Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dancing in the basket

Earlier this month I posted a picture of Avery playing in a basket that Bryan's mom gave us. She has continued, despite my best efforts, to use it as a toy rather than a storage device. Here's a video of her dancing in the basket. Her shirt is completely wet on the front because he learned how to drool purposely also.

Glad to be at home!

For those of you who didn't know, I have been suffering from gallstones since just after Avery was born. Me, being stubborn, cancelled the surgery that I had scheduled for July to remove my gallbladder. I hadn't been really sick in a few months and of course I knew better than the doctors and decided to postpone the surgery until I was "really sick." Well, to make a long story short, I ended up in the emergency room early (really early) Thursday morning, and had my gallbladder taken out the same day. I am sore and tired, but glad to be at home. Bryan is doing a great job tending to all my needs, and for the most part Avery is not being too needy. The hardest part of the surgery is that I can't pick Avery up for about a week, so she and I are finding creative ways to get around this. For all of you who have called and offered help and prayers, thank you!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Avery and Brutus

Avery loves our Golden Retriever, Brutus. He is limited to being in the kitchen, but Avery spends quality time loving on our dog. Believe me, he has an affinity for her as well. He loves to lick her feet . . . ewww, but Avery loves it. She hugs him, lays on him, and points (rather pokes) at his eyes. She loves to try and touch his paws, which really annoys him, but he lets Avery poke and prod all she wants. These two certainly are a pair.

Hangin out with Daddy

These are some pictures Bryan took this week while I was at work. Avery loves wearing Bryan's hats.

Avery, Avery, Avery

Avery is doing all kinds of things to make me nervous. This week she turned into a climbing machine. She loves to climb; the futon, the couch, on my back, up on my knees, and even my chest. Yesterday, I was sitting in our living room, which is right beside the playroom, when I heard Avery let out a Tarzan-like yell. I glanced in and didn't see her. I looked in a little closer, and this is what I found:

No, I don't know how she got up there, but she was swinging her baby in the air screaming like a madwoman. I grabbed the camera, took a few pictures and promptly got her down, told her "no," and sat her in the corner. Not 5 minutes later, as she and I were playing, she tried to climb up there again. Argh.

Follow-up story . . . I guess yesterday I finally got through to Avery that she couldn't climb on her shelves. I guess I need to be more clear for the toddler who is clearly testing her limits. Today she was using it as a chair. Less dangerous I guess . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The GREAT Darke County Fair

Bryan and I took Avery to her first visit to the GREAT Darke County Fair today. For those of you who are from Darke County, I need not say more. It is a family tradition to go to the fair. My great-grandpa Bevins was the oldest male attendee at the fair for several years. His last visit to the fair was at 104 years old. The fair always makes me think of my grandpa Bevins, who spent most of his evenings at the fair. Every year he would buy Darke County Fair collectors coins and a commemorative hat. He and grandma would sit at the gazebo and watch the entertainment and visit with friends.
For you Darke Country foreigners, this county fair is one of the largest county fairs in the Midwest. Except for the last two years, I have been to the fair every year since I was born. I would love if Avery could say the same when she is older. The fair boasts food, rides, and a host of other activities, booths, and animal attractions. Bryan and I enjoyed a funnel cake . . . mmm, soft frozen lemonade, and corn dogs. Avery

particularly enjoyed the corn dog. We took Avery to see the dogs, goats (who scared her to tears), cows, and rabbits. There was a little petting zoo where Avery fed a cow, deer, goats (this time she didn't cry), and a llama. Avery also had her first pony rides, which she wasn't to sure of in the beginning, but loved toward the end.

One of my favorite things about the Darke County Fair is that you never know who you might run into. My aunt Mary, who we don't see often, was working at a booth and we spent some time catching up. My high school french teacher, Mr. Neleigh, walked out of the fair as we were going in. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Montgomery was there . . . and surprisingly, she remembered me. We chatted for a good while and then said our good-byes. It was a hot afternoon, and after about three hours, we were ready to call it quits. We topped off the day with a stop by my parents house for dinner and some time with the fam. It was a wonderful mid-day break from the monotony of our working lives. I think we wore Avery out . . . she slept like a rock all the way home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Visit from Grand-dad and Grandma VanDervort

Today we got to visit with Bryan's Grand-dad and Grandma VanDervort. We haven't seen them since just before I got pregnant, so they have only seen Avery by way of pictures and video. They live in Florida and have been traveling all summer, so Bryan and I were happy that they were making their way through Indiana. Although we only had a brief visit over lunch, Avery got to spend some quality time with her great-grandparents, who came bearing a piggy bank and a pink teddy bear. We had a wonderful visit and hope to be able to make it to Florida to see them in the near future.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A week in pictures

I don't have anything exciting to report this week. I started back teaching full-time this week, and boy, am I glad it's Friday. I have all 8th graders this year, and I am looking forward to seeing what the students can achieve.

I've posted some pictures of Avery that I have taken over the course of the week. Her new favorite activity is playing "dress-up." She starts every morning by watching the Wiggles while I get ready for work, but quickly proceeds to find any stray article of clothing and start the dress-up marathon. She is also enjoying trying on her Aunt Sarah's hand-me-down headbands. Avery has also enjoyed getting in and out of a basket that Grandma Bert gave to us. I tried to use it for toy storage in her playroom, but Avery proceeded to take out all of the toys and sit in it instead.

Some Avery milestone updates:

Words added to her vocabulary-socks, daddy, MOM-MOM-MOM, bye-bye, woof!, bath, banana, Bru (for our dog Brutus), monkey, egg, apple, ball, bottom, bear. Of course these are the "real" words. She says some version of these words.

New skills-climbing on our futon, couch, and coffee table, brushing her own teeth (kind of), organizing my laundry, playing with her belly button, picking-up her own toys, and using a fork.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jethro Jeans

I got some great deals on some very cute, but too big clothes for Avery. I was busily trying to get Avery to model all of my garage sale finds when she grew weary of this and started to read some of her books. At the time, I was trying jeans on her, particularly overalls. I couldn't resist taking some pictures of her looking very "country" in her shirtless and overalls look. My little Jethro baby.

Bloomington Again

This weekend we helped Bryan's brother Eric move. After a little grunt work . . . not much though, he's a college guy who lives simply, we went to the Bloomington Hospital Employee/Family Picnic with Grandma Bert and Eric. Avery got her first taste of cotton candy (not impressed) and chowed down on a hot dog. Bryan got a free "Dr. Seuss" hat and Avery playfully added to the fashion statement by offering her hat as well. It was a beautiful day for a picnic. Bryan, surprisingly let us take a picture of our family without any fuss. It is actually the first picture of our family taken since Christmas. We had a rushed, but great day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Aunt Tanya gave Avery her first Tigers t-shirt for her birthday. Until now, it has been too big. Here is its debut.

By the way, Avery is now climbing on everything now; our futon, coffee table, and couch. Notice her first "shiner" that she has near her right eye. She fell on our porch trying to climb up her slide. Here is the proof . . .

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet . . . I mean Avery . . . sat on her tuffet, reading her books all day!

Avery must have decided that the floor of her playroom was not comfortable enough, so she took a pillow from the couch and used it as a seat today. She sat on it reading books, inquisitively pointing to animals asking, huh? I've also posted some pictures I took this weekend with Avery wearing her new hat.

Apple Pie

I've decided to start blogging about my adventures in food. Yes, I am a total chef wanna-be. I grew up with a mom who cooked nearly every meal for our family. My mom is my inspiration as a cook, mainly because of her own try-it-once attitude toward recipes. I have always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen, not just for the express purpose of cooking, but for time to chat and catch-up with my family. I thought I would share some of my successes and horrible failures. I'm not one for recipes (except in baking), so a lot of the creations I post here may not be measured in exact terms, but rather in proportions.

I blame my mom for my fear of pies. Let me explain . . . I love eating pies. I LOVE PIE, my favorite being a three way tie between cherry with crumb topping, black raspberry, and chocolate-brownie pie. Alas, my mom is a pie queen, a master, if you will. She has been making pies en mass for as long as I can remember. For her, it never seems to be a chore. Perfectly rolled out crusts evenly pinched along the rim, just waiting to be filled a variety of homemade fruits or custards. Then when filled, a perfectly crunchy crumb topping or a beautifully cut out crust adorning the top. Now, for the irrational fear. From top to bottom, pie making seems to me a daunting task. You know why . . . you've eaten the hard-as-a-rock crusts and flavorless, dry fillings of some homemade pies. Its sad . . . you eat the pie begrudgingly and tell the baker how much you enjoyed it. You didn't. I don't want to be that cook. I want to live-up to my mom's pie legacy. To add to this pie fear, I have had more than a few pie failures, most of which my husband ate, but never seemed to comment on. Plus, you know its bad if there is still pie in our house after a couple of days.

To conquer this irrational fear, I started with the crust. I have to admit I've had mild success with the store-bought crust, but I feel that to live up to this legacy, that would be cheating. If you choose that crust, no hard feelings, but I can't bring myself to do it, I have a guilty conscience. I have discovered that the Alton Brown crust recipe ( is the easiest and best-tasting crust.

Since I have an abundance of apples on my apple tree, I peeled, cored, and sliced about 6 cups of apples, added 1 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2 c. flour, a little cinnamon and allspice, and filled the crust. Finally I topped it with crumble topping made with 1/2 c. butter, a little cinnamon, 1/4 c. walnuts, and 3/4 c. of each of the following: brown sugar, flour, and oats. For once, this pie lived up to my high pie standards (of course after it dripping in the over causing really smoky kitchen). MMMM!