A two-year-old calls me mom. I know! What in the world.

I’ll admit I somehow became one of those people saying I had a “19 month old” or a “22 month old” so I have hereby vowed to no more counting by months since we’ve crossed the two year threshold. I apologize to those who find this utterly annoying. In an ironic twist, I too, find this annoying. Time to LET IT GO.
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1 8 m o n t h s

So listen. I now have an 18 month old. I’ve been a mom for 18 months. A year and a half year old kid calls me mom. 
Hold the phone. 
I’m obviously having a hard time wrapping my head around this.
I try really hard not to lament over time and how quickly all of this goes, but instead focus on the current milestone. The current phase. The current weight of her in my arms (25 pounds if you’re asking). But DANG. I do believe this second year is going by even quicker than the first one did.

As of late, Aven is really becoming her own little person.

She’s still very social and thrives in groups, especially when she knows and loves those people. Her vocabulary has really grown and even if it takes a little while to learn people names, it only takes her a few minutes to learn dog’s names. (Little pet lover.) 

She occasionally throws tantrums now which is super fun. (sarcasm abounds). They usually start if she doesn’t get to go play outside (aka, where she would live if we would let her). She then falls on the floor dramatically and bangs her head on the floor – a move that my little brother used to do so it kind of makes me want to laugh. Just a little. Charlie, did you teach your niece your head bangin’ ways? 

We are encouraging independence as much as possible because it has never been her strong suit. Even when she was too small to notice if I left the room…uh, she noticed. And this many months later she still hates to be by herself. I’ve even resorted to propping a gate up in the doorway of the playroom, just so she’ll play for 5 minutes without me. Any advice on this is welcome 🙂

She’s very routine-oriented, which I would assume is true for most little kids. These days, she’s up at 7-7:30am and eats at the same times we do, with a snack around 4pm. She naps after lunch for 1.5-2 hours, and then its bath and bedtime 7:30-8pm. No more bottles, only milk from sippy cups (this was a big deal for us because girlfriend adored her bottle!)

So although there are always bumps in the road of raising a child, there is also a whole lot of fun going on around here lately. 

Toddlers. Are. Crazy.

{ here are our favorite Aven-isms & pictures since I posted her last update at 14 months: }

If something requires a fist bump – a frequent occurrence in our house – she’ll run from wherever she is to give everyone a fist bump, including the dogs. (Um, adorable).
She dances to all kinds of music but still hearts Taylor Swift the most. Her dancing = her entire body bobbing up and down with a twirl thrown in sometimes.
Knows lots of animal sounds, but my favorite one by far is her whale impression. (there’s a video of it on my instagram from about a month ago)
If we’re driving on a curvy road, I’ll hear “weeeeee……wooooaahhh” from the backseat. 🙂 

Sidewalk chalk is a new favorite pastime. 
“Nak” is her way of saying “snack” and it’s hilarious. Also, she says it 500 times a day.
When we drop her off at the church nursery, she walks down the hall stopping at all the classrooms to wave and say hi to the other kids. (Social butterfly, I tell you).
Obsessed with trains (real ones).

Does a super cute impression of the wind.
Isn’t really into cartoons which I’m happy about, but she does love Elmo. And her Praise Baby DVD comes to the rescue as needed. 
Sticker obsessed and her favorite place to stick them is on my face. Or my floors.

Refuses all bows and hairbands which I’m sure is payback for the headbands I forced on her when she was too little to yank them off. 
Gives eskimo kisses.

Waves at everything, including tree limbs blowing in the wind because obviously they are waving at her and it would be rude to not wave back. (dear Jesus never let this sweetness end).
Is convinced our boxer Hudson is her bestie and she usually plops down next to him on his bed. Like I said on instagram last week, he definitely gets extra crowns in heaven. 

Asks for lotion on her hands and then promptly bends over to lotion her legs. A girl can’t have dry legs. No idea where she learned this. Ahem. 
Carries around my old stuffed panda bear, which is bigger than she is. And then uses him as a pillow.
Loves to FaceTime and gets super hyped when the phone rings. (She knows the Facetime ring is different from the regular ring.)
Favorite toys are those she can push around the house: her lawnmower, stroller, and vacuum, or even a stray chair will do. And nothing makes her laugh like her giant purple ball. It’s the simple things, people.

this was one of her last bottles ever.

{ firsts }
pinkeye-ish illness (never confirmed by Dr. but treated as is).
riding in the “car cart” at grocery store
wearing flip flops
zoo trip
trip to the beach as a toddler (more on that here)

Aven Harper, I love you so! All 18 months of you.

life lately + favorites

Over Aven’s first year, I did monthly updates on her recent milestones, our current routines, & moments I wanted to remember. Rather than continuing to do these monthly, I’ll pop in from time to time when we’ve had some changes in routine or recent updates I want to track and share.

She is now 14 months old, or the simpler and less annoying way of saying it: She is a little over one year old.

Most fun lately for me has been watching her learn new things practically every day and her growing vocabulary. She’s a griper by nature – she always has to be making some sound and communicating in some manner. I’m encouraging her to use the words she does know whenever she can and I make sure to acknowledge quickly so she sees it’s more effective than a gripe or a whine.

Most fun lately for her has been walking! She’s so good at it now and face plants less often which we are all happy about. She is content to just toddle around whatever room I’m in most of the time. Usually carrying some semblance of a purse. Such a GIRL.

headband: Olivia Avenue (this is my current favorite shop for accessories)

Worst moment lately was when she fell off the bed last week. Part of me was all yay, we made it 14 months before a fall off the bed! and the other part of me hurt way more than she probably did. Not only did she fall off with me sitting next to her (you can give me my Parent of the Year award later) but she fell onto her Mamas&Papas Seat that I had just set down next to the bed. It was pitiful and scared her half to death. I called my firefighter/EMT father and my pediatric nurse friend and we all concluded that she would, in fact, survive.

Signs: more, eat/food, please, bath, diaper (just points at diaper repeatedly).

New words: Toe (but she says “no”), up, down, turtle (says “tuh-tull” – so presh), eye, bracelet (sort of), hot, night night, owl, hoot hoot, ribbit (it’s really just a growl sound whenever you say frog), moo.

Clothing: She is wearing mostly 18 months clothes now, with a few exceptions. (P.S. moms with girls – Target is killing it right now with adorable spring and summer clothes. I always watch for mobile coupons and/or Cartwheel deals.)

headscarf: Lemons and Lace (fun fact: I named the one she is wearing! It’s called Magnolia Mae & it’s one of my favorite headbands ever.)

Teeth: getting 2 top molars and 1 bottom molar. These are taking their sweet time coming in which I feel like has been easier for her to tolerate. This banana toothbrush doubles as a teether in our house. It’s really pliable and the bristles feel good on her gums.

Routine/Food: She is still taking three full (8-9 oz) bottles per day, along with one 4 oz bottle just before bed (mostly for soothing/routine purposes). She practically hyperventilates when she sees a bottle warming up so I’m not in a big hurry to get rid of them yet. She eats a bowl of oatmeal every morning and LOVES it. Finger foods and snacks include crackers, cheese, granola bars, rice cakes, puffs, cheerios, fruit, yogurt, & bread, along with water (no juice yet). We still do at least one jar of baby food per day (usually something with meat). 

We have been using these new Baby Bjorn bibs and bowls for mealtime and they’ve made our lives so much easier. I really wish I had these back when we first started solid foods! The Soft Bib has a clasp-type closure so even my girl who typically rips bibs off in two seconds can’t figure this one out. Since Aven is feeding herself, my floors (and dogs) see an absurd amount of crumbs after each meal, but this BB bib has a spill pocket along the bottom to catch all the mess. I’m pretty thrilled about not having to clean outfits, highchair seats, AND floors after each meal. That is a huge deal. RIGHT? (Although I’m pretty sure my dogs are wishing the crumb catching bib would just disappear completely.) The BB Plate is clover-shaped and really deep which keeps the food contained and easier for them to scoop out on their own.

(P.S., these would make a great gift set for a baby shower or even a first birthday!)

Sleep: I hesitate to type this, but she has been sleeping through the night consistently for a while now. Nearly 12 hours. (Someone tell me why I still don’t feel rested?!)

Other fun//funny//firsts:
fist bumps.
first ponytail.
completely weaned from nursing. (will detail more about this in a later post)
can climb up onto our futon by herself.
obsessed with her toes. (She kisses them all the time, photographic evidence below).

first bang trim (wahhh I didn’t want to but I had to).
knows how to knock on a door.
first time at the park (made friends with some older kids, because of course. She’s the extrovert I never wanted to be.)

Lastly, we had an amazing Easter celebrating our risen Savior! Aven was tiny last year – only about two months old – and actually had her first sickness over the Easter holiday. This year was so fun teaching her how to hunt eggs, and even though she isn’t a fan of the grass (like I said, such a GIRL), she did enjoy carrying her basket around. I can’t wait for the coming years when we’ll get to teach her about why Easter is so special and meaningful. 

Happy spring, everybody!!

Disclaimer: I received the Baby Bjorn products for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. All opinions are my own. 


I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now, but my kid is ONE. I have a one year old. I’ve been a mom for 12 months. WHAT.

Funny how all the stereotypical parental sayings are turning out to be one-hundred percent accurate.
“They just grow up so fast.”
“Parenting is the toughest job there is.”
“It’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”
ALL TRUE. I guess that’s why people say them. Because they’re true.

This first birthday has created a strange mixture of feelings inside me. Disbelief/happiness/sentimental to the max/pride/joy/compulsive need to remember everything and take note of all the ways she’s still little. But mostly, happiness. 

There are times when I think, how can it be a year already? Weren’t we just taking our last drive as a twosome to the hospital to meet this baby? Then on other days it feels like she’s always, always been a part of our lives, and how can it possibly be only one year? It’s definitely bittersweet. I’m purposely making a point to not describe it as “sad.” Being present in the life of my growing, happy, healthy child is nothing to be sad about. (Thank you Kelle Hampton at Enjoying the Small Things blog for this post that opened my eyes to seeing my baby’s growth in a whole new, contended kind of light.)

I still wake up surprised that this is my gloriously messy life. Constant exhaustion from the job that never ends. The job that I never, ever want to end because there’s a perpetual ray of bright joy pushing through the dark clouds that can easily creep into motherhood.

Becoming a parent is a lot like getting married. Anticipation, nerves, excitement, and ignorant bliss prelude the big day. Even when people tell you of the highs and lows you’re about to experience – you can’t know until you’re all in. I was UTTERLY unaware of how utterly UNPREPARED I was for motherhood. For this challenge – it has stretched me in every way possible. For this love – it’s so extravagant. For this girl – oh, this girl. Every bit of this past year has exceeded my expectations and I’m grateful I’ve been called to motherhood. What a gift.

kissing her monkey. I die.

She refuses to lay down for these pictures anymore. So….this is what I’ve got.

Nicknames: Wildflower girl. Ave. Avie. Baby girl. Bird.
Eye Color: Still blue as can be!
Hair: blonde….getting in her eyes in the front. Don’t make me trim it.
Who does she look like? Me, from what people say.
Weight/Height: 20 lbs / height- will update after her Ped visit this week
Clothing: some 12 months still fit, but mostly 18 months (!)
Diapers: size 4
Favorite toys: Activity Table, big Legos, a barn that has a door she likes to open and close and stuff other toys inside of.
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: Up by 7am. 
Eats solids 3x/day. A bottle (transitioning completely to whole milk now) 5x/day. (I still nurse in the am and pm, but will be cutting that out soon as well.)
Bath at 7:30pm. In bed by 8:30pm.
Nighttime sleep: sleeping good through the night but waking up early (6ish)
Teething?: not currently
New Words
“thank you” (sounds like “daaadoo”)
“gone” (says this one alllll the time. after finishing every bite. after throwing each toy into the floor)
“uh oh” 
Loving lately: always so obsessed with our dogs!
Hating lately: being confined in any way. Girlfriend wants to explore.
Walking? Not yet – soooo close though!
Milestones & New Discoveries:
standing by herself
first tastes of cake and sugar!
feeding herself (some)
drinking whole milk
first aquarium experience
can sign “bath”

Here’s one thing I need to know, though. CAN I STILL CALL HER A BABY? I mean, I know she’ll always be my baby, but I need to know when it’s no longer socially and developmentally acceptable to call her a baby. She can stand up on her own and is half as long as me when I hold her. But she’s still a baby for now…..right? Just say yes.

And here’s a recap of her first year in monthly pictures! 

To my little wildflower girl, I love you more than anything. I kinda wish there was a word bigger than love that I could give you, but it’ll have to do. 

{I had to revisit her birth story, probably something I’ll do every year in some capacity. If you’d like to read it, click

11 months! {update}

So, on Tuesday I was at work and wrote “1/6/2015” at the top of my first patient worksheet for the day. It hit me. She’s 11 months old. ELEVEN. You guys, that’s only four weeks from being one year old. 

Someone hold me.

These pictures were made possible by Puffs. I literally had to bribe her to get any decent ones. 

She’s decided it’s more fun to take the headbands off now. She’s becoming a bit more mischievous and really keeping us on our toes.

As of now, I’m not planning to do these monthly updates after she turns one, but I may change my mind. I love being able to revisit when she did what, and to relive all the milestone moments from her first year. I may just do an update every few months or so. We’ll see how it goes.

This past month included her first Christmas
Our first Christmas as parents. 

Even though she’s too little to understand, it was really magical and just made the holidays even more joyful than they already are.

{ we have a pic in this very same spot last year….only I was hugely pregnant with this little babe still in my belly. }

This was her holiday outfit for my family’s Christmas party and meeting Santa. Could you die???
(Everything consignment except the pink leggings and the Owen and Abi skirt.)

She met Santa for the first time! And by that I mean, she was strategically placed on his lap without ever making eye contact with him, because that seemed to be the safest bet. She didn’t seem especially happy or excited about it BUT there were no tears, no pulling of beards, and no shrieking screams. So I’m calling that a win all around.

We picked out a Christmas tree at the tree farm as a family. 

Went something like this: Drive up to desolate tree farm halfway through December. Spot a tree in the middle of a clearing. Determine it’s about 95% perfect (!). Decide you will literally cut anyone if they try to take the tree first. Hubby chops down tree (super impressive) and throws it in the back of the truck. Drive home and then let 95%-perfect-tree sit undecorated in the house for a week. OH WELL. What’s important is we got a tree, people. And it was decorated exactly one week prior to Christmas. So again, calling that one a win. Also, Aven didn’t try to destroy the ornaments which I was totally betting on.

Girlfriend loves some Christmas lights. Whenever the tree is lit up, she points to it and does a little high pitched squeal with this surprised/excited/overjoyed look on her face. So cute. We went to an outdoor light event in our city that was pretty spectacular, and she was enamored.

It was soo cold. She kept putting her hands up to Brandon’s mouth for him to warm them up. 

We had a little photo booth set up at one of our family Christmas parties. Here’s what Aven thought about it:

Obviously thrilled.

Nicknames: Baby bird. Ave. Brandon always calls her Babygirl.
Eye Color: blue 
Hair: getting much longer and the rat tail is officially GONE. Moment of silence for the rat tail.
Who does she look like? more me lately….I think.

Weight/Height: no update on this til next month’s dr appt.
Clothing: 12-18 months in most stuff.
Diapers: size 4
Favorite toys: anything that plays music and her baby “walker” that she can stand up and play with.
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: Up by 7 am every day (could set a clock by this girl). 
Breastmilk every 3-4 hours (6 oz, or as close as I can get…we are nearing the end of nursing).
Solid foods 3 times/day. She is loving yogurt right now.
Usually 2 naps/day, with the morning one being the longest and most important.
Bedtime around 9:00. (starting to move this up a little each night).
Nighttime sleep: she’s been sleeping like such a champ lately which I couldn’t be happier about. But since it’s something that changes monthly, I never let myself get TOO used to it.
Teething?: not currently
New Words: MAMA (WOHOOOOO!!!)
MORE (kinda – she tries to say it when she signs it)
GONE GONE (sounds like “go go”)
Loving lately: Me. She’s been so clingy with me recently. I’m not complaining though, since it probably won’t last.
Hating lately: wearing socks/headbands/hats. 
Being left alone to play

no more rat tail. 

New Discoveries/Milestones: 
Pulling up on everything
Blowing kisses
Standing with little help
Sign language (“more”)
First busted lip. Was bound to happen with all of this pulling up and standing business.

These are my new favorite things from this past month:
– Blowing kisses and waving with major enthusiasm every time we tell someone bye. (I die).
– The scrunch face + fake laugh she does whenever anyone laughs about anything in her presence.
– Giving random kisses out to inanimate objects (i.e., her gloworm toy and she also kissed her new pj’s that have a ballerina on them. SO precious.) 
– The sock monkey pants from Aunt Shelby.
– Watching her do sign language (she picked up “more” super quick).
– Dancing anytime anywhere when she hears even the faintest music playing.

Well I’m off to order ffirst birthday party invites. And I’m gonna be a big girl about it and not cry.

Happy 11 months to our little baby bird!

10 months old! {update}

Our girl is edging her way to her first birthday….she’s T E N months old. Double digits! 

Lots of fun is coming with the holidays and I’m even more excited to experience it this year with her. We’ve already seen a couple of decorated Christmas trees and she is completely enamored. I can’t wait to put ours up and see what kind of craziness ensues with her trying to pull the ornaments off and eat all the little leaf bits that will litter the floor. (Yes, it’s December 9th and we still have no tree. I had great intentions this year but it just hasn’t gone according to plan!) 

Best outtake from this month’s photo session….
She is such a mild mannered child. HA.
This is real life, you guys. The “10” on the chalkboard is rubbed off because she rolled around on it. The lint roller in the bottom right is there because that’s what I was using to make her smile….she was holding it but then decided she would throw it. She has spunk, spirit, and a mind of her own for sure. I’ve heard people say that means she’ll do great things one day. 🙂

Nicknames: Little bird. Boo boo.
Eye Color: blue, kind of a smokey blue.
Hair: blond. Her little rat tail is barely hanging on! Just a few little wispy strands left. 😦
Who does she look like? both of us.

Weight/Height: 19.6 lbs (66%) and 29″ long (91%) 
Clothing: She can wear 12 month tops and sleepers but pants really need to be 18 month to be long enough. #legsfordays
Diapers: size 4
Favorite toys: she is much more content with toddler toys now. She’s over all her baby toys! 
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: Up by 7 am every day, but usually earlier, like 6:30, especially if I have to work. Breastmilk every 3 – 3.5 hours. Baby food/oatmeal 2-3 times a day. Bedtime around 9:15. 
Nighttime sleep: We had a rough go for a while because when she was sick she would only sleep on me or next to me. But after about a week, she is getting back into her normal routine. When/if she wakes up in the middle of the night she wants me to pretty much just watch her sleep and has some type of radar for when I leave the room. I’m considering finding a cardboard cutout to stand over her crib so I don’t have to. 🙂  
Teething?: Another bottom one came in this past month, so that makes 3 on bottom / 4 on top!
New Words: No new ones this month! STILL has not said “mama” – what tha heck.

New Discoveries/Milestones: 
REAL crawling
Pulling up on furniture
Big bath instead of the infant tub
Sippy cups, especially the ones with straws
Waving when we say hey/bye
The “face” (see pictures below)
Voluntarily giving kisses out (even gave one to a little boy in the church nursery! OH MY.)

the face”
A new facial expression emerged this month that is still hilarious every time she does it and I wouldn’t mind if it never stops. She also does it every time I tell her “no” – I guess she knows it cracks me up. Pretty sure my younger brother started it, so thanks Charlie! 🙂


Worst moment this past month
She had a high fever (101-103) starting the weekend before Thanksgiving but her temperament was great; she was acting totally normal. Finally took her to the pediatrician two days before Thanksgiving. Her doctor said it was either a respiratory virus or less likely, a UTI. After getting back home and constant pitiful crying from her unless she was asleep I took her back. Something wasn’t right. They ended up doing a catheter to get a urine sample to check for a UTI, aka a HIGHLY TRAUMATIC experience for both of us. And of course, it was negative. She was 100% fine the next day. (Typical).

Literally nothing got done around my house those few days. I just held my sick little baby.

First Thanksgiving!

matching, because why not?
Her vest – H&M
My vest – Target

Month in pictures:

Look at all those teeth!

Sippy cup pro

What’s left of the rat tail (sad!!)

A little fox sighting at Mimi’s office
She looks like this a lot of the time – one sock on, one sock off. I also used to do this as a baby!

 Lots of fun and entertainment in this $0.59 ball from Jess and Luke! Who knew?!

Cockatoo / Cindy Lou Who hair

Sleeping in our bed when she was sick.

Loves being tickled!

“Hey Hudson!”
Crawling everryyyywherrreee

 Sporting her beanie

In her big girl car seat!

Squeaky clean!
Looking exactly like her daddy here.

 Love this scrunched up face she makes

Happy happy 10 months, baby. 
YOU are my favorite.
9 month update here.

9 month update

She’s 9 months old! (What!?)

(As per usual, this update is a few days late.)

She’s a quick learner, very observant, talkative, emotional, a busy body, girly, funny, and growing so fast!

{Bow: Alexandra Rose Handmade}

The gorgeous quilt in the background of those first photos was made by a sweet friend of mine who is SO talented. I could not be happier with how it turned out. I’m so thrilled to see this quilt be used and loved and treasured by Aven over the years. Thank you, Adrienne!

Nicknames: Bird. Ave. Baby girl. Boo.
Eye Color: blue 
Hair: sticks up all over. The rat tail is slowly fading away. (sad!)
Who does she look like? both mommy and daddy

Weight/Height: 19.3 lbs (66%) and 29″ long (91%)
Clothing: some 9 months, but also a lot of 12 month. I even put some 18 month pants on her the other day and they fit perfectly (!)
Diapers: size 4, hah.
Favorite toys: board books, cups, sippy cup, stuff from the kitchen
Crib or Parents’ Room: crib
Food/Routine: Up by 7 am every day. Breastmilk (every 3 hours); oatmeal cereal (1x/day); baby food (1 or 2x/day). Usually a morning and an afternoon nap. We still do a bath every night but only use soap every other night. 
Nighttime sleep: Better. She has been sleeping all night and sometimes just waking up early (around 6am). Some days I feed her and put her back down, other days I keep her up depending on our schedule for that day.
Teething?: No new ones, so still just 6. 
New Words: “Go” (I say this to the dogs when I let them outside); “Hey”

New Discoveries/Milestones: 
Army crawling
Dancing (bounces arms up and down)
Leaning in for kisses, sometimes open mouth 🙂
Claps when you say “yay” or “patty cake”
High fives
Puffs snacks
Her shrieking/screaming voice has been found – and we are trying to make it GO AWAY. 

I couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted A to be for Halloween this year, until I saw this pic my mom snapped one day while babysitting (her hair is not really this dark, but it IS this crazy)

 A couple of coworkers suggested an 80s baby and it could. not. be more perfect.

 I still can’t believe I found this gem at a consignment shop – hot pink, gold lame’, neon hearts, stars, cut outs…it practically screamed 80s at me from the rack it was hanging on. And I’m also pretty positive it was hanging on that rack since about 1989. Just waiting on me all these years. #fate

I snagged everything in this outfit either from consignment or something we already had, only the headband I bought I new. The wrist sweat bands and leg warmers were old socks that I cut up. So this is definitely an affordable idea for a baby costume!
Halloween ended up being cold and windy – boo (had to say it) – so she was bundled up in a blanket for most of our church’s fall festival. I took some pics of her at home so she could show off her outfit. 🙂

 You guys – does it not look like she’s stretching before her work out in these pictures?! Future model status.

This Johnny Jumper (also from consignment) has been a LIFE SAVER lately. She freakin loves this thing and it’s the ideal distraction for while I’m cooking dinner. It’s also easy to pack up and take with us to whoever is watching her for the day. 

Favorites from this past month…

 (photo credit “Aunt” Shelby)

Your daddy and I love you more every day, Aven!

{8 month update here}