Saturday, November 28, 2009

From Tornado Shelters to Smoked Turkeys

What's the difference between a mall in Texas and a mall in Oklahoma?


Yep, there's a tornado shelter AT the mall. Fancy, huh?

This week J and J.K. were out of state. Ava and I spent the first part of the week preparing for Thanksgiving and relaxing together. There's a local grocery store that has kid-sized carts. We don't normally shop there because it's more expensive than Target or Walmart. On Monday, however, I only needed a few things so we stopped in for a quick grocery run. Ava was in charge of the cart, grocery picking, and payment. I took care of the photos.

Ready to shop.


Picking carrots
I think she selected three different bags before she settled on this one.


Headed to the check-out counter


Excited to pay with Mommy's card
I even let her punch in the PIN number.


On Tuesday we headed to Ava's favorite spot for after gymnastics lunch - Chic Fil A.


A surprise guest joined us!


On Wednesday morning Ava drew a picture of me. I was impressed with the details she included: two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a (sort of) body, arms, legs, hands, and even my purse. PLUS, great fine motor control with that tricky magnet pen. Hooray for Ava!


Our sweet friends, the Wilsons, invited us to Susie's swearing-in ceremony for the Maryland bar. Susie went to law school at George Washington, but they moved back to Oklahoma soon after graduation so that she could be the recruiter for the law school at OU. Because of the quick move she was never officially sworn in to the Maryland bar. She has also passed the Oklahoma bar...we like to say she's 'double barred'. Susie is one of the main reasons we decided to come to OU, that's right grandparents,send your hate mail her way. She cared about our little family from the first, and now she and Geoff are two of our closest Oklahoma friends. It was such an honor to be present at this important event.
I can't wait until my HLS is the one raising his right hand!


A Pooh Thanksgiving card from Baba and Pops


Thanksgiving is the 'lost holiday' to law students. It falls so close to finals that going out of town is not an option. We were so blessed to have Josh's family come and spend the holiday in Norman with us.

Happy girl with the Lockett men


Remember how I said that J and J.K. were out of state for the week? Well, their hospitable and gracious parents offered us their house for the Thanksgiving holiday! Not only did Mimi, Coach, and Jaryn get to stay there, but instead of cooking Thanksgiving dinner here:

we cooked here:





And instead of eating Thanksgiving dinner here:

we ate here:


All the Locketts, ready to eat


This was my first time to ever 'host' Thanksgiving. The crazy breakouts on my chin will tell you that I was stressed. However, it could not have gone any smoother. Beene Beene prepared the dressing parts, and Gordon assembled them. I had the turkey smoked by a local BBQ joint. Jaryn and Judy helped with the side items. A real team effort produces this spread -


"Can we eat lunch already?"



Warming tootsies with Aunt Jaryn


My thank you gift to J and JK's parents for letting us use their house.
(Click back up on the kitchen pictures to see what was hanging on these doors before my curtains.)


I even had enough fabric leftover to make some place mats.


I'm not a huge fan of portrait studios, but they fit the budget this year. I needed Christmas card pictures of Ava. Luckily, she's a pretty easy target. These were my favorite shots.





Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Love,
Autumn

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Faux Siblings and Such

Since I'm a nanny in the afternoons for two kiddos Ava is getting to experience a little taste of siblings. From 1:30 until around 5:30 Ava is in the company of a 9-year-old boy (J) and a 6-year-old girl (JK). The first few months J and JK couldn't get past the "cute" factor of Ms. AJ. Now that we are approaching the end of our third month the honeymoon is over. The kids have settled into our routine together and this mommy/nanny finds herself depending more and more on the portable DVD player in the backseat. The ironic thing is that the spacing of the three children is almost exactly the spacing between my siblings and me...spooky. (And yes, I have called and apologized to my mother.) Throw in the fact that Ava's nap generally begins around 5:31 and you'll understand that the situation is sometimes quite dicey. Luckily, I have the strange ability to step back from the situation and laugh (inside my head) at most of the shenanigans.

The first Faux Sibling influence I noticed was Ava picking up words and phrases from J and JK, only she didn't get the context. Example 1: "Mommy, these orange jelly beans are so yummy. That's not fair!" She said this with a huge smile on her face, as if to say "See what a big girl I am with my big kid jargon?" Example 2: "Really" Throw it into any sentence for emphasis, especially if you are asking for something. Thank goodness J and JK are nice children, who don't use ugly words.

The next stage of F.S. was begging. Ava had never been the child to continue requests after the first 'no'.

Pre F.S. Ava conversation:

"Mommy, can I have some apple juice?" Ava.

"Not tonight Ava. It's too close to bedtime. I'll pour you a glass tomorrow for breakfast," me.

"Thanks," Ava.

Post F.S. Ava conversation:

"Mommy, can I have some apple juice?" Ava.

"Not tonight Ava. It's too close to bedtime. I'll pour you a glass tomorrow for breakfast," me.

"Please?" Ava.

"In the morning," me.

"Please, really please?" Ava.

"In the morning, Ava," me.

"Please, please, please can I really have some apple juice right NOW?" Ava.
(This request is whine/shrieky with a very staccato,shrill last word.)

"Ava do not ask again. You can have your apple juice with breakfast," me.

Fun, huh? And sometimes this conversation is compounded by the very 16-year-old look in her eyes. Not sure if I can blame F.S. for that part. She's got spunk of her own. J and JK are usually very respectful in their bargaining. The children of two lawyers have learned that they'll catch more flies with honey.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are many positive aspects of having Faux Siblings. She has learned to sing with the radio, and sweetly asks me to 'turn up' her favorite songs. Her vocabulary has increased like crazy. Have I mentioned J and JK are genius kids? They use words like 'thwarted' and 'suitable'. Ava tries to compete with them in their genius.

Example:

*I'm reading a book to Ava and JK at the library. It's an Olivia book, where some of the pages are black-and-white and some have splashes of color. The pages with color are more desirable. Oh, and it's a counting book so I was having the girls interact with the simple print.

"One - what's that word JK?" I say.

"Ball" says JK.

"No, I want to say the word," shrieks Ava.

"Okay Ava this page, two - what's that first letter Ava?" I say.

"No, I want a good page to read," Ava demands. Her page had no color.

"The first letter is 'b' and the word is 'bows'," JK answers.

"No, that's my page!" Ava shouts.

After this Ava squirms out of my lap and stands in the floor. She crosses her arms very dramatically across her chest. The arms are so crossed that her elbows are both pointing at me at the front of her chest. Her bottom lip is all the way out. She stomps her foot once and says, "This is just TERRIBLE!"

Yep, sometimes sharing mommy is terrible.

But Ava is getting valuable socialization that I can't give her here at home. She's learning to stick up for herself at the park, and has two emphatic bouncers if anyone questions her. In true sibling fashion, although they bicker to no end, they've got each others' back. Ava loves her time with J and JK. She asks me throughout the day, "Is it time to pick up J and JK yet?" And the best part of Faux Siblings is that they stay at their house and you get to go home. At the end of the day she still has mommy and daddy all to herself.


On Friday Ava and I were J's guests at his Christian school's Thanksgiving feast, (both parents teach a class at noon). We were thrilled to spend the special time with J. Unfortunately we had a severely rude encounter at the feast. So rude, in fact, that I almost felt like I was the spouse of someone on staff at a church again. Yikes! I'm happy to report that Ava, J, and I reacted gracefully. As a reward for our tolerance of hateful people we headed to Starbucks for hot chocolate.

How could you be rude to this little face?


Seriously?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Potent Potables

I had no idea what to call this post, so I just went with this famous SNL Celebrity Jeopardy category.

What could these little hoodlums be doing?


Watching band practice of course.
The OU marching band had to practice extra hard since the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band was coming to town. I'm pleased to announce that despite what ESPN scores may have shown, the Ags swept halftime!


Our budding artist's newest studio


Watercolors are wonderful, and so easy to clean.


One of the best things about being married to someone who has a birthday 13 days before yours is that you can combine the celebrations and do fantastic things.
I pried HLS out of his textbooks and we headed to Texas for a weekend of fun.

Ava and Coach catchin' up like old pals.


Earning her keep


Of course a wardrobe change was required not too long after this shot.


On Saturday night Josh and I headed to the majestic Bass Hall in Fort Worth


to see the sublime Rufus Wainwright.


The view straight up from our seats


Happy after the concert, wishing Rufus would come back for a second encore.


At the backstage door, using our sexy pose to try to convince R.W. to come our way.
Sadly, it did not work.

Too bad we didn't have this little mug with us.
Who could say no?


When your Mimi teaches Pre K you will be decorated for each holiday.

Our little turkey in the straw, and yes she's sober.


Hamming it up poultry-style



Peace out


Birthday pumpkin pie


and fajitas.

I have felt so loved on my 27th birthday:
homemade too-cute pajama pants
fall decorations
pumpkin-shaped baking pan
gift cards
thoughtful messages and phone calls
a fabulous concert and dinner
a pit-stop in the pasture
lunch and dessert

and this sweet song -
video

What more could a girl ask for?

Thanks everyone!

*************************

Anyone who reads our blog consistently knows that we are early decorators. Halloween, Christmas...whatever, we're equal opportunity early birds.
Hate us if you must, but it makes us happy. Unfortunately our old Christmas tree is about two feet too tall for our new abode. We were so lucky to catch Garden Ridge when they put their Christmas trees on sale 50% off.
Here's Ava with our new tree.


Proud of our bargain


Look who showed up in time to assemble?!

All done


No pretty mantle, hopefully Santa will find our stockings


Ava's stuffed manger scene


A Christmas table and wall

THE manger scene
Funny story, the night Josh proposed to me Beene Beene gave us this Willow Tree manger scene. She let us know in a very serious tone that if "it" (being our marriage) didn't work out she wanted the nativity back. I've grown to understand her humor now, but I remember being terrified at the time. I'm thrilled to say that the manger is still with us.


Shelf above the buffet in the kitchen


Over the stove area


Can you tell what our favorite Christmas movie is?


Josh painted this for me last year. Could he BE any more talented? (Chandler this question.)


Of course the princess has her own tree.


Tonight we are enjoying the frigid temperatures in our warm PJs.
Sometimes when you decorate early the weather cooperates.
Does life get any better than daddy-daughter hot chocolates?
Not to worry, mommy's chai is almost finished steaming...