Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quick question for Ava

Child of mine, what is the fascination with 5:37 AM?

Six thirty can be just as exciting.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our week at a glance

Whew. It's been a week since Joe and I drove home from visiting with my family in VA and attending the annual conference in DC and I can't believe how quickly the time has flown. Looking at my day planner at this past week, it seems quite uneventful: a doctor's appointment on Monday to finally get the whole hip-pain thing figured out and a playdate with Eden this afternoon. That leaves lots of blank time, but for the life of me I don't recall it being blank, nor can I recall exactly what I did with all the time. Here's what I can remember:

Monday: Went to the Orthopedic center to figure out why my hips are still hurting so badly (6 months post childbirth and pregnancy, one would figure I'd be mostly back to normal, but many days my hips are quite sore and nothing seems to help). End of that appointment left me having to schedule 1) some physical therapy, 2) a recheck appointment with the doctor and 3) the suggestion to see my regular doctor for a Rheumatoid Arthritis workup. That's . . . um . . . a pleasant way to start the week. Three more doctors appointments with a 6 month old and the thought of some horrible illness. I'll worry about that another day (this is me trying to remain positive and not let all the icky things bother me so much).

Tuesday: I can't remember, but I don't think I left the house during the day. Perhaps I went grocery shopping that night...

Wednesday: I can't remember, but I don't think I left the house during the day. Perhaps I went grocery shopping that night...

Yup. It's official: I'm super busy with a baby and have no idea what I did with my time, other than know it wasn't much but so much all at once!

Thursday: Our field trip! I decided it was time to make the trek out to faraway lands to visit Whole Foods to check out and purchase some organic foods with which to fill my freezer with homemade baby purees. Got lots of goodies for Ava to eat and me to lovingly prepare (and somehow make space for in our tall skinny freezer [wishing we had a deep freeze in the basement. What basement? I mean, the garage.]) Came home with apples, pears, peaches, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes and chicken. I had already prepared frozen beans and peas earlier in the day. Once I arrived home, I promptly went to work peeling and cubing many, many tons of potatoes (the others will wait till the weekend) and in the end have so far accumulated many thousands of cubes of baby food. Hopefully Ava will eat them all before she outgrows the need for pureed food.

But what fun I had! Having done a taste test of homemade pears and a jar of baby food pears, I can say that mine taste better. Like real peas. The same can be said, with much certainty, for peas and beans and sweet potatoes. And the color is leaps and bounds more appealing than the bland gray color that jarred beans and peas take on. So, while I'm sure it's much more expensive to make my own (given the strong urge to use organic foods), I can rest assured that Ava is developing a taste for real food and not what comes out of the jars (real as it may be, it's just not tasty). And it gives me something to do that's creative. While it may not seem creative in typical artist fashion, right now it's the perfect way for me to be creative. The kitchen was a mess when I was done, there were peas everywhere (this was before I had the process streamlined later in the day) and at the end of it all, my daughter has yummy food waiting for her in the freezer. Most creative and productive!

Friday: More pureeing - this time it was peaches, which luckily didn't require the steamer. At lunchtime, Ava and I went to my friend Gail's house for a mini-playdate with her daughter Eden. The girls are six months apart in age, but it's fun to see them actually play "together" - Eden loves to touch Ava's hair and Ava loves to stare, reach for Eden's toys and then suck on them. After that, Joe and I headed to the mall for some shopping (behold! I am not a size 8 according to New York & Co! I've never been a size 8 before - I'm not sure it's a real size or just a slight adjustment in their clothing, but I'm not complaining) and some dinner and dessert.

Not much on tap tomorrow aside from some Soup oon E! in the morning, some Tudors in the afternoon and perhaps a nap (for me and for Ava, who reverted this week to the unpleasant non-napper. I hope my happy napper returns!)

Amount spent on food = $$; Time spent preparing and cleaning up: many hours; seeing Ava's mouth open wide and hearing "Mmmmm" as she eats yummy food: priceless.

Ok. Cheesy, but here's how I spent my morning - surrounded by pureed peas and loving every smushy minute of it! Who knew something as little as a pea required to many gadgets!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A predicament of gymnastic proportions

In the spirit of the upcoming Summer Olympics, Ava saw fit to practice her routines while eating dinner last night. Here she is using the bars and working on her dismount techniques.

Later in the evening during tubby time, she practiced her swimming. While her technique was mediocre at best (no hoping for a spot on the team), we give her a 10 for enthusiasm!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The rope and my wit: I'm at the end of both

Ever have one of those days? Today's grand finale (and God help me, because it's only 3pm) was a culmination of many different things over the past few weeks and days.

Without boring you with all the various and sundry details, let's just say "my day" has been sandwiched between an over-cooked, slightly burned chocolate chip pound cake (Sunday's Father's Day dessert) and an under-cooked, slightly squishy chocolate chip pound cake. Thanks Paula Deen, for nothing.

I suppose I should learn something from this disaster but all I want to do is cry. Two cakes. Wasted. I have always loved baking and thought it would soothe my soul to try get the cake right this time. Next time I'll just skip the cake and work on the bag of chocolate chips instead.

With a glass of milk, of course.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

First cold

We avoided it for so long. It was bound to happen eventually.

Ava's first cold. (Note: there are no cute photos showing runny noses to commemorate this momentous occasion.)

Poor little girl has been quite unhappy today (mostly when I have to use the bulb syringe and saline drops - for a baby who has had no issues with the syringe her entire life, you'd swear it was her mortal enemy today - she flails and moves her head and arms. So fast and stealthy, I'm fearful of jabbing her eye at times!).

She was up at 1:30 last night and didn't settle down again until 3:30 - luckily she slept through until 6:30. To compound sickness matters, we're staying at my parents' this week while Joe is in DC, so we're in an unfamiliar place trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Plus we were hoping to meet Deb and Josh's new baby girl and meet up with her little buddy Devin. Those events may not happen with this cold.

So, what is the protocol I now wonder - I know colds can be catchy but it's not like 6 month olds share toys or hold hands. But I'd hate to get someone else's baby sick, but is that very likely at this age? Ava most likely caught Joe's cold that he lovingly brought back with him from Scotland. I also don't want to be germ phobic but want to respect other people's feelings and concerns. All kinds of things to ponder now that we're dealing with baby's first cold.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Six month stats

Just returned from the doctor's office from the 6 month check. Here are the stats:

16lbs 2.5oz
26.25 inches

They said she's perfect for weight (double birth weight) and I think was 82% for height.

We're a go for all foods (except the major allergens: egg whites, nuts, honey) so that's exciting! Boiled chicken anyone?

Had a loud scream / cry at vaccine moment, but she settled down right away (nursing helped too) . . . only to have more tears when I removed the band aids. Bad mommy.

An update on the broccoli - ate the second half of the broccoli / apple combo with no yaks! Broccoli may move from the "foods I don't like" to the "foods I like list" (see right).

Ava 1; Broccoli 1

Yesterday Ava tried broccoli. Here's how the conversation went:

Mom: Ava, would you like some broccoli? (puts little bit of broccoli in mouth)
Ava: Yak!*
Mom: Ava, try a little more broccoli.
Ava: Yak! (Note: the broccoli had BARELY touched the tongue)
Mom: How about a little more broccoli?
Ava: Yak!

* yak! = gross coughing sound

After the failed broccoli attempt, we switched gears to the beloved pears.

Today we tried again, in sticking with the "introduce a new food over three days" rule. Today I took the upper hand. I added a little of the beloved apples to the much detested broccoli.

Mom: Ava, would you like some broccoli and apples?
Ava: Ya . . ummmm
Mom: [Hehe, my plan is working. The broccoli shall win today!] How about some more broccoli and apples?
Ava: Mmmmm...
Mom: Look! You've finished all the broccoli and apples! [Woohoo! Score one for the broccoli!]
Ava: Mmmm... mmm...

Who will win tomorrow?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Floral confusion

I've heard of gender confusion, but what do you call it when a white "purple" coneflower starts blooming on a plant with other purple coneflowers? Is it an albino flower? A genetic mutation? I'm confused. The only flowers in the garden are purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans and montauk daisies (white but they look nothing like this one).

Where did it come from?

Budding programmer

Thumbing through the newest issue of one of Joe's computer magazines. She'll be put to work writing code just as soon as her fine motor skills are more finely tuned.

Six months with Mom and Dad

6 months later

Yesterday marked the 6 month birthday! Happy half year. I can't believe how quickly the past 6 months have gone. From a teeny tiny baby who slept everywhere, to a little 3 month old who refused to nap, to a 6 month old who eats real food and sleeps through the night. Seems like just yesterday, yet at the same time, seems like a lifetime ago.

We head to the doctor on Thursday for the big checkup and more shots. I think the doctor will be pleased with her growth and development.

Ava is learning to sit up on her own and each day her core muscles get stronger and she slides less.

She rolls over and over and is slowly figuring out that perhaps she could use that skill to cross great distances (although for now, she basically spins in circles).

She loves meal time and is learning to drink from her sippy cup (2 whole ounces the other day and 1.5 ounces today - and no, most of it did NOT end up down her bib!).

Her most impressive bit of grown-up girl behavior: she loves to sip water from my glass. Pretty soon she'll be ordering her own iced-tea when we eat out (half sweet, half unsweet, like her mom).

She loves tubby time and knows what's about to happen when we lay her on her towel in the bathroom and turn on the water: she smiles and squeals loudly (a little too loudly, sometimes. I try to tell her that bathrooms echo and that high-pitch squeals could burst mommy's ear drums, but she's not quite advanced enough to understand that concept; perhaps by 7 months...).

She loves books and storytime before naps and bedtime and depending on how sleepy she is, she may squeal with excitement when I open the first page of her favorite story. It's so amazing to see such a small little person, with only 6 months of life experience, recognize things and know that she enjoys them.

So far no major fits of giggles (although I eagerly await this everyday!) but she does laugh quite a bit during playtime. Rest assured, when the major giggles attack, the video camera will be pulled out immediately for documentation and sharing!

She still loves to grab at my hair (even when it's tucked behind my head in a teeny bun) and yank it! Despite her fascination with hair (or perhaps monkey-like behavior, as she does it almost instinctively so as know she has a grip on something and won't fall) she is surprising gentle with Indi, who is also maturing enough to realize that the creature is not being sent back and is indeed here to stay. She reaches out for Indi and poor Indi lays still (although you can almost hear it: "Make no eye contact... oh no. She saw me."). Then she slows puts her hands on Indi's head and neck and jerkily moves over her fur. On the plus side of that, Indi has short fur so there's not much to grasp at and yank.

Six months down, six to go before the big one-year mark! Having seen many friends' babies go from birth to 1 year (and beyond) I just can't wait for all we have in store. While there have been many times where my nerves have been frazzled because of a screaming non-napper, or my body exhausted because of several night wake-ups, there have been so many more happy moments that the difficult ones become a little fuzzier with each day. Happy half birthday, Ava!

Mad skills!

Friday, June 06, 2008


This is our daughter as she usually is. Happy.

Had a good breakfast. Tried bananas. LOVE them. Love them more, I think, than any other food. More tomorrow.

Had a good nap this morning. So it wasn't a long nap (inevitably, I'll hear her squawking the moment I get out of the shower), but I've resigned myself to the fact that she may not be a long morning napper. As long as she has a good nap. I ask her each time: "Did you have a good nap?" One day she'll answer.

Had a good morning. Lots of playtime on the floor.

Met Gail and her daughter Eden for lunch at the little cafe up the road from my house. Now, I could walk there, but here's the thing: even if the temperatures weren't in the high 90s (with heat index of 103), I still wouldn't walk up there in the middle of the day, but if you were so inclined, it could be done. Nice place, yummy sandwiches, ok peach smoothie. Had a great time with Gail. I met her in my mom's group and we've really hit it off nicely. I laugh that Joe and I have been in NC for 2 years and it took me having a baby to make friends outside of the neighborhood.

Had a good afternoon despite fighting naptime. Finally connected with Joe in Scotland. We've been playing international phone tag. Was good to talk with him.

Had good dinner - carrots and apples, good tubby time, good bedtime. Richard and Joanna arrived in time to walk the yard with me as I watered all the little plants.

Happy day.

Long awaited

My purple coneflowers have finally bloomed. They've been growing so well since the start of spring, and now, just as summer is around the corner, they bloomed.

And where this one is, many more are waiting to flower.

I can't wait.

Later to bed . . .

Later to rise!

Last night it was lights out for Ava at 9:15 and for the first time going to bed later, she woke up later.

No more 5:30. No more 6AM.

Today she woke up at 6:30! I rejoice!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our week

With Joe in Scotland (did I mention the little green monster is living with me at the moment?) what else are two girls supposed to do but eat and play?

Much of our time is spent on the floor. Much of our time is spent sharing meals: one bite for you, one bite for me.

We have left the house. Two trips to Bed Bath and Beyond (funny how whenever I undergo a "must clean my house of all junk" cleaning spree, I end up going to BB&B and buying more stuff . . .). One playdate (picture to come later). One dinner at Jason and Michelle's house. One lunch date tomorrow with Gail and Eden. And then Grandma and Grandpa arrive for the weekend.

We're keeping busy and keeping sane. And practicing sitting on our own and making strides to use the sippy cup!

On her new quilt, made by Joanna's dear friend Carol

"I think I'll eat the sun today"

"I love mom's homemade sweet potatoes"

"More. Sweet. Potatoes.

At the playdate

She bounced a bit but didn't quite know what to do; I think she'll enjoy the jumpers more in a little while.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Video: Ava learns the ABCs

If it ain't Scottish...

Ava and I brace ourselves for a week of solo flying as Joe heads to Scotland for a conference. Very exciting that he was invited to speak overseas - his first time there - but jealous that I couldn't go with him. Before Ava was born, we toyed with the idea of me joining him for a few days at the end of the conference . . . with baby. People fly with infants all the time, right? And it's only a 7 hour flight. No biggie. Um, yeah. That plan changed quickly to the "see you in week, dear, and have a good time" when we realized just how much crap I would have to pack in order to have any kind of normal time with the baby and just how much I'd have to unload through security at the airport. All by myself. No thanks. So, Joe's off drinking in Scotland (let's not fool ourselves on that one!) and I'm home with the baby. Drinking.

Seriously. The first thing I did after Ava went to bed was reach for a glass of red wine (Pinot Noir, my new favorite kind) and the brownies. Granted, they're black bean brownies and not nearly as decadent as the triple fudge box brownies we usually love, but hey, they have fiber, so they can't be all bad!

Most of this afternoon was good - first I went to a birthday party for a friend but was only to stay for an hour as Joe and I had lunch plans for he flew out. Then Ava took a short nap (I've decided to stop wishing for her to take long naps - that'll come with time; for now I'm just happy if she has a good nap - I always ask her "Did you have a good nap?" and I assume from the smile, that she did indeed). After some milk and a little playtime, she and I ate some dinner (me spaghetti, her peas) and then went outside to water my plants. Then inside for tubby time and story time and bedtime. Then wine and brownies. And while it is later now than I'm used to, I think a bubble bath is in order - I lugged Ava around in the baby bjorn and boy is my back killing me. I'd go for more wine but the bottle is empty (after several days of being open - don't get the wrong idea!).

Plans for the week: babysitting a friend's daughter one morning, a baby playdate with Ava's friends one afternoon, meeting with another friend to discuss a photo shoot for her portfolio and getting ready for Grandma and Grandpa who come to visit this weekend and keep me company while Joe is gone.

I think we can manage!

Video: Saying it like she means it

Notice the spittle (that word cracks me up!). Whatever she was talking about, Ava sure was passionate about it. Towards the middle, she noticed Indi and forgot what she was ranting about, then picked up again afterwards and in the middle of dinner (peas).