Our Carli is a Blessing - A Gift From Heaven Above

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tiger Creek

The weekend of Ava'a birthday Naggy and Pappy and Uncle Kevin and Aunt Megan came to help us celebrate.  We decided to go visit Tiger Creek since Ava has a fascination with animals, and especially loves to growl.  She has a very cool way of saying "Lion" with a growl inserted in the middle of the it...really, it is one of those things I just can't duplicate. 

Ava was pretty excited to see all the lions.  And it honestly was a pretty cool place.  We got to hear all about the stories of the lions and how they ended up at Tiger Creek, which is a rescue shelter for big cats.

Ava and Uncle Kevin

The girls with Naggy and Pappy

Ava had a blast.  Literally.  She pointed, growled and smiled the whole time. 

She did her best to make sure her Daddy had a good time too!

Carli was not quite as enthusiastic as Ava was, but she did at least look at the big cats for a little while. 

And then she insisted that she couldn't walk for fear that the cats would get her...Pappy was heartbroken that he ended up carrying her much of the morning.  Right!

See her enthusiasm!
See the lion in the background?

Ava had no fear and would go right up to the fences and point and talk.  

We had a great morning at Tiger Creek and Ava had a blast!  And that's what counted the most since the weekend was about celebrating her!  :)

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May Birthday Celebrations

While the whole family was together down in San Antonio, it made sense to celebrate all of our May birthdays.  We had Ava on the 14th, Uncle Tone on the 15th, Grammy on the 22nd and Logan on the 24th.  The kids decorated big cupcakes for all the birthday folks, plus one for Carli so she wouldn't feel left out.  :)

Can you tell which one is Ava's?  

It would be the one wiht some icing missing.  :)

 We had a "mini" party for Ava and she got to open her gifts from Grammy and Pa, some cards and a gift from Aunt Carolyn.  The big kids thought it was a team effort to unwrap the presents.  Carli is convinced that the play cupcakes from Aunt Carolyn were really given to Ava for the sole purpose of sharing with her!  The wheel barrow and water shooters from Grammy and Pa are a new favorite toy.

After Ava's little party, Uncle Tone opened his graduation gifts and then turned the table and gave Mom and Dad an appreciation gift and letter.  It was pretty cool.   He made a picture collage of their wedding picture using smaller pictures of us kids.  Hard to explain, but trust me it looked pretty cool.

We also gave Mom her Mother's Day/Birthday gift while we were in the gift giving spirit.  We gave her a Spa Gift Card to use after she survives her last weeks of school.  :)

Uncle Tone's birthday gifts were kind of rolled into his graduation gifts.  But the kids were eager to show him his big cupcake they decorated for him.  :)

May is quite the busy month when it comes to birthday celebrations!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Putting up" our Produce

Our little garden has had a good harvest.  The zucchini have been especially happy!  We've enjoyed a pan or two of green beans, some fried okra, bell peppers and lots and lots of zucchini and squash!  Our cantaloupe are finally starting to show too!  The girls and I have have definitely enjoyed our little venture!  The plan was to eat all that we grow b/c really how much could three 2x2 raised beds produce?  Turns out a whole lot of zucchini and squash.  

With Carli's help, we "put up" about 12 bags of zucchini and squash in our freezer.  :)  It's been a lot of fun and very yummy to eat!  We've even given some away! 

I think our zucchini is about finished b/c I may have broken the stems in an attempt to mow around them.  :(  No worries though.  I think I will plant more green beans and see if we can get enough to put a few away too. 

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Monday, May 28, 2012

There is Hope...

With her Daddy's love of baseball and her Momma's love of softball, we have some hope of a future ball player in our midst....

Pls note her style...her glove matchers her outfit...she didn't inherit that gene from her Momma.  :)

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Need a Lawyer?

We have one in our family now!  We are so proud of Anthony for finishing law school last week.  We all loaded up and headed to San Antonio to celebrate his awesomeness.  We rented a house so the whole family could stay together.  It worked out really well!  We didn't have to battle the kids in a restaurant all weekend!  Aunt Carolyn, Uncle Johnny and Uncle Danny brought Grandma.  And Aunt SuAnne and Uncle Tom came for the day on Saturday. 

The kids ate up having room to run and play.  Saturday morning before we left for graduation I actually captured a picture of them all, kind of smiling!

Pa with his girls. 

The girls did really well sitting through the graduation ceremony.  Carli had to go potty without fail as soon as it started, and we were sitting right in the middle of the row!  Thank goodness for Uncle Danny answering text msgs and Aunt Carolyn's willingness to take Carli so we didn't have to climb all over strangers to make the mad dash to the bathroom! 

As soon as the graduates started filing in and we found Anthony, we all started taking pictures.  Carli got frantic wanting to know where her phone was...as soon as she found it, she had to snap some pictures too! 

Ava did really well considering that graduation fell right in the middle of her nap time.  She was really into the clapping for everyone!

We are so so proud of Anthony and all his hard work!  Can't you tell his Momma is proud of him in this picture?

We were all very happy that Grandma was able to come see her baby boy graduate.  They have a very special bond.

The siblings

The kids weren't very cooperative about taking pictures with Uncle Tone.  Ava was kind of weary of his hat and the other two were just being difficult.  Here's the two oldest taking a "break" and we snapped a quick picture with Uncle Tone. 

Don't attempt to make my children do something you want them to do, especially if they really don't want to...b/c you will end up with a picture like this!  But at least they aren't in tears!

Congrats Uncle Tone on your amazing achievement!  We LOVE you very much!!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Logan!

To one of the funniest, sweetest, cutest, most lovable BIG boys I know....

Happy Birthday Logan!! 

We are loving getting to see you every week and can't wait to play with you all summer long!  Hope you had an awesome day being the boss!

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A Mornings Work

Carli asked me to pain her toe nails one morning, so I did.  Of coarse Ava wanted what Carli had, so I painted her toe nails too.  Only she freaked when she say the pink on her toes and hollared, "Get it off!  Get it off!"  Ha!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Splash Park!!

Whitehouse opened up their new Splash Park earlier this month.  The girls were very excited to go check it out.  It does cost to get into this one as opposed to the one in Tyler.  But the HUGE benefit to me is that the flooring is covered in a rubber mat instead of just concrete so there is not near the tears shed when the kids happen to fall!

Carli is now out of the "I'm scared of water" phase...she had a blast!

Kenzie joined us for our water day.  Here is Kenzie and Carli resting up!

Apparently Ava has entered the "Water is scary" stage, so we had a few minor melt downs when the water would touch her and she didn't want it to!  :) 

Kenzie and Ava lounging around.

We had a lot of fun and will certainly be visiting the splash part a lot this summer!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

A Letter to my Baby Girl, Ava Ruth

Ava-Boo -

My how time has flown and what a year it has been!  It is so obvious to me now that God's plan for adding you to our family at the time in which He did was perfect.  His timing was perfect.  You have brought us so much joy, laughter and memories and I am eager to see what He has in store for us all in the year to come!

I will be honest and tell you that your first year was very much a challenge for me.  Having two little girls so close in age was a true battle of time, sleep and lots of tears.  But for all the lack of sleep, all the tears that were shed, they were by far surpassed in your second year with pure joy.  I can't even begin to describe the amount of joy that you are to our family. 

Those little eyes twinkle with mischief, just as your Pawpaw's did.  Sometimes I wonder what in the world you are scheming to do in that little mind of yours as your eyes twinkle while you watch the world around you.  I am pretty sure you will be our little prankster, always good for making us laugh at the most random times.  If only I could understand half of what you are telling me, I'm pretty sure I would avoid lots of "fits" from your sister as she reacts to being the center of your little "schemes."  But then again, I sure would miss lots of laughs if that were the case!

You have the most infectious belly laugh I have ever heard.  It is priceless and once you get going, there isn't a person within ear shot that's not smiling and laughing too!  It's kind of like that irresistible little smile of yours.  Just the thought of that precious little smile, with your chubby little cheeks brings a smile to my face and joy in my heart!

You are the most clean, dirty child I have ever met.  You get dirty on your own terms...and no one else's.  There have been many times when a melt down ensues simply because Carli accidentally put a little dirt on your shoe.  Only to have me clean it off and you dump a whole bucket of dirt on your feet without shedding a tear.  You love dirt, insects fascinate you and if I would allow you to fill a bucket of water and pour it out all day long, you would in a heart beat...all while stomping in the mud.  Just don't let Carli touch you with her dirty muddy hands, because that would be gross.  :) 

Oh, I know God blessed me with one pretty little girl with beautiful blue eyes and a knock out smile.  But did you know that God blessed me with the most sweet, loving, compassionate little angel as well?  You have such a caring little heart.  The first time you spread your little arms apart and asked "What matter?" when I was beyond frustrated at nap time just melted me.  How in the world could I be upset with that true look of concern on your precious little face?  You love to give your puppy dogs hugs and cover them with blankets to keep them warm.  I'm not sure they appreciate your efforts! 

Carli never really did play much with dolls at this age, but you do.  You love your babies.  You love to feed them, sing to them and put them night night.  We constantly hear you talking to your babies telling them you love them. 

I love the random, "Momma, I love you!" from the back seat.  You love to get hugs and kisses and every once in a while you will lean over and just give us a kiss for no reason.  It is awesome.

What I absolutely LOVE is to watch your face when I ask you if you want to go see Grandma.  You just light up!  You look around and start asking where Grandma is!  The pure joy and love you have for Grandma is so amazing and awesome.  When Grandma was in the nursing home, you didn't miss a beat.  You ran right into the room and climbed up in bed and gave her a big hug!  You are so lucky and blessed to have your Great Grandma!  And she sure loves you so much!

I don't have to tell you what a lucky little girl you are to have two sets of amazing grandparents.  You melt their hearts with that grin and giggle.  Pa loves playing ball with you in his office.  Grammy can't wait for her Monday afternoon hugs.  We call Naggy and Pappy at the most random times, just so you can tell them you love them.  Actually, I am pretty sure your grandparents think they are pretty lucky too!

Your first year, you were a Momma's girl.  Hands down.  I LOVED it!  I just knew I would lose my status this year and you would become a little Daddy's girl like your sister is.  You do have your Daddy wrapped around that little pinkie, there is no doubt in that.  But when tears are shed or cuddles are needed, I am so proud to say that a Momma's girl you still are!

Every thing Carli does, you want to do it too.  You are convinced that you are just as big as she is and when Carli started pre-k this past January you didn't understand why you couldn't stay with her.  It took a day or two before you realized that while sister was at school you got Momma or Kayla all to yourself and you ate it up!  You absolutely LOVE your alone time and getting someones 100% attention.  It flat wears you out!  And after you recover with a 3 hour nap, you are so excited to see Carli is back from school.  It is all we can do to keep you from waking her up from her nap!

You do have one amazing big sister.  She is very protective of you, but doesn't hesitate to volunteer you to go first in new situations.  What are big sisters for, right?  Just in the past two months you have really started playing well with Carli.  You all play school and house.  You read books together and play outside.  Ya'll are loud.  Really loud.  You especially talk all the time, non stop.  Really you do.  I guess I should treasure this b/c some say the time will come when getting three words out of you will be like pulling teeth. 

Ava, what a blessing you are to our family.  I simply could not imagine what I would do without you around.  God truly gave me more than I deserved when he blessed me with you on May 14, 2010.  I pray every night for the knowledge, and wisdom to give you the guidance to live a life in service to Him.   Your Daddy and I love you so very much and I pray that you always know that we are doing our best just for you. 

Happy Birthday Ava Ruth!



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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Art Gallery

Keith has almost gotten our new mantel finished.  I like it a lot.  But between the new mantel and my new "mud room" wall (which I have apparently never blogged about), I am having problems with what put on my new found empty walls! 

Our new "mud room" wall from October 2011
The wall with my Grandfather's bench and baskets for the girl's shoes.
Sorry, I had to throw in those pictures.  :)  It has worked out wonderfully for us!  The girls can put their own shoes up and know to hang up their jackets and bags on the wall instead of throwing it all on the back of the couch.

Anyway, I decided I would start on the far side of my living room near the kitchen and work my way around.  With Carli at Oak Tree Academy twice a week, she is coming home with lots of cute things she has made and I wanted to a place to display them for her.  And I didn't want to spend a lot of money.  I found an idea to use some old frames but wasn't sure how it would look.  I spent $10 on frames at the Salvation Army and Goodwill.  I spent $20 on command strips so I wouldn't put tons of holes in my wall.  That way if I absolutely hated it...I was just out $30 and no holes in my walls!  :)

I forgot to take a before picture of the frames before Carli and Ava got started painting...

They actually did a fairly good job on their painting.  The entertainment alone for the morning was worth the money I had spent!  I touched up their paint and during naps, measured and leveled and got this...

It is the light switch plate that is not level...my frames are level.  I checked!

I honestly wasn't too sure that I liked it at first...but over the last couple of weeks it has grown on me.  It could be because Carli comes home with a new picture from school or Sunday school and she immediately runs over to try to find a frame to put it in.  Yeah, I think I love that most of all!

Now that the smallest portion of the wall is done...I just have one really large empty wall, a mantel (with a TV) and the "mud wall" mantel to figure out what to do with.  This is not something that I am really very good ate.  :(

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