Sunday, June 29, 2014


Under the weather.
And a pancake.
For the first half of this week, we got to spend some long-awaited time with Justin's sister and brother and their families. Avery was ecstatic to have his cousins around, I've never seen him give so many kisses! 
Unfortunately, toward the end of their stay Avery came down with a little sickness complete with a low-grade fever, cough, runny nose and overall uncomfortable-ness. He took extra-long naps (probably due to his restless nights) and wanted to do little else but cuddle. We spent the remainder of the week/weekend laying low around the house, watching movies and having picnics in the living room. 

Avery's snack of choice while watching The Jungle Book: leftover pancakes. One of the positives of being sick - eating what you want, when and where you want it. :)

Linking up here

Sunday, June 22, 2014


"A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014" 

This last week Avery, Cullen and I tagged along with Justin on a 3-day work trip to Cadillac, Michigan. It ended up being sort of a bust because the weather forced us to spend most of our time in the car or in the hotel room (not so fun with an active toddler and an infant that isn't so fond of his car seat). The day we drove there was beautiful and thankfully we stopped at Warren Dunes State Park on the way for some fun in the sun. It was our first trip of the summer to Lake Michigan and Cullen's first trip ever! Avery loves the beach and by the time we left he had sand in every crevice, was soaked in lake water and worn out. It was a beautiful day.

There's something about the sounds, sights, and smells of a big body of water that just soothes the soul (wading in the waves with a beautiful sleeping baby on your chest doesn't hurt either :)

Avery dug a really big hole with dad, buried himself in it, then walked fully clothed into the lake for a swim!

Cullen spent his first trip to the beach riding around in the sling with mom, taking in this new place until the sound of the waves lulled him to sleep. I could've walked that shoreline all day.
Linking up here

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cullen's 3 Month Close-Up!

Since Cullen was born, he's had a grumpy scowl concerned gaze on his face while he's been awake. I've always just said he takes life very seriously and is set on taking in everything around him. Let's face it- everything about this world is a lot to take in to a little guy (especially with a big, fast, loud brother all up in his face all the time!) Now that Cullen's smiling muscles are working and he smiles and giggles all the time, his face totally transforms and lights up a room. I had a great time taking these photos and while I was shooting he gave me plenty of smiles and laughs but I wanted to be sure to capture Cullen's 'signature look' as well - I think they're both equally adorable :)  This little man has so much personality already!
It's only a matter of time before these gray eyes turn brown!
And because I love to look back and remember what Avery was like at this age, here's a couple of comparison photos (it's totally a coincidence that they are posed almost exactly the same!)
Avery on the left, Cullen on the right - both at 3 months
And of course a photo shoot isn't complete without a few brother shots - Avery continues to adore his little brother and Cullen loves to watch and smile at everything big brother does. I can't get enough of these two!!
I'm still in awe of the fact that I got this shot.
Sometimes the stars align and the shutter clicks all at the perfect moment.

My heart runneth over.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


That giggle.
"A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014" 

Summertime has been getting the best of us lately (in a good way!) and since we've been having so much fun, I've been taking more photos than I can keep up with. I have yet to sift through pictures from Avery's birthday party (which was already two weeks ago!), we've had some fun with family visitors, and last week I did a quick '3 month' photo shoot with Cullen that I can't wait to share. Of course Avery had to get in on the action, giving me lots of priceless shots of the two brothers together and lots of giggles from my usually camera-shy big boy. I can't look at this photo and not hear his contagious little giggle.

...and by accident we discovered Avery's favorite show of all time.
Here's a little preview:

Linking up here

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cullen @ 3 Months!

Three months. Our fourth trimester is over and although I should remember how fast these first few months go, I'm still in awe of the fact that this little baby is so... big! I feel like I'm weight training all day carrying him around and every morning when I peer in at him I swear to you he's a different child; bigger and more aware all the time. He has traded in his worried scowl for a magical little smile that brightens my life daily. (Ok, so he does still look worried sometimes, mainly when he's trying to focus on his 100-miles-a-minute big brother) Cullen fits into our life so perfectly it's hard to imagine our family without him.
Behind the Scenes...
Avery continues to insist on being a part of Cullen's photo shoots. Even after I take 20 photos of Avery alone and 20 more of Avery with Cullen, he has a hard time stepping back so I can take Cullen's photo alone. To spite me, he has to have some sort of his body visible in the picture. (a finger, feet, hair) When I do finally get Avery out of the frame, he gets upset/jealous and starts to scream which in turn makes poor Cullen cry too. Maybe next week I'll capture it on video, it's quite the circus.

Here's what Cullen has been up to this month:

He prefers to be held facing out so he can see what's going on around him. Gone are the days of my snugly newborn being content lying on my chest...
Although he doesn't spend as much time in it as he used to (mainly because he can't see out like he wants to) he will still occasionally ride around in the sling when we go on short walks. It almost always lulls him right to sleep.

On May 30, Cullen woke up with a clear left eye, which means both of his tear ducts are open and working normally - his eyes seem so much bigger and brighter now!

He wears 6 month size clothes

He took his first inter-state trip to visit LOTS of family in Wisconsin! Although he isn't a huge fan of his carseat, he did a pretty good job being stuck in there for 8 hours. He did exceptionally well on the trip home, 

which ended up taking 15 hours and included a 'layover' in an interstate oasis for 2 hours (where he napped like a champ while I carried him around in his seat, nursed while I stood in a family bathroom, and was totally content people-watching while we walked around) and a short stay in a hotel room while we ate pizza and watched 'The Sandlot' on TV. It's a good that the nightmare of living it is over :)

Cullen started taking naps in his own crib! He looks so tiny on his great big mattress and he sleeps so soundly in his own room. He's become pretty predictable: he usually takes a short morning nap, a big nap when Avery takes his (usually 2.5+ hours!) and another short afternoon nap before dinner. He
still sleeps swaddled (although he manages to work his arms out like a Houdini) and likes to nap on his side so I put a rolled-up quilt behind him. He is really becoming a good sleeper :)

The week of June 2-8, Cullen had a textbook growth spurt. Nursing constantly, uncharacteristic fussiness and lots of quality time spent with me in the rocker during the night. Just this week, he's (thankfully) gotten back to taking great naps and sleeping longer stretches at night. (6-7 hour stretches!)

The best picture I got of these two coordinating cuties at Avery's 2nd birthday party (Cullen kept this outfit clean for about 10 minutes before blowing out of his diaper... Sorry, Susan ;)

When he's hungry (and even if he's not) he tries to stick his whole hand whole arm in his mouth

Avery continues to be the best big brother of all time. Cullen loves to watch everything he does rewards him with lots of smiles :)

Cullen's hair continues to be pretty red, but has thinned out drastically. He now has a bald spot on the back of his head and random patches of long hair (along the nape of his neck and on top of his head) so it makes for an interesting look :)

He's finally starting to grow into his cheeks :)  (I'm such a sucker for chubby cheeks!)

Cullen loves tummy time... for about 10 minutes, then he's ready to give his shoulders a break from holding up his heavy head!  He has great head control and doesn't really need much support anymore, which makes him look extra-big when he's sitting on my lap.

Sweetest baby of all time? I think so. :)
 Click here to revisit Avery's 3 month post

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Birthday Boy!
"A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014" 
Last Friday my baby boy became a two-year-old and on Saturday, we celebrated with a backyard birthday party with some of our closest friends and family. Avery had the best time playing with his buddies and eating his fill of fruit, cheese, and cupcakes. He sure is one happy boy and watching him run and jump and play all day makes my heart smile. I'm so excited to see what adventures this next year brings for my sweet boy.

Linking up here

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Two years ago, Justin and I became parents to the sweetest little angel I'd ever set my eyes upon. Just like that, this boy made me a mother and for that he will always hold a special place inside my heart. My Avery Michael. 

Avery is, without a doubt, the sweetest, most kind-and-gentle-hearted little boy I've ever known. This doesn't mean he doesn't have his fair share of daily tantrums and evil glares (he's got a wicked mean glare), but his heart is solid gold and he never fails to make me proud when I watch him interact with his little peers.

He surprises me with something every day. Some new word, phrase, facial expression or piece of knowledge. He is so sweet, so smart, so funny and I'm head over heels for this two year old.

A glimpse of what Avery is all about as he begins his third year:
He's rapidly learning the alphabet. He knows segments of the tune and can recognize about two-thirds of the letters.

He knows what 'same' and 'different' mean and is so proud to point out examples.

Not a day goes by that Avery doesn't either come up to me with puckered lips and ask, "kiss?" or just randomly walks up and plants one on. He seems to know when his mama's rope is fraying and that a simple kiss is what it takes to save her from losing her mind :)

18 seems to be his favorite number. "One, Two, Three, Eighteen, Eighteen, Eighteen, EIGHTEEN!"

"Mama, this?" -what he asks when he wants to know what something is or what it means. He is SO curious and always learning. This is my FAVORITE part of having a fresh two-year-old.

He begs to dance in the kitchen. He would like nothing more than to dance all day if his mama could keep spinning and spinning without feeling nauseous. It's in these moments that I just squeeze him and wish that I could keep him as this sweet, innocent little person forever.
Avery continues to be a rockstar eater. He is always willing to try new things and there are very few foods that he dislikes. Breakfast is his best meal of the day - he usually eats more than I do! (unfortunately though, dinnertime lately often includes food spitting and blowing bubbles in his milk. Let's hope it's a fleeting phase;)

After going through a 'hate bath' phase, he now loves it once again and is happy to swim and play with letter shapes until we make him get out. He is SO proud to show off how he can lay flat on his back, on his tummy, put both of his ears in and even his face!

Avery LOVES to have his own picture taken when I take Cullen's weekly photo. It's even gotten to the point where he insists that I take his picture first! (and I usually have to bribe him with something to get him out of the frame so I can take some shots of Cullen alone)

He LOVES to wear sunglasses. He won't go outside in the sunshine without them and keeps them on most of the day, inside and out.

Cows continue to be his favorite animal. He's a lover of all animals, but cows get the most energetic response (and usually a hug). "Mooo!" 

Avery loves to pretend (yay!). Pretend eat, pretend sleep, pretend fix things, pretend clean, pretend drive things, pretend to get 'boo-boos'. It's my favorite thing to do, just sit back and watch him pretend in his own little world. 

He's sort of a clean freak. He LOVES to do all kinds of cleaning: sweep, VACCUUM (with his play vaccuum, the real vaccuum, or a golf club), spray and wipe things, dust, empty the dishwasher, wash the dishes, pick up small pieces of lint and take them to the garbage. He has even started pretending to 'pick up Bella's poop' with two golf clubs... what a guy! :)

 He's the best little helper we could ever ask for. He always wants to help, whether it be mowing the lawn, emptying the dishwasher or changing his brother's diaper ("Oh no! Poop!") Even if his 'helping' usually doubles the time it normally would take to complete a task, it's well worth it to have such a willing participant that is so eager to learn.

He LOVE, LOVE, LOVES vehicles. Tractors, cars, trains, trucks, you name it. If it has wheels, it's a hit with Avery. (he's such a boy!)

Dad continues to be Avery's best buddy. He shadows everything his dada does and wants to be at his side the entire time he's at home. It's so sweet to see how he adores Justin, he's truly his hero.

Avery is SO polite! He says please, thank-you, bless you, excuse me, and sorry numerous times every day. (Sorry's are always accompanied by a caress and a kiss) He's such a little gentleman :)

His peanut allergy is pretty much under control. His skin does still break out every now and then, usually on his cheeks, his legs, or under his chin but it comes and goes and I'm not even sure if its his allergy or just sensitive skin. He will be re-tested sometime this summer to hopefully get a better understanding of his allergy.

Now that Avery is 2, I'm excited to start documenting some of the funny/cute things he says. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

"Boobies" = Blueberries, his favorite fruit. Not to be confused with...
"Drinks" = the mama-parts that feed baby Cullen :)
"Fortune!" *with a fist pump in the air* = it's 7:00 and time to watch Wheel of Fortune!
"Cars" = what Avery responds when we ask him what he dreamed about. Always cars. And sometimes "Cookie" (he sleeps a with Cookie Monster toy)
"Awake!" = the genuine excitement he has when he hears Cullen is awake
"Thank you" = the way he says this isn't really in the form of enunciated words, but more like two different mumbled tones.

What a world of difference 2 years makes...
I love you little boy. To the moon and back.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Sumertime, the livin's easy...
"A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014"

This week had summertime written all over it- sunscreen, sweaty curls and dips in the pool. We had a great weekend attending a beautiful wedding on Saturday and celebrating a neighborhood buddy's fourth birthday on Sunday.

Avery outgrew his baby pool from last summer so we upgraded to a new one this week that has a padded bottom (the perfect trick to entice Avery to lie down in it!) I snapped this photo as he kicked back for the first time and he was so proud of himself he gave me some pretty stellar smiles :) With Avery's impending birthday only a few days away, this will be his last photo as a one-year-old! *gasp!*

I haven't had a chance to share many of our photos from our Wisconsin trip last week, but here's a fun video of Avery dunking his face in the bath for the first time EVER, to the roar of his very enthusiastic crowd (sometimes all he needs is an audience to get him to try new things!)
Linking up here