Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art Show

Audrey's daycare hosted their annual art show on Friday. I knew they did art projects with the kids pretty often, but we don't always see the finished products right away so this was a great way for us to come and see everything on display. When we got there, Audrey was screaming her head off which is very unlike her. But oddly, so were all of the other babies! Her teacher said they were like that all day and I joked that it was because they could feel the hurricane coming. You know, like animals. Anyways, everyone calmed down as the parents started coming in, and Audrey hosted us on a tour of the building to see everyone's beautiful work. Instead of having wine and cheese as they would at an adult art exhibit, they had juice boxes and cheez-its for us. Isn't that fun?! Here are a few of Audrey's pieces:
Her teacher said this was her favorite one to make!

They said she really loves holding her paintbrush.

Little Duck

My Favorite!! Look at her little footprints!!! 





After we walked around the infant room for a bit, we moved on to the young toddlers' room (16-24 months) and were surprised to find that Audrey had art work in there, too. Apparently they've been putting her in there in the mornings from time to time when she doesn't want to take a morning nap. Her teacher mentioned to me last week that they want to start transitioning her in there full time since she is walking so well. That's exciting, but kind of sad because she will have a new teacher when she goes in there. I haven't talked to the new teacher yet, but I believe they are more structured in the new room, rather than lots of free play like they do in the baby room. Audrey currently has the attention span of a...well, a baby I suppose...and I'm not sure how she'll be in a structured environment. I guess we'll see! What this also means is that we are now moving from the bottle on to the sippy cup! Her teachers still sit down on the floor with her and feed her bottles to her, but in the new room they won't do that. We hadn't been using sippy cups at home since I'm still nursing, so it was a new experience when I packed her only two bottles and one sippy cup of milk last Thursday. She did really well, though! Her teacher said she drank the whole cup with no problems. Friday and today I sent her with two sippy cups and one bottle, so hopefully she doesn't throw a fit about missing the bottle. If she does well, I'm just planning to cut the bottles out completely. Oh my, our baby is turning into a toddler!

I forgot to take pictures of Audrey with her teachers at the art show- bummer! The teachers were all dressed up nice and seemed so excited to have all the parents coming through. I know how much they adore Audrey and how she loves them so I will try to take a picture of them all together soon.

Happy Tuesday! xo

Monday, August 22, 2011

The August Slow Down

The only excuse I have for not posting as much lately is that we are in August. It's hot and muggy and everything slows down. At work, we're in our slowest month of the year and at home we have just quieted down and been enjoying each other. Not too much is happening, but here's a run down of the past few weeks.
Doesn't she look so big?
The biggest news, of course, is the Verizon strike. Josh has been out of work for 2 weeks and 2 days. He spent the first week at the picket line, accruing some decent hours so he could get his paycheck from the union. We talked to Audrey's daycare at the end of that week and explained our situation, and they were very understanding and allowed us to withdrawal Audrey for an undetermined amount of time until Josh returns to work. So last week Josh got to play the role of Stay-at-home-Dad and he loved it. He and Audrey took naps together, cleaned, played, read books, took long walks, and cooked dinner every night (dang, I've got some big shoes to fill when I start staying home!). We figured the strike would last three weeks, minimum, since the issues on the table were so extensive and since Verizon was refusing to negotiate with the union. Honestly, I was scared it could go on for months. We were financially prepared for the strike, but it is still scary. Well, as nature would have it, the East Coast was hit with a series of very bad storms last week. What does that mean for us? It means that Verizon wasn't prepared for all of the outages and down systems that were caused by the weather, and they suddenly are very willing to negotiate the terms of the contract. :) We got the call Saturday afternoon that the strike is over (for now), and that all union employees are returning to work this week. The old contract has been extended for thirty days while the union and Verizon officials negotiate the terms of the next contract. I'm glad to that Josh is back to work, and now I'm just hoping Verizon holds true to their word and stops holding out at the negotiating table.
Swinging 
Since Audrey started really walking a few weeks back, she has really gotten confident and has taken off. We finally broke down and bought a gate. We initially didn't want one...you know, we didn't want to put up barriers to her explorations and all that. We were spending our evenings following her around on her excursions around the house, up the stairs, down the stairs, in the bathrooms, through the kitchen and into the dog food bowl. That became exhausting pretty quickly. We were unable to sit down for even a moment. Since Josh was going to be home all week last week, we went ahead and bought a gate to keep her in the living room. It was worth the $35, and we still do take tours of the house with her, but not nearly as often. Last night, we reversed things a little bit. Instead of keeping her in the living room, we picked up the pets' food bowls and closed the kitchen doors for Audrey to explore while we cooked her some yummy food for the week (Broccoli and Sausage Egg Muffins and Zucchini and Sweet Potato Frittata, if you were wondering!). I let her explore the Tupperware cabinet, which she loved. At one point, Josh tapped me on the shoulder to turn around and look at her while he went to get the camera. She had climbed in the cabinet and closed the doors. How cute!!! Then she started crying because I think she didn't realize how she got in there. Adorable. And she loved the egg muffins and frittata. Delish (and healthy) first egg experience.
video

Audrey turns 11 months old tomorrow. A year ago I was five weeks away and completely exhausted. I had just stopped working out at the gym because I was too tired (sadly, I've only gone to the gym ONCE since then. Wow), and I had just begun experiencing ankle-swelling when I overexerted myself. That feels like so recent, its hard to believe its been a year. I've started planning Audrey's first birthday party, and will hopefully get invitations in the mail sometime in the next week. I just need to get a good photo to use. And I need to make better use of my time, because it turns out that planning a first birthday is a big deal. It is for me, anyways. I think I'm going a little over the top for a birthday that she'll never remember, but this is kind of an "OMG we actually survived the first year" party for Josh and I, too. That alone deserves some serious partying.
video

Audrey is talking nonstop these days. She isn't saying any real words, but she repeatedly says, "ah-DAH!" to everything. She changes the tone of her voice like she's asking a question, or making a statement, or hollering across the house, but everything is ah-DAH! Ah-dah, ah-dah, ah-dah. I'll have to get that on video.

I hope you are all enjoying the slowness that August brings!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No More Ear Infections!

We had Audrey's follow up appointment for her ear infections on Monday. We received great news! She currently does not have an infection in either ear (this is the first time that her ears have ever been checked and not been infected since around 4 months) and also she scored much, much higher on her hearing test. I was surprised by that because when we did the hearing test last time they told me it wasn't too bad, and yet this time around they showed me her performance last time and it was well below the "normal" range. I suppose when they are dealing with babies and children with significant hearing loss, something like what Audrey was experiencing isn't that bad. The doctor told us that we'll see how the fall and winter goes and if we need to come back in to discuss her ears again, we can. Hopefully we won't have to.
First Ponytail


She is such a big girl!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Cat"

Yep, we're calling it her first word! On Saturday I was laying in bed with Audrey getting ready for nap time. Well, I was ready for nap time; she was just crawling all over me laughing and pulling my hair. Anyways, Meeshy came into the room and hopped on the bed next to me and cuddled up waiting for me to pet her. I took this opportunity, as always, to show Audrey how to "pat gently". She struggles with this. Her excitement takes over and her pat usually turns into full on punch and the animals run away. This time was different, though. She was really paying attention, looking at the cat, then at me, and watching how I petted her. Audrey was able to actually pet Meesh without pulling any hair or scaring her away! As I petted the cat, I kept telling Audrey "cat, cat" and encouraging her to try to say the word. After a few times, she raised her eyebrows and put a sneaky smile on her face and said, "Ca". I was so excited I almost jumped off the bed! She says other words, including "mama" and "dada", but they're usually more like "mamamama" and "dadadada" and sometimes she'll say them while looking at the right person, but this time was different. This "Ca" was very intentional, she was actually following my words and made a real attempt to repeat what I was saying. I was able to get her to do it a couple more times, and then she got bored and started hitting the cat, and that was the end of that.

Josh says it isn't official until he hears it, so my mission this week is to get her to do it again. The hard part is going to get her to be that focused again, this girl is usually all over the place!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Walker

I think its safe to say that we officially have a walker on our hands! Audrey really started taking off within the past week, and over the weekend it seems to have become her preferred mode of locomotion. She sometimes will walk a while and then get tired or lazy and will plop down and crawl the rest of the way, especially when shes in a hurry. It is amazing how confident she's become. She really wants to be faster, so sometimes she'll walk really fast and then her upper body gets ahead of her lower body and she'll fall down face first. Don't worry - this does not discourage her in the least! Time to get real shoes, I guess.

video

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Family

What a great summer this has been so far! We've had so many opportunities to visit with family, something that does not happen nearly enough.

Mmm barbecue
My sister Lexi came to visit this past weekend with her baby boy, Tiernan (6.5 months). It was her first visit here since Tiernan was born, and was his first time to meet most of the family. Audrey, of course, LOVED having a little playmate, although she is still mostly unaware of how to play nicely and she looked like a bully compared to sweet Tiernan. There were a few times where Lexi or I had to intervene because Audrey was being too rough, or she would take toys from Tiernan because she has no realization of the concept of sharing yet.


On Friday, we went to the Atlantis water park in Bull Run Park. It was so much fun! They had a baby pool with fountains, and we also enjoyed the big pool for a bit. There was a sandy beach-like area, so I took Audrey over there for her first experience with sand. She did NOT like it! I didn't get any pictures because I was afraid of ruining Lexi's camera, but she was making her usual "what the heck" face. She hardly moved while I sat her in there, except to stick one finger (only one) in the sand momentarily. She then stared at her finger with a really confused look on her face. I doubt we'll make it to the beach this year, so I'll have to get Audrey a sand box at some point so she can get used to that sensory experience.
Swimming!
Cristina having a blast
Sweet T
Having so much fun!
What should I get into next?
We spent Saturday over at Dad's house enjoying family. We all brought some yummy food (Josh made a delicious corn salad and corn muffins, and Lexi made a tasty egg salad that sadly never made it out of the fridge) and drinks, swam in the pool, relaxed, and took lots of pictures! We probably won't all be together again for at least a year, so we made sure to take some important photos.
Like this group shot:

And this shot of Grandpa with the grandkids and great-grandkids (missing Matthew, Cristina, and Ian)

And this photo of Grandpa with the newbies:
"Stop hitting me!" "Let go of my dress!"

Brothers in law being cute
Lauren and Mike
Ian in the club house
We got a really great one of our pretty little family, I think this is one of the few good ones we have of the three of us! If only Josie was in it, too.


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
xoxo

Monday, August 1, 2011

Girls' Weekend

For a couple of years now, my good friend Kristie has been inviting me to come to one of her "Girls' Weekends" down in Hampton, VA, where she and her girlfriends enjoy a weekend of togetherness. I've never attended because I'm a lame-o, but I did find the inspiration to organize a Girls' Weekend with my own girlfriends. Well, I didn't organize it, but just suggested the idea and Ashley organized it! Ashley's parents have a house at Lake Anna (about 90 minutes from here) and they very generously allowed us to have the house for the weekend. It was a beautiful home, with a huge dock and tiki bar right on the water, plus a boat they let us use!


I headed down after work last Thursday and as soon as I was on the road I felt a peaceful calm come over me. I'd been having headaches for a few days that just wouldn't go away, plus nonstop stress with buying a house, and oh yeah, being a mom and wife(ish). Those last two things alone can make a woman NEED her girlfriends in a bad way! The girls kind of came and went over the course of the weekend, and all but two in our group were able to make it down at some point. We mostly spent the weekend chatting, relaxing, basking in the sun, water skiing (attempting), drinking, eating, crying, laughing, and catching up. It becomes so hard to do these things on a regular basis as we get older. Heck, three of us had a baby last year, and one more is pregnant now!



I got home on Sunday feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world! Josh stayed home with Audrey while I was gone and made sure I didn't have to worry about a thing. He took her shopping, ran errands, swam and visited at Dad's, cooked her yummy dinners, and texted me pictures and videos the whole time. I love that he's such a good Dad and I didn't have to think twice about leaving Audrey with him all weekend. I know that sounds silly to say, but sadly there are men who wouldn't even know what to do!




We are planning another Girls Weekend in the winter after Ashley has her baby. Skiing next time? Apparently two of the lovely ladies have connections to a place in the mountains. No matter where we go, I think Girls Weekend will certainly be an annual event!