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.