Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling Better

This week Olivia went to school and dance and loved them both like usual. Ava and I got to spend some quality time together on Monday and Wednesday since Livy slept until 10 AM each morning. Ava and I snuggled in bed telling stories. We watched HLN for some worldly news. And on Monday we made pancakes together, until finally sleeping beauty woke up to join the fun.

A few hours later a friend came over to visit us so the girls painted at the table while we hung out and talked. Nap time came and went for Liv who played quietly in her room and Ava slept peacefully in her room for a few hours. It was a nice break in the day to have a normal conversation with someone older than 4.

Wednesday we had planned to go to story time at B&N but sleeping beauty slept in so Ava and I read our magazines in bed and then cut out the pictures and did the projects while we waited. Once Liv was up and had eaten breakfast we walked to the store since it was such a nice sunny day and picked out Ava's birthday cake mix. This has been a great week so far.

Today Dave stayed home from work and took Livy to school, and Ava on errands so that I could go to the doctor. I had been having some strange girly issues but everything is OK and I am feeling a lot better. It always makes me worry when I go to the doctor that I'll go in just fine and come out with bad news. But not today so Dave's off to work and we are playing until nap time.

This weekend we are invited to one more birthday party on Saturday and then Sunday we are off to go sledding, snow tubing, and cruising on the zip lines. OK so I am just a little bit scared. But I will suck it up and be brave for my kids who have no problem flying down the hills on inner tubes. They get that from Dave. Why couldn't just one of these girls be a chicken like me?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bowling Party

Olivia was invited to a double birthday party yesterday for her best girlfriend and a boy at school. It was the bowling alley. Wow. Talk about a lot of little kids and people. Ava was invited too so it was a family affair.

The party was really well planned and everything was fantastic. The girls all took turns bowling in one lane and the boys in the other and no one argued. To be perfectly honest I was impressed that a group of 4 year olds could get along that well together for 3 hours. Go figure. With the way my two kids go at it at home sometimes... Yeah, I was amazed.

I was also amazed that my kids without naps lasted in such a good space for such a long time. Olivia is beginning to outgrow her naps. She plays quietly in her room while Ava sleeps which is nice but the last week or two Ava has started playing in her room too. So this maybe the end of my two hour break once and for all. The timing is good since Dave is now home every night by 6:30 PM and I can have a few minutes to myself then while he gets their showers and bedtime rituals completed. And since these two lovelies have cut back on the naps their bedtime has been switched from 8 PM to 7 PM on the days they don't nap. This is wonderful.

Last night the girls were in bed at 7 PM. They were both asleep by 7:15 PM. Today Ava woke up at 7:30 AM and Olivia woke up at 10 AM. I'm thinking by summer the naps will be gone, bedtime will be set at 7 PM and the girls can sleep as late as they want. Then when preschool begins again Ava will go at 8:30 again but Olivia won't start until 10:30 AM on MWF (if there's 3 sessions) or the afternoon session if there's 2 sessions. This way the girls only need to get up 2 days a week early and we can relax the rest of the time. I think I'm just not ready to start having the morning routine begin 5 days a week. Once Liv's in Kindergarten there's no stopping it so we might as well give ourselves the luxury of one more year. Man, this school thing starts and all of a sudden it takes over your life.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sisters Are Cool

I wish I had one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spice Cake

Thanks to the last two days we spent in bed we have all recovered successfully and are doing fabulous. Unfortunately while we were recovering, my laptop was taken over by some pretty malicious malware and became super infected to the point I couldn't use it. I called Dave and his IT guru from work gave me an idea as to how to fix it. It worked and now my laptop is actually faster than it was before. So to thank Dave's IT guru, Ava and I made a delicious spice cake this morning while Miss Olivia was at school. Later after nap Ava woke up first and was just in time to help me make cream cheese frosting from scratch. She must smell it in the air when I'm about to step foot in the kitchen. She always ends up being right there behind me. Now Ava wants to lick the cake but she has been told we have to wait for Daddy to get home and some of the cake will be going to work in the morning. "That's not fun," she told me.

Here's Ava measuring the cream cheese while inspecting it's flavor.

Yep, tastes like cream cheese.
After sticking her entire head inside the measuring cup she managed to smear it all over her face. Go figure.

Now that the ingredients have been added, it takes a strong arm to wield the mixer.
The young Paula Dean.
And now to frost...
And then there's the smelling of the cake at which point Ava doesn't actually sniff the cake but instead she blows air out of her nose. You're thinking a cake covered in snot right? Exactly.
Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks. Ava did a great job in the kitchen today. She is becoming quite the cook.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When It Rains...

This weekend we were supposed to get this huge storm that was supposed to last forever as they proclaimed on the News. Feeling like we were going to be trapped inside for the weekend and following week I felt we should get outside and have the girls ride their bikes. Liv went to her eye appointment first thing in the morning and we got that out of the way. (Her vision has improved with her glasses. She is now 20/20 in one eye and 20/25 in the other. So that in and of itself is good news that we know she can see.) Dave stopped by HD on the way home from Liv's appointment and picked up the calender project that we missed on our drive home from Redding at the beginning of the month. Once they crew arrived home they were riding their bikes and loving it.

Sunday rolled around and still no rain. We decided we would get out there again and go shopping and bought the birthday gifts for the parties in the next weekends. Then the girls and Dave ate their hearts out at Costco with all the free snacks that were being given out. We came home and lounged around. So far so good for the weekend. See, I am a rain hater. I don't like getting wet from the car and then going in somewhere and feeling wet. Then by the time I am dry I end up going back outside just to get wet and then I have to ride home wet. Plus the grocery carts are wet, the kids take longer to get in and out of the car. Rain just sucks. But this weekend we had daddy power and that trumps rain.

Monday Dave had off due to the Holiday. We woke up late. Dave made breakfast in bed for everyone. It began to rain but we went to B&N for the reading and marshmallow project anyway. Dave suggested we hit Chuck E. Cheese's and use up the game tokens we had acquired from various birthday parties. So we braved the rain again, played, and had a great time. We then went out to lunch since the restaurant was nearby and we were out already. This was the calm before the storm.

We all know Ava likes food- A LOT. She didn't touch her food at lunch. She also took a really long nap and then requested cream of wheat for dinner. While she ate maybe 4 bites of food, she threw up a lot of food all of over her clothes and the table. Dave whisked her away to the tub, Liv and I cleaned up the dishes after she finished eating. Not only was it raining outside it was now pouring inside. Once Ava was cleaned up, she crawled in bed with me to snuggle and Dave showered Olivia so she would be nice and clean for school today. Soon they were off to bed and we had a few hours to enjoy ourselves and watch Dave's favorite TV show. It was minutes after that show ended Olivia started crying. She had to go the the bathroom. An hour later she was crying again. She had thrown up in the bed, on her clothes, and in her hair. Dave showered her again, and wrapped her in a towel. It's now around midnight. We sat together on the lazyboy and rocked while Dave scooped up all the laundry. While he took it downstairs and to the garage, Sugar made a beeline for the rug in the downstairs bathroom and peed and pooped. He was literally in the garage for 30 seconds but apparently she wasn't stupid and she was not going out into what was now a storm. So while he did laundry he cleaned that up and brought up the puke bowl. They rocked for awhile on the chair and Liv seemed OK so Dave suggested she get in bed with us. She promptly march to the toilet and threw up some more. She got in bed with us after that and threw up a few more times.

I'm thinking no school tomorrow. OK no big deal. It's now almost 3 A.M. anyway and she hadn't really slept and it is pouring down rain. So Dave got up at 5 and left for work. Ava came in my room around 8 AM and we didn't have any power. Good grief- what am I going to do with two sick kids and no cartoons? I guess it's good we weren't planning on getting up for school too. We would have been really late. On my way downstairs to get the 7 up for the girls the power comes back on and what do I find- more dog poop. This time she left it in the loft. Good Lord. Is it like when one person has issues we all have to have issues at the same time? So I get the girls their drinks and some pancakes. I head back upstairs and find pee on the rug. OK someone might die now. I think it is safe to say Sugar hates the rain as much as I do.

The girls have laid in bed all morning. They have eaten and drank successfully with nothing coming back up. The rain outside has stopped and the skies are a beautiful blue. If this were a normal day Ava and I would be on our way to pick up Olivia at school and we'd get to see what really cool project she made, we'd hear about who she sat next to, what snack she ate, what story she heard, what new thing she learned in school, and we'd be talking about going to dance class later today. Today is not a normal day. We are watching Sesame Street, lounging in our jammies, looking haggard from a hard night, silently clutching out lovies. Honestly, this isn't so bad either. I'm kind of enjoying my babes in their quiet laid back and relaxed state. Now if only I could get that darn dog to use the potty outside instead of all over my house.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How I See It

How do you know what you're doing is the right thing to do? Since there isn't a life manuscript to follow or some sort of guide to say 'yes, if you do this then things will turn out this way' how do you decide? I always question if life is predetermined, a destiny, or fate. Is it simply based on karmic values you get out of it what you put in or is it based solely on every choice you make. Some choices being those you didn't make which in the end is ultimately a choice too.

I question this a lot when dealing with the girls. Am I going to screw them up and they will end up spending half of their adult life in therapy talking about the horrible childhood they had? So far I personally think things are good but you never know what or how someone else truly feels about a situation. I think back about when my brother was attempting to divorce his wife... First let me tell you they are still married sadly. My brother couldn't bear the thought of leaving his kids so he's sucking it up I believe in a loveless marriage until they are old enough and out of school. During the time he had moved out of the house he told me that his divorce was really all my dad's fault. My dad didn't tell him not to marry the first girl he dated, didn't talk to him about sex, never took him on vacations... He blamed my dad for anything he could to take the blame off of himself and his horrid wife.

My brother had wanted to leave for 3 years but something always happened and he couldn't tell his wife he wanted to leave. First she got pregnant with their 3rd child, the next year her mom committed suicide on Christmas, and the third year he had an affair. He figured if he cheated he would have to tell her the truth and it was his way out. Well it was for awhile. The girl he was dating was awesome. Even though my brother was spineless and asked me to breakup with his mistress for him we still talk through FB. She married a really nice guy and is very happy although in a perfect world I think she is totally still in love with my brother. Anyway when he went back to his wife he gave up himself essentially. My brother is a perfectionist. He is a cardiologist with high honors. He has been accepted to every program and school he's applied for. He has never failed. Until now. Having an affair and getting divorced was a big fat "F" in my brother's eyes. (Keep in mind I don't condone having an affair at all, but he's my brother and I supported him when he needed it.) So instead of living and learning and accepting his decisions he passed the buck onto my dad.

I explained to my brother through all of this that we are given two parents for a reason. That being that one person can't do everything so when dad can't do something to help you you always have mom. (Yes I realize there are single parent families, divorced families, gay families, and all different kind of families but I am speaking of OUR family only. My parents are still happily married.) When I needed something car or house related fixed I would ask dad. When I needed relationship advice I'd ask mom. I knew what their strengths were and I would go to that person for that thing that I needed. My brother understood and then talked about how we never went anywhere as kids. That's a lie. We went camping every year, we went to the world's fair, on a cruise, and to see relatives around the country. OK so maybe it's not the most lavish vacations but good Lord, my dad worked 3 jobs most of the time and when I was in high school he took a fourth job as a Jr. college teacher 2 nights a week. He was at every one of my swim meets and for a few years was the official during the meets. My dad worked hard and we had everything we wanted. We never had to worry if we could afford groceries or pay the bills. We were safe and well cared for. Now don't get me wrong my parents aren't perfect but they tried their best and I feel they did a good job.

So in the heat of my brother's divorce fiasco a very fine line was drawn. I wasn't going to tell my dad all of the horrible things that my brother said about him. I also was tired of dealing with my brother's wife. She had told him he had to choose between her or me (weird I know). Just as a side brother's wife is a very jealous person. They have 3 boys. When she heard 4 years ago I had had a girl everything changed and she became really mean. Thinking back now she was always deceitful but it was hidden better. Anyway she yelled at me one day for not wanting to bring the baby out to see her on her demands. At that point she started treating me funny. I told my parents but at that point they thought I was overreacting. Then a few years later the virus spread to them and they saw for themselves it wasn't me but her. She definitely was being a jerk. I talked it over with my brother but he wouldn't get involved. He's a coward like that. Can't confront an issue because that might cross the lines of communication. (But later when he listed the reason for wanting to divorce her they were they same reasons I felt like I couldn't take her anymore.) She also had done some pretty despicable things to my parents and my parents decided they no longer wanted to have any contact with her and she didn't want to have anything to do with them.

So here I am. In the middle. Trying to maintain something with my brother and trying to make things work out with him and my parents despite the fact that he decided to go back to the wife. Whenever I spoke to him we would talk all around the big pink elephant in the room but never about it. Finally I snapped. I just wanted to know how things were going to be. Were we supposed to be calling him on his cell phone only because his wife was erasing the messages although you can't tell him that because she says she didn't, he had an affair, and now he can't challenge anything she says. She used to buy and send x-mas presents for the kids... would he be doing it now or are we just going to stop the gift giving? Will my parents ever get a picture of their grand kids again? (Here again she says she sent them to everyone- her 'everyone' just didn't include my parents.) I just wanted to know how things were going to be. All I got back was denial.

So let me note a few things before I go on. My brother is 5 years older than me. When he left for college I was 12. He never came home. My parents think he was ashamed of them that they weren't doctors or something with a great title. My dad actually has a very successful business he started from scratch. Anyway because he never came home we never spoke. People would always ask me about my brother but it was like telling them about a cousin or something. So once I went to college, he was in the military for school so I saw him at his graduations, or wedding, or the births of his kids. I could be a real ass and point out the only event he has come to for me was my college graduation. He did not attend my wedding, he has never met Ava and saw Olivia once at a wedding for my cousin. I was never a priority for him. Anyway we were never tight until he had the affair. We actually were like brother and sister for a few short months thanks to his mistress. It was really really nice. He was a totally different person. I liked him. He could share his feelings. He told me he never failed at anything and this was killing him. I told him all the dumb things that I did in the past. He said he always wondered if his success put stress on me to be like him. Actually it freed me. My parent's already had the Messiah therefore I could do whatever I wanted. Yes, they wanted me to be an Olympic swimmer. I never wanted that kind of stress. I wanted to be free to change my mind and go on my own journey without guardrails. And I did.

And then it happened. After a few times of my brother packing his kids in the car to send them home with their mom he broke. He couldn't take it. I don't blame him. I would have probably done the same thing unless I had sole custody. So he returned to that dark place of marriage hiding his feelings and passing everyday by saying everything's OK when it wasn't for the sake of his kids. During this time I had two thoughts that were always crossing my mind. First, this sucks that he's doomed. I wouldn't wish this on my enemy. I miss the brother I had for a few months and I know he's not happy. And second, She will force him to pick between us.

So going back to when I said we were having the conversation about how things were going to be and all I got was denial. I could hear on the phone that day he was already gone. We got in a huge fight. I told him all of this was his fault, their fault. Yes, I was probably out of line but I felt it was the truth. Our family was screwed up because of their actions. I was done trying to fix it. He hung up on me. Typical for him. He can't tolerate confrontation or being wrong. So I called him back and left him this message, "I can't do this anymore with you. I can't fix it between you and mom and dad. I can't not talk about what's really happening. I love you and the boys. I hope you have a happy life and wish you the best but I can't be a part of it anymore." I gave him the out that I knew he couldn't do for himself. I know if he would still talk to me his life would be scrutinized by his wife. She'd treat him bad and I'd be to blame. Eventually he'd would have just stopped talking to me.

You may think this wasn't the best solution to our problems but I had to move forward with my life and my family and taking one major issue off of my brother's plate was the best gift I could have given him. I think sometimes if he decides to divorce her 10 years from now when the kids are grown would he call me or me him? I don't know. I don't know what he'd do. If he called and he needed a sister, although I would be pissed at him for not fighting for me, I'd be there. I'd be there because it's the right thing to do. I'd be there because although I couldn't be part of his life I still love him like a brother even though he always treated me like a cousin. I'd be there because even though he's a stupid stupid sh*t, he's my family. His wife can not take away the fact that he is blood related to me. Nothing can change that. As for me...would I or will I contact him? No. Wow I can answer that so fast. When I think about fate, how our lives are supposed to turn out, is it destiny or just whatever the heck we make of it... I think that things didn't turn out so bad. He left me with a great a friend, his mistress. And when I think of her I think of the one time in my life that I truly enjoyed my brother. I think of how happy he was with her. He was free with his emotions with her. He entwined our lives and maybe this was the reason. Maybe subconsciously souls know where they are headed and his knew he and I would be no longer so he left me with the next best thing. Who knows. What I do know is that none of my brother's issues with his wife have anything to do with his childhood and the lack of vacations he felt we had. I certainly hope he didn't spend his time in therapy (2 whole sessions) telling the therapist it's all my parents fault.

When I started this post this I wasn't even thinking about my brother. I was thinking of my girls and if I am doing a good job parenting them. Will they have to spend their lives in therapy because we aren't giving them enough or doing enough or whatever? Are we too hard as parents or are we too easy? Where's the freakin' book that tells you what to do in every situation? How do you know when you are ready for another child or ready to stop having kids? Is money always going to be the issue that dictates our lives and chooses our path for us? Is it wrong to throw caution to the wind and just take the big leap of faith that it will all work out how it is supposed to in the end whether it's good or bad? How do you know you'll stay married forever? I mean you get married to be married forever but as we see divorce happens. People's ideals change during their lives and what if what one person wants is different than the other persons wants and they just stay together but are resentful or they need to leave to attain the things they now feel they need. I only have one divorced friend. It was out of her control. She tried everything but unfortunately everything didn't work. Her partner's ideals changed and she couldn't live the 'married with kids' lifestyle anymore. Some things are just out of our control. We only really know how we think and feel inside. My brother secretly despised his wife for 3 years without telling her. He already had a new checking account, a divorce lawyer, girlfriend, and an apartment before telling his wife. My friend's wife knew for months she was leaving but waited until she felt the baby was old enough that my friend could handle it. Deception is a nasty aspect in relationships. Even when it doesn't happen directly to you, it's hard to not wonder if one day it will happen to you or if it will be you. Don't get me wrong I am not secretly planning on divorcing my husband and I don't think he's planning on leaving me either. We are in a good place in our marriage. Sometimes I just wonder with all the mayhem around us will it one day affect us too? Is it just silly to think that we can escape the odds and choose the right road for success? Would making one bad decision destroy the whole picture or are we strong enough to survive anything? I hope so. I hope that whether or not Dave and I hit a bump in the road or our ideals change that we both can change together or somehow agree to disagree but still love eachother and want to be with eachother. I don't want to think years from now that I really didn't know what I had until it was gone.

Well that being said, my girls having been playing by themselves for quite some time now and have very good even though they both have colds. I need to fix them some lunch and spend some quality time with them because in a blink they'll be grown and I'll wish I had these moments back. That and they are chasing eachother with a shark and a whale and yelling "sperm." Maybe I shouldn't have been so graphic when I told them the difference between the whales was that one was a sperm whale and the other was an orca. Hind sight stinks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hip Hop Shake-a-roonie

This was Olivia's first week at her Hip Hop dance class. Check her out groovin' and shakin' her stuff. The last time we signed up for this class I had Olivia really pumped and ready for it. When we showed up it had been cancelled. That was a long car ride home. This time I signed her up and didn't tell her just in case it was cancelled again. When it came time to drive there we jumped in the truck and I told Olivia we had a special outing to attend. I watched her in the backseat watching the road and trying to figure out where we were going. It was awesome when we pulled up. She didn't have any idea where we were. Once I got the affirmative that the class was indeed happening I told Olivia she was there for dance... She was so happy and excited.
Ava thought she was going to dance too but after awhile of watching Olivia she relaxed and danced in her spot all by herself. Next year is her year.

In other school news Olivia created a snow flake in school. They are studying the weather and the letter "P." She has been practicing spelling various words and has mastered, "mommy, daddy, papa, and girl". Everywhere we go now Liv wants to know what the letters are saying or how to spell certain words. She's getting so ready for real school and I'm getting nervous. Things are going to change so much when she is officially in school everyday and we can't just go do whatever we want together during the day. Good thing we have one more year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Spot

I love Ikea. They have everything. Saturday we picked up a table and chairs for the girls. Of course we came back with a bunch of other stuff too. The main thing is now the girls have a place to play with their paper dolls, playdo, coloring books and paints without it being at the kitchen table. What a difference this table has made so far. They can start projects and leave them for awhile to eat lunch and everything is still where they left it without little Sugar bites.
Today we left for a bit to go to Kindermuzic and look how happy Ava was when she returned to see her items still in tact.

Dave and I also moved a lot of the small toys to the girls room over the weekend so that our family room can become more of a family room and less of a play room since the girls are old enough to go up and down the stairs to play in their rooms. We put in a bookshelf to hold all the games too. I like the room better now. The next thing is to replace the TV with one a mounted flat screen. All in due time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Singing In The Cold

Today the girls and I went for a brisk and I mean brisk walk with Sugar. It was freezing outside and as soon as we began walking I thought to myself, "should we just go back inside... maybe I should go get their hats and gloves even though they said they didn't want to wear them... oh jeez let's just get going." So we did. We had a nice little walk for awhile and then we found a penny. Once we were on the hunt for more treasure the singing began.

Now I don't want to sound like a bad or ungrateful parent but there are times in the day that I would prefer to enjoy without the singing. This was once of them. We were having a nice stroll, Sugar wasn't crying to be picked up, the girls were holding hands behind me. The world was a beautiful place.

And then I just had to notice a penny on the ground which prompted Olivia to belt out some of her happy songs for the rest of the walk. Once we found a nickle the songs not only became louder but the jumping began which prompted Ava to fall on the ground. She got up and dusted herself off and continued walking along. We found some more change. The excitement ensued and as well as more jumping. Oh boy, more jumping while holding hands and trying to walk forward. Again Ava hit the ground, pretty hard this time. She started to cry, I told her she was OK, and we were on the move again. Thankfully we were pretty close to home but even with that there is only so much I can take so I ever so politely asked Olivia to be quiet for the rest of the walk.

So much better. Is that wrong to say out loud? I hear Olivia singing sometimes in my head when she isn't even singing. I curse the people who created the sound track to The Little Mermaid. Obviously they must have had boys. Thankfully this singing thing hasn't spread like a virus and infected Ava as well. If that were the case I don't think there'd be enough wine out there to drowned the humming of them both out.

Now we are back inside finishing up the laundry and getting ready to eat lunch at noon. Then the girls will take a 2 hour nap. Can you say, "AHHH?" I can. It sounds like this, "AHHHHHHHH!!!" Silence is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back To School

Yesterday Olivia went back to school. She is now studying the weather and the letter "O" or her letter as she calls it.This is my favorite piece of art that Liv has brought home so far. I asked her what it was and she said that she made a 'picture of playing in the snow at Grammie's house.' Love it!!
And here's her Clifford packet. She just loves these.

For Valentines Day Clifford will be at B & N to read a few books. We can't wait to go. Next week the project is making marshmallow men with frosting after the reading. Ava's pumped. Today the story was about pigs and the girls were able to color a fish tank picture afterwards and apply stickers. They did really well this time. Maybe things are changing in the New Year...

The Gator Project

For Christmas, the girls received hatching eggs from their cousins M & J. We put them in water and in 24 hours they were supposed to hatch. Here's how they looked after just the first few hours.
Ava's decided she wanted the darker alligator and Olivia wanted the green one. A few more hours later they still hadn't emerged all the way from their shell. We were anxiously waiting and watching though.

Here they are at a different angle.

When we woke up this morning this is what we found in the bowl.

Ava named hers "Net" because she is infatuated with the Elefun game that uses a net to catch butterflies and Olivia named hers "Pie" from the movie The Reef. After checking out their great new creatures Olivia wanted to know where their mommy was... I explained that She and Ava were the mommies but somehow that didn't fly with her. Olivia told me they needed a gator Mommy that looked like them. Hum. Well they don't have one unfortunately. She had to swim back to the bayou to lay more eggs... That answer seemed to advert the questions for awhile...

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year!!!

This year is going to be fantastic.

Dave and Ava's birthdays are both coming up. So exciting!!! Dave will be OLD (ha ha) and Ava will be 3 years old. How time flies by. Unbelievable. Ava was just a squishy little baby and now she is so smart, clever, and outrageously funny. She can do and accomplish things most kids her age can't. She is also very sensitive and does not like to get in trouble or have either of us give her "the look." She uses her manners saying "please" and "thank you" and likes to complement her friends telling them, "your____ is very bootiful." Ava is just perfect. All I can expect from her this year is for her to continue being as wonderful as she already is.

Dave left teaching in the dust in 2009 which allows him to be home for dinner every night this year. Now we can all sit and eat as a family and discuss our day. The girls will be able to get tucked into bed and see his face every night before they go to sleep instead of hearing his voice over the phone twice a week. We've all been waiting for this for a very long time.

Olivia is starting her first hip hop dance class this month which she is so looking forward to attending. She is also finishing up her first year of Preschool. She has changed so much in a blink of an eye from starting school, to riding a big girl bike, to wearing glasses, to just plain growing up. She is definitely a little girl now. Toddlerhood, babyhood- gone are those days. That awkward stage between toddlerhood and becoming a girl- gone. Olivia is officially a little lady. She too is very respectful and polite. She makes friends easily and learns new concepts at lightning speed. She has a great sense of humor and can tell jokes now that are truly funny. She is silly and compassionate and loves all animals, especially her beloved Sugar. She is most likely going to be smarter and more productive than Dave and I combined and will hopefully take care of us when we're elderly. One can only hope.

As for the girls' near future...I am going to try to get both girls on the swim team this summer if they will allow Ava to participate at 3 years old. She may have to wait until she's 4 too.

In the fall, Ava will begin Preschool-Gasp! My baby is NOT A BABY anymore. Who knows though... Maybe this year we will pop out a third just for kicks!

We have paid-off all of our credit cards and we are entering this year virtually debt free minus the everyday bills and the mortgage. Hooray!!

And as far as vacation go- We are planning a trip soon to San Diego via the motorcoach to visit Dave's Grandma, Legoland, the beach, and if we are super lucky maybe we can get a scuba diving day in there as well. As far as where we will be headed the rest of the year- who knows. I'm sure the road will lead us somewhere cool.

This leads us down the path of saying goodbye to the sippy/straw cups for the girls, goodbye to the night pull-ups for Ava, adios to the booster seats for eating, and I am closing the last chapter of Ava's real baby book. Am I sad? Heck no. We are on to better things and more fun days. We bought a year family pass to the Six Flags park to ride the roller coasters. We've jogged every day we've been at Grammie's house and plan to continue on at home. (Both girls really love jogging and are quite fast.) Starting Sunday we begin a fun family competition between my parents, Dave, and I to lose 5 pounds. Whoever loses it first receives $5 from each of the other competitors. I, of course, am going to win. (add sarcasm anytime) Dave and I bought an elliptical and Dave has promised to use it 5 minutes every day. Yes, it doesn't sound like a lot but it is a short time to get him started. And as for me... I want to firm up my flab.

And as far as 2010 resolutions go...I think mine will be to have more sex. Happy New Years Babe!!! I knew you'd like that!!!