Saturday, August 30, 2008

my big girl

Avery's getting so big so fast.

I can't believe that she's almost 2. It makes my heart hurt to think about it.

A million times a day, I look at her and wish that I could just stop time and keep things just like they are now. It makes me panic a little to think how about quickly she's growing...I've loved every second of every day with her.

Before becoming a mommy, I could never have imagined the immense amount of love a heart can actually hold for another human being. Sometimes I feel like my heart will burst from the fullness of all that love.

What a precious blessing!

Friday, August 29, 2008

third trimester fun

Go ahead. Congratulate me.

I've already congratulated myself. I had my own little celebratory soiree with a fudge bar or two not too long ago.

Why the congrats, you say? Well, my friends, I've officially entered the dreaded THIRD TRIMESTER.

Cue daunting horror movie music now.

Oh... The third trimester. If memory serves me correctly, I have so much to look forward to...

There's the lack of sleep, difficulty breathing, exhaustion, nausea, swelling, Braxton-Hicks, extreme irritability, and sad appearance of "cankles" for starters. Those joys are quickly (oh, too quickly) followed by excessive hair growth (in horrifying & surprising places), a rapidly spreading nose & rear end, constantly aching back, and crazy-itchy tummy.

Itching your tummy every second of the day makes you look super-cool, don't cha think?

My favorite thing about the third trimester of pregnancy is the lovely gift of weekly doctor's visits...the ones where you are graciously weighed every time you enter the office.

Every. Time.

Every woman should hear as often as possible that they are weighing closer to a metric ton with every bite they take. Honestly, can you think of anything more cruel?

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm just not one of those women who revels in being pregnant. I won't be hanging a body cast of my bulging belly in my baby's nursery, or paying big bucks to have professional photographs made of my bare abdomen. I don't embrace my new "curves" as beautiful or sexy. I don't enjoy shopping for pregnancy clothes or rubbing my belly affectionately for the world to see. I'm just not that girl. Lots of my friends are... I'm just...not.

Don't get me wrong, I love knowing that my sweet little one is growing inside of me. I love experiencing the secret language of little bumps and kicks. I love shopping and preparing for my little man's arrival: teeny, tiny clothes, sweet little socks, and soft cuddly blankies (I can't get enough of that itty bitty preciousness!). And I love, love, love knowing with all certainty that this child was chosen by God to be mine before the world was even breathed into existence. What a beautiful, wonderful, awesome gift. Those are definitely the most precious parts of pregnancy.

I guess what I'm attempting to say is that I lack the proper skill set required to gracefully cope with the emotional and physical side-effects of child-baring.

In other words: I'm a pitiful, whiny, sad excuse of a patient normally, and even more pitifully whiny while pregnant. I'm not anything close to what one may call a "trooper" and I'm a big 'ol baby about pain.

This week, while pondering the miserableness of my current condition, I was struck with the realization that certain religions seriously believe that women who are blessed to go to Heaven will enjoy the additional "blessing" of PERPETUAL PREGNANCY. Mind boggling, isn't it?

I remember hearing that interesting tid-bit several years before I had experienced the blessing of pregnancy for myself. At that time, I thought... hmmm.. that's kind of interesting. I hear that pregnancy is a beautiful experience. I guess I could see how that might be desirable for some people. Oh, silly, naive girl...

My thought about that now? OH, HECK NO! No, no, no, no, NO!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a little funniness, a little cuteness

Warning: This post may contain excessive sweetness and shameless bragging. Proceed with caution.

I've bragged about my sweet, servant-hearted husband before and I'm not ashamed to do it again...despite the inevitable eye-rolling I know that some of you will be doing as you read.

Go ahead, roll away. I'm writing it anyway

OK. Begin Post:

First, the Little Funniness Part:
David's been so helpful to me while I've been a whiny pregnant whiner and frankly, I feel a bit guilty for letting him do so much around the house. He is too precious and sweet, sweet, sweet. I'm VERY thankful for his help.

In order to relieve the stress for me on preschool days, he frequently dresses Avery so I can get ready. (after I lay out her clothes, of course). It saves so much time for me. It's really nice.

The other day, David dressed Avery for me BEFORE having his morning cup of coffee.

This is what happened:

Yep. The shoes are definitely on the wrong feet. I laughed out loud when I saw this. It cracked me up!

Now the Little Cuteness Part:
Avery loves going to Preschool and this week was chocked full of nothing BUT Preschool:
Inservice. Readying the room. Meet-the-Teacher Day. First day of school.

Preschool, preschool, and more preschool.

Here are some pictures of Avery hanging with her friend Amelia while their mommies worked at school:

Avery is currently obsessed with "big girls". Amelia, although definitely not what an adult would consider a "big girl", is such a big girl to Avery. Avery thinks Amelia is the COOLEST.

She calls Amelia "me-a" and "moo-moo", listens with rapt attention while Amelia sings "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to her, begs to eat anything she is eating, and generally follows her around like a little puppy. It's so cute.

david letterman wanna be

Y'all... my husband is such a comedian.

I mean, seriously HI-larious.

I just had to embarrass brag on him for the video he and the other staff guys at church created for our fall sermon series, Mythbusters: Can You Handle the Truth?

Actually, most of our congregation thought that this video was the funniest thing ever. There was literally cheering from the crowd at one point!

I love that they are so supportive! Bless their sweet, precious hearts...

You can watch the video by by clicking here and then choosing the "staff" tab. His video is the second one (Titled The Dear Dave Show).

I love my goof-ball husband! He's the best!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

cry me a river

I cried today.

Two separate times.

Not just a little tender "misting of tears"... Oh nooooooo. That would be far too lady-like and NORMAL.

We're talkin' serious crying. The Snot-Runnin'-Mascara-Drippin'-Tammy-Faye-Shameless-Ugly-Face kind of crying.

It was nothing short of ridiculous.

If you've been pregnant before, you know that this hormonally-stimulated type of crying is the kind you can't just "shut off" at will. It likes to stick around for awhile. When it finally ends 30 minutes later, you'll find that you've not only cried about the silly thing that started the blubbering, but about everything sad that has ever happened in your life as well.

Pregnancy crying is guaranteed to happen over the most insignificant things and during the most inappropriate times...Inappropriate times like while you're shopping in the juice aisle at the grocery store, watching a random episode of The Gilmore Girls, or shopping for light fixtures in Lowes. It could even happen (hypothetically) while you are in a STINKING STAFF MEETING surrounded by your friends, boss, and colleagues.

People generally do one of two things in response to this highly inappropriate and unexpected behavior:

1. Give you understanding, sympathetic smiles and say things like, "oh honey".
This response, although very sweet, only serves to illicit more unwanted tears and snottage.
2. Give you a perplexed, confused look (You know, like just landed here from Mars. Or is it Venus? Who cares...).

I can't decide which response is more favorable.

The especially repugnant part of this obnoxious kind of "fluid leakage" is that there are NO warning signs that said leakage is about to occur. It just sneaks up on you and leaves you thinking in horror, "Oh no! Not now, not now, not now! Please, please, please!!!"

I've discovered that fighting it is useless. It can't be stopped and definitely "...won't be ignored, Dan".

The only thing to do?

Embrace it.

That's what I did today. DURING A STINKIN' STAFF MEETING. Ugh.

Pregnancy rocks.

Monday, August 25, 2008

top 10 things not to say to a pregnant woman...

1. Ooh. Don't stand on that (or reach for that... or eat that... or whatever...)!
Don't get me wrong, I understand the heart-felt concern behind this comment. But it's totally ridiculous that being pregnant means that people are allowed to completely disregard your age and treat you like a 5 year old again. It's a strange, surreal thing.

2. Should you be carrying her [your toddler]?
I love this one. I never quite know what to say in response. I'm usually torn between one of two sarcastic comments:

"Probably not, but I just love it so much that I can't help myself! Lugging an extra 22 lbs around in the scorching heat while struggling to catch my breath really rocks."
"Gosh, you're right. I shouldn't. Here... 'Lemme just put her down and let her meander through the parking lot by herself."

Instead I just laugh uncomfortably, and say something apologetic like, "Well... she's still pretty tiny."

3. How much weight have you gained?
How does growing a child inside of you make it OK for someone to know your weight?
Good Gravy.

4. I only gained ___ during my pregnancies.
OK, now that's just meanie, mean, mean, mean.

5. Your face is looking fuller.
Oh... This one.
This one is that it's been said to me during BOTH of my pregnancies. The thing is, the people who said it to me are genuinely warm, loving, people... a fact which leaves me totally stumped.

It's my understanding that having a fat face isn't such a good thing. I mean, I could be wrong here, but that really doesn't feel like a complement. At all.

6. Huh. I thought pregnancy cleared your skin up...
You might as well say, "Whoa! Pizza Face! What happened to you?"

7. I can't even tell you're pregnant!
Awesome. So I just look fat. Nice.

8. Ooh.. having two little ones close together. That's going to be a challenge.
Hmm... This one. What can you say in response to this one? I typically just smile and die a little inside.

9. When I was pregnant __________.
This is when Commenter proceeds to fill in the blank with a horrible pregnancy story...a story full of blood, guts, and other nightmarish things.
Totally appropriate...Because hormonally-challenged women never worry about anything.

10. You haven't had that baby yet?
This one is particularly sad when you are a million months along, swollen, and not getting any sleep.
This comment makes a pregnant woman want to go home and eat a gallon of Ben and Jerry's. Maybe 2.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

party time

Our little friend Carter turned 4 this weekend. Carter's mommy, Maribeth, is a super-creative, wonderfully artsy gal. So of course, Carter's party was absolutely adorable and original. The theme was taken from one of Carter's favorite storybooks: Fancy Nancy. How cute is that?!?

Avery received her sweet, little hand-made invitation about a week or two ago. It included a request for all of the party guests to "dress fancy", so that is exactly what we did!

I have to say that I had a little too much fun preparing Avery's "gown" for the big day. I mean, how many chances to you get to make a dress look as gaudy as possible? I fancied up Avery's play dress-up dress by adding glittery, heart-shaped sequins and obnoxious, pink fringe. I glued and stitched and stitched and glued. I even found a crazy, feathery, hair clip for her hair and made an intricately threaded necklace and bracelet. I just couldn't wait to see it on my little Cutie Patootie! So FUN!

That's when Avery decided to throw a little kink in my well-laid plans. She was NOT impressed with my craftiness and was none too pleased about the idea of wearing such a crazy-looking dress. Simply put, she was just good and M-A-D about it.

I'm not going to lie: things got a little ugly. I'm talking All-Out-Screaming-Battle-Of-The-Wills-Ugly. She must have yelled, "I no wan it!" like a million times in the midst of her desperate attempts to rip the dress off of her body like it was on fire.

Drama, drama, drama.

After all was said and done, I won the Battle of the Dress, but decided to cave when Avery outright refused to put on the fancy necklace and bracelet that I'd made. Oh, well. You win some, you lose some...

I won't spoil all the fun for Maribeth by including descriptions of the party cuteness here. Let's just say that "Her Craftiness" did not disappoint. I'll let her share more on her blog. Here are some of the pictures that I took while there:

satan's lair?

Last night, I had a few errands to run and my precious husband and daughter graciously tagged along. We went to two of David's favorite places ever: Toys R' Us and Michael's.

In Toys R' Us, David patiently walked behind Avery and I as we "oohed and ahhed" over all the fun, girly toys. He didn't even complain when I took a little longer than necessary while choosing the perfect birthday gift for our little friend Carter.

On the way to Michael's, however, I noticed that his patience (and overall demeanor) began to fade. I lovingly asked him, "Why the long face, my dear?" (or something like that), fully expecting him to blame his mood on hunger or some such man-nonsense.

I wasn't expecting him to blame his ill mood on a craft store of all places. Craft stores are the places where imagination is born. Craft stores represent creativity, art, and all that is right with the world. Craft stores make my heart feel happy. How could anyone be sad to go into Michael's?

That's when David said something shocking. He actually said to me that Michael's is a guy's version of Hell. To which I responded with something sympathetic and super-Christiany like, "Oh. Come on, now".

We went in anyway, of course.

Come to think of it, I have noticed in the past that if we are there too long his eyes start to bleed a little... Huh...

I guess it was a good thing that I made last night's trip a quick one. Eye-bleeding is just plain gross. Plus, the scary, Satanic-looking, Halloween decorations that were on display were kind of helping to prove his point. I thought that Avery was going to strangle me with her death grip of terror every time we went near the life-sized talking ghoul. Yikes.

Whatever. I still like Michael's.

an act of sheer genius

Last night my mom called me to invite us to come over. We had a few errands to run beforehand, so dinner consisted of a healthy meal from Old Faithful: a.k.a. Chic-Fil-A.

This is when I had Britney Spears Moment #852, or as I prefer to call it: Act of Genius #852.

It's important to note that the time of the Act of Genius was well past 8 pm. 8 pm is the Witching Hour at our house. Usually, chaos ensues if our little Avery doesn't go to bed promptly at 8 pm. Exhaustion turns our precious angel into something a bit short of ... precious. It's not a pretty sight.

Normally, we would pack things up and head straight home as soon as the clock strikes 7:55. Last night, however, our trip to my parent's house was already confirmed and "on the books" prior to 8 pm. Breaking such an appointment would mean facing Parental Disappointment of Bibilical Proportions. Which is also not a pretty sight.

I knew that a choice had to be made...

I made the call and pulled out the Big Guns. I closed my eyes tightly, handed my Diet Coke to my somewhat surprised daughter, and let her drink until her little heart was content.

Go ahead. Judge me. But I'll tell you something Ms. Smartypants: it worked like a champ. Not only was she NOT sleepy, she was actually giddy... She happily performed all her latest tricks, gave kisses and hugs, attentively listened to stories, and loved on my parents like it was no body's business.

Mommy was so proud. Of herself.

There is a lesson to be learned here: Sometimes, Britney Spears gets a bad wrap.

Avery and Bella reading a new book

"Wocky. a yickin' me!" (translation: Rocky's licking me!)

Papa is showing Avery one of the million and one breakable things at my parent's house. My mom was not pleased.

"I pincess!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

montessori mommy? i think not.

So - one of the blogs I read is called Chasing Cheerios. Some of you may have inadvertently traveled there via my Blog Roll. The author of Chasing Cheerios is a very creative Stay-At-Home Mommy who journals about her experiences with Home-Schooling using Montessori teaching methods. It's an inspiring site, to say the least.

So inspiring, in fact, that I decided to get off my keister and try one of her brilliant ideas: Muffin Tin Monday. Or as it's now affectionately called in my house: Throw Random Items in a Muffin Tin and Feed it to Your Kid Tuesday.

In case this post inspires YOU, here are the basic steps (as I understood them) for creating your very own Muffin Tin Day:

Step 1:
Fumble around in kitchen looking for a muffin tin. notice with sadness that your only muffin tin is dirty and submerged in stinky water. Sigh and finally clean it.

Step 2:
Take a deep breath and gear up for filling 6 spaces in the muffin tin with healthy, creative, items. Remind yourself that they should be edible items.
You can do this!!!

Step 3:
Get [a little too] excited because you found a use for the Dinosaur Sandwich cutter that you bought on impulse at the grocery store this week.
Proceed with making sandwich.
Realize that the sandwich bread you bought is too small for the sandwich cutter.
Curse the marketing genius who creates random crap like Dinosaur Cookie cutters for notoriously impulsive buyers like you.
Eat one of the headless dinosaur sandwiches and continue undeterred.

Step 4:
Dig around in your fridge for something healthy that your picky toddler might actually eat.
Decide on carrot sticks.
Realize that there must be some kind of "dippage" for said toddler to even consider touching carrot sticks.
Pull out a Ranch dressing bottle and commence the very official Smell Test. If pungent odors don't repulse you, continue as planned, but keep fingers crossed just in case.

Step 5
Realize (sadly) that you have 4 more muffin spots to go.
Wonder why you didn't buy pretty, cool, interesting vegetables like Avocado or Starfruit - or something organic, earthy, and lovely like Bulgar wheat pita chips and gluten free what-nots.
Feel a little like a Britney Spears for not buying healthier food items. Vow to do better next time and keep on truckin'.
You can do can...

Step 6:
Cut up banana and dig around in pantry for raisins. Murmur, "YES!" because you actually organized your pantry this week and found desired food product.

Step 7:
Decide that this muffin tin thing is a lot of work and throw random food items in remaining spots.
Yeah... who are you kidding? You Ma'm are no Montessori Mommy.

Viola! Lunch is served!

Final Note:
Don't forget to take a picture because you'll never be doing this again!

Monday, August 18, 2008

25 weeks and counting

My tummy is growing and so is our little Charlie. Most of the day, it feels like he's doing an Olympic gymnastics routine inside of me! He is definitely a very busy boy. It's so fun to feel him bumping around in there...a constant reminder of God's gracious blessing to our family.

We are so looking forward to his arrival in November, but we've got tons of work to do on the house first. It stresses me out quite a bit to think of all of the little things left to do before he comes. Things are progressing, but I guess I'd like it all done yesterday!

I've always prided myself on being a fairly prepared person. In fact, I usually err on the "over-prepared" side. It's obnoxious. God's always trying to teach me to chill out and let Him take the reigns. Sadly, I'm not the best student and have to learn the hard way most of the time!

Avery's birth was one of those hard lessons for me. She was delivered 2 weeks early. Early delivery isn't necessarily abnormal in itself, but that's probably where the normal part of her birth story ends.

Late in my second trimester with Avery, I contracted HELLP Syndrome. HELLP is a rare, severe, and sometimes deadly form of Preeclampsia (toxemia). The only cure for HELLP is for the mother to deliver the baby. So - Avery was taken a little early by C-Section. The scary thing is, I didn't get better right away as expected. In fact, things got worse for me during the days after her delivery. Nothing seemed to go as planned.

The funny thing is that I spent countless hours during my pregnancy in preparation for Avery's birth. I faithfully watched "A Baby Story", read any kind of pregnancy book I could get my hands on, and carefully listened to all of my experienced mom friends' advice. Her room was ready and her clothes were washed and put away. She had a dresser full of diapers. My check list was complete. I was confident of what lay ahead for us. Things were under control. The reality is that all those preparations couldn't do a thing for me when push came to shove.

I can only shake my head as I look back on my thought process then. But even after all I've been taught in my relationship with Christ, I find myself doing the exact same thing today. Spinning my wheels to make things happen...thinking that I've got things covered...making those darned check-lists.

Can we ever really be completely prepared for the hard times in life? No matter now many books we've read or brilliant discussions we've contributed to, when something unexpected or heart-breaking comes our way, it always feels like a punch in the gut. I know this. I've experienced this. So, why do I continue to try to force my world into submission even though I know my efforts are in vain?

The thing is, if it were possible for me to be fully prepared for anything at any time, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be living the life that God intended for me. The times of greatest spiritual growth in my life have always come after those "punch in the gut" moments. Those moments left me reeling and in need of the only One with any real answers. Those moments brought me into the safety of my Father's loving arms.

God graciously covered David and I with His peace throughout the entire scary experience of Avery's birth and we're definitely stronger because of it. Avery was born healthy, and after a few days in the hospital, some great medical care, and LOTS of prayer from friends and family, I recovered fully.

Our doctor assured us before getting pregnant this time that the chances I contract HELLP again are minimal and we feel good knowing that he has experience with the disease.

Since HELLP doesn't show up until later in the pregnancy, we are closely watching for the symptoms again. The good news is that I'm feeling great so far during this pregnancy, and I know the danger signs to look for. We aren't out of the woods yet, so David and I ask that you would pray with us as we continue to progress through this pregnancy.

We can move forward with confidence because we know that our Father loves us and cares for us. Nothing is hidden from His view. Nothing is beyond His reach. It gives me such peace to know that!

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139


Avery decided to pull every pair of socks I own out of my drawer the other night. When she finally found a suitable pair, she brought them to Daddy and had him put them on her.

Look how proud she looks in the picture!

dora takes a bath

Dora and Avery have become fast friends. Here Avery is pretending to give her a bath. Gunner was very confused. I think he'd like to eat Dora.

let the nesting phase commence

A couple of nights ago, David and I took our first trip to the grocery store since our return from vacation. Before going, we had absolutely nothing left in our house to eat. I think that we were down to a can of creamed corn, half a jar of peanut butter, and stale tortilla chips. Mmmm...

Let me just say that I really hate going to the grocery store. It's the longest, most tedious process ever. Going with a toddler makes the process even MORE fun. Ugh. It's enough to bring this hormonally-challenged mommy the edge of sanity.

Actually, Avery does a great job for the first 30 minutes of our trip, but shortly after that, the melt-down begins. That's typically when I toss her random items like balloons from the Floral Department to keep things sane. You gotta do what 'ya gotta do!

Avery will sit in the grocery cart for approximately 2.5 minutes before she insists LOUDLY to walk. Since I usually go to the grocery store with David, I allow her to walk next to us. When Avery and I are on our own, however, that's something that just can't happen.

Avery likes to help me shop while she walks the aisle and brings me things from shelves at her eye-level. Things like cake sprinkles ("caddy"), boxes of sugary cereals, and breakable jars of salsa. You know, the practical stuff. I consider it a real feat to finally arrive in the parking lot without breaking a jar of pickles or two. I feel a little like I'm living out that grocery store scene in Mr. Mom.

Gosh. I love that movie.

Anyway -Because we had no food, this week's trip to the grocery store lasted WAY too long. When we finally got home, all three of us were totally spent. Despite my exhaustion, I found myself with the sudden random urge to completely gut my refrigerator and pantry. I even brought out the sponge (*gasp!*) to clean out the crud in the bottom of the fridge!

I know. I'm Wonder Woman, right?

I remember this beautifully insane urge to organize from my pregnancy with Avery. It seemed to hit about the same time in my last pregnancy as it has with this one. I am like a crazy woman now. Knowing that this blissful phase will not last long, I decided to take a couple of pictures of my organizing handi-work. One day (approximately 2 weeks after baby Charlie is born) I will look at them longingly and wish for a fridge like that again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

it runs in the family

I just had to share this cute, cute, CUTE video of Avery dancing along while her daddy plays guitar. It's just...cute. Every time I see it, I laugh at her silliness. She has become such a little goof-ball lately.

On the night that the video took place, David and I had just come home from dinner with friends. My sister, Katharine babysat Avery that night. You'll see/hear a little of her in the video.

Katharine is my youngest sister. I'm 14 years (!) older than her and will forever think of her as my sweet little baby sister. Because of our age difference, my relationship with her always been special to me: a perfect blend of sister, friend, and (very young and very cool *wink*) mom.

Oh, how I love that girl! She makes me laugh, makes me smile, and makes me act like a total idiot. I just love that she's a random goof-ball. Maybe that's where Avery gets her silly side.

Within moments of being with Katharine, I find myself carried away in silliness and acting like I'm 17 again. Reality usually brings my temporary insanity (and all the fun!) to a screeching halt about 10 minutes after I leave Kat. It's typically when I strap my baby in her car-seat and head off toward home while listening to "We Are the Dinosaurs" playing in the background.

She (Reality, that is) says something like, "Jen. Wake up, hon. You are really old. You're like half a step away from wearing mom jeans and buying a mini-van. You buy shoes because they are comfortable. You sing Barney songs and have in-depth conversations with friends about whether or not to potty train. You have bills to pay and laundry to fold. You talk with your little girl about things like 'going potty, diapees, and appa duice'. You haven't bought a new purse in over two years and your nicest shoes come from Target."

Reality is so mean. She's quite possibly the worst Frenemy ever.

Anyway...all that to say that if Avery ends up anything like her lovely, silly, precious Aunt Ka-Ka, I'd be just thrilled to pieces.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

all tricked out

This Momma loves to brag about her little girl. So - please bear with me here during the shameless bragging I do at the beginning of this post... It will be over soon.

Avery's vocabulary has just exploded over the last month! We giggle at her cuteness just about all day long. It's been such a joy to watch the world unfold before her sweet little eyes for the first time. It makes me so happy.

In an effort to preserve some of that cuteness for posterity's sake, we frequently ask Avery to perform for the camera. It's definitely a hit-or-miss thing. David and I hold our breath during the entire "filming" process in anticipation of her response. Should Avery actually decide to perform the task we've requested, we typically have something a little short of an aneurysm from the shock and excitement of her compliance.

I've heard it said before that kids love to make you look like a total Nut-Case. They'll do something cute or funny all day long without an audience, but the second that you ask them to do it for someone else, they pretend that they have no idea what you're talking about.

My brothers are constantly making fun of me for telling them how Avery can do things that she never shows them. The conversation goes something like this:

Me: "Avery, show Jo-Jo how you can count."

Avery: silence. followed by hiding behind mommy

Me: Ok. Let's do

Avery: silence. followed by more silence and nose-picking.

Joseph: Good job, Jennifer. You can count. Nice.

Sigh. Such is the case with the following video. She's still cute, though. Little Stinker.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the b-i-b-l-e

David and I bought Avery's very first Read-with-me Bible yesterday. Avery just LOVES books and is able to sit a little longer to listen to a story as she gets older. We decided that now would be the perfect time to start reading a Bible story to her before bedtime every night.

With so many kid's Bibles to choose from, I think that David did a great job choosing this one. The pictures are really colorful and current and the language is just right for her age and up. There's also a question or thought-prompting comment at the end of every story to help parents talk to their little ones.

We are looking forward to our new bedtime tradition!

multi-tasking already!

Someone's been watching her Mommy. Avery just picked up my cell phone, put it to her shoulder and then started to color - busily chattering away the entire time. It was so funny.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

dora and boots

Upon looking at this picture you might say one of two things:
1. Jennifer has completely given up
2. Jennifer must be feeling really, really sick.

The truth is that our lovely new friend Dora was a gift - a mean, mean gift. Given to Avery by my mean, mean brother who WILL pay. Dora had been happily living in my parent's garage for months with no complaint. She liked it there. I'm sure of it. Then Joseph had to go and ruin everything. Now she's living at our house. Sad.

Avery loves her. Sad, sad.

It looks like she'll be here for awhile. Sad, sad, sad.

Upon looking at this picture, you might say:
1. Jennifer must have been at Target past Avery's bedtime and been forced to buy Avery some boots to pacify her.
2. Jennifer must be really, really, sick.

Ok. You're right about this one.

Just kiddin'. Aren't they cute?!?!

house progress

Here is a picture of the progress on our house. We are so excited. The brick is scheduled to be put on the house soon!

i didn't know we lived near a forest. hmm..

This is a picture from our walk tonight.

Notice the gargantuan weeds growing in my neighbor's yard.

They've been growing for quite awhile now and are now officially taller than Avery.

We've been watching our neighbor's lovely foliage grow all summer. As the days go on, we walk by it in sheer amazement. How tall can it possibly grow?

It looks like we may just get to see, since our college-aged neighbors seem to be more concerned with partying than picking up. We have been tempted to pull them on more than one occasion (just because we're that nice - not because we are annoyed as heck!), but David said he was worried about doing that because it may be a science experiment for a Botany class or something.

I'm kind of hoping that it is.

navarre beach, florida

Last week, we took a family vacation to Florida. We went with our friends the Malahy's and stayed at a friend's condo on the beach. It was a great week of relaxing and just being together. This was our second year to stay in Navarre Beach. It's location is perfect: just a few minutes from Destin, yet far enough to feel a little more "remote" than Destin. Last year, Avery was just an infant, so we weren't sure how she would do this year. We worried a little about the heat and her reaction to the beach and ocean waves.

The first day we were there we took the kids to the beach, anxious to find out how our week would go...
Avery immediately decided that she didn't like the ocean OR the sand. David and I had prepared ourselves for that reaction before going down there, but we still held out hope that it wouldn't be so bad.

Honestly, I was kind of relieved that she didn't want to get in the ocean. If you know me well, you are aware of my insanely weird fear of fish. I seriously hate them. It's beyond hate, really... It makes my skin feel creepy just to think about them. The thought of swimming in the water next to them really weirds me out.

In my mind, the only thing worse than fish, are fish that bite or sting. While we were there, the jellyfish quotient was out-of-control. They were EVERYWHERE: little ones, baby ones, big ones. YUCK. The DJ on a local radio station mentioned that he had never seen so many of them before. People were getting stung like crazy. I even saw a lady scooping them up with a fishing net and burying them on the beach. Ugh. Needless to say, I had no plans to get in the water - regardless of how Avery felt about the ocean!

Since the kids weren't so keen on the whole beach thing, we ended up spending a lot of time in the pool - something that we could have done in Memphis. I am happy to report that Avery made a little progress with her fear of the sand during the course of the week. At the beginning of the week she wouldn't even put her feet down when we tried to put her in the sand, but toward the end of the week, she progressed to walking in it while holding our hands. Maybe next year she'll be more adventurous!

As you'll notice in the pictures, Avery had a blast hanging out with her friends Carter and Miller. One of the advantages to having a photographer as a friend is that Josh took tons of precious pictures of Avery while we were there, I'll be sure to post some whenever I can get my hands on them! For now, you'll have to suffer through mine!

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