Friday, October 11, 2013

15 Months Old

I thought that after Avery turned one, I wouldn't post monthly updates anymore. But I found that I looked back at this blog often to remember little details about her life that I otherwise might forget. So while these posts may not be strictly every month, I will try to update as things change (or as I have time).

She has turned into even more of a chatterbox than she was before (if that's even possible). We hear non-stop babble most of the day. She loves to pull toys and books out from her bins, and usually will put them back in if we ask her to. Her favorite thing to do these days is carry things from one room to the other. I found a sweet potato in her room yesterday when I put her down for a nap. And I often find clothes from her hamper in other parts of the house.

Avery's favorite time of day is if I let her watch Barefoot Contessa while I'm getting dinner ready. She gets so excited, yells "Ina!" and will watch an entire episode. If I am in the kitchen cooking, she has to be right in there with me mixing and stirring with bowls and spoons as well. If she sees me near the oven, she will bring me an oven mitt. I can't wait to start baking and cooking with her! We might have a little chef on our hands.

She also loves to eat, and has a pretty sophisticated palette. She prefers sweet potatoes roasted with paprika and garlic to plain baked sweet potatoes, and loves a mushroom, onion and Swiss frittata instead of plain scrambled eggs.

Avery can say "grandma" and "grandpa" and knows who they are. I showed her a picture of my parents the other day without saying their names, and she pointed to them and correctly identified them. She can also say "Rachel" and "Beka." Her favorite food to say is "apple." And while she can say words for milk, banana, applesauce, yogurt, etc. they don't sound quite like they should yet. When we read her Bible story each night, she says, "Jesus." She has been doing the signs for "please, more, and all done" for quite a few months now. It is extremely helpful to cut down on some whining and interpret what she is asking for. She tries as hard as she can to imitate what we are saying. She can usually get the right inflection and the right number of syllables. I'm sure we'll start hearing more real words in the next few months.

The memory and imagination of a 15-month old never ceases to amaze me. She walks around the house with her play phone saying "Hi, Dada." And she often puts bowls or clothes on her head and yells, "hat!" My mom sings "Jesus Loves Me" to her all the time and has been teaching her the hand motions. It's been a few weeks since she has heard it, but yesterday I asked if she wanted to sing a song (she loves singing solos) and immediately started singing something that clearly included the word "Jesus" and pointing to herself.

Avery constantly makes us laugh - more often on purpose these days. She has discovered she can be the center of attention, especially around strangers. She is becoming less and less shy and will wave and smile at anyone who talks to her.

She is still an excellent eater and sleeper. She often sleeps over 12 hours at night, with a 3 hour nap in the afternoons, and she'll eat almost anything we put in front of her. We have been blessed with such a good, easy baby, and yes, we have been warned that we might not get this lucky with our next one. Avery, thank you for the best 15 months of our lives! We love your silly personality and the slobbery kisses we get many times a day.

Weekend Trip to PA

My Mom flew home with us from SC to NJ in September and was able to spend a couple extra days with us. She was scheduled to speak at a ladies' meeting in PA on Saturday, so Avery and I drove down with her to see some of our family that lives in the area. Ryan was in the last couple days of his studying, so it was perfect timing. We drove to Mom's cousin's house for lunch. This was Avery's first time meeting her, and she loved chasing the cat around! Carol made a delicious meal for us, and it was wonderful catching up with her again. We're looking forward to her staying with us in November while she is in town for the weekend!

From there we headed to my Dad's aunt and uncle a few minutes away. Avery went down for her nap shortly after we arrived, and we relaxed with a cup of coffee for the afternoon. After dinner, Mom took us to one of her favorite stores in Pennsylvania. Avery's grandma spoiled her with lots of yummy treats for the weekend!

The next morning, we drove to our friend's church and had a wonderful morning with her and the sweet ladies we met. It was a beautiful fall day with cool, crisp air, and great fellowship. Shortly after we arrived back at home, Ryan finished his 8-hour long test and arrived home as well. Mom had offered to babysit Avery so we could go out for dinner, but we opted to order sushi and watch football at home instead.

Our little weekend away was the perfect ending to our vacation!

Our Month Away

Avery and I recently spent about 4 weeks back home in Greenville during August and September. Ryan completed his third year of medical school in August and then studied hard-core for his Step 2 exam in the middle of September. During that time, we decided it would be better for all of us if Avery and I were out of town. Ryan had a great study plan lined up and met with a couple classmates every day to study for 10-12 hours. He didn't need the distractions of having us around, and Avery and I needed a little more activity. I baked and cooked for a couple days before we left and loaded him up on lasagnas, casseroles, chili, bread, cookies, and tons of snacks.

I just have to say how thankful I am for my super easy (and adorable!) travel buddy. Avery has flown 8 or 9 times already (most of those with just me) and has never had a meltdown. When she was a little younger, she slept for all the flights. But now that she thinks she's a big girl, naps are no longer a guarantee. Thankfully, she was content to sit on my lap, read books, eat Cheerios, and look out the window.

Those weeks at home were some of the best we've ever had. Avery is just crazy about her grandparents and aunts. She is happy to go to them immediately without any crying or hesitation. In fact, she often would rather have them hold her than be in my arms.

With all the family around, I never had any lack of babysitters. My mom offered to stay home with Avery almost every day during her naps so I could go out shopping by myself or spend time with friends. Rachel came over most days during her lunch hour to play with Avery. And Rebekah and Dad spent hours with her in the evenings and weekends. She is one blessed girl!

Shortly after we arrived, Avery learned the word "apple." So naturally, Dad decided he wanted to take Avery to the mountains for apple picking! That weekend we had the most beautiful weather, so Dad, Rebekah, Avery, and I headed up to NC for a fun morning together.

The next weekend, Avery and I spent the morning at the pool with other moms and kids from church. We had such a great time together. Avery loved the pool, and is always happy to spend extra time with her sweet cousin, Halle.

While we were home, Avery also learned how to go up and down the stairs at my parents' house. We don't have steps at our house, so she has never tried them. But one evening, Rebekah and I realized it had been a few seconds since we'd heard from her, and when we found her, she was half way up the steps! After that, we kept her safe with a baby gate, but when we allowed her to go up, she acted like she had always been doing it! She loved to say "up" and "down" as well.

One weekend, we celebrated my mom's birthday with a surprise party at our friends' house. We had the best time with all our friends and family, and Mom was so surprised! Avery got to stay up way past her bedtime, but was so sweet and happy the whole time. She walked all around the house "talking" to people and not the least bit concerned with where I was. Several times I looked over at her and she was being held by different people. At the end of the evening, we sang happy birthday to Mom. After everyone stopped singing, Avery began singing, looked around at everyone (looking at her) and proceeded to clap for herself. She certainly loves attention!

The weeks were full of evenings with family, lunch with friends, and lots of food, as they always are when we're at home. Avery and I missed Ryan, but we loved every minute we got to spend with loved ones.
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