Sunday, December 28, 2008

Verbal Breakthroughs


Since returning from our trip to KY, Avery has had 2 verbal breakthroughs. Firstly, she has never called Quincy, our 6 year old Yellow lab, anything resembling his name. Usually it was "dadoo". She now calls him Princhy. It's really sweet. He doesn't realize she's talking to him, but she says it constantly. This has made us realize she doesn't say c or k sounds yet. So for now he is her princhy.
She also has started saying 2 word phrases which is really neat. She says things like "oskar's shoes", "daddy's socks", "daddy bath", "mommy vacuum (badow)", "orange badow", etc. It's so fun. There is the tiniest of pauses between the words as she strings them together. She also says "byebye ____" to just about anything and everything, Quincy, Oskar, moon, baby, mommy, daddy, elmo. We enjoy her immensely everyday.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Family



Avery Lucia Elliott Mazie


Grandpa, NanaLin, Auntie K and me


Pretty Ladies: Amy with her neices S (9) and S (7)



Me, Auntie K, Chris and Amy trying to recreate a Christmas photo of the 4 of us from 1978

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa







Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Grandpa and NanLin's House



Christmas in Kentucky

We flew to Kentucky the Tuesday before Christmas to be with my dad, his wife, her kids and grandkids and my sister and her family for the holiday. The flight was easy, we got in early around 2 pm. My dad picked us up at the airport, a decision he will long regret. By the time we reached the car it was raining and the streets were just getting iced over. It was 32 degrees. We immediately drove to a Kmart to pick up a new carseat as the one my dad had been kind enough to borrow for us was a little to rickety for what turned out to be the most dangerous day to be on the roads in Kentucky.

Traffic was insane. There were accidents everywhere on streets, highways, salt trucks shutting down stretches of roads to lay ice who then crashed and shut down stretches of road while they were towed away. It was soooo frustrating. We spent several hours driving very slowly and several other hours standing still. We were thankfully able to get a subway sandwich early on in the debacle and later on we were able to stop at a grocery to get food/milk for Avery and to stop at a Bob Evans for supper. Everytime it seemed the traffic situation couldn't get worse, it would. At midnight we made the split second decision to take a small country road to try to get to the small town where my dad lives. It thankfully started to rain harder and the temperature warmed up to 37 degrees so that road was not too icy. My dad did a great job driving in these less than desirable conditions. Avery was such a trooper, she had a couple of meltdowns, the worst of which came at midnight when she woke up after a 90 minute nap to find us STILL in the car. She calmed thanks to the MacBookPro that we quickly yanked out to play music and a slideshow. We arrived at the hotel at 12:45 AM. 10 hrs after we left the airport. Thankfully we were all safe, we had been fed. There were a lot of people who suffered loss that day due to the ice storm and we are fortunate that all we lost was a little patience.

All the above pictures represent why that 10 hr car ride was well worth it. We had a great time with Grandpa (or as Avery calls him Papa, when he's not trying to scare her with his deep scary voice) and NanaLin. They had everything ready for 4 babies descending on their house. Highchairs from their local country club, pack and plays for all the babies, food galore and presents aplenty.
Aunties K and B and the triplets fortunately missed the ice storm as they came from the south. We enjoyed every minute with the cousins. They are all a joy. NanaLin's daughter Amy and her husband Bill spent Christmas day with us and her son Chris, his wife Dana and their sweet daughters joined us the day after Christmas. There was an open house where Grandpa and NanaLin's friends came to see all 6 grandchildren. It was a very nice party. Avery slept through half the party but enjoyed the later part of it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Disneyland

I had forgotten how much fun Dumbo can be!

December 4th my dear friend Deirdre (Ella and Charlotte's mom) and Avery and I went to Disneyland. It was Avery's 1st trip to the Magic Kingdom. Living in southern California, it is a rite of passage for all toddlers to venture into the world of characters, princesses, rides and crowds. Charlotte was just 8 weeks when she first had the privilege. I managed to hold off for 16.5 months. Avery really enjoyed it. We got to go on a few rides, stroll around in an attempt at naps (failed for Avery, the other 2 were great stroller nappers), watch a parade and see it "snow". It was a wonderful day spent with our friends. Here are a few pictures.

We all rode the carousel together. Avery was afraid at first, then had a great time.



We got to ride the newly refurbished It's A Small World. It was all decked out for the holidays and Avery loved looking around at everything.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sixteen Months

Last Sunday, Avery turned 16 months and we were all so fortunate to be together. I wasn't working and we were all healthy. That is a first in the past few weeks so we tried to enjoy our time together. We went to the Farmer's Market with Deirdre, Ella and Charlotte and our neighbors Marisa, Mattias and Oskar. We didn't want to spend too much time outside as several parts of LA were in the midst of a firestorm and the air quality was terrible. On the way home from the market, Avery decided she could now say "Ella!" and proceeded to say it about 50 times that day, long after Ella had gone home. Actually now whenever I take Avery on long car rides anywhere (besides school) she asks for Ella because apparently we usually go on long car rides to see Ella.

Avery showed us at Oskar's how she can climb into a little chair to sit. We had no little chairs at our place, but now we do, thanks LEM:

She is currently infatuated with the moon. As we drove home from work last week she pointed out the window and showed me the moon when I could not find it in the sky (don't worry I was stopped at a red light). I knew she had found it because her incessant "moon? moon?" turned quickly into "moon!! moon!! heehee!". Since the fires we haven't seen the moon again so we have looked in books for moons and it is quite impressive how just about all of our regular reading with her has a moon on at least one page.
When she gives hugs, she will pat your arm or back in a soothing way like we have always done to her.
She likes to point at her belly button and say "button", although it has recently shortened to "butts" and no matter how many times I say button, she won't revert back.
She has started to eat sandwiches which makes her seem very grown up and yesterday at daycare she ate a whole graham cracker as Jon watched in awe (I had never thought to give her graham crackers).
Jon and Avery play a game of who can shout the others name louder, it goes something like, "Avery?", "Dada!", "AVERY!", "DADA!", "AVERY!!!", "DADA!!!" until they both burst out giggling.
We have taken care of my friend at work's Sheltie a couple of times in the past month and Avery LOVES Rally and she doesn't really understand that when Rally goes home she isn't at our house. She is always asking for Rally.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Video & Picture: Oskar (aka Ahshkah)

For a long time now Avery has known that Oskar lives next door, asking for him more and more frequently. She says, "ahshkah?" (sound it out, it's oskar, trust me) when we leave for school at 6 in the morning (oskar is sleeping, maybe we'll see him tomorrow). "Ahshkah?" when we return from school, grocery, a run, anywhere. (maybe we will play with him tonight). We sometimes can hear little footsteps down the hall and a baby knock at the door or jostle of the doorknob because when Oskar gets outside he likes to run on over to see Avery and Quincy. But then we'd get them together and they would have ver y little to do with each other. Well this changed Sunday when I dropped Avery off at Oskar's and ran back home. When I returned, Oskar's parents said that Oskar and Avery had kissed. Then Wednesday night they played together and she would say "Ahshkah" to his face like she finally understood that he was there and she could actually interact with him. With a little prompting from both mommies and Jon, they kissed again. We are so lucky to have Oskar living next door to us, he is such a sweet boy and a joy to be around. He is a big boy but very gentle only occasionally testing his brute strength on Avery. He has big paws like a puppy which is great for us because we now get to use his crocs that he rapidly outgrew.
We had to see him on Wednesday because Thursday he left to go to Chicago to look for a new house because he is probably moving soon. She still asks for him every day and even though she will not remember, my heart will break a little for my maemae when Oskar moves away.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!





Sunday, October 19, 2008

Video: Talking

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lots of Language - 15 months

I have been wanting to post about language development for some time now. Since Avery turned 1 and especially over the past few weeks her ability to communicate has grown rapidly. She started off by saying "hi" back mid-June. This then progressed to words like dada, mama, bubble, bottle, ball. Then lately she is like a new woman saying words like desitin and byebye dada, (ba)nana, apple, hi doggie, up and down (as in "the windows on the bus go up and down"), sh-shh-shh (as in "the mommies on the bus go sh-shh-shh") up above the (to prompt us to sing twinkle twinkle little star), shoes, sit (as in sit quincy!), door, eye, nose, mouth, shoes, Pa, I know (repeating after me as she fusses as I change her diaper and say, I know, I know), deedos (aka cheerios), that, oskar (for her little neighbor friend), more.
My other favorite part of the development has been her use of sign language. For so long I showed her more and all done and one day that clicked so we started teaching other things like milk, hat, banana, shoes, grapes and water. Her adaptation of the sign for water is so cute, I will try to get it on film to show you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Monthly Pictures


This year grandparents day fell on the triplets' birthday. My sister made little books for the grandparents of their monthly cupcake pictures and they turned out so cute. So I decided to look back through our pictures and found monthly pictures that best represent how Avery has grown over the past 14+ months. This is the result.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

These shoes were made for walking




After everyone at daycare besides Avery came down with hand, foot and mouth disease there was one day 2 weeks ago where she was the only "baby" in Infant I. The normal transition age to Infant II is 10-11 months, but there was a major backlog from toddlers on down, so Avery stayed in Infant I until she was 1 week shy of 14 months. She was so over the little babies, she wanted big kid friends to walk and talk with. One of the teachers in Infant I said there had been so much talking and the teachers there aren't used to any baby-talk because the babies usually transition before they really start chattering. Avery and 4 of her closest compadres have just transitioned into Infant II. This is a work in progress, especially since she's been out sick this week, but I digress.

One fun thing about Infant II is they get to go outside and play a couple of times a day. The day when she was the only survivor of HFM, her teacher Alma took her over to the big kid room and she got to go outside. She had to borrow another little girl's shoes because I had never brought shoes there for her. She spent her first 13.5 months barefoot. So we realized she'd need to be getting used to shoes before she really transitioned to the next room. At Avery's birthday party, her little friend Ava had the cutest shoes from Babies R Us, so we set out to find her shoes there and ended up buying the exact same pair of velcro-on, pink flowered, rubber-soled shoes. So cute.

Whenever we would put them on her, she would sit down and touch the shoes and look at them and forget that she knew how to walk. A few days ago, Jon took Avery to the park with Quincy in her new shoes. She sat for a few minutes and he eventually coaxed her to stand and start walking. It's not easy walking in shoes after all this time barefoot. She fell a few times but did not want to stop walking. The very next day, Jon was getting ready to take her and Quincy for a walk and he put his shoes on. She had an epiphone, walked over to her own shoes and picked them up for Daddy to put on her feet. She wore them proudly as they walked down our favorite little neighborhood street. Neighbors came out to see her walking all by herself. This after she has spent the last 14 months in a sling on these walks. When they returned home she refused to take off her shoes. The next morning when she woke up the first thing she pointed to were her shoes. She is in love with her little pink sneakers and in love with the independence of walking down the street or path on her own. She doesn't want to hold a hand, or heaven forbid, be picked up. She is on a mission to walk, walk, walk and we wish her many, many miles and soft, grassy landings.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Twizzlers and Hohos


Just a funny story from our trip home from Alabama, via Memphis, TN. We were lucky to sit next to 2 very kind women on the trip from Memphis to LAX. They tried to entertain Avery when she would be fussy and they were both kind enough to offer her some snacks. I came relatively prepared with milk, water, yogurt, banana, plum and avacado. My co-passengers were not satisfied with this range of sustenance.

The nice woman in the middle seat, let's call her Tulie, bought Twizzlers from the flight attendant. Tulie immediately offered one to Avery. To which I said, "oh thank you so much, but she does not need a twizzler, thank you." It did not end there. A couple of hours later, Tulie wanted some more of her Twizzlers and Avery was fussy and she said "oh I bet a Twizzler would make her happy". I have no doubt that a Twizzler would make her happy, but that doesn't mean she needs one!! Tulie even went so far as to say, "oh she has teeth, so it would be bad if she bit off a piece of a twizzler." Sure, Tulie, believe what you want to believe, that if my 1 year old had no teeth I would have no qualms about giving her pure sugar.

So then window lady, let's call her Janice, breaks out a box of 10 hoho's and says, "would she like a hoho? I bet she would like a hoho". (oh thank you so much, but she's fine, really, thank you though).
What!?!?!? really!?!?!? Do people feed their 1 year olds these things or were these women out of touch with a 1 year old's dietary needs? I am afraid it is the former but hope it is the latter. Surely it's not my issue :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Lucia, Elliott & Mazie

Like herding cats.....

Below are 4 prime examples of how very difficult it is to capture pictures of the 4 cousins. These were the best of the bunch and not one of them is perfect. Never mind that Avery is crying in 3 out of the 4 pictures. The first 2 are toward the end of the triplets' birthday party. The 3rd is one morning in the country and the 4th is of them playing in the kitchen corner. These picture make me realize just how talented my sister is that she got great shots of the triplets together every month of their 1st year. Life is very busy with 4 toddlers around. We had an amazing time.





Colorado with Friends

Jon went to Colorado this past weekend with his 3 best friends from childhood (L to R, Mike, Jon, Alex and Craig). They had a great time doing everything but wrestling bears - enjoying nature, hiking, white water rafting, skeet shooting and mountain biking. Hopefully they can all be together again soon. We were so relieved that Alex made it home for the birth of their new baby girl (by 12 minutes). Congratulations!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

While Daddy's Away...


So just 10 days before Daddy's departure date, I got an urgent call from Auntie Bee saying "Great Grandma Libby is surprising your sister for the triplets' birthday, you have to figure out a way to be here". So while Daddy went to Colorado, Avery and I left just 3 weeks after returning for another trip to see her precious cousins. We had a great time. Grandpa and NanaLin were there and Grancy came with GreatAunt Nita and Libby. The picture above is Avery with Grandpa.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Things Learned

While spending time with her cousins, Avery picked up several new skills. Mazie taught Avery to say "uh-oh" and to stand up without holding on to anything. All 3 triplets taught Avery that indeed she can hold her own bottle now that she's 13 months. With 3 babies to feed my sister did not have the luxury of holding each of them with each bottle, so they learned early on how to hold their own bottles. Avery followed suit, drinking her own first bottle on the way home from the airport when we returned. I will admit this has freed up some precious time in the morning and night. Thanks to our sweet neices and nephew for sharing their skills.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Fun

We recently returned from visiting my sister and her family for a week. Avery had such a great time with her precious cousins. We were so sad to leave. Thanks for a great time, Lucia, Elliott and Mazie! For all the details of our trip, see my sister's blog. She provides a great synopsis of all the fun we had.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Video: First Steps



About 10 days after her 1st birthday Avery started to take tiny steps. This was the first day we caught them on the video camera. Thanks for the cute outfit GG :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moving and Shaking

So Monday Avery took her first steps, finally breaking out from standing and balancing to move one little foot forward. She later put 2 little feet forward before collapsing in exhaustion :) and crawling over to where she wanted to be. We were at the YMCA gym and swim and at the end of the gym class there are great bubbles propelled by an industrial size fan and Avery took her spot in the back of the classroom and watched all the bubbles fly straight toward her. She stood, balancing, enthralled by the goings-on.

Anyway, it is only fitting that the day after she takes the courageous move to take a few steps throughout the day, that Mother Earth decided to shake things up a bit for her. Yesterday at 11:42 Avery got to experience her first real earthquake, a 5.6. Apparently she didn't mind. She was at daycare. They threw 5 babies into an emergency crib and wheeled them outside and all the teachers told me how much she loved it. All the other babies were sitting calmly in the crib and Avery sprawled out in the middle, lying on top of some of her little friends. Then apparently she was standing up in the crib watching all the people outside, it was very exciting. It does now cause me more anxiety than it did before yesterday that her daycare is located underneath a 7 story parking garage!?!?! But I am sure it is up to code.

Here's wishing you all sure-footed days.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Birthday Fun



We have a great little park 3 blocks away where we had Avery's birthday party. We were so lucky to be surrounded by friends and family for this special gathering. The first picture is of Brett pedaling the kids around. Avery needed Jon to help keep her on the seat. Maddie and Anna (and an unknown neighborhood girl) had lots of fun, thanks Brett. The 2nd and 3rd picture are of the hit of the party, the ball tent. Avery spent a good solid hour enjoying the ball tent, actually, all the kids loved it. Our neighbors bought it for their son Oskar (above in the brown shirt) and they were kind enough to let us christen it for the party. The 2nd pic is of Avery and her friend Ava (my college roommate and dear friend Kelly and Joel's daughter). The 3rd pic is Oskar, Avery and Gabriella (another sweet neighbor girl, born 2 days before Avery). The park was lots of fun.

Beets and Chocolate


I got it in my head that since I have made most everything that Avery has eaten thus far, that I would also figure out a way to make pink frosting for Avery's cupcakes without using food coloring. Don't ask me why, I know we all grew up on food coloring and turned out just fine, I guess I am just trying to hold it off for as long as possible. A friend at work and my sister helped me in this endeavor and the final verdict was beet juice. I tried boiling beets and using the pink water, but it wasn't strong enough of a color, so I resorted to canned beet juice added to my variation of the Barefoot Contessa's cream cheese frosting and it came out pretty nicely. I also made the chocolate cupcakes from scratch, a la Joy of Cooking black bottom cupcakes without the cream cheese/chocolate chip filling. I then squeezed them onto a pretty silver platter my grandmother had given us when we got married. I was proud of her 1st birthday "cake".

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Go(gh)ing to the Getty





For Avery's 1st birthday Jon, Avery and I met Grancy at the Getty. I had this desire for her to see her first van Gogh on her first birthday. My favorite room at the Getty is what I call the Impressionist room. There are Monet, Manet, van Gogh's Irises and many others, all in one room. One of my most memorable life experiences was walking into the van Gogh room of paintings in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. I am not often moved by art, but I really felt the power of one man's gift in that experience. I was always intrigued by Vincent, writing essays about him from grade school on. Anyway, above is the tram ride up to the Getty. Above that is Avery and her first van Gogh. Needless to say, the picture does not do the painting justice. She was much more interested in 3 sculptures she found, rather than any of the paintings on the walls. Specifically she was drawn to a sculpture of 2 girls, sisters.
Below that is Avery checking out some flowers in the beautiful garden at the Getty. It was pretty hot and sunny, so we couldn't thoroughly enjoy the garden, but she got to point at a few flowers before heading home. We also had a nice trip to the beach with Quincy on her birthday morning. And finally once Avery was sound asleep, GG arrived from Florida. All in all it was a very happy first birthday. Wow, how that year flew by, it is truly unbelievable. Happy birthday, Mae Mae.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My First UCLA 8 Clap

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pretty China Shoes


Along with 35,000 Great Work Perks cards from China, we received a special gift. Jon's super sweet supplier in China, Yasong, sent 2 pairs of hand-knit shoes that his girlfriend had made for Avery. They are adorable and they fit her little feet perfectly. Doh je, Yasong, or is it xie xie? Thank you either way. Avery loves her new shoes.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Stairs

Avery has always had access to a set of carpeted stairs. For 11 months and 6 days, she was carried up and down them or crawled right by them. She did not yet see their great potential. Until Monday, that is. Monday morning she crawled over to the stairs and stood up. Monday afternoon she crawled back over, we grabbed the camera, and she climbed her fist stair. About 5 minutes later, despite ever vigilant parents she fell off her first stair, but that won't be stopping her. Stairs are super fun! And, wow, our little baby is growing up.