Oh, the Joy of Parenthood...

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm taking a minute to sit and blog, simply because I need the escape.  My Mom is still here with me, she stayed an extra day, because Ava has been quite a handful in the last 24 hours.  It's amazing how quickly every good "routine" you've established can go right out the window!  I have been taking some seriously deep breaths and asking the Lord to bathe me in some much needed patience, which I do not seem to possess on my own :) We have a little girl who has apparently developed a hatred for napping.  This is a new thing sadly, as just 2 weeks ago, she napped like a champ.  I'm sure this is just a little phase we're going through and I know one day we'll be back in a routine again, but for now, I want to pull my hair out!  She napped a total of 1 hour yesterday, ALL DAY LONG.  Today, we're not doing much better.  I'm trying all kinds of tricks and trying to help her learn to put herself to sleep, but it's not easy.  I have a thousand things I should be doing right now, but I'm choosing to be a little indulgent and blog instead.  She is so over-tired and exhausted, it feels like we're on a bad spinning wheel that we can't get off!  

The ironic thing about it is, in all my years of being a nanny, I've always had a knack for getting babies and kids to sleep.  No matter how much they hated to nap or even refused to do it, I always had them down in no time and for a long time.  It just figures that with my own child, I'm fresh out of luck.  I'm second guessing everything I'm doing and I just want to throw in the towel and give up.  Maybe it's because I'm not getting paid??  Maybe not :) Anyway, I'm trying not to freak out and dismiss the whole week before it starts, but I have a feeling that it's going to be a long one while we try and weather this napping storm.  

There is one thing I'm not second guessing however, and that is realizing that being a Mommy is the best thing in the world and the absolute hardest thing too.  It's a good thing she's so darn cute because I don't know what I'd do if I didn't love her to pieces!  Seriously, that wild red hair saves her every time :) 

Bt, on that note, I can hear her crying again so I'm off...

Oh, the joy.  


From One Set of Arms to Another

We have had such a fun week!  We went to Iowa last Thursday and my Mom, Ava and I came back home last night.  Travis is gone on a weekend camping trip and we girls (plus Ryley) are having lots of fun holding the fort down.  When we went to Iowa last week, I was exhausted, having come off of a very busy week, with Travis working a lot and being gone.  I needed a break in the worst way and I needed some time to get away from reality :) I'm happy to say that one week later, I feel refreshed and as rested as I can be during this stage!  Having so many arms to scoop her up has given me lots of mornings to sleep a little later, time to read, time to relax and time to run out for a little bit without her.  Thank you Lord!!  

As much as I LOVE her, she is all-consuming and very demanding...What baby isn't??  She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, she makes me tired, she makes me grateful, and she makes me happy :) I am just now starting to feel more and more like myself and starting to feel like we are settling into some kind of routine.  She's getting a little more predictable to me and I'm figuring out how to "do life" with a husband and a daughter and a dog :) 
Yep, life is good and we are blessed.  
Here's Ava and her Grammy on a sunny afternoon.  I love that little look on her face.  That is so "her."
Ava got to meet several new people while we were in Iowa.  One of those people is my sister Jennie's friend, Cady.  We love Cady in our family and so does Ava!  Apparently she is quite relaxed in her arms :) 
Ava also fell in love with her Uncle Dave.  She liked cuddling with him most of all, don't you love her little cheeks pressed up against his face??
Of course she LOVES her Grampy too :) They spent lots of time walking and pacing the house together.  Grampy is a good "go-to" guy when someone is a little fussy!
What a special treat for me to spend some good time with one of my childhood friends, Alyce.  We grew up together and went to school together, all 13 years.  I don't think we've seen each other since Graduation Day, but we've reconnected on facebook in the last year or so and we both happened to be in Waterloo at the same time!  Alyce is one of the sweetest classmates and a dear friend.  She is HILARIOUS and I mean that in the strongest sense of the word.  She makes me laugh out loud when I read her comments on my blog and on facebook!!  We had the best time catching up and I loved getting to introduce her to Ava, live and in the flesh :) Thanks Alyce for calling and coming over, you were the highlight of my day!!  
Guess who is 6 weeks old today??  I swear she gets cuter overnight.  Travis and I cannot get enough of her in the morning, we just go crazy for her!!  She is always so cuddly and smiley (after she eats of course) when she wakes up.  Those early morning grins are just the best :) 
And that little profile??  
Yep, adorable indeed. 
I just want to kiss those cheeks and that little nose!  
So, on that note, I think I will :)  

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!


Happy Memorial Day!

We have been in Iowa for the last few days, relaxing and enjoying ourselves over this long weekend. It's been so nice to get away and get a break! I've loved having Travis around more than normal :) While we've been here, we've been busy. On Thursday night my Mom's friends hosted a shower for Ava and I, which was very sweet and totally fun. I got to catch up with some friends and show off the long awaited Ava! Travis has played golf three days in a row and Ava has gotten more attention and love than the two of us can provide! We were all supposed to go home tonight, but we changed our plans a little and Travis went home without us. He is going to be gone next weekend, so I'm staying a few more days here and then my Mom is coming home with me later in the week. It's totally fun to be able to be spontaneous and get some extra help! Of course I miss Travis already, but he'll be getting the uninterrupted sleep I crave tonight, so it's not all bad!! Anyway, here is a recap in pictures of our last few days. Enjoy!
The little guest of honor and I, who promptly fell asleep the minute we arrived and stayed asleep the whole time!
Don't those drinks look great?? They were!
Some yummy appetizers that I apparently missed. How sad for me, I LOVE shrimp!!
What a gorgeous table that was. We had such a great dinner together, I just loved it!
I of course loved the pink, white and brown touches. It was right up my "girly" alley!
This dessert not only looked amazing, but it tasted amazing too :) I ate one piece, but I really wanted like five!!
My Mom's friends always throw the best showers and many cute details!
Here is a picture of my best friend (literally since birth) and I with our new babies and our Moms.
Brynn was born just a month before Ava :) Aren't they cute? Brynn also has an older sister Ella, but she was with her Papa that night. I love to think that 29 years ago, this would have been a picture of Amber and I.
Amber and I are also a month apart. It's so fun to share this newest season of mommyhood together.
Aunt Jennie loved holding Ava while she slept during dinner.
3 Generations of Mothers, Daughters and friends :)
Here's my Mom's dog, Tigger, who insisted on being in my Mom's other arm while she rocked Ava!
The little cutie with her hair bow from Aunt Melissa : )
Ava finally got to meet Uncle Dave for the first time! She loved him immediately and vice versa too. She looked good in his arms! He even put her to sleep on Sunday night.

Grampy took Ava on their first of many walks together.
She did great and only cried for a few minutes :) Just enough to make Grampy think he might have to jog home! Good thing she fell asleep instead!
Ava is full of smiles for everyone right now! We just love it. I think she looks so much like my Grandma Glenny here. It makes me smile to see that reflection on her face :)
My brother-in-law's parents came over that night to meet Ava and we decided to have a bonfire.
Here's Ava, throwing up some gang signs again!
Right before we called it quits, due to the emergence of mosquitos. Yuck.

Ava with her aunt and uncle after Church.
Grampy and Grammy loved showing her off to all their friends!
And who wouldn't?? She was a little doll that morning :)
She only lasted about 10 minutes in the service before I had to leave and nurse her, but I did laugh because my friend Greta was also in the nursing room that morning and we got to chat! Greta and Jason were in town, visiting friends for the weekend :) Jason and Travis work together, but now we also vacation together!
I have loved being back in my hometown for the first time with my little girl :)
Isn't she the cutest 5 week old you've ever seen??
I hope you've had a great weekend and wonderful holiday today. We love all of our family members who are in the military or have been over the years. What a blessed nation we are to have people like you, who serve to defend and protect us. Thank you!!
Happy Memorial Day :)


Road Trippin'

Guess who took her first trip to Iowa yesterday???
Yep, this little cutie made her first visit to Grammy and Grampy's house and she did it in style :) Well, actually, she slept 90 % of the time (thank you Jesus) and she only wore her sunglasses for the last 2 minutes, but she arrived in style!! You better believe she's been kissed, held and cuddled every minute since we got here. I will post some more pictures later today or tomorrow. Last night we went to a baby shower for the two of us, hosted by some dear friends from my childhood. It was a wonderful and very sweet night :) This morning we are headed to visit my best friend Amber and her two little girls (and Ava's future friends). It's so nice to be out of my house and in a new environment for a the long weekend! And of course to have Daddy and lots of family and friends to play with all day :)
Hope you have a wonderful Friday!!


Because I Need a Break...

If you must know, I really should be doing something else right now.  I should be putting laundry away, getting suitcases packed, vacuuming my house or maybe even showering.  That's what I should be doing, but instead I'm blogging, because I need a little break today.  And I feel like being indulgent.  So there you go :) Here's some random stuff going on in our world this week...

-It is incredibly HOT here today.  You probably think I'm exaggerating since it's Minnesota, but I am not.  It is 91 degrees right this minute!!  That is crazy.  We also have hurricane force winds going on outside, so Ava and I are choosing to stay inside.  Although I do love the sunshine, it's honestly just too hot out for her little self :) We were out yesterday afternoon in the same weather and she was a hot, sweaty mess!  So, inside with air conditioning it is.

-We are attempting our first vacation this weekend with the little peanut.  We're headed to Iowa to see my family and some friends.  I am totally looking forward to it, mostly because Travis has been working soooo much lately, I haven't been able to see him a whole lot or get much help with Ava.  It will be a blessing to have many arms to hold her!  Also, Ava gets to meet her Uncle Dave for the first time.  She is very excited about it, she told me so :)  

-Did you watch my fellow Iowan, Shawn Johnson, win Dancing with the Stars last night???   I was quite proud :) And I did think she deserved it, she was very good the whole season and her free-style dance was excellent.  

-Now, who on earth doesn't know about the American Idol finale tonight??  I am hoping that Kris will win, although Adam is so talented he certainly deserves to win too.  My original pick, Danny, is already out so now I've transferred my allegiance to Kris.  I didn't love the performances last night though and I'm really getting sick of the whole "sing this song that so and so have written as your first single, should you win."  Why do they keep putting us through that, season after season??  The songs aren't good and both of them didn't sing them well last night.  I know Kara co-wrote it, but seriously, make the madness stop!  I can't wait to watch the whole thing tonight, I hope it's a better show!  

-Ava needs a bath tonight and I'm debating about whether I want to give her one alone or wait for Travis to gets home, later tonight??

-I have been trying to return phone calls today and get caught up in several things that need some attention.  It is so hard for me to feel like I have a grip on everything right now.  Just when I think I've caught up, something else gets added to the list or pops in my mind.  It's a miracle the bills have gotten paid and we have food in the fridge.  Somedays I feel like all I do is feed her, hold her, and feed her again!  But, she's only little once and the work is always there.  

-I hear someone stirring, so I need to cut this short.  I'll leave you with two pictures I took last night, when we were doing all we could to get someone to sleep :) 

Here's the position we "had to" keep her in or else she melted down immediately!  
But it eventually worked and she fell asleep, with her little arms up in the air!  Now, do you see those little ruffly green pants she's wearing??  She wore them yesterday with that onesie, that has pink and green flowers all over it.  While we were running errands, some lady wanted to see her and she thought she was a little boy!!  Really??  In ruffly pants??  Since when did green become only a boy color?? Just had to share that because those pants make me laugh now :) I mean seriously, they have little bows on them!?!?!


4 Weeks Old

Ava, it's hard for your Mommy and Daddy to believe, but you are 4 weeks old now!!  Your first month of life is behind us and the days just keep flying by.  You have turned our world upside down baby girl and we LOVE it!!  We never knew how much we would love being with you, watching you sleep, watching you eat, and just watching you do anything and everything :) 

At one month, here's what we know about you Ava Page...

You are so stinkin cute!!!  We are your Mommy and Daddy, so we're supposed to think that, but seriously, you are just the most adorable little thing we've ever seen!  All day long we talk about you and we marvel at how God fearfully and wonderfully made you.  Don't ever forget that Ava.  You are perfectly formed, just as God planned you to be.  We will always see you with nothing but incredible love in our eyes.  
You're also funny!  Daddy will love this picture because it looks like you are flashing a gang sign with your right hand and your hoodie :) Daddy laughs and laughs at so much of what you do!  Your eyes are so expressive and when we catch you doing something funny or making a funny face, we start laughing and now, at one month, sometimes you smile back at us as if you know how funny you are too!!  
Lately, you are mesmerized by lights.  You love to look at lamps or the sunshine outside.  In the last week or so, you've really started noticing more of the world around you.  We catch you staring so intently at things that sometimes you go cross-eyed!!  But don't worry, that's normal Ava :) We're certain you will have outgrown this by junior high, when it counts!  
One of your favorite things is this pink musical bear.  Whenever we turn it on, you listen hard and go into some kind of trance :) It's our magic trick when we want to calm you down or distract you.  We always turn this bear on when we change your diaper and lately we've started taking him in the car and stroller, when we think you might have a meltdown!  We think you like the music and we've started playing it a lot around you.  We also catch you leaning over and trying to lick this bear's foot when we change your diaper!  We have no idea why you do that or how you know to, but you do it almost every time :)  That makes Mommy laugh!
We also happen to think you're quite smart.  I mean how many 4 week olds do you know that put their hands in their pockets??  Ok, maybe this was purely accidental, but still.  We think you're brilliant already!  
Ava, you are the girl of a thousand faces!  You have inherited your Mommy's wrinkly forehead and you tell a thousand tales with those wrinkles.  So far, you've been pretty "serious looking."  You often have a look that says, "What exactly is going on here??" 
We've started putting you on your tummy lately and you seem to like that.  You always tuck your hands underneath you and your little legs start to draw up, as if you're about to start crawling.  This thrills us and scares us too!  Although we can't wait for you to crawl one day, we are SOOO not ready for you to be mobile yet :) Your neck muscles are getting strong (they were from day one) and you do a very good job of holding your head up.  
As soon as you learn to roll over, I think you'll probably sleep like this at night!  We always put you on your back to sleep, but we know you really like to be snuggled up and on your tummy too.  Oh, and see that big pacifier??  YOU LOVE IT!!  You have such a strong suck reflex, all your doctors and nurses have commented on it :) You only want this pacifier when you're getting sleepy, but when you want it, watch out!  You suck on that thing so hard and fast, we think you might take our fingers off if they get in the way!
Ava, when Daddy gets home from work, he LOVES to take you and hang with you all night.  We've figured out that you love to be upright for awhile after you eat, so you spend lots of time in this baby bjorn carrier and you are so content and happy in it!  We think it helps your tummy feel better after you eat.  Mommy uses it a little bit during the day, but mostly Daddy uses it a lot at night.  He takes you for walks in it and he paces around the house with you too.  Sometimes, when he's getting tired, he keeps you in it and reads a story to you.  This night he read you your first "Curious George" book and Mommy laughed because you look like a little monkey too with your long arms and legs hanging out!  
Maybe I'll start calling you "Curious Ava??" 
One of your favorite places to sleep is in your swing.  That makes Mommy so happy because she really wanted that swing and thankfully, you love it too!  You sleep for 2-4 hours in it every afternoon and sometimes you just sit there and smile at the little lambs hanging above you.  Speaking of sleeping, you are a champ!!  At night you've been sleeping anywhere from 4-6 hour stretches and even a few nights you've gone 7 hours!!  That has been a wonderful gift for your parents.  We don't know if you're aware of it, but if you are, thank you.  During the day you still eat about every 3 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less.  You are a great eater Ava and you get very ticked if Mom doesn't move fast enough for you when you're ready!!  We're getting ready to introduce a bottle to you soon, so Mom can get a break and Daddy can get in on the action.  Let's hope you like it!  
Lately you've started smiling back at us Ava and we cannot get enough of it!!  When we talk to you and get really close to you, you break out in a grin that makes us melt.  We can't wait until we start hearing you giggle :) 
One of our biggest accomplishments is that you no longer scream every time we change your diaper!!  You still look at me like "what are we doing on here Mom??"  
And you fold your arms like this...
...then you give me this look and swing your arms and kick your legs....
...and then I turn your bear on and you do this!!  
And we proceed to smother you with kisses and tell you how much we love you Ava Page : )

We can't believe you are one month old, but we are so grateful for 4 weeks of joy and love that we have never known until you came along.  
You've changed everything Ava and we couldn't be happier about it!  
Mommy and Daddy love you baby :)