Friday, August 29, 2014


Beach Bliss
A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014
Last week we spent a few blissful days vacationing on the southern shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan City, IN. We rented a little house on the beach, left our computers and cell phones at home and spent time doing nothing but being together as a family. Just the four of us. Only 2 hours from home and it felt like paradise.

The day we arrived, we unloaded the car and headed straight to the beach. Avery's reaction to our new surroundings was absolutely magical. While walking the footpath from the house to the water, he stopped every five feet to fall in the sand and roll around belly laughing like he'd never been so happy to be anywhere in his life. Once we (finally) made it to the shore, we spent twenty whole minutes watching Avery run around squealing and laughing like the happiest two-year-old that ever lived. In turn, we were the happiest parents on the planet. It was one of those moments that I know will live in my memory forever. 

Linking up here

Thursday, August 21, 2014


A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014
Our little family just returned from a heavenly getaway to the lake and are enjoying a bit of a 'stay-cation' here at home for the rest of the weekend. I will be posting about our trip soon, but wanted to share a few photos of the pit stop we made on our journey north at this perfect little railroad museum in Monon, Indiana. Trains, tractors, rocks and a phone (in a booth!) pretty much sum up everything Avery's dreams are made of :)

Linking up here

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cullen @ 5 Months!

I'm pretty sure Cullen is on track to pass his brother up on the scale. Weighing in at 21 pounds, he's only 8 pounds less than his 2 year old big brother and is currently wearing 9 month clothes (and already busting out of some of those)! I'm thinking he's got to start leveling off one of these days...

This month I've been trying to remember the little things, Cullen's quirks that will likely be replaced by something new next month. Like the way he squishes up his face and dives into my neck when he laughs, the way he kicks excitedly and rubs his eye with his free hand when he's nursing, the way he can go from whining to belly laughing in the same breath, the way he squeals at me when I peek in at him in the morning, the way he tucks his chin[s] in when he concentrates so hard, the way his eyes light up when he makes eye contact, the squeals and those rolls. Oh, those rolls.

Here's a little update on a few of Cullen's favorite things:

Cullen continues to be a very good nurser, although he's pretty distracted these days. He jerks his head around toward every noise he hears and wants to see everything going on around him, so nursing sessions that don't take place in his quiet bedroom are usually pretty short. (Short but efficient!) He's getting so big and so wiggly that I feel like I'm feeding a child much older than 5 months... *sigh* 

Cullen hasn't started eating any solid foods yet, but he does sit up in his high chair with us while we eat now and Avery has been up-graded to a seat on a big chair! 

Since the beginning of the month Cullen has been sleeping in his own crib in his own room. He still sleeps swaddled and with a fan for white noise. I can't for the life of me figure out how to transition out of the swaddle, so he may be sleeping in one until his first birthday!  Avery is a tummy sleeper so once he could roll over, I put him on his tummy to sleep and it's been [pretty] smooth sailing ever since but Cullen wants nothing to do with that tummy-sleeping business... 

Although his sleeping pattern has gotten MUCH better than last month, it's still pretty unpredictable. This last week, there were a few nights that it took me 2-3 hours to get him down to sleep (to stay asleep), but other nights that he was down for the count after only 20 minutes. He will typically sleep a big 6-7 hour stretch only getting up once or twice to nurse but every once in a while we still sometimes spend some long early morning hours awake together (when he thinks that 4 am is play time!) Overall though, my sanity is happy to report that sleeping continues to get progressively better. (After reading back on Avery's 5 month post, apparently Cullen is doing much better than his big brother at this age!)
Most of the time, tummy time is a group activity. Avery loves to roll around on the floor with Cullen and Bella never misses an opportunity to lay her head on the blanket. Cullen LOVES to stare at Bella and works so hard to creep towards her to catch a feel of her soft fur

Cullen's day includes lots of tummy-time, bouncing, sitting up working on his abs, learning lots of tricks from Avery, stroller/bike rides and many miles worth of airplane rides from mom.
Cullen rolls from his tummy to his back all day but isn't interested in rolling from back to tummy yet. He has a very strong core (or maybe it's the solid set of rolls?) and so his preferred position is sitting. In the last week or so he's gotten considerably more stable and can adjust his balance so he doesn't fall over nearly as much :) 

Even more than sitting, Cullen LOVES bouncing in the jumparoo. I think he would bounce in this thing all day if I let him. He's such a happy boy when he's in it and his chunky little legs just go, go, go :)

This boy chews everything. All the time. His toys, his fingers, his toes, his bottom lip. Anything that nears his mouth goes into it. I don't see any teeth popping through anytime soon, but they've got to be working their way up! 

Hugs, kisses, belly-showing-off, and wrestling... so much brotherly love :)

Cullen continues to adore his big brother. As long as Avery is in his line of sight, Cullen is a content boy. His eyes lock on Avery and he laughs at everything he does. (In turn, Avery loves having such a responsive audience - "Cullen, look! Cullen! Cullen! Look, Cullen! CULLEN!" ;) Avery continues to be the sweetest big brother of all time. He makes sure Cullen always has something to chew on, loves to make Cullen laugh and gets really excited when he hears that he is awake from his nap. When Cullen cries, Avery tries to anticipate what he needs: "hungry, mama?" "nap, mama?" 

Avery and Cullen now take baths together! It's pretty cute watching them play and splash around in the water.

We have so many good days and some tough days too, but it is the highlight of my life seeing these two together and watching them grow. I sure am one lucky mama :)

Click here to see Avery @ 5 Months

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Dreaming of sandy beaches
 A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014
 With summer already coming to a close (school starts here on Monday... what?!) we finally booked ourselves a little family vacation to the southern shores of Lake Michigan. We've been getting pretty excited about it and I think all of our talk about the beach has got Avery craving the feeling of sand between his toes. He turned his sand table into a full-body activity this weekend and ended up with sand in every crevice. Our getaway can't come soon enough - we have to get this boy out of the table and onto the beach!!

Monday, August 4, 2014


King of the Fort

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

This week, Justin fulfilled one of his fatherhood dreams and spent many hot hours building Avery his very first tree fort! If you know Justin, you know he doesn't take building things lightly, so he made numerous trips to Menards and then hauled all this wood out to 'the woods' near our house and build this awesome fort - all by himself!

After naptime, he took Avery out to their new hangout and they spent the rest of the afternoon hunting bugs, collecting sticks and spotting Curious George and hippos in the branches above ;)  As if Avery didn't think his daddy walked on water before, he's now reached an even higher level of awesome. I forsee many fond memories being made in this peaceful little spot in the trees!

Seriously, people. Does your heart not grow 3 sizes when you see these two together?!