Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mother's Day and Father's Day

We had a lot to celebrate this year with our two little miracles. PTL for these girls for the mothers and fathers that Eric and I are blessed to have in our life. :)

When I think back to our life before these two, I remember dreaming about what they would look like... how their voices would sound... what things they would like to play... how much sleep I would lose... :) Now that they are here, I literally look at them every day and think, "Wow. They are SO much better and more amazing than I imagined!" I mean, really, I know all parents think this, but Addie is pretty much the coolest person on the planet. She is hilarious, people... and I just know sweet Ava is going to continue to brighten my days as she grows. :)

All of these pictures were before she really smiled, so she doesn't look too impressed with our photo sessions. Ah, well... get used to it, sister. :) ha

I definitely would not be the person/mom I am today without this amazing woman. God really broke the mold when He made my Mama. If you knew my Mimi, you would see a lot of her in my Mama. I'm not going to even try to describe her because there aren't enough adjectives in the world to adequately describe her... plus, I'll start crying. Hormones rock. We'll just sum it up by saying that I love her VERY much. :) ...and obviously her grandgirls do, too! I am so thankful that she was with us on Mother's Day this year. We actually met my brother for dinner the night before so I'll have to get pictures from our dinner. We also met Eric's mom for dinner on Mother's Day... have to get those pics, too. Obviously, remembering my camera was not on the top of my list with that little newborn in the mix. :) ha

We didn't get to spend Father's Day with my dad, but as you can tell, he is well-loved by my girls. Again, God just really blessed me with this man. Sometimes I can't believe how much he does for me, for us... I love him VERY much, too!

The night before Father's Day, we went to Eric's dad's for a cookout/swim. As you can tell, Addie was excited! Sweet little fish. :)

I didn't get many pictures because of a sweet little teething infant... but this picture shows you how much fun was had. She didn't make it to the house before crashing. :)

I received my Wife of the Year award after taking my hubby to his favorite place for wings, Hooter's. On Father's Day. Yes, you read that right. I asked him where he wanted to go, and he said, "I want some wings from Hooter's, but we don't have to go there." We all know that means, "Let's go there." So we did. I actually really like the food there, too, and Addie always eats well. Win-win. :)

Sweet baby enjoyed her first Hooter's experience. :)

Side note: my mom actually sent Eric the gift cards for Hooter's, so she wins MIL of the year. :)

Addie and I made this double doozie cookie cake in lieu of naptime that afternoon. Well worth it! :)

I had to take pics of these three jokers by myself... this one is my absolute favorite! :)

Oh, wait. I love this one of Ava, too! ha :)

Eric is such a great Daddy to my girls. He works so hard for us and we are very thankful! Thank you, Jesus, for choosing me to be his wife! I am beyond blessed!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ava: Three Months Old!

Hard to believe our little peanut is already three months old!
Here she is with her signature head tilt. :) We're working on head control. ha :)
Weight: TBD
Length: TBD
Clothes size: 0-3 month
Diaper: size 1

This child is becoming so much fun these days! Her sweet smile will light up any room. She loves to see people and hear them talk. She follows your voice and watches you walk away... and even whimpers when she can't see you anymore. :( One of her favorite voices is Addie's. I LOVE listening to Addie say things to her that we say... "Hey there pretty girl..." "You are just precious!" "Aw, it's okay Sissy." "I just love you, Sister!" :)

Ava's absolute favorite place is her changing table. She loves being in her room and some days her demeanor changes as soon as we walk in there! Speaking of, here are some pics of her nursery since I haven't posted any.

When we found out we were pregnant this time, I knew that I wanted to incorporate my favorite color (blue) into the nursery in some way... whether we had a boy or a girl. When we found out about Ava, I found this bedding and fell in love with it! It's called My Baby Sam: Pixie in Aqua. I love the combination of colors and the paisley/polka dot combo. My girls got me the mobile and the hamper (not shown). I'm so glad they did. Ava loves that mobile!

Took me a while to decide on her letters, but Hobby Lobby had these aqua ones that were just the right color. I added the little ribbons and they really stand out on the brown walls (we left the walls the color that was in this room before we turned it into the nursery. So glad we did! It looks fab with the colors of her bedding). Thankfully, she has a short name, so three letters were super cheap!

A friend of mine, Brooke, hand painted these for me! I LOVE these... so special!

This is a work in progress. All of the furniture was Addie's, so she still loves to use all of these books. We haven't found a good bookshelf for her room, but when we do, a lot of these will move to her room. For now, it works because she loves to read to Ava while Ava plays on her playmat. :) My mom found those little baskets at Hobby Lobby. Perfect match!

We made a shadow box of Addie's NICU things, and we liked it so much that we decided to make one for Ava. :) Her's contains her coming home dress, her hat from the hospital, her first diaper size, her "sunglasses" from her day under the billiruben light, her bracelet and crib sign, and a picture of her as Thursday's Baby. All I need to add is a picture of the Thursday's Baby display in the hospital.

My favorite part of the nursery: the curtains! I saw ruffled curtains on Pinterest a while back and my mom said she would make them for me... but we searched the internet to see if they were carried anywhere, and Pottery Barn Kids had them on clearance! Score! They were cheaper than she could have made them, so we went with them and LOVE them! I am probably going to get them in purple for Addie's big girl room! That rocker was my parents' that they used for my brother and me. We've used it for both girls. Love.

There are a few other things I'm working on in her room that I'll post later when I get pictures. :)

Ok, back to Ava. :)

She eats about every three-four hours during the day... and on average, she goes about 5.5 hours at night. We're having more nights at 6 hours, so that is super nice! One night we even went 8 hours! Holla! To be honest, I'm okay getting up with her. I think because it's our last baby I am savoring every second with her as a baby. She depends on me to eat and survive... and, selfishly, I love that. :) She takes simethicone (gas drops) with just about every feeding, and she lets me know when I forget to give them to her! :( She is still taking Zantac twice a day for her reflux.

Ava is just the sweetest thing... have I mentioned that yet? ha :) She still enjoys her Baby Einstein movies, looking at her "friends" in her carseat, napping in the swing, looking at her mobile, playing on the playmat, and being outside (when it's not too hot!). She also loves to be held facing forward so she can see what is going on around her. :)

My little love,
You literally light up our life. Your name, Ava, means "life" so that is not surprising at all. :) We all look forward to your smiles each day and how you are learning more and more all the time. You have the BEST big sister! She loves you and is always making sure you are okay. I am so happy that you will have her to grow up with and learn from... You'll learn to love her like we do. :)
We love you so much!
Mama and Daddy (and Addie :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Library time :)

Now that it is hot as blazes outside, I try to find as many fun indoor activities as possible for my little three year old! The public library is one of her favorites! She's a little overwhelmed with the group activities (there are lots of "big kids") so we have been sticking to the books, computers, train tables, and other toys. She also loves checking out books and movies!

She ran to the train table the first time we went. :)

There are such fun, educational games all around... teacher's dream!

Paused for a moment to look Mama's way :)

Happy Sissy :)

Addie loves the city carpet! Her imagination is one of my favorite things about this age! She is so much fun! :) Invisible Lexi usually goes with us everywhere we go. She was totally in this picture. :)

Ava is always at home in the library... nice and somewhat peaceful. :)

Zoo time!

We just joined the Nashville Zoo and we are so glad we did! It's very reasonable, and we used a friend's code to get an even sweeter deal! We've already gone twice, so our membership has paid for itself! Sweet! Plus, Aunt Juju offered to pay for some of our membership as a gift to the girls. Thanks, Aunt Juju! :)

Anyway, as you can imagine, Addie just loves going to the zoo! Here are a few pictures from our first couple of trips:
Ready to go!

One of our first stops was the bird exhibit. This is my personal favorite... you buy a cup of nectar for a buck and the birds come eat right out of your hand! I was so proud of Addie for doing this... and the birds are just beautiful!

Addie loves looking at the elephants!

She's always mesmerized by the flamingos!

There is also an area to pet the goats. This is probably her favorite thing to do! She loves picking a brush, using it for a bit, and then switching to a different color brush. :)

This sweet baby is just happy to be there. :)

Another perk to the zoo... 5 minutes into our drive home. :)

The next time we went, Addie was very into checking the map to see where to go. We call her Addie the Explorer. :) Thank you, Dora, for encouraging my daughter's map skills.

Again, just happy to be tagging along. :)

Stopped at Newk's on the way home :)

...aaand crashed when we got to the house. Sweet baby.

Ava: Two Months Old! :)

Thankfully, I'm posting this before she is 3 months old. :) Mom of the Year.

Weight: 10 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 21 inches
Clothes: 0-3 month
Diaper: size 1

Ava is the sweetest baby! She is happy about 90 percent of the time... she will let you know if she's tired or she needs her gas drops and/or reflux medicine. :) She was diagnosed with reflux at 6 weeks, so we started her on Zantac and it has made a world of difference! Thankfully, she wasn't spitting up... but she was, however, swallowing it back down, so it was hurting her twice. :( No wonder she was in such pain! Breaks my heart to think about it, but I'm so grateful that we found something that helps her! PTL.

As you can tell, Big Sister still loves her! She always checks on her, gives her hugs and kisses, and loves trying to make her laugh and smile! Ava has really started smiling a lot lately and Addie just thinks it is hilarious when Ava smiles at her... Addie usually says, 
"You just love me, don't you, Ava?" :)

One of my favorite sister pics :)

Ava's sleep habits during the night were put on hold with the reflux. We were up nearly every hour/two hours for a while before we started the medicine, so we basically started over when it came to sleeping at night. :( Stinks, yes, but ironically, I look back now and really enjoyed sleeping with her and holding her a lot more during those days. We had to feed more often and hold her upright for a while after to help her digest the food better, etc., so I made the best of it and bonded very well with my girl. :) These days, Ava is sleeping anywhere from 5-7 hours during the night. Then she wakes up to eat and goes back down for a few more hours. She takes a good nap in the morning, wakes up to play for a couple of hours around lunchtime and goes back down for a good 2.5-3 hour nap. We play for a few hours in the evening around dinner time and the time when Eric gets home, and she's ready for bath/bed time around 8:30. I usually do a dream feed around 11 which is when we finally get to sleep most nights.

To be honest, one of the most difficult things for me with baby #2 is the schedule. It is very difficult for me to be as strict as I was with Addie because we are always on the go! Whether it is a play date, taking a walk, going to the library, going to the gym, running to the grocery store, or some other weekly errand, it is hard to really just sit at home and get her on a strict schedule when I have a 3 year old who is very active and needs to be doing things during the summer. Thankfully, I have finally just let it go. :) I do the best I can to get Ava to sleep when she needs to be... even if it is in her car seat or her stroller. She definitely eats on a normal schedule, and thankfully, since we are nursing, I'm always prepared for that one. :) ha  Once I realized that both of my girls are happy and healthy and that they are being exposed to so many great things, I forgave myself for not being so regimented... and it's kinda nice. :)

As for nursing, we are doing it full time and I love it. I was worried at first because I exclusively pumped with Addie since she spent so long in the NICU... we were in such a routine that we just kept it going. I would love to continue nursing Ava through her first year. I do pump at least once every other day and I've built up a pretty good frozen supply for when I go back to work. We're also able to have a bottle ready if I am not home or if we are out somewhere when nursing is not a great option. So thankful that she is able to nurse and that she is okay taking a bottle if necessary. :)

This month, Ava is smiling SO much more and it is precious! She is happy, happy, happy when she wakes up from a cat nap and sees you... and when she finishes eating. :) She can see you and notices when you walk away... she'll whine when you walk off, and when you come back, she's back to smiling. :) Little stinker. She loves to be in her swing, on her play mat, in her bouncy seat, cuddling with Mommy or Daddy, and on her changing table. We have started watching a Baby Einstein video while she sits in her bouncy seat, and she does really well focusing while Mommy gets a few things done around the house. :) She also does fairly well when we go places. She is starting to be more content to look around and just take it all in. She also enjoys bathing with Big Sister (once the initial shock of the water wears off :). 
Her only dislikes are gas bubbles and tummy time. :(

Ava Rae,
I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to be your Mommy. You have made these last two months so much brighter by just being here. I love your bright eyes, your sweet gummy smile, your chubby cheeks, and every other little thing about you! 
I just love you, sweet baby!