We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013.
This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.
Went to my midwife yesterday with my girls and got to hear the new baby's heartbeat! Ava was so excited to hear her new brother or sister. She's delighted that mommy has a "new baby in her belly!!!" I always tell her it's because she's been such a great sister to La-la that Jesus decided to give her another baby! She had come with Clara and my mom to my 1st ultrasound a couple of weeks ago. We had an early one to double check how far along I was and see if there was more than one baby. Turns out I'm nearly a week ahead of what I thought (I'm ok with knocking a week off of pregnancy). Oh... and only ONE baby this time (God knows best). I haven't gained any weight yet (actually I've lost a bit, but I think that's because Clara would nurse 24hours a day if she could and my body's under high demand). Amazing I have LOST weight but still gained THIS BUMP at only 12 1/2 weeks! Well... I've learned from the last two pregnancies that my body is the type that gets all excited and can't hold a secret. I look pregnant almost immediately but it balances out towards the end. Shaun hugged me on my birthday and said happily "Your belly's getting bigger!" I smiled and said, "That was exactly what I wanted to hear on my birthday". He meant it in a good way though. He loves the way I look preggo (thank GOD!)
Oh... and can I just tell you how God provides (He SO does)? I was thinking a while ago that I haven't' been out of maternity clothes pretty much since Ava and how mine were getting a little "worn" but I couldn't really see splurging on any new clothes when there were other things that we need first. So Our Lady must've gone to Jesus and said something like, "Son, can we get her some new clothes? She's trying to do your will ...and I think she could use some" Then I received a message from a friend who said a friend of hers (who doesn't know me) was getting rid of her maternity clothes and did I want to go through them? I said yes (half expecting nothing to fit. At 5'11" and pregnant it's hard to fit me) But you know what? They DO! And they're super cute! And in great condition! I'm all excited! Thank you God! So nice that someone up there is into the details.
September 22nd (the vigil of Padre Pio's Feast day) was Ava Marie's 2nd birthday! So exciting right? Part of me literally feels like I just gave birth to her and cannot believe how fast time has gone by and the other part feels like she's been TWO for a while now... or even older.
Her actual "Birth-day" was our "Family Birthday-day", though. A day to quietly and happily celebrate the gift that this child has been to our family. We spent it in a simple way.
When I talked to Shaun about what to do to celebrate her birthday I said,"I want her to feel special and loved" to which he replied, "Don't you do that every day?" and I smiled and said yes, but I want to somehow celebrate the gift of her birth too because we like to celebrate!
We talked as we blew up balloons and quietly decorated her floor with them to surprise her when she woke up. The next morning was a success. She was delighted! She happily brought balloons to our room to share with Mommy and Daddy and gave her blue ones to Mary (our Statue in our room). I told her to keep them away from "La-La" (Clara) as balloons are dangerous for babies and if they pop, babies can choke on them.
She took each balloon and dropped it down the stairs so she could play with them in the living room and had so much fun watching them go down-down-down. Later when she was playing in the living room and Clara was in the pack & play, I heard her say "Uh oh! Uh oh!" as I was getting ready upstairs. I didn't think much of it and when I came down later I noticed a popped pink balloon placed high up on the table. She must've popped the balloon by accident and quickly picked up the pieces to place out of her sister's reach. This is SO Ava. Even at such a young age she's the most thoughtful big sister to Clara, always watching out for her and sharing with her, singing to her, playing with her, kissing her and telling her she loves her.
We took her out for a special breakfast and as waffles are her favorite lately, got her a huge Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. For a two year old, she showed a hearty appetite! She was sure to say "Hello! Howyoudoin?" to almost everyone who walked through the door and greeted many of the kids coming for breakfast with a "Hi Girl." or "Hi Boy." She said please and thank you to the waitresses and made us so proud! What a delight to take out to eat.
After our breakfast we took a nice Sunday drive to let La-La sleep "Sleep sleep baby" Ava would say to her, and Ava kept saying she was going to rest, but only snuggled with her blanket and exclaimed an occaisional "Hi Mommy!" "Hi Daddy" "Iloveyou" from the backseat with some singing thrown in. I love to listen to her sing. I especially love how she's learned so many of the words to the lullabies I sing to her. So sweet to hear it echoed in her little voice.
On our way home we stopped by the local pet store to get her special "birthday gift". She picked out a "purple" betta fish and with Daddy chose the name "Scooby". She gets to feed him every day and watch him swim from the bathtub or while she's practicing on the potty. She loved seeing all the fish and animals at the store.
The girls have both been sick with colds and though their fevers broke we didn't want to overdue it, so we had a relaxing day at home reading books, playing and watching movies. Ava took a nearly FOUR hour nap when we came home and Clara joined me at the grocery store. (rereading this post I realized that we've been struggling on and off with sicknesses with the girls for well over a month now)
Ice cream cake was enjoyed by all after our little toddler blew out her TWO candles and made it official. (I tried to rotate the video but for some reason it's not saving that way)
She sang Happy Birthday to herself ALL.DAY.LONG and even went to sleep shouting out "Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday Ava!" I asked her as I kissed her goodnight if she had a good day and she sighed, "*sigh* Yeah...." with a big smile then while creeping out of her room she said the words that melt my heart "Iloveyou, Mommy."
I love you too sweet baby girl. I love you so much. You are so special to us! After a scare near the end of my first pregnancy, I found myself in the hospital for a total of 10days with preeclampsia and was in critical condition. I don't think any of us really realized how bad it could have been. I was utterly showered with prayers more than I could ever count and am convinced that those prayers gave me the grace to handle my stay with peace and pray from my hospital bed for all the mothers I knew were giving birth around me.
After being induced multiple times to no avail, I should have known that Ava would make her way into this world in her own good time. She came after a challenging labor weighing in at 9lbs 4oz and looking so perfect that everyone was astonished she wasn't a C-section baby. She was flawless. No signs that a preeclamptic baby normally would've had and I'm certain she had been totally preserved in the womb from any harm. She had been consecrated to Our Lady and we said from the beginning she was "Mary's girl" and named her "Ava Marie" in honor of our mother.
She has had a deep love of Jesus and Mary from such an early age. She still carries statues of them around with her all day and constantly is remembering to talk to them, blow them kisses and think of them. She reminds me to pray for faith like a child.
Ava is independent and confident, but loves reassurance, praise and cuddle time too. She always says "sit with you?" or "hold you mommy?" "rock you?" "lay with you?" because she's happiest when being close to Mommy or Daddy. Ava is smart, observant, thoughtful, an amazing "sharer", able to entertain herself, content to stay home all day and live the "simple" life or help mommy go shopping or to the grocery store, she's a wonderful sister to Clara, funny (and she knows it), talkative and all around a joy to be around.
We loved our "quiet day" together and a week later celebrated her birthday more with a "Purple" themed party because purple is by far right now her favorite color.
Here are a few photos of the day's festivities. Thank you to everyone for making it so special for our little girl! (Sorry it took so long to post)
The gift table (with purple tablecloth... she made out like a bandit)
I forgot to take a photo but we did also have a special "book" for Ava. It was purple and the front said "Write a little note or even write a letter to make Ava's 2nd birthday even better". It was passed around the party and has some beautiful words and memories that years from now she'll be able to look back on. I will also glue her photos from her party in it and place it in her "time capsule" bin that we started at her 1st birthday.
(I made this banner using old gift bags from her baby shower that had the color purple in them)
(Purple "tablecloths" were sheets I found at a local thrift shop for $1.50-$3pc)
(Purple fall flowers. Mums and Asters)
(Spray painted a couple of old tables I found at the thrift store but didn't get a chance to paint the chairs before the party)
(Purple utensils, plates and napkins found on clearance and some pretty fall pansies)
and of course... purple balloons
For FOOD some family members brought:
Purple "Blue corn" tortilla chips
I made (with some helpers)
("Purple" peanut butter and jelly triangles)
(American chop suey ...I know it's not purple, but it was inexpensive, made a lot and was really good)
Purple "Wishing Wands"
Purple chocolate drizzled pretzels
Purple Ice cream (Black raspberry)
Purple chocolate cupcakes with some toppers I made to dress them up girly style
(here's a short clip of Ava helping to make them... don't worry... there were a few we "left out" It's a good illustration of how much of a goof she is and just how quickly things "change" around here when I turn my back)
And the beautiful and thoughtful cake made by Nana.
Ava was surrounded by family and friends who joined in the fun and wore purple purple purple to celebrate her special day!
The birthday girl.
Look closely... can you see her "purple hair"?
(note: Ava had picked these two cupcakes off of the tray and was chasing Xander down to give them to him before he left. She already knows that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach)