old. Logic escapes them. It's crazy. So situations like that always leave me wishing I had a possession arrow like in basketball games. That way I am not left to figure out who got their need filled first last time and whose turn it is to go first this time.

The arrow is on Jack so he gets to choose the book first. Nothing personal, I just have to go with what the arrow says.

Unfortunately we don't have anything like that. In its absence, I try to make good behavior the deciding factor. The kid who isn't whining (or is whining least, as is most often the case) gets the reward. The other kid will get what they want, given that they don't throw a fit, but they have to learn to wait.

We haven't figured out the perfect balance yet. I still think Avery gets attention first more times than Jack does. I am always very conscious of this, even as I am helping her before I help him. I just hope he isn't keeping score of this in his head.

And if he is keeping score, I hope he knows that I only do it to get back at him for making diaper changes a full contact sport. Paybacks are hell, kid. Paybacks are hell.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

We had great weather for being outside this weekend. It was 95 on Friday but got back down into the low 80s on Saturday so I was able to get some planting done in our front yard. We have 'the little yard that could', which is tough since we live next to a professional landscaper. I can never really seem to get it looking as good as their yard but we at least try and keep it looking decent.

We're never going to win "Yard of the Month" for our neighborhood. That's for sure.

When I was little my grandparent's neighbors used to have wooden cutouts in their front yard of an old man and an old woman bending over in the garden. This picture reminds me of that.
Avery and Jack were my very special helpers. They helped put the dirt in the flower bed, handed me tools, played in the dirt, and killed innocent flowers with their abilities to love too much.
We got these flowers at our local farmer's market on Saturday morning. Jack picked them out himself so he was very excited to help plant them.
It was a mad race to see which child could bring me the most flowers. Hilarious how they operate like that.
Avery did a great job digging the dirt but she could never quite figure out how to get the flowers in before the hole she made collapsed in on itself. It was funny to watch.
Jack had given up helping at this point and had just starting bringing out all of his toys to play with in the yard.
But once he saw the hose he was all about the flowers once again. This turned out to be a bit messy. He was totally soaked by the time we were done.

On Mother's Day Matt made a great breakfast and the kids gave me the gifts they had made at school. I also got tickets to a Carrie Underwood concert.

My Mother's Day breakfast: french toast with homemade strawberry butter and grits. Two of my favorites!
Most of the time we have to trick him into taking pictures. He didn't realize Matt had picked up the camera so he was happy to talk to me like normal.
Missing from this picture: Jack. He is on the floor right by my feet throwing a fit because he didn't want to be in the picture. Avery is smiling so big just to show him up.
By the end of the day Jack was pretty wiped out. It was a nice and relaxing day for me thanks to Matt and the kids!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Oh Lord. She's Going To Be 13 One Day

Both kids are sick. Again.

Jack has a sinus infection, no surprise given the allergy season we are having. Avery has a mystery illness that we can't seem to figure out. She gets sick every month for 5 days. Her only symptoms are fairly high fever and really bad attitude. Both get better with Tylenol or Motrin but as soon as that wears off she is back to being a little terror again.

And I'm not the only one who notices.

Tonight my neighbor told me that when Avery got home yesterday two of the neighbor boys were outside playing and when Avery got out of the car she huffed and puffed and went right to our front door. Matt had to apologize for her and let them know that she wasn't feeling well. Later when her husband asked what's wrong with Avery, the 4 year old said, "she's rude!"

I laughed so hard when I heard that because even though he is just 4 he nailed it. Her little attitude is plain to see, even to pre-schoolers.

After I told Matt about it he filled me in that she was mad at him, not them, because he told her in the car that she couldn't go play with them...since she was sick. She didn't like that at all so she huffed inside rather than just telling the boys she couldn't play.

This is what I am dealing with these days. Sassy mouth, sassy tone, sassy faces. She knows it, too. She purposefully tries to push our buttons. She looks hard to see our reactions and she apologizes quickly when we take away privileges. We pick our battles but we are firm when we need to be. Just like a couple of weeks ago when we were at Baskin Robbins with the kids. We were almost done when Avery started to throw a fit over something incredibly dumb. We told her to settle down and stop being a sass or we would leave. A few minutes later she SCREAMED at Matt as loud as she could. Matt told her that was enough and he threw away the rest of her ice cream (it wasn't much) and we left immediately. She screamed the whole way out and the rest of the way to the car. She cried the whole drive home, which thank goodness is only about 2 miles. Jack kept saying, "Avery's in trouble" which didn't help matters (but was really cute). We explained what happened when we got home and she seemed to understand.

But she definitely has her slip-ups because she is still quite the sass when she wants to be. And lately she wants to be all the time...

I'm not sure what I can't stand more: her tone, her facial expressions, the way she tilts her head when she sasses us. Maybe all of it.

No, it's definitely her tone.

Hopefully we can figure out what is wrong with her soon so we can move past these fevers, and hopefully an attitude adjustment will come along with it. That will be just what the doctor ordered.