Timeline.

IMG_0149

Kevin and I celebrated three years of marriage on Tuesday and the anniversary had me thinking about all that has changed in the past three years.  Three years is not a significant length of time, but it has been significant time for us.  Three years encompass major purchases and career changes, losses and gains to our little family census.

May 2013: Got married.

July 2013:  Bought a house together.

September 2013:  Moved into the house.

February 2014:  Amy switched jobs.

April 2014:  Kevin bought a truck.

July 2014:  Lost a family member when Flo died.

December 2014:  Gained a family member when we got Rue.

March 2015:  Positive pregnancy test.

September 2015:  Kevin switched jobs.

October 2015:  Ava was born.

April 2016:  Amy got a new car.

And in the midst of all those big, bold life things, there have been so many little precious moments that pass with minimal fuss or awareness.  Cuddles and kisses and dinners and laughs and time together – simply being there for each other and with each other.  The big events may stand out on a timeline, but I never want to take for granted all the small, ordinary moments that make a life, make a marriage.  I love existing with Kevin.  And here’s to decades upon decades of day-to-day living with him.

Ava // seven months old.

image

Ava is seven months old!  She hates being overtired, tolerates restaurant meals, and loves so many things – eating in her high chair, bath-time, rolling, sitting up and observing, chewing on toys, talking/singing/being sung to….  She is such a sweet little girl.

She continues to be very vocal.  Her range is impressive.  Some of her little shrieks are kind of jarring!  She’s also discovered how to whisper, which is absolutely adorable.  Mostly though, she jabbers.  Her syllable of the month is “da”.  Kevin got the cutest video of her saying “da da da da da” and it made me realize that I never recorded her saying “ma” back when that was her chosen sound.  So while I know that “ma” was not necessarily associated with me as mama or her first word by any means, there is still no video proof that she said “ma” before “da”.  Rookie mistake, mama, rookie mistake.  ;-)  She’s been tucking her lower lip and upper lip in too, which gives her a very thoughtful look.  Another sound Ava’s loving is kind of a snort.  She scrunches her little nose up and breathes through it, in and out, really fast.  It’s kind of an impatient sound, but I think she just likes how it feels/sounds.  And she’s figured out that it cracks Kevin and I up, so she often does it just to make us laugh!  Speaking of laughing, she is giggling more and more and we love it.  It’s still such a treat to hear her little laugh.  We’ve been ramping up our use of baby signs:  mom, dad, more, milk, all done, cat, diaper change, please, thank you, book.  She’s very focused and so observant – hopefully this will allow us all to communicate before she’s able to tell us verbally what she needs.

She’s learned to nibble with her little teeth and she’s tried some solids.  She’s had avocado, sweet potato, Mum-Mum rusks, asparagus, chicken, banana, all colors of bell pepper, steak, salmon, applesauce, nectarine, prune puree, parsnip, bread, carrot, broccoli, eggplant, spaghetti squash, tomato, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.  She seems to really like asparagus and bell peppers the best (I think they’re just really easy to pick up, hold, and gnaw on), but she hasn’t hated anything yet (cedar plank salmon was probably her least favorite item and she wasn’t interested in avocado at all when we offered it a second time!).  Feeding her solids is super casual – we usually just make sure she has at least one thing with each dinnertime meal.  She’s so good at grasping the food and bringing it to her mouth.  We tried to feed her one bite of puree just for kicks and she wanted no part of us sticking a spoon in her face, so now we just pre-load spoons with the mushy stuff and she manages to get a little in her mouth.  Ava seems to love her high chair and she has come to expect that she’s about to get to “eat” (play with) some solid food.  She gets this really curious, focused look on her face when we put her in the high chair!  She tolerates restaurant meals.  She gets bored sitting in her carseat but she’s not big enough for restaurant high chairs, so we’ll often hold her at the table, but even that bores her a bit.  We try to make sure we have some Mum-Mum’s in the diaper bag or that there’s something on our plates that she can eat.  The majority of her caloric intake will continue to be breastmilk.  Since getting her two bottom teeth, she has occasionally given me a little love bite while nursing, and that’s not so fun.  Overall she’s pretty good and hopefully she’ll get bored of the biting soon.  {Please, God?  I mean, I know You have bigger issues than my breastfeeding woes, but…}

Speaking of teeth, we think she has a few coming in on the top.  She was a little warm a few days ago, a little fussier than normal, and we think we can feel the little ridges and see little white shadows in her upper gumline.  I wasn’t expecting this next round of teething to happen so soon after the first two teeth popped up, but she’s handling it like a champ regardless.  She’s still in a variety of clothing sizes (6 month seems to fit best overall) and we recently transitioned to size 2 diapers.  We went to a breastfeeding mom’s group today so I could weigh her and she weighed in at 13 pounds 5 ounces.

Shortly after she turned 6 months old, we switched her night sleeping to the crib in her room.  She did great.  We didn’t sleep well the first couple of nights though – it was weird to not have her in our room!  She’s sleeping well through the night.  Hopefully that continues.  We still cross our fingers and try not to disrupt the evening routine too much in hopes that she’ll always be into the night sleeping.  We try to put her down around 7:30 PM, and if we miss that window, she gets a second wind and won’t go to sleep until around 9:00.  She was waking up anywhere between 5:30 AM and 6:30 AM, but in the past week or so she’s been sleeping in to 7:30-ish.  I did get into a bad routine of nursing her to sleep before bed at night and before naps, and I think that has backfired because sometimes now she is startled awake when I put her down in the crib asleep and starts crying.  We’ve had to do a few little sessions where she cries for a bit in the crib and we go try to soothe her every five minutes or so until she goes to sleep, but for the most part she settles herself to sleep pretty quickly.  Those 15-20 minutes of crying are torture though.  She hates being overtired and she often rolls over onto her stomach while she’s sleeping, so she wakes up on her tummy and that upsets her sometimes.  I go back and forth on whether or not to nurse her to sleep.  Her naps vary from day to day depending on our schedule but she usually gets the chance to take one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Sometimes they’re 45 minutes long, other times they’re 2.5 hours long.  We officially packed away the Merlin Magic Sleepsuit at the beginning of last month because she rolled over in it.

She’s turned into a rolling machine this month.  She definitely favors her right – rarely rolls to the left.  Her ability to sit unsupported varies day to day.  She falls less everyday so she’s gradually learning that balance and core control.  When she does fall she turns it into a little rolling game and doesn’t seem too bothered by it.  She likes to sit in the Boppy and play with her little handheld toys.  She has a stand/sit and play activity center thing that she likes, and she still likes to play on her little foot piano play mat.  We’ve been spending more time outside and she seems to love that.  Her favorite thing is to be sang to and to talk and sing to us.  She’s so sweet and social!  In public and in restaurants, she’s a serious observer – watching everything around her with those big blue eyes.  Her hair is blond (has a red tint in some lights) and the bald spot on the back of her head has filled in.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – she’s amazing and we’re so grateful she’s ours.

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

Current obsessions.

I’ve been distracted from blogging recently.  Lots going on at work, etc.  But I need to sneak in a Mother’s Day recap – one week tardy – and there are a few things that I’ve been obsessing over.  Including but not limited to….

We’ve been loving big, hearty salads as dinner entrees recently and I bet that will continue to be the case as the weather gets warmer and warmer.  They’re refreshing and light, but as long as meat is included, my appetite remains sated til breakfast.

image

I’m obsessed with my new car!  We went with a 2016 Honda CRV and it’s fantastic.  Her name is Pearl and she’s just that – a gem.  I also love that Lisa has been enjoying Blue.  Blue is in a good home and that makes me happy. Weirdly obsessed with my cars? …Fact.

This documentary about four guys who take 12 mustangs from Mexico to Canada.  Recommended to me by my childhood friend, Tana, it’s called Unbranded and we watched it on Netflix.  The scenery they cover is gorgeous and makes me want to visit all the national parks between here and Canada.  And I fell in love with all the horses.

Watching “Unbranded” opened our eyes to all the documentary options on Netflix.  We’ll be diving into those more often.  We recently watched “Three Stars” which is about Michilen restaurants.  Interesting, but it basically just confirmed that we’ll choose Dion’s (a local pizza/sandwich/salad place) over those fancy restaurants any day of the week.

I’ve also been into a few shows on Netflix.  I watched the two seasons of “Lipstick Jungle”, which was easy and fun.  “New Girl” has been a new favorite.  My sister recommended “The Ranch” and “Blue Bloods” and “Baby Daddy”.  Kevin may be into the former two so we may try those together, but I’ll probably tackle the latter on my own when I’m done with “New Girl”.

I’ve been dabbing Supergood CC Cream on the ol’ face these days and am really liking the coverage, lightness of it, and that it’s is paraben, oxybenzone, and fragrance free.

My first Mother’s Day with little Ava on the outside was really special.  We went to breakfast at Weck’s to start the day.

image

Ava and Kevin (probably definitely mostly Kevin) conspired to make me the perfect gift on Shutterfly and now it’s on my desk at work and makes me smile every time I see it.

image

Kevin paired it with a lovely, heartfelt note in a card and I just feel so lucky to have him and Ava (and Kiki and Rue) in my life.  We made dinner for his parents that night – he grilled some cedar plank salmon (this recipe) and asparagus with prosciutto and it was soooo amazingly delicious. The weather was perfect, the roses were blooming, and the sweet little baby who made me a mother was right there for it all.

image

What do you recommend on Netflix – documentaries or shows?  What are you obsessing over recently?

Three strange things I found while cleaning out my car.

image

I have a new car and am selling Blue to my sister.  Allow me to wax briefly about Blue.  She’s such a good car.  I’ve had her since 2009 and she’s never given me a bit of trouble.  I feel a bit like the girl on the Liberty Mutual commercial (“You two have been through everything together – two boyfriends, three jobs, you’re like, ‘Nothing can replace Brad.'”), except, thank goodness, Blue is safe and just moving to a different home.  And I do love my new car.  But I can’t really fuss over her (my name for her is Pearl; Kevin’s is the White Dragon…boys), until Blue is out of the driveway.

I mean, I have to consider Blue’s feelings.

Lisa is coming to town tomorrow to take her, so I’m gonna take Blue out for a spa day (car wash) and get her all cleaned up and lookin’ fancy.  While cleaning her out I found some really interesting things.  Here are the top three:

image

A presentation board.  No idea where this came from, but it was in the trunk.  All I need is an experiment and I’m ready for the science fair.

 

image

Speaking of experiments….  Whole dehydrated apple, anyone?

 

imageAnd last but not least, a little erotica.  If I’d realized this was in the trunk I would have been sure to instruct Kevin that if anything happens to me, he has to promise to destroy the sleazy novel.

Have you ever found anything unexpected when cleaning out a car/closet/etc.?

Snapshot {April}.

image

Making: A car payment for the first time since 2010.  We bought a new set of wheels today.

Cooking: Nothing right now!

Drinking: Water

image

Reading: Still on Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides.  It’s a really, really great book, but I always take so much longer to get through a non-fiction book versus the fiction fluff I tend to choose.

Wanting: To go pick up some plants and herbs and start our garden soon.  We’re planning on tomatoes, eggplant, basil, mint, chives, thyme….

Looking: Forward to fresh basil pesto all summer long.

image

Eating: Nothing at the moment.

Wishing: Ava’s future teething experiences are as smooth as her first one was when those two front bottom teeth started growing.  She was fussy for a few days but it wasn’t too bad at all.

image

Enjoying: New Girl on Netflix.  Jess kind of drives my Type A self nuts, but I also want to be friends with her.  Explain that.

Loving: My sweet little six month old cuddlebug.  She’s just so fun.

Hoping: Ava likes solid food!  We’ll start it soon, I promise.

image

Needing:  A little nap, which I should be taking now. Ava slept in her crib in her room for the first time last night! She did awesome but I didn’t sleep well, wondering how she was doing a whole wall away.

Smelling:  Kevin’s cologne

Feeling: Happy and a little sleepy.

image

Wearing: Jeans and a blue and white striped shirt.

Watching: Round 6 of the NFL draft :)

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

Ava // six months old.

image

She’s 0.5 years old!  I can’t believe she’s been with us for half a year.  Ava continues to amaze us everyday and we feel so lucky to call her ours.  At six months old Ava hates – despises – her poly-vi-sol with iron supplement, tolerates tummy time, and loves exploring her world by sitting up and bringing anything she can grasp to her mouth.

She weighed in at 12 pounds and 9 ounces at her 6 month appointment today.  She’s 25.5 inches.  The pediatrician says she’s fabulous and growing like a champ.  We thought she would weigh more, but she’s on the growth curve and the doctor isn’t concerned so we ( and by we I mean Amy because she tends to worry about this kind of thing as a general rule) won’t be either.  She’s still in size 1 diapers but we’re about to try size 2, I think.  We got so many size 1 diapers at Kevin’s diaper party before Ava was born, and we’re only about 10 diapers away from using them all up.  Ava is wearing a variety of clothing sizes but mostly 6 month and 6-9 month.  Our current favorites in her wardrobe include these cute little owl pajamas (pea-jammies we call them, because she’s our little sweet Pea).

It seemed like Ava regressed a bit on her rolling skills shortly after the five month post went up.  One day she was rolling like a champ in both directions, and the next she was not interested in rolling at all, choosing instead to face plant and spread her arms and legs out Superman style when she was on her tummy.  She went back to rolling toward the end of this month.  She’s enjoying tummy time a bit more, but she definitely still prefers to lie on her back when she’s lounging.  She also loves to sit up and she’s such a serious little observer.  She still can’t balance well enough to sit on her own without support – usually because she spies her feet and lurches forward to grab them.

She loves to grab a toy and swing her arm up and down, waving the toy around.  Pretty soon she’ll figure out the beauty of releasing her grip on the object and we’ll have things flying across the room.  She continues to explore her vocal range and vocabulary.  She likes playing with consonants – ma is a favorite, which naturally means I believe her first word is mama.  ;-)  Anytime she’s fussy, which isn’t often, we start singing to her and she calms down.  She loves outfit changes and diaper changes.  The only thing that makes her upset is the poly-vi-sol with iron supplement that we try to give her.  Confession:  we’ve only tried to give it to her three times in the past two months because it upsets her so much.  Her growing strength makes it even more difficult because she will grab the little dispenser when we have it near her mouth and pull it away.  I told Kevin I’m not doing it again.  We’ll get iron into her some other way if her levels are ever low.

We ordered a high chair this week and will probably start giving her solids soon.  I think avocado may be the first one we try!  I’m nervous about the gagging that is inevitable with baby led weaning (so I hear) but I’m excited for her to get to explore the new tastes and textures.  I definitely want to breastfeed for at least a year, so I want to introduce solids pretty gradually and be sure that most of her caloric intake is from me.

She’s shown a little bit of “stranger” anxiety with a few people when they try to hold her.  She sleeps through the night like a champ – around 8 PM to 6 AM each night.  She’s still sleeping in the pack and play in our room, but we’ll probably transition her to her crib soon.  She sleeps in her crib really well for naps (on a good nap day, I mean, but not every day is a good nap day), so we’re hoping that it’s an easy nighttime transition.  She’s still wearing the sleep suit for naps, but she is not in it overnight.

She is super into exploring her world by bringing anything and everything to her mouth.  She started cutting two little bottom teeth around ten days ago.  She was feeling all the feelings around that time between teething, starting a new mental developmental leap, and starting a bit of a 6 month growth spurt.  Busy girl!  Ava is so sweet and cheerful and fun.  Kevin and I both miss her when we’re at work – I even miss her when she’s taking a nap and I’m in the same house!  We make total fools of ourselves trying to get her to giggle.  Her laughter is definitely spontaneous and authentic because what elicits a giggle one day doesn’t work the following.  Eskimo kisses worked once…and ever since that momentous occasion we just get smiles in exchange for Eskimo kisses.  Same pattern with the chicken dance – on her 6 month birthday she laughed hysterically at our chicken dancing antics.

She is the absolute best.

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

Easy like Sunday afternoon.

image

Take me back to yesterday afternoon when the weather was cool and cloudy.  The house was clean, the fridge was stocked.  The baby was napping and the husband and I were chopping, sautéing, mincing a beef stew into the Dutch oven.  Homemade bread dough rising and puffing beautifully.  A Tracy Lawrence YouTube concert played on the iPad.

Once the stew was in the oven, Kevin read his book and I painted.  Third time’s a charm painting this canvas in Ava’s room. I have accepted that it will never look exactly like the picture I have in my head, and I’m finally satisfied enough to just hang it on the wall and let it be. Artistic I am not.

image

Ava woke up, Kevin’s parents came over for dinner (the bread dough fell right before I put it in the oven, but that’s okay because the flat bread had a fantastic crunch to the crust on the exterior yet was pillow soft inside), and a perfect Sunday afternoon transitioned into a perfect Sunday evening.

Nothing is wrong on this Monday morning – it’s just not Sunday afternoon.

The rest of the weekend was nice too.  We went out to dinner Friday night at a local place (known for its decadent desserts and I had a slice of key lime pie on the brain but $6.50 for a slice of pie – not happening) near a local bookstore.  Picked up a couple of board books and then took ourselves home.

image

The cats and I enjoyed a nice cereal breakfast on Saturday morning.  I love to be popular.

image

Then Kevin and I test drove a car.  Two people have told us that this particular car (Mazda CX-5) is the best car they’ve ever owned, so we were really excited to try it.  It was fine…but I think I like the one (Honda CRV) we drove the previous weekend better.  Just dabbling with the idea of getting a new car.  My car is fine and incredibly low mileage and in excellent condition and I don’t drive that often anyway and it’s the best thing ever to not have a car payment (well, it’s actually probably the BEST thing ever to not have a mortgage payment, but not having a car payment is pretty awesome too), so…I don’t know.

Ava took a nice long nap on Saturday afternoon, making us fashionably late for her friend Mia’s first birthday party.  It was so fun to celebrate that little cutie!  And so begins the year of first birthday parties since so many of our friends had kids last year.

image

^ Riding through the safari on a zebra. #nbd ^

Happy Monday.

How was your weekend?