Happy Babies Have Tears Too

Dr's Visit

Yesterday was Ava’s traumatic 15-month checkup. Traumatic isn’t even an exaggeration. Nothing happened out of the usual… she just knew what was going on.

She knew she didn’t know this lady. She knew the crinkly paper was loud and not nice. She knew she didn’t like the cold stethoscope on her chest. She knew it wasn’t normal when mama held her head still so this lady could stick something in her ears. She knew this was not fun.

And then the shots happened, and that didn’t help her trust the Dr any more. Three shots, to be exact. MMR, chicken pox, and flu. One of those they said really hurt, and even left a bruise. Poor thing.

The nurse practitioner we saw today explained that this is completely normal, and most kids even go through phases of trusting/not-trusting the doctor, but that this age and 3-year-olds are the worst. At least we made it through the first “worst”.

Long story short, Ava is “perfect” weight-wise! I guess we no longer need to fatten her up, huh. We were actually told to “keep doing what we’re doing” and not worry about her weight. She’s found her new curve at the 10-12th percentile, and she’s 20lbs 4oz. She’s 30.5″ long, at the 50th percentile. She’s walking and talking (31 words!), has 6 full teeth and is working on her molars. She likes reading and picking out hair bows and shoes to wear. What a big girl.

Just for fun, I wanted to share Ava’s list of words. She says these on almost a daily basis, and it doesn’t include the words she repeats just because we say them.

  1. Zorro (or ZorZor)
  2. pancake
  3. highchair
  4. mama
  5. dada
  6. hi
  7. bye
  8. cat
  9. dog
  10. milk
  11. up
  12. hotdog
  13. baby
  14. stir
  15. cupcake
  16. ball
  17. bow
  18. shoe
  19. hat
  20. no (“nooo nooo noooo” while shaking her head)
  21. book
  22. nose
  23. toe
  24. eyes
  25. knock (she says “knock knock” while knocking on her head. Thanks, Granny!)
  26. head butt (Daddy taught her this–she actually bumps heads with him)
  27. sock
  28. Hey Jack (yeah… Daddy is a Duck Dynasty fan)
  29. night night
  30. bath
  31. star

Avie’s also working on using tissues, and it coaxed a smile out of her after her tear-fest at the doctor’s office. Enjoy your day! May you have someone this adorable to wipe your tears, too.


Baby Steps

I have some big news regarding our little Avie….


She’s walking!

I had a feeling that once she figured it out, it would be sayonara to crawling, and I was totally right.

Here’s how it happened:

Last Saturday morning, Caleb, Ava and I were all playing in her playroom, and she was just standing around. So Caleb moved her across the room from me, and told her to go see mama, and she totally wobbled across the room to me! Repeat this about 4 times, all trying to get it on video, and you have the next 20 minutes.

Then we changed things up a bit, and I prompted her with a toy fork (I alone was no longer exciting enough) and we caught her in the video above.

It was a great day. She is so proud of herself. And Ava has been walking ever since.

Oh, and that little personality is really blooming; she’s fascinated with her hair bows now, and says “ta-da” after I put one in her hair. She is absolutely precious.

14 months old!

If I told you I was on vacation for the past month, would you forgive me for not writing?

Well, regardless of whether or not I have your forgiveness, I wasn’t actually on vacation. I don’t actually have a good excuse for not writing. This month, I’ve been trying out a new work schedule, which leaves me with a shorter lunch hour, and that’s when I used to get some blogging in. And poor excuse #2 is that we’ve been blazing through the first two seasons of The Walking Dead. Let me tell you. It’s hard to do anything else when walkers are out there.

And now we’re stuck because we can’t find Season 3.

Anyway, I feel like I need to update my faithful readers on some of the topics I started but have left you hanging on:

Insanity: Yes, it really is insane. We lasted a little over two weeks (actually, Caleb lasted a little longer than I did). The program overall is really effective, but I particularly found difficultly giving 40 minutes of my day to working out, when I work full-time and prefer to spend my evenings with my family. I would fall into bed exhausted, and frankly, it’s not worth it. There is a new workout program by the creators of Insanity that’s only 25 minutes long, and I think that would be much easier to stick to, but the results wouldn’t be as fast. So really, I would love to do it again, but I’m not motivated enough at this time.

Ava’s weight: We saw the doctor at the beginning of August (yes, I know, such a bad blogger!) and she’s doing well! She gained a pound, which I honestly thought wouldn’t be enough to please this guy, but turns out that’s exactly the amount most babies gain between their 12-13th months! He said she should be good as long as she continues to gain consistently. Now we are trying to reintroduce healthier eating habits, but make sure she snacks and drinks a lot of milk as well. I don’t want her to have weight issues on the other end of the spectrum in 5 years because the doctor had me eating everything smothered with butter.

Those are the two biggest updates I have at the moment. My new goal for blogging, since I have been so focused on not blogging recently, is one post a week. If I can muster up more, I will. But by golly, I’m going to post at least once a week! And I better get grief if I don’t!

Now, onto some pictures of my beautiful 14 month old!

14 month Collage 2

 1. Ava not only still loves playing in her kitchen, but she’s more expressive than ever! She’s starting to talk more, and says “stir, stir” as she stirs, and makes noises like water is running when she washes her dishes.

2. Reading is one of her favorite things to do. She will drag a book across the room, or even from one room to another, hand it to me, and climb up on my lab. (In case you caught it, yes she’s still crawling. She has taken steps, but prefers to grab my hand and walk with me than do it by herself. That or she crawls, because it’s faster.)

3. Ava has not allowed anything to be on her face until last week. She finally will wear her sunglasses, but she holds her head very still, like she’s afraid they will fall off. It’s so cute.

4. Occasionally, we wear her out to the point that she falls asleep. I don’t remember exactly where we had come home from, but she fell asleep in her car seat and didn’t even wake up when we brought her home!

5. Daddy, Ava, and I went to visit my grandma last weekend, and she brought out all of the really old baby toys she has from (I think) when my mom was a little girl. I remember playing with them as a kid, and it’s awesome that Ava gets to play with them now.

That’s in for today! Hopefully I have redeemed myself at least a little bit. My plans for upcoming posts include my thoughts on the new car seat we got Ava. Let me tell you… she LOVES not being so crowded like she was in her infant seat!

The last time I take my toddler camping.

Sorry for my brief absence. I was too lazy to turn on the computer. Seriously.

But here I am! I follow the blog Cloudy with a Chance of Wine, and she just started a series called Priceless Mom Moments. After ready a couple of her posts in the series, and just her blog in general (seriously you guys, this chick is hysterical!), I decided it would be kinda fun to document some of my less-than-proud moments as a mom.

Last weekend we decided to take Ava camping for the first time. Tent camping. Roughing it. Outdoors. Overall, she did well. Except for the sleeping part–that was pretty awful.

Let me start at the beginning of the evening. We got to the campsite where we would be sharing a 10 person tent with our friends and their two dogs, and we began setting up camp. Rather, everyone else started setting up while I tried to keep Ava on a blanket (I didn’t grow up outdoorsy, so I kept freaking out about bugs, etc). That was pointless. Once everything was set, we started on dinner. It was a delicious meal of smoked sausage, red potatoes, and green beans, and Ava enjoyed it. Next came bedtime.

Ava is a fantastic sleeper.

In her own crib.

Anywhere else, she prefers to scream instead of sleep. And I couldn’t (or I chose not to) let her scream at 10pm in the quiet campground. So instead of keeping her in her pack ‘n play, I decided to try letting her fall asleep on the air mattress next to me.

It was an hour of her sitting up, sucking her fingers, then falling over due to sleepiness. She would toss and turn, try to get comfy, then sit up again.

At one point, she flopped down on me, noticed I was there, and gave me kisses, which she found hilarious and made us both crack up.

Daddy and our friends heard us laughing in the tent, so he came in to see what was going on.

Here’s where I mess up: Caleb joined us and I told him what happened. Ava, of course was more awake now, and was back to exploring all corners of the air mattress. As Ava approached the side of the mattress, Caleb told her to come away from the edge. I said “Oh, she’ll be fine. The mattress is pushed up against the side of the tent. She’s been doing this all night.” No sooner had the words left my mouth did Ava go right over the edge–literally head over heels. Like, I saw her fall, and her feet went straight into the air.

I peeked over the side and saw her sprawled out on the floor, and all of a sudden, the shrieking started. At 11pm. In a SILENT campground. I gathered her up, took her outside, and gave her kisses and distractions (and made sure she was okay… holy cow I felt awful!).

Caleb was able to get her to sleep a while later, and she slept until 4am. We did more of the tossing and turning on the air mattress (safely lodged between two adults) before Caleb took her home.

I think it’ll be awhile before we attempt camping again.

Update: How to Fatten a Toddler

I can tell you right now… this task is not for the faint of heart!

I’m just kidding. But it’s definitely not easy.

I started out giving Ava whole milk cheeses, veggies slathered with butter, nut butters, muffins, banana bread and ice cream. Things were going well for awhile (a week or so) but she wasn’t gaining weight as quickly as I wanted (only a 1/2 lb), so I added carnation instant to her milk for one meal of the day.

You guys. Don’t do that.

My girl went from being a great eater to preferring her meal substitute drink. You might be like me and think she can just eat it along with her meal, but that doesn’t quite work. It kinda fills her up to the point of not wanting anything else. You might say “Don’t give it to her at meal time,” and I will say to you that it still doesn’t work. If you give the yummy milk in between meals, she still won’t be hungry for the next one. We tried giving her diluted carnation, but she would still suck it down in the blink of an eye. And ask for more.

Our doctor recommended we give this to her, and I can honestly say we tried it. But it didn’t help her gain weight. She started out at 18.5 lbs and she remains 19lbs.

So Friday we decided to take away the carnation and see how she did.

When she woke up that morning, I offered her peaches and french toast (with butter) right away, and she ate an entire fruit cup and a half a piece of the french toast. And she seriously inhaled it. Once she seems to be slowing down, I let her have her milkies. Trade off is that she only drank about half her cup verses the whole thing.

Lunch time rolled around, and she ate better again, although she still didn’t eat the way she used to. Dinner was also better than it has been, but she was functioning with no afternoon nap, so I’m hoping that played into her smaller appetite.

This is a very frustrating process. Especially since it seems as though we’ve broken what didn’t need fixed.

Oh, I do have to add that all this extra food is going somewhere… We measured her length the other night, and she has grown an extra inch longer since her appointment. The doctor can’t tell me she’s not growing. This also means we’ll be moving Ava up to a convertible car seat this week, so that’s pretty exciting! I’ll let you know which one we go with!

A Week in PA

Man, this has been a whirlwind of a week so far! Good thing it’s only Wednesday.

We drove in Friday night. We left at 6pm for the 8.5 hour drive, and according to the last long, overnight trip, we were expecting a screaming baby for the majority of the trip. However, we started out, and she was content looking out her window and sipping her milkies. She fell asleep about 8:30 or 9pm, which is her normal bedtime, and she never made a noise! We made it all the way to New Stanton, PA, right before the turnpike before we had to get gas. When we stopped, Ava woke up. I got her up, changed her diaper, gave her fresh milk, and put her back in her seat. She downed that cup of milk, and was asleep again before we knew it. Night and day difference from our 6 hour trip to Wisconsin. We think it’s because we didn’t do her bedtime routine like we did going to Wisconsin. Ava is a baby of habit, so it really may have made the difference.

We arrived on schedule (who said long car rides have to be even longer with a baby?!) at 2:30am, and Ava woke up, gave lovies to Grammy and Pappy, and I took her to her room and she settled right in.

Saturday was a lot of just hanging out, and we got to see our nephew and new niece, as well as Caleb’s brother and sister-in-law!


Sunday was my mother-in-law, Lisa’s, annual family gathering at Bear Valley. It’s a whole lotta food, games, and sitting around campfires. Ava had a ton of fun with her cousin JT, and worked on her standing. JT even helped her stand up, though he wasn’t too sure why this baby was hanging onto him so much. JT is 2 years old, and is a ball of energy! He’s very sweet, and is a very good big brother to 5 week old Elsie. Elsie is in the sleepy baby stage still, and I’ve been soaking up all the new baby I can! We have been imagining how the next couple years will be, since all these June babies are a year apart each. We’re even thinking about having a 1-2-3 birthday party for our babies next year!

Cousin Love

Grammy and Ava

Standing Around

Monday… Gosh, I can’t even remember what we did Monday. (Asking family….) Oh yes, we took all the babies to a tiny kid-friendly splash park. Ava thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water, specifically the sprinklers. She also thought it was hilarious to walk through the waste-deep water. We were there for an hour and a half before the park was bombarded with big kids. We ate lunch there, and packed up. We were in the car two minutes before Ava was asleep.

Water Fun

Tuesday we loaded up early and all went to Lancaster, PA, land of the Amish. We went to the mall to run a quick errand and eat lunch, and then drove through Amish country and saw a lot of men working the fields with their hoses. The Amish lifestyle is so fascinating, I would love to spend a few days with them. We then went to a kid-friendly interactive park called Cherry Crest, and spent a couple hours in 97 degree weather, going down really long slides and jumping on big trampoline pillows. Okay, only JT did the bouncy pillow, but everyone was able to enjoy the slide. After leaving there, we went to Shady Maple Smorgasbord to enjoy some finger-lickin’ good Amish cooking. We all ate our fill (and Ava loved it!) and we headed home with very sleepy babies.


Today we are just hanging out so far, and Ava is napping. We will probably do something later, but for now we are all recouping for a moment before the next thing. Enjoy some of the photos from this week!

Naked baby bath

Grammy Time



I have had some revelations this week regarding long-distance family relationships. No matter how much we love each other, distance makes things harder. (As I typed that, Lisa said “I want to throw a pillow at Anne.” Maybe the distance isn’t so bad 😉 jk) I will share these thoughts later though. I promise, I won’t make you wait a week!

PA Baby!


You guys. It’s Friday again! I can’t seem to keep my excitement down, and today for more reasons than usual. (And seriously, I manage to find something to look forward to every Friday.)

Today, after work, we will be embarking on a journey we haven’t made in too long. Since last November, to be precise. For the first time in 8 months, we are making the long trip to Pennsylvania!

**Update: I added the title, which immediately reminded me of the Friends episode where they all go to London for Ross’ wedding. Joey’s key phrase, to Chandler’s dismay, was “London, baby!” And then he proceeds to “get into the map.” Gah. I love it. You should just watch it. P.S. Did you know i’m a die-hard Friends fan? Yep. Okay, moving on.

Caleb’s entire family lives in south-central PA, and thank goodness we’ve seen a handful of family members many times in the last 8 months, but I can’t tell you how excited we are to be going. The sights, the smells (farmland… HELLO.), the way of life… we’re ready to be back. I can already tell you though, the week is going to fly by, and we will leave longing for another week or entire summer out there with them.

This visit will be special in more ways than just the usual “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” We will get to meet our new niece Elsie who turned 1 month yesterday, and we will also get to see Ava interact with her cousin JT. This will be the first time she is old enough to play with him, and I am looking forward to that immensely. JT is a full year older than Ava, so last time we saw him he wanted to play with her, and she couldn’t even sit up. BIG TIME CHANGES! It will be a blast.

So now the only thing standing between us and our family vacation is a partial day of work (complete with making sure everything is ready to run smoothly without me for an entire week), a quick dinner and packing session, and a 9 hour car ride with a hopefully sleeping 1 year old. 

Want to know what we’ve been up to this week? Well, Ava is standing solo, so that should mean walking soon, right? We’ll see. She stands for a minute or so before resuming her crawl, but she’s sturdy and confident which means no falls! We just have to wait for her to realize she can move on her own. And YOU GUYS. This girl is LONG. I snapped this picture of her this morning. I can’t imagine what a kid in the 90th percentile is like if she’s already this long. 

Ava sleeping long

Due to her length, I’ve started wondering about moving up to the next sizes of things. Car seats, beds… okay, so pretty much only car seats and beds have crossed my mind. Both are topics for another day though. She’s about ready for a new car seat, but the bed will be awhile for obvious reasons (uh, she’s only 1). 

This has kinda been a rambling of topics, but I’m hoping to use part of my vacation to get back on track with posting. There has been too much going on that requires my attention during my after-baby-hours of the day to get my blogging in, and I plan to remedy that.

See you in PA!

Things you shouldn’t forget to tell your babysitters…

Even parents who stay at home or work from home have days where they need childcare.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Since Caleb works with the church, he has a yearly conference he has to attend. Last year, I was on maternity leave, so we didn’t have any problems. This year it snuck up on us, and we had one day to find someone to watch Ava.

We have fantastic friends and church family, so between three of them, we got the whole day covered. We wrote out Ava’s schedule, what to feed her, etc; she’s a pretty easy baby. We thought we prepared everyone well.

We thought.

Fail #1: Not telling your sitter how to turn off the motion-detecting baby monitor.My FAVORITE big ticket item we got for Ava is the AngelCare Movement and Sound Monitor. In a nutshell, when the monitor is on and doesn’t detect any movement in the crib, it makes a horribly loud beeping noise from the monitor base, and beeps and vibrates on the parent unit. Our sitter for this moment, our pastor’s wife, was not expecting that. Caleb forgot to tell her how to turn it off, so she just unplugged it to get the horrendous noise to stop! We got a humorous text explaining the situation, which kinda made my day.

Fail #2: Hiding the bibs.
This is pretty self-explanatory.

Fail #3: Hiding the disposables you bought for the day so the sitters don’t have to learn cloth. AND not showing them how to use cloth.
Yep. We hung our friends out to dry. But it was hilarious! Check out the picture. This is what totally made my day. I came home, started changing her diaper, and couldn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes.

Diaper fail

How to Fatten a Toddler

We took Ava to her 1 year check up yesterday, and despite the fact that we thought she has grown so much, the doctor told us yet again that she needs to gain weight. We’ll see him again in 6 weeks for a weight check, and if she hasn’t gained, she will be tested for different things.

It’s a little concerning, she eats quite a bit for every meal, and drinks her whole milk like a pro. We don’t have to push her at all. 

The doctor’s concern comes from the lack of consistency in her weight curve. When she was 2-4 months, she was in the 90th percentile, and she’s slowly trimmed down, and now she’s in the 12th percentile at 12 months. At first, I must admit I got very defensive. She’s a very active baby, and I assume that’s probably the reason why she’s so lean. However, I looked up “how to fatten up a toddler” on Google, and came across this board on The Bump. Turns out, a lot of babies have this issue. Someone explained that the doctor is concerned that the baby’s body isn’t able absorb the nutrients to make them grow. Our doc didn’t explain it like that. I promise I wouldn’t have gotten so defensive if he had. 

So it makes sense. Mission Fatten Up Ava commences! In the board, mommies from all over share what has worked for them, and I feel a whole lot more confident that we can give Ava the chance to gain weight by eating healthy fats. I also referred to this site for picky eaters (even though she’s not picky, it gives great tips on how to slip in more calories!) The Poop Whisperer is a blog I just came across as well, and her post here was extremely helpful and confirmed what the other two sites said, only with more specifics. So great. Here’s what I’ve compiled…

Good fatty foods include: 

  • Dairy products made of whole fat milk- I have been giving Ava yogurt made for babies, but I’m gonna skip that and go with regular whole fat yogurt. 
  • The Poop Whisperer mentioned mixing whole milk with half and half. It’s worth trying!
  • Put those whole dairy products on everything: veggies, breads, pastas, etc.
  • Avocados – guacamole works too.
  • Hummus
  • Almond or Sun Butter – These have more healthy fats that even peanut butter!
  • Olive Oil – cook veggies in it, drizzle over pasta, etc.

Other foods to help weight gain:

  • Butter. On everything.
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast in milk at least once a day.
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Rich pasta sauces, like Alfredo
  • Baked goods such as banana/zucchini bread, muffins, etc.
  • Ice cream =)

So, after work today, I’ll head out to the store. I have hope that she can gain weight. Most importantly, she’s still the happiest baby I’ve ever met, regardless of her size. 

I’ll update as the weeks go on. We’re going to try to weigh her periodically. Ever dealt with this? If you have tips I didn’t include, please share!



She’s ONE!!!!

Last Thursday, my little girl turned one. It seemed as though she grew up overnight, and now she’s a little person, on the verge of walking, and almost a puzzle master.

I’ll go into more detail on her birthday, her party, and the week I missed leading up to it later. Just as a preview though, it was filled with fevers, family, and lots of fun!

Here are some snapshots of my baby throughout her first year. I would love to add more, but there are just too many!

Newborn collage7 month collage6balloons*This last picture was taken by my friend Nellie. We had such a fun first birthday shoot! You can check out her photography here!