Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just a week in May

Stacy and I cooked our last Wednesday night dinner together last week.  On Sunday she and Rich will fly to Turkey, where they'll teach English at a school for at least three years.  We're pretty bummed, but happy for them at the same time.  We've had the hardest time explaining this change to Ava.  Because of technology (Skype, cell phones) she can't understand how we'll still be able to talk to them but won't see them in person.  She just keeps saying, "It's okay because we'll see them at church."  Any advice on making this easier on her, or us for that matter, is welcome.

It wouldn't have been a Wednesday night dinner without our best little chef to help.  We love this gigantic mixer.  It just purrs.

Between Josh's last final and the start of summer school/fancy externship we headed to Frost to see his family.  On a rare, chilly May evening Ava, Aunt Jaryn and Coach sat on the tailgate hoping to hear the first 'hi-oatie' howling at the full moon.

Ava kept insisting that they needed to 'scrunch' together to stay warm.

We met our favorite Cam and Michelle at Cafe Capuccino for bigger-than-your-face-fantastic pancakes.  Josh had a final on the day that Cam graduated from Truett, so we had to delay our celebrations by a few days.

I just love this shot.  Ava spent most of our breakfast in that exact spot.  We're so excited to see where the Amazing Reynolds go next!  (Click here for a little history on our friendship with Cam.)

On our way home from breakfast I had to snap some pictures of the gorgeous corn fields near the Locketts' house. 

{Insert pictures of the three of us lazing about for four days.}

We returned to Norman just in time for Ava's Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy Playnight/Awards Night.

Ava was excited to show off her skills for Daddy.

Waiting patiently with Gabby while the coaches lay out a plan for the evening.

Still waiting

Balancing on the beam

So focused

Just habit to keep my hand behind her, this is why they don't usually let parents in the gym.

Swinging on the bars

So strong

Swinging until she drops

Practicing her backward rolls

When do kids learn how to look at the camera?  I have at least four pictures like this for every one picture of her looking at me.  Thank goodness for digital cameras.  Loving that HLS look though.

Supporting herself above the bar

Blurry but darling shot of the girls waiting for their certificates.

With coaches Sandi and Teresa, who moved Ava and Gabby up two classes into the Kindercubbies.  That's right folks, our 4-year-olds are heading into the kindergarten gymnastics class.  To quote my dad when I texted him the happy news about Ava's achievement, "Awesome, I am so glad you married a man who is athletic."  Me too Dad, me too.

Gorgeous clouds in the neighborhood

On Sunday Rich and Stacy worked their last shift at Ted's (a local favorite Mexican restaurant).  We schemed and succeeded in being their last table ever to wait on.  Here they were at the end of their last shifts as waitstaff.  Congratulations friends, way to finish strong.

One of Ava's favorite things to do is cook with Stacy.

Carefully measuring out the ingredients for Nutella Chocolate Chip cookies

They were delicious, didn't last two days with this group.

The next day (in the same outfit, I know - she still needed a bath so I just let her wear slightly used clothes) Ava played in the backyard.

She was pulling some stray grass blades out of the flowerbed.

Not long after these pictures were taken we had to quickly gather our things and head to the law school basement.  "Historic\tornadic activity" was predicted for the late afternoon/early evening and we decided to go underground for safety.

Even though it's an invitation for everyone to give me hell, I packed up what we'd need to get through a full night at the law school.  We had enough groceries, clothes, vitamins, asthma and allergy meds, blankets, pillows, cameras, boardgames, and toys to last a few days if need be.  I guarantee you the one time I don't overpack will be when a true weather apocalypse does happen.  So, you're welcome to everyone who safely rode out the storm.  Keep teasing me, that's just fine.

Even though we were in one of the safest rooms in the basement, we made Ava wear her bicycle helmet and stayed under the desks while the sirens sounded.

Several church and law school friends joined us in our 'hidey hole'.

So thankful to hear the all clear for Norman!

I'm happy to report that we all made it through the storm unscathed.  Other than various colors/types of insulation and other debris in the yard, the house was fine too.  Never a dull moment with the crazy Oklahoma weather.

And a happy little video of the Bave singing a song to help her not miss Daddy so much while he's at work:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

To the Land of Chocolate, Knives, and Clocks

Josh, Ava, and I will be traveling to Lucerne, Switzerland for the fall semester!

When Josh decided to go to law school, we both really hoped to be able to travel.  Studying abroad seemed like a fantastic way to find out if our little family enjoyed moving about the globe.  Thanks to the generosity of family, friends, alumni, and law school faculty, Josh has an amazing opportunity to study international law at the University of Lucerne.

We chose Lucerne for a number of reasons.  A delightful exchange student from UL was studying at OU when we were making our decision.  It was reassuring to talk with someone who actually lived in the town, attended the law program, and could clue us in on everything we needed to know.  She also brought us Swiss chocolates, which totally sealed the deal for the Bave and me.

Switzerland is gorgeous, and the amount of English speakers will make it a great spot for us to test our shaky travel legs.  I am hoping to put Ava in a school, at least part time, so she can experience the languages (French and German) and culture of the area.  Don't worry Grandmas, I'm planning to volunteer at the school while she's there.

Because Ava and I are, evidently, too much for the country to handle for more than 90 days, Josh will be heading over alone on September 8.  His student visa allows him to stay for the duration of the academic semester.  Ava and I won't leave until September 21.  Our family has never been separated for that long before.  Also, Ava's never been on an airplane.  Oh, and none of us have flown internationally (unless you count Mexico).  Just getting to Lucerne will be an adventure, but we could not be more thrilled.  We'll all return to Texas together on December 20.

While Josh spends his days here, studying law:

Ava and I will spend our days here, studying the slopes:

Just when we thought this whole trip couldn't get any better I learned that one of my oldest and dearest friends and her Army hubby will be moving to Vencinza, Italy (256 miles, a short train ride, from Lucerne) in mid September!

Oh, did I mention Josh's classes are pass/fail?!
We are all giddy and thankful and humbled by this amazing, hopefully not 'once in a lifetime' opportunity.  We are so happy to finally have plane tickets and officially announce it to our bloggy friends!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sock Hops and Sheet Games

This is how the Lockett girls eat Nutella.  If you're too cool to eat it straight out of the jar - and trust me, you're not - try this amazing recipe:

Our Favorite Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 T granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 T vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose, non-bleached flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
½ cups milk chocolate chips
*½ cup Nutella

 Preheat oven to 300.
Mix butter through vanilla, sift together dry ingredients. Blend all together.  Add chocolate chips.
*At the very last second add Nutella and barely stir, batter will look marbleized.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12-20 minutes depending on desired texture.
Do not plan to have leftovers.

What do you do when the weather is too perfect not to be outside, but you have a sewing project?

We even had backyard entertainment.

A few weeks ago OWC hosted a Sock Hop.  It was loads of fun.  Here were Ava and Stacy's darling costumes.

 My attempt at a mother/daughter shot.  I'm sure someone in her line of sight was breaking a rule, very typical Ava face.  (By the way, we scavenged for our outfits.  We all agreed not to tell Ava that hers wasn't exactly 50's.)

Our favorite soon-to-be Turks.  Follow their amazing journey here.

Selling root beer floats for camp money, oh youth ministry.

Checkin' her email.

Blurry but just too stinkin' cute not to include.  The Facebook face recognition program tried to tag Ava as Aunt Jaryn in this picture.  One can only hope she grows up to be as stunning as her Sparkly aunt.

Group Just Dance on the Wii.  More fun to watch than participate I'd say.

Another pretty typical Ava face, though she is not allowed to cover her ears if an adult is speaking to her.  It was pretty loud in the church.

Ava and I were planning to head to Texas for a few days while HLS endured round 1 of finals.  I worked to get the house in tip top shape before we left, no mess distractions for Josh.  As I scurry from room to room cleaning, I almost always have a shadow.  She is handy though.  Some of her jobs include: "feeding" the vacuum (using the hose attachment like an elephant trunk), wrapping its cord when we're done, fetching cleaning supplies and hauling them upstairs, straightening books, making beds with help, arranging pillows, turning off lights, and anything else I think she might be able to handle.  Not sure she'll always be this eager to help around the house, or spend so much time with her old mom.

After all our hard work we had to play outside a little.

We loved spending some time in Texas with my family.  Nolan was gracious enough to show off his favorite game, Sheets.

Rules of Sheets:
Place adorable kiddo in the middle of the bed, gently drape a sheet over the top of them,

 watch them wiggle and giggle underneath,

lather rinse repeat.

These two

 just adore

one another.

It's so fun to watch them begin to play together.  I can't wait for the day when we can just let them loose in the backyard.  
{Actually, that's never going to happen.  Am I right Sarah, Nate, Cory, and Becca'?  How did we all five survive the woods and our adventures?  One of us will have to tag along in case BBB comes after them.}

After Nolan went to sleep Baba and Ava played games and read books.  These two are going to keep Baba and Pops on their toes.

Uncle Nate happened to be in town too.  We won't disclose our location in this photograph, but it was fantastic to hang out with him.  Hoping to see lots more of you in the summer and fall.

Baba, Ava, and Nolan played a little baseball to pass the afternoon.

Eventually Nolan joined me in the cheering section.

A little baseball time with Pops

Later MLML and PLPL came over for dinner.  Ava whisked MLML away on a 'haycorn' hunting adventure.

Loving the shady backyard at Baba and Pops new house

Since Baba was stuck at school all week, we brought her lunch one day and stayed to visit.  Look at these happy three.

The previous week's storms left many large branches down in the backyard, so Pops and Uncle Brandon made a huge fire.

When I'm in town, I love to stop by the school where I taught and see my friends.  They're always so kind to let me in and acknowledge my existence as they shamelessly dote upon Ava James.  They've all watched her grow from a tiny bump to this big girl who is almost as tall as Ms. Tammy.  We'll be seeing them all again at a dear friend's retirement luncheon soon.

Ava and I had a wonderful time in Texas.  We'll be heading back in a week with HLS (ahem, HLS THE 3L) for a little R&R in Frost before our crazy summer begins.  And if you think a summer of nannying, summer school, externships,  youth ministry, and camp sounds insane just wait until you hear about our plans for the fall!