Monday, April 29, 2013

On the Road Again...

The Nomadic Norwoods are on the move again!  
This time, we're loadin' up the ole tractor and moving to Bettendorf, Iowa!

To help prepare you for our move, I'm going to answer some frequently asked questions.

Q:  What does Bettendorf, Iowa look like?
A:  This.

Q:  What do the people in Bettendorf, Iowa look like?  
A:  Here's a sneak peek of what our family will look like in a few years. 

Q:  Where the heck is Bettendorf, Iowa?  
A:  Here's a visual aid.  Bettendorf is part of the "Quad Cities".

Q:  Haven't you moved like one million times?  
A:  Yes.  Here are the stats.

Years of Marriage:  8
Academic Degrees:  5
Cities Lived In:  4
Homes Lived In:  6
Companies Worked For:  7
Job Titles:  10

Q:  Are y'all ever going to settle down and just live in one place?
A:  Probably not.

Q:  What is Brent going to do in Iowa?
A:  This.

{just kidding.  Brent is going to be a Project Manager for John Deere managing the development of a new product!}

Q:  What is Katie going to do in Iowa?
A:  I'm transitioning out of my current role with YES Prep.  I'm going to take care of Ava and work from home part time for YES Prep doing project work, communication, and logistics.

Q:  Where are you going to live in Bettendorf?
A:  When Ava was 10 weeks old, Brent flew to Iowa and looked at 12 houses in one day.  I had to stay home with Ava because, well, do YOU want to take a 10 week old on a cross-country house-hunting trip?  Didn't think so.  Brent picked out a house for us and bought it.  I haven't actually seen it.  That's how we roll.  I hear it's lovely.  :-)  Yeah, that's snow.

Q:  When are you moving?
A:  Thursday.
{Yep, Thursday.  You can pray for us!  I'm choosing not to think about the 1.5 million details that have to fall into place to move us, Ava, Blazer, all our stuff, two cars, and a partridge in a pear tree across the country.  Denial is the best policy.}

Q:  What are you excited about and not excited about when you think about moving to Iowa?

Not Excited About:
Moving a newborn across the country
Living 4 days in an empty house in Iowa while we wait for our things to be delivered
Missing all the amazing restaurants and fun places in Durham
Missing our friends and neighbors in Durham
Digging out of snowdrifts daily

Excited About:
Fresh corn all the time
Awesome, new, bigger house
Decorating a new house
Small town living - no traffic and no stress
Finding a new church and getting involved
Making new friends 
Going to Chicago to buy anything (see.. I could have made that a negative, but I'm thinking positive)
Exploring the surrounding areas

So that's it, folks!  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.  Here's to a new adventure in America's heartland!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Three Months

We made it to three months!!  Our house is full of  baby joy.  Ava is all smiles these days.  She is so stinking cute that even her crying sessions don't bother me any more because she makes up for it with sweet smiles and coos.  Sometimes we just can't stop kissing her and squeezing her.  We love her so much!  Happy three months, little Ava Grace!

Ava has grown so much!  I think she has grown mentally even more than physically.  The inconsolable crying sessions have dropped off dramatically, and her awake time is much more alert, happy, and content.  Our schedule is really taking hold, and it has benefited everyone.  Ava seems to do really well with daily rhythms of eating, sleeping, and playing at roughly the same times.  

Ava's facial expressions are much more controlled and developed now.  She can be entertained for 30 minutes or more just making silly faces with us.  No toys needed!  She mimics our expressions and smiles constantly.  The other day, I heard her first laugh!  I was pretending to eat her toes, and then I put her toes up to her mouth so she could pretend to eat them, too, and she just loved it.  She let out the cutest little giggle!  She no longer flails around uncontrollably, and she is able to kick at things with some degree of accuracy!  Ava is much more aware of Brent and me, and she definitely knows us.  It's a great feeling to walk in the room when she's crying after a nap because she sees us, stops crying, and smiles really big.

We're still working on discovering hands.  She can use her hands really well - she grips and grabs.  However, I don't think she KNOWS that she is gripping or grabbing.  For example, I can get her to grasp a rattle, but then she hits herself in the head with it since she doesn't know it's there!  She is able to put lots of pressure on her feet and "stand" with us just holding her hands!  She always wants to be upright, facing out, preferably standing!  She even puts one foot in front of the other as if "walking"!  (She's advanced) ;-)  Ava is babbling up a storm and loves to mimic the noises we make.  Sometimes we can really get her going in a long "conversation"!

Ava is finally on a somewhat regular, predictable schedule!  She is eating every three hours, usually at 7:30, 10:00, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00, and then usually once during the night, around 4 am.  She does pretty great with the feeding schedule except on fussy days when she wakes up from naps super early and wants to eat before the 3 hour marker.  I usually feed her early then and try to get her back on track later.  Although we haven't weighed her in a month, we are loving her chunky monkey legs and wrist rolls!  I love when she is finished eating and she smacks her lips.  I call that "compliments to the chef"!

Sleeping - Nights:
I kept reading that babies will sleep through the night when they are ready.  I really wanted to believe it, but I just wasn't going to believe it until I saw it!  Lots of people have given me lots of advice on how to get babies to sleep through the night, but the methods all involved whole lotta work and misery.  We decided to just keep working on reinforcing a flexible schedule with her, and it worked!  Slowly but surely, she started sleeping more at night.  On April 11th, she slept through the night for the first time - 10:30 pm - 6:45 am!  It was pure awesomeness.  She still sometimes wakes once or twice at night, but usually she sleeps straight until at least 4 am, sometimes 5 or 6, which this mama is loving!  We have a pretty consistent bedtime routine going.  At 7:00, we feed her, give her a bath, rock, and sing about 5 songs.  No books at bedtime yet.  We try to do a book or two during the day if she will look at them.  We put her down when she's almost but not quite asleep, usually around 8:00.  She sleeps nights in her crib like a champ!

Sleeping - Naps:
Naps are not as consistent as night time.  She used to scream for at least 15 minutes before each nap, but thankfully, she is now used to the routine and cries lightly for a few minutes before naps, if at all.  We swaddle her and rock her almost to sleep.  I sing a few songs, and she sleeps in her swing.  I know we need to wean her off the swing for naps with the eventual goal of having her sleep in the crib for naps, but right now we are doing what works.  When we move, we'll tackle the weaning we need to do.  She is still taking 4 naps a day, usually at 9:00, 11:30, 2:30, and 5:30.  We usually have two good naps (around an hour) and two short naps (20-45 minutes).  I used to get frustrated by the short naps, but now I just accept it and roll with it, and everyone's a lot happier.  Plus, she's doing great at night, so I'll take it!!

Ava is just now starting to be interested in toys, but she's still much more satisfied with our faces, silly noises, and songs.  She holds rattles and likes toys that make noises.  She loves when we sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Pat-a-Cake, This Little Piggy, and Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.  She also loves "airplane" and will enjoy it until our biceps wear out.  Ava loves the playmat and spends at least 20 minutes there each morning, laughing at the animals hanging down, kicking them, and gripping them with her hands.  It's really cute to watch.  She is sitting in the Bumpo for a few minutes a day as we try to get her to discover her hands more and play with toys.  

Thank the Lord for the Baby Bjorn - we LOVE it and use it multiple times daily.  Ava loves facing OUT in the Bjorn so she can see the world.  I spend my days thinking of places I can take her to simulate her that won't cost me (too much) money!  So far we've been to the mall, grocery store, park, arboretum, children's museum, Target, business school, library, and anywhere else I can think of!  When we go places, she is WIDE awake, looking all around, and doesn't make a peep.  She loves it.   As you might imagine, we get lots of attention from people who just think she's so cute they can hardly stand it.  (I tend to agree.)  When we get back in the car, she usually goes to sleep immediately since she is so worn out from all the simulation.   I just have to be careful not to simulate her TOO much with too many out-and-about errands.  My sister was in town last weekend, and I think we crossed the line.  Baby girl let us know, don't you worry.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from month 3:

{evening fussy time walk}

{Grocery store buddy}

{Daddy's birthday}

{Sunday morning smiles}

{mama makes me play dress up every day}

{milk drunk}

{puppy love}

{A visit from Aunt Julia}

{sugar and spice and everything nice}

{headband fashion show}

{my little bookworm}

{It's hard being Ava, guys.  Time for a nap.}

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Springtime Family Pictures

Spring has arrived in North Carolina! It's beautiful here, and all the trees are in bloom. On Friday night, Ava and I went to an event at the Fuqua School of Business on the Duke campus (where Brent has spent the last two years), and I saw a family taking pictures out front with the trees. Of course I knew that I needed to have some family pics there, too! On Sunday, we loaded up the SUV with the whole family including Blazer. Our friend Elvis met us on campus and took some amazing pictures of all of us! (By the way, these were all taken with an iPhone!  At the risk of sounding like I'm ninety-five... Isn't technology amazing?!)  We caught the blossoms right before they all fell off. Since we're about to move (more on that soon), these pictures will be a nice keepsake from our time here in Durham at Duke. It's been the best two years of my life so far, hands down.

Thank you, Elvis!!

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