Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy First Father's Day Jason!

June 17, 2012 marked Jason’s first Father’s Day and it sure was a special celebration. In fact, we had to celebrate Father’s Day over two different days to make sure we could fit it all in! We had quite a few “firsts” this Father’s day and of course we have many pictures to share so you can share in our celebration too!

Our first way to celebrate was to have our first trip to the neighborhood pool together. Getting the girls lubed up with sunscreen, swimmer diapers on, and little bathing suits was just the beginning of the fun. We took the girls to the pool in the stroller and wasted no time getting them wet! While it might be some time until they splash around and play in the pool, they sure were very cooperative about being in the water and were really taking in all the sights and sounds. Unfortunately, there was something on the camera lens that made most of our pictures very foggy/hazy so we got very few good snapshots of our pool time. I guess that just means we will have to have more pool days to get more pictures! In the evening to cool off, we celebrated by going to Marble Slab for ice cream sundaes. The girls got their first taste test of vanilla ice cream. Aubrey was thrilled by the taste of this delicious treat, while Avery was slightly more skeptical. I have no doubt that daddy will have many more ice cream treats with the girls.

On our second day to celebrate Father’s day, Jay enjoyed the first part of it with his dad, as his parents were in for a visit. It was a special treat to have two generations of father’s in the house on Father’s Day. Jay also opened his first Father’s Day gift, which was a homemade project, specially made from the girls and I. Together we made coasters. For some of the coasters, I included some cute photos that you will recognize. In order to make even more special ones for daddy on Father’s Day, the girls got to finger paint for the first time and also make footprints from the finger paint as well. Trust me, managing two girls on my own with finger paint (I made the finger paint from scratch to make it non-toxic) was quite a handful…Paint on 20 fingers, 20 toes, four active hands, four wriggly feet…and would you believe that I had it all under control until the dog decided she wanted to join in and ate the finger paint?! Good times, good times!!! Unfortunately, the epoxy used to seal the coasters was a little bit much to manage, but all in all, if nothing else, the project was a special keepsake made from the heart. For dinner, I made Jay a recipe that he handpicked—Ham, polenta, and leek croquets and fudgy brownie cookies. I supplemented his picks with leek and goat cheese mashed potatoes and a side salad. The meal was quite tasty. We also went to the playground where the girls enjoyed their first time in the swing together. After the girls went to bed, we enjoyed snuggle time on the couch watching a movie. We really enjoyed our two days of family time together and look forward to many more Father’s Day celebrations to come.

Before I close, I want to send a special shout out to my dad who has had a very important role in my life. Thank you dad for bring a provider, caretaker, encourager, helper, and listener. Some of my best memories are when my dad would play sports with me in the back yard, throw me in the pool on vacation, or hold me on his lap (Do you know I still fit on his lap at age 30!?!). When I think of Jay being a dad, I envision him doing many of the things my dad did with me—Thanks dad for all you have done for our family.

 First time in a swing:

First time swimming in a pool:

First time to Marble Slab to enjoy ice cream:

Aubrey's first lick of ice cream--to no surprise she wanted more!

Avery's first ice cream taste testing...she was more wide eyed than anything!

Dad's First Father's Day gifts:

Aubrey's first finger painting project.

Avery's first finger painting project.

Family Pictures on Father's Day:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Eating and Crawling and Sitting...Oh My!!

(By the way, I can't deselect the highlighting for the text...maybe next time! Sorry...technical difficulties!)

Eight months ago we met our girls for the first time and in that eight months, the girls have changed my heart forever. I can’t even begin to explain in words how much I love these sweet precious miracles that God has so graciously blessed us with. Every time I see their beautiful faces, I’m reminded of how amazingly perfect they are and how much I love them with all my heart. There truly has been no greater joy in my lifetime than the joy of being a mother. Thank you God for blessing us!
In the past eight months, both Jay and I agree that this has been the most fun month to date so far! While there isn’t a single day of the past that I would ever trade in, this past month the girl’s personalities continue to shine brighter and brighter and we are just amazed at how quickly they are growing up before our eyes. It literally seems like just yesterday that they were so tiny and could fit in the palms of my hands—now they are both very big and busy! Although, I’m not sure they will ever be too big to hold together at the same time!
Our most exciting news to share is that they are finally outgrowing their reflux. Everyone said that it would take about 6 months (corrected age), which we are just now reaching, and boy…they were right! It was a long 8 months, stressing over the amount they ate and if they were growing well, so I’m very thankful that those days are behind us. You don’t know how difficult reflux can be until you try feeding a baby with reflux, much less two babies! Feeding was almost a battle, every single feed for both girls, but I can honestly say, now after 8 months, they actually have interest in eating (solids and bottle) and we actually are hearing “hungry cries” for the first time (it is almost music to my ears!). We now can do the sign language symbol for “milk” or “eat” and they open their mouth like little birdies…and don’t you delay, because you will have two very impatient girls on your hands! While it might seem like a small deal to others, it has really been a turning point for our girls. Not only is the experience more pleasant for both the person feeding and the baby, but it is so much better knowing that the girls aren’t so uncomfortable. While I hate that the girls are growing up so fast, I can honestly celebrate the fact that we have reached this stage where their reflux has greatly improved!!
This month we have started with solid foods and are working on vegetables (next will come fruits). They have had four vegetables to date (squash, carrots, green beans and avocados).  Jay and I have had a fun time preparing all the baby food; however, it is trying to monopolize the space in my freezer to store my “liquid gold!” We also continue to do sign language with the girls (mostly the basic signs) and it seems that they are understanding “more,” “milk,” “eat,” and “all done.” Of course they don’t mimic the signs yet (probably closer to 9 months), but they have responsive reactions to these particular signs.
It might not be as noticeable to others, but I truly think the girls have “grown up” so much quicker this past month than any other month to date. Every day it seems like they are learning something new and we learn more and more about their fun and loving personalities. They also are getting to be heavy weights—I just love that they are so healthy and strong. Here is a little more about each daughter.

Avery Grace: Weight 13 lbs (5.9kg)

**Avery is on the move. For the past 2 months she has been on the verge of crawling, having all the mechanics, but not really moving any measurable distance, outside of rolling.  She now has put it all together, more in the form of an army crawl, and to nobody’s surprise, she moves from one toy to the next…usually targeting the toys that Aubrey is playing with!

**Avery has always loved being on her belly and now even changing her diaper is just absolutely too much time to be on her back. (Does she not realize that changing her diaper when she is on her belly is nearly impossible?!). However, now some of her favorite positions are where she rolls to the side of her leg and almost sits up straight. From this point of view, she can see everything from a sitting up position and she soon will be able to give herself the extra boost she needs to sit up straight (which she can now do on her own if she is placed in the sitting position). Her second favorite position is standing on her feet, butt all the way up in the air, and arms on the ground. It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, other than the fact that she looks like she is getting ready to take off for a sprint (Lord, help me!). I know, without a doubt, she is going to be my child that will always be moving and on the go (yes, one of those that run around the stores and you roll your eyes at!).

**Avery’s favorite toy is the remote control, our phones, or her sister Aubrey. While the first two toys light up and grab her attention, there is nothing like crawling over to her sister, stealing her toy, and then trying to give her a *kiss* on her head! You would be surprised how many times we find Avery sucking on Aubrey’s head.

**Avery is very inquisitive and likes to learn her environment…usually by using her tongue! She loves to taste everything, whether it be the carpet, toys, or the wall, she explores what is around her by making sure it passes the taste test!

**One of Avery’s favorite activities this month is to pull down the bumper on the crib and check out the happenings in the nursery. She tears those bumpers down with her arms, unties the bows, and chews on the ties. While we see this over and over again every day, it always has me roll with laughter. She has got so much “spunk” in her personality.

**Avery now can sit independently (and when she tips after some time, it is very graceful!), army crawls, and loves to stand and jump (with support of course!). She also balances herself fairly well if holding on to furniture. She now also opens her mouth (wide open I might add!) when you go to kiss her—I love her messy kisses.

**Avery eats 4 ½-6 ounces on a four hour schedule 4 times a day (8am, 12pm, 4pm, 7-8pm). While she still remains on Prevacid twice a day, we are eager to wean her off this medication.

**Avery is our sleeper. She naps for 2.5 hours in the morning and afternoon and anywhere from 1-1.5 hours in the evening…not to mention a full 12 hours at night. Not too shabby!!

**Avery wears size 6 month clothes and size 3 diapers.

Aubrey Hope: Weight 13lb 6oz (6.19kg)

**Aubrey is not on the move yet, but I can see she is taking mental notes on how her sister is moving around. She is doing some of the same things that Avery did before she learned to crawl and it is neat seeing the progression all over again. Are we ready for two crawlers? Aubrey does sit up well but the few times that she loses her balances, she goes down like a ton of bricks. Poor girl, she goes from sitting to “kerplunk”…at least she is a tough cookie!

**Aubrey enjoys her tummy time and back time. On her belly, she likes to scope out the situation and watch what Avery will do next. She is very observant and really self entertains herself by watching what goes on around her. She also loves to be on her back, holding on to toys that she can put in her mouth or her stuffed dog or dolls. On her back, she causes quite a racket, having entire conversations full of squeals and giggles. 

**One thing has not changed with Aubrey-she is super social and vocal!! Not only does she warm up easily to strangers, but this girl loves to talk and squeal—usually the latter! She likes to carry on during nap time (not to be rescued from her crib, but rather her time to let everything out that has been on her mind) and during play time just before bed. Some of my favorite times with Aubrey are when I look over her crib and she lets out the happiest squeals of excitement and when we are playing as a family before bed. She is so playful at night when we all are down on the floor giving the girls our full attention. Aubrey reminds me to have a joyful heart, because every time you hear her talking and squealing, it is nearly impossible not to smile or laugh.

**Aubrey’s favorite toy is a simple black and white ring that she loves to chew on. For some reason, she picks that toy over others. But overall, she will play with any toy that she can pick up and put into her mouth. She has really learned how to jump in the exersaucer and she now has a blast. It is fun seeing both girls bounce simultaneously in their exersacuers.

**Aubrey’s favorite time of day is in the evening when mommy and daddy get on the floor and play before bedtime. She lets out more squeals of happiness during this time than any other part of the day. She has us smiling and laughing the entire time because she continues to surprise us with how many different noises she makes at all different pitches and volumes. Aubrey has also grown to love bath time. She splashes all around, giving the walls, table, and carpet a good soaking in the process! We have little plastic ducks that squirt out water and she watches it with such anticipation when it fills under water and then when you squirt the water from the duck, she laughs so hard, splashing the whole time, just loving every minute. Then, she returns to be being serious as the duck refills, waiting for all the fun to begin again. These two times of the day have become some of my favorite times too!

**Aubrey eats 5-8 ounces on a four hour schedule 4 times a day (8am, 12pm, 4pm, 7-8pm). Her reflux has improved even more than Avery’s this past month and I venture to say that she is a “normal” eater these days, with a little extra spit-up. She now is on Prevacid once a day, and should be weaned off this medication in the near future

**Aubrey gets pretty excited about eating. Not only does she let us know that it is time to eat, but she continues to laugh and is full of excited energy every time it is feasting time. I look forward to hearing how much she enjoys her food.

**Aubrey typically requires less sleep than her sister. Her average nap is about 1.5hrs morning and afternoon and then about 30-60 minutes in the evening. However, she loves to play with her toys during nap time, especially giving her doll a mouthful. We feel bad for the doll sometimes—she takes a lot of heat from Aubrey! She continues to sleep well through the night, usually about 11-12 hours. She wakes up a little before the day starts at 8am, but she is very happy to self-entertain herself in the crib (good thing, because I’m pumping for their breakfast!).  We are so thankful that they have adjusted so well to sleep schedules.

**Aubrey wears size 6 month clothes and size 3 diapers.

We hope you enjoyed the updates—now enjoy the pictures from this past month.

Favorite Pictures of the Month:

Avery "loving" on her sister and Aubrey showing some "love" back.
I love you sweet Aubrey.
My nickname is still "Trouble"...Love you Avery!

We are starting to look alike momma--aren't we TWO cute??

More Picture Perfect Moments:

This starts out as innocent...

Avery is doing her "taste-testing."

And here we go...Avery the cannibal!

Aubrey starting to take action.

Yay, I got Aubrey to look at the camera, but Avery is more interested in getting up on all fours.

Finally, innocent play time...but Aubrey still looks nervous!

Aubrey cheering on Avery...go sister go!

I love these facial expressions. Thank you Nana for our cute watermelon outfits.

Avery's new trick--she can't be contained!

Momma--did you forget to take me with you?

All fun and games...wait, isn't this nap time?! Thank you Grandpa for my pretty outfit.

Thank you White Family for our cute pants! We are now working on sitting without the boppys..

Thank you Maureen for my pretty towel--so soft!

Thank you Maureen--I love my towel.

I love mommy--just sayin!
Mom, my hair...It is always sticking up!

My hair too mom...what is this thingy hanging down my forehead?! Nana--my outfit might have snails on it, but I'm no me crawl.

Take that Aubrey! Thank you Kristin for our adorable outfits.

And I'm off to the dog races!

Thank you Gramma for our cute outfits and Aunt Aimee for our teethers.

Thank you Kathy and Paul for our cute Memorial Day dresses.
I'm just too sweet.

You say something momma?

This is the best tasting toy ever...and my favorite toy!

Thanks Gramma for our cute outfits with matching hats.
Avery has so much "love" for her sister.

 Food Pictures:

Avery enjoying her first solid food-squash.

Aubrey enjoying her first veggie-squash.

Can you anticipate the sound effects that are about to "raspberry" out of Aubrey's mouth--watch out!
Avery eating carrots (second vegetable) for the first time.

Aubrey is less than thrilled about carrots (second vegetable).
You better not come near me with those carrots!
Avery enjoys her green beans (third vegetable).

Aubrey thinks green beans are much better than those stinkin carrots.
Avery enjoying avocado (fourth vegetable).

Aubrey licked her chops of all her avocado (fourth vegetable).
Saved the best for last--check out these videos (this is a new feature!)

See you next month!!