That’s a wrap {February}.

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Links to Love:

  1. A Golden Girls themed café has opened in Manhattan.  My sister and I will definitely be visiting it someday.  We love The Golden Girls!  It’s one of those shows that I like to watch when I’m tired or sick or sad…those quirky ladies just make everything better.
  2. Maternity photo themed pics showing off that beautiful…beer belly??  These are funny.
  3. Did you watch The Oscars?  We didn’t.  But I read about the Best Picture debacle on theSkimm Monday morning.  Craziness!  I feel so bad for the guy who handed Bonnie and Clyde the wrong envelope.  These tweets are hilarious.
  4. Ava is officially walking more than she’s crawling.  In fact, she’s not really crawling at all any more.  She resembles a drunk sailor as she toddles around but she’s on her own two feet and loving it.  I’m so sad.  Does this mean I officially have a toddler?  These are the only shoes she’ll keep on.  We are fans.
  5. 13 Children’s Books that Encourage Kindness Towards Others.  I want Ava to own all of these.

Making Memories:

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  1. On my birthday, Kevin gave me a gift certificate for a 90 minute (!!) massage at a local skin and body retreat.  I redeemed that on the first Saturday in February and it was lovely.  90 minutes is such a luxurious length of time to be pampered.  Thanks, Kevin!
  2. Kevin went to Phoenix with his dad for their annual Sun’s game extravaganza.  They ate good food, did a little shopping (Ava made out like a bandit, as you can imagine), and enjoyed a close basketball game where the Sun’s came out victorious.  Not too shabby.  This was their 23rd annual father/son trip.  Isn’t that amazing?  They always have a great time.
  3. My mom and step-dad live a 2.5 hour drive away from us, which isn’t bad but they stay busy with their jobs/farm/ranch and we stay busy with life and the whole pack of us are homebody’s so we don’t see each other very often.  In February, my mom and I started Skyping on Monday mornings.  I think that’ll be a good way for her to stay up on Ava’s latest and greatest tricks and it’s a nice time to connect.  I’ve enjoyed that new routine.
  4. One blustery Thursday night in February, I met five of my friends out at The Melting Pot for a girl’s night.  It was so fun.  I always come away refreshed and recharged when I spend time with these ladies.  We wore tiaras and the restaurant supplied us with wands, because we’re princesses.  Have you eaten at The Melting Pot? That was my first time and I did all four courses.  I loved the cheese (bread was my favorite dipper, obviously), was underwhelmed by the salad, thought the entrée was okay, and ate too much of the chocolate.  Next time I think I’d just do cheese and chocolate.  Although I did love the mushroom caps in coq au vin with green goddess sauce.  I may do entree for those alone.
  5. Ava had a few social events in February.  She met a friend at the aquarium one afternoon, and went to a friend’s house for a play date one Saturday.  We continue to attend music class on Tuesday’s, which she always really enjoys.

Bookish:

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  1. I just finished listening to Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody and I really liked it.  I gave it 4 stars.  It is my favorite comedic memoir (or whatever that genre is) that I’ve read/listened to.  She’s not crude like so many of them are, and while there is some foul language, I think it’s well placed and not over the top.  She’s hilarious.
  2. Kevin and I finished listening to Duplicity by Newt Gingrich.  It was really well written and action packed.  Kevin gave it 5 stars and I gave it 4 stars.  We’ll probably start the sequel when we travel for Easter.
  3. I finished The Secret Garden and gave it 4 stars.  It’s a quick, easy, classic read.  I remember loving the movie as a kid, but I don’t think I’d ever read the book.  I also re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and it was just as amazing the second time.  I love that series.
  4. I’m currently still reading The Danish Way of Parenting:  A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World by Jessica Joelle Alexander & Iben Sandhal; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (reading this one on my phone/iPad); and Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I’m in a jack of many, master of none phase when it comes to reading.  I need to commit to finishing the Danish parenting book and put some time in with Team of Rivals but Harry Potter keeps calling my name.
  5. Kevin has been reading The Looming Tower: Al-Quaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. He’s enjoying his online class that he started last month as well.  They’re about to start a group project that’s a simulation of an Everest climb.  Sounds taxing.

Challenges:

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  1. Naps continue to be a challenge for us.  Well, for Ava.  Kevin and I would gladly go down for daily naps if we could.  I’ve weaned Ava from the mid-day feed, so it really does have to be Goldilocks timing (not too tired, not too hyper) to get her to nap.  Sometimes we stroller nap in the late afternoon if I couldn’t get her down in the crib.  Sue has tried crib napping but Ava tends to wake up early and then they cuddle nap.  This too shall pass.  Days just seem really long when the child refuses a mid-day rest.  Overall though, we can’t complain.
  2. Kiki, while doing quite well for 14 years old (76 in human years), continues to refuse her thyroid medicine every other day or so, and she has been throwing up a lot.  We did some lab work over the weekend and should get results soon.  Hopefully there is something else we can try to keep her healthy.  She did gain weight though and seems to feel fine, so it’s not too bad.

Sustenance:

  1. I posted about our favorite chicken recipes in February – we ate each of those at least once during the month.
  2. We’ve still been into the overnight oats.  Those work especially well on the mornings that Kevin has personal training sessions at the gym.
  3. I’d like a chef to start doing my shopping and cooking.  I feel like we have been in such a rut recently.  And mealtimes just keep rolling around, not going anywhere.  Blah.

How was your February?  Would you choose a maid, a cook, or a chauffer to lighten your load? 

Feeding Ava.

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I want to start by saying that I believe fed is best.  Whether that is accomplished with breast milk or formula, I believe that we all do the best we can for our babies with the resources we have available to us and in the circumstances we face.  This is simply the story of my experience feeding my one and only child and that experience has been breastfeeding and a baby led weaning introduction of solid food.  If we have another child, I imagine that the experience will have some similarities but also be unique and different and personal to that child.  I’m not a lactation consultant or a pediatric nutritionist, so I say again – this is simply the story of my experience.  I did learn a few things though from lactation consultants and my extensive online research (wink wink), so I’ll put those little gems (wink wink again) in bold font in case anyone is interested in what I actually learned and not just anecdotal story.

Breastfeeding was not easy.  For the first 6 to 8 weeks (it’s all a blur – I don’t remember exactly), I would start each nursing session with the goal of simply making it through that session.  If there had been the slightest obstacle to me continuing to breastfeed, I don’t know that I would have persevered.  The stars aligned though and really, I had the best situation possible.  I never had a milk supply problem, I didn’t go back to work until Ava was three months old and even then, I only went to the office for four hour stretches, I pumped a bit to be offered to Ava in a bottle when I wasn’t with her (she was never very interested in a bottle), and really – I know I had it easy.  But it was still hard.  It was painful and it was emotional.  But we made it work and at around four months, we really hit our stride and I started to enjoy breastfeeding.  She got her first two teeth at six months old and then the second set at seven/eight months old.  Between six months and nine or ten months, I would be really tense during each feeding session because I had felt the sharpness of those teeth and I did not care for it.  I returned to the mindset of starting each session with the simple goal of making it through THAT session and that session alone.  Ava was overall, in hindsight, not a biter, which I’m very thankful for, but the anticipation and uncertainty was nerve-wracking.  At some point, I grew more comfortable and while my guard is never completely down, I guess I’ve just accepted the fact that she may bite (on purpose or unintentionally) and I’ll survive.  As of now, Ava, at 15 months old, is down to three milk feedings a day and that is working well for us.  She would probably nurse more if I offered – sometimes she tugs at my neck skin, which is her way of saying, “Hey Mama, is the milk shop open?” (she’ll also sometimes pull at Kevin’s neck and look down his shirt, which is pretty funny) but I have stuck with only feeding her milk three times a day for the past couple of weeks.  My goal is to continue to nurse her around three times a day until she’s eighteen months (if she gets a cold, I’ll likely up the feeding count), then feel out if she seems ready to start weaning further.  I imagine we’ll drop to two feedings a day and then one, so I anticipate that it’ll be a slow and steady process.  I’m definitely ready to not feel like a milk cow, but I know I’ll miss the quiet moments that we share.  The thought of weaning is bittersweet, for sure.

As I mentioned, I was lucky and never had a supply problem.  If anything, I had oversupply, especially if she went more than six hours between feedings.  I’d use a hand pump when I first woke up to slow the flow a little bit because otherwise she would sputter and choke a bit.  I know that sometimes there are health issues and supply simply isn’t there, no matter what.  I found that drinking a lot of water (80 ounces a day), eating a balanced diet, and offering milk often was key in establishing and maintaining a good supply.  I used this lactation cookie recipe, which may or may not do anything to help but they’re delicious and any excuse to eat cookies, amiright?  Provided there are no underlying issues, it is truly a supply and demand system.  The more the baby is offered the breast and the more the baby consumes, the more is produced.  I pumped around once a day from the time Ava was about three months old until she was around six months old (I think – I don’t remember for sure) and built up a little supply of frozen milk for her to drink when I was away from her.  I hated pumping and didn’t get much from a pumping session so it felt kind of pointless.  If you pump and don’t get much, don’t worry about how much the baby is consuming, provided the appropriate number of diapers are being change and weight gain is on the curve (even a low curve – Ava was in the 3rd-5th percentile for the first 9 months or so, but she was gaining steady and staying on that curve, so there was no need for concern.)  A baby is always going to get more milk than a pump!  Always.  That’s how our bodies are made.  If we have another child and our lifestyle remains the same in terms of when I go back to work and how often I’m in the office, I anticipate that I won’t pump and we’ll have formula on hand for when I’m not there to feed the baby (provided I am able to/decide to breastfeed in the first place!).  But who knows – why make that plan before it needs to be made?

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We got the go-ahead from our pediatrician to offer cereal at four months, but I was intrigued by the idea of baby led weaning.  After reading Baby Led Weaning:  The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods-and Helping Your Baby Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater and talking to Kevin about what it entails, we decided to go that route.  Official baby led weaning means that the baby is only offered breastmilk or formula until they are at least six months old and even then they need to meet other criteria like being able to sit up unsupported, have lost the tongue thrust reflex, and be able to grasp and hold on to food.  The book talks about how a baby’s digestive system isn’t fully developed at four months old.  I am no doctor and know nothing about the development of a baby’s digestive system, but I genuinely believe that it does not hurt to let their little systems develop without the introduction of solid food (even something as mild as rice cereal) in the first six months.

When Ava was six months old, she met the above criteria, so we started introducing solid food to her at that point.  We started slow, but basically gave her whatever we were eating.  Ava loved food from the beginning.  She loves flavor, including a bit of spice, and she’s been very good about trying things.  It was really, really cute to watch her discover different flavors and such a relief to skip right over the puree stage.  If baby led weaning is something that interests you, I highly recommend the aforementioned book.  A few things that stood out to me as I read it are as follows:

  • An advantage of baby led weaning is that a baby learns to chew early.  With purees, the baby can continue to suck, like they do from a bottle or breast, and they do not learn to chew.  When solid chunks of food are eventually introduced, the baby has a tendency to suck rather than chew because they are accustomed to sucking.  This can lead to choking.
  • Speaking of choking, there is a difference between gagging and choking.  A baby’s gag reflex is much, much further forward in their mouth than an adult’s gag reflex.  It is triggered very easily!  This is a defense mechanism because it forces forward anything that has triggered the reflex before the item moves further back and gets lodged in a baby’s throat.  The baby learns early on how easy it is for their gag reflex to be triggered and how to control the amount of food they put in their mouth because they, by instinct, want to avoid triggering the reflex.  Baby led weaning can include A LOT of gagging.  The baby is learning about that gag reflex and because it is so far forward, it doesn’t take much to trigger it!  The gagging part of baby led weaning is scary.  It is so hard to sit idle and watch a baby gag.  But it is really, really important that the baby is allowed the opportunity to let the reflex push the food forward and that they work it out for themselves.  Adult intervention can cause the food to move backwards and get lodged in the throat, which can lead to choking.  If the baby is turning blue and not breathing, follow the steps of infant first aid/CPR, obviously!  But if they are gagging, let them be.  This was by far the scariest and hardest part of baby led weaning to me.  And Ava wasn’t a frequent gagger at all, so we were lucky.  But it’s still nerve-wracking.
  • Baby led weaning allows a baby to eat at their own pace.  They have control over what goes into their mouths and the quantity.  If they try something and don’t like it, they can spit it out and not try it again during that meal; the food can be offered to them repeatedly but it isn’t forced on them.  (Recently we have repeatedly offered vegetables, and Ava has repeatedly refused them and that’s okay.  We’ll keep offering and eventually she’ll come around to them.)  Eating is enjoyable to them because they’re in control and they’re part of the family gathering at the table.  There aren’t any tricks like zooming the airplane (spoon) into their mouth to get them to take another bite of something they don’t really want.  They follow their own instincts and also learn by example.  They won’t forever be eating with their fingers as long as they are given the opportunity to use utensils, because ultimately, they want to do what mom and dad and older siblings are doing.   Mom and dad can focus more on their meal because the baby is picking up their own food and bringing it to their own mouth, versus mom or dad wielding the spoon. 
  • A baby learns to recognize when they are full which can help them develop healthy eating habits as a child and later as an adult.  Rather than meeting a “quota” amount of jarred pureed food, the baby follows its own instincts, eats at its own pace, and stops eating when he or she is full.  Healthy eating habits are established as young as infanthood, and can help prevent obesity later in life. 

I haven’t read the book in around a year and I know I’m not mentioning so many perks, so again, read the book if you’re interested in learning more!  The biggest con is the mess, but really, isn’t feeding a baby and/or toddler messy regardless of how the food is delivered to them?  I reiterate what I said above – we all make the decisions that we feel are best for our child so if that means cereal at four months for you and your baby, you do that, mama (or dad!)!  Baby led weaning was simply the option we chose for introducing solids to Ava and we have been very, very happy with how it worked for our family.

How did you introduce solids to your kids?  What did you like or not like about the process? 

Ava // fifteen months old.

Our little Ava is 15 months old!  Time, it is a flying.  We had her 15 month wellness check today (one shot, boo) and she weighed in at 18 pounds, 14 ounces (17th percentile), is 30 inches long (32nd percentile), and has a big head (75th percentile).  Our doctor said (loudly – Ava screams like a banshee as soon as she steps into those exam rooms) she’s doing great on all levels.  We wish that our doctor would ask to hang out with us in real life so that she could see first hand how smart, social, and calm Ava is when she’s not afraid that someone is going to jab a needle in her at any moment.

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SLEEPING

Ava continues to sleep well through the night – anywhere from 7:00 to 7:30 until 6:00 to 7:00.  When she wakes up, she soothes herself back to sleep, nine times out of ten.  We’ve noticed that we need to go into her room to soothe her more often when she’s in a developmental leap or when she’s got teeth actively pushing through the gum.  But overall we are so lucky to have such a good sleeper.  Ever since our Denver trip we have struggled to get her to fall asleep alone. Hopefully that resolves itself. She takes one nap a day.  It is usually around an hour and a half, but can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2+ hours.  Where she naps is a bit inconsistent – I usually make her take crib naps, but Kevin, Sue, and Craig usually do cuddle naps.

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PLAYING

Ava is so. much. fun.  We absolutely love playing with her.  She is so good at entertaining herself, and loves to play with us as well.  We are still in our weekly music class and we occasionally meet up with friends who have kids for play dates.  She is a homebody and always so excited to get home after we run errands or go out.  Non-toy toys are her favorite – the Tupperware, baggies, boxes, etc.  She likes to put cloths or clothes on her head and we tell her that we like her hat and she smiles so big.  She thinks it is hilarious when Kevin blows his nose.  She loves when we take phone calls – on our phones or on her pretend kitchen phone.  She loves this one song that involves waving a scarf in the air and chanting about popcorn kernels.  Really she just loves songs in general.  She loves reading and is very interested in books of all shapes and sizes.  She loves dancing.  She shakes her whole body when she dances on her own and it’s very cute.  She also loves to be held by Kevin or me and be our little dance partner.  She loves to be outside and adores her stroller walks and trips to the park.  We’re hoping the remainder of the winter is mild enough to allow us to get out for regular walks each week.

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EATING

She eats very well – everything but vegetables.  Not touching that poison.  She sometimes has pre-conceived notions about how a food will taste but she’s pretty good about raising it to her mouth and tasting it.  Sometimes it’s a hit and she can’t get enough of something she was convinced she’d not like.  She also doesn’t love milk, which I was a little worried about but the pediatrician said today that she doesn’t think milk is that big of a deal – there are plenty of other sources of protein.  We may try almond milk soon.  She’s great in restaurants – as long as we keep food in front of her.  She has 12 teeth (the regular front eight and four molars) – plenty of chances to show the food who is boss.  Her favorite foods are peanut butter (especially Bamba) and chicken thighs and sweet potatoes and bananas and blueberries.  Ava continues to nurse 3 to 5 times a day.  My goal is to make it to 18 months and then begin weaning.  I’d love for her to continue to get all the good stuff from my milk through the winter months.  She caught her first cold last week.  We were delighted that we almost made it to 15 months before she was under the weather, and she recovered pretty quickly.  Lots of steams and a humidifier and diffusing peppermint oil seemed to really help.  I also upped the number of times I was nursing her so that she could get some cold-fighting power from that.

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DOING

Ava is a mover and a shaker.  She is on the go anytime she’s awake, and I just love to watch the little wheels turning in her head as she figures out how her world operates.  She loves putting pants on – she sticks her legs straight out and does a little dance when it’s pants-putting-on time.  She leans her forehead in for kisses.  She went through a brief phase where she would give open mouthed kisses which were basically the cutest thing ever.  But alas, she decided her response to kisses will be to lean her forehead in – kind of like she’s saying, “You may kiss my crown.”  She’s very fast as she creeps along the furniture and when she pushes her zebra push toy (or the dining room chairs or her high chair or the travel crib or…whatever she’s in a position to push).  In the past week or so she has begun to take more of an interest in walking.  She’ll take up to a dozen or so steps and then remember that it’s much faster to crawl.  Initially I said that I refuse to call her a toddler until she’s walking.  Then she started walking a bit and I’ve changed it to a refusal to call her a toddler until she’s walking more than crawling.  Actually, scratch that – I refuse to call her a toddler until she’s only walking.  I’m calling my baby a baby for as long as possible, thank you very much.

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COMMUNICATING 

Ava is putting lots of syllables together and can say a few things very clearly (Mama and Dada top that list) and a few things clearly enough (cat, dog, duck).  What truly amazes me every day is how much she understands.  It is remarkable.  She recognizes when we’re turning into our neighborhood in the car, when we pull up in front of Grandma and Grandpa’s house, etc.  She knows what she is not allowed to touch (an electrical cord, for instance) and will reach out toward it and look back at us, like she’s saying, “See this?  I’m testing boundaries.”  When we tell her to put toys or books away, she’s getting better about following instruction.  Body language usually gets the job done – she’ll reach her arms up to be picked up and who can resist that?  Or she’ll hold her arm out and grunt urgently to indicate that she wants something or wants us to give her something.   Basically the only sign language sign that we use consistently is “all done” and she’s good with that one.  She doesn’t like good-byes.  Even if we’re saying goodbye to the clerk at the grocery store, she whimpers when she hears the word.

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We are delighted and amused by her every day and we hope that she always knows just how much she is loved.

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?