Packing, Cleaning, and Doing Laundry!

I told Ava this morning that she was going to visit the Kennedy's today and this is what she thought about it...
She loved the idea!

We are busy getting ready to go out of town next week for Family Camp with our church.  It should be a fun week, although it does involve a little bit of work too.  We are in charge of the Junior High group of kids, but only during a few hours of programming each day.  We get to do fun stuff with them like mini golfing, go-karting, trips to Dairy Queen, trips to the local coffee shop, and a trip to the local movie theater to see whatever is appropriate for a junior higher :) Probably the movie "Up", which we've heard is a great movie.  It really is a great gig because we get to be together all week "working" and we get to spend time with lots of people we love from our church.  Also, it means a whole week of no cooking or cleaning for me!  You've got to love that :)  

However, because we are now a family of 3, that does add a level of complication to the whole thing.  I have been working my tail off for the last few days, packing, shopping, doing laundry and cleaning in order to pull this off.  Our car will be packed to the roof-top again between our stuff and her's, but we love family camp and we know we will have a wonderful time.  It's weeks like these that make me very thankful for Trav's job.  Being paid to have "family time" and to hang out with people, is a blessing.  We have made some sweet friendships from this group and some fun memories too.  

Travis is gone coaching his soccer team in a tournament today, so my cousin Robyn and her family watched Ava for me this morning so I could get a few more things crossed off my list.  Thankfully she is sleeping now, so I better run and do what I can before she's awake!  Have a wonderful Saturday!!  


Water Park of America (x2)

Would you like to know who went swimming for the first time??
Yep, this little peanut did!
Over the summer months, Travis likes to "change up" his wednesday nights with the junior highers and get off campus to some fun places around the cities.  This week he planned a night at Water Park of America, an indoor water park here that we really like and we thought it would be a great time to introduce Ava to the world of swimming :) As you can see by the relatively calm look on her face, she loved it!  In fact, she loved it so much, that we took advantage of the 24 hours wrist bands and went back with her today!  These are definitely the times that I LOVE the perks of being married to a youth Pastor!  Free fun, two days in a row!  
We have done lots of nights at this water park, but we've never experienced it as parents, until now.  I remembered that the kids splash zone was cool, but I forgot how cool it was :) It will be lots of fun for Ava as she gets older.  It's so nice to take her indoors and not have to worry about the sun or the heat.  Daddy wanted to be the one to take her in for the first time.
He tested her by putting her foot in a fountain, which seemed to go well.  Lucky for us, they keep this water park hot and the water incredibly warm, almost like bath water.  That is a great thing for little ones (and big ones in the dead of winter too!).
After the foot test went well, we graduated on to the sitting pose :) Also a hit.
I wanted in on the memory too and needed a picture with my baby in her cute swimming suit...that was way too big for her!  I had to tie up the straps so it would stay on :)
Naturally, she loved standing in water as much as she does anywhere.
Standing?  Playing with my hair??
It's all just so overwhelming :) 
Daddy, do you think I'm big enough for the big pool, or do I have to stay in this kiddie pool??
On to the big pool it is! 
And once again, the tiniest little girl in the park, had a great time in the water.
She even kicked those little legs and waved her arms in delight for us :) For the record, we took her around the lazy river also, which was a hit for all of us.  I was so incredibly surprised at how well she did.  No tears, no near-accidents, no looks of "why are you people torturing me?"
Just lots of old-fashioned, exhaustive fun.
Oh, and some really, really amazing pool hair.  
So Ava, did you love the waterpark??  We'll take this as a "YES!"


This is going to hurt me more than you...

In my most parental moment yet, I found myself whispering those words to little Ava yesterday, right before she got her dreaded first shots.  It was a sad, sad moment for all three of us :) I held her little hands while the nurse gave her 3 shots and watched as her face processed what was happening.  By the time it was all over (which was about 10 seconds later), she was screaming, I was crying and Travis was choking the tears back.  But, as quickly as she started crying she stopped too.  I scooped her up immediately and she only cried for about a minute, but I can't even tell you how choked up I was!  It KILLED me to watch her be in pain, especially because she was so unsuspecting and happy before the nurse gave her the shots.  But, we wanted her vaccinated because we believe it will protect her from the many, many people that she will be around.  Especially those germy junior highers :) So for now, the first round is over.
Okay, moving on to happier things :) Here are the 2 month stats:  Ava weighs 9lbs. 14oz now!  She is 22 inches long and in the 20th percentile for weight, height, and head size.  She's still a little peanut, but consistent in all her measurements, so thus no worries.   
Developmentally, she is doing all the right things and was declared "just perfect" by her doctor.  We couldn't agree more :) She's eating about every 2 hours during the day, except for when she naps, then she'll go 3-4 hours.  She's taking a long morning nap for me and a long afternoon or early evening nap almost everyday.  The best news however, is that she is sleeping 8 hours at night!!  For this last month, she was sleeping at least 6 hours every night (sometimes more) but for the last 5 nights we've tried to keep a consistant bedtime for her with a little routine and she's responded great by going 8 straight hours.  We put her down around 10:30 and she wakes up at 6:30.  As she gets a little older, we'll be putting her down a little earlier, 30 minutes at a time, hoping we can eventually get to the coveted 12 hour sleep schedule.  It's kind of like a carrot dangling in front of us :) But, we are thrilled with 8 hours.  It feels amazing to get that additional sleep and it makes me feel like a good parent to watch her get consistent sleep.  
Look at that little peanut :) I'm sure you can see that huge belly button!  It's an umbilical hernia, but totally normal and expected to go down on its' own.  It makes us laugh though because it gets bigger when she cries and when she stands up.  She was quite happy to see her Daddy when He got there!
The calm before the storm.  I got as many cuddles in as I could, before the nurse came back in.  
Thankfully, Ava did great last night when we got home.  I gave her tylenol and she was pretty good.  She did scream a couple times when we irritated her thighs I think, but Travis took her for a long walk and we held her a lot, until she fell asleep.  I was worried that she might not sleep very well last night, but she went right down and we didn't hear a noise from her all night.
Look at those band-aids on those little thighs :) I am hoping to get them off in her bath so it doesn't hurt.  She doesn't look too upset here, does she?  I was pleasantly surprised at how well she did. Makes me feel a little better!
We've also moved this little girl out of the pack and play in our room and into her crib in her room.  She didn't seem to notice the change at all and is always happily cooing when she wakes up in there.  
Here she is this morning.  This picture is a little grainy because I took it in the dark, but she's so stinkin cute anyway!  Love those early morning smiles :) 

I didn't get a chance to post on Father's Day, but we had a great day together.  I also didn't get any pictures, which I feel bad about, but it was kind of a funny day.  We met Trav in the service at Church, but we had to scoot out when Ava decided she wanted to be noisy.  After church, Travis had a make-up soccer game to coach, so we met him there and Ava slept through the whole thing!  After we got home, we ate lunch, I gave Trav our gifts and cards and he took a nap while I got some work done.  My cousin Jenny offered to baby-sit for us that night, so we dropped Ava off with the Lowe's and got to go out for dinner and a movie!  It was wonderful and a fun way to get some time together.  We had a yummy dinner at Maggiano's and then saw the movie, The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock.  It was really funny, we loved it!  But we laughed because Travis really didn't see Ava much all day between her naps and all our activities.  Regardless, it was a fun first Father's Day for him and I think it goes without saying that I think he's an amazing Daddy already!  He is so sweet with Ava and so taken with her.  However, what makes him a great Dad is his love for the Lord and his obedience to Him.  Out of that obedience Ava and I are blessed with his love for us, his patience, his faithfulness, his wisdom and his time.  I couldn't ask for a better Daddy for my baby!  


2 Months Old!

Well sweet little Ava, you are already 2 months old!  Your Daddy and I can't believe how quickly time is passing, but with every new day we are falling deeper and deeper in love with you!  You had a big second month Ava, with lots of new things and big milestones.  We are so proud of you already, here's just a few snapshots explaining why...
You are one cute little girl :) In just one month, we can already see how you're growing!  Here is what you looked like last month:
Still stinkin cute, but a little smaller :) 
In your second month, we went from hard days to good days, almost overnight!  From week 3-6, you were pretty fussy, we were pretty exhausted and none of us really knew what to do :) After you hit that week 6 milestone, you turned a corner and suddenly we all figured each other out.  Mommy told Daddy on many nights, "I LOVED being a Mommy today!"  You and I got into a groove and we started working on a schedule out that was good for both of us.  Ava, thanks for being patient with me when I wasn't always patient with you!  It seems those sleep deprived days are behind us now and we are pressing forward from here on out :) 
Like every little girl does, you have your Daddy wrapped around your little finger!!  He LOVES you Ava and it's all he can do to get in the door at night and get his hands on you :) Many, many nights he spends his time walking with you, reading to you, burping you, rocking you, talking to you and just looking at you.  You are a blessed little girl Ava.  You have a Daddy who thinks you hung the moon and that is a priceless gift.  
One of our biggest accomplishments this month was taking our first road trip!  We took you to Iowa for Memorial Day weekend and you did great in the car!!  We stopped to feed you once on the way down, but on the way back, you slept the whole way!  We've never packed our car so full, Mommy and Daddy were a little overboard with all your gear :) It's a good thing you're little and tucked away in your car seat because there wasn't any room for you otherwise!  You were so good on this trip, that Mommy decided to take you back to Iowa a few weeks later.  We went down just the two of us (and Ryley) and you were good as gold again.  The way home was a little tougher, but we made it and had a great time seeing your family in Iowa.  
After we got ourselves into a good breast feeding groove, Mommy decided she needed some more freedom, so she tweaked the schedule and started pumping to give you the option of a bottle.  Just like we thought, you took it right away!  Daddy gave you your first bottle so Mommy could go get her hair done :) You did such a great job that we decided to go on our first date too.  Mommy still feeds you herself, 80% of the time, but now we can give you a bottle when we're out and Daddy can feed you before bedtime.  

Speaking of bedtime, you are doing so great sleeping through the night!  Most of your second month, you slept 5-6 hours every night.  What a gift that was to your parents :) We swaddled you every night and kept you in the pack n' play bassinet in our room.  We love watching you sleep and there is nothing more fun to us than seeing your sweet little face in the morning...even when you're crying because you're hungry!  We're thankful that you are a good sleeper and a good napper too.  Most days you take a long nap in the morning and a long nap in the afternoon, in addition to some cat naps here and there.  We do our best to give you a consistent sleeping schedule and you have responded so well.   
Ava, there are some things that we love about you at this age.  One of them is your sweet round face :) We can tell that you are gaining weight because you are filling out and we love it!!
Probably our favorite thing about you being 2 months old, is that you are FULL of smiles and grins for us now.  We do ANYTHING to make you smile and we can do it for hours :) You are such a little beam of sunshine for our hearts Ava.  These smiles are no longer "accidental" they are responsive.  You are the best entertainment ever!
Despite all the smiling, you're still just as serious and contemplative as ever :) You wrinkle that forehead, stare intensely and raise those eyebrows constantly.  We would give anything to know what you must be thinking!  
Now, although this might be cruel, we wanted to remember how quickly you can go from happy to mad in just a matter of seconds...sooo, we may have photographed a "fit in the making..."
It usually begins with some squawks, that turn into "yells"... 
...which turns quickly into a furrowed brow of anger :) 
And then it's full-on crying....
Excuse me, "ticked-off" crying!  Sorry Ava, we just wanted to remember that.  At this point we stopped taking your picture and we scooped you up :) 
And look who turned those tears right off!  Ava, you have a magic trick that we have discovered.  You LOVE to stand!!  
It calms you right down and makes you downright happy!  Your little chicken legs are so strong, much stronger than they look.  You remind me so much of your Daddy because we can already tell that you are just itching to move!!
If we could hold you and let you stand all day, you would do it!  You'd much rather stand than sit and that makes us laugh :) 
Your eyes are still blue Ava and piercing too.  Do red heads have blue eyes??  We keep waiting to see if that hair color or that eye color is going to change.  We don't care if it does or doesn't though, we love  you just the way you are!
Our little body-builder :)  We keep hoping you'll add some fat to those bones so you're shots won't be so bad...
Ava this is as close as I'll ever come to posting your buns on the blog, but I just couldn't help myself...They are so yummy!!  And those little legs too :) 
Something else we love is the view of the back of your head.  Your hair is so long, it actually resembles a mullet :) It's long and hangs over the back of your shirt like an old man!  Pretty soon, we might be able to put it in a little ponytail.  Unless it falls out, which I hope doesn't happen :) 
You're getting better at head control Ava, but you're still our little baby :) Although it looks like you're snuggling with your bear, you actually just started to fall over and Daddy and I thought it was so funny!  
And so did you!  Then you thought it might be fun to suck on your fists, something else you've taken to doing this month. 
Ava, we love you baby girl!  Every little development, every big milestone, they're all hidden in our hearts and frozen in our minds.  We are so grateful for you, you are a little gift from the Lord.  As you keep growing, so do we.  We keep asking the Lord to help us be the parents you need us to be, but we know that we don't always achieve that.  No matter how we fall short, we rest in the peace that God loves you even more than we ever could and we pray daily that you will seek Him and know Him as you get older.  Even in these early months, we want you to know who the Lord is and why your Mommy and Daddy love Him.  So stick with us little girl, we are sure smitten with you!
Ok, Ok, I know...this look says it all.  Even you are ready for this update to be done!! 
Happy 2 months Ava Page!!