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.

Words and Happy Birthday

You know what I realized this week? Becoming an adult doesn’t mean words don’t hurt anymore.

Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes, we shouldn’t let our bad days, bad moods, or irritability run our mouths. People can still feel very small just because one person is rude, impatient, or judgmental. I’m guilty of making people feel this way on occasion. I know people who are on both sides of this. I’ve been on the receiving end myself. It’s not fun, and makes you feel¬†undesirable, worthless, and stupid. And ugly, even.

It happens far too often. I’ve been watching my mouth more this week as it’s become more apparent to me, and I’m hoping to make encouragement, compliments, and positive words more prevalent in my vocabulary. Maybe it will catch on.

—————————————-

Caleb birthday

On another note, it’s Friday AND it’s my hubs’ birthday!!! Check out that stud. Happy no. twenty-four! He’s just a baby, but he has grown up so much in the 5 years I’ve known him. I’m so proud of the man he’s become. Speaking of Caleb, you wouldn’t believe what I discovered last week while we were in PA!! Sorry to tease you with that, but you’ll have to wait! Have a good weekend, everyone!

**Do you know how old this picture is?? About 3 years old. Maybe 4. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve taken a really good (not phone-quality) picture of my husband by himself. That’s gotta be fixed.

 

My social skills suck..

….Unless you’re a mom too. Then I could talk all day. But apparently I don’t know how to talk to anyone else. And I’m totally exaggerating for effect.

Wondering what happened? Okay….

On our last full day in PA, I met up with a new friend whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. In fact, I believe the last time I saw her was at my wedding over two years ago.

We had a great time catching up, and she got to meet Ava and vise verse. It was so good to see her. She recently got married herself, so it was great to hear all about her wedding.

However, I noticed that I am no longer a good conversationalist. Was I really ever that great at it? Probably not… but now I am definitely worse.

I’m sure other mamas can relate, but my main topic of conversation is Ava, or something Ava related. Is that surprising? I mean seriously… I have a blog devoted to motherhood. If she was talking or starting the conversations, I was fine, but if there was a lull that I tried to end, I defaulted to baby. I just felt bad that although I haven’t seen this friend for years, my brain couldn’t think of anything other than teething babies and cloth diapers. Fortunately, she didn’t mind the baby talk. She is a newlywed and welcomed (or at least was gracious enough to act like it) the peek into life with a baby. However, I definitely apologized for my lack of conversation.

Baby brain should be a diagnosable condition to excuse mamas for rusty social skills. Will it get better as Ava gets older? Will I get hit with a new dose of it when another kid comes around? Geez, something’s gotta give!

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!

Long Distance Family

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve realized a lot about family dynamics. Long distance family, specifically.

When we come visit Caleb’s family in Pennsylvania, it takes us about a day to realize how much we miss out on because we live so far away.

It’s no one’s fault; we live far away from them because it’s where God called us for this time. And this just happens when you live lives separate. I can’t imagine being in a long distance marriage! The relationships that form between those that live nearer are so much tighter and more developed than between those who don’t.

And it’s not because we don’t talk or keep in touch; we talk several times a week and try to FaceTime when possible (which I’ll admit is much harder than phone calls). We just don’t get the live interaction. Leading up to the trip, we were so excited to see everyone, thinking it would be like how it was when we lived out here, but it’s not.

And I found myself getting hurt and jealous because things aren’t the same. I felt like my baby doesn’t have the same relationship with her grandparents that my nephew does, and I felt like my relationship with my mother-in-law isn’t as close as it use to be either. I am so extremely blessed with a mother-in-law who I can talk to about just about anything, and we talked about this and she put my feelings as ease. Things haven’t changed between us except for the fact that we don’t see each other every day. And Ava gets the same love that her cousins get, just they have more frequent interactions.

And apparently it goes the other way as well. I didn’t realize how hard it has been on my in-laws when they hear stories about my parents visiting Ava or keeping her overnight. The same for my parents when we go on and on about Caleb’s parents and family. And frankly, I know a lot of grandparents and great-grandparents who don’t get along with the other side. I don’t know why we get jealous so easily, and it really makes me wonder why we feel that insecure, especially when it comes to our own families. You’d think we would know we all love each other enough to not feel that way, but it still happens.

Isn’t it funny how much things change as you get older? As kids, we are so carefree. Our feelings don’t get hurt by assumptions, they get hurt when another kid says something mean. But now, our minds think too much and we let our imaginations and assumptions take over.

And maybe this is just me and all the rest of us over-thinkers, but I have a feeling this is more common than not. Is this true? Are these feelings solely in long-distance families, or do families face these jealous feelings regardless?

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!

Elsie

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.

Smorgasbord

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

Animals

Walking

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 ūüėČ jk) I will share these thoughts later though. I promise, I won’t make you wait a week!

PA Baby!

Pinola

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!

Stroller Parents

It’s taken me awhile to write this post… I wanted to make sure I wasn’t writing a whole lot of hot-headed words I didn’t mean, just because I was irritated. I think this is actually a level-headed rant now, so read on.¬†

Remember Ava’s first trip to the zoo? It was a memorable experience for us, not only because it was Ava’s first time at the zoo, but also because I realized that stroller parents are a thing.

I can’t stress this enough, I was¬†shocked¬†at how rude, impatient, and aggressive stroller moms (mostly) and dads are. We were waiting patiently in a line of strollers to get to the front of the walrus window, so we could see one swim by, and as we were nearing the front, about three families rushed around us and took the spots that were there. I assumed they just didn’t see that we were waiting, so we tried to find another spot, and sure enough, it happened again. What. the. heck.

And then, you know how you’re driving along the road, and let’s say it’s a 2-lane highway. A car speeds up behind you and, although there’s no one in the other lane, they refuse to pass you, and instead insist on riding your tail?

Yeah, stroller parents.

Grrrr.

I didn’t think the zoo was a race track, but apparently there’s no leisurely strolling allowed. I can’t tell you how many times we stopped and forced those in a hurry around us to avoid getting our heels clipped.¬†

Caleb and I were talking about it after the fact, and he was just as shocked as I was. Are people so intent on getting their child “the best” that they forfeit manners to do so? I mean, they could just be having a bad day, or their kid is annoying them, and I get that, but do they have to be rude to the rest of the world? Or are we just so laid back and non-aggressive that we will never really understand how or why people insist on getting their way first? Who knows. Never once did we hear an “excuse me”.

I sure hope they realize their kids are going to act the way their parents do. These parents could very well be raising a generation of “me first” children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. In fact, I mess up daily just as much as the next mom. But I do try to be aware of how I’m behaving because my child is observing me. I don’t want her learning my bad habits, and even more, I want her to grow up respecting others, and caring about other people rather than always thinking of herself. It’s a hard task, and I wonder how aware parents are of their actions sometimes.

People, please remember to be kind to other people, especially when your kids are present. You never know how being nice could make someone’s day, or reversely, how being rude and pushy can make a memorable trip memorable for the wrong reasons. End rant.

High Five For Friday!

It's Friday!

It’s finally Friday!!!

This week was wonderful and horrible all at the same time. And not really horrible… mainly, it was extremely hard to go to work this morning after a glorious day off. In fact, most people in my office had the brilliant idea to take today off from the beginning, but I didn’t have that luxury.

But now the weekend has begun, and before our movie night begins, I want to share my top five moments of the week with you!

HF4F 7/5/131. We spent last weekend camping in Southern Indiana. This was my first time camping period. That post is in the making, I promise. It’s just been a very busy week! Anyway, we had a great time, and the views were gorgeous. Oh, and it rained all weekend.

2. We left Ava with my parents while we went camping, so the reunion was so sweet. We had lots of play time when we got home (and after some naps).

3. The Fourth of July this year was amazing! We had lots of fun with friends and family over the holiday. Ava enjoyed watching the fireworks and never got scared of the booms. However, she wasn’t a fan of staying up that late.

4. We celebrated our anniversary this week as well. We went to a local restaurant just the two of us, and ate the most delicious food we’ve had in awhile. Big Hoffa’s is a pirate-themed BBQ joint, and we were way too overdressed. But hey, it was our anniversary! Let me just tell you real quick what was in The Hoffanator I ate: french fries topped with mac & cheese, pulled pork BBQ, and ranch dressing. Oh my goodness. Oh. My. Goodness. It was fantastic, and we are definitely going back.

5. One of our good friends is in Alaska doing PT clinicals for the summer. We’ve been buds with this guy since college (he actually introduced Caleb and me), and we can’t wait til he gets home.

That’s it! Now I get to have a movie and pizza night with Caleb, Ava (until bedtime), and another of our good friends, Dawson. I do believe it’ll entail one (or two) Harry Potter movies, and I’m looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend!

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F!
 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

2 years

wedding

Two years ago today, Caleb and I were married. It was a beautiful day, one I look back on with hearts in my eyes. There are so many details I may not always remember, but the most significant memories will remain in my mind forever.

Memories like how nervous I was to see my groom. Memories like praying together after we said our vows. Memories like singing in each other’s ear during our first dance. Memories like when we went off on our own and spent time together outside our gorgeous reception barn that night. And memories like stopping at the McDonald’s drive thru after leaving the reception. Yes, it’s a bit sappy, but it was such a special moment.¬†

wedding barn

The past two years have flown by; yet Caleb and I also agree that it feels like we’ve been married longer. Not in a bad way either. When you cram a wedding, a pregnancy, and the first full year of your baby’s life into two, I guess it has a way of doing that to you!

family

I have fully enjoyed everything about our marriage and life together thus far, and I anticipate  that it will get better in better. I love Caleb more and more everyday, and I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together.

 

*First two photos are our professional wedding photos by Aesthetic Life Studio. Check them out!