She Likes Smiling; Smiling’s Her Favorite

As I’ve mentioned previously, Ava is not the greatest of sleepers. For example, I think today she took 3 naps of about 30 minutes each, which is definitely better than nothing, but it does make it hard to accomplish any sort of prolonged task. However, what Ava lacks in the sleep department, she more than makes up for it in the smile department. I may be biased, but her smile is radiant and completely infectious. Just look:

Even if I am exhausted and undone by the events of the day, seeing her smile makes me smile. There is nothing better than seeing that open-mouthed grin first thing in the morning and last thing at night. So while she may not be overly fond of sleeping, I’m forever thankful that smiling is her favorite.

 

Walking in Memphis

Today I’m so thankful that I got to go on a field trip with Charlotte’s class. This was something I was not able to do at all last year because I was working full time, so I was glad to have the chance this year. The students traveled to the Orpheum Theater in Memphis for a performance called “Red and Green” by a group of artists known as Rhythmic Circus. The show involved tap dancing and beatboxing and live music. The best part was that Charlotte wanted to sit by me. 🙂

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Grainy Orpheum pic

And I wouldn’t have been able to go at all were it not for my wonderful in-laws, who watched Ava for me. They moved to Jackson back in the spring, and it has been wonderful for all of us to have them in town! I’m so glad that Charlotte and Ava will be so close to both sets of grandparents as they grow up. We are blessed indeed.

I’m also thankful for the fact that thanks to one of the teachers at the school, I was prevented from driving to Memphis on a very low front tire. The teacher noticed the tire when I dropped off Charlotte, so I was able to go immediately to a gas station to put air in it. Then a friend of mine helped secure me a ride to Memphis with her and another mom, and my father-in-law came and took my van to a tire shop and got it fixed while I was in Memphis, so it was ready and waiting for me when we got back! God was definitely watching out for me today.

Five Months with Ava

Ava turned five months old today. The saying “the days are long but the years are short” really does ring true; it doesn’t seem possible that she’s been with us for five months already, but there have also been days that have seemed to drag on forever. We had struggles with breastfeeding early on that led to exclusively formula feeding, then tummy issues, then reflux problems and sleeping problems. There have been few nights of truly restful sleep (although hopefully that is changing, as the last two nights were wonderful), and some days were filled with so much fussing and crying that it brought me to tears as well. Despite this, it’s hard to remember what our family was like before Ava was in it, so completely has she captured all of our hearts. Seeing Charlotte interact with her has been such a beautiful blessing, and there’s really no one who can make Ava smile and laugh like Charlotte can. Ava has a smile for everyone, and she giggles with her whole body. Since she started rolling front to back and back to front two weeks ago, she’s been even more curious about everything around her. Her play gym doesn’t hold her interest for long anymore now that she can move around, and I know that once she’s crawling it will be even harder to keep her in one spot! It seems like her sweet brown eyes don’t miss a thing, and she’s fascinated with her hands and feet and our dog Bailey and everything that Charlotte does.

Being with Ava every day has allowed me to see how much a baby can change in a matter of days, and that means that even the hard days will turn into better days. I have delighted in being with her, even on days when she’s fussing or not napping because I know how very blessed I am to get to raise another girl. The Lord chose us for Ava, and Ava for us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Blessing of Bedtime Snuggles

When Charlotte was younger, she got in the habit of asking if she could “sit 5 minutes” and rock with me just a little bit longer before bedtime (I blogged about that here). She gradually stopped asking for that time, and while part of me was glad to eliminate one thing from a bedtime routine that seemed to stretch on for hours each night, part of me was also sad because I knew she was growing up and each day she needed me less and less. Don’t get me wrong; she’s still only 6 and will need me for years to come, but the need changes and evolves. And while some days I feel like I’m already living with a sassy teenager, other days I’m reminded of how much of her is still my little girl.

I don’t know quite what started it, but she recently started asking me to snuggle with her before she goes to bed. I think it may have begun when I stayed in bed with her for a few minutes after I tucked her in one night (never start something you’re not prepared to continue!). Regardless, she asks me every night now. I don’t always say yes, but when I do,I tuck her in and clumsily make room for myself in her twin-sized bed, and I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek a million times, and after we play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who loves the other more (that’s a story for another day), we talk. Sometimes she doesn’t have much on her mind, and other days she will let me in on things she’s worried about or sad about or frustrated with, and I will pray with her and reassure her and hopefully leave her feeling happier. I don’t know exactly what it is about our nighttime snuggles that encourage her to open up more than other times, but I’m so glad that she does. I hope that she always knows I’m a safe place for her, and I hope that even when she outgrows snuggling, she won’t outgrow sharing her heart with me. And I know that as long as she keeps asking me to snuggle, I won’t regret saying yes.

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