Ava \\ twelve months old. 


She is ONE. Can you believe it? I can’t.

At twelve months old Ava hates having her face wiped and being overtired, she tolerates having her teeth brushed, and she loves making sounds (chatting, blowing raspberries, drumming, tapping, shaking objects), eating, and pulling up on furniture.

We could have sworn that she had some molars coming in (because HELLO Miss Crankypants for a few days) but alas, no sign of them on the gum line. She’s holding steady at 8 teeth. Speaking of teeth, she loves to touch other people’s teeth. She continues to be a good eater – definitely developing preferences and favorites, then burning out on something she couldn’t get enough of yesterday (bananas – they had a long shining moment in the sun, but now they’re just eh). She’s very good when we eat out in restaurants – as long as we keep food in front of her. She continues to nurse 4-6 times a day. I may begin trying to cut back but I’m not in a big hurry to either. She is no long relaxed and chill while nursing. Instead she’s fidgety and distracted, like she’s making mental to-do lists and is only taking time out of her busy schedule to eat because I’m making her.

She continues to do her cheesy grin – now on cue if we say, “Cheese!” She’ll show off the grin to friends and strangers – as long as we’re right next to her and she’s not being held by them. Stranger danger is a real thing and she takes it seriously. She high fives and claps (palm to outside of wrist rather than palm to palm, but details, details). She gets attached to random items – a wiffle ball we bought her, a pair of socks, a plastic cup – and loves the remote controls. And when I say she gets attached, I mean it. If we try to take the item away, she protests strongly. The wiffle ball basically became an additional appendage for a few days. We put her to bed one night with a rolled up pair of socks and she was still holding them the next morning when Kevin went to fetch her. If the Gilmore Girls intro song starts playing, she drops whatever she’s doing, crawls quickly to the entertainment center and pulls herself up on her tippy toes to watch the intro, smiling widely the whole time. There was a developmental milestone moment in the past month when she learned the concept of putting blocks in a box. The first time she did it I burst out with a cheer so ecstatic that one would think she’d just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Someday…)

She doesn’t hesitate to let us know her opinion about things, but is easy going for the most part. She is busy busy busy and loves pulling up on anything she can and crawling. She’s letting go and balancing a bit while standing near things and creeping her way along the couch but I think walking is still a couple of months away. She loves crawling up the stairs. She enjoys looking at books and having them read to her. Her favorite part is turning the pages and sometimes she’s a speed reader with the quick turns. She is a very inconsistent napper – some days it’s easy peasy to get her down and others it just doesn’t happen unless it’s a stroller walk, a cuddle nap, or a well timed car ride.

In the past month we went to Gymboree and the zoo and music class. Fun fun and fun. We also went several of Kevin’s football games and to a birthday party in the park for a neighbor girl who turned two. The park is a regular stop for us in general. Ava loves the swing, crawls up the little slide like a boss, and loves sliding down (a controlled slide, with us holding her around the waist or on our laps, sliding with her). She eats the occasional handful of sand and has a jolly time. We have been so good about continuing our morning constitutional walks as a family (minus Kiki and Rue. Speaking of the cats, Ava still adores them and gets really excited when they are nearby.)

Her eyes are blue, her hair is blond. We weighed her when we went in for her flu shot last week and the scale boasted 17.5 lbs. which takes her up to the 17th percentile for weight. I’ll update her height here after her 12 month check up on the 31st. Her disposition is sweet and serious and playful and opinionated. She’s started to put different syllables together when she chatters and she’s really good at imitating sounds. She recognizes many items and will get her book, duck, monkey, cat, etc. when we ask her where said item is.

The past year has been so many things – fun, entertaining, challenging, emotional. We love our little Ava and are so grateful she’s ours.

{This link should take you to a video compilation of clips from her first year. I’m uploading this from my phone though, so if it is wonky I’ll embed the video later. :) }

Things we love – months four thru eleven.

I had every intention of doing a post like this every four months or so after I hit the publish button on this one.  That obviously didn’t happen.  But there are a few things that Ava has really loved and that we have loved for her, so here they are. {It should go without saying that none of these companies know I exist and this is not a sponsored post, but I’ll say it anyway.  No sponsorship here.}


ZoLi straw cup – This cup is sturdy (as evidenced by its continued integrity following many, many gravity tests) and easy for little hands to manipulate. The straw has a little weight on the end so it goes to wherever the water is based on the angle at which it is being held. It’s also a stellar tool for an impromptu game of peek-a-boo.



4Moms high chair – This is one of the pricier high chairs on the market so definitely a splurge. But we LOVE it and it has been worth every penny. No cloth, no vinyl. So easy to wipe down and clean which is important with any type of solid food consumption and imperative with baby led weaning – or with feeding babies in general, I suppose!  Seriously, this thing takes less than a minute to clean, regardless of how messy she was at mealtime.  Like the time I gave her a little tub of yogurt and told her to go to town while I cooked dinner.  The tray (secured by super strong magnets) is easy to remove and attach with one hand, leaving the other hand free for holding a baby or food or a glass of wine. ;-)  The chair is the perfect height for our table and we will continue to use it as a booster seat without the tray when she’s a little older. {Also, look how tiny she is in this picture! Just a little 6 month old.)



Music class instruments – these little instruments came with our music class and Ava loves loves loves them.  It has been really fun to see her go from just chewing on everything to actually shaking, rattling, jingling, drumming…



Lamaze fish bowl toy – (I keep forgetting to get a picture.  Maybe I’ll add one later…or maybe you should just click the link.)  This was a gift from a woman I work with to my mother-in-law and my MIL was generous enough to give the toy to us to keep at our house so Ava can play with it anytime. Ava loves all the little toys in the fish bowl, but the crinkly crab is her favorite. This toy is used in the Roots of Empathy program, which is further proof that it’s awesome. Sidenote:  We have since become some kind of advertisement for Lamaze/Tomy toys because we also own this clutch cube and this book and these stacking rings.


Board books – They are sturdy and can hold up against a little rough love. We have several little sets of board books from Usborne and really like them a lot. We have started limiting and monitoring their time with Ava after she sprouted teeth because those sharp little chompers can really put a dent in the poor books.



Crinkly and cloth and indestructible books – We were given one cloth book of nursery rhymes as a shower gift and we got as a gift from a work friend a Hallmark brand crinkly book that has been a perfect diaper bag toy.  I also ordered a cloth book from an Usborne rep, and that one is perfect to keep in the travel crib that normally lives in our room (so we can corral Ava while we get ready in the morning and don’t want to fight her eating the cat food).  I also got her three Indestructibles books, which are amazing.  We keep one in the diaper bag, one in the travel crib, and one downstairs in the pack and play.



Blocks – Every kid needs blocks, right?  It’s like some kind of developmental necessity.  So I found these and they are perfect.  The colors are great – bright and fun.  There are numbers (1-10) and animals and interesting shapes on each.  I love the little bag for storage, and we don’t have to worry about splinters or paint chipping off when Ava inevitably gnaws on them.



American Pediatrics book – We bought this monster right after Ava was born and we call it the user manual.  :)  {It’s still crazy to me that they just sent us home from the hospital with this little bitty human being.  We had no training, no experience, save a two hour infant CPR class.}  We’ve referred to it a fair amount and will continue to do so as it covers ages birth through five.  At which point I guess we need a new manual.

Tell me a few things you love – kid related or NOT!

This and that. And then some more this.

I’ve been listening to The Woman In Cabin 10 on Audible as I drive around town. I can’t decide if I find the British accent of the narrator pleasant or annoying. The storyline has been keeping me on the edge of my car seat.

You’ve seen those three fictional character posts, right?  You choose three fictional characters to describe yourself.  Kevin and I played the game last week and here’s what we came up with:

img_8924For Kevin:  Coach Taylor (Kevin’s pick), Captain America (Amy’s pick), Peeta Mellark (mutual pick)

Honorable Mention:
Adult Simba from The Lion King
Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights.


For Amy:  Hermione Granger (Kevin’s pick), Rory Gilmore (Amy’s pick), Pam Halpert nee Beesley (mutual pick)

Honorable Mention:
Lizzy Bennet from Pride and Prejudice
Kathleen Kelly from You’ve Got Mail.

There was a request (hi Allie!) for a photo of Ava in the grocery cart with the cart cover my mom made.  Isn’t she the cutest little eleven month old?  Just sittin’ there, waiting for high noon on Sunday so she can buy beer at Costco.


We’ve had the final Mockingjay movie for about four months, courtesy of our Netflix subscription.  Four months is a long time.  I’m surprised they haven’t demanded it back at this point.  I’ve heard it’s good.  It’s just so hard to commit to a full movie.  It’s not hard to commit to five consecutive Friends episodes, but a movie…

I did recently discover (thanks to my mom and sister) that Milk Money streams on Netflix.  If you haven’t seen Milk Money (Melanie Griffith, Ed Harris), please…watch it immediately.  1990’s comedy at its finest.

And now I’ll leave you with a series of pizza photos because…they’re adorable.




What three fictional characters are you?  What’s your favorite 90’s movie?  And pizza toppings – what do you order?  {Ava likes cheese.}

Snapshot {September}.


Making: A meal plan for the week.  I have been composing blog posts in my head that talk about our go-to recipes.  Someday, someday, I will put fingertips to keyboard and make these posts a reality.  And they will be masterful because I’ve had plenty of time to mentally edit them into recipe link perfection.

Cooking: Nothing now.  But dinner was just me and Ava tonight so we kept it casual.  I had beef ramen with peas, an over medium egg, and a squirt of sriracha on top.  It was really tasty and will become a regular for solo lunches and dinners, I do believe.  Ava had a banana, some puffs (purple carrot and blueberry), blackberries, and peas.  Gourmet.

Drinking: Water.  Always and forever.  I really should just take that question off this monthly snapshot because I ran out of creative ways to say water back in March.


Reading: Finished The Bully Pulpit!  It was really, really great.  I loved it.  Taft may be one of my new favorite past Presidents.  Roosevelt did a lot of good things, but goodness his temperament could be quite explosive.  Anyway.  The here and now.  I’m not reading anything seriously.  I’m listening to The Woman in Cabin 10 (is listening really reading?  I go back and forth on this.).  And I’ve had Jen Hatmaker’s Out of the Spin Cycle by the glider in Ava’s room forever, picking away at it during nursing sessions when it’s not too dark and she’s not too nibble-happy (which means I have to pay attention to her little jaw and can’t be distracted).

Wanting: Steak.  Which basically means Kevin is cooking tomorrow night because I don’t do the grill.  No matter how many times he shows me how to turn it on, I can never remember and am convinced I’ll blow myself up if I try.


Looking: At a new haircut and color in the mirror.  Back with bangs.  My forehead has felt more like a sevenhead recently, so I decided to cover it up.  I’ll be happy with this decision until I’m not and then it will take years to grow the silly bangs out and just when I get them long enough to not look like bangs I’ll decide to cut them again.  Vicious cycle.

Eating: Nothing now – my ramen was filling.

Wishing: All the video clips from Ava’s first eleven months would splice themselves together into a perfect little movie.  Video making is tedious.


Enjoying: The cool, crisp mornings.  We’ve been walking around the neighborhood each AM and it feels so nice.  The daytime mercury still hits the 80’s – which I also enjoy – but fall is always welcome.

Loving: Friends re-runs.  Really.  Do they ever get old?  I’m also loving these.  Should I get them?

Hoping: Kevin’s football team pulls out a win at their game tonight.


Needing: A pair of grey boots.  Okay.  Maybe this isn’t a need.  But then again maybe it is – grey is so versatile.  I retired my old grey boots at the end of last winter and now I’m finding it impossible to find a suitable replacement.  I would settle for a pair of perfect black boots, but I prefer grey.  I don’t want booties.  I don’t want over the knee boots.  I don’t want a gap between my calf and the boot material.  I don’t want a lot of buckles or any rhinestones or other embellishments.  Do these boots exist?

Smelling: Kiki’s sitting next me.  She smells like dusty books.  She always smells that way.  It’s a sweet scent.

Feeling: All the warm and fuzzy feelings for my baby girl.  How do parents do this parenting thing for, you know, forever?  I can’t wait to find out. I’m incapable of putting how much I love her into words.


Wearing: Sweats and a white V-neck t-shirt.  Nothing but glamour on a Friday night.

Watching: Gilmore Girls.  It’s the one where Jess and Rory are studying and they go to get ice cream and Jess is driving and wrecks Rory’s car and Luke and Lorelei yell at each other.

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

Ava // eleven months old.


My baby is 11 months old. I don’t know if you know this, but that is one short month shy of ONE YEAR OLD. Shaking. My. Head. At 11 months old, Ava hates napping, tolerates her car seat, and loves eating, pulling up on furniture, and stroller walks around the neighborhood.

In the past month she sprouted four new teeth – two on the top and two on the bottom. In hindsight, it’s no wonder she was cranky on our road trip to Magdalena for my cousin’s wedding. Poor girl’s gums were probably on fire. She’s putting those chompers to good use – eating like a champ. Tends to prefer carbs and meat over veggies, but who can blame her for that, right? She continues to nurse four to six times each day and has been very respectful of her mom – no biting recently (knock on every piece of wood in the world).

Craig and Sue went out of town for a week so Ava went to stay with Honnie (the best kind of family friend) for three half days. She did great and they had a lot of fun. We have gone to story time at the local library a few times and Ava enjoys that – especially these little plastic eggs filled with rice that are brought out during the play time. They are great to shake and put in the mouth (we’re building immunity, we’re building immunity, we’re building immunity – my chant). We also went to a Gymboree class which was fun but also at a time when we should have been napping, so there were a lot of emotions. Rounding out our social and academic calendar is music class which had resumed. Ava loves her music instruments and Miss Louise who teaches the class.

Physically she’s getting so strong and working so hard. She pulls up on anything and everything, creeps along the edge of the couch, etc., and has taken to letting go on occasion and balances very briefly. I don’t think she’ll be walking by her birthday but she may explore the idea of taking a few steps by then. Or she may stick to crawling, which she has full on mastered and looks adorable doing. She’s like a little bear cub lumbering about on her hands and knees. Sometimes she has found an item (ducky, toy, CD or DVD case) that she can’t bear to let go so she crawls on two knees, one hand, and one forearm, clutching her treasure with the other hand. Dedication. She likes to climb up the stairs, with one of us right by her obviously. We finally started putting her in the front of the grocery cart when we’re at the store rather than wearing her in the Ergo. My mom made us a cart cover which has worked well.

We’ve been on the nap time struggle bus for the past week or so. Maybe she’s dropping the morning (two hours after she wakes up) nap? Maybe it’s the developmental leap that she’s in right now? Maybe she’s just got too much to do – no time to nap, mom? It’s tough to see that she’s tired and she just refuses to sleep. We can’t complain at all because she continues to sleep through the night really well – going to sleep around 7 and waking up around 6:30 the following morning. She did wake up scream crying a few times in the past month when she was – we now know – in the throes of teething. Maybe have been night terrors or something too. Poor thing.

Speaking of poor thing, we took her to get the first in the series of two flu shots and it was just so sad when she was getting the shot.  She didn’t seem sore and seemed to feel fine that afternoon and the next day, but her cries when she got the shot were heartbreaking. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the 12 month shots. I may need a tranquilizer.

She sticks her tongue out in concentration and it’s adorable. She’s starting doing this cheesy grin where she squints her eyes closed and shows off all eight teeth with her little nose scrunched up. We melt every time. She’s very good at waving hi and bye. She loves books. She gets really excited each night when we give her the daily dose of D-Vi-Sol. She also loves to brush her teeth and brush her hair. She looks really proud when she raises the brush to her hair and we say, “Yay, Ava! Good brushing!” Even if the bristles are turned away from her scalp. :) Splashing in the bath is a favorite activity. We have been in an excellent morning routine that includes a walk around the neighborhood and all three of us look forward to it each day.

We just think she is so fun and sweet and it is the best to see her little personality develop. Being her parents is such a blessing.


The weekend started out with a trip to the State Fair for Kevin and me. We had tickets to see Tracy Lawrence in concert so we left Ava sound asleep in her crib with Craig, Sue, Teddy, Rue, and Kiki holding down the fort. The fair wasn’t very busy – I think it was the first evening it was open, maybe the second – and we started our time there with a trip to Kevin’s favorite fair food stop – the Nutty Buddy stand.


Ice cream treats in hand, we wandered over to the red barn to check out the baby animals. Then we meandered through the sheep and goat barn, the steer barn, the pig barn, and the 4-H exhibit hall. After checking it all out, we made our way to Tingley for the end of the kid rodeo and the concert. Tracy Lawrence put on a great show – lots of 90’s country (the best), minimal chatting, and we made our way to the floor during the encore to take a two-steppin’ spin around the dirt dance floor. It was a fun night.


Ava was not in the least bit sympathetic that her parents were late to get to bed the night before, crowing at her usual 6:20. Someday I will wake her early after she’s been out late and it will be sweet parental revenge. :) She also was not feeling like a morning nap so we told Kiki to draw herself a bubble bath and enjoy having the house to herself which the three of us humans took Rue to the vet for her annual check up. Rue got a clean bill of health and Ava seemed very interested in the vet’s office.

Once we got home, we were all ready for a nap. So we were the napping house for a bit – minus the flea, thank goodness.


Kevin woke up first and got ready and left to go coach a football game. Ava woke up, ate, played, and then we packed up and headed to the game ourselves. We staked out a nice plot of lawn under a tree near the scoreboard and she was so good. Sitting and crawling on the blanket, playing with her toys, watching the people around us, and only occasionally trying to eat grass. We managed to see and wave to Kevin as he was headed back up to the box as half time drew to a close and Ava gave him a big smile. That and the victory made his game day pretty sweet I think.


Ava and I left at the end of the third quarter. We headed home, she took a 5-10 minute nap in the car, and ate when she got home. I changed her outfit and my own and we drove to a nearby park.


I mentioned in a previous post that something tragic involving a child recently happened in my city. A local photographer took action and arranged for herself and a few of her photographer friends to take over 100 mother/daughter photos over two hours. She asked only for donations to local child abuse organizations and she said she would match the donation. I contacted her about sending a donation to include – not really needing the photos and knowing that there was a waiting list because the spots filled up so quickly. She happened to have just had a cancellation and asked if I could be there at 5:00. Ava and I were there at that time, sat for a few photos, and made a donation to the child abuse prevention partnership. I thought it was a lovely thing for the photographer to organize and it was really sweet to see all the families there.

We were done by 5:11 and called Kevin, asking him to meet us at Flying Star for dinner. A nice meal out then home for the evening. After Ava was asleep, we watched football (that Arkansas/TCU game!! Wow.) and then called it a night.

Sunday morning was lovely and we went for our morning constitutional around 7:00. Ava took a really nice morning nap and I went to do the grocery shopping for the week. We unpacked the groceries, she woke up, and we all got ready for lunch at some friends’ house. They just got a puppy and have an almost 18 month old, so it was really fun to hang out with them in a relaxed setting like their home rather than dealing with a restaurant.

Shortly after we got home, the storm clouds rolled in and it began raining right as my mom got to our house. She came to town for a meeting and arrived a few hours early to hang out with us. It was great to see her. We missed the neighborhood picnic because we didn’t want to take Ava out in the rain, but it was cozy to just be home. It cleared up briefly and we all went for a short walk. Then mom had to head to her meeting and Kevin and I loaded Ava up to go to Craig and Sue’s house for dinner. That was enjoyable and delicious, as always.

We got home right around 7:00 and little miss went to bed for the night (she woke up around 7:40, crying as hard as we’ve ever heard her cry. Not sure what happened – maybe a nightmare, poor baby. Fortunately she slept through the remainder of the night once she had calmed down and I nursed her for a bit.)

That was the weekend. It was sweet indeed. I love my people and I love this life.


How was your weekend? Tell me the highlights! 

Snapshot {August}.


Making: This post finally happen. A day late and a dollar short but it’s up.

Cooking: Nothing now. Just had dinner.

Drinking: Water.


Reading: I promise I am ALMOST done with The Bully Pulpit – only 100 pages to go. Also reading The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to which thus far, I’d give three stars.

Wanting: A little dessert, perhaps.  We have York peppermint patties, mint cookie crunch ice cream, and cookie dough. Which should I have?

Looking: Forward to seeing family at my cousin’s wedding this weekend.


Eating: Nothing now but we just finished up a delicious dinner that Kevin prepared – spinach linguini with beef and sausage cherry tomato sauce. It was so tasty!

Wishing: For world peace. (And harsher punishments for parole violators.)

Enjoying: The French Cafe station on Pandora and the local classical station in my car.  I find them both to be soothing.


Loving: That Kevin is loving his football season coaching gig. It has been a big chaotic (he was head C team coach but then there weren’t enough guys so that team was dissolved and he became the head middle school coach but then that team didn’t have enough guys so now there is a C team and he’s helping with Varsity too. Whew.).  Fortunately he has been having fun in the midst of all that uncertainty.

Hoping: That all children are safe tonight and tomorrow and always. There was a horribly tragic event in my city recently involving a child and it has been weighing heavily on me. I can only cuddle my baby close and do the best I can by her while praying that all other parents do the same with their babies.


Needing: More hours in the day.

Smelling: The sweet scent of spaghetti sauce that lingers on the post-dinner air.

Feeling: Overwhelmed. I’m basically doing three jobs at work these days as the office manager is out for a few weeks, we’re between HR associates, and then there’s my regular QA work which I’m neglecting because the other two roles are taking all my time. I think I would feel fine about doing all three positions if I was in the office for more than 16 hours a week. Ava’s other caregivers have been helping out with extra shifts where they can – allowing me a few precious extra hours at the office – but I still feel like I’m drowning. It’ll all be fine, but I’m feeling quite strained now.


Wearing: My summertime uniform – nursing necklace, jean shorts, and a white v-neck men’s undershirt. I ordered a six pack of them a few months ago and basically wear one everyday.

Watching: The final Broncos pre-season game. Go Broncos!

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