Monday, August 31, 2009

An Affair To Remember

What would a post be without some Farmer's Market? Yes, I'm having a love affair with the F.M. I'm a lonely law school widow, there are worse things that could happen.

I decided to dedicate this Wednesday's trip to the Bave. She walked around and pointed to produce, and that is what I bought. This would not be advisable in a doughnut shop, but is completely acceptable at the F.M. First she spotted a mountain of okra. After the cutest description of okra, "Mommy, it's furry like a kitty!" the man selling was bewitched, and threw in a half pound extra for free. I was thrilled because my mom has an Okra Tomato Gumbo that is muy delicioso. Next mission: tomatoes.

Some sampling led Ava to this table of scrumptious red fruit. I'm not sure they let just anyone sample, but I've stopped feeding Ava breakfast on Wednesday mornings because she is offered so many healthy nibbles at the F.M. Ava sweetalked the lady selling tomatoes into letting us have an extra handful of dark cherry tomatoes to accompany the tiny yellow ones we purchased.

On our way back to the car, she spotted a trailer full of watermelons. I can't eat watermelon (it kills my stomach). I wasn't sure it was a sound financial choice to buy a watermelon the size of my child for only two people to munch. But the watermelon salesman was charmed by Ava's watermelon enthusiasm and produced this tiny little one from inside the cab of his truck. When he offered it for half price how could I say no?

Ava with her F.M. booty

(To Norman folk, this Wednesday is the last week they'll guarantee Porter peaches so make sure to stock up!)

Loving on her new friend


She wanted to hold the watermelon in her car seat, but the seat belt wouldn't reach around them both. To persuade her to sit I bribed her with tomatoes.

I had the brilliant idea to set the tiny yellow tomatoes out on the table like a candy dish. Ava hovered here for the whole afternoon, and within 24 hours the tomatoes were gone. Daddy helped a little too, but oh my this girl loves tomatoes!

A part-time nanny gig landed in my lap the day after I resigned at the childrens center. I pick up two fabulous kiddos from school each weekday and play and help with homework until around 5:15. It's been so nice for Ava and I to have something to do each day, and she is loving the instant friends. On Wednesday, when we picked up J.K. from school something exciting happened. Can you guess? I'll give you a hint: the tooth fairy paid her a visit later that evening.

Red-faced girls playing at the park

Just like Daddy, Ava is overcoming many obstacles.

Smiley girls

J.K. and Ava playing in the pool

Yes J.K. has a brother, but you try capturing a 3rd grade boy on film.

I'm working to keep HLS healthy and sharp for school. When I came home from the grocery store with this he called me grandma, then I informed him that it was for his vitamins. This way he doesn't have to waste precious brain space remembering when to take each pill. Maybe I am a grandma, but I'm a grandma who loves her hubby.

Cooler temperatures this weekend made all of us think fall. I can't believe this is August! Ava has been obsessed with scarecrows since she saw them in Rabbits garden on her Winnie the Pooh movies. When we saw this girl scarecrow with pigtails for a dollar at Wal Mart I could not help myself. Besides, she was, as usual, an absolute angel on the trip. She spots the things we always buy, and helps me hold onto my phone so we keep up with the list. (Any of you iPhone-ers out there need to check out Grocery Zen, it'll change your life.) I cannot imagine shopping without my big helper. Here was our discussion in the checkout line:

Me: Ava, thank you so much for grocery shopping with me. You really helped me!

Ava: Your welcome Mommy, and thank you for using your nice manners.

We should probably stop with her, right?

And speaking of Wal Mart, I am not really a big fan. I've always lived in relatively close proximity to an HEB. I had no idea how completely spoiled we were. HEB was affordable, offered many points club rewards and coupons, had excellent variety and quality, AND handed out a free balloon and Safety Pop to each child. Each time we grocery shop Ava begs for a balloon and a sucker. She thinks we're holding out on her, but no store we've found offers any kind of "be quiet and sit still" incentive for children. Even though Wal Mart has rock bottom prices, they do not have much selection. They also do not carry many of my grocery staples, forcing me to bounce from store to store each week just trying to complete my shopping list.

I feel kind of like Marian in The Music Man, except my high standards are grocery store, not man related. In one of my favorite parts of the movie Marian sings,

"Now, really Mama!
I have my standards where men are concerned,
And I have no intention--"

And her mother interrupts and sings,

"I know all about your standards
And if you don't mind my sayin' so
There's not a man alive
Who could hope to measure up to that blend'a
Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat and Noah Webster
You've got concocted for yourself outta your Irish imagination,
Your Iowa stubbornness, and your liberry fulla' books!"

Well Marian, I feel your pain. Ava and I are traveling back to HEB land over the Labor Day holiday. I will be visiting my favorite Hewitt HEB over the long weekend to stock up on my non-perishable staples. I'm also going to look into franchise information. I think I could run a grocery store on the side, don't you?
In situations like these I like to ask myself WWMSD?
What would Martha Stewart do?
(Answer: Find a solution to the problem that involves rolling up my sleeves and overwhelming myself by micromanaging every single element until I'm gripy and horrible to everyone who comes near me but somehow still manage to be fabulous and creative to the point that I make "normal" people want to puke.)
Hmmm...maybe not.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Who is that masked man?

I went to the farmer's market this week with fruit salad on the brain.

Mouthwatering fresh salsa and tangy pickles

After chopping all of our favorite fruit, I tossed them in some lemon juice to prevent them from browning. To combat the acidity I also stirred in some farmer's market honey, which has two benefits: 1. it's tasty, 2. native honey is supposed to help with allergies.

Later we met Grace and her mom at Reeve's Park to play. The girls were thrilled.

Peekaboo Grace!

Sweet hugs

Beep beep, driving the fire truck

Teeter tottering with flushed faces. It was HOT.

Climbing the ship

Amazing Grace, cutie pie
Don't you just want to smooch that little cheek?

Riding off into the sunset

We made a whirlwind trip to Frost to celebrate Nan and Pa's 60th wedding anniversary. Ava helped Mimi get her PreK classroom together for the first day of school.

Sometimes PreK does require a hardhat.

Our sweet baby James has been begging to ride on a school bus for months. On Friday Coach granted her wish.

"I want to ride this one!"

Ready to go for her first school bus ride. She was so serious the whole ride.

Checking out the scenery

Taking a no-nonsense approach with silly Daddy

At the end of the ride she finally cracked a smile and walked down the aisle. Unfortunately, my camera did not capture the smile. As Ava develops her own personality I see how serious and introspective she is about new situations. Reminds me SO much of her Daddy, just quietly taking things in.

What a lucky little girl to have a Coach with keys to the bus barn!

At the anniversary party I neglected to get a picture of Nan and Pa, so sad. Here are a few pictures of Ava with her newest cousin, Lynnde.


To celebrate the night before Josh's first day of law school Ava and I made costumes. She chose the color of the cape and shirts, based on Daddy's favorite color. His mask was special, with owl feathers, the wise mascot of law school.

We sang a few possible theme songs, and settled on one.

The whole idea is that we're a team of superheroes, with H.L.S. as our leader (hunky law student). Our theme song is set to the tune of the Wonder Pets song:

H.L.S., H.L.S.
He’s on his way
To study constitution, torts, and real estate
His books are big
And his mind is sharp
And when you put ‘em both together
He’s off to a great start
Go HLS, yay!


Each semester we will stack up all of Josh's textbooks and see if Ava is taller. Looks like she won this semester, although I think that stack of books cost more than Ava's entire first year of life.

While Josh read back over everything one more time Ava and I worked on sorting. First she sorted the farm animals into their respective color corals.

Nice work Bava!
(Baby + Ava = Bava, the A is long...this was her first nickname)

Next we sorted them by species.

Finally we played with unit cubes. She was determined to snap them together by herself. Her whole body would shake with the force as she pushed them together.

Loving my sunshine

Hmm...where could she be?

On Sunday Ava and I both had a "bump" on the end of our noses. I'm way too old for breakouts, and she is way too young. I attribute them to either too many Eskimo kisses or sympathy nerves for Josh's first day.

On his way to school this morning, so patient to pose for me. Luckily that million pound backpack has wheels, but he will have to carry it some. Do any of our Norman friends recommend a local chiropractor?