Washington DC: Smithsonian Museums of Art and Natural History Highly suggest the Gallery of Art, but not so much with a baby! Lots to see but kind of expected to be quiet and not bother other patrons. Still, very interesting and lots of beautiful pieces of work. Also reccomend the cafe on the ground flood. Decent food, great ambiance with a beautiful waterfall display. The Natural History museum is great. A lot of cool exhibits, highlights are the Hope diamond, dinosaurs, and insect zoo. The sculpture garden which is directly in front of the National Archives building is very cool. Cafe inside which is very cute, but expensive. Now during the winter months they have an ice skating rink. I will not be doing that, but Avery had fun watching the skaters! For an afternoon snack, Au Bon Pain is a great bakery. I would have preferred something local instead of a chain, but I'm still searching for that! Avery ended the day by sleeping the entire metro ride home. Peaceful ride for mommy!
I'm always looking for good books to read with Avery. I LOVE all of the books I've read by Sandra Boynton. They are simple, well illustrated, and even funny for adults! Avery now laughs at the pages that I laugh at! Great to check out from your library or to give as baby/birthday/holiday gifts!
We have internet at home and I can get back to blogging! Avery is walking everywhere and is a busy, busy bee!
What's new: Avery is making a lot of new sounds. Her only words are baby and dada, but lately I've noticed her trying out many different noises. She makes the following animal noises and is learning new sounds daily: moo, meow, baa, neigh, bzzz, hoot, pants like a dog, quack, and does hand signs for monkey and seal. She can point out: nose, eyes, ear, hand, toes, head, tongue. I am amazed at how quickly she picks up things and I can't wait to hear some more words from her!
Thankful for: Friends and family who either travelled a long way to visit us or even just thought of us to say happy birthday to Avery. Reminds me that we are not alone out here and have many people who love us more than we know. Trust me, the feeling is mutual!
Wondering about: How long can we keep this lifestyle of Kyle working seven days a week, 12-14 hour days. I want a parenting partner and I don't know if this is the profession for that. He does love the job and maybe in time it will get easier and he will be able to spend less time doing the same amount of work.
Loving: My new sweats. $6 sweats from Target. Of course they are so soft before washing and then once washed, never the same! And having internet to blog!
Finally have a few days of decent internet at my parent's house. Here is a video of Avery crawling. She is literally all over the place. As soon as we got to my parents house, we had to do some quicky baby proofing. Literally everything within reach of crawling or standing is fair game for her. She is having a blast here, especially chasing after three dogs! She is also getting a mind of her own, and does NOT like to be told 'no'. Uh, oh for me! Our days are so fun, filled with her learning and exploring and at the end of the day we are both completely exhausted! Naps are still a struggle, way too many fun things to do everyday besides sleep :) Looking forward to a few days with Kyle and then headed out to Salinas for a wedding. Dreading the plan rides by myself, we change three times! Praying for a good day out of Avery, although best case scenario we just make it through the day in one piece!
I have figured out how to post from my phone but still can't upload pics unless I can get wifi on my laptop. I have to say that after four years of struggling financially because of one of us being in grad school, it is frustrating to still be struggling. Kyle continues to work very hard, long hours and we are nonetheless happy where we are.
Now for some Avery updates! Nine and a half months, crawling everywhere, standing up, cruising on furniture. Loves going to the library for story time, baths, pulling out the dvds from our movie drawer, playing with balloons and balls, and chasing Peyton. Dislikes getting changed, being in her stroller, and being left alone for even a second!
We are looking forward to upcoming trips to Charleston and Salinas, can't wait to show off our girl! She seems to charm the socks off anyone she meets, hopefully our travels go well!
It's been a while since I've been able to update the blog. We don't have internet at our house right now, so I have to make a trip to Starbucks to bum wifi. Our new townhouse is awesome, but it stretching our budget so cable/internet is on hold right now. I'm sure once college football season rolls around we won't be able to hold off anymore and that will drive us to get back into modern civilization:) Since I only have a few minutes due to Avery thinking sitting in her carrier in Starbucks is super boring here is a quick update on our lives: Kyle likes his job, he works at least 12 hours a day and then comes home and is on his phone responding to emails for another two! So we don't see a lot of him, but when we do he seems to like things. Love our house and the space that comes with it. Having a basement that is set up to be a gym has really helped my workouts. I have been working out every morning and I'm starting to feel like myself again. Avery is so busy! She is now pulling herself to standing (this totally came out of nowhere!), not crawling but scooting herself on her belly wherever she wants to go, babbles all day and is very serious about it!, has eight teeth, is outgrowing everything but it's so hot she spends a lot of time just in a diapers, her favorite part of the day is bath time, went to the community pool and loved "swimming", and went to her first story time at the library in our neighborhood! She is taking two or three naps a day, at least one hour each and is still nursing with the addition of baby food and cereal. She was eating some finger foods, but we had a couple of choking scares and I completely backed off the finger foods for a while. All in all, life is good for an almost nine month baby girl! I do miss Austin, even more than I expected. I miss our grocery stores and our coffee shop and our friends. It takes time to get used to a new place and I'm working on it. Making friends will surely be the most difficult part, as staying home with Avery doesn't offer a lot of social interaction with others! I've been trying to get out of the house and go places where there will be other moms. So far I haven't met any other mom's that are friend potential, but I still hold out hope!! Here are a few videos of the girl :) xo until next time in case it is a while!
Reflecting on our time in Austin has been tough to do since we've had the major task of moving with about ten days notice. We are so lucky and so excited to get to Maryland, but i feel like I need to describe what I gained from Austin and the things that i will miss while I am still here.
When I think of our two years here it has been a serious adventure that has flown by. Obviously my favorite thing about Austin is that it brought us Avery. When we first arrived here, I got a job that I ended up loving but I was truly unhappy. I loved living in Charleston and somewhere in transition I lost my joy. I think that is one reason we decided to have Avery, both Kyle and I felt that something was missing in our lives. We wanted excitement, a purpose, something bigger than ourselves. We wanted, we were blessed, she came, we all go.
I will mostly miss the wonderful friendships I've made here in Austin. Truly some of the most generous and kind people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. The hard part is that it is really hard for me (and keeps getting harder) to meet people, form great friendships, knowing that I will have to say goodbye at some point. That is the nature of Kyle's work and to look at it positively, I meet wonderful people along our travels who truly help make me a better person in so many ways.
I will also miss football seasons, wearing burnt orange, Torchy's tacos, Central Market, walks to our park, Avery's awesome doctors, and Quack's coffee.
I will not miss Austin summers, Austin traffic, Austin roads and lights, our current apartment, and distance from either coast.
So looking forward to Kyle finally being able to do what he loves and is really good at, being so close to DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, and NYC, four true seasons (white christmas!), and Maryland sports! This will be a new phase of life for us with so much to look forward to.
I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Austin, but until then, Maryland here we come!
It's been a while since I've posted and that is because we have been exceptionally busy in the last three weeks. The end of the semester came, Kyle's parents were in town to celebrate graduation, two days after they left we went to Charleston for a week to visit my parents. A day after we got back we flew to Kentucky (up and back in the same day) for a job interview and now we are leaving on Sunday for Maryland so that Kyle can interview for another job. This is getting crazy. The picture above just about sums up our last 10 days.
We are all ridiculously tired and seriously ready to make some decisions so that we can get on with our life. On the bright side, we are extremely lucky that Kyle has options and whether we end up in Kentucky or Maryland we will be very happy.
It's time to move on from this phase of our life. Temporary, graduate student living has been great, but it's time to move on. Should be exciting stuff happening in the next few weeks! Here are a few updates on Avery and some things I've learned from taking eight flights in 10 days!
*Avery turned seven months old, she is sitting really well on her own, she is pushing up and wants to crawl badly but is not quite there, she has seven teeth (they all just sprouted at once!!), she is babbling with lots of bah bah bahs and mah, mah, mahs, which is so fun to hear her voice!
*Changing a diaper of a squirmy baby in an airplane bathroom is really hard!
*The ground in the airport is dirty, but sometimes a baby needs to play. This is why you bring blankets and ignore the looks of disgust on other mother's faces.
*Workers at the Nashville airport were the friendliest people I've ever met at an airport.
*Random grandmotherly women will want to hold your baby...I usually said yes and stood right by their side.
*It's amazing how long a water bottle can distract a baby, easily buys you 10 minutes!
*I'm still trying to find a comfortable way to sleep while sitting up in the plane. Anybody have suggestions?
Also, we go to the hip doctor today for a checkup. Praying that all goes well!
I'll hopefully get to update this blog with definitive info on where we will be moving to by the end of next week. Until then we will be jetsetting and trying to make good decisions as a family :)
Yesterday, I celebrated my first Mother's Day on the "mother" side of things. It was amazing! Of course Kyle had a special day planned. I woke with orders to stay in bed with Avery while he made breakfast. Avery and I lounged in bed and played with toys. We got dressed and by then we were ready for the day. Shayla was already gone, I assume to set up some sort of surprise. Kyle, Avery, and I drove to Quack's (our favorite coffee shop) and got lattes. Then we drove to our park (I call it "our" park because we walk there almost daily with Peyton). Shayla had already set up presents and flowers at a picnic table. Shayla got Avery a bunch of really cute 24 month clothes and Breanna got me a gift certificate for a pedicure (much needed and appreciated!). Kyle did the most amazing thing and paid off mine and Avery's hospital bill which we have been making payments on (and were supposed to be paying off until October), so now we officially own Avery :) He also got me the most perfect charm necklace with Avery's name engraved, a charm with little baby feet, and her birthstone. I love it so much and he as usual knows exactly how to make my heart melt! We then enjoyed our delicious bagel sandwiches and lattes!
Later, we went to the Austin Zoo. It's a rehab zoo and on the outskirts of Austin. Avery loved it and the adults might have loved it even more! Fun to get out of the city and enjoy some wildlife. I could see us visiting the zoo quite often with Avery if we stay here.
We watched Avatar last night, I wasn't too excited but now I am in love with it! Can I have one of those whispering trees?!!
Great day, reminds me how much I love my life and that I have SO much to be thankful for!!!
Avery loves to "fly"! It's quite a shoulder workout for mommy and daddy, but we love to hear her laugh so of course we keep doing it! Happy six months to our girl, can't believe how fast the time has flown by! Every day for the past six months has been a joyful learning experience. I am so excited to see what the next six months brings for our family!
I have had enough. I hope people don't read this post and think that I am terribly vein, ungrateful, or crazy. I realize that I am extremely lucky in the fact that I was born with thin genes. Not to say that I don't have to be discliplined and work hard to keep my shape, but I have always been thin. Before I became pregnant I felt muscular, I loved working out almost daily and was very happy with my body shape. I am no longer pleased with my shape. I think that is what we should all strive for, satisfaction with our bodies. I am not satisfied. It's not that I need to loose any weight, I need to put on muscle. It's not easy for me to put on muscle, it's actually very difficult. Between being pregnant and having an infant, I have lost my butt and it is starting to wear on me. I do not want to be skinny fat anymore and I want my muscular legs and butt back. To accomplish this I need to lift weights, and not once a week but at least three times a week (minimum). I've been privately struggling with this for a few months and now I need to make it public to hopefully encourage me to stick with a workout regimine. I'm posting my workouts and will check in weekly to update my progress.
You would think as a stay at home mom I would have plenty of time to get a workout everyday. This has not been the case and I have not made time. Seriously, I can get my lifting done in 20 minutes and I am committing to a 20 minute session three times a week. Cardio will come in time and I'm not really concerned about that right now as I'm burning enough calories simply from breastfeeding and lugging around an 18 lb baby all day! The problem is that when I do have a free minute from Avery, I am cleaning, messing around online, reading, and not making working out a priority. So here goes my vow to change! Wish me luck :)
I never really understand why it seems like the first question anyone asks you about your baby is, "Is she sleeping through the night?". It's as if my role as a parent, and Avery's as a baby is judged upon how well she is sleeping. My take on sleeping is that 1) I did not expect to have glorious, blissful nights of sleep once I had a baby 2) Avery has a tummy the size of her tiny fist and I am breastfeeding her which means her nutrients are digested quickly and efficiently so she eats often, even during the night 3) Just because it is night time does not mean that I get to turn off my mommy switch, if she needs comforting I am going to be there for her. I've said this before but I think one of the greatest joys of parenting is that you get to do it your way. To me, it doesn't feel right to let her cry it out, so I won't. Not now anyways. Some babies are great sleepers and will naturally sleep 8-10 hours a night. Avery is not one of those wonderful sleepers. I am ok with waking 2-3 times a night to nurse or comfort her. Above all else, I want her to know that I am there for her when she needs me, even at night :) So that is the way I've tackled sleep, doing what feels right to me and it seems to be working so far. Some parents tackle sleep differently, and that is great for them. Yesterday, I bought a sling for Avery and I to use. I have a bjorn, but it is just too difficult to use now. It was a godsend at first, but now it takes two people to get her into it. I mostly wanted a sling to use when I go to the grocery store because I know how much she likes interacting with people and she is so restrained in her carrier (but not quite ready to sit in the grocery carts). We went to HEB today (our grocery store) and she loved the sling! She smiled at people, babbled, and was shrieking with delight when we were looking at birthday cards (who knows why she loved the card aisle but she did)! So, the sling was a good purchase and I think she's going to have a blast interacting at face level with lots of new people. I am posting a video of Kyle and I playing a trick on her! She's still working on that pincher grasp :)
Since I got good feedback from the last video, I will post more! This one is Avery eating dinner. It's a bit long and sorry about my poor camera skills. I have to try to keep the camera out of her line of vision because she gets shy if she sees it! Enjoy :)
It's been awesome having Peter visit us, not only has Avery had a blast with him but we've also stayed busy exploring Austin and San Antionio in ways we hadn't done yet. Nothing like having out of town guests to motivate you to get to know your city!
I wasn't sure how Avery would react to being around someone new. She really doesn't spend much time with anyone besides me and Kyle, but she loves Peter! She smiles and plays with him as if she sees him everyday! This gives me hope that she will take to the rest of our family when we visit them.
Peter, Avery, and I went to First Thursday on South Congress Street. Got to see some real Austin flare (by that I mean the eclectic folks such as the guy shouting out The Cath in the Hat story to anyone walking by!) and enjoyed pizza and cupcakes! Friday, Peter helped me tackle Ikea and get me started on baby proofing our apartment. We went to County Line that night and we all determined that we like Salt Lick BBQ better! Saturday we took Easter Bunny pics, which turned out fantastic! Avery loved the bunny and smiled the whole time. You never know what you're going to get with those pics, but we got a happy girl :) We then drove down to San Antonio and enjoyed the River Walk. I was transported to a little European city, it was beautiful (see pics)! We ate at a Mexican place, people watched, and of course watched Avery try to grab everything within reach on the table! Sunday we went to church and Avery made it through the whole service! We also went to the Longhorns spring game at DKR stadium. Loved that Avery got to go to the stadium and the Horns didn't look too bad either!
All in all it has been a great week and we will be sad to see Peter go! Trying to talk him into applying for PhD programs wherever we end up :) Selfish, I know, but it would be awesome for Avery to have some family around on a daily basis!
She has two teeth now and is getting into more and more everyday! She hasn't progressed in the crawling or sitting areas, but those will happen when she is ready!
Lastly, I only posted the family pic of us on my blog, not on FB. The reason is because I can't stand my hair! Honestly, something must be done about it. I've just kept it up in a pony tail most days because I don't have the time to blow dry it everyday and Avery is constantly pullin it. And I've had no time and money to get it professionally colored. I will be getting a cut soon which will help. If anyone has any suggestions for me on hair improvements that I can make I am all for any help that I can get!
Whew, the past month has been busy for me! I haven't forgotten about the blog or given up, just haven't had more than ten minutes to spare on the computer for a while! My days have been more consumed with baby time. Both Avery and Gage have become more active, which means more time for all of us to play. Also means less downtown for me! That's ok, I love staying busy with them.
Kyle has also been monopolizing the computer because he's working on his final project. This is a culmination of all the information he wants to take with him from this program and from his internship. It's quite an endeavor, already almost 100 pages! Anyhow, since we only have one computer I often get about 30 seconds to check email and fb then goodbye to the computer for the day!
This past weekend Avery and I spent our first night without Kyle. He was in Dallas at a certification seminar. I was dreading it, but the weekend actually turned out delightful! The toughest part was taking the dogs out, but we managed. You all know how I feel about that subject so I won't even get started!
Saturday Avery and I slept in, ate, played, napped. Then we did some shopping, rented New Moon, I got a salad from Central Market (and a red velvet cupcake), watched New Moon and basketball games. Kyle got home around 1:00 Sunday, we made breakfast bagel sandwiches, watched more basketball, watched New Moon again, walked Peyton and called it a day! It's a relief to me that we made it on our own since that is something we'll have to get used to when Kyle has a job as strength coach. Half the season is spent on the road, so daddy will not always be home to help out!
We have some fun stuff to look forward to in the next few months, Peter will be here on Wednesday for almost a week! Kyle's family (including both grandpas) will be here in May for his graduation, then we go to Charleston for a week!
Lookout for Avery pics on fb, she is starting to sit up on her own and it is awesome! She gets a new view of the world! She turns five months this week, hard to believe!
Last week Avery turned 4 months. 14 lb, 7oz and 24.5 inches long. Honestly, I can't believe it's been four months, a third of an entire year! At the same time it seems like a lifetime ago that we were eating our "pregame" dinner at South Congress Cafe, about to head to the hospital. Seriously, as I wrote the post about our wedding and browsed through the pics, they seemed so empty! The pictures are missing the most important person in our lives! Funny that she was there all along we just didn't know it. Ok, before this turns too philosophical I want to write some of the things that have become true for me in the past four months as well as to share some of my favorite Avery pics from birth to four months.
*I've never experienced anything more heartbreaking and more joyful at the same time. Being a mother to Avery really makes my heart hurt when I think of each day as the last I will see her the way she is. She is growing and changing by the minute and I won't get any of these memories back. I really wish I could walk around with a video camera tied to my chest so that I can always look back and remember exactly what she was like at all of these wonderful stages. But even a camera can't capture how she feels when you hug her, how fresh she smells after a bath, how her toes curl when I try to clean out her toe jam, the way her eyes crinkle when she smiles. I have to try to etch these things into my mind. Already it's hard to remember her as a newborn, I'll never forget of course, but I'll never have that time again. If you aren't tearing up (I am near sobbing), now I'll write how joyful everyday is. My heart could not be more full each time I see that smile, hear a giggle, hear a loud shriek, see her rolling over, see her discover a new object, hoot like an owl in the stroller, fall fast asleep in her swing or carseat, and best of all everytime I can kiss her chubby cheek. The days of the future are no doubt going to be amazing with her and I look forward to her next third of a year!
*I have a pretty amazing husband. Seriously, he is a machine. He works so hard and is by far the most intelligent person I know. I love that he just looks at Avery and she bursts into a smile. I am unbelievably proud of him and believe in his talents wholeheartedly. I only hope and pray that his determination and dedication over the past two years pays off with a job that is deserving of him. He trains at a facility in Austin, check out his profile! http://www.train4thegame.com/trainer/kyle-tarp
*Laundry is a never ending battle that I will never win as long as I have to travel up and down three flights of stairs and have quarters at my disposal. Ditto for dishes as long as I don't have a dishwasher, ditto for dogs as long as I don't have a backyard.
*I used to be someone who had to workout in the morning, had to have a shower in the morning, would never leave the house without sunscreen, always brushed my teeth at least twice a day. Well, let's just say some of these things don't happen so much anymore! It seems grooming takes second place to taking care of a baby! Of all the things to sacrifice for a baby, I am willing to let this be the one to go first, which is not something I plan to continue forever. Don't get me wrong, I take a shower daily it just doesn't happen in the AM very often! I end up working out probably 3 times a week, wish that was more. The sunscreen will have to come back into my life now that warm weather is approaching and I have no excuse for the teeth brushing....! (can't believe I even admitted that but at least you all know the truth!)
*I am truly glad that at this point we don't have any doctor's appointments on the calendar for March.
*I really appreciate that our UPS guy leaves our packages at the door with two dog biscuits because I put a sign on our door asking him not to knock since our dogs are nuts! We get a lot of packages so the dogs love that he is such a nice guy.
*I enjoy online "window shopping". That is, I love going on my favorite sites and adding items to my cart. I truly have no intention of buying them, but I look at product reviews, compare prices, etc. I never complete the checkout but I have a good time imagining what it would be like if I could have bought them! Silly, I know...
*Life is happening fast. We made it through fall and winter with Avery. Spring is around the corner and I think she is going to love spending more time outside. Just in time for her to become mobile...not sure if I'm ready for that, but that's the thing about having babies...everything keeps moving forward whether you are ready or not so it's best to celebrate the progress and be happy in the present :)
Some of my favs...best to look bottom to top. If anyone knows how to arrange photos better using blogspot please let me know! Once I uploaded them I couldn't figure out how to rearrange...
First of all, I am not Catholic so me participating in Lent is more of a self challenge than anything else. Anyhow, I decided to give up something that I do that has really been bothering me lately. Mindless TV. I don't have any desire to watch day time TV, I seem to stay really busy! It's the evening TV that gets me! About 5:30-6:00, I start to get a little bored, a little antsy, and I'm looking for some adult interaction. Since Kyle doesn't come home until 7:00-8:00, I've been filling those lonely hours with mindless TV (Food Network, TLC, HGTV).
This would not bother me if I hadn't noticed Avery zoning out to the TV with me. She can't help it, big, shiny, bright box that makes noise! But I hope she's a kid who enjoys reading, playing outside, make believe, and playing games rather than watch ingTV. Don't get me wrong, TV certainly has its place and I enjoy watching a classic movie or a good game more than anythng. I just want our family to watch TV mindfully rather than out of boredom.
So, I give up my evening TV and will spend it reading books to Avery, taking her for walks, etc. I'm still allowed to watch our regular shows and games (The Office, MvF) as well as shows Kyle wants to watch together. We'll see how it goes!
3) Did you get married in a church? No, outside at Kyle's parents house.
4) How many in your wedding party? 8, 4 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen
5) How many guests were invited to your wedding? Probably 150, the number grew as the days drew closer, none of that by my choice! I would have had 20 people there if it was my choice, but such is the chaos of wedding planning.
6) How long were you together before the engagement? About six years!
7) How long did you wait to tie the knot after your proposal? About nine months
8) How did he propose?? 12-13-08, under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower in Paris! It doesn't get much better than that!
9) Did you register for gifts? If yes, where? Yes, crate n barrel (good choice), pottery barn (not a goodchoice, their return policy is awful), and target. The things that I wanted most were a cheese knife set and new towels. Didn't get either! Ask Breanna about the cheese knives and I guess people thought towels were boring! We got lots of nice gifts though!
10) Who did you hire as your photographer & videographer? Jenn Fowler, don't even go there!
11) Did you have a DJ or a band? DJ, would have much rather had a band but not in the budget!
12) What was your first dance to? Jason Mraz, I'm Yours
13) Did your father walk you down the aisle? Yes
14) What color were the bridesmaids' dresses and groomsmen's vests? Burnt orange! Groomsmen did not wear vests, but their ties were burnt orange!
15) Did you have a bridal shower? Nope
16) What type of limo did you get? Stretch
17) What were your flowers? Calla lillies and white roses
18) What flavor was your cake? Best part of the whole thing was the cake (and the dress). From Gayle's in Capitola. One layer was lemon sponge with raspberry jam, second was flourless chocolate with hazelnut ganache. Beautiful cake!
19) What type of wedding gown? Strapless mermaid with beading on the boddice and down the back. Wish I could look that good everyday!
20) What was the weather like that day? Got lucky with a clear, warm, windless day in Salinas.
21) Did you have an open bar? Yes, biggest mistake of the whole wedding.
22) Where did you go on your Honeymoon? SF for a night and then up the coast to Gualala. Stayed two nights at a B&B. Then hit the road for Austin!
23) What was your favorite thing about your wedding day? That Kyle's grandma got to be a part of things before she passed. Looking really put together for once in my life and see number 18.
24) Did anything go wrong? Ha, nothing is ever perfect but the day ended with us married! Mission accomplished!
25) How long have you been married? A year and three quarters, looking forward to many new adventures that don't have anything to do with a wedding :)