Wednesday, October 28, 2009

He's 4! Wait...what??

So, one week ago, my boy tuned four. As cliché as it sounds, it really does seem like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital.
Although I can happily reminisce of all the fun we've had together these last four years, I am still a little wistful thinking that he is already a quarter of the way to 16 (yea, I thought about it that much).
I can look at his face and see the little baby I used to hold, the boy his is now and the man he will become. He is still so much the same person he has always been, but there are slight changes that make me realize he's growing up before me.
When I look at him, I am reminded of my little baby boy, who just needed me so much. We would spend our days, cuddling and kissing. I talked to him all day, about everything and nothing, and was rewarded early on when he responded with his little baby chatter. Sometimes, we would go on walks around the neighborhood, or have lunch with Daddy or go shopping with Grandma (Target, of course—his favorite store).
As he got a little older, his love of books grew (just like his Mama) and some days were spent reading-all day. Sometimes, we would get through all his books, and then start over again. I read them in different voices, made all the sounds that went along with the book (Z, what does a cow say? Moooo!) or acted out parts of the story just to make it more interesting. Reading is still a huge part of his life, and every night at bedtime he and Daddy read several books. And, now, he 'reads' to me; he knows a lot of books by heart and will recite them to me or Dad. Sometimes, he'll just sit by himself and read through his books. He knows his alphabet and even which letters most words start with. I anticipate the day he'll be reading all by himself.
Once I realized he was no longer content to just sit and watch me while I cooked, I decided to bring him into the kitchen. At first, he was so little, he had to stand on his tippy toes on the kitchen chair, just to reach the counter. He loved helping me make anything and everything, but his favorite was baking. Cookies, cupcakes, name it. If he could decorate it, even better! Yes, there were lots of messes to clean up afterward, but lots of memories to go along. He still loves helping me cook (even though he has his own 'kitchen' now) and now has his own apron, chef's hat and even rolling pin. We still make anything and everything, and his favorite is still baking. The difference is that now he can do so much more; crack eggs, whisk, measure, pour. He really is one amazing sous chef!
He was always so social, even as a baby. People told me he would 'grow out of it' and go through a shy stage, but shy is never a word that has described this guy! He was never scared or timid around strangers. People would approach us in the store, and he would just look at them-study their face. As he got older, he would walk up to people say , “hi” and give them a smile and wave. As much as I cringe at the sight of him engaging with complete strangers, I'm always amazed at his presence and outgoing nature. I even taught him to introduce himself to people; now he goes around the playground saying, “Hi, I'm Zavion!”
In general, he is tenacious; stubborn; passionate; assertive; driven; thoughtful; creative. As much as these words describe him though, there is so much that just can't be used to describe him. He truly is unique, one-of-a-kind. He has always been so comfortable being him, and I think that makes him special.
When he was younger, and putting us through some trying times, people would say, “Oh he's just 'willful.' He's going through a stage. He'll grow out of it.” I would just smile, because even then, I knew my boy. I knew his personality, because it is just like mine, and so I knew-I knew he would always be, him. While, that has been a crazy ride at times, it has also been incredibly amazing, fun and rewarding.
I love you buddy and everything you are, can be and will be.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vegas, baby!

So, for those of you that don't know, Colin and I went to Vegas a couple weeks ago. We normally aren't very spontaneous, especially when it comes to spending money, but we just had a great opportunity to go. We'd been wanting to go back for such a long time, and with Colin's birthday coming up, it seemed like a great idea. With the grandparents assuring us the kids would be fine (over & over!), we booked it!
On the morning of Colin's birthday, we all piled in my parents van and headed off to the airport. I tried stalling as long as possible, so I could spend the last few moments I would have in four days with my babies. And, I won't lie when I say there were some tears as I walked away from them, through the security checkpoint. But, after arriving in sunny and warm Las Vegas, I was able to focus on the task at hand; fun, relaxation, and F-U-N!
After getting checked into our resort (gorgeous, gorgeous!), we headed out to Colin's birthday dinner at ESPN Zone. After some delicious food (and drink, of course!) we headed down the strip to check things out. We were almost immediately solicited to do a timeshare presentation for the new Planet Hollywood resort. After we were offered tickets to Blue Man Group for only $30 (total!) we put aside our skepticism and signed up for the noon presentation the following day. After some more drinks, we headed back to our resort for the night.
The next day brought some sightseeing, lunch at In 'N' Out (YUM!) and those coveted Blue Man Group tickets. We also had some nice quiet, relaxation time in the hot tub, before heading out for the late Blue Man show. The show was amazing, spectacular and SO much fun! After the show, the guys come out to sign autographs and pose for pictures. There was a huge crush pf people, but I still managed to push Colin through to get a picture and autograph. ;0) We managed to find a restaurant still open after midnight (we though in VEGAS there would be lots of stuff open late night, but nope) and had a yummy, late dinner.
Saturday we headed over to MGM for lunch at Rainforest Cafe, (such a fun atmosphere!) then to check out those lions. We did some more gambling, drinking and checking out the sites. Dinner was at the amazing Hash House A Go Go, where the portions were huge and the food was fresh and inventive. After dinner we headed over to check out the fountains at Bellagio, which are just so amazing, no matter how many times you see them. It was such a beautiful night, we decided to head over to the Stratosphere and go up to the observation deck. The views were breathtaking from up there, and Vegas looked like a lit-up Christmas tree. We also enjoyed watching some thrill-seekers ride three of the rides that are on top of the building. Either we've gotten old, or those rides were really crazy, because even we were shaking our heads in disbelief that anyone would willingly get on any of these! It was a great end to the evening, and our last official night in Vegas.
On our last day, we decided to try a buffet (hey, when in Vegas...) and upon recommendation, went to the Rio. They had an amazing spread of food of all types, and a spectacular dessert buffet (there was even a bar IN the buffet). After we stuffed ourselves, we decided to check out Circus Circus, since Colin had never been.
We then headed to the airport, checked in the rental car and leisurely got our boarding passes. That's where our fun ended though. We found out that our already delayed flight had been canceled, and the passengers put on other flights. Apparently we were the last to check in, so got the last two seats and also discovered that our flight would arrive in LAX just 20 min before our connecting flight was scheduled to depart to PDX. The ticket agent nicely says, “When you miss that flight, just check in with the agent who will get you a hotel and flight out at 6AM the next morning.” Umm, what...? You mean, if, right?? So, after calls to my parents (who would be bringing the kids to the airport to pick us up) and my brother (who was supposed to meet us at LAX, with his girlfriend during our original layover) to tell them we were either getting to PDX late or staying in LA overnight (missing our flight meant not seeing the kids, but getting extra time with my bro and his girlfriend). Ugh! So, after a short flight to LAX, we started hustling to find our gate, but ended up in the baggage claim area (signs it too much to ask for SIGNS??). So, back the way we came and directions from someone to get on the waiting shuttle (which we sat on for about 10 minutes before ONE other person got on) which took us back the way the plane had just brought us. And, then we were there?? Nope, onto another shuttle that took us down the runway where, at four minutes until our flight was scheduled to depart, we had to yield to an airplane. Yup, we sat there in our tiny shuttle, while a huge jet plane goes in front of us. Finally we arrived...somewhere...where a flight of stairs dubiously leads us somewhere (as another passenger put it, “Are we even supposed to be here??”) else. As we run up to the gate, they make last call for our flight. Sheesh! But, we were rewarded when we got home by a sleepy Miss Avalee, who was so happy to see me and Colin. When I picked her up, she grabbed on and held on tightly. Colin captured the moment with some really great photos of A looking very relieved and happy. On the way home, Z woke up and smiled sleepily when we told him we were back. :)
So, it was a great trip and we accomplished our mission of having fun, fun, fun! Although the trip back was a little more stressful than we would have liked, it was soon forgotten once we were reunited with our babes!

MGM Grand lions

Fountains at Bellagio

Rainforest Cafe

Colin with a Blue Man

View from the top of Stratosphere

The only pic of the two of us together, and it's blurry

And, we're home!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What happened to September...?

I'm not sure what happened, but one minute it was September and the next we're into October! September always goes a little faster than other months around here, because of football season. Yup, every Saturday, you can find us at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, cheering on the Ducks!
We also started out September with a certain someone crawling around!

Miss Avalee decided to (temporarily) give up on her dream of walking, and just go with crawling. I think she may have been secretly crawling for awhile, before we actually 'discovered' it, because she would oddly be on the other side of the room seconds after I left and returned. And, the first time she crawled, she was bookin' it! So, now she gets around a little too well. She can get from one end of the living room to the other side of the dining room in no time, which has prompted us to put up the baby gates and confine her to the playard at times (otherwise Mommy could never cook, clean or even potty!).

She is still trying to walk, and can successfully stand on her own now (her record is 5 seconds). She can actually stand up on her own too, but I don't know if she knows that. She will also walk with us holding her hands, and does very well. So, I don't know how much longer it will be before she takes her first steps, but I think it's getting close!

Miss Avalee has also increased her vocabulary! She now says 'brother' (ok, more like 'buu-buu' but cute nonetheless!), more (and signs it too!), Grandpa (sounds like 'bampa'), and she even said her buddy, Madi's name! She also said her first sentence; 'I love you.' She's actually said that a couple times, and it never loses it's cuteness!
And, in other news, we now have a new family member! Z has been talking a lot about our kitty, En Fuego, who passed away a year ago. He tells us he misses him and asks if he's coming back. We thought it might be a good idea to let him get a pet of his own, and settled on a fish. The nice lady at the pet store suggested a Betta, because of their easy care and friendly (it's a fish, right??) nature. So, Z picked out the “coolest” Betta he could find and we loaded up with all the gear ($50 for ONE fish...wha...??). Z had already named his fish, Cup, and try as we could to sway him, he wouldn't budge on the name. So, Cup, it was. Of course, Cup's care immediately fell to us, as Z went to bed before Cup was transferred from his...well, his new permanent, fancy digs. And, as it turns out, the process of transferring a fish to his new home is very ardorous and time consuming. But, it all paid off, when Z saw Cup all set up in his room the next room. Over the course of the day, he read Cup a book, played the guitar for him and told him stories. He loves Cup, and has done a great job of 'taking care' of him so far.

And, as I mentioned earlier, we've been going to lots of UO football games, and even took the kids to one a couple weeks ago. Z has been before; (actually he was there before he he was even born. LOL!) his first being just before he turned one. This was, obviously, Avalee's first game, and her appearance was highly anticipated. We have been sitting near a lot of other season ticket holders for the last 7-8 years now, and were excited to introduce them to the newest little Duck. They have all watched Z grow up, but we hadn't seen them since before Avalee was born (this really awesome couple who sit behind us, Kay and Joe, gave us some Christmas ornaments at the last game for the kids. How sweet is that??). We decided Z would sit with Grandma D (who sits a couple sections away), because he's too big to share our seats now. We took him over before the game started, so everyone could say 'hi', then he headed off with Grandma. Avalee didn't disappoint, and was a big hit with everyone! The only downside to the day, was that the weather was forecasted wrong and it rained through most of the game. Poor Avalee didn't know what to make of the whole thing, and seemed especially confused that she was just sitting out in the rain. Otherwise, it was a great day, and we even went down to the field afterward to have a mini photo shoot. :0)


Otherwise, we've been doing some work around the house and changing things up a bit. We're doing a little remodeling inside and will hopefully be done with everything by Spring, so we can start work on the outside (anyone know of any good landscapers??).
And, we, of course had lots of lazy park days, playdates and walks around the neighborhood. September was a great month, even if it did go by much too fast!
October is already shaping up to zip by too with Colin's birthday, our Vegas trip (during his birthday), Z's birthday and Halloween. Whew! Of course, I'll post more about all of that later!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Last year was our first year canning [pickles (well, my first and mom's in a long time), and they were so yummy, we decided to do it again this year.
We did some, and thought we were done, when everyone started offering up their cucumbers for us.
Z really loves pickles (it's his nightly bedtime snack, actually), so he was pretty excited to help too. His favorite part was adding the garlic, so I'm sure a few jars got plenty of garlic. ;)
So...41 jars of pickles, some sore feet, and one pickle-y smelling house later...we were done!

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