Monday, September 24, 2012


I'm not really sure if it is possible for things on the internet to actually gather dust.  I'm not very good at technology.  Apparently you are supposed to actually update things instead of just clicking "Remind me Later".  Who new?  But if it is possible, this blog is definitely failing the white glove test.

It's just that there has been so much happening over here it's hard to keep up, so I'm just going to do a brain dump of our early fall for recording purposes.  (I'm sure my future great grandchildren will be just desperate to know what we were up to in early September 2012.)

First pair of big girl walking shoes.  Not that we're walking yet.  (Which may be because I've given everyone strict instructions to push her over if she starts without me). 

I started grad school!  And my office moved.  Now I drive between 45 and 100 miles a day.  So, really most of my time looks like this:

But I'm so excited to be using my brain muscles again (speaking of dusty!)  And SO grateful for all of the help we've gotten with making sure Avery is well taken care of and my papers are turned in on time.  I'm bringing you all up on stage with me when I graduate. 

When I'm around, I try to soak up all of this that I can:

Finally, we have amazing friends.  They should all move to Dallas next door.  (And definitely NOT to Pittsburgh... ahem).  With them, we celebrated (Sam's not mine) homecoming.  (This is HIGH SCHOOL homecoming, y'all.. ridic) and a Ranger's game.

I did not get a mum.  Sigh.
We were also lucky enough to travel to Denver to see two of our favorites get hitched.  It was epic.  So much love and so much joy all wrapped up into one magical night.

My wish for them is that their spark blazes as bright as Sam & I's even after all these years....

And that's all my iPhone has to say about that.  What have YOU been up to lately? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Avery!

Whew, what a crazy last few weeks it has been.  So much catching up to do!!  Because of recent schedule issues, we haven't been able to complete our 12 month photo shoot. On a totally unrelated note, I may still be in denial about having a 12 month old.

However, we did have a pretty awesome party to celebrate Averycakes turning ONE, so I thought I'd share it for those of you that weren't able to be with us! 

Everyone asked me what the theme was going to be, and well, we decided to just go with "birthday" and "fun, bright colors", because with my luck, we'd pick something and then next year Avery would become totally obsessed with it, and I'd have to do the same party twice, and then Avery would look back and think I was a terrible lazy mother.  (Not that I tend to overanalyze things.) (And not that there is anything actually wrong with repeat birthday parties!)  (Also, Avery, please do not become obsessed with "birthday" and "fun, bright colors" this year just to spite me.) 

Ehrm... moving on.

Sam's parents were gracious enough to let us have the party at their house.  You know, since if we have more than 4 people over at a time someone has to sit in the baby jail play pen, so thanks Yaya & Papa Tom!

We kept the decorations and food simple:
Sam was super impressed with my tissue balls.  Which made me feel like the most awesome Pinterest Mom ever.

It was pretty cool to see all of these together and in order!

Also, the cake was a-mazing, both in look and taste (Oreo filling, what??).  Thanks, Mom, for locating the baker, picking the design and (most impressive of all) somehow transporting all 40lbs of it in one piece!! 

This also shows the part of Avery's party that I was most excited about... the Time Capsule! 

The instructions asked people to write down their favorite thing about Avery now and what they thought she would be up to in 20 years.  The smaller cards had prompts for people to note popular items today like news events, sports stars, technology, etc.  Our plan is to present Avery with the cards on her 21st birthday so she can learn a little about her world and herself at one year old and see how things have changed, or whether any of your predictions came true!  (And there are some good ones... you guys were really thoughtful!) 

Also, I thought I'd mention, the capsule is still not "sealed", so if you'd like to send something in, just give me a shout!

My mom picked up a bib / bloomer set for Avery to wear, so we kept the rest of her outfit simple, because you know, there would be cake!

Avery loved the balloons... Uncle Steve said his prediction for her future was that she would be terrified of balloons after she popped one with her teeth on her first birthday...  luckily this did not come true, but I was a total nervous nancy about it the entire time.


 But even balloons could not keep Avery from getting impatient for her guests to arrive.

I'm not going to post too many pictures here, because maybe people are weird about having their photos all up on the internet?   We had a great group, though! Anyway, once everyone had mingled and snacked it was time for cake!  Which Avery was not so sure about... although she did really enjoy poking her finger into every.single.polkadot.  That, and there was clapping, which is kind of her favorite.

Even though she didn't love the cake (proving once again that she is much much much more her father's child than mine) she still managed to get decently messy and required a quick hose-down.

After cake things wound down pretty quickly and most of our guests headed home while we did a few presents with the fam.  Avery decided that what she really wanted for her birthday was to help out her friends at Project Transformation, so she asked her guests to bring books if they wanted to get her something for her birthday.  Her awesome friends and family brought over 30 books that the kids in PT will most certainly love!  

Thanks again to everyone that came out and helped celebrate Avery's first birthday or who couldn't be there but sent well wishes.  It was another one of those days where we were just overwhelmed by how truly amazing our support group is.  Quite simply we would not have made it through our first year of parenthood without you, and while obviously we love Avery with our whole hearts it is always a humbling and touching thing to see and realize how much you all have come to love her this year, too.  And for that we cannot thank you enough.  Happy Birthday, Avery!  We look forward to celebrating many many more!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Traditional Family

I know, I know, another blog post by some nobody about the Chick-Fil-A debacle.

But, I feel compelled, because this is my little corner of the interwebs, and this is an issue that I feel passionately about.  And, no, I'm not talking about waffle fries and banana pudding milkshakes that now taste a little like oppression. 

I'm talking about why we, as Christians, have let the "issue" of homosexuality take such a stronghold, why it is the thing that will rally thousands into action for campaigns and boycotts and anti-boycotts and heated word battles all over the internet, while all around us the widows, the orphans, and those in prison go ignored and unloved.  I literally cannot wrap my mind around it.

I'm talking about why a large number of Christians are making this an "us" versus "them" situation, when shocker, there are loads of gay Christians out there.  That makes it an "us" versus "us" situation, and if we are to be about the business of unity and building community we cannot afford to turn on one another like that.  Our numbers are already dwindling, in case you've missed it.

I'm talking about all of this because I come from a "traditional" family.  And I am in the process of creating a "traditional" family.  But I think we need to firmly define what that word "traditional" means.  Jesus calls us to love our God and each other.  He calls us to love.  To me, that defines a "traditional" family.  To fill it up to the brim with love, and squeeze in some mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.  The family we're building here in our house doesn't always meet that definition of tradition, but it is something I hope we're striving for.  And while we do that, it means we cannot contain that love within the walls of our house.  Because Jesus calls us to love our God and each other.  Not the trite mushy love, but the dirty gritty sometimes I can't stand you but I'm not giving up on you kind of love.

And I think that truly loving others means not actively working to deny them the ability to build a home based on love, or the ability to face financial, medical, and every other nuanced personal decision this crazy short life brings our way together with the person that they most love and trust.  It means welcoming everyone to the table.  In our homes and in God's house. Without constantly constantly pointing out that you "love them, but hate their lifestyle / sexual act / choice".  Because honestly, if every time my name came up in a Christian circle it was prefaced by, "Oh, Alison, love her, but hate that she curses / lies / lusts / (the list could really keep going, it's embarrassing)" I'm not sure I would have been able to stick it out this long.

I'm going to be clear, here, and state that I do not think that being gay is a sin.  Don't think the act is a sin either.  I say this with complete peace in my heart, with a stance that I feel is based in scripture.  And yet, sometimes I feel crazy for thinking this way.  Because apparently I am really in the minority.  And that makes me feel really lonely sometimes.  So, I'm talking about it here, in hopes that maybe I won't feel so lonely.  Or maybe someone else won't either.  Or that we can at least work together to build a "traditional" family EVEN if we disagree.  Seriously, come on over, the freezer's full!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eleven Months

Well, hello there, long lost friends.  I realize that Avery is, at this point, almost closer to a year than Eleven Months, but well... as you can see, there are lots of reasons for that.  (One of these definitely NOT that the fact that the next post will begin counting in YEARS rather than months.  Definitely not.)

So, Averycakes, you are eleven months-ish old.  You are VERY busy and important.  Every time I asked if you were available for a photo shoot, you told me you just needed to "check one last email".

Well, I finally put my foot down, and told you that your fans would not wait any longer, so you very finally conceded to having your picture made, but alas, technical troubles necessitated a re-shoot.  At this point you had pretty much had it with your dear mother, so you made sure to use your "fake smile" and told me to make it snappy.

You see, at 11 months, you are starting to exert your independence.  You definitely make it known when you do / don't want something, and it is growing more difficult to distract you from your chosen goal.

The things you like / dislike are still pretty much the same as last month.
  • You like:
    • Veggie puffs, cheese, ham, apples, and pretty much anything your grandmothers feed you
    • Bath time!
    • Reading your books
    • The bay window
    • Playing chase
    • Taking things out of drawers / bins
  • You DISlike
    • Having your diaper changed
    • The end of bath time
    • Not being allowed to chew on electrical cords
    • When we leave your sight, sometimes

Overall, though, you are still a really really easy-going baby.  You are finding more and more things hilarious (mostly everything your dad does), and growing more mobile by the second.  People seem to genuinely like being around you, and you are usually pretty happy no matter where you are.  You're also sleeping great, too.

I should also mention that you are hilarious.  You now keep up a running stream of babble complete with pointing and sometimes very stern tones.  You can say "Bye-ah" when prompted!  It's all very serious and important.  But sometimes you're so happy you just holler.  It's usually in a completely inappropriate place, (which, incidentally is why you have never been to the library) but you are just so HAPPY you have to let it all out.

You are also increasingly mobile, pulling up with ease and starting to cruise.  Which, as your father declared when I came home the other day means, "Nothing is safe.  Nothing!"  You can go anywhere (that doesn't require actual walking) and rip up any paper and chew on anything you find with your 4.5 teeth!  Your favorite place to go is up into the bay window.  Or, as I like to call it... baby in a box performance art.

I'm sure the neighbors talk.  (About what an adorable baby we have on display.)

I was looking back through old pictures of you, as I do every night after you're asleep often, and it really hit me that what is so different lately is that I feel like I really know you now.  Like any good friendship it took us awhile to feel each other out, learn what makes the other tick.  I love that, for the most part, I know what you like to eat, what your favorite toys and places are, what will make you scream, but also how to cheer you up pretty much immediately.  We push each other to stretch our limits.  I miss you when you're not around.  We've laughed together, we've cried together, and thanks to that unfortunate July 4th stomach bug, we've puked on each other... pretty much, we've cemented our friendship for life.

Yesterday you were sitting on my lap facing me during one of our deep discussions about why the Kardashians are so ridiculous life, when you put both hands on either side of my face and gently touched my forehead to yours.  It was one of those moments that I felt instantly freeze frame in my heart, and that overwhelmed me with gratitude, once again, for the privilege of being your parent. 

Next month you will be a YEAR.  Someone very wise told me when I was pregnant with you that the thing about parenthood is that the days are long, but the years are short.  You, my dear, have made both of them magic.  Can't wait to celebrate a year of you!  We love you more than books and Travian.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ten Months

Or rather 10 months one week.  Sorry this post is a bit late, but for your 10 month birthday you celebrated by getting... another ear infection!  And a referral to the ENT!!  Needless to say, it was a rough couple of days, and you were in no mood for a photo shoot.

Since we were just at the doctor, we know that you are at 22lbs 10oz and somewhere around 30 inches.  Your adorableness still ranks off the charts.

I also realized that the more mobile you get, the closer up the chair photos get!  Hello, giant child baby with the sassy expression.

Every day we get a bit more of your personality.  You are by turns happy, silly, slightly stubborn, and loud.  I'm not sure where you got ANY of that from us or our families.  Nope, not at all.

New things this month:
  • Learning to crawl on your hands and knees
  • Pulling up to standing
  • Being able to mimic "words" (but still not saying any on your own yet... so close!)
  • Waving when we say "hi / goodbye" and clapping when we say "yay"
  • Playing peek-a-boo on your own
  • Top right tooth is through the gum, and the left is pushing its way through
  • Growing some curly hair in the back!
You have this way of making people smile.  It works on just about every one, from the old ladies who line the hallways at Great-Grandma & Papa Wayne's to the 20 year-old bag guy at Kroger who remembers me solely as your mother and is sad when you're not with me.  My prayer for you is that you will never lose that spark that draws people in and leaves them feeling just a little better in their day, that you will always be quick with a smile and a wave, and find joy in something as simple as twirling around our living room.

Now, I'm going to turn it over to you for a minute, Avery.  Can you walk us though this photo shoot, and what you were thinking?

Hmmmm... a photo shoot you say?

We really should discuss the disaster of post-bow hair happening on my head. No?  You're just going to go for it??  Ok, how, can distract them from the hair??  Oh, I know..

I'll wave!!  Waving. is. awesome.

Oh, that was hilarious.

I'll show them  how I like to chew on my finger.  Just like my Daddy did when he was a baby.  I know that kind of thing isn't actually genetic, but I want to be just exactly like him in every single way because he is so awesome and my hero and...

Ooooh, camera... work it!

Now, wheeere were we?

Oh yeah, follow me... I have something awesome to show you.

It's called a door, and I freaking love. it.

Oh, you're still there?  Well, that's embarrassing!  Ummm, I'm going to go now.  I'll see if mom let's me post again soon, because I love the computer more than just about anything, but I'm not so good at the buttons.  Mostly I just close important screens (on accident) and drool on the keys, but how am I supposed to get better with no practice???  I'll work on that so we can post more than once a month.  For now, though, goodbye!  I love you all more than cheerios and cheese!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nine Months

Congratulations, Avery!  You have now lived in the outside world longer than you were growing inside.  That is just crazy.  Mostly because it feels like you have been here with us for wayyy longer than I was pregnant.  And let's be real here, your birthday is in August... in Texas... it felt like I was pregnant for-ev-er.  This is also your last month in the single digits month-wise.  Insert single rolling tear.

So, what's up with you at nine months, nugget?  Let's break it down, shall we.

I think you've been secretly dieting, because you LOST a pound this month.  Although, this is apparently kind of normal when you are becoming an actual person and learning to be mobile and spend 99.9% of the time you are awake flailing about.  Maybe I should try this.  I'm sure no one would give me the side eye if I decided to try crawling at work.

Jeez, mom, focus.

Stats, yes, stats.

At nine months you are:
20lbs 14oz (88%)
30.5 inches  (99.67%)
I don't remember your head size, but it is like suddenly tiny at 67%
(although they didn't measure around your ears this time)
12-18months clothing size
Size 3 diapers

I'm sorry, but did we all see that height business??  In case you are wondering what that looks like in graphical terms, I have re-created the growth chart they give us when we go to the doctor.  Those things are really detailed these days.  I think you're so tall because you need the extra inches too keep all that cuteness contained.

You still have an ear infection, btdub.  Please stop with that.  We are slightly worried that it might be messing with your speech development, as you were super quick to pick up on the bababa dadada mamama, but haven't really moved past it since the infections started up.  Also, you have no inside voice.  Can you not hear yourself??  Just kidding, we love listening to you babble.  You have a follow-up in two weeks, so if you could just go ahead and un-infect yourself by then that would be just swell.

Socially you are slightly ahead of the game.  You completely mastered waving and clapping this month, and have started pointing, which is super adorable.  

You can also feed yourself small bits of real food, which just about makes me cry my eyes out because you look so big when you're feeding yourself.  So far you've at least tolerated everything you've tried, and we pretty much just feed you whatever we're having for dinner plus some cheerios, cheese, yogurt, etc.

You still scoot from place to place, but can take a few wobbly crawls forward on your knees.  You also learned to go from lying on your stomach to sitting upright, which has really upped your game in terms of total house destruction.  See, before you couldn't really reach for anything above you when you were crawling, but now you can crawl over to the bookshelf, sit up and

I'm trying to re-arrange everything so that you can pull off whatever you'd like, so our house is basically just getting undecorated from about three feet down.  And remember not leave anything out that we don't want tore up.  Like the day you ripped out and gnawed on the first page out of my Bible.  We'll have to re-discuss the whole Bread of Life concept, stat. 

You just never ever stop moving.  And we love to watch you discover new things and get distracted by your own fingers.  Or the cats.  Who have started taunting you relentlessly by staying still until you get close enough to reach out, and then sauntering a few more steps away.  (You fall for it every time.)

So sad.

Your daddy bought you this toy, which is labeled as a "Jewelry" Box, but contains lipstick, a comb, and perfume, so it's confusing, but fun.  He bought it for you because thus-far you have only collected gender neutral or on-the-masculine side of the scale toys.  Every time I think of him in the toy aisle all by himself picking out the most fun, girly toy he could find for you, my heart just melts into a big mush puddle.  (You have a really great dad.)

So, there you have it, Avery-cakes.  We love you more than baseball and sandwiches and can't wait to see what adventures the next months and years will take us on.