Ava // nine months old.

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Ava is nine months old today!  At 3/4 of a year old, Ava loves books (mostly chewing on them, but also admiring the colors and turning the pages) and food and music, tolerates having her face wiped after eating, and hates napping during developmental leaps.

To that last point (what she hates), about 10 days ago Ava was in the throes of a mental developmental leap (the Wonder Weeks timeline is sooooo accurate for her!) and she was basically on a nap strike unless we were holding her.  That made for a couple of rough days all around as she was in a glass case of emotion. Fortunately she has moved onward and is napping well again.  She continues on the night sleep schedule that she has kept for the past 6 months or so – she goes to bed at around 7:00 PM and wakes up at around 6:30 AM.  We joke that she has spoiled us and we can’t have any more kids because there is no way that they will sleep as well as she does.  And I function sooooo much better with my 8+ hours a night.  :)

Ava army crawls like a champ.  She still hasn’t figured out the traditional crawling, but army crawling (is that what it’s called?  She scoots on her belly basically.) gets her to where she wants to be.  She’s very chill and pretty content usually to hang out in the same spot with a toy or book.  She loves to sit up and play with her books and toys and she’s quite good at getting herself from sitting to belly or back.  Just in the past couple of days she has mastered going from her belly to sitting up comfortably – that we have witnessed anyway. I think she has been doing that for a week or so because we would sometimes go get her from her crib and find her sitting up, looking around the room. Speaking of crib….a couple of weeks ago, she and Kevin had a traumatic experience.  He was with her one afternoon and she was in her crib with the goal of a nap on everyone’s mind (except hers, perhaps).  She had never pulled up on furniture, pulled herself up to sitting, etc. so we had not thought to lower the mattress in the crib and it was still at the high point.  Kevin heard some rustling, then THUMP, and Ava started wailing.  He sprinted to her room and she was on the ground by the crib.  She had managed to pull herself up to standing in the crib and then toppled over the side.  Needless to say she got cuddle naps for the rest of that day and we lowered the mattress before bedtime.  We are so thankful that she is okay – no bump on the head, no bruises, no broken limbs.  I know this is only the beginning of the adventures that come with parenting, but it was scary for all of us!  A friend told us once that parents have to stay one step ahead of kids, and we learned first hand that that is true.

Her third tooth – one of the top center teeth – came through this past month.  She’s got an amazing little smile with those three teeth poking out!  She continues to be an excellent little eater.  Some new and interesting things that she’s tried in the past month include garbanzo beans (whole and in avocado hummus), cherries, blackberries, corn on the cob, curry, mushrooms, brisket, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, kiwi, and peanut (in the form of Bamba!  Such a cool snack for a baby.).  Her pincher grasp is outstanding.  I continue to probably cut things up a little smaller than necessary.  She has mastered drinking out of a straw, which is really nice when we eat out with her – no sippy cups for us.  I keep a stainless steel Norwex straw in my purse and in the diaper bag so she can drink water neatly wherever we go.  She continues to nurse around 6 times a day (give or take a session – which are quite efficient and vary in length from two minutes to ten minutes – depending on our schedule that day), and she’ll sip on formula when she’s with Kevin, Sue, or Craig.  She doesn’t seem to mind formula but doesn’t get too excited about it either.  Maybe it’s too bland for her sophisticated little palette.  ;-)

She loves the cats!  Anytime she sees one or both of them she coos and smiles really big.  Kiki doesn’t get close enough to be touched, but Rue does and Ava is working on learning to be gentle.  Rue isn’t sure what to think of the bald kitten (what we think the cats call Ava) and her newfound mobility.  Ava continues to sing and jabber a lot.  She alternates between ‘da’ and ‘ma’ being the sound of the day.  ‘Da’ is probably the overall favorite sound recently.  Ahh, it seems like just four months ago that ‘ma’ was her favorite thing to say – they grow up so fast.  :)

She loves to be worn in the Ergo when we are out shopping.  She likes to face out and see what’s going on around her.  She’s often a squirmy girl during diaper changes and when we’re walking around holding her.  Ava loves to play peek-a-boo and gets a real kick out of it when she holds her water bottle or book or toy up to her eyes and we say, “Where’s Ava?”  She is developing such strong opinions about things and it is so fun to see her little personality develop. She continues to be a serious observer when out and about, around less familiar people and places. She prefers to be held by Kevin or I as she does have a bit of “stranger” anxiety.

We have her 9 month wellness check on Friday, so I’ll come back and update this post with her weight and length and any news from the pediatrician.  We love our pediatrician – she is so relaxed and easy going about things, which is really good for a type A control freak such as myself.  Basically the only directives she has given us are no honey before a year and no walkers. Check and check.

Ava continues to amaze us everyday with her sweet disposition, curious nature, and energetic presence – we are so grateful to be her parents.

Cat-proofing.

Our little one has really been adventurous lately.  She’s opening drawers and cabinet doors.  She has been committed to exploring new heights.  She manages to squeeze her way into tight spaces.  Her little legs carry her down the stairs at a dangerous speed.

Naturally, I’m not talking about our 8 month old baby.

No, it’s the two year old black cat who has been giving us a crash course in baby/cat-proofing the house.  Rue has always been one to push the limits and see what she can get away with, but recently she’s been especially feisty.  We love her cattitude and that she keeps us on our toes.

Her most recent discovery was the Jacuzzi tub motor set up under the tub in our bathroom.  Our master bath is the final major house renovation project and we probably won’t get to it until next year.  At that time, we plan to take out the tub altogether and replace our little dinky shower with a big shower instead.  {Our thought is that people are more interested in nice showers than tubs these days.  As long as there is a tub in the house, it should be fine.  Any thoughts on maximizing real estate resale value on bathroom renos?}  In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with our dated bathroom…and duct tape over the already tacky door that hides the tub mechanics.  Rue was, after all, not deterred by the baby tub that I placed in front of the space (not a practical solution anyway since I need to stand in that space at least twice a day).

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I used the mustache duct tape, so…it’s classy, right?

Have you had any adventures in pet-proofing or baby-proofing your space?

My opinion: Stitch Fix vs. Trunk Club.

As you know from Stitch Fix posts one through five (one, two, three, four, five), I’m a fan.  Kevin has done Trunk Club for nearly a year and they recently started a department that does Trunk Club for women.  I wanted to try it and he got a $50 referral credit (cha-ching – of course, I’ve spent over $50, so let me assure you, we are not in the black on this deal), so I gave it a whirl.  Here are a few distinguishing characteristics between the two services.

Stitch Fix vs Trunk ClubOverall, I think I prefer Trunk Club!  I like that there is no fee to get a Trunk – then if I don’t want to keep anything, I’m not out any dough.  That being said, the items are usually more expensive as a whole, so my dollar probably gets me more items on Stitch Fix.  Stitch Fix also has this awesome (and dangerous) ploy to entice you to keep everything by giving you a 25% discount if you don’t send anything back.  I’ve fallen right into that sweet trap a time or two.  Or three.

Back to Trunk Club benefits, I also like that I work with the same stylist each time (breaking news: I got a Stitch Fix box last week and after reviewing it, I had the option to keep my most recent stylist so that’s apparently an option with Stitch Fix now.) She receives all my feedback (both Stitch Fix and Trunk Club have good systems in place to get feedback on the items, so, theoretically, they improve their understanding of what works and what doesn’t for YOU) and seems to be zeroing in on what I really like.  She also still sends me stuff that is outside my comfort zone because there’s no harm in trying it on for fun in the comfort of my own home!

Really, it’s fun to use both services a few times a year, and I’ll probably continue to do so.

If you are interested in trying either Stitch Fix or Trunk Club and want to use my referral codes (no pressure – you don’t NEED a referral code for either), here they are – Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.  {In the interest of full disclosure, I get a little $$ to put toward my next hit of mail order clothes.}

And now I will bore you with pho-toooos of my Trunk Club purchases (total of 7 items from 3 trunks received).

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Sweater brand is Caslon. This sweater is so soft and feels like pure luxury to the skin.
Jeans are Treasure & Bond. I love these jeans. They fit great and I’d buy Treasure & Bond jeans again most definitely.

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Shirt brand is Pleione. I love the pattern and the colors. The fit is so nice too. I got this shirt shortly after having Ava so it was perfect for gracefully hiding the post partum belly bulge.
Jeans are same as first picture – Treasure & Bond.

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Shirt brand is Caslon. It’s a long drapey shirt – my favorite way to wear it is tied up as pictured.  Would be cute untied with leggings as well. I think I did that a few times through the winter.
Black denim jeans are Hudson. These are by far the most expensive jeans I’ve ever purchased but they are worth every penny. The fit is great, they can easily be dressed up or dressed down, and they may be my most favorite item in my closet now.

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Tank is Halogen. I love the colors and the pattern. It looks great as a tank blouse alone, under a denim jacket or cardigan, and tucked in or left out.
Black denim jeans picture (same as above) are Hudson.

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Dress brand is Felicity & Coco. I really love this maxi dress. Nursing friendly, fun color and patten, and perfect for so many occasions. I do need to get the hem brought up if I want the option to wear flats with it because it is long – I’m on my tippy-toes in this pic. :)

Have you tried Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, or any similar services?  Which sounds more appealing to you?

On holiday.

There have been three holidays recently and I’ve now officially allowed enough time to pass since said holidays that I will be awarded the “Most Delinquent Holiday Post” prize.  A dream come true.

Memorial Day:

Oh yes.  We’re taking it that far back.

We started the weekend off right when Neighbor came by the house to take our yearly anniversary photo and some family photos.

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Another big task that weekend was gardening.

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Father’s Day:

We began the morning with presents.  Kevin always goes to get Ava in the morning when she wakes up.  They talk to each other, he changes her diaper, they say hi to Kiki and Rue and the baby in the mirror and then finally to me.  On the morning of Father’s Day, I snuck into her room as soon as I heard her stirring and put a book (Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too) in the crib with her.  It was her gift to Kevin for Father’s Day.  :)  Then he opened his other gifts (another book, a Shutterfly mug with lots of Ava pictures on it, and a framed photo of Ava) and we relaxed together for a bit.

We then celebrated with Kevin’s parents by going to Flying Star for breakfast.  Ava wanted to show her dad just how much she loves him by grabbing his iced coffee and pulling it toward them as he held her.  He got drenched and she surprised herself – didn’t know her own strength.  Happy Father’s Day to Kevin – he’s just glad it wasn’t hot coffee.

Later she enjoyed a strawberry.

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And the answer to her question, in my completely unbiased opinion, is no one.  No one is cuter.

Her dad is adorable too and I’m so thankful that he is my partner in this life thing we’re doing.  He is the best father to Ava, and I just adore him.

 

Independence Day:

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We road tripped down to Magdalena for a family reunion on the Saturday before the 4th.  It was fun to see everyone!  Ava met a cute little chick named Wylie and she really, really wanted to play with him more than he wanted to play with her.

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On the 4th itself we met some friends for lunch.  They have an 11 month old and it was nice to see them.

That night we grilled – steak and corn on the cob.  Because ‘Merica.

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Ava was on a naptime strike, which is why her eyes are sooooo red.  Nothing could keep her from enjoying her steak and corn though.

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The 4th also marks Rue’s birthday!  She turned two.  (I wonder how “they” know that the 4th is her birthday.  I mean, she fell out of a tree in her foster home’s yard.  Did she come with a little birth certificate?)  Rue would like us to request that people NOT shoot fireworks off to celebrate her in upcoming years.  She doesn’t like the noise.  For once, Kiki and Rue are in agreement about something.

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And that concludes the summer holiday recap.  I’ll see you in January for a Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s combo post.  ;-)

What’s your favorite holiday?  Any holidays you just don’t like?

2016 Reading Challenge – halfway point check in.

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The 2016 Reading Challenge progress update!

Allow me to begin with Ava’s current book total – she has had her staff read her 318 books since her birth.  My old high school does a “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, and Ava is signed up for that.  She gets a sticker and a free book for every 100 books she reads.  Thus far her reading efforts have added a Llama Llama (our favorite series) book and a Clifford book.  Her favorite type of book is still a board book which has thick bulky pages that she can chew on, and she’s pretty patient when we read her books too!  I love that reading to her exposes her to vocabulary that she may not hear in everyday conversation.  And she’s currently in the mental developmental leap of Categories, so it’s fun to incorporate that too:  cat in the book, real life cat sitting next to her on the floor, cat on her pajamas, etc.  We recently heard from a friend that research has shown it is just as important for babies Ava’s age to SEE their parents or caregivers reading as it is for them to be read to in general.  They are little sponges and want to copy what they see adults doing, so it makes sense that in order for us to encourage a love of reading in our child, we must show her that we love reading.  Twist my arm, I’ll sit next to her while she plays and read my book for a few minutes each day.  :)

Now on to my reading progress…  Here are the categories and the book(s) I’ve read for each:

A book published this year.

A book you can finish in a day.
Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic:  Lessons in Everyday Elegance by Jennifer L. Scott – 4 stars
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – 4 stars

A book you’ve been meaning to read.

A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller.

A book you should have read in school.

A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF.
Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides – 5 stars

A book published before you were born.
Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery – 4 stars 

A book that was banned at some point.

A book that you previously abandoned.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – 4 stars

A book you own but have never read.
Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – 5 stars

A book that intimidates you. 

A book you’ve already read at least once.

There are also a few books I’ve read that don’t fit into a category.  They are:

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead – 4 stars
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – 3 stars
We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – 4 stars
After You by Jojo Moyes – 3 stars
Baby Led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food by Gill Rapley – 4 stars
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – 4 stars
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella – 5 stars
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner – 4 stars

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – 3 stars

And to not leave Kevin out of this reading update, I’m not sure of his exact count on books, but he has read quite a few this year.  He has been into business and leadership books recently, which I think he’s really enjoying.  We listened to Jim Gaffigan’s Dad Is Fat on our way to and from the family reunion this past weekend – almost done with it so we’ll listen to it in snippets as we run errands, etc.  It’s pretty funny!

How are you doing on your 2016 reading goals?  If you listen to an audiobook, do you consider it a book that you have read?

Snapshot {June}.

 

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Making: Great progress on a work project.  We’re launching a new EHR (Electronic Health Record) system at work in T-minus 10 hours.  I’ve been involved in the tail end with some data entry and training stuff.  Kevin has been a project leader on the implementation and let’s just say he’s excited for the system to become second nature for all the therapists who will be using it!

Cooking: Nothing yet but we’re doing balsamic rosemary marinated chicken on the grill tonight with a nice big Greek salad entrée.  Tasty!

Drinking: Water.  Just like Kiki (see below).

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Reading: The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  So interesting!  I haven’t had much time to read recently though.

Wanting: An Advil.  I have a start of a little headache.

Looking: Forward to spending a little time with Lisa tonight.  She’s in town briefly and is hanging out with Ava this afternoon while I’m at work.

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Eating: Nothing now.

Wishing: It was Friday.  Can I get an amen for long weekends?

Enjoying: Season 7 of The League on Netflix!  Already missing Silicon Valley as season 3 ended Sunday.

Loving: Mint and chocolate Kind bars.  They’re like candy!

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Hoping: The new system is well received at work.  Most people are responding favorably, but change is always hard.

Needing:  A cuddle from a baby.  :)  I miss her when I’m not with her.

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Smelling:  I’m in a scent free zone.

Feeling: The wonderful summertime vibes!  Happy (early) 4th!

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Wearing: A striped skirt and maroon tank top.

Watching: A projected screen.  Training is about to start – gotta go!

What are you wishing/needing/loving/eating right now? 

Ava // eight months old.

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Baby girl is eight months old today! There really isn’t anything she hates, she tolerates going down for naps, and she loves eating, board books, bath time, sitting up, and things like buttons on shirts, jewelry, tags and labels, etc.

As I was typing the above list, I realized how complex documenting her hates and loves has become. The first few months it was very clear – she hated tummy time, she loved staring at her hands, etc. Now it’s less easy to list her interests because she is developing her personality and has grown past an ‘all or nothing’ state of being. She doesn’t mind being in her crib EXECPT when she’d rather be playing with us. She loves bath time but she hates being wrapped in the towel and dried off afterwards. Is that because she’s cold coming out of the bath or because she’s sad the bath is over? Your guess is as good as ours!

It is so fun to watch her learn and discover the world around her.  She is still very serious and observant around new people or in new places.  She is goofy and giggly and so verbal at home.  I’m sure you’ll be as delighted as I was to learn that “ma, ma, ma” has been reintroduced to her vocabulary.  ;-)  She’ll still say “da” occasionally, and she also has toyed with ba, ga, na, etc.  She continues to explore her vocal range – squealing and whispering and everything in between.  She eapecially loves a growling sound that comes from the back of her throat and she in the past few days began making a clicking sound with her tongue that is really cute. Her giggles are becoming more plentiful and we still can’t get enough of them. She loves to be sung to.  A few months ago her favorite song was “Hello Ava”.  Then she moved on to “Mr. Golden Sun”.  Now it’s “Baby Beluga”.  She gets the biggest smile when she hears her current favorite.

She’s a mover and a shaker.  She can sit up like a champ now – there was so much improvement on that front in the past month.  Occasionally she’ll still lose her balance but she’ll sit for 15-20 minutes with no problem.  When we go to pick her up from sitting she has begun reaching her arms up toward us, which basically melts my heart every time.  She isn’t crawling or even going up to her hands and knees, but she can scoot and roll and move herself around to get to where she wants to be really well regardless. We have one rug and no carpet in our house, something that overall we LOVE but we do wish we could carpet the house during this phase when she’s learning to scoot, crawl, walk, and, inevitably, fall. We moved the coffee table off the one rug and that has become her play space.

She waves her arms around and kicks her legs like a little swimmer pretty much nonstop when she’s fired up.  She still loves diaper changes (still in size 2 diapers wearing clothes in the 6-9 month range – she is still a petite little gal, sticking to that 3rd percentile curve when it comes to weight), but gets antsy and tries to roll around a lot more now.  We keep a little toy at each diaper changing station so that she has something to do with her hands while we’re changing her diaper.  She has a tendency to reach down and unfasten the left side of her diaper when she’s diaper clad. She has started sitting up in her little bath tub rather than using the sling and she LOVES it.  She smiles really big and splashes and grunts and plays with her bath ducky, and just has a grand old time.

She’s such a good eater.  Not interested in purees (unless they’re in this silicone feeder thing that she holds and controls) or being fed with a spoon, but you can tell that she is gaining so much confidence in her eating skills.  She still overstuffs her mouth (in her mother’s opinion) sometimes, but overall she’s really good at chewing and moving the food around in her mouth.  There hasn’t been anything that she has not liked, that I can recall at least.  In the past month she’s tried a few new things – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, pork chop, eggs, Greek yogurt (she actually didn’t love the full fat no sweetener Greek yogurt but she did like tzatziki sauce), and pesto, which she loved…  So far no signs of an allergy (thank God – I’m so nervous about allergies, even though there isn’t a family history of them).  She did get a few spots on her chest a day or so after trying the tzatziki and then Greek yogurt, so I want to keep an eye on dairy.  I was relieved that eggs seem fine.  Maybe soon we’ll have her lick a little peanut butter off a spoon or something.  Her pincher grasp isn’t fully developed but she’s getting better and better with it – probably because she has plenty of opportunity to practice.  I probably shred and cut things smaller than I need to because it makes me nervous to give her big chunks of chicken for instance – she’s so good at biting that she can tear off a big piece and, well, that makes me nervous.  But she manages to get stuff in her mouth really well, so it works out fine.  We have officially gone through my freezer stash of milk, and I hate pumping.  Ultimately, we decided that we’d start doing formula when she’s with Sue, Craig, or Kevin and I’m not there to feed her.  I don’t think that’ll affect my supply at all because she used to be getting freezer stash milk at that time, so nothing is really changing on the supply and demand front, but we’ll see.  She loves to drink water from a cup that she’s holding (with our help of course) or from a straw.  She’s holding steady on the tooth front with two bottom middle chompers.

She is still a champion sleeper and we feel so lucky about that. She goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up around 6:30. She has been napping really well recently soon and all 4 of her regular caretakers have begun to recognize the signs of needing a nap and summoned the resoluteness necessary to leave her in the crib for the 5-10 minutes that she’ll sometimes spend protesting before surrendering to the nap.  We all know that she is so much happier if she gets her two to three naps each day.

She is just so much fun and truly makes every day so especially special.

{One Month Old}   {Two Months Old}   {Three Months Old}   {Four Months Old}   {Five Months Old}   {Six Months Old}   {Seven Months Old}