Snapshot {November}.

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Making: Good use of nap time – even if it’s not as I planned. I had the best of intentions to make a turkey pot pie for lunch while Ava slumbered peacefully in her crib. But alas, she acts as though I am placing her gently into boiling lava when I attempt to move the little sleeper from my arms. So I was faced with a choice – pot pie and no nap…or an indulgent cuddle nap and no pot pie. I chose the nap, so here I sit, sleeping baby weight on me and I’m using the time to do this blog post. I can’t say I’m disappointed in my choice.

Cooking: The meal plan this week was as follows:  Monday – lemon chicken picata with roasted kale and brussels sprouts; Tuesday – spicy tomato garlic shrimp with spaghetti squash; today – roasted chicken thighs and sweet potatoes; Thursday – green chile and beef enchilada casserole and pinto beans; and Friday – we’ll likely pick up Dion’s or Flying Star. I’ll throw together the aforementioned turkey pot pie (using turkey my mother in law roasted yesterday) at some point and it will be good for lunches.

Drinking: Water.  I’ve felt soooo much better since I gave up my (average of) twice a week peppermint mocha, so I know I need to be strong and keep avoiding.  But I did give in and drink one yesterday so… It’s a dangerous course to give in for “just one” – wish me luck.

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Reading: So many books going!  Team of Rivals (which I’ll be working on for a long time), Jane Eyre (re-reading it on my phone while Ava nurses/cuddle naps because classics are free and it has been about 9 years since I last read it!), A Gentleman in Moscow (good, but not nearly as interesting to me as Rules of Civility – by the same author), Love the One You’re With (listening to it on Audible as I drive around town – an easy listen), and lastly, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (one that Kevin and I listened to on our way to and from Thanksgiving at my family’s place about an hour and a half south of where we live.  It is funny and had us cracking up a lot on the drive!  Now we’re listening to it in smaller increments as we drive to grocery shop, etc.).

Wanting: Some clarity on a few personal changes I’ve been considering. Nothing I can talk about now (hello, vague) but I’ll update you as I can.

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Looking: At the path of toys and books Hurricane Ava has left in her wake.  Confession:  I actually enjoying picking everything up at the end of the day, placing each item in its correct place, and leaving a clean canvas for her to play upon the following day.  I time myself and there’s a sense of instant gratification. Messy to neat in 1.75 minutes.

Eating: Nothing now. Lunch when Ava awakes – I’ll likely ask Kevin to bring me something. Or eat leftover chicken piccata.

 Wishing: That I was always this patient and accepting of thwarted crib naps. Some days I feel so overwhelmed with all the stuff I need to be doing while Ava is sleeping. Some days I’m convinced that it’s because we’ve allowed cuddle naps that she won’t crib nap consistently well and some days I’m certain that the cuddle nap on that particular day is going to be THE indulgence that turns her into a bad sleeper. Today I don’t care. Today I’m just thankful that I have a schedule that allows me to hold her while she naps and today I’m appreciative of this stage because someday she won’t want to let me hold her for an hour and a half and that will be sad.

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Enjoying: Hot lemon honey water each evening with Kevin.  It’s so soothing and a lovely way to end the day.

Loving: This phase with Ava. She is seriously so fun at 13 months. I count myself lucky to be her sidekick. Her newest thing? “Ava,what does a snake say?” And she responds with, “Sssssssssss!” She’s also started blowing on her food when it’s warm and she’s so good at using a spoon and fork (pre-loaded but I think it will click soon that she can be her own master spear’er of food). She is pushing her little push toy around and transitioning from one piece of furniture to another but still prefers crawling and hasn’t taken independent steps. I stumbled across this article and thought it was interesting – fits Ava completely. She has such a cautious, easy temperament – it’s not surprising that she’s a later than average walker.

Hoping: The thyroid medicine we started Kiki on yesterday works well for her. She is such a sweet cat. I want her to be healthy forever.

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Needing: To do a blog post about my October Stitch Fix box.  Maybe I’ll just wait and combine it with the scheduled January box.  I think I’ve also got an item or two through Trunk Club that I haven’t posted about…..

Smelling: Fresh laundry scent from the baby passed out on top of me.

Feeling: Super proud of myself – I am done with my Christmas shopping.  It’s self preservation really – I can’t stand the crowds and chaos and stress that comes with shopping closer to the holiday.  It’s such a relief to be done.

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Wearing: Jeans and a sweater. Cozy socks and house shoes.

Watching: Gilmore Girls.  I’m on the last few episodes of the seventh season and then I’ll start the newly released Netflix version.  I want to get caught up on the PBS Anne series this weekend too!

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

A Thanksgiving sweekend.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that it reminds me to be thankful of the many blessings in my life (really – shouldn’t every day be Thanksgiving in that respect?) and I love the family tradition that my mom and her siblings and their spouses have kept since my cousins and I were babies.  We get together everything Thanksgiving and Easter and those are two of my favorite days of the whole year.  My extended family is so much fun.  My mom has three siblings and between the four of them there are 12 in my generation (I’m the oldest and the youngest is a decade younger than me).  Ava’s generation has…I don’t even know how many kids.  16?  She’s the second youngest thus far (wait – third youngest!  My cousin is expecting her fourth baby in a few months!) and the oldest two are in Kindergarten so I know that these cousins are going to grow up as close as me and my cousins did – if we do our job and keep bringing them together for holidays.

Anyway, Kevin and I downloaded a book on Audible and hit the road Thursday morning around 10:00.  Ava barely peeped during the whole drive – it aligned perfectly with her naptime.  We enjoyed our book, and it was just a great trip all around.  We got to my aunt and uncle’s house around 11:30 and started having fun with the fam.

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Ava loved exploring Dale and Gail’s huge house, we all enjoyed a lot of great food, and there was a great game of Squeak (basically group solitaire).  We did a mannequin challenge mid-game and that was really fun!  Here is a video I put together, showing off our mad mannequin skills:

We headed home around 4:00 – right around when Ava needed another nap – and she slept like a champ on the way home while Kevin and I listened to our book.

Friday we took it pretty easy in the morning.  Craig and Sue watched Ava for a few hours mid-day while Kevin and I ran some errands, met a friend of his for lunch, and took a nap.  Then we went to Craig and Sue’s where we decorated the Christmas tree and enjoyed some tasty creamy chicken soup.

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The evening included cuddles on the couch, football, and Andes mints for dessert.

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On Saturday morning I went for a pedicure and the remainder of the day was a relaxing one at home.  Lots of reading and football.  Ava took an amazing two hour crib nap mid-day.  We took a family walk – it was dreary and grey but not cold.  Saw some ducks.

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We picked up Dion’s for dinner, which was delicious.

Sunday we did our grocery shopping and Shawna dropped off some family photos she’d recently taken for us.  Ava took another great two hour crib nap (she feels sooooo good when she gets a great nap!  Especially in the crib.).  Mid-afternoon we turned on Louis Armstrong Pandora and started making our favorite beef stew.  It is so delicious and the time in the kitchen with Kevin reminded me how good we are at cooking together.  We’re so in sync – carefully working our way through different parts of a recipe and merging the finished products for a delicious meal.  I love cooking with Kevin.  His parents came over for dinner and it was a lovely evening.  Ava went to bed at 7:00, Kevin and I read and watched the Broncos game (so close!  Disappointing ending, for us anyway).  And that was the sweekend.

How was your Thanksgiving?  What is your favorite holiday?  Share your favorite cornbread recipe with me, please!  (I was disappointed in the one I used made to go with the beef stew.)

 

The thankfulist.

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What better time than the eve of Thanksgiving to list what makes me the most thankful-ist.

My family. My husband is loving and kind and considerate and the BEST father to Ava. I am so thankful we chose one another to have and to hold through this life. Ava is the shiniest light in that life – her sweet smile and laugh and voice make my heart so happy. I’m thankful for my feline family members – Kiki and Rue – who let me rub their bellies, the utmost sign of love and adoration. And beyond the walls of my house are parents, a sister, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins who support me, make me laugh, and make the world a better place, simply by being in it.

My friends. Near and far, they – nay, you! My sweet blog friends, you’re in this too – are amazing. Truly – how lucky am I to have such smart, inspirational people in my life. Thank you.

Also on the serious list is good health, a safe and warm house, and a job that challenges me and lets me spend time with people I admire. I don’t ever want to take these things for granted because I know how blessed I am to have them.

I’m thankful for little things too like crib naps, Netflix, books, leggings, roasted chicken and sweet potatoes (seriously – I want it every night), Amazon Prime, and Moscato.

I asked Kevin to list a few things he’s thankful for and here they are, verbatim-ish:

1. Pea Bear, Kiki, Ruester, you (Amy), my (his) family.
2. The schedule we have that allows us to spend so much time together and with Ava.
3. Our health.
4. Coffee.
5.Football.

We speculated about what Ava would say she’s thankful for – top five include:

1. Her cats – she adores those four legged furry siblings of hers.
2. Bamba.
3a. Cuddle naps.
3b. Monkey. When she is forced to take a crib nap, Monkey is a small consolation.
4. Books. Especially the ones low enough to pull off shelves.
5. Her box of sandwich bags that are kept in a bottom drawer. She makes a beeline for it when she’s in the kitchen, pulls the baggies out one by one – and occasionally by the handful – – and carries a bag around with her when forced to leave the kitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving, from us to you!

What are you thankful for – serious or silly? 

One-derful.

Our first born will only turn one once so Kevin and I decided to take the day (October 24) off work. We started the morning off right – with our favorite breakfast burritos. The chile was a little spicy for our little Pea Bear so she had Bamba and fruit and toast with jam. She seemed content with those options. :)

After breakfast we went for a walk around the neighborhood. The fall colors were perfect and I couldn’t help but feel a little smug that Ava has an October birthday. Then I felt silly for feeling smug about something like that. But truly – October is the best month.

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We played at home for a bit and Ava took a nice morning nap. Then we picked up Flying Star – solely so Ava could have blueberry pancakes – and Sue and Craig (aka Grandma and Grandpa) came over for lunch.

 

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Ava very much enjoyed her pancakes and she very much enjoyed Craig’s wallet. The kid loves wallets – she likes holding the credit cards and saying, “Charge it.” (Don’t worry – she also loves paying the statement balance in full each month.) Grandma bought her allllllll the 12 month clothes and elegantly stuffed them in this cute overnight duffle bag.

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The little fashionista is set on the wardrobe front.

After Craig and Sue left, we took Ava to a nearby toy store. We want to take her there each year on her birthday to choose a gift. This year she seemed especially taken with a little blue car.

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So we went home with the little blue car. But first we went to Frost – a gelato place. Ava’s first ice cream! At first it seemed like she wasn’t exactly sure what to think.  It’s cold!  It can’t be chewed!  It’s sweet!  She kept going back for more though and we think she loved all three flavors we got – chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry yogurt.  Like father, like daughter.

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That evening we picked up Dion’s for dinner so Ava could have her favorite – meatballs.

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She was so chatty and cheerful and charming all day.  It’s like she knew it was a special day.

On Saturday my parents and sister (aka Nana, Granddad, and Aunt Lisa) drove into town and we partied with them and Kevin’s parents. Kevin made some amazing guacamole and grilled up some delicious burgers, we roasted some sweet potato and regular potato “fries”, poured some store bought pasta salad into a bowl, and had ice cream with hot fudge for dessert. Ava loved her sweet potato fries, nibbled on her burger and the pasta salad, and went face first into her smash cake. We sang her happy birthday (she seemed a little confused by that part), blew out her candle, and placed the cake on her high chair tray. She dipped her hand in the frosting, tasted the cream cheese deliciousness, and decided to go all in. It was adorable.

{The below balloons were the only décor we had for the party.  Fortunately, Ava’s not on Pinterest so she doesn’t know what a sub-par party planner her mother is.  Someday she’ll learn but I’m living large in the meantime.  Sue designed the lovely bouquet of balloons and picked them up for us on the morning of the party.}

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We cleaned up the birthday girl and then opened up the presents our out of town visitors brought (books and clothes – and a lovely custom table and chairs, Ava sized).

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Then we just hung out and relaxed. It was a wonderful day, celebrating our little one year old with the people we love the most.

Since we don’t really give Ava sugar we went with a sugar free cake.  Thanks, Allison, for sharing the recipe.  I added blueberries to the batter and made cupcakes rather than a cake and then stacked eight cupcakes together to form a square “cake,” which I then buried under the frosting.  The remaining cupcakes were a good snack/breakfast option over the next few days! 

Snapshot {October}.

 

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Making: My Christmas shopping lists and even some progress on the buying of the gifts.  My goal is to be DONE by December 1.

Cooking: The meal plan this week includes chicken fajitas, chickpea and chicken curry, and a roast with potatoes and carrots.  Tonight we’re having Dion’s though.

Drinking: Water.  And dreaming about the wine I had at a local vineyard/winery.  Kevin and I recently went on a little day date and it was perfect.  Then we went back when my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jeff were in town visiting.  It’s such a lovely setting.

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Reading: I have started Team of Rivals – another one of Kevin’s favorites that talks about the team that Lincoln brings together during his presidency.  I’ll be working on it for the next six months, I’m sure.  I’m listening to The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo on Audible, and it’s okay.  More serious than I thought it would be and it is quite crude, but Amy Schumer does make me L-O-L every so often.

Wanting: A Roomba.  The cats track out little bits of clean litter and Ava drops food from her high chair and this is a dusty place to live.  I told Kevin that all I want for Christmas is a Roomba so that I don’t feel the need to sweep all the time (we only have tile, wood floors, and a few rugs).  Not that I DO sweep all the time, but gosh, I feel the need to, so how great would it be to free that space in my head for other frets.  Also, I think Rue will think the Roomba is a lark.

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Looking: Forward to Thanksgiving with my family.  They’re so fun.

 

Eating: Nothing now.  Likely a salad from Dion’s later.

Wishing: 12 month shots came pain free.  Ava gets hers later today.

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Enjoying: Gilmore Girls.  I’m so excited for November!

Loving: That I convinced Kevin to dress up for Halloween.  He’s Jim; I’m Pam.  We considered being Halloween-Jim-and-Pam and he’d be three hole punch paper and I’d be a black cat (my regular go-to costume, too, Pam!).  But ultimately we decided to be plain-Jim-and-Pam.

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Hoping: Ava gets a nice nap in before the dreaded doctor’s appointment.

Needing: A peppermint mocha, but I gave them up for my health.  Boring.

Smelling: Nothing now.

 

Feeling: Amazed at the weather.  All time high temps today for 10/31 in this neck of the woods – I think it’s in the low eighties.  I’ll take it.

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Wearing: Jeans and a plaid shirt.  And houseshoes.

Watching: Gilmore Girls.  Naturally.  Rory has decided to drop out of Yale and has moved into the pool house.  Lorelei proposed to Luke and now the townsfolk are giving him a hard time.  Poor Luke.

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

A day in the life – October 2016.

I’m sneaking this post in during October to stay consistent with my plan to document our typical day every six months.  Here’s April 2016 and October 2015, in case you want to stroll down {my} memory lane.

Our day begins at around 6:30 AM.  Well, sometimes Kevin wakes up at 5:30 or even – wait for it – 4:30 (apparently there is one of those in the morning too!  Who knew!?) to go to the gym or at least get a little morning Kevin time with Mike & Mike, coffee, and the paper.  But Ava wakes up at right around 6:30, which means I wake up at that time too, because I love sleep.  {I read an article recently that looked at seven things thriving moms have in common versus surviving moms.  One of them was waking up before their child(ren).  I may never thrive as a mother, by that rule.}  Kevin goes into Ava’s room first and they have a lovely morning routine – they chat and he changes her diaper.  They turn off the sound machine and open the blinds in her room.  They say good morning to the yard and then they make their way into the master bedroom, saying hi to the cats along the way.  Ava comes to see me and I nurse her.  Kevin goes downstairs to get his coffee and paper and then he joins us in the bedroom.  I usually check email and social media while Ava eats.  We try to convince her to cuddle for a bit after her meal, but she’s TOO BUSY.  She gets antsy and we move downstairs.

We were in an excellent walking routine and we’d immediately put her in the stroller, get my water and Kevin’s coffee, and go for a walk around the neighborhood.  In the past few weeks it has gotten a bit too chilly and stayed dark too late for us to do that at 7:00 like we were during the summer.  So we’ve gradually changed our routine and now the norm is to play for a little bit in the living room or family room, then eat solid breakfast.  Ava’s breakfast is usually veggie puffs or Bamba and some kind of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, and bananas are the go-to options) and a bit of whatever Kevin or I is having – sometimes toast with jam, sometimes an English muffin with peanut butter, sometimes an egg and cheese burrito.  She’s also really into applesauce go-packs recently.

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If we have time (don’t have a lot to do to get ready or have to be to work before 9:00), we go for our walk around 7:30.  I really enjoy our walks.  Ava loves checking on the neighborhood and Kevin and I enjoy the quiet time to chat and stretch our legs.  We start to get ready when we get home – around 8:00.  Kevin’s mom gets to the house around 8:45 and she and Ava embark on their play time.  Kevin and I head to work.  Things have been less intense for him recently since our new EHR that launched July 1 has been in play for a few months.  Our new HR person is amazing and has taken a lot of HR work off of my plate and our office manager is back from being out and has taken over her stuff that I was covering, so I’ve been able to focus on the internal and external audits that have come up.  It’s definitely less stressful than it was a couple of months ago!  We work until 1:00 and then head home – Kevin for lunch and me for the afternoon.

Sue catches us up on Ava’s morning – was there a nap, what she ate, how they played, and then leaves.  I nurse Ava and then we all eat lunch together.  Ava loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I like to have leftovers if there are any from earlier in the week, and Kevin usually has soup or a sandwich.

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Kevin goes back to work after we eat and Ava and I plan our afternoon.  I try to structure the afternoon around when she took a nap in the morning, if she took a nap in the morning.  We’ll run errands if needed.  We’ve been going for an afternoon walk as well because the weather has been so fantastic and it gets us out of the house.

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A trip to the park is fun too.  She usually takes at least a 45 minute nap (Nursing her to sleep is no longer an option – she’s too wired while nursing.  It also doesn’t work to put her in the crib and leave the room.  She immediately stands up and begins wailing like I told her I’m leaving forever.  So instead I usually hold her in a cradle position and walk around in circles in her room, sound machine on.  If she’s wound up she may fight it a little bit, but I do a “sh sh sh sh sh” sound and walk with a light bounce and she usually calms down really quickly.  Her eyes get heavy and soon she begins dozing.  I wait until she’s pretty well asleep – my arms burning – and then set her gently in the crib.  I know it’s not good to have that kind of sleep association, but I’m really a live-for-the-current-nap kind of girl.  This is working now – I’ll deal with the future later.)  and I use the time to catch up on work emails and/or phone calls, work a bit if I have my laptop at home, and watch some Gilmore Girls.  :)

When she wakes up, I’ll usually feed her because she doesn’t tend to wake up from her afternoon naps in an especially cheerful mood, and then we’ll play.  I usually start cooking dinner around 5:30.  Kevin has been going to football practice each week day until around 6:00, but the season is now over so he’ll begin coming home around 5:00.  I’m so excited for that – it will be great to have that extra hour with him back.  We eat at 6:15 or whenever he gets home.  As soon as we’re done we clean Ava up and go upstairs.  We only bathe her once or twice a week.  I mean, why do more than that?  We clean her up well after each meal, she doesn’t sweat, and frequent bathing dries out the skin – we live in the desert and don’t need additional drying.  :)  So all that to say, when we don’t need to do a bath, our usual nighttime routine is Vitamin D, brushing teeth, diaper change, pajamas, and then I nurse her.  She’s usually in her crib by 7:10.  Ava occasionally cries out in the night but unless it goes on for more than a few minutes or sounds especially upset (there’s a nightmare kind of cry and a I’m-between-sleep-cycles kind of cry and we’re learning to tell the difference), we let her be and she soothes herself back to sleep.

Kevin and I hang out downstairs until around 9:30.  We spend the time watching football or something else on TV, reading, looking stuff up online, and talking.  It is really, really important to me that we get those two hours to just hang out together.  He’s my favorite and I love being with him.  We’re usually in bed by 10 and that’s the day.

Tell me something about your typical day.  How is your day today different than your day six months ago? 

Ava \\ twelve months old. 

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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. At her 12 month appointment she weighed a little over 17 pounds and was 29 inches long.  She’s wearing size 9 month and 12 month clothes and size 3 diapers.  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. :) }