Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-Bye 2011...

Time to say good-bye to another year and say hello to a new year. Which also means remembering to write 2012 instead of 2011. I am sure I'll get the hang of doing that come June when half the year has already past. lol

I am not sure really how I feel overall about this past year. It was a roller coaster of a ride kind of year for me and my family. I can't say I loved this year as a whole, as some of it was utterly life changing and we are still reeling from those changes that have happened. Still trying to figure out how to move forward and to adjust to the changes in our lives. There have been high points and that is what I try to focus on. Most days I do well with focus on the positive. Most days. The high point of the year for me has definitely been spending so much of the summer with Ava just doing little things and trying to make it a nice and memorable summer overall. I don't know about her, but I definitely feel like this summer we grew so much closer with our relationship. We spent the summer going on picnics, shopping, watching movies, going swimming, drawing pictures, painting, watching fireworks, going swimming some more (we did a lot of this), having sleepovers, staying up late, going to lots of different parks to play, late night trips to eat ice cream at Dairy Queen, cheerleading practice and of course celebrating her birthday. And I know I am leaving out a ton of things we did over the summer. For me that has been the absolute best part of my year. Of course there are lots of other moments, but for me the summer with Ava has definitely been the most memorable.

We've had some downs though when it comes to my Mom and her decline with Alzheimer's. My Mom had a seizure and that was such a scary time. I thought for sure we just might lose her. After that we've had more setback with her and unfortunately the medicine to slow her illness down, just has not been successful for her. We went to her Alzheimer's specialist the day before Thanksgiving and were told essentially there was nothing else to be done to try and help her. She was put on a new medicine to try and help with the aggressive behavior she has been showing on a more frequent basis. We were told she is now in the severe stages of the illness and we should start looking into alternate care for her. We were hoping to be able to continue to care for her at home at least until after Christmas, but 12 days before Christmas we had to put her into the hospital because we were not able to properly care for her anymore. I think that was the hardest day of my life so far. I don't know that I am really able to even put my emotions about this change in our life into words just year. I know my emotions are just all over the place with this still. I am grateful though that this week she was able to be moved to a facility closer to home and is now 10 minutes from us, instead of 40 minutes away. So our prayers have been answered when it comes to her being closer to her family so we can see her on a more regular basis.

I don't know what 2012 will bring for us, but I can only continue to pray for strength and peace for my family in dealing with what is in store for us this coming year. So I say so long 2011, it has definitely been one for the memory books. Now if Illinois just wins their bowl game today, 2011 just might end on a really high note!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Two Cutie Cooks...

Ok well they are really just dipping pretzels into melted white chocolate. My official job, was shaking sprinkles onto them once they were dipped in the chocolate. In other words, I got the boring job, while they had all the fun.

I have a confession to make though, I am not really a fan of baking. Sure it all sounds like it would be a fun time, but baking really just isn't on my list of top 10 favorite things to do. Not sure it even tops the list if we went to oh say 25, or 50 even. But occasionally, I put on my super awesome Mom hat and we do something fun. And though this is not "baking", we did also make snickerdoodles, and from scratch. None of that pull apart the dough and put on a cookie sheet to bake.

I even invited my niece over to join in the festivities, since this more than likely will not happen again, until next year at Christmas. She had a blast and the girls actually got along quite well. Now, keeping the girls from licking their fingers after dipping each pretzel, was quite the task. I had to remind them, other people were going to be eating these, and it wasn't nice to lick your fingers and then dip another pretzel into the chocolate. Nobody wants to eat that kind of food, even if it is pretzels covered in white chocolate. Though I can think of worse things they could do and then handle food, but we won't go there. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Hot Mess...

I wonder if this is how Lady GaGa started out?!?! I seriously hope not! I hope she was a bit more creative and freakish with her clothing choices at the age Ava is now. The other day Ava came out of her room looking like this! It took me a bit to even compose myself and to not start laughing to uncontrollably. I mean who even dresses like this when it's not Halloween. I asked Ava what she called this outfit she was wearing, and her response "a hot mess". Whew! Well at least she knows she looks an awful site in this outfit. She is also aware this would never be an outfit she would be allowed out of the house in. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Yes, Yes I Did Make That...

When I think of pottery/ceramics, I think of the movie Ghost. I don't know why, but I do. You know that moment with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Any woman born before 1980 should know what scene I am talking about. Though thankfully for me and my bowl, it was already pre-made. I can assure you my bowl would not have come out so nicely, if it were up to me to shape it. It would end up looking like some kind of unidentifiable object and I am pretty sure a bowl would not have topped the list of guesses.

Today was the first time I ventured into this place called The Next of Kiln. My cousin enticed me to go and I do believe I am now a ceramic painting junkie in the making. This is the bowl I chose. I think it is best to start with something simple and not a lot of detail. Come on, how hard could it be to paint a bowl.
I wanted to paint the inside of the bowl a hot pink color, but come to find out they do not carry that color, because it has to be made with 24k gold or something like that, which make it super expensive, so I opted for a different shade of pink. Who would have thought it would take gold to make pink. In this day and age you'd think they would have come up with a way around that. I am sure I looked a bit odd whipping out my camera constantly taking pictures, but hey I have to document this moment of me trying to be creative outside of scrapbooking and card making. Even if I have the painting abilities of a small child. Regardless, I was having fun.

I painted the outside black and added some circle looking green thingy-s on the inside of the bowl, along with Ava's name, hearts and swirls. I must confess I tried to free hand some white polka dots on the inside of the bowl, but they were not as pretty as I envisioned. Instead, imagine white chicken pox all over the bowl. It was truly a disaster. So, I added another coat of pink paint to try and cover them up. It kind of did. Not perfectly, but much better than if I had left those sad little white dots. That is why I used the green paint to make the circle thingy-s. The swirls around the inside of the bowl would have been much cuter. We live. We learn. The outside of the bowl I used the swirly thing and that was super cute. I wrote Ava's name and drew the hearts freehand, and those turned out pretty cute overall. Live and learn people. Live and learn!

The final touch was to add the date and the To/From. Not that Ava would't know it was her bowl since I wrote her name inside the bowl. You can see the purple swirls better in this photo too. Overall, I think it went over well, minus the chicken pox disaster. Kind of took some of the wind out of my puffed up ego. lol I do know that I will definitely be going back and with Ava next time. And I saw some finished pieces in there, and there are some ceramic-ers (probably not a word, but it is today) and wow some serious talent. I could only hope to be that good. Maybe I should invest in my own paintbrushes or something. My visions of creative genius right now far exceeds how it actually turns out, that's for sure. Baby steps I guess. Now I just have to wait a week while they fire up this baby and slap on some glaze, or however that process works. I'll be sure to post a picture once it is completely done. Well, er, maybe you know, if it turns out ok.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

All Turkey-ed Out...

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Love The Bears...

Ava sporting her new Chicago Bears T-shirt. She has become quite the fan. Especially of #54 Brian Urlacher. She refers to him on a first name basis like he is a family friend or something. lol

This picture of Ava cracks me up every time I see it. She is too freakin' funny sometimes! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We were robbed as kids...

I know when I went trick or treating as a kid, my bag was filled with lots of tootsie rolls, smarties, dum dum suckers, the occasional blow pop if you were luck, bottle caps, and bazooka bubble gum that was like a rock but you were determined to try and chew it anyway. If you found a house passing out snickers, reese's peanut butter cups, or butterfingers, those were the houses you remembered to hit again before the night was over. Of course changing out costumes with your siblings or friends since you didn't want to be called out from the neighbor for hitting their house twice or maybe even a third time.

This is just a fraction of the candy Ava got in our neighborhood. It's like every kid's trick or treating dream, at least if you are from my generation. Snickers, Butterfingers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups oh my! Finding those in our halloween bucket growing up was like a rare gem. Now days, it's a given.

There is even a full size Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in there. And most kids don't even work for this kind of loot. They have their parents drive them every couple houses. God forbid if there are 3 houses in a row not giving out candy because those kids hop in their parents car and have them drive to the next set of houses with lights on. Clearly though I am a mean Mom, because I make Ava walk from house to house across our neighborhood, even when it's like 40 degrees out on Halloween night. I think if a kid wants that candy bad enough, they will walk, just like we had to when we were kids. Oh, and that long licorace rope at the top of the above photo, what a waste! That house offers like 4 different types of candy all 3 other choices are the full size snickers, butterfingers, or Reeses, and she picks this licorace every year...and then never eats it. Even when I tell her to go for the good stuff and not the licorace. Well maybe next year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Be safe and for crying out loud, save some of thereally good candy for your Mom and/or Dad, who followed along from house to house as you snatched up gobs of free candy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hello Kitty...

This week was Drug Awareness week at Ava's school and on one of the days she was supposed to dress up as a Super Hero. Since I have a pretty girly-girl kind of kid, we don't have a closet full of super hero kind of outfits. And after running to Target at almost 8 pm, to see if I can find a costume or even a t-shirt with some kind of girl themed super hero emblem I come up empty handed. I found a t-shirt on the boys side with a super man logo, but Ava refused to wear that since it came to the boy side of the store. So we got creative and decided to create our own hello kitty/cat woman super hero costume. I wasn't about to dress my 6 year old in a latex a.k.a. skin tight cat suit, so we went with a hello kitty t-shirt, and tights, and a black and silver sparkly skirt, tall black boots, and a pair of cat eyes shaped glasses. Our young version of "Catwoman" before she became the sex Goddess super hero fans fantasized about.

Monday, October 24, 2011

This is how we party...kid style...

This weekend we were invited to a kids Halloween party at my cousin's house with a full on haunted trail, monster mash dance, and several games to play. Not to mention prizes and candy as well. My niece Olivia and nephew Kylar ended up going with us as well, since their Mom had to work that night.
Olivia dressed up as a black kitty cat, Mady as Daphne from Scooby Doo, and Ava as a leopard. Ignore the blood splatter on the wall...there was a cat fight earlier! ;)

Super Ninja Konnor...on his way to being super sugared up and showing off his mad Ninja skills as well.

What in the devil?!?! Way cuter than the real devil I have to say. Not that I've seen the real devil, but from what I can imagine, I'd hedge a bet that he's quite horrific. But this little devil stole the hearts of many!

Jordan as an military guy. Not sure the military could even handle this kid. He'd certainly give them a run for their money!

Ava dressed as a leopard and excited to have won bingo. In truth all the kids were winners at this game because it's bingo and I had a massive bowl of treats to hand out anyway. And since I only had one kid going home with me, what do I care really if they are bouncing off the wall until midnight or later! ;)

Olivia wearing the mask my aunt dressed up in. I found this quite hilarious.

Kameron excited with his new Pez dispenser. Sugar em' up...oh yes they were!

Kaylee and Haley! Lovin' the smirk on Haley's face, er I mean Madonna's face! ;)

Brycelynn and some little girl that I don't know the name of or who she belongs too since there were some neighbor kids at the party as well. Brycelynn dressed as herself for the party, well that is until she went out to scare the little kids on the "haunted trail". That's right we give sweet treats and top of the night with a nice set of nightmares. I kid. About the nightmares that is.

Aaaaaaaaaah!!! Oh it's just Braeden! Whew! I thought I was in a sequel to another Scream movie! Lawd have mercy on me!

A possessed Ava with a bum! Great! is this a glimpse into my future?!?!? Oh thank goodness it's just my aunt bummin' around! ;)

See what happens when you eat too many sweets?!?! You lose your teeth! Consider this my PSA for the day! Excuse me while I go whittle down that fun dip stick and create some teeth for Alyssa.

Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road. Lil Miss Dorothy was feeling a bit sassy! Yep that pose and facial expression proves she is ready for her own facebook page now! ;)

Wow what a family. I'd hate to be their neighbors, well except for maybe the little one in the purple!

Richard and Jill. I think Jill was a Pink Lady from the movie Grease! It's been awhile since I saw Grease and well technically I prefer the John Travolta from the 90's and not the 70's since I was possibly not even born (or maybe just born) when Grease came out and that whole Welcome Back Kotter era.

Alyssa and some scary monster oh I mean her Dad posing with her for a picture. Clearly she isn't scared by his face at all.

Olivia playing our Halloween version of the Bozo Grand prize game!

And Ava taking her turn at it. It's a classic game as a kid I wished I could have played with Bozo and friends. Throwing little ball in a bucket, and then trying your hand at it again with a bucket that is further away, wow that's some fun right there! Come on you know you wanted to play that game as a kid and even still do as an adult. I was at Chuck E. Cheese a few years ago and I was in heaven with some skee-ball and their version of the Grand Prize game!

I don't know who this kid is, but she was there and playing the grand prize game too. She might have been some cheese or something. I don't really know.

Brooklynn taking her shot at the Grand Prize Game!

Kylar being too cool for this kid party! That is until he was able to go outside and scare the holy terror out of children under the age of 11.

No party would be complete without the legendary Material Girl, Madonna (from the 80's when she first hit the scene) crashing the party. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Apple Orchard...

We spent a day at Curtis Apple Orchard and what a fun day we had. The sun was shining and it was quite warm for a day in October, but that is the thing about Illinois, you never know what the weather will be like from one day to the next. :) Ava had a blast filling up her bag will all sizes of apples. I had to show her the kind of apples we definitely didn't want. Not sure I am down for having some apples with worms in them. Eek. lol

Looking for just the right apple to add to her bag of apples. The first apple I pulled off a tree limb, sent many apples tumbling down and one bounced right off my head. I was like is this even for real! lol Ava got a good laugh out of it though. I, of course quickly looked around to make sure no one else witnessed me getting hit in the head with an apple. Thankfully, there were no other apple pickers in the row we were in! Whew!

Inspecting her apple to make sure it is just right!

Apples were all over the ground of course, but we didn't pick any of those. They made for a nice picture, but definitely not ones that were going home with us in our bag! No sir!

Ava smiling for me since she knows it is just quicker to smile and move on. She has learned well my obsession of photographing her. I just like to refer to my obsession, as her having a well documented life! :)

We even picked out some mums for our front patio. The red one is my absolute favorite of the three. Ava picked out a pink one and then we both agreed on the white one together. I'll have to be sure to take a couple pictures (or more) of these when they are all fully bloomed. I was told all about how I can plant them and they will grow back each year and while that sounds nice and all, I think I'll just leave them in the pots they are in. Because well I'm kind of lazy like that when it comes to flower and planting and weeding and tending to them...and...and...and. :) I love the look of flowers, but I am so not the flower planting kind of person. After we spent a lot of time in the orchard picking out apples and flowers, we wandered around the other parts of the orchard and Ava had a nice time playing on the playground called Munchkin Land. When it was time to say good-bye to the Land of Oz, Ava was worn out. I voved the Wizard of Oz theme they had at this orchard. We definitely will be returning next fall. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Awards Banquet

Cheerleading is done for the season! Hard to believe really that the JFL football season is already done! Last night there was an awards banquet and the cheerleaders were invited to attend. The girls each got a medal and a bag with their names embroidered on them. Super cute. :)

The girls even did a cheer in front of the whole crowd. It was cute because after the girls were done cheering the JFL players really cheered (clapped) for them. It was neat. It was a great way to end the season. :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Monkey Diorama Project

Ava has a slight obsession with Monkeys and for one of her first grade projects she had to make a diorama. Her Dad created the box out of some foam board and Ava and I spent time decorating the inside and outside.

Ava actually did most of the decorating. I used my Cricut to cut out the monkey shapes and then Ava colored them. I used a circle punch to cut out a bunch of green circles and I helped Ava glue them together and we used toilet paper rolls, Ava colored them brown and we attached the circles to a clothes pin and clipped them to the rolls. We shredded different shades of green paper to create the grass and of course Ava wanted to include one of her favorite stuffed monkeys in the project as well. Overall I think it turned out really cute.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Face Painting...

Ava went to her friends birthday party at a nearby Pumpkin Patch and it happened to fall on a day when a lady was there doing face painting. Ava had never been interested in having her face painted before, but this year she was all for it.

She chose a rainbow colored butterfly to be painted on her face.

I, of course took a dozen or more photos of the entire process. Why? Because I am kind of obsessive like that and I don't want to miss a thing. lol Oh great now I have an Aerosmith song in my head. Thankfully, it's a good one!

Ava sat so still during the whole process, which really didn't take all that long. This lady had the whole painting process down.

The lady even spritzed some glitter on her face, which Ava was super excited about. And I don't know many little girls that don't like glitter. :)

And there you have it. The end results and one very happy little butterfly! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Arts In The Park...

Ava and I decided to spend a little time down at a local event called Arts in the Park. It wasn't planned, but we had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun watching Ava enjoy the music and dance for lack of a better term. We went to Del's Popcorn Shop and Ava then took a seat at a picnic table to listen to the band play. For being only 6 Ava really enjoyed their music. Then she kept asking me if I remember the songs from when I was a kid. I told her I did know them, but several were before my time or else when I was a baby myself. lol She looked so surprised that I knew these songs. Clearly I am quite old in the eyes of my little girl.

The evening was a bit chilly, but Ava definitely kept herself warm as she danced and ran around to the music. At the end of one of the songs the band even complimented Ava on her dancing and oh was she ever embarrassed on one hand, but on another she absolutely loved the attention as well. The breeze off of the fountain though made me wish I had worn a sweatshirt or something a bit warmer than the t-shirt I was wearing. We stayed until the band was all done and then we decided it was a perfect time to call it a night for us as well. On our way out, a guy from the band gave her a high-five and told her how great she was. She loved that and talked it about it for quite some time. She was certain she was going to make the cover of the local newspaper the following day, but I had to remind her that there wasn't a news reporter there to take her picture, but I told her if there had been a reporter then I am sure she would have made it on the cover of the newspaper. lol This little girl never ceases to amaze me. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July...

Before you fill your day full of fireworks, friends, family, fun, and good food, take a minute today to reflect on why we are celebrating this day. Stop for just a moment and thank the brave men and women, who continue to serve this great country. They make a sacrifice for each of us every single day the least we can do is take a moment to say thank you and if so inclined to say a prayer of thanks as well as to pray for those serving overseas and to pray for their safe return to American soil and back to their family and friends.

Thank you to all our military men and women who have served this country well, and to those who continue to serve and protect, my most heartfelt "Thank You"!