Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ava: Two Years Old.

Ava had her two-year well check recently, and the doctor has confirmed what we already knew: she's awesome.

Ok, I'm kidding. I mean, yeah, she's awesome, but unfortunately that's not one of the boxes he can check. Instead, how about healthy, growing and developmentally on target? Works for me :)

As far as her stats go, homegirl is TALL and thin. Mommy is jealous :)

At two:
- Ava is 35.5 inches tall
- Ava weighs 27.4 pounds
- She wears size 2T clothing, though she can fit into 12-18 month shirts. Her legs and too long for anything but 2T.
- She still has her paci. I mean this in the nicest way when I say: if you have a problem with this, it's your problem, not ours. Ava is happy, we're happy, her doctor is happy, the dentist isn't concerned, and quite frankly, I'm not the type to rip her security item, quite literally, from her mouth. She'll give it up when she's ready, and that is that. And no, this isn't directed at any of you, but a few family members who have been giving me hell about it have me riled up.
- Ava is still breastfeeding at night, and that's another thing I won't be apologizing for anytime soon. She nurses before bed, and in the morning sometimes as well if she feels like it, and both my OB/GYN and her pedi applaud it as opposed to thinking it's "weird". Yes, another thing I'm defensive about. We're working on weaning, but again, when she's ready, she's ready.
- She still cannot have dairy :( We're still hopeful that she'll outgrow it, but dear Lord, it's taking a while.
- Ava is getting pickier with the eating. She'd live off fruit snacks, strawberries, saltine goldfish, pretzels and raisins if we'd let her. Alas, we won't. She's still pretty good about eating meat, and she loves beans, but she isn't as great at the veggies as she once was. I blame her age.
- Ava is really affectionate, and gives hugs and kisses freely!

- Ava loves loves LOVES to play with animal figurines. She's never happier than standing up all of her animals, Lion King style, and then knocking them over. Mommy loves other things more.
- Ava has become obsessed with playing blocks recently. Wooden blocks, rainbow blocks, mega blocks, you name it. If you can make "big castle!" with it, she's game.
- Ava could play dress up all day, every day. She particularly loves tutus, dresses and tiaras, along with any jewelry!

- She loves stickers. Stickers are better than candy!
- Ava could easily be potty trained if I'd get off my lazy butt and do it. It's just hard with all the kids I have with me each day. We'll be working on this more in the coming months.
- She is so compassionate with animals. She LOVES our cat, and not many would say that :)

- Ava loves to swing and slide on her playscape ALL. DAY. LONG. Unfortunately the weather has sucked throughout December until this week, so she hasn't been able to play on it as much as we had hoped, but she's gotten some great use out of it this week.
- She is the sweetest, most polite little girl I've ever met. She says, "thank you", "welcome", "scuse me" and "please with almost everything she says, and even says "sowwy" when she's done something to upset someone. I am so proud of her!
- She talks, and talks, and talks. Ava easily says 500-1000 words, if not more. She literally will repeat anything that we say. Usually this is adorable, except when she yelled "oh shit!" when she dropped her paci at Target one day. Oops.
- Ava is still obsessed with Dora. Anything Dora is a winner in my house!

- Ava loves books, and will bring them nonstop to me, sit in my lap, and saying "read books, mommy!" She gets pretty demanding about it, too. Her favorites are anything Dora, look-and-find books, and cute classics like "Barnyard Banter" and "Goodnight Moon".
- Ava is still a total mommy's girl, though a few times lately she's shunned mommy and been all about daddy. I know it makes David feel great, but it totally breaks my heart!

I'm so looking forward to and already enjoying Ava being two!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Catching Up: Holidays and Ava Turns Two!

Wow - it's been two and a half weeks since I last posted! OMG. That's a first around here. I wish that I could provide some reasonable excuse for my absence, aside from being out enjoying my abundant blessings! So much has been going on around here, so let's play a bit of quick catch up.

First and foremost (though not chronologically!), Ava turned TWO! Holy cow! How am I the mother of a two-year-old?!? It still blows my mind. We had a fantastic day with her on her birthday, but so much to say and so many pics to share about that, I'll need to write a separate post. Look for that in the next few days...

Also, David and I have been insanely lucky to both be off this entire week together! We've been having a crazy fun time together all week, knocking things off our to do list and just reveling in the opportunity to spend an entire week as a family of three. Ava has been loving it! So much so, actually, that three times this week she skipped her nap. Uh oh. Also, she's been sleeping in until 9am! Booyah! Happy vacation to mommy!

Another fun time that shouldn't be overlooked is Christmas! We had such a lovely, blessed Christmas. David's parents came up on Christmas Eve and we were able to spend the day with them, as well as Christmas morning. Ava loves her grandparents, grandpa especially, and so she was so happy to see her extended family!

She had such a fantastic Christmas - complete with her playscape (we built back over Thanksgiving), a wagon that I'll be reviewing after the first of the year, some amazing rainbow design blocks from nana, a Mickey Mouse that she's obsessed with, some wonderful Christmas books and a beautiful dress, and a train table, amongst other things. She also got some lovely gifts from the two families I work for, including a fabulous Dora dress-up outfit and a little V-tech laptop! We are so insanely blessed :) Ava was really, really into Santa this year, and we also got an elf visitor that came. We can't wait for him to come back next year!

Another extremely fun thing we've done since I last posted was that the D's took Ava and I for a girls afternoon at The Nutcracker, put on at the Long Center by Ballet Austin. I went two years ago when I was like 38 weeks pregnant - haha! - but I was more nervous about this show. Turns out, I worried for nothing. Ava was amazing. The production was 2.5 hours, with an intermission halfway through, and Ava sat fascinated and watched the whole thing. Now, when she sees a ballerina, she says "nutcracker!" Needless to say, it left an impression! One of her favorite parts had to be meeting the little mice from the ballet outside during intermission!

Alright, I'm off to prep for Ava's birthday party tomorrow! More posts on birthday fun, The Nutcracker, and her party to come! Also, I recently saw Dr. Jarod Carter of Carter Physiotherapy, and he worked wonders on my back, so I'll be talking about that and how he can help you as well!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ava: Block Connoisseur.

*The only thing I built was the ramp and the bridge with house :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

To Register, or Not to Register.

As most of you know, we're doing a pretty low-key wedding. Instead of devoting the eleven months between when we became engaged to our actual wedding going crazy and spending my annual salary, we've decided to be financially responsible adults and have a small, family-only ceremony, followed by a small, family-only luncheon reception afterwards. Because of this, we've really debated whether or not to bother registering. I mean, we've been in our house for several years, so we're pretty set on a lot of things, and it just seemed wrong to register when we're having such a small shindig.

After much discussion, though, with my mom's group, it seems we're probably going to anyhow. People have been asking about our registry and certain family members will still obviously want to send us gifts, and my friends made a good point in that, if they're going to send you gifts regardless, shouldn't you at least get something you might use? Long story short, I'm currently in the process of trying to throw together a registry.

LIke I said, I bought this house five years ago now, and, knowing my way around a kitchen, have managed to collect quite a few of the normal registry items. Instead, we're looking at registering for things like china (I hosted Thanksgiving this year on our regular plates, which was fine, but still - some china would be a nice touch) and other decorative plates for holidays and display, as well as other holiday helpers such as a nice knife set, etc.

My question to all of you, then, is what you had/will have on your registry list, and what was one of the more surprisingly useful items you received?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Girl's Night Out: Ava Edition

Last night was not your typical girl's night out. Instead, David has his final, and so Ava joined me and the two little ladies I watch while I worked my normal Thursday night late night. Though I can see the benefit in her going home with David normally and staying on schedule, we had a blast! It was like a big pajama and pizza party, complete with a trip out to check out Christmas lights. Check it out:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Our Second Emergency Trip to the Doctor.

We've been relatively lucky with regards to emergency visits so far (knock on wood). I know a ton of kids that get sick constantly, and Ava, thankfully, isn't one of them (thank you, extended breastfeeding!). Aside from one trip to the ER back in April for suspected heat sickness, we've been blessed - well, until yesterday, that is.

So many factors conspired together for this to have happened. I wasn't originally going to go to the library, but decided to so that the mom could sleep a bit since she wasn't feeling well. Also, Ava has been obsessed with "seat drops" lately in gymnastics, where she drops onto her bottom on the trampoline. Unfortunately, so much so, that she does the outside of class - sometimes, like yesterday, on the cement. Anyhow, here's what happened, and here's how to not repeat my mistakes.

We had just checked out some books and movies, and were leaving the library. R was at home napping with his sick mama, so I had Ava, the baby, and the oldest child. We were having a nice time, discussing trees and pollution and just going about our business. I had the baby carrier in one hand, and was holding Ava's hand with my other, while the oldest walked alongside of us, old enough to know he had to stick right by me when we cross the street. We were crossing the parking lot, and at the moment, in the middle of the street, Ava decided to seat drop. Just then, a car turned in the drive (it's a very busy city library), and so - stupidly, in retrospect - I attempted to pick up Ava with my one-hand, pulling on her right arm to try to get her out of the street as quickly as possibly. My other hand had the baby carrier, and I didn't want to set that down or lose sight of the oldest child, so many things were going on at once, and I just didn't think it through.

Seconds later, the crying started. Normally when something seems amiss with Ava, I don't rush her to the doctor. She's never had an ear infection, or anything like that, so frequently the doctor isn't the first thing I think of. In this case, though, I could just tell by her cry that something was horribly wrong, and my poor baby - who almost never cries and is insanely tough for a little one - was hysterical. When I tried to hand her her book to see if she'd take it with her right hand and she refused to move it, I knew we needed the doctor immediately. I called as we pulled out of the parking lot, and he got us in ASAP.

Once I dropped the kids off at home and navigated rush hour traffic to get there, the rest was a big, sad blur. Ava was hysterical, screaming and crying the ENTIRE drive, something completely unlike her, so I knew it was going to be bad. I was terrified her wrist was broken, and so I was really careful with it, especially when I had to get her undressed. Our pediatrician is amazing, and came right in to examine her. She just laid there under her blanket, crying but being so brave, while he checked it out, and thankfully it wasn't broken. Unfortunately, however, she had what he referred to as "nursemaid's elbow" - or, a dislocated elbow! She was completely unable to move her wrist or extend her arm, and he told me that he'd have to set it. Could I feel like a worse mother?

Thankfully, it was quick. While I'd be lying to say it wasn't the worst mommy moment in history (you know how on Grey's Anatomy when Callie sets a bone you flinch? It was THAT noise...ugh!), it was over before we had time to register, and - strangely but thankfully - the second he set it, she was fine. Crying stopped, she was able to use it and reach for things with it, and by the time we left, it was like it never had happened!

For me, though, it's another story. I felt SO insanely horrible. I didn't pull on her hard or anything, and the doctor explained that this is actually an injury he sees ALL THE TIME. It can happen while swinging your child between two parents or twirling them around in circles, and it happens in really young children because their joints and bones are still so pliable. While that helps defend them against broken bones, it does make a dislocation disproportionately easy. He said he sees this every couple of weeks or so (!!!), which made me feel like less of a terrible mother, but only slightly.

Today she's 100% fine. Between the doctor visit, the balloon, chocolate and McDonalds we plied her with after, and a good night's rest, it's like brand new. Mommy, however, is scarred for life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

November Phone Photo Dump.

One of Ava's favorite things to do currently is line all her animals up Noah's Ark style. While it was cute the first few times, it's not a total pain in my butt. If I had a dime for every time one animal fell over and caused a domino effect animal slaughter, subsequently triggering my daughter's new tendency towards histrionics, well, I could pay someone else to do this particular task for me.

Love this photo SO much. It so wonderfully captures Ava's personality!

Surrounded by boys, per usual. Daddy's going to have a heart attack.



Playing with the turtle statue while mama scopes out wedding stuff at Mayfield Park!

Mommy's little gymnast!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Baby Friends.

As much as I complain about the stress that comes along with managing the lives of five separate children - and then my own child and my own household - each week, there are some major perks. Mainly, despite being an only child, Ava has no idea that she's not one in a family of many children. Check out the cuteness:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Continuum Games Review and Giveaway!

The holidays are quickly approaching, and as such, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to test out two great games from Continuum Games: Lumps, and Family Talk 2.

As you all know, my own daughter is a bit young for organized games, but luckily the older children that I nanny for are not, and had a blast playing with me while I tested out and reviewed them both.

First, we'll start with Lumps, as the holiday theme is appropriate to the time of year. To play Lumps, you gather the pieces of coal (dice) in your hands, give them a lucky shake and let them fly. The goal is to score the most points in three rolls by rolling pairs. What makes Lumps exciting is that there are four different types of dice and only a few of them have high numbers on them. After your first roll, you have to decide which dice to keep and which dice to roll again. Though the preschooler I watch found this game a bit complicated (as she should have - it's made for children 6+), she did pick up on the excitement, and I loved that I was able to make her feel included and modify the rules a bit to fit her developmental stage. The third-grader was far more capable of playing along, and particularly loved the little stocking that the game dice came in. For those who do not celebrate Christmas, or are interested in a less seasonal edition, Lumps comes in a year-round edition as well. This would make a great stocking stuffer for a school-aged child!

I also reviewed the game Family Talk 2. The game cards come on a portable key ring, great for traveling or taking in the car on those holiday road trips! The game is made for 2 or more players, ages 3+, though you'll likely be able to play longer and ask a wider range of questions with the older kiddos, who have the added benefit of being able to read the cards themselves.

The questions start off simple enough - such as "What is your favorite flavor of cake?" - and grow increasingly probing - for example, "Have you ever had a crisis of faith when your faith was tested?" While a lot of these questions could be great for school-aged children who are increasingly interested in their family members and history, the single best age group for this game seems to me to be tweens, who may be increasingly isolating themselves from their families and need conversation starters. Whatever age your child is though, learning more about each other as a family is sure to be a wonderful experience!

Both Lumps the Elf Coal game and Family Talk 2 are available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores, Books-A-Million,
Go! Games and 100s of specialty toy stores in the US, as well as on Continuum Games' website.

Now, thanks to Continuum Games, you all have the opportunity to win copies of these games for yourself!

As a mandatory entry, hop on over to Continuum Games website and leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite product/game on their site is! Also, make sure you're following me on Google Friend Connect :) That's it!

For additional entries (one entry per action - leave a separate comment for each!):

"Like" Continuum Games' Facebook page
Follow Continuum Games on Twitter
Follow me on Twitter
Tweet about the giveaway with the following text: Enter to win two Continuum Games on @unexpexpectbaby blog (maximum of once per day)

Good luck, and happy gaming!`

*Disclosure: For the purposes of this review and giveaway, I was provided with both games free of charge. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wordless Black Friday: Merry Christmas, Ava!

This is technically her Christmas and birthday present, but David's dad had to help him put it together, and they won't be back before Christmas. This bad boy right here? Took the two (sometimes three, when David's brother was still here yesterday) guys about 14 hours total! I'm so thankful for my fiancé - he's the best father ever :D

As for what Ava thinks of it, she keeps climbing up the ladder and then jumping up and down, yelling, "Happy! Happy!" I think she likes it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgayving: My Favorite "Holiday"

First and foremost, before I get into a picture post about my favorite event of the year, I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely ladies that made me feel so much better after my last meltdown post! Knowing I'm not alone in being overwhelmed and occasionally short on patience makes me feel much better :)

OK, now moving on to the fun stuff!

As I've mentioned the past two years (2009, 2010), I'm involved in an annual Thanksgiving potluck that functions as both a major party and a charitable event. It may come as no surprise even if you don't know me well, but I have always been and will always be a friend to the gays. In fact, prior to David, my friends consisted of 99% gay men, but now we're just getting off topic.


Each year ten of us come together to host a huge (over 800 invites went out this year, with about 450 attendees!) party at a bar downtown, where everyone brings a dish, participates in a silent auction (botox, anyone?), and brings canned food and other items to donate to those in need. I am so, so, so incredibly blessed to have such generous and wonderful friends, and look forward to this event more than almost anything else about the holiday season (well, aside from A's birthday and Christmas moments for her!). I should mention that unfortunately this year David and Ava stayed home, and though I was disappointed, I totally understand why he wouldn't want to spend the afternoon/evening wrangling her in a bar packed to the brim!

Without further adieu, here are pictures from this year's shindig (I should note that we hired a professional photographer this year, and so my pics were few in comparison. I'll post those when we get the images!):
This year the location changed, as the bar moved to a bigger space, so I made sure to get a good rooftop shot:

Most hosts, some others:

Ava's godfather and me:

One of my very best friends:

One of the best parts of Thanksgayving is that it brings in out-of-towners I only see this one day a year!

Young Folks:

So very many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, starting with amazing friends and family! Happy Thanksgayving, y'all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Date Nights!

Y'all. I have had reason to throw on a dress, put on heels and curl my hair FOUR times in the past week and a half. And while one was for a bachelorette party with the ladies, the other three were for nights out (twice at weddings) with David! Hallelujah!

Proof that I spend time with someone other than Ava:

*Sorry, Ava, that you inherited mommy's tendency for your hair to curl and react to humidity, as indicated in that last picture :/
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