Saturday, September 7, 2013

Calendar Girl

About a month ago, my parents and sister Julia came to Iowa to visit.  Julia and I had a few days to ourselves after my parents returned home, and Julia wanted to take some pictures of Ava since she brought her good camera.  In true Lemmon sister style, "a few shots" turned into a full-out two-day photo shoot extravaganza!  I will give Julia total credit for the idea of taking themed pictures of Ava to make a calendar.  From there, we went absolutely crazy planning backdrops, props, and wardrobe.  

It was the most fun thing I've done in a really long time.  As soon as Ava woke up from a nap, we would race to get her dressed, get props, and get pictures taken.  We were running up and down the stairs, outside and inside, ransacking the holiday decoration boxes, and throwing clothes and headbands all over Ava's room.  Ava was like a professional model.  I could not get over it - hilarious!  She was smiling and posing so much we could not stop laughing.  She was having the time of her life since she was being entertained, and she was the center of attention!  What resulted are some of my favorite pictures of Ava of all time.  I just can't believe how ridiculously awesome they are.  We made calendars with the pics and gave them to our families, but I wanted to share them here with you.  Thanks, Aunt Julia!!  I think you missed your calling as a baby photographer!

I mean... y'all... she looks like a yell leader doing yells!!  Be still my Aggie heart!!

I'm pretty sure the neighbors thought we were insane taking pumpkin pictures on the porch in August.

Ava was really hamming it up for this one.  I kept saying "Work it!" and she would change her pose!







Favorite.Pics.Ever.  Look at those arm rolls!!



It wouldn't be a photo shoot without a few outtakes, so here are some that didn't make the cut...

This was our original plan for the January photo.  Major FAIL!  Haha so awful!!

Ava says, "I'm officially over this activity.  What else you got?"  (and a photo bomb by Blazer)

She wanted formula in her dressing room, and we only had breast milk.  Diva.

And lastly... the photographer's assistant and lighting director.  Hey, it was a low budget operation.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Seven Months

I'm finally getting to that point where I can't believe my little girl is 7 months old!  I wouldn't say the past seven months have gone quickly, but now I'm finding it hard to believe that she is over halfway to a year old!  Ava Grace is still our little firecracker.  Here are some words that we and others have used to describe her lately:  active, curious, intense, drama queen, sweet, expressive, opinionated, monkey, demanding, precious, and smart.  We love our little Ava so much we can hardly stand it!!

Ava is growing and changing so much!  She is officially crawling!  She can take a few "steps" crawling.  She really knows how to get from point A to point B.  She does a combo of crawling, fish flopping, and scooting, but somehow, she covers some serious ground!  She is also adept at spinning around on her tummy.  She can turn completely around and change directions mid-crawl!  She's not all over the house yet, but I have a feeling it's coming soon.  Yikes, we need to babyproof.  

She still does not have any teeth, although I really do think they are just on the brink.  She is babbling a lot more and says "mamamamama" and "dadadadadada" all the time.  I do NOT think she knows what she's saying at all, but it's still fun :-)  She is showing more opinions and preferences.  She makes it crystal clear when she does not want something or like something or when we guess incorrectly what she wants!  She has started to show a lot of separation anxiety even though I know it's still a bit early for that.  She has learned to reach out her arms when she wants to be picked up or transferred to someone else.  When I leave her with a babysitter or grandmother, she cries and throws a fit.  Sometimes she is only happy with mama or daddy.  She'll play with someone else as long as we are in plain sight.  Although it's annoying she won't go to anyone else, it's pretty darn cute and melts my heart!  I love that she loves me!!!  

Ava is very smart (not biased at all), and she definitely knows our daily routines and rhythms and what to expect.  She lights up when her daddy comes home, and she is always looking around for Blazer!

Ava LOVES to eat.  I thought that around this time I would cut back on nursing, but actually, I am nursing her a lot.  This just works for us.  I'm nursing her 5-7 times a day.  Since I work at home, it's convenient for me to do so, and it keeps her happy.  I think she's become a bit more of a snacker than she used to be because I'm feeding her more often, but I've given up being obsessive about it.  My supply went down for a bit when I got a terrible case of mastitis, but I kept nursing her a lot, and it bounced right back.  Now I feel like my supply is better than ever and nursing is going really well.  We're still supplementing with bottles of formula as needed.  Sometimes she has two bottles a day and sometimes only one.  She always has one right before bedtime.  I'm still doing a dreamfeed at 10 pm.  I'm pretty sure we should have dropped it by now, but I kind of like it.  Even with the dreamfeed she wakes up around 5:45 or 6:00 am, so I shudder to think what time she will wake up without it.  Also, it's a really easy and cuddly feeding for me, so I don't want to give it up just yet.

She is eating solids two times a day, usually around 7:30 am and 3:30 pm.  She is liking almost everything I give her.  We regularly eat pears, apples, bananas, oatmeal, mangoes, butternut squash, turkey, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, sweet potato, and carrots.  We got a high chair, and she really loves meal time.  Her favorites are pears and sweet potatoes.  Her least favorites are green beans and turkey.

We are still on two naps a day, although some days I really think she still needs three!  She typically goes down for a nap between 8:30 and 9:00 am and then again between 12:30 and 1:00 pm.  Although she typically goes down at the same time each day, the amount she sleeps is highly variable.  I still can not figure out what makes her sleep 25 minutes one day and 3 hours the next.  

She is sleeping great at night.  Bedtime is our most consistent part of the day.  She loves the bedtime routine.  She loves baths, listening to books, and getting her lotion massage.  She goes to bed at 7 pm and usually falls asleep immediately.  I wake her at 10 to feed, and then she sleeps clear through to 6 am!  It's a dream even though 6 am comes early!  There have been a few weird, off nights where she woke up and cried multiple times and had to be nursed and rocked back to sleep.  I keep thinking she is teething, but there are no teeth in sight!

Ava still loves her toys, and she still has a very short attention span.  In the course of a day, we usually play with everything we own at least once.  In the morning, we spend some quality time in the doorway bouncer.  Then we move to the floor for toys.  After nap, we may play in the exersaucer and then do some independent play time in the playpen (pack & play for you politically correct people).  We might round out the day with the ribbon sensory bin and a ride in the baby bjorn while mama gets some things done around the house.  Lately, she loves singing songs, bubbles, her light up toys, bouncing, kitchen utensils, and anything involving rough-housing.  She loves to be tickled, jostled, poked, and thrown up in the air.  She is finally understanding peek-a-boo, and she will reach out to pull down the blanket if we put one over our faces.  She knows we're behind there somewhere!  So cute.  She still loves outings, and we try to go out at least once a day, if only to the grocery, Target, or the cleaners.  She also LOVES walks, and she's now in the big girl stroller, so that's been fun, and we love our City Mini.  I still use the bjorn for small trips or for around the house, but she's HEAVY!!  It's starting to hurt my back, which makes me sad, but we had a good run in the bjorn so far.  Ava loves riding in the stroller, and it will usually quiet her if she's fussy.  She has also reached big girl status by riding in the shopping cart!!  She is just so precious in the cart - I have to stop and kiss her every few minutes while shopping!

We love you so much, precious Ava!  Our love for you grows each and every day, and we adore you!

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