Archive for March, 2012

Ava Turns Seven

On Saturday, we celebrated Ava’s seventh birthday with a county-western party for family and friends.

We had hats and bandannas awaiting their cowgirls…

…and a cowgirl awaiting her guests:

We set up the kids’ table outside, thanks to gorgeous weather that brought early spring blooms.

The “Sweets Saloon” included s’mores pops and number cookies.

I made Debbie’s dip, dubbed “Cowgirl Caviar,” and served a collaborative western barbecue menu on pie tins.

Gramma Great made punch for the kids (and we served margaritas for the grown-ups).

Party favors included caramels and chocolates with trail mix bars in galvanized tins.

My mom made an angel good cake, and we served vanilla cupcakes with strawberry meringue buttercream. I dusted chocolate stars with edible gold glitter to top each one.

Of course, the best part was the party participants…

We were so happy to have our parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles come down to Kansas for the weekend. Thank you for making this such a memorable event for all!

 

 

 

Seven.

As I was cutting out number (seven!!) cookies earlier this week, I was thinking about just how many times I will do this in the coming years.

And then, of course, my thoughts immediately went to Gramma Great. She’s made number cookies for each of her grandchildren through their first 25 years.

Once we turned 10, we received shapes through our 24th birthdays. Then, in one of the best birthday surprises I’ve ever received, I opened a package of twos and fives on my 25th–a perfect way to cap the tradition.

With five grandchildren and a quarter-century commitment for each, she will have made 125 batches of birthday cookies. It makes my sum total of 11 to date seem pretty manageable.

I wish I could put into words how grateful I am for Gramma Great (not to mention Grampa). We are so fortunate to have such wonderful traditions to carry forward, and to celebrate yet another birthday with them this coming weekend. I can’t wait for everyone to arrive!

Livie Lou Who

Doug shot this fantastic photo of Olivia while we were in Nebraska a couple of weeks ago. I think it captures her personality so perfectly.

Runaway Bunny

On Saturday, Olivia ran away from home.

There was no dramatic suitcase packing, just tears over what I think must be Ava Overload—Ava’s music program, Ava’s play date, Ava’s upcoming birthday—the list just must go on and on in Livie’s little head.

And so, frustrated with my inability to pull off a no-notice play date with a friend that lives in Kansas City, Olivia proclaimed:

“I don’t like YOU; I don’t like DAD; I don’t like AVA; I don’t like this HOUSE; I don’t like this FAMILY; and I DON’T LIKE YOUR SPARKLY BRACELET.”

I listened calmly until she got to the part about the bracelet, where I just had to call her out: “WHAT?! You LOVE this bracelet. If you stay, you can wear it.”

Olivia crossed her arms and said she was most definitely running away from home. I probably found a bit too much humor in the situation, but I tried to mask it. I told her how much we’d all miss her if she left. I reminded her how much we loved her. Nothing seemed to be working, and so I asked if she’d miss us. (“NO.”) I asked if she’d miss the cat. She paused, sobbed again and said, “I DONT’ WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE CAT.”

And, with that, while Ava and I watched with amused expressions, Olivia opened the door and headed outside. I told her I wanted a photo to remember her by, and so she waited just a moment before making her way down the sidewalk.

I continued to ask her to come back, but in addition to being dramatic, this one is also rather stubborn. I decided to give her some space and let her own her decision. As I watched her walk away, it occurred me to that when Ava acted like this, we purchased books on parenting and then actually read them. Now, we just laugh and take photos. Despite being the eldest myself, I suppose I can sympathize.

Olivia made her way up the neighbor’s driveway, still sobbing, though apparently not regretful of her decision. I don’t really know what made her think the neighbors would take in a shrieking four year old, but as it turns out, we didn’t need to worry.

At that moment, Bryan flung open the front door to find me and Ava in our driveway, and Olivia crying one house over. He bellowed, “What’s going on here?!” and covered the length of the lawn in about three steps. He scooped up Olivia, and before she even knew what was happening, she was back in her own house. Happily, that’s where she’s stayed since.

Spring: sprung.

This weekend, we mulched, mowed and planted both pansies and primrose. In March.

I take full responsibility for the ice storm that is sure to follow.

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

…and the second shift is just beginning.

For the most part, running a two-working-parent household works pretty darn well for us. Granted, the kids are young and relatively uninvolved in extracurriculars, but for now, most weeks go by pretty smoothly. If there are problems, they seem to revolve around differing priorities.

For example, as I hit the height of Christmas preparations at home, I noted that Bryan could possibly be a bit more helpful. He pointed out that perhaps instead, I could re-evaluate what actually NEEDED to be done, resulting in a lighter workload for all. Had I not been making a snack for Santa’s reindeer at the time, I would have had a better chance of winning that particular argument.

Throw in a first grade teacher into the mix, you have yet another set of competing priorities. Somehow, hers always tend to win out. And so, after a busy and just plain difficult week at work and at home, I received the following message in my email in box:

Leprechaun traps are due TOMORROW.

And there goes Thursday night.

So, at 5:30 pm, we set aside tasks like laundry, grocery shopping and strategic planning reports to work on the most challenging task of the day: Building a trap to catch a mythical creature.

During this process, Ava asked us if we believed in leprechauns. I wearily nodded, “Sure,” while Bryan just sighed and said, “No.”

I took the opportunity to tell Ava that regardless of how much energy and effort we put into this end-of-the-day project, it was unlikely to yield the intended result, mostly because leprechauns are quick-witted (probably due to the fact they didn’t have to spend limited brainpower on projects like this after navigating a day that included six meetings).

Thankfully, the energy of an almost seven year old is not eclipsed by reason, and Ava set to work covering a shoe box with sheets of moss. We added in a three-dimensional rainbow with a cotton ball cloud, hoping to draw attention to the pot of gold (er…spray-painted rocks) waiting below. Amazed by his luck, we anticipated the stunned leprechaun would stumble backwards into the moss-covered trap door, and become imprisoned in the shoebox.

The trap had yet to work come Friday evening, but the ever-optimistic Ava left it at school over weekend. Meanwhile, her parents returned to their day jobs, anxiously awaiting the next high-priority deadline.

Ava’s first music program

This year has brought many firsts, and I have to admit, I’m starting to feel like a bit of a pro at this elementary school business. Good thing, because there’s about 12 years of it still ahead of us.

I will say, though, our first music program brought a few additional lessons, including “Get there REALLY early, or sit in the back.” I tried to stand to snap a few photos, but Bryan kept saying, “DOWN IN FRONT” in his best stage whisper. So with apologies for the distance and resulting lack of focus, here are a few images of Ava’s first grade choral program from last night, built around a clever gardening theme.

Ava is under the hoop, in the front row, just a tad to the right.

From the “Bumblebee” song. (Actual excerpt: “I’m throwing up my baby bumblebee, won’t my mommy be so proud of me?”)

As I noted on Facebook—one school music program down, 457 to go!