Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Conversation With Avery

Avery woke up this morning and was quite talkative. She could hear the yard crew cutting the grass outside and commented on it. Then she said she slept good. And when she was looking out the window she said, "Uh-oh, don't break the blinds."

Then I was changing her diaper and we had a real conversation. It went like this:

Avery: Where's Daddy?

Me: He's at work. He's at the hospital.

Avery: Avery go to the hospital!

Me: You want to go to the hospital to see Daddy?

Avery: Okay!

Me: Well, maybe we'll wait and see Daddy when he gets home...(I'm thinking I really don't want to visit the psych ward)

Avery: Go to hospital, check Avery's ears!

Me: (Now I'm chuckling) Daddy can check your ears when he gets home, okay?

Avery: Okay!

After that we went downstairs and I got Avery her breakfast. She usually watches cartoons while she eats breakfast. So I asked her what she wanted to watch today and Avery said, "Watch cut the grass!" And she took her bowl over to the little windows by our front door and sat and watched the yard crew cut the grass. About two minutes after that she stood up and came to me and said, "Watch a little bit of Dora." That's what I thought :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Al had his big shelf exam for Neurology on Friday morning, so he had the rest of the day off! We got a coupon in the mail about a local bowling alley, for 3 free games of bowling and so we took them up on it.

It was pretty fun. I don't even remember the last time Al and I went bowling...and Avery had never been, so we were all kind of rusty. Avery was happy that she got a blue bowling ball, but kept saying the ball was "too heavy!" She would get really excited whenever it was her turn and would put on quite a show of walking up to the lane to roll the ball down.

Some other new Avery things:

She has started using the phrases "how about" "a little bit" and "pretty neat." Sometimes when she wakes up from a nap she will say to me, "How about watch a little bit Dora?" Or she will say "How about play trains?"

Every time we pass a water tower while we are driving around Avery will say, "Ball too heavy!" And then sometimes when we pass a really big tree she'll say, "Tree too heavy!"

She will fairly often say the word, "Ka-pow!" under her breath or while she is playing. She learned it from watching the movie 'Cars.' She also loves the song, "Life is a Highway" and sings it pretty often. Yesterday while we were out shopping she asked repeatedly to "buy Cars music."
Avery learned how to say her full name. It is really cute. I'm trying to get that one on video.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Singing Along

How cute is this?

More of Armed Forces Day

Ready For Take-off

Avery absolutely loved the Blackhawk. She wanted to climb right in there and grab ahold of the controls...which she did. I love in the top picture that you can see how excited she is, even though it is a profile shot. I think all of these pictures are pretty priceless. Avery cried when we left the Blackhawk. And tonight when I was uploading the pictures we had to look through them about 4 times, but she only wanted to look at the ones where she was in the Blackhawk. Funny girl.

The Best Day

Today was the best day our little family has had for a while. It was so much fun from start to finish. It was one of those rare days where Al had the entire day off. Not only that, but he didn't have to study either. So we decided to really take advantage of all of that free time. Plus it was the first warm and sunny day that we've had in a very long time.

I packed a picnic for us in the morning and then we headed out to a big park in St. Peters, which is the next town after St. Charles. We let Avery play in the park for a while and then we put her in the stroller and went for a walk along the trails there. There were quite a few softball games in session and Avery was dying to jump in the game. She kept calling from the stroller, "Avery play baseball! Avery play baseball!"

When we got to the recplex parking lot we saw that there was a big Armed Forces Day event going on. In the parking lot were tons of vehicles--jeeps, big trucks, a Blackhawk and a boat from the Coast Guard. There were some troops there and also quite a few older veterans. Avery thought this was just fantastic. We had no idea all of this was going to be going on, so it was a bonus activity for us! We spent quite a bit of time walking around all of the vehicles (more pictures to follow). Avery cried when we left the Blackhawk. She thought that was pretty spectacular.

After that we walked along the trails some more and found a nice spot to have our picnic. Then we headed back to the park and let Avery play for a while longer. We kind of exhausted her and so we brought her home for a nap and Al and I lounged around and watched a movie. When Avery woke up we decided to take her to a petstore to look at the animals. She desperately wants to hold a 'birdie' and anytime she sees on outside she will chase it around crying out, "Hold it! Hold it! Avery hold the birdie!!" so we thought she'd enjoy the pet store. Boy did she ever. The cutest thing was when we took her to an aquarium that had mice in it. Some were on the wheel, running, and Avery turned to me and exclaimed, "Oh Mommy, look!!" She was just so excited. And she loved the fish and birds.

We ran to Wal-Mart and found a super cheap patio set to put in our tiny backyard. Al thinks it will be good for when we put our townhouse on the market in the next few months. He saw some programs on HGTV about creating a space and so that is what we have attempted to do. It does look pretty nice out there. Then we grilled burgers and finished the meal off with S'mores. It was delicious, but I feel sick from eating so much.

Usually when Al has part of the weekend off we feel so uncreative about what to do with our time and find ourselves at the mall, letting Avery play on the playground. Today was so much better than that. We enjoyed every second of being outside, together as a family. And we've all got the sunburns to prove it ;)

Monday, May 12, 2008

My GREAT Mother's Day!

I had an unexpectedly great Mother's Day this year! I was a little worried when Al told me last week that he KNEW that Mother's Day was on the 19th. Umm...I just kinda let it go.

And then Al worked on Sunday, so I really wasn't expecting anything at all. But Al had a few tricks up his sleeve! He started by giving me my presents from Avery on Saturday. I think he was too excited to wait, but he said it was because he was working on Sunday and wouldn't be home to give them to me. Avery gave me the movie Juno (which Al and I LOVE) and a CD.

Sunday morning came and Avery and I were on our own. We went to church and I was planning on an uneventful day. But when we got home from church Al was already home from work! He had gotten home about an hour before church ended. While we were at church Al hurried and cleaned the house. Then he made dinner! I had to take a picture of it. It was really yummy. I think it was called Chicken Rellanos. Al just picked it out of a cookbook. We didn't have all of the ingredients and so he improvised. He was very proud to tell me that he had even pounded the chicken :) Funny Al.

Then today the doorbell rang and the FedEx guy handed me a box. I opened it up and found these beautiful pearl earrings! They match perfectly with the necklace and bracelet set Al got me for Christmas.

I was definitely spoiled this year by my adorable daughter and cute husband!

Last Cooking Class

Wednesday was our last cooking class. I am sad that it's over! It has really been a lot of fun. They will offer the classes again in the fall, so I will have to remember to check on that.

We made a lot of things at the last class. We started by making these peanut butter and banana balls. There were other ingredients in there too, to help hold it all together. Then the kids got to roll the balls into mini M&Ms and mini chocolate chips.

After that they made peanut butter and banana roll-ups in tortillas. Then they finished the day by making these penguin cookies. Avery had a blast.

I love in the one picture how she is holding the tortilla roll-up and looking at it like, hey wait a minute, what is this? The little red-headed pigtail girl in the background is Avery's friend, Abby. She took both sessions of classes with Avery and we will probably get together to play with her sometime over the summer.

This class has been fun and educational. Avery is starting to know her way around the kitchen! She is very interested in a lot of things I make and knows what a lot of ingredients are. It's fun to watch her learn.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bragging Rights!!

Al finally got the results from his surgery rotation! We've been anxiously awaiting this since it really means a lot for our future...

Here is his evaluation:

Narrative Summary: This summary is based upon subjective evaluations of this student (based upon observations from both attendings and residents on the above listed services). These assessments include a 10 item evaluation that covers general medical knowledge, history and physical exam, differential diagnosis, professionalism, patient rapport, health care team rapport, diagnostic and therapeutic program planning, organizing information and recording data, motivation and attitude toward learning, and finally, procedural skills. This narrative also includes an assessment of this student's NBME score.

Allen performed very well on his rotations while on service for the surgery clerkship, obtaining a mean clinical assessment score of 4.3 out of a possible score of 5.0. In fact, Allen achieved superior mean clinical assessment scores of 4.0 or higher in all ten categories in which he was evaluated. While on service, Allen was noted to be a particularly hard worker and a very good student.

Allen also performed very well on the recent surgery shelf exam, obtaining a raw score of 79. This score equated to the 79th percentile for the 3rd quartile.

This student obtained a final grade of Honors on the clerkship.

I am so proud of Al!!! He has worked so hard and is doing so well in his rotations. We are super excited about his success in surgery and I know that he is well on his way to being a great surgeon!! Way to go Al!!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Follow the proplit

These are the best I could do on the song. I wish she would do the whole thing for the camera...but so far we've been unsuccessful. We'll keep trying.

Bed-time Battles

Bed time has become the biggest struggle at our house. Avery just doesn't want to miss out on anything! Al and I have tried so many different things: nightlight, no nightlight, bedtime snack, acting like we don't care, acting like we're really irritated, leaving the door open, closing the door, etc.

I read a lot about it and know that it is typical for toddlers. The books said to let Avery be more in control of the routine and that it would help. So we let Avery pick out her jammies, the story, etc. It didn't help. We've always had a routine for bedtime, which they recommend, and haven't strayed from it. But that doesn't seem to matter. She always has her favorite duckie and her 'special blankie' but that doesn't matter either.

I guess we're hoping that it will just eventually resolve. The other night Al and I were surprised because Avery only came out of her room 2 or 3 times to be tucked back in. And then it was quiet...that was so much better than it has been! But when Al and I went upstairs to go to bed we found Avery sprawled out on the floor, just outside her bedroom. I guess she got too tired to make it all the way downstairs.

Latest Obsession

Here is Avery posing with her latest obsession...her cars. Her favorite is Lightning McQueen. She carries him around almost everywhere and he sleeps with her most nights. She will even bring him into the bathroom while she takes a bath and set him up on the tub. Avery 'feeds' him whenever she has a snack or is eating at the table. And she also puts him down for naps. You can always tell if he's napping because she sets him on his side and makes a snoring sounds. Then she will inform me that he is 'taking a nap!' The other day we couldn't find Lightning McQueen for a little while and there was sheer panic going on. Avery was all distraught and was in tears. We all went around the house, looking under everything and Al finally found him under one of the couches. Then everything was okay again.

Other Avery updates:

Avery counted from 1 to 7 all by herself yesterday! It was so cute! She lined up some rocks (another obsession) on our sidewalk and then counted all of them.

She has started singing a new song. She sings "Follow the Prophet" but she says 'proplit.' It is really cute and funny. I tried to get a movie of it but Avery doesn't like when you take movies. I think I got her saying it a couple of times, but not doing it full out like she usually does. They must teach her actions that go with it in nursery because she was really getting into it.

Avery also does the "5 Little Monkeys" rhyme, or whatever you call it. The one about jumping on the bed and bonking their heads.

Avery likes to put on Al's deoderant. I guess she's watched his routine a couple of times because she does it exactly how he does it. The first time she did this I caught her mid-act. She had her shirt up and was really going to town on applying it. The rest of the day she smelled like Old Spice. Then yesterday she pulled it out and I didn't stop her 'cause I wanted to watch the whole process. It is so funny! So she smelled like Old Spice again yesterday.

She is still really into make-up and always wants to put mine on. She is so quick that I have to be right on top of her. I can't believe how good she is at opening all of the little bottles and compacts.

Avery still loves the Hairspray soundtrack. She will listen to it every time we are in the car if you'll let her. She has started singing along with most of the songs and will tell you who is singing which song. One thing that hasn't changed is that she hates song #7. If it comes on she will immediately say, "no, no, no!" If a song comes on that she really likes she will ask to hear it, "one more time" after it is over.

Something else that is really cute is that Avery is starting to be able to say her own prayers! With quite a bit of guidance. But it is just so adorable. She repeats whatever Al and I prompt her with until we get to "in the name of Jesus Christ..." and then she just jumps in with, "Amen!!" It is hard not to laugh.

Pigs in a blanket

Wednesday was one of my favorite cooking classes.

We started by making pigs in a blanket. Avery loved working with the dough again and was pretty excited about the hot dog. They also put cheese in there before they rolled it up.

Then we made dessert sushi! It was sooo cute! These pictures don't really do it justice. There was a ton of stuff there that you could use to make the 'sushi' and some of the toppings looked so cute and more realistic. But I let Avery choose the toppings and she stuck to the swedish fish and the M&Ms. I loved the dessert sushi. It tasted better than you thought it was going to, and it is so fun. I want to make them again for the next time we have a get together or whatever.