Sunday, October 31, 2010

a trip to aunt amy's

I have to get my last "September" post up before November 1st. : )

At the end of September, Ava and I headed off to Aunt Amy's in Georgia. Ava was so excited to go see her cousins and I was looking forward to the fun time with her and seeing my sister. Most of the pictures we took are on my sister's camera but here's a few I did have.

On the plane, Daddy had cards for both of us to open. Ava was quite excited with her card and discovered gum inside!
An added bonus? Ava got to share Sophie and Cole's bunk beds with me. I thought it would be really cute too . . .until my daughter spent the ENTIRE evening our first night there coming out every 5 - 10 minutes asking me if I was coming to bed yet. This lasted until midnight at which Ava's very tired mommy climbed into bed . . .and I still think I fell asleep before my excited little girl did. : )

Taking a picture to "show daddy."

What does Ava love as much her cousins? Her cousins' dog Oliver. From the time she was a baby Ava has LOVED this dog and Oliver is a very gracious sport to all of Ava's affections. Mommy was thankful for Oliver since Sophie and Cole had school during the day.
Snuggling Oliver in the morning.

Every morning when Ava woke up she LOVED taking Oliver out for a short walk.

Quite the cute pair. : )

Friday Ava was a fabulous sport as we drove into Atlanta for a FULL day of shopping. Aunt Amy was quite the sport riding the escalator more than once with our shopper-in-training.

The shoe section and a balloon - what else does a girl need?! : )

All excited to go have fun at the pool with Sophie and Cole

Saturday we took a boat out on the lake and spent the afternoon enjoying the water and sun.

Movie night with Sophie and Oliver

Oliver slept each night at the foot of Ava's bed . . .whether he wanted to or not. Ava was quite insistent and sweet Oliver would come dutifully trotting in as Ava excitedly called him to bed with her. He deserved more than a few treats for this one. I'd check on Ava at night and he'd lift his head to look up at me and then lay back down almost as to say, I'm convinced, with a sigh, "I'm only doing this for her." : )

After a long weekend away, we came back home to Grandma! My mom had been here helping my sister pack up to move. Grandma always helps ease the pain of leaving cousins.

And speaking of moving? Before my other sister's family headed out of town, we got to soak in one "last" sleepover before they were officially gone (but we're counting on many more since they're expected to come back to visit ; ) ). We already miss having them close by so much but are so thankful for the fun memories of the years we did have nearby.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

no more paci

Doesn't she look so big?

Well after a year and a half of debating when to take Ava's paci we finally took it a few weeks ago (long past the "I'll never have a child with a paci this long" mark. : ) ). Every time I'd go to move forward with taking it, someone would (easily) talk me out of it with a "rational" argument.

"If she's still napping and it's your quiet time, don't mess with it." "She doesn't use it during the day, it's not a big deal." "She's only 2 . . .she's not going to still have it when she's 10." And I quite happily went along with it.

However our little girl was getting bigger, the battle about putting it away after bed becoming more frequent and Ryan and I were done dealing with it. We kept it through the summer because of this mom's anxieties how Ava would be camping (don't you love the issues we create) and the time had come.

We had debated trying several of the different strategies friends and family had used. The "paci fairy" or sending paci's in the mail to a cousin or family friend's baby or just cutting it and letting nature take it's course.

But as we broached the topic with Ava we realized pretty quickly they weren't going to work. She's pretty practical. So the paci fairy started just seeming like salt in the wound. She adamantly refused the idea that her paci could be mailed to a baby because "they use baby paci's." And cutting it? Well, you just go buy more at the store, didn't you know?

We decided we were just going to live in reality. She was a big girl. Big girls don't need paci's and it was time to say goodbye. And I had told her it was her last night with it;which she handled pretty well although she was sad about it (interestingly enough, I noticed a big change from 2 1/2 to 3 in her ability to process us talking about being done with it).

We had plans to take it a thursday evening and let her use it in her quiet time (detect a theme here . . .mom likes her quiet time).

It all changed as Ava came downstairs that afternoon. We went to go put it away and I realized that she would never have it again with "no warning." She's ask for it that night, be told it was gone, and I saw a big battle ensuing.

So I knelt down by Ava and told her it was time to say good-bye to her paci because we were all done with it now.

Oh the tears.

Ava immediately started crying.

I started second-guessing. I frantically tried a new approach that we could mail her paci to "baby Paisley," a friend's baby that she adores.

Ava wasn't buying it. "Noooo. Baby Paisley has a baby paci. I don't want to give my big girl paci to her."

I realized once again that reality was best.

So instead I just let my little girl grieve. And grieve she did. I held her as she cried and may have shed a few tears myself.

After a little bit, I knew we needed to face reality a little further. So I laid her on the couch, got out a special snack and said she could watch a movie and have a special snack after she put her paci away. I gave her the option that I could put it away or she could. Ava quickly decided she wanted to do it. But the tears continued.

I walked out of the room to just give her some space. And then I heard it.

Whispers coming from the other room.

As Ava cried and held her Care Bear she was whispering, "I have to say good-bye to my paci Care Bear. I'm so sad. It's not fair. I'm so sad . . . ."

My mommy heart about broke. But at the same time? I was kind of proud of her for dealing with the reality of it in a healthy way (I know, I sound way too much like a psychology major).

After a little more of that, I went back in the room and told Ava it was time. She picked the place she wanted to put her paci and miraculously? . . .2 minutes later the tears were stopped and she was happily watching Strawberry Shortcake and eating her snack.

I kind of began to hope that was it.

But it wasn't. : )

That night the tears came again. But it wasn't the battle I had anticipated while thinking about it all these past months. They were just grieving tears again. She was more clingy and wanting us near. So we laid beside her and she fell asleep fairly quickly.

That next morning I knew I was in trouble when my first sign she was up was the stair gate clanging shut and the pounding of her feet running to the spot she had put her paci in the day before. I had thrown it away and sure enough, the tears came anew. Yet 5 painful minutes later she had moved on.

Each night got better and she needed us a little less. After 3 days, it was hardly an issue. Our routine became that she'd sadly tell me she wanted her paci and then asked me to pray. We'd ask Jesus to help her not be so sad and not to miss her paci and ask Him to keep her safe as she slept. It actually became a sweet routine that I've missed when she hasn't asked the past couple of nights.

Only a mom would write a post with every detail of the whole saga. But I've been proud of my little girl. It's fun to see her proudly tell family she doesn't have a paci anymore.

And truth be told?

This mommy is quite happy to be done with it too. : )

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Applesauce Day!

A couple of weeks ago my mom was coming to help my sister and her family pack up for their move. She came a day early to help me make our applesauce. The girls had lots of fun with it. : )

Olivia having fun with the empty boxes
Grandma and her girls

Ava was actually a very diligent helper. She LOVED getting to help wash off the apples (right down her first-born ally : ) ) and was quite proud of herself.

Mommy and Ava

Alisa and the kids showed up just in time to help us. : )

We'll be enjoying all the applesauce for the rest of the year - thanks Mom!

Monday, October 4, 2010

18 months old!

My girls turned 18 months old on Sept. 3 (just slightly behind).

Olivia and Kate

At their check up (weeks ago : ) ) they were:

Kate: 23 1/4 lb (30%) and 31 3/4 in (50%)
Olivia: 23 lb (30%) and 32 in (60%)

These are two very busy little girls. I love to watch the interactions between the two of them and see their similarities and love to see their individual characteristics continue to grow as well.

Oliva. Olivia just kind of makes me smile. She's a goofball, loves to tease, is quick to obey and quick to be wronged (how's that for a combination : ) ). She LOVES shoes and has been known to often get very upset with mommy if I try and put on a pair of shoes she doesn't want to wear that day. She is my biggest monkey of all 3 girls. I'm convinced she views any object and schemes a way to climb it.

Olivia's a world-class hugger (totally has the squeeze down) and asks to sing "this little light of mine" often. Some favorite words of lately include "no" and "mine" and she is my mommy's girl. Often times throughout the day she'll come and find me, ask "up?" and then just snuggle me for a few minutes. I'm going to miss it someday when she's big. Her relationship with Ava is pretty hot and cold. She's either dying of laughter . . .or dying of tears. : ) Olivia lives life with both feet jumped in and on a walk is usually 20 steps behind us because she's having too much fun enjoying her environment.

Kate. My sweet Kate. Of my 3, she is probably my most "laid back" and independent of all my 3 girls. But even as I write, I kind of chuckle at the description. For Kate can also be my most opinionated. So I describe her as my selectively laid back child (kind of matters on the mood?). She's also mischievous as all get out and smart about it. She'll sneak into about anything and totally wait out someone, hoping they'll forget the instructions they just gave her. : ) Kate is my bookworm and will often hole up in the corner, reading books on her own (although Olivia has been catching on to their fun too!). She loves to color and will sit and diligently work at her tasks.
It's been so interesting watching her relationship with Ava lately. As much as they can clash, she watches Ava like a hawk. Ryan and I chuckle often as we see Kate imitate Ava's actions and behavior over and over. Ava walks along a ledge on a walk and Kate immediately starts doing the same. While watching a movie, she'll lay down on her belly resting her chin in her hands . . .just like her big sister next to her. She constantly absorbs and observes. While more reserved than Olivia, her loyalty once won is very sweet. A daddy's (and grandpas') girl, she loves the men in her life. "Eensy weensy spider" is a favorite along with Barney's "I love you." I often hear her singing it as we drive along or as she's laying in her bed to go to sleep.

I'm thankful for my pair of munchkins and the joy they bring to our house!

And just for fun, you peek at an 18 month old Ava here.