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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland here in Indiana! It was a beautiful 32 degrees outside, so much of our day was spent outside making snowmen (and making up new verses to "Frosty"), crunching our tracks in the snow and sliding down the driveway.
It was such a beautiful, peaceful day - exactly what our little family needed.

Avery had a blast in the snow, playing until his little cheeks were rosy and he was out of breath from falling and picking his bundled-up self up time and time again. He even worked up the courage to take trips down the driveway in the sled all by himself- practicing up to spend some time on Grandpa Jim's sledding hill in a week!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Avery @ 18 Months



Avery is quickly becoming quite the little boy. It's hard for me to believe that my baby is already a year and a half old. How he's changed in such a short amount of time!!  He's still the sweetest little guy ever and brightens my day every day, but has started showing many 'toddler' behaviors for which he has now learned what 'time out' means and often knows that's he's done something bad before he even does it... He's learning so many new things every day- it's such an amazing thing to watch. His speech is starting to blossom, his imagination is in full force and he's
How he greets me after his nap ;)
already showing some interest in potty training (crazy!). He naps/sleeps at night like a champ (something I'm so grateful for and am taking full advantage of for the next few months while I can!) and runs us both ragged during his waking hours :) I still don't know if he's ready for his world to be turned upside-down by a little brother in 3 months, but his sweet temperament tells me that even if it does take him by surprise, he'll still be such a good little helper to me and a great teacher for baby boy. Until then, I'm going to snuggle him extra tight, read him anything he crawls into my shrinking lap with, and teach him to be as independent as possible in the process.


 
Avery's favorite things: Music & dancing, using his step stool to be a big helper in the kitchen, playing in the sink, running, reading books, cleaning things, hide and seek, playing with the vacuum, 'talking on the phone' ('phone' being a calculator, remote, piece of tinsel, his hand - whatever he can find), hearing the garage door open knowing 'dada' is home, chasing Bella, hugging Bella, 'helping' Bella eat, (pretty much everything about Bella), snack time, coloring, vehicles of all kinds, Sesame Street ('B-Elmo' is his favorite), getting his way, bouncy balls, hammering things, climbing, flipping through magazines, hearing the doorbell ring, hiding under blankets, flashlights.

 
Taking photos of this rascal has become quite the challenge. I tried four different times to dress him in cute outfits and put him in front of a background to take some photos to document this fleeting age. Fail x4. The day I took these shots, he had just gotten up from his nap and was so happy just playing that I just took advantage of it. Pirate t-shirts are just as cute as striped button-ups, right? ;) Plus, this pretty much sums him up at 18 months!
I often miss the days of sitting him in the perfect light and shooting away while making funny faces and rattling things. These days, it's more of a workout for mom and a funny game of keep-away for Avery ;)

I'll leave you with a couple of cute videos from the last couple of months - excuse the bad lighting, sometimes I just grab the camera and start recording so as not to miss the moment :)
 
Avery's very serious (and apparently, private) phone conversation - one of about 40 a day:
 

And Avery at the pool - being brave and exploring the 'deep'!

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Cup Runneth Over.

I've been seeing so many 'thankful' posts on Facebook and such lately and although I'm not one to make daily posts, I thought I'd collect my thoughts and write a little list here of some of the things that I'm insanely grateful for and thank God for every day.

I'm thankful that I've been granted the title of 'mama'.
It continues to be the single most rewarding experience of my entire life. There are no words to explain the power of motherhood.

I'm thankful that 'mama' is also my current job title.

I'm grateful I get to be the one to see my baby's smiling face when he wakes up every morning, read him stories before nap, and kiss him goodnight every single day. I'm grateful that I get to be the one to make him breakfast, lunch, and dinner and we get to enjoy them together at our own pace every day. I'm grateful that I see and hear every giggle, new words and discoveries and kiss his tears away every day. I'm grateful that I get to be the one to teach him things and watch the outcome of those teachings every day. I know not everyone is able to experience these things so I'm forever grateful that we are in a place financially right now that makes it possible. The job doesn't come without its long days and daily struggles, but it's totally worth it.


I'm thankful for my crazy awesome husband. I'm still not sure how I'm so lucky that I get to spend my life with Justin, but every day I'm reminded of what an awesome choice I made. He is seriously a rockstar at his job (I can't even explain the awesome asset he is to his company...he's a true natural at what he does) and he works so hard every day so I'm able to stay home with Avery. He's hands-down the best father I could ever imagine and Avery adores his 'dada'. (The excitement that fills this house when the garage door opens at the end of the day is absolutely priceless.) Walking into Pizza Hut for that job interview six years ago has turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I've ever made - who knew?!


I'm thankful for my happy, healthy, tender-hearted little Avery. I know not every parent is blessed with a healthy child, so I thank God every day for Avery's health and pray that he continues to grow and develop as well as he has been. I love everything about him and his blossoming personality, I'll never get enough.
 



I'm thankful for the healthy baby that's growing inside me. With all my attention on my attention-loving toddler all day, it's easy for me to forget that baby's even there sometimes but his strong movements lately have reminded me he's growing ever bigger and stronger daily and continues to be healthy. The process of baby-growing is a pretty amazing thing.

I'm thankful to have vision in my left eye. I was driving yesterday and thinking about just over a year ago when I got smashed in the face with a baseball and how scary it was to not have any vision in that eye for about 6 hours. Having and using our senses is something that we all take for granted every day, but having one taken from you - even for a short time - is a humbling experience.

I'm thankful for the love and support of an amazing family. It's really hard being so far away from all of our family. But, even though we aren't close geographically at the time being, we manage to make the best of the situation and take the time to stay close. I'm thankful for the technology that allows us to do this and for the ability to share photos of the rapidly-growing Avery that they all love so much. 


I'm thankful my teacher training. Being an art teacher is the perfect fit for me and although I'm not currently using my degree, I don't regret the blood, sweat and tears that went into becoming an educator. All my college training and hours spent with kids have helped make me the person that I am and the two years I spent teaching 7th graders gave me an invaluable set of skills that I use every single day in my 'mama' role. I can't explain how crucial those two years were to my personal development and the profound impact they had on me, and I look back on them fondly often.

I'm thankful for our amazing friends who have become our 'Indiana family'. We moved to Indiana not knowing a soul and were on our own when it came to making connections and meeting new people. Luckily for us, moving into our home in this neighborhood turned out to be a God-send. We have met some of the most warm, friendly people that we are blessed to call our close friends and they have welcomed us into their families with open arms. We are all raising our babies together and have created a very strong circle of support - truly like a family. We love them all so much and can't imagine doing life without them.

Of course I'm always thankful to have our health, food on our table, an amazing home in a safe neighborhood and reliable vehicles to drive. We have more than enough and are so blessed in so many ways. Life is good. I hope you take a minute to count your blessings this season too :)
Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

"He-man Avery"

It's so bittersweet to me that Avery has been doing so many more 'big boy' things lately, but I absolutely LOVE to see him react to new situations and experiences. Seeing things
"through the eyes of a child" is the greatest thing EVER. Here are a couple great ones I got photos of this last month:

Finding a 'fuzzy wuzzy' caterpillar for the first time: He literally SQUEALED and screamed
when he saw it. He loved to pick it up and watch it curl and uncurl in dad's hand. (He had also just found some Nerf darts that he was holding onto for dear life)


And this may be one of my favorite quick photo snaps of all time: His primal screaming/muscle showing during bath time one night. He sometimes gets downright delirious and crazy wild. It. Is. Hilarious. The photos are a little blurry from my phone, but his facial expressions kill me. Bath time is usually a highlight of our day, this one was one of the best :)


 I can't get enough of this child. He makes my day - every day, he's so funny!!

In other news: We recently got a new fridge and Avery has gone about re-arranging it approximately 9,234 times. Apparently I need to start teaching him about the term "energy bills"  (I'm such a sucker for that little face)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Baby Olive's close-up!

Today was an exciting day as we got to see our new little Olive via ultrasound, which means we've already made it halfway through pregnancy! Crazy! I remember with Avery, it seemed like time went by soooo slloooowwwllyy and my brain had a hard time focusing on anything but the little baby inside me, but this time I'm so busy chasing speedy little Avery around, time has just flown by!

Baby was a perfect angel during this ultrasound, just cuddled up in there as comfy as can be lightly kicking his legs stretching out- the ultrasound tech was so happy with all the awesome pictures she got of all his parts because was lying so still for her.  (I see his calm nature today as a sign of his future temperament :) 

 I'm so amazed at all the amazing things that we can see on an ultrasound, from every individual finger and toe to all the chambers of the little beating heart (and the cute little sticking out tongue!) I think I could sit and watch all day :)  The tech made a point to comment on what LONG toes he has... just like big brother (and daddy of course!)
 
We didn't get a good face shot because baby kept his hands up there the whole time (which is totally OK, fetal faces always look a little creepy to me anyway) I think the picture below makes him look like such a thinker :)


And, also like big brother, he gave us a perfect view of his BOY parts - Avery is going to have a baby brother! They will be such good buddies, I'm looking forward to seeing them together already :)

The tech noted that she couldn't be much more sure that baby is a boy - she gave it 99.9% because of the great views she got down there :) 

We found out that the placenta is placed in the front, which explains why I haven't felt quite as much movement as I did when I was pregnant with Avery, but last night both Justin and I got to feel a very powerful dance party going on in there, so he's a mover and a shaker like big brother! :) Overall, baby has all his parts and is growing perfectly, measuring in at 19 weeks 6 days, which means his due date of March 16 is spot on!

Happy Friday!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Exciting news for the Olive family!

At the end of July, we took an amazing family vacation to Maine to visit Justin's sister and family. While we were there, I felt quite a bit nauseous but just blamed it on all of the flying and driving (I'm no stranger to motion sickness) 

The day after we returned (August 1, our 4th wedding anniversary) I woke up still feeling pretty nauseous and decided to pick up a pregnancy test. Lo and behold, there were two pink lines staring back at us :)  Because I had no idea how far along I was, I got an early ultrasound a few days later that determined that I was already 8 weeks along! 


So come March 16, 2014, Avery will be upgraded to 'big brother' status! It's taken quite a while for it to sink in for me (we weren't necessarily 'expecting' a new baby yet, but God has other plans for us!) but now that I'm starting to pop a belly and am feeling some early 'flutters', it's becoming more real. 

It's hard to believe that I can ever love anyone as much as I love my Avery, but I've been told time and time again that a mama's heart just doubles and the love just multiplies. :)  I'm also very much looking forward to Avery being a big brother and having a little playmate. He is fascinated by babies (right now anyway) and is so gentle and kind I know he will be such a good little helper once baby makes his/her appearance. I am scheduled for another ultrasound on October 25 and on that day we will hopefully find out the gender of this new little one!


I've been trying to capture a few more videos of Avery lately because he's in such a fun stage right now and does so many things that pictures just can't capture. Here are a few of my favorites:
Avery the little fish! 
(I'm SO proud of how brave he is in the water!)



Bella is Avery's absolute favorite.
He is ALWAYS cuddling with her on the floor and gives her lots of kisses.
Unfortunately for Bella, he also enjoys getting her excited ;)



And, as a result of us visiting so many neat parks this summer that allowed Avery to feed different animals, he now feels that he should 'help' Bella with her dinner.
(bless Bella for being so patient and kind with Avery when all she wanted to do was eat ;)


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Avery @ 15 months!

Hello again!

Avery turned 15 months old exactly one month ago today. I've been trying my best to 'unplug' a bit and enjoy what's left of these last hot summer days with my ever-curious, rapidly growing little boy. I realized the other day that I've also been leaving my camera in the bag for far too long (Avery is moving around so fast these days that I try my best to keep up with him and the camera is usually left behind) so one day a few weeks ago, we took a trip to the park for a photo shoot. Naturally, Avery gave up some pretty sweet faces for the camera :) 





Seriously people, I can't resist this sweet, sweet boy and all his silly faces. I'm so happy to see him becoming such a confident little character with a personality all his own. I find myself more and more smitten with him every day. Everything he does is the most hilarious, cute, magical thing ever. But everyone feels that way about their own babies, right? ;)

Every day Avery does something new and is soaking up everything around him, you can just see him learning. Lately, he's starting to say a few more words and usually tries new ones when prompted, waves at everyone we come across, throws straight-up temper tantrums (whew!), climbs up and down the stairs, climbs up and down the furniture, climbs in and out of the car, gives kisses (oh, the kisses!!), eats with a fork, drinks from a straw, shares with his little friends, makes the cutest 'whoa!' face when he sees something

exciting, hoards collects rocks and other small objects, 'vacuums' with anything that resembles a vacuum cleaner, is becoming a great golfer, hates getting his diaper changed, eats whole tomatoes straight off the vine, is such a good helper, brushes his own teeth, runs everywhere, gets skinned-up knees, 'swims' on his tummy in the bath, blows bubbles in the bath (this swimming-instructor mama beams with pride!), LOVES swinging, is an avid people watcher, spots bugs and follows them all over the yard, 'mows' the yard and driveway (the main source of the skinned knees), dances and wiggles to his own tune, reads books, would love to play in the refrigerator all  day moving items from shelf to shelf, sweeps the floor, loves to watch Shawn the Train with daddy after his bath, cuddles, and is just a generally kind, loving little boy.

It's hard for me to truly explain Avery in words. He is just turning into this amazing little person and I'm constantly humbled by him and am so incredibly blessed that I get to be his mama.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Results Are In...

Since birth, Avery has had skin problems.

When he was a few months old and started to move around a bit, he lost his soft baby skin and has since been plagued by a rough, red, blotchy rash on his arms, legs, and the back of his neck. His pediatrician diagnosed him with 'seborrheic dermatitis' (pretty much a form of 'cradle cap' -dry skin- that affects other parts of the body) and said it should clear up on its own by the time he turned one. Until recently, we were able to deal with the rash pretty easily by slathering Avery in lotion numerous times a day and bathing him with a skin calming wash. Then the itching began. For both Avery and his mama this was like a form of slow torture. Avery got frustrated because he can't quite soothe the itch by scratching (the scratching only making the rash that much worse) and his mama was going mad watching this cycle continue.

When we took a trip to Tennessee for 4 days in May, Avery's rash miraculously cleared up for the time that we were gone. Then we returned home and within 24 hours and it had returned. This got us thinking that there may be something else causing Avery's skin irritation - something clearly environmental and something in our house. We brought this up to his pediatrician at his one year appointment and allergy testing was suggested. This was somewhat of a foreign concept to me as neither Justin or myself are allergic to anything, so the fact that our child may have one didn't seem very likely but I was willing to do just about anything to get some answers.

So to the allergist we went.
Spot #29 is the control (it was supposed to cause
a reaction). Spot #3 on the left is peanuts
and spot #19 is dog.

We'd heard horror stories about this scratch testing business, so I was a little apprehensive about going through with it (but like I said, we NEEDED some answers). To my surprise, Avery handled it very well, only crying for a few seconds and then was back to his happy self (it was comparable to how he reacts to shots). 

He was tested for 12 common allergens: 6 high-risk foods, dog, cat, and 2 types of dust mites. We then wandered around the office/waiting room with a semi-naked baby (who was extremely good-natured due to the fact that he was semi-naked :) for 15 minutes or so to see how he reacted to the irritants. After a few minutes, we started to notice one of the spots clearly showing a reaction. When we wandered or way back to the nurse, she informed us this spot was... *drum roll*...  PEANUTS. Of all things. (He also reacted slightly to dog. Thankfully, not enough to cause us to find a new home for Bella.)

We are now the parents of a child with a peanut allergy. Deep breath. I will resist the urge to place my child in a bubble for the rest of his childhood and/or never leave our home to venture into the dirty, peanut-infested world. Deep breath.
I wouldn't in a million years have guessed peanuts. #1 because we don't really eat many peanut products and #2 because I don't know a single person in our family blood line with a peanut allergy. (seriously, what IS it with the crazy increase in peanut allergies in recent years?!) The allergist assumes that his exposure is from my breast milk and/or from coming into indirect contact somewhere in our house. Since his reaction to the test was so severe, he sent us home with an Epipen and instructions to clear our home of all things nuts. (all peanuts AND tree nuts for now, until we can better narrow it down) Since he's never actually ingested any peanuts/peanut butter, we really have no idea what would happen. His rash may just flare or he may have trouble breathing. Yes. Peanuts may cause my baby to have trouble breathing. (...Deep breath...)

So, as we allow this information to sink in, I'm doing my best to do some research, read food labels, watch what Avery eats/touches, wipe down everything, and am doing my best to not become a crazy worried, over-protective, peanut-fighting mama ninja who views every outing as a possible catastrophe.

I give parents of children with allergies (or other conditions that are affected by environments they can't always control) a ton of credit. Parents have enough to worry about without having to think about the fact that coming into contact with a little nut may potentially cause babies to stop breathing (Ok. Enough doom and gloom already, there are FAR worse things we could be facing.)


Anyone out there dealing with a child with a nut allergy? I guess only 20% of babies grow out of it, so it may be a lifelong thing for Avery but my hope is that it continues to be mild and only irritate his skin (and our Epipen remains unused.)

On a good note, Avery's skin has been beautifully clear and smooth for the last couple of days! I hope this is a sign of how it will be now that we've pinpointed the problem :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Chicago!

Last week, we made a day trip to Chicago to spend a day at the beach with Aunt Janessa and Eric! (It was a surprise to Janessa!) Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with those plans but we still had an awesome day exploring Navy Pier and Millennium Park (our first time to both!) and any time spent with Aunt Janessa is always a blast. 

Avery had the best time walking the pier, dancing in the park, and flirting with himself (and a fancy little girl in pink) at Cloud Gate! It made my whole week to see our little man having so much fun toddling around such a big city :) 
His favorite thing?  The manhole cover!

 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A day in the life of our One-Year-Old!

We've been enjoying every minute of summer so far, spending lots of time outside and eating lots of popsicles :)    Here are a few fun videos that help give you an idea of how Avery spends his days since turning one:

He's done LOTS of dancing (and keeps busting out new moves all the time):


'Drives' things everywhere:
 


Is such a big helper!:


...And found his screaming voice (he's is just plain SILLY!):

 

Every day Avery gets a little bigger, a little cuter, and his personality shines through more and more. I think we're going to enjoy toddler-hood :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Avery's First Birthday BASH!


We hosted Avery's birthday party last Sunday in our backyard - it was a total success! The weather was beautiful, we were blessed to have some of our closest friends and family with us to celebrate, and our little caterpillar seemed to enjoy himself very much! (The cake smash was the highlight!) I've been planning this party for quite a few months in my head and it was so fun to see it come to life. It certainly took a village to pull together, there's no way we could've done it without our awesome family and friends to help us out. (Thanks, guys!!!) 
 
Here are some of the highlights of the party:
 The FOOD! What is a Very Hungry Caterpillar party without some fruits? (and veggies too, in our case!) We had all the fruits featured in the book, a few of the 'junk foods' the caterpillar ate on Saturday, and a few extras too. I cut out little flags with pictures of the fruit from the book and attached them to sticks to pull the theme together.  On the food table, I set up a copy of the book, a framed picture of Avery and a fun quote from Eric Carle about The Very Hungry Caterpillar along with one of Avery's fuzzy caterpillars :)

Thanks to my super talented sister, Janessa, who helped me bake up tons of cake pops late into the night on Saturday, we made up these cute edible caterpillar centerpieces for the tables. (I LOVE those little chocolate chip eyes!) We had lemonade to drink with flavored ice cubes- I cut up chunks of raspberries, strawberries and mint leaves and froze them with water in an ice cube tray for guests to make their own flavored lemonade creations!

I made all the paper garlands (that lined the tables and hung around the food table) and the pennant on Avery's high chair out of paste paper, cut them into circles and triangles and sewed them together with my machine. (The making of the paper and the sewing were relatively quick steps, the cutting was the most tedious but was a great activity for me while riding 8 hours to Tennessee and back a few weeks ago!)
 
The Favors! I found these cute Very Hungry Caterpillar paper baskets and crayons at Target months ago and snatched them up just for this purpose. I also included little coloring books that I made by cutting up this coloring sheet in Photoshop and printing it on cardstock. I also stuck a handmade pinwheel in each basket (I'm a sucker for pinwheels:) made out of the same paste paper I used on the garlands. Tutorial I used for pinwheel here. (I just used plastic straws instead of dowels)
 
 The photos! I printed all of Avery's weekly photos I took this year and hung them from a string on the wall next to the food table with wooden clothes pins. It was SO FUN (and a little bittersweet) to see all of the pictures together and to see how Avery has grown and changed.
It was a fun project to do, and even more fun to see it now completed!

The Fun! I'm a little disappointed to say that I really slacked the rest of the day taking photos. It went by so fast that I didn't get any shots of the backyard as a whole or of many of our family and friends that were there... Thank goodness my sister got a few shots of some of the fun things that were going on. Our awesome friends let us borrow their jumping castle, complete with a slide and everything! Avery loved it! (so did everyone else :)

Avery's sand/water table (sand-only today!) was a gift from his Grandpa & Grandma Wachsmuth and was a huge hit at the party! This was Avery's first experience with sand and although most of it found its way out of the box, thankfully none ended up in his mouth!

This was the surprise favorite at the party - the 'Water Blob' made out of a sheet of thick plastic, a roll of Gorilla Tape, and water! (tutorial here) A big thanks to my brother, Josh, for taking on this project the morning of the party! What fun it was!!

It was such an amazing day - we are so blessed to have so many awesome people in our life that love and care for our little Avery so much :)
Our sweet baby boy, the One-Year-Old!

Oh, I almost forgot! I've been working on a little sewing project for the past few weeks too! We got Avery a circus tent for his birthday (from Ikea) and to go with the theme, I made some pouf cushions and a cloth ball for Avery to make the inside of the tent more comfy :) I used this tutorial for the poufs and this tutorial for the ball. The poufs were SO FUN to make, I may make more of them in the future! The first one took me a while to figure out, but I finished the second one in TWO naptimes! (I time my projects in terms of how many naptimes they take me ... and TWO is really good!)
 The happy boy lovin' his new playspace!

 There is NOTHING cuter than finding him in here reading books... my heart may burst.
-xoxo-

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Big ONE!

12 Months 
52 Weeks 
365 Days 
8760 Hours 
525,600 Minutes 
31,536,000 Seconds

My baby is one year old today!

This past year has been such a whirlwind. One amazing whirlwind. It's hard to believe that just one year ago, a 9 pound, 6 ounce bundle of precious joy came into our lives and made us the happiest, proudest parents ever. It's equally unbelievable how much he has changed in that time. He is now a walking, babbling, curious little boy sporting 7 teeth, a head of curls and the sweetest personality. Nothing compares to watching that happy, proud face toddling towards me in search of a cuddle :)

He now points at things with one finger, mimics sounds, waves, blows kisses, throws food on the floor, snuggles, climbs the stairs, throws tantrums, gives kisses, falls and gets bruises, smiles <almost> nonstop, giggles, dances like it's going out of style, explores everything, eats dirt, drinks from a sippy cup, still eats like a champ, tries to climb out of the bathtub, 'reads' books to himself, flirts, and is the worlds biggest lover :) 

I'm excited for what year #2 will bring, but I doubt it will be as life-altering as year #1 was. I've never before felt so much love, so much exhaustion, so much joy, frustration, happiness and pride. I am forever changed by this little man and I just can't get enough :)

Although a part of me will miss taking a few minutes out of our Wednesdays to have these little photo shoots, I think this is a good place to put this project to rest - it's getting SO hard to keep this little weasel on his back long enough to snap a few quick pictures (and even then, he usually needs some object to keep him happy :)  Here's a video that I took last month during one of our shoots so you can get an idea of what the process is like 'behind the scenes' ;)
4 minutes, 24 seconds. 
113 photos. 
Mom takes on the role of circus clown.
There should be a girl scout badge for entertaining a baby, smoothing the backdrop and taking photos one-handed all at the same time!
(yes, he does have a vibrating back massager in his mouth at the beginning... he loves feeling it rattle against his teeth :)
Just in case you don't remember, here's the winner:


We are getting REALLY excited for the arrival of family and Avery's little birthday party on Sunday. I'll be back next week with some pictures from the big day! :)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Begins: Road trips!!

This last month, we went on two pretty big adventures! 

The first one took us to St. Louis, MO for a weekend to watch Justin play baseball (directly under the arch!)  We also took in the zoo and a Budweiser tour! 

 
I celebrated my FIRST MOTHERS DAY with my amazing family, waking up in St. Louis and ending the day watching Avery walk across the floor for the first time! Such an amazing day!



The next week, we returned to Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park almost exactly a year after our trip last year, when I was 35 weeks pregnant!




We took in the sights, had dinner with woodland creatures, took a dip in some mountain streams, visited both a moonshine 'holler' AND whiskey distillery, made a couple of short hikes and a 5.5 mile one - Avery LOVED being in the backpack!! He's an adventurer already!

Yay for summer road trips!!  
We've got a couple more pretty exciting ones lined up,
Avery will be taking his first plane ride in July!! :)