Tuesday, October 28, 2014


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

Last week, the boys and I took another solo trip, this time to Scott Air force Base just outside of St. Louis where Justin's sister and her family live. Avery spent the long weekend getting lots of exercise on their trampoline, checking out some big airplanes and spending time with his aunt, cousins, grandma and grandpa! It's so so SO nice to have them all so much closer!

This weekend my brother, Josh, stayed with us which is always such a fun time. Avery is a big fan of his "uncle Gosh" and he had a blast watching tractors, doing yard work and showing off all of his toys. Josh is also one of the very few people Avery will allow to read him bedtime stories so he took full advantage of that :)

**Besides a few too-busy-having-fun-to-stop-to-use-the-potty incidents while we were in St. Louis and when uncle Josh was visiting, Avery is still rockin' the potty! :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cullen: 7 Months

This month, Cullen:
•eats even more foods and now eats twice a day
•takes two naps, times and durations vary
•gets up once, sometimes twice, during the night
•popped out his first (and almost his second!) tooth
•barrel rolls and army crawls wherever he wants to go (and he's fast!)
•started wearing cloth diapers during the day
•enjoys giggle-fests and 'wrestling' matches with his beloved big brother every day
•wears size 12month clothes (and is busting out of some of them...)
•wants to chew on (eat) everything, especially anything made of paper 
•loves to stand - he can't pull himself all the way up yet, but loves to be propped up 
•is a side sleeper 
•is ticklish and loves to be tickled

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Cullen is THE most mild-tempered boy of all time. I'm sure I'll regret putting this in writing when he's 16, but I'm amazed daily at how well he just goes-with-the-flow and doesn't get worked up about much at all. Of course he has his moments and is starting to develop more of an opinion about what he likes/doesn't like. Avery is finding out fast that he can't just grab toys out of his brother's hands like he has in the past and Cullen doesn't hesitate to take what he wants either. 

The last week of this month was a powerhouse one for Cullen. He popped out a tooth and started moving across the room using a series of different techniques (barrel-rolling, army crawling, scooting, push-ups and a variety of other moves that resemble yoga poses :)  all in the same week. (which also happened to be the week Avery started choosing to use the potty regularly - whew!) He took these developmental changes like a champ, the only collateral damage being a few skipped naps and a little extra cuddle time. I'll take it.

I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that this is my second time around but caring for Cullen just seems easier. This doesn't mean my days are easy by any means (far from it), I just have so much less anxiety about having a tiny person around and I know more of what to expect that it is easier to predict what his needs will be. I have Avery to thank for teaching me so much about how to me a mama and I continue to learn new things every day. 

This 'job' challenges me mentally, physically and emotionally like no other experience I've ever had in my life. It's downright hard some days in ways I never would've imagined but it's also the more rewarding than I ever could've dreamed of. I may have more wrinkles than I had 2 years ago, but I also have these two sweet boys to call me mama. 
Total win.

Avery @ 7 months here

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Potty Break
 A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014
I can't pinpoint when it happened but at some point over the last few months my baby became a big boy. A really big boy. He loves getting dirty and picking his nose, he wrestles with everyone/everything, he runs around making blasting sounds with sticks, he eats on a big chair with us at the dinner table, and he wants privacy in the bathroom ("bye mama!" *closes the door in my face*)

Let me start off by saying that beginning this potty training adventure was 100% Avery's decision. Prior to this week, he had gone on the potty twice at random times and after a little prompting (and a fair amount of luck). I didn't get my hopes up but was glad he wasn't intimidated by the potty and knew how to use it.

On Tuesday morning, we had some friends over to play. At one point during their play, Avery's potty trained friend (who is a girl) decided she had to do her business and Avery decided he needed to watch her. A little later, Avery had finished his lunch and ran out of the room to play. About 10 minutes later, he came back into the kitchen pants-less and said, "Mama, poop! See!" Not really knowing what I was going to find, I followed him and to my utter shock found that he had indeed taken himself into the bathroom, removed his pants and diaper and pooped in his little potty - all before I even knew what he was doing!

I want to sing this from the rooftops: 
I haven't changed a dirty toddler diaper since Monday.
Avery has chosen to go #2 on the potty all week! Not only has he done this, but he has done it all by himself without much prompting (and in privacy, of course.) I'm trying not to get too excited because I know he's a long way from being considered 'potty trained' but I think something has clicked and all he needed was to watch his little friend use the potty to say, 'hey, if she can do this, so can I!' (thank you, Sara!!) He's so proud of this new big boy activity and so is his mama.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


"Big Tractor. Whoa."
 A portrait of my Avery, once a week, every week, in 2014

There are some weeks that I can barely pull off a quick snapshot of Avery to use as his weekly portrait and other weeks that I sit and ponder over 3 or 4 photos and I just can't decide. Week 39 was one of these weeks. While Justin was busy at work, Avery, Cullen and I took off on a 8 hour road trip to Wisconsin two weeks ago and spent 8 beautiful days soaking up the sun, the landscape and the many people that we don't get to see nearly enough. 

It was pretty epic. 

I was a bit nervous about how we would all fair being on the road for that long, but I knew the only way to find out would be to try it. I'm happy to say I underestimated what good boys I have; they always surprise me by rising up to a challenge. Avery got a cool new book for the trip and was allowed to have as many snacks and watch as many movies as he wanted. (Avery hasn't really watched many movies, so I pulled out some Disney classics for this trip that he's never seen before- he's been talking about The Fox and the Hound, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen ever since) Cullen got thrown a new toy every 30 minutes or so and napped on and off when he got bored. We only made 3 short stops and had great weather and traffic. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. 

The trip home was equally as awesome until we hit Chicago rush-hour traffic which added over an hour to our trip and Cullen was sick of being stuck in his car seat so he cried the rest of the way home. For 2 hours. So. Much. Crying. It was heartbreaking and I've never been so happy to see our exit in my life.  That said, with only 2 stressful hours out of 17 total, I still consider the trip a success. It's given me lots of travel confidence and I'm already planning our next solo adventure :)

The weather during our week in Wisconsin was so perfect, our last taste of summer before we had to pull out the coats and hats and head to the pumpkin patch:
My goal over the next few weeks is to get a photo of Avery without his sunglasses on. It's tricky because if we're outside (or even inside sometimes), he's got those glasses on - they've become his signature look, but I miss seeing those beautiful eyes!

(I took so many photos in Wisconsin, I'm working on sifting through them to share soon!)