Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Short and Sweet

My best friend, Candy, and her daughter Ava flew in for a short but very sweet visit last week. I would give just about anything to live in the same town as they do but we'll take what we can get. Candy is one of the kindest people I know and is so encouraging to my soul. Somehow, although we only see each other once a year, she's managed to be there for me over the years more than anybody. I can't say enough how much I love this girl.

Bennett and Ava 2007:
 And 2010:
I'm kinda hoping it'll be like the Swan Princess story. Remember that one? We'll just get them together once a year and eventually they'll fall in love and get married (and hopefully skip the part where she's cursed and turned into a swan).
Jon had just filled up the pool the day before this so it was freezing. But kids seem immune to freezing temps.
Big Poppy had been in Africa for 6 weeks so we all went over there to greet him when he arrived home. I love how Ava is so comfortable being one of the grandkids in this shot :)
Ava had a true Midwestern experience this time--making deer jerky (She's more of an Iowan than I ever wanna be!):

We went downtown to the sculpture garden and to splash in the fountains (my favorite place to take the kids in Des Moines in the summer). Jon meant to have Bennett hold the "B" but I pointed out later, I love how it says "B-O-Y" with his face as the "O":

Judie had the boys and Ava all day on Friday so Candy and I enjoyed some shopping and lunch in the East Village and then Jon joined us for dinner at Americana that night (so good! And thanks to a certain hostess, we scored some free "birthday" dessert.)

Candy and I spent some of our time on Friday at TJ Maxx and wanted to get each other's kiddos a fun little present. I had been wanting to do something with Bennett for a while that I had read about in FamilyFun magazine so we took the idea and ran with it. We threw a "pretend birthday party" for Bennett and Ava since they both have summer birthdays and never get to go to each others' parties. It was basically a way to teach your kids how to be grateful gift receivers. You just turn it into a game by wrapping up silly stuff from around the house and then taking turns opening up the "presents" and the goal is to say thank-you and say something positive about each gift, no matter what it is (rather than the typical response from a kid: opening each gift and tossing it aside, quickly searching for the next one which my boys always do). Jon and Candy and I all went first, opening a silly gift and saying thank-you and something nice about it. Then we let each kid open a fake gift to practice and then they each got a couple of small real gifts too.
We even made a birthday cake. It was so much fun and took hardly any effort (Trader Joe's cake mix I had in the pantry already and homemade frosting):
We ended the weekend with a hike in the woods near our house on Saturday evening. We've managed to find lots of great hiking trails close by to do with little kids. They just love it. I, unfortunately, managed to pick up something poisonous on this hike and ended up with my right ear swollen about three times its normal size and itchy for days. I get stuff like that so easily. I should just start wearing a bee keeper suit when I hike.
We miss these two already. Until next year, my friend. 


  1. Absolutely precious post. I just love the B-O-Y pic. Ava is a sweet girl and she can be one of our "grands" anytime!

  2. so sweet! the birthday party was such a fun idea!


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