Friday, December 26, 2008

Naughty or Nice

It turns out Ava was a very nice girl this year. Santa came and brought her some great presents. Her favorite being her very own cell phone. She was a lot of fun and was great at unwrapping as long as we got it started and she could tell there was something interesting inside. We had a nice quiet day and enjoyed some rest and relaxation.
More pictures to come...
Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, we love you and are thankful to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In Her Christmas Best

I may or may not have bought Ava a Christmas dress last year for this year and I may or may not have forgotten about it and purchased another one and kept both because I loved them both so much. She is just too dang much fun to dress.

A Love-Hate Relationship...

One second she would be laughing hysterically, the get the picture.

A Visit to Santa

After taking this picture a few weeks ago, we thought a picture with Santa wasn't going to be much of a success this year (even though I don't think it could get much better than this).
I don't blame her either, that was one scary Santa. Instead of putting on a fake beard he just painted over his own and it wasn't working for him.

Much Better!
We decided to give it one more shot and headed down to the mall last week.
Guess she likes the Santa that charges $15 for one 5x7, and that was the cheapest option!
What can I say, she has expensive taste.

(no, i did not pay $15, I just took a quick pic myself)

Monday, December 15, 2008

When Holiday Parties get Ugly...

Last weekend Josh and I hosted our first holiday party...our first ugly holiday sweater holiday party. It was a blast! I was not disappointed, we had a few couples really go all out which made the night, but everyone joined in on the fun. We had invited nearly twenty couples in hopes that half would come. Were we ever surprised when all but 4 couples decided to join us.

We had to squeeze to all fit, but it felt cozy and friendly and really great! It was great to have a house full of people sharing in a little bit of crazy Christmas cheer. Some of the sweaters were horribly disgusting. My personal fav, John, the man wearing the sweater that appears to be woven out of a Navajo rug!

We ate, we determined the winner of the ugliest holiday sweater (I think he was paying people off) and he won the "creepiest holiday pin" (wish I had a pictures it said "official mistletoe tester), we played games...or at least tried, we had a white elephant gift exchange, I was the proud recipient of a holiday decor piece personalized with "The Stangers"...p.s. we are "The McDaniels". Josh and I gave away "his and her" ugly holiday sweater vests. My favorite gift, a pair of Scooby boxers that said "Naughty is Nicer" (they went perfect with Cromar's outfit). We had many a good laugh over the "interesting" gifts people came up with.

The yummy food, pictures taken half way through because I forgot to do it before. The food was so great!

We are looking forward to hosting our second Ugly Holiday Sweater Holiday Party next year. I have a few ideas up my sleeve to make next years party even better and even more of what I wanted it to be. I even think next year, Josh and I will be sporting homemade ugly sweaters. Just saying.
Everyone left with a commemorative keepsake ornament featuring a collectible ugly holiday sweater design.
Many thanks to Mindi for introducing me to such a perfect website.
Then it was time for the after party.
The Smarts stayed after to help clean up and we decided to get the camera out for a little fun.

Good Times! Good Times!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

...and the winners are...

I just had Josh randomly draw three names to determine the winners of my "Pay it Forward" giveaway and recipients of this package of Christmas cheer...
Wanna know who, okay, I'll tell you...
Sam (Tell Audrey to consider this an early bridal shower gift).
I will get these sent out tomorrow. If you decide you don't want to pay it forward, let me know and I will regift to someone else.
Thanks for playing and sorry if you didn't win. It means you probably have really bad luck considering you had a 1 in 3.33333333333333 chance of winning.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pay It Forward Giveaway!!!

Remember a few months back when I won this sweet little "Pay it Forward Giveaway"? Well I'm not a total loser, just a slacker, because I am just now getting around to "paying it forward". Sorry to Jessica if I made her think she had "paid it forward" to the wrong person. But I finally got it together and thought this was the perfect time of year to "pay if forward". Who doesn't like to receive unexpected gifts around the holidays. So without further adieu...

Lindsie's Pay It Forward Giveaway ...

Included in this package of holiday cheer is:

*One totally cute "Believe" block set (who doesn't love more holiday decor)
*A set of holiday magnets ( a little Christmas cheer for you refrigerator door, unless you have a retarded fridge like mine that isn't magnetic!)
*a pair of black gloves ( I own a million pairs of these but can never seem to find one when I need them.)
* a "Believe" Christmas ornament (which would look great hung from the tree, from a door knob, or a cabinet knob.)
* a notebook ( intended to be used as a Ponder pad...more info included on that if you win it)
*Last but not least, (and not pictured) some delicious holiday be determined.

So if you want to sign up to win one of my Pay it Forward packages here are the rules:

1. You must have your own blog to perpetuate the Pay It Forward Exchange/Craft.
YOU MUST Pay It Forward! It can be something you have crafted or bought. (I'm am doing a Christmas these, you can do anything you want.)

2. You must enter by making a comment with something interesting about yourself and don't worry if I don't know you. Please send friends that would want to do this fun activity to my blog.

3. You have until this Saturday, December 6th at 11:59 p.m. to sign up through my blog.

4. The following morning, I will pick 3 of the commenter's randomly.

This is one giveaway you probably have better chances of winning, considering I don't have a ton of readers, not to mention, wouldn't you love to be able to pay it forward, especially during this time of year, or if you're like me, a little later, say... March.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Month of Firsts

We have had an exciting month so far...lots of new things happening in our family!

Let's Begin...

This may not look like a big deal, but trust me, it is. This is Ava holding her own cup, something she has never done before until a few weeks ago. Now she does it like a natural!

but it gets even better...

Now she is doing this too! Feeding herself, just about anything! She has been feeding herself a few things for a while now, like toast and crackers. Now she will do it all and she has learned how to put small things in her mouth too! She refuses to use the pointer finger (sensory issues) but the middle finger and thumb do the trick. She is one happy little girl and so am I. I can now put a meal down on her tray and she will feed herself, and the dogs, the entire thing. Life is so good!

Being raised by a pack of dogs...

Ava has turned into quite the little traveler. Her wounded soldier crawl is getting very speedy.

She also likes to travel with a toy in tow. She recently picked up a little trick from the dogs to get her from point a to point b just a little bit quicker...

" Look mom, No hands!"
She takes a break to stop and play and then...

...back in the mouth it goes and...

She's off!
Who is this girl and where do I get more?
I'm beginning to question our 3:1 Dog to Ava ratio.

No this is not an announcement...
nor is there one to come.

First Family Fun Day...

In the past a typical Saturday for the McDaniel family has almost always involved a trip to Costco to check out all the stuff we don't need but buy anyway and linner (lunch/dinner combo) at the food court. While I think there is no better way to spend a Saturday than browsing Costco and dining on a hot dog and churro for lunch, Josh was getting fed up with it and decided to plan a family fun day, something out of the norm, something that didn't involve stores, and boy was it fun.

It started out by getting hair done and getting nice and pretty for the day.

Then it turned into playing with friends for a little bit.

When we finally left the house we headed downtown to find something for lunch. We went to a restaurant called the Brick Oven Bistro or "The Beanery". Josh and I had soup and sandwiches, and Ava had...

"Please can I have this cookie, mom?"

"Yes, it's all mine!"

After lunch we walked around the farmer's market where Ava met the largest dog we have ever seen. It was huge! The picture doesn't even do justice to how massive the dog was, but it was very kind and let Ava play with it for a minute.

Josh's idea of fun was to head to the Boise Art Museum. It was pretty boring, they were in the middle of switching exhibits and there wasn't a whole lot to look at besides the weird crap some people call art, not the most exciting part of the day, but it turned out to be great. We ended our museum visit at a stop at the children's section where Ava was able to play and have a good time and we loved watching her. The shapes she and Josh were playing with were magnetic and stuck to a huge magnetic wall, she thought it was the best thing ever. Every time they stuck one on it would make a loud noise and she would throw her whole body back in laughter. Good Times!

I sure love these two.

It was a great start to Family Fun Saturdays. I am supposed to be planning something for this Saturday, but with primary program practice, I am hoping to get out of it and truthfully, I have totally been craving that hot dog and churro. Think I can swing a trip to Costco? We'll see...

Moving on Up!

This week during Ava's therapy session we started working on getting her to pull up onto things. We have been working with the laundry basket because it is the perfect height for her to kneel. She picked it up very quickly and is now doing it on her own as long as there is proper motivation. i.e. toys. Once she gets it down we will work on getting her to go from kneeling to standing. She is so close to a regular four point crawl, she just needs to find the confidence to go for it. We have also been working on getting her to go from a crawl into a sitting position. Once again she has the skills and can totally do it, but never had a reason to outside of being helped to during therapy. Well, as I was typing this post, I looked down and noticed she was sitting. I asked Josh if he sat her up and he hadn't so it looks like she has figured it out! Yea! She is getting it! I just watched her do it again, she has totally got it! Ava's therapy sessions and therapist have been so awesome. It is so nice to have someone help you figure out the correct order of developmental skills to be working with Ava on, especially as a first time mom who really doesn't know. Just last week I couldn't figure out how we were ever going to get from Ava's current army crawl to independently walking, it seemed like it would take forever. At Ava's session on Wednesday, Amy, the therapist, laid it all out for me and it feels great to know that we are not as far away from our goals as it tends to seem.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Best Halloween Ever!

Wow, kids really do make every holiday so much better! We had such a fun Halloween this year. We had a great time with family and friends!

Jason and Callie came up to visit, so on Friday night we got together with Josh's other brother, Jared, and his family to carve pumpkins. We carved in our garage which turned out to be the perfect space for this activity. The mess was an easy clean up and I wasn't stressing out about pumpkin goo getting everywhere. The pumpkins turned out great! Ava loved her pumpkin so much that she tried to eat it quite a few times.

Halloween day we were hoping to head back to the pumpkin patch/petting zoo because Ava loved it so much the first time, but the weather was a little sketchy and we didn't want to risk it so we stayed home and decorated sugar cookies, my favorite holiday tradition. Nothing better than a good, soft sugar cookie. I have to explain the picture of Josh decorating cookies. This expression is so funny because he is really smiling at Callie because he is so annoyed at me for taking so many pictures of him being forced to decorate a cookie, but it looks like he is having the best time of his life. That picture made my entire day! Ava also joined in on the fun by eating more than enough frosting and getting it everywhere!

And here is our sweet little witchy witch. I don't think it gets any cuter than this. We took her out trick or treating for the first time with our friends. She sat in the stroller the whole time, but she sure did love being out with and watching the other kids. We made a pit stop at our friends, the Burrup's, for the most delicious homemade spud nuts ever! A Halloween tradition I plan to continue to partake in for as long as they'll have us. Thanks so much guys, all that hype and I was totally not let down.

I've always been a lover of the holidays, but I have a new found excitement for how great they can be now that we have our little witch to share them with!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Festive Fun!

What do you know, another month has past with just one post. Sorry, no excuses, just a little burnt out on the blogging. With the holidays coming up I am sure things will start to pick up a little. We have been busy having a lot of fun though. Last week we went to the pumpkin patch. Ava loved the hay and was grabbing for it like crazy. I can't believe how much more fun Ava makes everything!

Her favorite part was definitely the petting zoo. She was dying! There was a camel that would stretch its neck out as far as possible and sniff at you trying to get food. Ava thought it was so funny. She is such an animal lover, which I just love.

I have also been busy making Ava's Halloween costume. She is going to be a witch this year. (Pictures to come). I also decided to make Ava a Halloween pillowcase dress, thanks for the idea Ruby! I am hooked. It was so easy to make and turned out so cute. I may have to make her one for every holiday. I already have the Christmas fabric!

I love this time of year and making the most out of every holiday. Tomorrow we will be having fun at a neighborhood get together on our street. We still need to make and decorate sugar cookies (my favorite tradition), carve pumpkins, hopefully make it to another pumpkin patch to enjoy their petting zoo, and of course, enjoy a little Trick or treating.
Gotta love holidays!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hello....Is it me your looking for?

Hi, Do you remember us? We haven't been around for a few weeks, but we are back and ready to blog!

Sorry about the lack of posts in the last month, it has been a weird month and I have felt super busy. I've hardly been able to find the time to sleep let alone blog. Oh, who am I kidding, any of you who know me know that I never go without my sleep. We haven't had a lot of exciting events going on in our lives, but to get my mom off my case, I managed to scrounge up a few little tidbits. The excitement is in the two previous posts, but to end this post, I leave you with a little eye candy...

I like to Move It, Move It!

This little girl gets around...the house that is! She has become a really mover and shaker and she is all over the place. This is her coming to get me after her nap.
But first she needed to make a pit stop to see if anyone was at the front door...
But what about the living room...Nope.
It sure has been fun watching her move, something that had been a very hard thing to imagine just a few short weeks ago. We sure love this little girl!
This is video from a couple of weeks ago, she still has the same crawling technique, just a little faster.