April 30, 2010

Where Did You Come From?

I saw this book on our bookcase this morning called The Best Loved Poems that I bought a long time ago and decided to look through it and it has one section on childhood and one section on home & mother that I love. This poem called Where Did You Come From? was so cute and really hit home my feelings about Ava and what a miracle she really is... as all babies are :) God knew what he was doing when he sent her to us that's for sure and we're SO glad she's here! Everyday she teaches us something new. My favorite parts of the poem are the last four lines :)

Where Did You Come From?

Where did you come from, Baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spike left in.

Where did you get that little tear?

I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-corner'd smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all come just to be you?
God thought of me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought of you, and so I am here.

- George MacDonald

We love you Ava Marie!!

April 27, 2010

Ava Update

Hey Everyone!Sorry it's been so long since our last post... the minutes, hours, days and weeks have just been flying by! I've been having such a good time spending my days with Ava watching her learn and grow... it's something new everyday! We definitely have our tough moments... don't get me wrong but the smiles that I get during the day erase the tough moments in a heartbeat :) Here are some areas of our new life together that I thought you guys might like to hear about:

New Things Ava Enjoys:

Ava still LOVES to stare at the blinds and the brown curtains and walls that around the house. I even catch her smiling at them sometimes :) She loves to lay on her tummy and has from the very beginning. She has also found a new love for trying to crawl - on the floor, in her bassinet, on her playmat and even on our chests... and she is VERY persistent at it. I feel so bad when she gets frustrated though. You can tell that she wants to be able to do things on her own SO badly... it won't be long! She has also started to really enjoy playing on her play mat that we bought her. She enjoys staring, batting at and trying to grab the pink toys that dangle over head. Her favorite toys on the playmat are a huge yellow flower that has little things dangling from it and a butterfly wind chine that chimes when she hits it. Just the other day I put her Minnie Mouse rattle that her Uncle Andrew and Aunt Julia brought her from Disney World and she loved it... she held onto that thing for dear life and she shook it all around. She seemed very excited about the noise that was being made but I'm not quite sure if she realized how she was making the noise... she will soon though I'm sure! Can't wait till she starts realizing all of the things she can do. Her Dad also bought her a Winnie the Pooh play swing the other day that she likes to swing in in the mornings and at night before bed time... at first she was unsure about whether she liked it and would start crying and doing the crazy hands after a few minutes in it. Dan had a good idea to try and swaddle her and put her in it, so I tried it and it worked like a charm. She not only enjoyed the swinging but she napped in the swing for about and hour and a half! She has always been a great napper but I was just so glad that she felt comfortable enough in the swing to fall asleep not to mention it gave me some time to eat breakfast and take a shower which was VERY exciting since I hadn't had a shower in a few days... I know... gross! Part of being a Mom for me right now is missing a shower once in a while and I'm ok with that :) Will expand on how my life has changed since the Ava bean arrived in a separate part of this post, back to what Ava is enjoying these days. Her favorite colors seem to be brown and pink - and not just when she's in her room (which is all brown and pink) but on her play mat and in other parts of the house too. Kind of funny that those are my favorite colors too! She really enjoys hearing different tones of voice too - she loves hearing that she's beautiful, when I say "yes ma'am" or "are you my baby?" or any other fun question. I think she likes how my voice changes tone when I ask her questions. It's so interesting to slowly but surely figure out what she does and does not like. And last but not least she loves her bed time books that we read her - On The Night You Were Born, Good Night Moon, My First Prayer Book and My Bedtime. Here favorite out of those is definitely On The Night You Were Born... when we read that to her she just stares without moving or making a peep like she is in a trance. I used to read this book to her when she was still in my belly and she must recognize the words, so glad she enjoys this part of our routine! She also enjoys VERY bumpy rides in the stroller... the bumpier the better. In front of our house where I walk with her I usually walk on the grass to make it really bumpy and that will always relax her right away. So that's what Ava has enjoying lately but the list is growing everyday it seems like! I really love our play time together and I'm looking forward to all of the new activities that we'll get to try out together in the months to come!

My Life As A Mom:
People always try and tell you how much your life is going to change after you have a baby but you don't really understand until it actually happens. My life is 100% different from what it was before but I am absolutely loving it and would not trade this experience for the world! Before I had Ava I would spend my days doing whatever I felt like really. I worked as a personal trainer but I had A LOT of free time. Now that I look back I realize I could have done so much more with my time. That's one thing that I have realized that I am now a parent... and that's the value of TIME. Having a free moment now is huge and I try and prioritize what I need to get done. For me my priorities during free time go like this :
#1) Pump (since breastfeeding did not work for Ava and I we decided that I would pump instead and in order to get the most milk I possibly can I need to pump often. So usually once I get a free minute this is the first thing I try and always do).
#2) Eat (this has been a tough one for me... but once I pump I usually try and squeeze a quick snack or meal in. Lately this has consisted of rolled up lunch meat with mustard, a piece of cheese, cucumbers and an apple with peanut butter... it's amazing how hard it becomes to squeeze time in to feed yourself).

#3) Clean (I try and not go over board with the cleaning... I have a few things I try and get done each day like making sure the dishes are done, sweeping, cleaning the kitchen counters and making sure the trash is empty... everything else I hold off on until I have extra free time when she takes an extra long nap or her Dad is home to hang out with her).

#4) Reading and Me Time (This is the most important I think and should really be at the top of my priorities list because of how much it helps me to relax, connect with God and stay in the moment with Ava and Dan instead of getting wrapped up in the daily tasks around the house that in the end are not as important as they may seem. I usually spend this time reading, praying, listening to music and just relaxing for 30 minutes or as long as I need that day). I truly believe that this time to myself truly helps me to be the best wife and mom that I can be... have to remember you can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself too :)
#5) Random (This is usually where the random things that need to get done fall into place (and yes a shower does fall into this category right now when I'm home by myself)... I rarely get to this point though since Ava usually wakes up from her nap by this time - not including the other day when she napped for six hours straight... she is such a good sleeper!!)

In the beginning after Ava was born my free time was so little when Dan went back to work that I longed to have that spare moment to just sit down but now that Ava is napping more I find myself getting so excited when I know it's time for her to wake up so that we can hang out and I can watch her explore and learn new things... sometimes I even want to go in and wake her up hehe crazy I know! Even though I am not showering as much as I stated earlier I do make sure I get dressed in actual clothes ( that I'd be ok with going out in public in) each day... this has helped keep me feeling good even if I haven't had a chance to shower. I haven't been super tired as many new moms are since Ava sleeps between 6-9 hours each night which I am so thankful for... thank you Ava for being such a great sleeper!! As far as exercising goes I usually wait till Dan gets home and then we do a workout together if Ava is napping or one at a time if she's awake. If she's awake we make it a family event and we'll bring her outside to watch the workout or the other day we even tried to incorporate the jogging stroller into the workout (she wasn't having it that day but hopefully someday soon she'll want to join in!). Sometimes we do P90X and sometimes we make up our own CrossFit workouts. It feels so good to be working out again! Dan and I really enjoy our time working out together... it gives us a chance to share something we both love to do and to reconnect after a busy day. This time along with brief periods of time at breakfast and dinner is when we get to see each other so we try and make the most of it by doing things we enjoy, catching up and just spending time together. Now that Dan is not only back to work but since he's been held at work day and night for about 4 days now I have really gotten the hang of taking care of Ava on my own and I am actually really glad this happened... it feels good knowing that I am capable of taking care of her on my own when I need to :) So that is how life has been for me since Ava arrived... I can't imagine my life without her and I am so glad that she's finally here!!

Products We Love:

#1) Balboa Sling - by Dr. Sears

I use this sling at home to not only be able to do things around the house without setting Ava down but also it is a HUGE help in getting Ava to sleep for naps and also at night for bed time. She has a tough time falling sleep when just laying in our arms but the second I put her in the sling and start walking around and she is out! I will walk around for 15 minutes or so and then I am able to lay her down on her back and slip out of the sling. As for shopping, for me this is the only way to go! The stroller is good sometimes but she'll usually wake up at some point while we're shopping. In the sling she'll fall asleep and sleep during the whole shopping trip until we're back out to the car. It's great cause I know she's comfy in there, she is happy cause she's close to me and there's no need for her to get upset which makes for a happy trip to the store for both of us :)

#2) Bright Start Play Mat
Ava loves to play on this play mat during the afternoons. She can grab and bat at the toys that hang down at her and it also comes with a mirror that she finds very interesting! This is one place where I know I can set her down and she'll be 100% happy.

#3) Pump In Style Breast Pump

This is the pump I use and I love it... well as far as breast pumps go that is! Without this we might have had to go completely to using formula since breast feeding did not work for us but now I am able to provide breast milk for Ava which is not only good for her but good for me too!

#4) Luvin' Hug Swing

Dan just purchased this swing for Ava and I the other day when I was home by myself and I had a really tough time getting her to sleep which almost never happens. He knew I had had a rough day and he was unable to come home since they were holding him at work so he snuck out to Walmart at night to buy us this swing so we'd have it the next day so I wouldn't loose my mind :) At first she wasn't crazy about the swing but now she loves taking naps in it in the mornings and at night before bed time. We usually swaddle her and give her her pacifier as well to help her relax and it works like a charm!

#5) Graco Travel Lite Crib

This is where Ava sleeps right now in her room when she naps and next to our bed at night when we go to sleep. It has a bassinet attachment which raises the sleeping surface up closer to the top so I don't have to bend way over to pick her up. She sleeps great in this crib and seems very comfy. I also love the "lite" version because it easily moves from room to room since it has wheels on one side and it's small enough to fit through door ways.

Well that's about all for this post... nice and short right? :) Sorry it ended up being so long... I feel like I had way more to update you all on than I realized! Hope you enjoyed the post and I'm going to do another one soon about a day in the life of Ava with pictures to go along with it!

Have a goodnight!


Ash and Ava

April 07, 2010

Ava is 1 Month Old!

Ava Marie at 1 month and 5 days old :) Look at that smile... such a sweet girl!

I can't believe that it's been a month already! Ava is growing and changing more and more everyday. I feel like sometimes I will put her down for a nap and when I pick her up when she wakes up she looks older than when I put her down! I know this most likely isn't possible but she is just changing so fast. It is so much fun to see those changes taking place though. She is smiling more and more when she's not sleeping... this usually happens when we're in her room changing her clothes or her diaper... she loves to look around her room while we're doing this and always finds something fun to look at (usually the blinds or the curtains... these make her smile and make cute sounds all the time). The other day I was telling her how pretty she was though and she smiled really big then, it was really cute! For her first easter the other day Dan and I bought her an Easter basket that we plan on using every Easter for her and we put a couple of books and a cute little stuffed duck in it. We wrote a message inside the book too so she can read it when she's older :) She is such a sweet girl and we are having so much fun watching her learn and grow! I'll update again soon!