Thursday, September 30, 2010

Defying Gravity

On Tuesday Ms. Ava James started reading!
She's been sounding out words for a while, but on Tuesday I watched the lightbulb over her head illuminate, it's orange with pink glitter by the way, for those of you who were wondering what it looks like. She read every word I put in front of her, and was especially thrilled when we were able to string them into sentences. For the record, the first sentence she ever read was: Dad is on the mat. To celebrate her happy, gravity defying, accomplishment we treated her to dinner anywhere she wanted.

McDonalds? Chick Fil A? Chucky Cheeze? Not this girl. Sushi.
When we explained our celebratory dinner to the waitress she returned with special butterfly-shaped rolls. Darling.

For Halloween this year Ava chose to be Elphaba from Wicked.

I needed a new costume shot for my new blog header (cute, huh?) so we braved her snarfly cold and went outside to take pictures. You'll have to excuse the snotty crust, puffy face, watery eyes if you click to enlarge any of the photos.

I just adore this little costume. I'm going to get her a long sleeved leotard to wear for trick-or-treating. Also, notice her silver slippers. In the original Oz book and in the show Wicked the coveted slippers aren't ruby, but silver. I love the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, always have. As a little girl I knew there had to be some motive behind her tough exterior. When I saw the play, Wicked, I fell even more in love with her character. It all made sense. (Aside, I am not a fan of the book Wicked. At all. No good, in my humble opinion.) Anyway, when Ava decided to be Elphaba I instantly knew the shoes she had to wear. I explained to Josh that, with silver slippers to complete the costume, Ava wouldn't just be Elphaba. She'd be Dream Come True Elphaba. She'd have the shoes she'd always wanted. The circle would be complete. Josh mumbled something about no one 'getting it'. But I do. And someday Ava will too. What's the point of having kids if you can't make them as delusional as you are? Plus, the shoes were $10 at Target.

Preparing to jump

Toil and trouble?

Attempting to defy gravity

We bought cousin Nolan a Halloween outfit and Ava begged to try it on Sunkipper. Since we found out Aunt Sarah's due date (October 31) we've explained to Ava that Nolan will come out around Halloween. Every time the holiday is mentioned she says, "And baby Nolan will be here!" Doesn't she look like a girl who needs a cousin?

In culinary news, have you seen this? If you like dark chocolate and salt you need to run, not walk, and buy some of this decadent dessert. One square will satisfy your sweet, chocolate needs for not many calories at all. Simply divine.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

'Glee'fully welcoming autumn

One of our favorite shows returned with a new season on Tuesday night.
Can you guess what it is?

Sweet friend, Stacy, came over to watch with us. Our resident closet Glee fan snapped this photo for us. Said closet fan also purchases almost every song from iTunes each week, just saying.

On Friday Ava and headed to the Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie.

Thanks to Mary, Benny and E for the invite.

Trying to decide if she wants to get her hands dirty experimenting with animal tracks in the sand.

The girls loved the rubber animal track stamp station.

Pressing the stamp

to create an opossum footprint.

We're not sure what kind of little animal scurried across Ms. E's face.

Learning about the Oklahoma birds

A local fish hatchery brought fish, turtles, lizards, and some mysterious eggs - the girls' favorite.

Watching the snakes
On the way home Ava expressed concern that the snakes might slither over and eat the eggs. I assured her that the tanks would keep the eggs safe.

Writing in the dirt with sticks

Ava is determined to have a pet squirrel. We have an arrangement: if she can catch one then she can keep it. So far we have no squirrel at home, but that doesn't stop Ava from collecting acorns for the future pet. She's been picking up acorns for years now, remember this story?

Mary's brother is a game warden so the girls enjoyed some VIP fishing lessons.

Reeling one in

This is as close as she cared to get to her catch.
Silly girl, although you'll notice that this mommy hid behind the camera for all worm and fish related activities.

We started our Saturday at Jump Zone celebrating G's 4th birthday.

Ava, N, and G, three of the sweetest Law Orphans you'll ever meet.

She stuck most every landing this way

Having a blast

This one's just for you Cam, how's her form?

Later on Saturday we picked up Baba and Rayeanne from the airport. Of course we headed straight to Sara Sara Cupcake.

Pictures in front of the famous cupcake wall

The Ava Cupcake Diet
If you get half of the icing on your face then the cupcake is actually low-fat.

It was lovely to catch up with Rayeanne and Baba.
Please come back soon and bring Katy with you.

On Sunday morning we woke up to the first real cool front of the season. Blogging and playing outside in jeans and long sleeves, wassail percolating, bison chili steaming - autumn weather, you are more than welcome here.

What are your favorite fall traditions?
Please comment and share how you and your family welcome cooler weather.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A soft place to land

On Thursday afternoon Ava and I headed to Texas for a long weekend. Josh stayed behind to work on Law Review fun (ha). The fields around Frost, Josh's hometown, were full of fluffy cotton.

I braved the snake-infested field to snap these shots.

Our dear Beene Beene was spending some time in the hospital when we arrived. We didn't want to risk weakening her immune system, already fighting pneumonia, so Ava wore a mask and gloves.

After a quick visit with Beene Beene we headed up to the football field to see Coach, who was running the clock in the press box.

Explaining the rules of the game

One of the main reasons for our trip to Texas was another writing workshop. I had planned to arrive in Waco around 11:00 to teach the workshop, but stopped by the hospital around 9:00 for a very special meeting.

One of my oldest and bestest (yes, that's a word when you're talking about a girl you have 6-year-old bathtub pictures with) friends had her second darling baby boy. What a wonderful surprise that I happened to be in town (state) to meet him. I will confess to all my blog friends that I've been infected with baby fever. This snuggly little one has my arms aching. Congratulations Crow family, he is magical!

After my workshop I headed to one of my favorite places on earth, Hewitt HEB.

A real produce section

with print-your-own produce labels, gotta' love efficiency.

And a convenient sushi chef. Oh Hewitt HEB, you hold my heart.

Another reason for our trip to Texas was to celebrate my Mom's birthday.

Ava helped me make her favorite spice cake.

Thanks to Mimi for helping with the cinnamon leaf on top.

Delicious and beautiful, although I'm not sure how the sister who didn't go to culinary school ended up making the birthday cake...

Look who was well enough to come home on Friday!

Ava and Beene Beene ignored the oxygen tanks and cords, drawing landscapes of mountains and flowers.

Ava was so excited to have her Beene Beene back.

Coach and Ava built a domino tower.

Baba was very surprised to see us, though I have no pictures of the surprise birthday dinner.

Working on an alphabet puzzle, so happy together.

Nolan entertained cousin Ava with his belly-jumping hiccups.

You've heard of People of Walmart, right?
I present to you People of Waco Starbucks, there are no words.

Ava also spent some time with her other great-grandmother, Mamaw. Such a special bond between these two.

After a long weekend apart, HLS was thrilled to have us home on Sunday night.

He surprised us Monday morning with Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the newly-opened store down the street.

Home can be so many places: a billowy cotton field, a rocking chair near dear friends, a favorite grocery store, the homes where you grew up, or the home you share with the family you're building. Here's hoping your home is a soft place to land, and that you do your best to make it so.