We have had the best time in the last week! Richard had 10 days leave and we didn't want to make a major trip (like going to GA) but we wanted a little vacation, so we went to Kansas City for a few days. We did a lot of cool stuff but just chilled out and rested a decent bit too.
---Monday we took our time getting to Kansas City with a stop in Topeka (halfway to KC) and a good bit of time spent in Cabellas (a little outside KC). After we checked in to the hotel we went swimming for a while; just playing and hanging out. We drove around the city that night, trying to find our way around, and picked up pizza and wings to eat. ---Tuesday we went to the Kansas City Zoo, which was awesome. It wasn't too hot so we weren't miserable and most of the animals were active. We saw a "Keeper Chat" at the elephant exhibit where the keepers talked to us and showed us some of the training stuff they do. We also saw a sea lion show in which the trainer had the sea lion do jumps, tricks, barking, etc. Ava really liked watching that (and of course we did too). Anyway, we spent a good 3+ hours at the zoo and then went back to the hotel for Ava to take a nap and us to do a workout (DVD that we played on the laptop). Tuesday night we ate at a good BBQ place and then picked up McFlurries to eat by these cool fountains downtown. ---Wednesday we went to an art museum. You could literally spend days there if you really looked at everything and read all the descriptions and stories behind the pieces. Obviously, Ava does not have that kind of attention span yet, so we kind of sped through there "appreciating" what we could along the way. After the museum we went to the Crown Center area and had a snack by some other cool fountains and then took Ava through a Clifford (the Big Red Dog) exhibit in the mall area. She liked it for a while but there were a lot of kids there (most older/bigger than her) and she was a little overwhelmed. Mom, Kevin, and Shane met us in KC Wednesday night and watched Ava while Richard and I went to a nice romantic dinner at a revolving restaurant ("Skies") overlooking the city. We each had a delicious KC Strip Steak. ---Thursday we had breakfast and got packed up. While we were packing up Ava saw her little potty seat sitting by the door (ready to be put away). She picked it up and ran to the bathroom with it so we put her on the potty and she went! (She went a couple times on the trip but we had still been using diapers all the time.) Anyway, after we got packed up we went to the WWI museum in KC. Like the art museum, you could seriously spend days there if you really read and absorbed everything. So, we took in as much as we could and then went to Oceans of Fun (a waterpark). We all had so much fun there and Ava did great playing in the kids' area. Other parents and the lifeguards were all amazed at how brave and carefree she was playing in the water. She went up the stairs to go down all the little slides by herself and even if she went under the water she didn't cry or freak out. She was definitely the littlest one running around on her own like that. Such a big girl! Anyway, after Oceans of Fun we ate dinner and then made the trek back home. ---Friday was the start of Ava's hardcore potty training. I had her wearing panties or training pants (basically thick panties) all day and set her on the potty frequently. She had many successes and a few accidents. Mom and I did a DVD workout with my friend Kim (and Ava, of course) and Richard, Kevin, and Shane went to the gym to lift. I made Ava some "weights" out of some used up toilet paper rolls and she gets them out and starts dancing around, doing squats and stuff if I even just show her the case for one of my DVD workouts. It is so funny! I ask her what the DVD is and she says "kout" for workout. :) We went to the commissary in the afternoon and Ava had a successful pee in the potty there! Woohoo! (When we take her out I put a diaper over her panties so she can still feel the uncomfortable wetness but not make a mess everywhere else if she has an accident.)
---Yesterday we spent a few hours at the pool. Ava went on the little kiddie pool slide a thousand times and we took in the big pool a good bit too. She also peed in the potty there a couple times! She liked watching Shane jump off the diving board doing different tricks. Richard had her out in the big pool watching the people jump and she fell asleep on his shoulder out there. So we laid her in the shade on the side of the pool and let her catch a nap for about an hour+. We continued with the potty training, just taking her frequently and cheering her successes. Last night she ran up to me and said "potty" so I took her and she went. She really knew and did it on purpose! Overnight she woke up a couple times pretty upset (which is very rare for her) so I went in to soothe her. It worked for a minute the first time but didn't last long. So the next time I thought maybe she needed to go potty. I took her and she went right away. She went back to sleep pretty soundly for another couple hours and then the same thing happened again. I think maybe she is conflicted with the feeling of needing to go potty and wanting to stay asleep and getting upset.
---Anyway... this morning I put Ava on the potty first thing (dry diaper!) and she peed and pooped right away! She is really getting it!!!!!!