Monday, August 31, 2009

The Bike Riding Continues...


So sorry to flood everyone with all the bike news, but it seems that is what we are doing lately. I guess two new bikes will do that to a family. We really hadn't got the chance to practice much since last weekend...Chance hurt his foot in P.E. so that slowed the fun down a little. Wednesday, Chance decided that he was ready to practice some more. Brian took the kids out while I finished doing some stuff around the house (that is never-ending), and by the time I got out there, Chance was cruising down the street. So crazy! I'm tellin' ya, the kid was going! I couldn't believe it! Everything goes smoothly as long as he doesn't have to turn...this is where the problem lies. He can go straight, but if he has to turn, he just stops the bike with his feet (the break is also still somewhat tricky), and flips his bike around. I can't get over how quickly all this has come to him. He is bound and determined to get his bike skills in tip top shape because he desperately wants to ride his bike to his friend's house around the block and there is no way I'm letting him do that when he can't turn corners! (I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for that! lol)

Ava has also been improving her biking skills. She can use the hand break now and she has definitely built up her confidence. She can zip down the street at a very fast pace and whips her bike around to go in the other direction. The other day, she realized that if she rode her bike down the driveway hill, it would give her a little speed boost. I'm not really a fan of this technique...not ready for all that! I think my intuition was right on this because she did that yesterday and had her first bike spill. She came off the driveway too fast and the bike (and her) fell to the side. It was a teary incident for awhile, but she dusted herself off and was ready to to it all over again. She's a tough little cookie! She said no more driveways for awhile and I agree!


After all the biking excitement, Brian and Ava went to the store and Chance and I enjoyed the outdoors some more. It was a wonderful evening outside...so fun. I'm really proud of both the kids. Here is a pic of me and Chance...followed by a few videos I took of the kids riding their bikes. I usually only post one, but I couldn't decide...they were all good in their own little ways...


Here is what he was doing when I came outside...
video

...and Ava...
video

Here is the first documented bike crash :(... (but also kinda funny)

video

And last (but not least)...I like this one because it's just us and the locusts. (He was out there for awhile...)
video



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Should It Stay or Should It Change?

Okay people, I really need your help. Maybe that's my problem...I may have gotten too much help. Regardless, this is still my plea for MORE help. I have recently been on a home improvement spree. Brian is teaching some classes at the college and that has freed up some money for us do do some things around the house. The plan for this round of classes was to get a new stove (my old one was circa 1070) and some new carpet (old carpet is beyond repair). We already got the stove (which I love) and before we attempt the carpet, I decided we should repaint the main rooms because they have not been painted since we moved in nine years ago.



In case you were interested on the before/after stove pics...














However, this is not the problem. I love the stove...no crisis there. The problem is with all the paint. I had originally thought I would just repaint the walls another very neutral color. The goal was just to freshen them up a little. When I started talking about the paint colors, Brian requested that I use some color this time. I am somewhat challenged when it comes to making color choices and making it all blend together, but Brian rarely makes requests, so I thought I would give it a try. I had a group of friends over the Friday before my project began, so with paint samples in hand, I enlisted some help. The general consensus was that I should paint the area above the kitchen cabinets a darker accent color and possibly use the accent color on one wall in the living room just to be fun. We didn't pick out specific colors that day because all I had were versions of tan and we had recently decided that color was the way to go. The next day, I tackled paint samples at Wal*Mart by myself. After literally standing in the paint isle for over two hours, I ended up with Butter Nut (yellowy brown) for the living room, Herb Tea (sage green) for the dining room, and Robust Raisin (a dark, brownish purple) for my kitchen/living room accent. The first two were on an idea card that I found...the raisin was just something that I liked...I've always liked sage green and purple together, I don't know why.


I was really excited as I began painting, I thought it was all coming together nicely...but when I was finished (did I mention I did all this in about nine hours??), I wasn't sure that I was crazy about all the color combinations. I have had mixed reviews from the people that have seen it so far. There are a couple that have "loved it" a couple who said they liked it, but I still couldn't tell for sure, and then a couple more who were a little hesitant. When there is hesitation, it seems to be from the purple/raisiny color that I painted in the entry way. It's funny because the people who aren't crazy about it there seem to like it in the kitchen. I can't decide if it is because you can see all three colors from the living room, the purple is just too dark for the area where you enter the house, or that the purple just interacts with the yellowy brown in a weird way, but not the green. OR maybe the whole thing is just great and I don't know it yet...

Here is my debate: Should I...
  • repaint the purple entry way with the sage green from the dining room
  • repaint the purple entry way with the yellowy brown that matches the rest of the living room?
  • buy the third color...a really light yellow that is supposed to compliment the other two and use that to paint to repaint the entry way?
  • OR...am I being too hard on myself all together and I should just leave the whole thing the way it is???? HELP

Okay...so here are the before pics...

And the afters...







Just a side note...I don't know why, but the paint colors show up lighter on film than they actually are...so picture everything a hair darker...especially the purple. Let me know what you think...I am definitely open for suggestions...you won't offend me, I'm not so sure that I'm crazy about it myself. :)





Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome Ninja...Devil Hamster


Well, as promised, the Marletts got a new little hamster friend over the weekend. Poor Chance even sprained his ankle in gym on Friday and could hardly walk and still insisted we make that visit to Pet Smart on Friday night. After careful consideration, he decided to get the Russian Dwarf Hamster. This was not the original plan. The ORIGINAL PLAN was to get a winter white hamster like his cousin Alex. Chance thinks it's amazing that these hamsters "supposedly" change colors with the seasons. Unfortunately, the lady at the pet store told us that they only had one of these hamsters in stock and she was really mean. Chance would really like a hamster that he can play with, so after much debate, he decided to pick the little Russian guy. Why did we pick him, you ask?? The not-so-helpful (haha) Pet Smart lady told us that they were cute little baby hamsters and were the nicest ones they had. We also thought the Russian hamsters were cool because they were black or grey and we had already decided that the name would be NINJA. (how appropriate!) Well, when she took the little hamster cave out of the cage so we could see them, all the little grey ones ran away and the only one that was left was, you guessed it, the cute little black one. It was standing on its hind legs looking at us as if to say, "Please take me home with you, I'll be nice...I promise!" So, we did what it asked. Let's just say that perhaps we should have stuck with the ORIGINAL PLAN. Ninja is....how do we say this in a not so mean way?!?....THE DEVIL. (lol)

I don't think I have ever seen a hamster bite as much as this one does. Even Nacho (rest in peace) did not bite us in his almost two years as much as this little devil hamster has bitten us (by US I mean BRIAN...none of the rest of us will touch the thing...we're not stupid...haha) in the four days that we've had him. Actually, Ava was the first one to be bit...now she absolutely refuses to touch him. I was also bit once when I put my hand up to keep him from crawling out of a hole in Chance's pirate ship (Chance loves to put him in there). It was kinda funny because Brian had just told Chance not to be afraid to touch him because the bites don't really hurt (liar) and the more you handle him, the less he'll bite. Right after he said those words, Ninja bit me and I screamed and possibly threw him a little. It wasn't really one of my finer moments. Alas, mommies aren't perfect...they might even be scared of hamster bites, too.

So now, Brian is the only one who touches the thing. We all figure he's been bit so much, he must be immune to it by now. Fortunately, Chance really likes Ninja anyway. He really is a cute little guy, he just has some problems he's working through. Maybe there is some sort of hamster support group that can help him through his issues?? I'm glad Chance is happy with the new hamster, and maybe one day he'll even be nice...here's to hoping that's a day that happens sooner than later!




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Exciting Tooth News





Last week, Chance came home exclaiming, "Mommy...I lost my tooth!" Sure enough...one of his top front teeth was missing. Funny that it wasn't even the one that I had noticed was loose. This is pretty big news at our house because Chance is WAY behind on loosing his teeth. So far, he has only lost his bottom two teeth (and the dentist actually had to pull those). This is the first tooth that has actually came out on its own. YAY! It is kind of a funny story: Chance was eating corn on the cob in the cafeteria and he said he felt his tooth move and then it was really wiggly. He tried to ignore it and went to recess (this is of utmost importance), but it started to bleed (and blood is never good in Chance world). The teacher on duty sent him to the office and Mr. Randall (the school principal) pulled it for him. Just a side note: I think it is so cool that the principal takes time out of his day to pull teeth for kids. I thought this was a fluke thing, but Chance says he pulls teeth all the time. I love that he goes above and beyond for the kids at his school...he is a GREAT principal. They even gave him a little plastic tooth on a string to hold his real tooth until he got home. When he came home, he informed me that the tooth fairy was going to come see him and was very determined to get that tooth under his pillow. I have no idea if he actually believes in the tooth fairy (I would think not)...but I think he plays along with this because he thinks we want him to believe in it (which we really don't care). He wants to make sure he humors us so he gets his money. I finally convinced him not to put that tiny thing under his pillow...I didn't want to dig under there half the night looking for a tooth. He decided to put it on his dresser and he also put his sea animals up there to guard it...so funny. I took a little video of Chance telling me his tooth story...
video




Monday, August 24, 2009

Ava's Back to School Fashion Show




I ordered the kids some back to school clothes online this year. It is way easier than going shopping with two babies under a year old and a four year old with LOTS of opinions. Ava's clothes came in the mail last week and she was SO excited. It was like Christmas in August. She immediately insisted that we try them all on. This was quite an undertaking since I got her at least seven outfits. It was fun, though. At first, she thought taking pictures was cool, but she eventually got tired of it. I think she's starting to duck for cover every time I get my camera out. Needless to say, I didn't get all the outfits photographed. In case you're wondering, her favorite item is the green dress (which already has a stain...Pre-K...UGH!). I'm sure she's going to insist on wearing it constantly, anyway. :)







Happy Birthday, Carter!




Last week, my friend from Las Vegas was in with her kids. Ava and Camden love to get together...they play really well (most of the time). It also happened to be close to the little one (Carter's) birthday...so what better time to have a party?? This is code for the kids get to go to the Goss's house to swim (and see Camden) so they were all in. It was fun to see how much they are improving on their swimming skills. Chance hasn't practiced in awhile, so at first, he was skittish and thought he couldn't swim anymore. Once we convinced him that he still could (you usually don't forget such things in a span of three weeks), he was unstoppable. He even did a cannon ball off the diving board and touched the bottom of the pool! He has made great strides in swimming this summer. Ava didn't even hesitate to jump off the diving board. Once we got her life jacket on, she was ready to go.




It was a really fun evening of swimming, burgers, presents, cake and ice cream. Ava and Camden even got to drive Camden's little car around the back yard. Chance probably wouldn't agree with me that the car is little...Ava ran him over with it and injured his leg. I think he'll be okay, though! :) It was a really nice evening with friends and we appreciate them for letting us be part of it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hamster Heartbreak

Last night, the inevitable happened...Chance's beloved pet hamster, Nacho, went to hamster heaven. It was absolutely heartbreaking...I think I'm glad that I was out to coffee with the ladies at the time. When I got home, Brian told me the sad news. I wasn't entirely sure that Chance would be completely crushed about it because he has been really wanting a guinea pig (we told him he couldn't get anymore pets while he still had Nacho)...but it turns out he was quite sad about it. Brian said when he told Chance what had happened, Chance looked him with his little shocked face and started to cry, saying, "but Nacho was my buddy!" I must admit, when Brian told me this, I got a little teary myself. Chance is such a soft-hearted person... I kinda thought it may have gotten better for him by the morning, but he was still pretty sad before he went to school. I gave him a hug when he was talking about it and said that I was really sorry and he ran off. When I saw his face, his eyes were all red and he was trying not to cry. I think that it was even more sad that he was trying NOT to cry. UGH...I just want to make it all better for him. I don't think I can talk about it anymore because just thinking about it all over again is making me sad. On the bright side, we have promised Chance a new hamster (no guinea pigs right now...to buy that PLUS the cage PLUS the food PLUS the accessories would be quite pricey). A new hamster, however, will just be the cost of the hamster itself...that sounds much more manageable. Plus, I'm not sure that I'm ready to have something that big (that is not a dog) in my house. He is slowly getting excited about the hamster option...he has already picked out the new name...NINJA. So stay tuned, I'm pretty sure the Marletts will have a new pet by the weekend. I'm sorry that Chance has already had to experience this life lesson, but he has handled it well and I know he'll be okay. Brian spent some quality time with him before he went to sleep last night, they talked about death, etc...it was pretty deep. After Brian had left his room, he came out and said, "NOW can you tell me where babies come from??" Another topic, another day. :)

Ava's Big Day

Last Friday, August 14, was Ava's official 4th birthday. We have already had her party, but I tried to make the day fun. We did a few little things before Daddy and Chance got home...I brought cookies and juice to her new class at school and we walked home that day. After I put the babies to sleep, we cuddled on the couch and watched movies for awhile. I have enjoyed having some quality Mommy/Ava time...it's been fun having some time with just her in the afternoons.

After the rest of the family (and of course, Nevan) came home, we went to Taco Bueno, the library, and the castle park...all of her favorite things. It was a nice evening...oh yeah, we also went to Wal*Mart to spend the rest of her birthday money. Birthday treasure included a My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop turtle, and a princess Barbie. We had a really good time at the park and I posted some pics below...
After the park, we went out for ice cream...but all Ava wanted was a diet coke, go figure!

Well, Happy Birthday, my sweet baby daughter. These four years have flown by and I'm so looking forward to the many years to come.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Funny Bike Story (No Pics)

As most of you know, we got Ava a bicycle for her birthday. We felt somewhat guilty about this because Chance is considerably older and we have yet to get a bike for him. So, the other day when we were at Wal*Mart, we decided to go ahead and pick up one for him as well. Of course, his doesn't have training wheels, so I knew we were going to be in for a treat for the next couple of weeks while he tries to figure all this out. On Saturday, Brian took him out for some bike practice...it had been somewhat of a challenge. When things don't come automatically to Chance, he gets really frustrated. He had been out there for a couple hours...without much success, when, all of a sudden, Brian saw the neighbor girls peeking out of their second story window. (One of them is in Chance's class at school.) Brian then began to give him a pep talk...
Brian: "Okay, look dude, you have to pull it together...the girls are watching... " (Okay, perhaps it was a short pep talk). :)
Chance: * stands up, quits crying (there had been some tears), takes a deep breath, gets on his bicycle and proceeds to ride for approximately 20 feet!
I couldn't believe it! I had my camera in my hand, ready to take some pictures, but I was so shocked that I was completely frozen. It just goes to show, Chance can do anything he sets his mind to do. Since the big bike moment, he has still been struggling to learn, but I know he's going to get the hang of things very soon. Brian says we should get the neighbor girls to come sit on the curb and watch him for a couple hours and he'll have it...not a bad idea, huh?? :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School (Can't Believe My Baby is in Pre-K!!)



Well, I'm a little behind on this, but last Tuesday was back to school night for Chance and Ava. That's the time we get to meet their teachers and figure out who's in their class. It was a little hectic that night because we were all going a million different directions and trying to make everything fit at the same time...it was crazy, but we did it. Chance and Ava got to meet the teachers and Brian got to come with us. Chance is always so quiet and shy on these nights (I think it gives his teachers false impressions that this is what he will be like all year...haha). He was really excited about seeing his friend Coleton, though. He hadn't seen him all summer...it was definitely the highlight for him! Ava was super excited about meeting her teacher. When we went in her room, she immediately left us and found the toys. After we did everything we had to do, we told her we were leaving and she told us bye...so funny. We explained that she had to come with us, she was a little sad, but we assured her we would be back soon. When we were finished, Brian had to go back to the college to teach a class and I took the kids to Freddy's (their new favorite place). It was a fun night.
The first day of school was a fun one for both Chance and Ava. My mom came over and sat with Luke so I could take them on the first day (usually Jackson's mom takes them to school since she works there). They both wanted to walk to school, so that's what we did. Ava said her favorite thing about the first day was the play-do and the popsicle she had for a snack at recess. Chance came back from the first day quite chipper and said that he really liked his teacher and he is super excited about science. He has been really excited about science since someone told him that sometimes they will have real animals in their class...Chance loves animals. So far, school has been a success...we'll see how that progresses! This last pic is a shot of Ava with her new teacher, Mrs. Reynolds...she really likes her.