Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Baby Duck Dance Recital

Ava is the last one on right of screen

This is the first time she saw herself in her baby duck costume…

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Singing away…

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Ava’s favorite part of the routine was when the baby ducks got to shake their tail feathers.

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We were so thrilled to have all the grandparents come for Ava’s first recital!

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My baby ducks are a bit distracted, but this is one of few pictures to choose from because it is RARE that I am actually in the pictures, mostly hiding (literally Smile) behind the camera. Recently though I have resolved to actually get in more pictures, don’t want to regret it later!

Ava really enjoyed dance, she went with one of her fav little gal pals for weekly class.  Now that dance is officially over (we are doing gymnastics in the fall) Ava and Austin have daily dance parties a la casa.  Dance party posts to come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ava’s first day of Preschool!!

We’re BACK!!!  I’ve decided to dive back into blogging so the next series of posts may be a little discombobulated.  I’m going to attempt to post past events from 2012 all the way up to the present and in order to not be intimidated by organizing over a year of life I’m going to just post randomly.  It may be a bit Benjamin Buttonish, with older photos of kids mixed in with the current ones, but here goes!

I thought today to be a great milestone to begin blogging again because today was Ava’s first day of official preschool!  She started a new school closer to our house called Council Oaks.  She went in today not knowing anyone but told me she made a new friend already.  She is in Ms. Michelle’s marvelous monkey class. 


On our way to school!


Ava is about to draw a self-portrait. 


I was counting down the hours until 2:00 pick-up!  Ava ran up to me and first thing she told me was that she ate her vegggies first at lunch.  Honor system now and she seemed quite proud.  Her teacher told me Ava was “a doll.” And Ava had lots to say on the way home, here are two highlights:

“ I made a new friend who lives in Texas too!  I don’t remember her name but she is really sweet and she said I could come to her house for a play date”- Ava

Best part of day : “Recess on the playground”

Ava got to do a show and tell- “All about me”  She brought her Fancy Nancy book, a cookie cutter, a little fondant flower, and a picture of Boo and Ava snuggling.

All in all, a great first day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Frick and Frack

So we have always called Greg and Ava frick and frack, but I was looking at this picture of Austin and it reminded me of one of Greg’s pictures.  Greg is a bit older in his picture and they are taken from different angles, but their little expressions, lips and chins look almost identical.  Hmmm, maybe I have a preview to what Austin will look like in a few more years!




This post is for you Greg.  Presenting Jar Jar Boo…….


Here is Boo in her Halloween costume…

Let’s zoom in a bit ……

Jar Jar Boo

Hazel eyes and all!

Look out here comes Jar Jar Boo!



if you still aren’t convinced…..

imagejar jar boo 2

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Ditty

I have been so excited to write this post!  On my dad’s birthday I decided to write down all the things I have thought a million times throughout my life but never said and now I get to write my mom’s!!  First let me post one of my favorite pictures!  This was their first picture with both grandkids!

ditty paps and kids

Knowing where to start is the hard part because there are just too many attributes to count that I love and appreciate about my mom.  When gathering up all these things that I am thankful for I’ve realized that so much starts with an “I” statement.  The last thing I would want to do is seem self focused, yet there is just something so special about the relationship that we have.  She made me who I am today through raising me up in a Godly way and by all the time and energy she so unselfishly gave. So in no particular order here’s to you mom, I sure do love you!

My mom knows how to L-O-V-E.  I think she inherited this amazing quality from her mother.  Her love is SO pure and so evident.  I am extremely lucky to have a mom that loves so purely and SO much.  Even if you are one of the lucky ones that is loved by my mom I don’t think you will ever know the extent of that love.  I think she might spontaneously combust sometimes  because her heart can’t handle the depth of her love when she is cuddling with Ava or Austin! 

She is joyful and her joy is not circumstantial. 

She is an amazing musician.  I love how she loves music. She will never brag on herself but her voice is crazy amazing.  I remember growing up people would compliment her and she always directed the attention back to God and being thankful to be able to minister to others through performing. 

She made sure that our home was filled with music.  I remember she would sit down at the piano and play the most beautiful pieces and those sweet sounds would fill our house daily. 

She is lighthearted.

She loves to laugh and doesn’t take herself too seriously.  I love that she can get a giggle out of almost any situation.

She is “life smart.”  She is one capable lady on so many levels.

She is brave.

She is funny, has a great sense of humor.

She instilled in me a love for knowledge. Seriously, I loved to study… from my first test in elementary school to my last exam at Baylor.  This is because from early on my mom studied with me for almost every test. YES I don’t know how she found time and on top of all that, she made it fun.  I remember she made preparation for a test into a  game and I loved sitting on my couch studying with my mom.  I credit her with making me the girl that skipped college parties to study because that was more gratifying. 

She has an amazing love for the arts and a wealth of knowledge.  She is one smart cookie but plays it off all the time to get a laugh. 

I never for one second doubted that she would always love and accept me.  My mom told me numerous times (especially when I was a teenager) that there was nothing I could EVER do to make her stop loving me.  What an example of God’s love.  The part of this that really resounds in my heart is that she always showed that with her actions and not just with her words.  I have never felt any judgment from her, only support.

She took care of her parents.  When she was thirty-five years old she moved her parents in with us to take care of them.  She somehow was able to take perfect care of our family and also her parents simultaneously.  On top of that she taught piano and voice lessons from home, served in the music ministry at our church, and kept our home such a peaceful place.  I have no idea how she did all that!

She is unselfish on so many levels.  Now looking at her life as an adult,  I see the huge decision she made to have left a great career in the Christian music industry to become a stay at home mom.  She says she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

She spent TONS of time with me growing up.  She spent hours playing with me and made sure that I had a rich childhood.  I look back on my childhood with a certain amazement and excitement, I LOVED growing up in my home and I know so much of that is because of what my mom did to foster my development.

She is an eternal optimist. 

She is wise.  Her advise is always so sound and founded on God’s principles.  Whenever I’m in a tizzy about something she defuses the situation with sound council.  She will never fuel a fire but is a peacemaker.

My mom looks for inner beauty in others and was sure to instill this quality in me.  As a little girl whenever I’d get a “she’s so cute” compliment my mom would always say “she is beautiful on the inside too.”  Now as an adult that is one of the attributes that I hold most dear, to desire a heart beautiful in the Lord and this is because of my mom’s wisdom on true beauty.

She talks highly of others.  She does not gossip and has other’s best interests in mind.

She was faithful to teach me how to love the Lord.  She made sure I grew up in fellowship with other Christians and encouraged me to serve on mission trips.  By example I watched her serve with joy.  I went with her a few times when she did meals on wheels and she was so genuine in her love for others.

She left her awesome friends and beautiful home that she has so lovingly created and moved from Kentucky to Texas to start over in her 50’s.  Having my parents close is one of my life’s BIGGEST blessings that I don’t take for granted for one second.  No words can describe how to feels to know that your parents love you above all else in this world to uproot from an established life to be close to you.

She is the most AMAZING piano teacher.  Her students love her and she truly loves them.   I know that this is her ministry now to love these children.  She prays for their families and when you come to a lesson with my mom I know all those kids are being blessed by an outpouring of God’s love for that half hour! 

My mom is tough as nails. 

She appreciates the beauty of this earth in such a worshipful way.  I love watching her face when she takes in God’s beauty.  She does not let that pass her by, but instead I see her feel closeness with the Lord in  such things as sunsets, fall days, and looking out across the ocean.  I feel that God is so near to her when she stands in wonder of  his beautiful creation.

She is an amazing Ditty!  My kids are quite obsessed with her to be honest!  She LOVES my kids and loves to be a part of their lives.

She loves Greg.  I find so much joy in the fact that my husband and mom truly love each other.  Many years ago she decided that his place in our family was “King Favorite!”  I happily accepted that demotion from the favorite child haha! She loves him like her own.

She is a lifesaver to help with my day to day.  There are too many instances to count, but, for example, after I broke my foot she came over daily until I could get around.  I guess there is no escaping for the long-haul when we only live 13 minutes away and she does it happily !

She created such a warm and peaceful environment in my home growing up.  She was so welcoming of all my friends and they always loved her.

She was very involved in my life growing up.  I know I am so blessed to have a mother who put so much time into raising a child up in the Lord above pursuing her own interests.

She is beautiful inside and out.

Her laugh is contagious and she likes putting others at ease and making them feel important.


She is humble in the Lord.  I have NEVER heard her boast about anything about herself but has a heart of humility.

She is forgiving. 

She is an amazing wife.  I look to her example a lot in that aspect.  My parents are a killer team.  My mom has happily worked so faithfully along side my dad from the little tasks to the big life obstacles.  She LOVES my dad.

There was never any yelling in my home growing up but instead my parents worked through the normal conflicts in life in a Godly way.

My mom is the best listener.  She is one of those people that truly cares about what you are saying and how you are doing. 

She is extremely thoughtful. 

She is very patient with me when I feel frazzled (As much as I adore my children, having a 3 year old and 1 year old makes me have days where I am a few fries short of a happy meal!)  If I am having a rough day being with her always makes me feel loads better. 

She keeps the most organized and clean home.  She has made her home such a peaceful place.

She still talks about what the Lord is teaching her at 61.  I love that her heart is always open and humble.  She has so much wisdom but such a soft heart to God.

She gives the BEST hugs.  No joke I’ve never had a hug like my mom’s.  When I was in Texas before they came down I used to dream about getting those hugs!

She is empathetic.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!   If I am the kind of mother to my kids that you mom are to me I will be overjoyed! You have given me such a wonderful example, Thank you!  I love you the Whole Wide World Full!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  Or as Ava would sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today Alleluia!”







This is the best out of around a dozen attempts of getting a picture of Austin posed in the chair….so not cool mom I want to get down and PLAY!




Intently searching for those eggs…..


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All About Austin


Smiling up at Daddy



I wish that I would have been better at posting each month and a little blurb about the kids at that stage. Well, better late than never so here goes for Austin  at 15 months:

Austin is a snuggle bug.  He is the best at throwing his chubby little arms around my neck and squeezing! Almost every time I sit on the floor he bolts with a huge smile from across the room and throws himself in my lap for a hug.  When we ask for kisses he will lean in forehead first towards our lips, always makes me laugh.  I like watching him play peek-a-boo because he peeks through his little fingers to watch us look for him with a huge smile before he throws his hands down and laughs.

He LOVES music, he bops along and claps his hands to any tune. He even starts bouncing to my ringtone when I have a call.  His most used words are MaMa, Boooooo (Baylor)  Da (Daddy), Pap (Paps), Mo (more),   Ba (Ball),  Dit (ditty) Ava a few times,  and dink (drink). We are still working on Karo and K-Bob, those K’s are a wee bit tricky, ha!

He eats almost anything and everything, that boy is never full. His favorite place of the house is Ava’s room and loves laughing and watching his sis! Bath time is one of his happiest times of the day. He cracks himself up splashing and he is very methodical in his play- slowly emptying cups and refilling with different amounts.  He loves his basketball hoop and balls, pushing trucks, chasing Baylor,  and hiding under his Dr. Suess quilt.

He does sit still a lot (shocker for me because Ava is rarely still).  He will sit on his little Baylor chair in the garage by Daddy when games are on.  You would think he was juggling or doing a handstand the way Greg and I are amazed by that act of sitting still at 15 months, “Gina, you’ve GOT to SEE this!” and Austin looks at us like why y’all freakin’ out?  It’s not something we are used to I guess.  He seems to have a calm spirit and likes snuggle up to Sis and listen to books.  Austin will just melt into me when I rock him, still as anything and I can sing him to sleep.  

He signs a few things like Ava did and he uses the sign for more most often.  His favorite  fruits and vegetables are cutie oranges, spinach, beets, kale, cauliflower, blueberries, and raspberries.  He will not eat carrots or avocadoes which have always been Ava’s favorite.

It is funny how all of these things are normal milestones for a toddler but to me each of them just warms my heart.  The way he plays, laughs, snuggles, splashes and giggles at bath time, pops little cheerios in his mouth with his round little fingers, I take such great JOY in watching his precious little self grow up.

gina and baby boy

All about Spunky Monkey


Class picture day, practicing our smile


Palm Sunday

Practicing our Easter songs

All about our three year old spunky monkey:

Whoa, where do I start, I might have to start rambling over this keyboard without much planning because there are so many things I never want to forget about baby girl and I can’t seem to organize my thoughts so here goes:

Ava’s choice nickname to be called is “Miss Kit-Kat.”  This was initiated by Karo and Ava’s face lights up when we call her this. Sidenote, this girl loves Kit-Kats, give her a kit-kat and you have hung the moon.  The other day I was listing off all of Ava’s attributes that God has given her that I just love… she turned her nose up when I said she was sweet, beautiful, and kind (Which of course she IS and I will never stop telling her that!) But when I said you are spunky she got a huge SMILE and squealed “YES mom I AM SPUNKY!” So Spunky Monkey is what we call her a lot these days.

Ditty calls Ava “motion” which is very fitting.   She reminds me of a pinball bouncing between two bumpers when I watch her play.  She loves to ride her bike, play outside, catch bugs, sing songs, boss Austin around, and read books.  The only kryptonite to her energy is her blankie, lovie, and finger.  This trio puts her into a catatonic state.  She hids her little face under her lovie and zones out while she rhythmically sucks her pointer finger. 

Her book series and show of choice is Curious George. I think she likes the predicaments George gets himself into.  Case in point pictured below.  In one episode George spread flour around his apartment to pick up the tracks of an escaped lizard and he was praised for doing so. 


When Ava showed up like this in the office doorway I snapped this picture and started laughing.   Somehow it didn’t seem as funny when I saw my flour covered kitchen,  thus no more pictures as my laugh turned into a “yikes!'”  Let me say though that Ava is a VERY good, sweet little girl.  She is strong-willed at times… gotta love that cliché we parents use, for real though what three year old isn’t Winking smile.  Above all Ava has a super precious heart and is learning to obey so beautifully.  I love that child!

Ava raves about her friends from “school”- our mother’s day out program.  She asks to go everyday so she can see her pals.  She is a social little lady. 

Lately she’s enjoyed our “chit-chat times.”  I’ve been setting aside 15 solid minutes a day or so where we aren’t doing any activities, or I’m not busy with the daily grind or Austin and I just let her ramble on… and on.. and on…. and on… and on…. and on… and I listen attentively.  I will have to get this recorded because that girl loves to hear herself talk and seems so pleased to have me as her captive audience.

Ava’s choice conversations these days are about God and this delights me to no end.  She busts out jumping and singing “Praise the Lord” quite a few times each day and has the best three year old philosophies on God.  She tells me all the time “God is so sweet, Jesus loves me!”  Oh yes he does Ava Claire! She likes to talk about Jesus living in heaven and in hearts. She asks to see Jesus daily and I tell her that when she is a big girl she can ask him to stay in her heart forever. She told me yesterday “Mom, I’m NOT going to be allergic to peanut butter in heaven and Jesus is going to play with me.” I am so thankful for Greg and my home, our family, her teachers at church and at her school who are teaching her all about the Lord and his love.  I believe that she is not too young to start loving God and understand his provision.  Whenever she hurts herself she always asks to pray.  We thank God that he made our bodies in a way that boo-boos heal and when her boo-boo gets better she is not ashamed to tell everyone that God helped her.

My favorite time of day with Ava is when we tuck her in a night.  Greg and I sing, pray, and tell her stories.

Ava’s favorite healthy foods are still spinach, strawberries, blackberries, avocados, cooked carrots, yogurt, apples, plums, cheesy broccoli, tahini toast and cauliflower.  Her favorite treat foods are KIT-KATS, the chick-fil-a vanilla kids cone, tic-tacs, Daddy’s steaks and ribs or “Wibs” as she calls them, and the golden egg.  Ditty hides a golden egg at her house each time we go over, it is usually filled with some little chocolate candy.

Ava cracks us up when she uses the term “peanut butter.”  She knows that she is allergic and it must be a b-a-d thing so she will sometimes say “You are a Peanut Butter!” and laugh and laugh.  She in a glutton for punishment when it comes to tickle fights.  She loves to be tickled hours on end (for real, not consecutively but asks to be tickled non stop)  She squeals and gets the most mischievous look when she sneaks up on Boo, Austin, Daddy or me to tickle us.

She is SO very helpful with Austin, such  a wonderful sister and I’m really enjoying having her help these days. She likes to cook with me and anytime I’m doing a cake she likes to help.  I give her a little ball of fondant or an icing bag and she mimics everything I’m doing on the real cake.

She does like to listen to books with her blankie, lovie, finger trio.  I most enjoy her rendition of each story after we read it and it is her turn to “read” the book.  I am so thankful she is into books at this stage, love that time with her.  

And about her Daddy, oh boy does she light up when her daddy comes home.  I like to ask Ava what she is thinking about when we are driving, music off, at quiet times.  Last week her answer was “I’m thinking about my daddy coming home.”  The week before that she asked me “Mommy what are you thinking about?” My response was “I’m thinking about how much I love you. What are you thinking about Ava?” Ava: “I’m thinking about ice-cream!”