Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eating Like a Big Girl

I just realized that I never posted Avery's 6 month update. This was probably due to the fact that we were still in Greenville on her 6 month "birthday" and I can never seem to find the time to blog while we are back at home. Then, when we came back to NJ, I called to schedule her 6 month doctor appointment, and they couldn't fit her in until February 6 - three days after she turns 7 months! So I won't have her height or weight for another week. I'll post a more complete update then.

But one of the biggest accomplishments of this past month has been Avery's introduction to solid food. I started her on a little bit of rice cereal when we came back from Christmas vacation. She did great eating from a spoon right from the start. Within a couple days, she was eating like a pro. Her favorite foods are sweet potato, bananas, and avocado. We have also tried peas and applesauce, but she is not as excited about those. Yesterday, I gave her green beans for the first time. She acted like she was gagging on them (followed by lots of giggles when I laughed at her). Once I hid them in her sweet potatoes, she was more willing to eat them. She is eating 3 ounces at each meal, but I'm about to increase that amount as she still seems like she could eat more. I still nurse her before each meal and once before bed.

I didn't really plan to make all her food, but I realized that it was surprisingly quick and easy to use vegetables and fruits I had on hand for her meals. I love that I know exactly what goes into her food. And saving money is also a definite bonus. I had been using my blender to puree the food for Avery, but a couple weeks ago, a mom at church gave me a Beabo BabyCook that someone had given her and she never used! I can now steam vegetables and fruit right in the same container where I puree them. It's been a great little appliance, and an unexpected blessing.

I need to get on a better schedule for making her weekly food. So far, I just cook up a few sweet potatoes or scoop out an avocado as needed. I usually wait 3-4 days in between introducing new foods, so it's a little slow-going at first. But I'm looking forward to making all kinds of foods for her to try. My mom used to make all her own baby food and freeze them in ice cube trays when my sisters and I were little. I read somewhere that each ice cube compartment is 1 oz, so that makes it very easy to determine how much to give her. Once the food is frozen, I pop them out and put them in a freezer ziploc bag. Currently in our freezer, I have avocado, sweet potato, green beans, peas, and bananas.

As much as I loved when Avery was a newborn, it is so much fun to watch her grow and develop and learn new things. I can't wait to introduce her to all kinds of yummy foods and let her experience lots of new tastes.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Christmas Vacation (Part 3)

Our final week of vacation began on New Years Day. Ryan's flight was scheduled to leave at 5pm, so he spent the morning packing before we headed to my aunt and uncle's house for lunch. I know I say this for every family occasion, but we really do have so much fun together. There are now more "kids" than adults when we all get together, so we got to have the dining room all to ourselves this time. It is so much fun having so many cousins and siblings that all enjoy being with each other as much as possible.

We try to get a picture of all the cousins each year at Christmas, but somehow we forgot this year, so we took the picture on New Years Day instead.

Avery was sound asleep during this picture. She started to show signs of being tired during lunch, and I laid her down on the floor in the guest room and she slept for over 2 hours. In fact, I had to leave to bring Ryan to the airport before we woke up, so my sisters brought her home for me.

Just after dropping Ryan off at his gate, I got a call from him saying his flight was delayed which would cause him to miss his connection to Newark. The agent rebooked him on a flight for the same time on Wednesday, but it was a direct flight this time! So I happily turned around and picked him back up. It turned out to be such a blessing to have an extra day together. Rachel offered to watch Avery so Ryan and I could go out for lunch. And on top of that, I had to run to the DMV and he was able to go with me for that errand.

Finally on Wednesday afternoon, I brought Ryan to the airport for the second time, and he had an uneventful flight home. Avery and I had planned to fly home on Friday evening. But after coming home from church Wednesday night, I started to feel achy and was running a fever. My parents were at a conference in NC, but Rebekah took great care of me. I started taking Tylenol right away and drank lots of water. After a good night's sleep, I felt a lot better, but didn't have much of an appetite and was pretty weak.

We decided it would be best to postpone our flight home until I was feeling a little better. Ryan was kind enough to let me stay until Tuesday, so I could be at our church's ladies meeting on Tuesday morning. Avery and I loved having a few extra days with my family and church family.

As I was packing to leave on Tuesday, I realized there was no way all our stuff was going to fit into the one suitcase I had with me. I left a few things behind for my cousins to bring up in February. Mom and Dad brought us to the airport, and Dad walked us to the counter to get checked in. I was quite surprised to see that my suitcase was 15 pounds overweight. And on top of that, it would cost $100 to fly with an overweight bag. We walked back out to the car and started pulling things out of the suitcase to lessen the weight. After a couple tries, we finally got it back down to 50 lbs. Mom and Dad's trunk was now full of random clothes, books, shoes, and jewelry, but we made it on our flight!

This was my first time flying with Avery by myself, and I was a little nervous about navigating the airport and airplane with the stroller, car seat, and bags. But the experience went as smoothly as it could have, and the Lord sent many unexpected blessings.

First, we were a little later arriving, but that meant there was no line at security. A kind officer walked through with me and folded and unfolded the stroller and helped get everything to the elevator for me. When we got to our gate, everyone else had already boarded, so we didn't have to wait in line again. Another nice man folded up the stroller as we got the plane, and the flight attendant told me we had plenty of room, so I could bring the car seat on with me. We were originally booked on the last row of the flight, but she moved us up to row 7. There was no one within 2 rows of us, so we had plenty of room for both of us, the car seat, and our bags.

Avery was as happy as could be, and played for the first 15-20 minutes of the flight in her car seat. After I fed her, she was content to look out the window and try to get the attention of the man sitting a couple rows in front of us by staring at him then laughing and giggling over and over. As we waited for everyone to exit the plane, she thought she was the center of attention as people stopped to talk to her. She was happy to smile and talk to all of them. I think 90% of the other passengers were men, and most of them stopped to say hi to Avery. So funny!

As we exited the plane, another kind gentleman offered to carry my bags to wherever we were going. It turns out we were both headed to baggage claim, so it wasn't out of his way. He waited with us while I found out suitcase on the carousal and called Ryan to let him know where we were. Ryan pulled in at the exact moment that we walked outside, so once again we didn't have to wait. I was overwhelmed with the way the Lord worked out every detail of our trip. And the best part was being with Ryan again. Avery was extremely excited to see him and would have been happy to play all night (although we put her to bed soon after getting home). It was the perfect end to our wonderful Christmas vacation.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Christmas Vacation (Part 2)

The second week of our vacation began with all the Reimers girls going out for breakfast together. My mom, Grandma, and aunts celebrate each others birthdays with breakfasts throughout the year. My aunts both have birthdays in December, and since my sister and cousins are out of school and work at that point, we all get to join them. I left Avery at home with my dad so she could get a good morning nap. We had the best time together!

Our Christmas Eve service at church was actually on the Sunday night before Christmas. This special time with our church family includes members singing or playing Christmas selections or giving a reading. As far back as I can remember, the Reimers cousins have always sung a song during this service. Last year, we convinced my parents and Aunt Laura & Uncle Jay to join us. And this year we decided to continue the same tradition. We had even more people this year with Halle and Avery. They both did very well, although Avery thought it would be fun to touch my lips while I tried to sing.

Christmas morning began as usual with my grandparents coming over for breakfast. I love this picture of my Dad teaching Avery about the Pyramidenkerzen he bought in Germany.

Avery slept through breakfast and gift-opening, but we saved her gifts for when she woke up. I'm sure she didn't understand what she was doing, but she loved ripping the paper off the boxes and playing with all her new toys. She certainly was spoiled by her sweet family. Come to think of it, I don't think Ryan and I even bought her anything!

We loved our first Christmas with Avery! After we cleaned up from our family gift exchange, we started preparing for all the family to arrive in just a couple hours. The cousins all exchange names, and the adults exchange names among themselves, and we have the best time discovering who had who's name and opening gifts together.

A couple days after Christmas, Ryan, Rebekah, Avery, and I headed up to the outlets near our house for a little shopping. On the way home, Ryan started to feel a little sick. As the day progressed, he realized he was coming down with the flu. It was not a fun couple days for him, but fortunately it was just a stomach bug and didn't last as long as the influenza virus that is going around. He rested for a few days, and our family enjoyed a Lord of the Rings marathon for a few nights.

Although it turned out to be a quieter vacation than we had planned, we are so thankful for so much time with family and friends. And it was a blessing that Ryan's injury and illness occurred during his break and not during rotations.
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