Wednesday, April 27, 2011 was my first day back at work since having Avery 8 short weeks ago. I'll get to that in a moment.

First, I wanted to share some more details about our weekend. On Sunday we had our friends Billie & Derek , their son Eli and Abby & Jonathan and their daughter Adalyn over for lunch. None of us have family here close by so we wanted to spend the holiday with friends.

There has been a lot of discussion lately between my husband and I about our storage, or lack thereof in this house. I know right about now you're thinking..."how did we de-rail onto storage". Follow me...I promise it'll make sense momentarily. Because there is so little storage inside of the house, our garage is basically used for storage alone. The items that take up the most room in our garage are #1: baby items, and in a close second (no lie!) #2: Rubbermaid's full of china and crystal. I'm not kidding.

In light of the recent discussions about storage our possession of mass amounts of china was fresh on the brain and when we decided to host Easter I figured it was HIGH TIME we put that china to good use. High time I tell you! I should preface this all by saying that despite having access to all of that china - we've NEVER used any of it and we just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Pitiful, I know. Our china is not your typical matchy-matchy china purchased from a department store off of our wedding registry....oh no it's not. It is special china. The reason it is so special is because it's all different....each place setting unique.

My Grandmomma used to work at a jewelry store and had access to lots of fine china. According to my Mother it used to be very "vogue" to have a full set of china (12 place settings) but for each individual place setting to be different with one thing tying them all together (like the same color scheme).

Apparently my two eldest sisters really thought that was neat (which I'm assuming they expressed to her at one of our many holiday dinners around her table which was set with nothing but china), so my Grandmother began purchasing place settings (one at a time) in specific matching hues as they would go on clearance at her jewelry store. She saved them to give to them and since she started it for them, she did it for my other sister Melissa and for me as well. What she did for one...she did for us all and I mean right down to the penny people. She wanted to be fair in that way. Coming from a big family (I think she was one of eleven), I suppose fairness was of utmost importance to her.

So for the first time, this past Saturday, Tim and I opened each card board box, (each labeled with a post it labeled in her hand writing as to what was inside) that held a place setting per box and carefully unwrapped our china piece by piece. IT. WAS. SO. COOL. I'm not a real fancy schmancy person, but just knowing she hand picked each setting for us with much thought about what would coordinate and much love in wanting us to have such a nice thing from was just really special unpacking it for the first time. We washed it all and set the table (like it's supposed to be set) the night before. I may or may not have had to consult the internet to determine how exactly to do'll never know! When it was all done it looked so pretty and I kept saying..."man, my Grandmomma would have been so proud to see this and to know I was using what she'd so generously given". I've missed her so much since she passed away. We used to talk weekly and there's definitely been a void in my life without those phone calls. I know it's just china, but little things remind me of her every now and then and those little things make me smile and think of her. This was one of those little things. It wasn't just china. 

 Everyone brought different things to make up the meal and it was delicious! It was a lovely way to spend Easter Sunday. Despite being stuffed to the gills and having kids who were super tired we managed to snap some pictures to document the event. Thanks for coming over y'all!

Now...back to my first day without my baby. It was hard. There's no way to "church it up". It was hard and it will continue to be hard, however, it is what it is and it must be done.

Thankfully I made an initial visit yesterday to the daycare to meet her "teacher" and familiarize myself with her room and drop-off/pick-up protocols. Her room is right down the hall from Kennedy's pre-school room so it will be as convenient as getting two kids somewhere so I can get myself to work by 8 AM can be I suppose.

I say I'm thankful for going yesterday because I think I got most of my emotion out then. I was broken out into the straight up ugly cry before we even got out of the parking lot. I called Tim to talk to him about it and it was one of those times where you are so overcome with emotion that you are trying to speak but words won't come out because your throat is so constricted over the quick onset of said emotion. IT. WASN'T. PRETTY.....AT ALL. He reassured me as best he could that she and I would be ok and by last night I was just nose to the grindstone about the whole thing.

I love this daycare facility and have been nothing but happy with it since Kennedy began there over a year ago, but it's harder this time around because we had an in-home nanny with Kennedy until she was 18 months old. This is my first experience leaving an infant anywhere and let me tell you - it's not for the faint people. As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your children....individual attention, tons of love, to be picked up as soon as they whimper (ha!). I think yesterday was just a realization that although she will be loved and she will be taken care of and all basic needs will be met, it will  not be all about her. So...she will not be spoiled, but she WILL be OK and so will I (eventually).

 I have to know that God knows my heart...he knows my anxieties, my worries and my sadness and he's with me in this moment. We placed ads and spent time looking for someone to come into our home to care for her. We also spent time looking for someone who kept children in their home and we just kept ending back with no options but daycare for one reason or another. Most important to me is that Avery and Kennedy both know that we love them deeply and wholly. I feel confident that what we do here in our home with them 4 days a week verses what happens away from us at daycare and school 3 days a week (a daycare and school that we love and feel great about) is going to instill that feeling in them.

So, I worked a 1/2 day today and will do the same Friday to ease Avery and I into this new normal. Next week it will be back to my usual schedule of three 9 hour days. If you think of it - just say a little prayer for us. It's just so hard to believe that eight short weeks ago:

~This happened ~

It's true what they say - cherish each moment because they fly on by!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

It's been a busy past few days. We went to pick Kennedy up from WV on Thursday evening once Tim got off of work. Avery slept the whole way there (can I get a hallelujah?). Traveling with a screaming infant would not have been fun! Kennedy was out swinging with her Nana when we pulled into the drive but Nana got her out in time for her to run to me and give me a great big hug right after I got out of the car. Man, I missed her and clearly she missed us too. Her Auntie Angel had provided such a fun week away I was a smidgen worried she might be like "oh, hey Mom - I'm happy to see you but uh...can I go back to Aunt Angels now?" Thankfully that wasn't the case. She's been super affectionate both physically and verbally since we've been back together. It was nice to have time alone with Avery but Tim and I were really missing Kennedy and it just feels "right" now that we are all back home together.

 Avery has started really smiling and responding when you talk to her and Tim's parents got lots of smiled while we were there:

Friday we went and saw Tim's Great Aunt Katherine in the assisted living facility near his parents and we spent some time with his Grandma as well. They were grateful to meet and spend some time with baby Avery. I got some pictures but "big sister" was totally not about the assisted living facility...(other than sprinting up and down the halls anyways...hi, kind of a hazard where senior citizens are concerned!) and therefore made picture taking virtually impossible.

You like Kennedy's expression in the above pic, don't ya? She's such a turkey!

Friday afternoon we drove back in time to go to the Good Friday service at our church. This time both girls slept the entire way home (Praise the Lord for good little travelers). We basically got here in time for Tim to unpack the car while I fed Avery and then it we loaded right back up to make it to church in time. Whew!

Saturday we went to an Easter egg hunt and Kennedy sported some cute little bunny ears from Abby and Jonathan.

Instead of doing the traditional Easter Sunday thing like usual we went to our Easter service on Saturday night. We had invited some friends over for lunch Sunday and figured going to our church's Saturday night service would give us some more "prep" time. It was a good service. Tim and I took turns walking the hallways with Avery at the end because she woke up and was fussing but it was still nice.

 Elizabeth and Justin came to the Saturday night service too and since Kennedy and Matthew are such buds I wanted a picture of them in their Easter best. When I told Kennedy to go stand by Matthew so I could snap a picture, this is the position she assumed (the holding hand thing...all her!):

 Immediately after our quick impromptu picture session, immense laughter ensued. About what? I'm not certain but these two sure thought it was funny....whatever "it" was.

The Easter Bunny came to the Taylor household overnight (of course) and Kennedy was most inquisitive about "how exactly" he came. She wanted to know if he came into her room and why she didn't see him. So funny! Between the egg hunt yesterday, the items the bunny left here as well as the items the Easter bunny apparently left in Pennsylvania with Chelsea who then mailed them on to her...she fared pretty well. She's loved!

I really wanted the girls to have matching Easter dresses, but I wasn't really about spending my life savings in order to make that happen. I found these two at Gap on sale and I think they turned out pretty cute. We got dressed up for hosting Easter lunch at our house today and I took a few pics of Kennedy and Avery before everyone arrived. More pics of that gathering to come later. 

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter with family and or friends. Mostly, I hope everyone has had a chance to remember the sacrifice that was made for us on this holiday so long ago. Because I'm such a praise and worship junkie (because I am for those that don't know) I'm going to end this post with some songs that make me think of and be thankful for what Jesus has done for us all. The last song/performance is something I saw for the first time linked through another will blow you away!

I think it is so very cool that this was performed at some sort of celebration for women in country music but it ended up being the stand out performance of the evening. I've watched it like three good. I'm out on that note...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Things

I tried Zumba last night for the first time. It is through a local church and last night was "Cosmic Zumba Night". Participants could either pay $5 or donate 5 cans of food for a food drive to gain entry into class. They encouraged everyone to wear white as well so I wasn't sure what to expect.

Well....let me just tell you that it WAS NOT what I expected AT ALL! I was expecting some 1980 style aerobics class with a Jane Fonda/Choir Lady look alike instructor. Instead the instructor looked like Madonna (she took Cosmic and white to a whole new level sporting a lace top, body glitter and a high ponytail) and shook her hips like Shakira...seriously. It was shocking truthfully, but in a good way. There were disco lights, light up glow in the dark necklaces and a bunch of bodies shining in the black lights!

Women were pouring in all entrances to this church at "go time" so beforehand I was thinking two things: either it's super fun or it burns a boatload of calories. I'm happy to report both are correct! It was super fun and I was SWEATIN'!

Women of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors filled the gym. There were even some guys (crickets....I know ;). Some were coordinated and some were, well - NOT. It was some prime people watching but I feel certain that's just not Christian...I mean I was in a church for Pete's sake but couldn't help staring at all the people. It's hard not to watch who is in front of you, can I get an amen ladies? The girl in the row ahead of me and a bit to my left looked like she drank 5 hour energy before she came and it was making my eyes hurt - for reals. Just being honest! Then, there were some women (of color lets just say) who looked like they were quadruple jointed up and to my right. I was kinda jealous of them truth be told. There were also women my Mom's age and I was IMPRESSED with their effort, attitude and moves. So funny! The instructor stands up on a stage but there are SO MANY people there that I could only hear her and see her upper body so I had to watch others around me to figure out what my lower half was supposed to be doing besides gyrating and shaking like crazy. I told Tim last night it's kinda like a club except without the explicit song lyrics and alcohol. Ha! It's mostly Latin inspired music and moves but regardless of it all I got a great workout, laughed a ton and was surprised when it had been an hour (really?!?). I will definitely be back.

On a totally different note, I am officially a week away from returning to work and although my baby is the sweetest thing ever...she doesn't sleep well (during the day that is). I feel as though she needs to have some semblance of routine before I thrust her into the arms of another caretaker. I mean...who wants a confused and tired baby, right? Not I said the fly!

So...I got out my old books (Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Whisperer, and Babywise). It has called for refreshing of "sleep training" and we are officially underway. I have two words to describe this process: not fun. We were already doing the E.A.S.Y routine and I felt like we had that pretty down pat...but she only S's for about 30-45 minutes and it's a fitful S, not a peaceful one. So she wakes up from her naps with heavy eyelids and falls asleep while she's nursing. Enter the letting her cry a least favorite part. I feel it's necessary to her learning to fall asleep on her own though. I mean - she won't be getting individual attention 24/7 so rocking and walking until she falls asleep is pretty out of the question. I just wish it were easier! I've had to sit on the patio for some of it because I just can't stand to hear her cry...even for 5 minutes! I keep reminding myself I'm setting her up for sleep success...I know that sounds totally cliche but it's true. It's a necessary thing that will be good for her, I just wish I could explain it to her!

In my refreshing I found this cool blog to further refresh my memory in the "what if's" department and it has been helpful. Janine told me about another website that has been a great resource in some of my WHAT?!! moments.

Oh..if only they came with handbooks, right?

On another note, her disposition when she is awake and has succumbed to the nap has been utterly pleasant...see (excuse the snapping - I was trying to get my dog to stop chewing on her bone long enough to record Avery cooing but I'm pretty sure you can still hear it):

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

They've all come and gone...

My visitors, that is. My last visitor (my sister Melissa) left on Monday evening. I was too depressed yesterday to blog about it. Sadly - I'm serious. I hate being so far from my sisters but man do I feel blessed about the relationships we share, not to mention the fact that they all came to visit and meet Avery. Traveling isn't cheap these days and they all have families and jobs of their own so their time with me meant a lot.

We didn't do a whole lot while Melissa was here. Because she's an accountant she didn't have a ton of vacation this being the end of her busy season, not to mention she's pregnant (you never know when you'll need a personal day, right ladies?) and she's got some more vacation planned within the year. I appreciated those few days but they flew by. We ran some errands, made sure to hit up Orange Leaf and she went with us to church. She cooked a yummy Cooking Light recipe while she was here and did lots of loving on Avery so we could do a few things around the house. 

Exhibit A:

Melissa and I lived together in college and I'm pretty sure Annie thought "my long lost friend" upon laying eyes on her once she arrived. Either that or she's really missing Kennedy and will take what she can get at this point (no offense Lissa). See for yourself:

Speaking of Kennedy we go to pick her up tomorrow and MAN, have I missed her. I know from daily updates from my sister that they are having a blast. She's sent me tons of cute pictures of all they've done and those two look like peas and carrots. I believe there will be some tears shed at drop off. Angel is meeting my Mother in law today and Tim and I will drive to WV tomorrow evening once he gets off work to pick her up. We'll return on Friday so that we can attend our church's Good Friday service, Easter Egg hunt on Saturday morning and Easter service. Abby and Jonathan are joining us on Sunday for Easter lunch...should be fun!

On another that my going back to work day is only a week away as of today I'm thinking it's time to get back in shape so know....I have clothes to wear. Might be a good thing, right? My sister Melissa turned me on to the following website: to help me with calorie counting, exercise logging, etc. It's basically an online food/exercise journal. If you are a Biggest Loser fan like myself you know that it's imperative to keep such a log if you want lasting weight loss success so I signed up yesterday and have begun my log. Let me just say I have a LONG way to go!

Luckily, Courtney has lit a fire under me and motivated me to sign up for this CRAZY INSANE race called The Warrior Dash. It takes place in August in Indiana and I've already registered so there's no turning back. My sister Catina, my cousins and I also have intentions to run The Women's Half Marathon in Nashville in September and I'd like to do our 2nd annual local Ironhorse Half Marathon in Midway in October. So....I think I've got the physical goal part down, wouldn't you say?

Tonight I attend my first ever Zumba class too. I want to make it a regular thing if we can work it into our schedules. There are a lot of women in my Moms group that go routinely and I want to join them so I try it out tonight. The class is held at a local church and is incredibly affordable. They offer childcare too - Bonus for when Tim is traveling. It should be a good time!

Happy Humpday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I thought it was appropriate to open this posting with the following picture because I gotta tell ya: on the days when Avery has slept little and we've paced the floors a gajillion times in one day and I've nursed her every two hours ~ I look over and see this kind of thing on a regular basis and I envy them a bit.....oh to have their lives.....
Nana was in visiting last week. She came in on Wednesday and left on Friday. Although her visit was a short one - both girls soaked up every second and Tim and I were super thankful for her help.

Avery's umbilical stump finally fell off last week so she got her first big girl tub bath..unfortunately the change in scenery did not make her any more fond of bath time.
My sister Angel got in on Friday for a visit and we were so busy being as productive as possible that I didn't snap nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. I made sure to get one before church which actually worked out well because we literally lived in work out clothes and or pj's for her entire visit. Thanks for coming Angel - I'm so thankful for your all of your help and my stomach thanks you for all the delicious meals you cooked for us. Don't even get me started on my stocked freezer!
I momentarily forget at times that we are now a family of four, that is until I see pics like this one:
Auntie Angel Love
On Sunday after Kennedy woke up from her nap I took her out for some special one on one time. We went to the local nail salon to have pedicures. She's had one at a kiddie spa before but we've never gone together to a normal pedicure place like this. You would have thought she'd been a million times with how she acted. The nail technician was so tickled with her. I was too - I barely paid attention to my own pedicure because I enjoyed her reaction to hers so much.

She chose a base coat of purple with white polka dots on top, because...why not? She looked up at me on the way to the car afterwards and said "thanks Mommy for taking me to get my nails done". That's all I needed to hear. I have a feeling I'll be hearing that many times in the years to come!
Avery turned 6 weeks old on Tuesday and she's growing fast. She weighed 9 lbs and 2 ounces on Monday at her well check.
Her coloring has greatly improved more yellow baby!
While we were at the Doctors office for Avery's well check up I had the Dr. look Kennedy over too. She's been complaining pretty consistently about her stomach hurting. She's not had many
other symptoms so I honestly figured she was just using that as a way to get some extra TLC.
After the pediatrician palpated her abdomen he recommended we go get an X-ray. Really?! On one hand I thought he was being a bit extreme but on the other hand, she's always such a trooper that I thought maybe something really was wrong. They put her in a miniature hospital gown and this is what she did when I asked her to let me take a picture of her wearing it: 
Thank heavens for bloomers, right? I asked one more time and it improved a tad:
It turns out that Kennedy had not been listening to her body's normal cues (which is apparently super common in older siblings when babies are brought home because they don't want to miss anything - who knew?!?) therefore she's been put on a daily fiber and laxative regimen. Poor baby!

I was so thankful for Aunt Angel's help because Lord knows how I would have carried Avery around, helped Kennedy change clothes, get her up on the x-ray table and traipse up and down some stairs between Doctors offices with both of them in tow.
On Tuesday we drove to Newport, Kentucky to take Kennedy to the Newport Aquarium. I've been wanting to take her for a while now and since Angel could help me with Avery I figured it was a perfect time to go. Her favorite thing about the aquarium were the touch tanks.

Personally, I was a big fan of the awesome jellyfish exhibit. How cool is this?
Shark touch tank - BIG FUN!
I am happy to report that I am finally getting some big smiles out of Avery. It's so gratifying when they start to recognize you and respond to you! I've been trying to get her smiling on camera and finally caught a little one while Angel was holding her. So sweet!

Angel left yesterday afternoon. When we initially made plans for her visit she told me that she'd be willing to take Kennedy back with her afterwards to give Tim and I some time to just be with Avery. She said she would plan some special things for Kennedy and her cousin to do together and just have a big ole' time. I told her I would allow Kennedy to decide closer to time if she wanted to go or not and Kennedy decided she did want to go. So...I said goodbye to Angel and my big baby yesterday afternoon. Thank heavens for cell phones and Skype because I've had the "play by play" of their visit thus far and it makes it a tad easier to be away from her. I know she'll have a blast while she's there!

My sister Melissa flew in this evening. She's getting her full dose of "baby lovin'" as I type. She will be our last visitor and I'm already sad about that. I'm going to try to soak up our time together and take full advantage of the help she's here to offer.