It's Fall!

Just because I'd hate to be source of worry or undue conjecturing, let me clear up my "big announcement!" It has nothing to do with any life changes, no jobs, no moves, no babies, etc.! Didn't mean to cause any panic :) I simply am approaching a big milestone on my blog and I've come up with a delightful way to celebrate it!
So stay tuned...but don't lose any sleep!!

How do we know that fall is here??
It's cold outside!! We're officially breaking out the warm clothes and all the hats we own :)
The air is crisp, the wind is blowing and the leaves are changing.
We LOVE it!
And so far, so does this little peanut. She's handling all the hoods that keep gracing her head quite well, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before she reaches up there and pulls them off!! I have decided that we need more hats and more socks however!
The last time I left you, Ava was struggling to sit up on her own, still doing the occasional face plant or falling backwards, but if you followed my twitter feed while we were gone, you'd know that we have conquered the art of sitting!! She's relying less on her hands to steady her and is now able to really reach for her toys and pick them up, play with them and then choose another.
This is one of my favorite stages! I love that I can put her on the floor beside me while she plays and I can work on something else. I just look at her often now and wonder where the time has gone. How did we get here already?
In fact, because she has been sitting so well on her own, we decided to try her in the real bathtub last night and she did great!
I think she enjoyed the upgrade from the sink to the bathtub! We put her in her little infant tub and she sat there perfectly the whole time.
In fact, she even played and splashed for the first time! She loved that little duck and that book...Travis read it to her and she just stared at it :) I think we're going to start a new nightly bath ritual before bed now...or maybe every other night. We'll see!
My girl is growing up! I can't believe we're creeping up on 6 months soon and I can't believe September is almost behind us. I'm happy to report that not only is Ava doing great, but I think I'm starting to really feel more and more "normal" every day :) I think it's safe to say that the power of postpartum hormones should not to be ignored! I didn't realize how long they would affect me, until the last couple of weeks when I've finally started to get out of a funk and feel more like "me." It's been a good thing. I think Travis may be relieved to know that his wife didn't set sail for good 6 months ago : ) I just took an extended vacation!

Happy Monday to you all...
And Happy Fall too!!
I'm off to celebrate with a hot cup of coffee and an apple spice muffin....perfect!


Home Sweet Home

Did you know we were on a self-imposed blog vacation??
Well neither did I, but it looks like it worked out that way! We've been gone this past week, since Tuesday morning, on a little family two different places! Ryley and Travy were in Canada on a fun fishing trip with my Dad and his friend Kirk, and Ava and I were in Iowa with my Mom for a girls week :) It's been a good time for all of us! But, now we are all home again and under one roof. And that's also a good thing. It's back to reality, back to our normal lives and back to the blog! The bad news is that I've neglected this blog for the last week, but the good news is that I have had some time to think about some fun things coming up, including a big announcement that I'm very excited about!! And no, I'm not pregnant, so don't start emailing me to ask :) Ava is recovering from her first real cold, which hasn't been all that bad, and Travis and I are trying hard not to catch one ourselves. Hope you've all had a great week, I've missed you! I have dinner in the oven and my Iowa Hawkeyes are going to be on prime time tonight, taking on Penn State, so I've got to run. We've got to get serious around here soon :) Have a great rest of your weekend!!

Go Hawks!!


Five Months Old!

It gets harder and harder for me to believe every month, but yes, you are growing up! This has been your most memorable month yet and one that has been full of milestones.
Look how darling you are Ava!! At 5 months old you are so much fun! Your Daddy and I can't get enough of you :) This has been a big month for you because you are doing so many new things! Here are some 5 mo. stats:

-You are just now wearing 3-6 mo. clothing comfortably. You still have some 0-3 mo. things that fit, but mostly you've outgrown the first "wave" of your closet!
-You are in size 2 diapers.
-You are sleeping 10 hours at night and napping 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. It's wonderful!
-You are drinking formula now exclusively, in addition to rice cereal and now pears too :)
Your hair is changing too! It's getting thinner and lighter. You still have red hair, but now you have blonde hair growing in too.
Ava, from the moment you were born, you have always been bright-eyed and alert. That has only increased as you've gotten older! You are now so distracted by everything and anyone! You always turn your head to see who is talking and feeding you has now become an Olympic event! We can only imagine what's in store for us when you're mobile!
Speaking of mobile, you started out this month by making your first real attempt at moving on your own! I started finding you this way when I laid you on your activity mat...all twisted up like a pretzel! I knew it wouldn't be long before we found you...
...just like this! Rolled over! One Sunday morning I walked out of your room while you were on your back and I walked back in to find you on your tummy! What a big girl!
From that day on, EVERY time we put you down somewhere, you immediately roll over to your tummy and then sometimes back over again. You are a little wiggle worm and we have to keep our eyes on you all the time!
The weather was so nice this month that we took you on so many walks. However, because you are able to hold your head up and because you are growing up, we tried you in your stroller like a big girl, without your infant seat, and guess what?? You loved it!! You look all around and play with your toys. We can't believe how cute you look though because you're still so little!
Ava, because we has such a cool August, you became the queen of hats! We broke out so many of your cute, warm hats to wear when we were outside. We went to many of Daddy's soccer games and you always stole the show with your hats! Mommy LOVED this! I've been waiting a long time to play dress up with my little girl :)
Like a true Minnesotan, we took you to your first State Fair this month! You were so good and easy. We are so thankful for your go-with-the-flow personality that lets us keep you out late and in a variety of temperatures! We know you're going to love the fair every year. It was so much fun to be pushing you around!
In addition to your bottles, you started your first bout of solids this month with some rice cereal. You weren't sure what to make of it at first, but slowly you have gotten more interested and maybe even happy about it :)
Today however, we gave you some pears and you were a whole new eater!! You couldn't get enough and you wore lots of evidence all over your face, your hands, and your high chair!
Because you are such a mover and a shaker, and we needed something else to occupy you, we bought you the best thing ever....a johnny jumper!
And you are a little maniac in it!
You march, you dance, you twirl and you pick up your feet and just dangle :) We get such a kick out of watching you in this thing! You love to play in it while I make dinner or while Daddy watches you. We think you love anything that helps you keep moving!
Ava you finally are big enough to put your armholes through the baby bjorn! Daddy still loves to take you for walks in the carrier, but until now, you've always been too little to put your arms through the holes! Not anymore though :) Now it fits you just right!
Speaking of your Daddy, you are the light of your his eye baby girl! He puts you to bed every single night and when he comes through the door after work, you get the biggest grin on your face! Mommy loves to see the two of you bonding. You are a very blessed girl Ava to have a Daddy who loves you so much!
After being at Grandma and Grandpa's house all summer, Ryley came home again! You don't know what to think of him, we can tell, but you do love to look at him! You grin when he walks by and if we hold you close to him, you reach out your hand for him to lick. We're so glad you aren't scared of Ryley and we're so glad that Ryley is very gentle around you. The two of you make quite a pair!
We are spending lots of time working on sitting up, but you aren't quite there yet without some help! You do like the challenge though and we think you love to see the world from a whole new angle! You are the happiest little girl Ava, we just love your big smile and your easy temperament. You are the delight of our lives and we're so thankful for how God made you!
But you are still a little nut! You've learned how to arch your back and scoot yourself out of any position you don't want to be in. You are a little stinker when you want to be, but so cute we can't help but laugh at you!
However, as great as all these milestones are, my very favorite thing you did this month was say your first word...MaMa!!! You started out with just a bunch of "ma ma ma ma ma's" but now you have a distinct "MaMa" that you frequently say. I LOVE it. It makes my heart swell! Even when you're saying it so loud my ears hurt :) Now we just have to work on "DaDa" so your Dad feels better about the whole thing!

Happy 5 months Ava Page!
We love you.
You are the sweetest little 5 mo. old around :)



On Monday, we took a little road trip down to Iowa for an important day. After 36 years at John Deere, my Dad is finally retiring. He could have retired a couple of times in the last few years, but with 3 daughters in private school, 3 college tuitions, and 3 weddings to pay for, this was the year he was finally able to hang up his hat. And we are so happy for him!! Monday afternoon his company hosted a lunchtime retirement party and we were thrilled to be able to attend.
For 36 years my Dad has been employed at John Deere, much of that time in the marketing department.
Of course we had to see his desk, that has been already cleaned out, and my goofy Mom had to pretend to answer his phone :) Although we got a good laugh out of it, this actually makes me a little sad. For my 29 years, I have been calling my Dad at work and dialing the exact same number all this time. From the first time I learned to dial the phone until today, I always knew I could reach him at one number during the day. And believe me, with 3 girls, my poor Dad got a million phone calls from all of us! Sometimes we'd call to tell on each other, other times to complain when Mom said "no" about something, but most of the time to just chat and ask him questions. He always answered and made time for us. Sometimes he'd have to stop us in our tracks and make us go apologize to our Mom or threaten us to stop fighting and calling him about it :) But he also picked up that phone to hear how our first day of school was, that we passed a test we were worried about, that we got our first job, that we accidentally got in a car accident or were stuck in the snow, that we were coming home to visit or that he was going to become the Grandpa of a little baby girl. We've all called to cry, to laugh, and to get the wisdom we were looking for. And no matter how busy his day was, my Dad was always there to listen. It just hit me this morning that today is the last time I can call him at 292-7740, just to say hi. Tomorrow he turns in his computer, his badge and the rest of his company things. From that point on, someone else will get assigned that number, but for 5 women today it will always belong to us. To Ava's Grandpa, to our Dad and to My Mom's husband.
One of our funniest memories over the years is learning that our Dad actually worked in an area called "complete goods." When he answered the phone, he would always say, "Complete goods, Steve." We never listened very well I guess because Stacie and Jennie swore he answered "leekid Steve" and I swore he answered "flea goods Steve!" Imagine the laughs we've had all these years when we actually discovered he was saying "complete goods" :)
My Parents.
A banner they hung for people to sign.
Because it was such a special day, we pulled out the special outfit for Ava to surprise her Grandpa with. She wore her john deere green skirt and hair bow with the little pink shirt my Dad bought her on the morning he found out we were having a girl! I called him at work from the OB's office and broke the good news. He said he immediately went downstairs to the gift shop and bought the littlest pink shirt he could find. It fit Ava perfectly and she looked so darling in it!
She was excited to party with Aunt Jennie and Uncle Dave!
Proud Grandpa and his girl :)

Some of his friends put on a little program for my Dad and we got a kick out of it :)
They teased him about being "old school" and began dressing him up... look like our favorite old school Iowa Hawkeye coach, Hayden Fry! Not too bad! The best part of this picture is the t-shirt they found for him. It's no secret that we do NOT like the Iowa State Cyclones (along with millions of our fellow Hawkeyes) and my Dad loves to call them the Cyclowns or just the clowns. This shirt was perfect, especially considering we just beat the clowns this weekend 35-3. What a great gift!!
Jennie and Dave came...
...and so did Travis, Ava and I. We missed Stacie and Jesse, but they were busy finding an apartment in their new city! We weren't totally complete without them :)
My parents best friends Joan and Kirk were also there. Kirk and my Dad have worked together at John Deere for many, many years. Joan even worked there for a little while! It was so fun to have them there. Tomorrow, after my Dad turns his stuff in, he and Kirk are packing up to drive to Canada for a fishing trip :)
Little Miss Ava was a star in her john deere shirt, but she was also very good. She stayed quiet during the program and smiled at everyone who talked to her!
So happy for them as they start a new chapter. After 36 years of going to the same place everyday, I'm so glad my Dad is finally getting to relax and do more of what he loves to do.
We had to take an obligatory picture of one of the tractors on display outside the building.
Just so you can see the scale of this thing, those tires are as tall as Travis is! Pretty unbelievable.
When we got home, the party continued...
Happy retirement, right???
Oh how I wish I could tell you that my Dad bought himself a sports car, but actually there is a better story behind this car.
One of my Dad's friends entered a contest, shortly after the Transformers movie came out and he won an exact replica of the bumblebee car from the movie! He's one of only 3 people in the country who won! Isn't that crazy??
I thought Travis might pass out because he LOVES Transformers and of course, he LOVES this car!
He looks pretty good in it, doesn't he??
Now trust me, an engine shot is a picture I never thought I'd find myself taking, but it was amazing to see a brand new, sparkling clean engine! I almost wanted to touch it :)
Of course the best part was the Hawkeye dice inside! How fitting that my Dad's friend is also a die-hard Hawkeye fan and now he has a black and gold car to prove it!
Yes, we all took turns driving it :) I think I might have prayed an emergency prayer when I turned the key, something like "please, please, please don't let me hit something!!"
What do you think, should we trade in the SUV for a sports car?? How do you think a car seat would look in the back seat?? Just kidding :)

Happy Retirement Dad! We love you and we're proud of you.
You'll always be our favorite John Deere Employee, even if we never knew what your department was called!!