Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Avery's Aunties

A couple weeks ago, my sisters were able to come up and visit with us for a few days. Based on their work schedules and flight availability, they both arrived and left on different days. Rebekah came on Tuesday night, Rachel arrived Thursday night, Rebekah left Saturday morning, and Rachel left Monday night. It was perfect because we got to spend time with each of them separately and had a whole day with all of us together. We hadn't seen them since Christmas, which is definitely too long!

Rebekah's flight was a little delayed, so Avery was already in bed by the time she arrived. The next morning, Avery was so happy to see her aunt. There was lots of giggling and playing after her breakfast. While she napped, Rebekah and I made apple-brie stuffed French toast and enjoyed catching up with each other. After lunch, we went out for a little shopping. I found some cute headbands for Avery and a bathing suit on clearance at Target for her!

The next morning, Rebekah and I worked on a project for her, then went out again that afternoon. Avery just loved all the attention and extra play time with Rebekah. That evening, we made a delicious pizza for dinner - homemade crust topped with a creamy alfredo sauce, roasted sweet potato slices, roasted corn, black beans, red onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. This is definitely one of our new favorites!

Ryan picked up Rachel from the airport that night. It was so good to see her again! We sampled some homemade orange ice cream and talked for quite a while. The next morning, Rachel got Avery from her crib when she woke up, and Avery could not have been more excited to see her. Rachel was greeted with lots of smiles and laughs and hugs.

We headed up to Ikea for the morning and then stopped at Panera for lunch on the way home. When Ryan got home later in the afternoon, we headed up to the park to take a couple pictures before dinner.

Rebekah treated us to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse that night. Avery was mesmerized by the chef and the fire

I love this picture of Rachel reading to Avery before bed. She sure loves her books!

We were so sad that Rebekah had to leave the next morning, but thankful for the wonderful time we had while she was here. Ryan brought her to the airport then headed to the gym. Rachel and I got ready for the day and packed a bag for NYC. After a quick lunch, we decided to try driving into the city. It was a beautiful day, and I think everyone must have been taking advantage of the nice weather. We hit a lot of traffic, but we didn't have any specific plans, so everything worked out fine. We parked near Central Park and took Avery to FAO Schwarz. She loved looking at all the toys, and I'm sure she'll have even more fun in a few years.

We spent the next couple hours walking through Central Park, 5th Avenue, and Times Square.

After arriving back at home, Rachel offered to babysit Avery so Ryan and I could got out for an early anniversary dinner. She was so sweet to spend her evening with Avery - feeding her dinner, bathing her, and playing with her. Avery had so much fun, and was as happy as could be even though we arrived home quite a bit after her bedtime.

Ryan was on call the next day at the hospital, so Rachel, Avery, and I went to church and relaxed in the afternoon. On Monday morning, Rachel and I took Avery and went to the grocery store and bought lots of good food for Avery's meals and for our dinner that night. Neither of us had ever cooked lamb, so we decided to try it that night. We bought a couple shoulder steaks and marinated them in lemon juice and olive oil for the day.

After Ryan rested, we drove to Hoboken, NJ to visit the Cake Boss' bakery. We could not have picked a more gorgeous day to be outside. But the wait to get into the bakery was over 2 hours long. So we just walked around the little town, admiring all the local shops and restaurants.

We found a cute little frozen yogurt shop, and Rachel treated us all to amazing sundaes. I gave Avery a little taste of a banana frozen yogurt (organic, and no sugar added). She wasn't quite sure what to think of the cold, but loved the taste!

On our way home, we passed a beautiful park with amazing views of the city. I know we'll be coming back to this town again very soon. Back at home, Rachel and I roasted beets for a salad and added goat cheese rounds topped with panko bread crumbs baked in the oven for a couple minutes. We grilled the lamb on our indoor panini grill. We made a lemon-dill yogurt sauce, and the lamb was delicious. Eventually, it was time to bring Rachel to the airport.

I am so thankful for the amazing week we all had together. It was such a blessing and a treat for me to have extra help around the house, playing with Avery and keeping her occupied. And we especially loved the fact that Avery warmed up to her aunts immediately. She certainly is blessed with the sweetest aunts anyone could have!

Monday, April 8, 2013

8 & 9 Months Old

I started Avery's 8 month update early last month but never got around to finishing the post and publishing it. She certainly keeps me busy these days! I feel like she has grown up so much these last couple months. We love watching her learn something new almost every day.

8th Month:
Avery got her first tooth just a couple days after turning 7 months old. And she finally started crawling on Valentine's Day. Once she realized she could do it, there was no stopping her. She loves exploring around the house, but she especially enjoys being able to pull her toys out of the bin in the living room. She can play for 30-45 minutes by herself now that she can reach all her toys.

After just a couple days, she began pulling up on the furniture. She quickly learned how to stand up in her crib, but it took her a couple more days to learn how to sit down. Once we learned that skill, life was much happier for all of us.

About a week later, she began to show an interest in walking while holding onto our hands. We found a good deal on a push toy for her, and she loves walking around the house as fast as she can.

By the end of her 8th month, she was able to wave and was becoming much steadier while standing.

9th Month:
Avery's second tooth appeared just after her 8 month birthday. Apart from a little fussiness, we hardly noticed it was there.

She continues to love eating solid food. Apart from having oatmeal for breakfast, she eats all fruits and vegetables. Her favorite food is peas, with sweet potatoes still a close second. She will only eat squash and cauliflower if I had a few spices to them - cinnamon, nutmeg, or garlic powder. Apparently she is getting tired of bland food. She loves eating little puffs (although she only gets them as a snack when we are out somewhere), but refuses to feed them to herself. We practice often, but she just doesn't seem interested in finger foods. We'll continue trying this month and hopefully she picks it up soon!

Early in February, Avery gave up her evening nap all on her own. She continues to nap for 1 1/2 hours in the morning and afternoon and to sleep 12 hours at night.

She continues to love crawling and "walking" around the house. She learned to clap and blow kisses this month and can do them both on command. She also loves imitating sounds we make and she will cluck her tongue, scrunch her nose, and blow bubbles after us.

She also has started laughing whenever she hears us laughing (whether or not we are laughing at her), but she especially loves doing things to get us to laugh at her. It is so much fun being able to interact with her more and more.

Avery got to ride on a swing for the first time this month. I recently found a park about 3 minutes from our house, so we will be spending a lot of time swinging this spring.

Avery loves animals and adores the puppy that lives in the apartment above us. She giggles and waves anytime she sees a dog walking near her. And she gets quite excited when we review different animals and the sounds they make with her. (The cow is her favorite.)

I am thankful that she continues to be a very easy baby, both at home and out in public. We can take her anywhere from a restaurant to Ikea to church to NYC and never worry about how she will act. It doesn't bother her to miss a nap entirely or for a meal to be a few minutes late. She is learning to be adaptable and pleasant in all kinds of situations.

We are truly blessed with a sweet, funny, and personable little girl!
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