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A Letter to my Daughter on her Fourth Birthday

20 Jan

To my Aviendha,

Today, you turned four. Four years of life. You started out stubborn as all get out and things have not changed. There are a handful of things that you will stand solid on and not budge, no matter what the motivation for otherwise.

Peanut butter, Ponies and Princesses, oh my!

Our most recent battle has been with food. You have always been extremely picky with what you do and don’t want. In order to take you away from your strict diet of pepperoni (whether on pizza or otherwise), fruits, peanut butter and yogurt, we have had to put some restrictions at dinner time. If you don’t eat one bite of something from our plates and chew for 10 seconds, you won’t get tv for the next full 24 hours. Since we put this into place, you have yet to miss a day of tv. It’s amazing what we can do when finding the right motivation.

Doing laundry and get this little munchkin to help me. She helped me vacuum too! #mamaslittlehelper #distraction #ilovemyfamily #mydaughter

This spirit is amazing. It’s something I love because even when you are angry, you are still one of the sweetest little girls in the world. You do not hit. You may scream or shout, but if asked, you will take a deep breath and a break. You know that daddy gets headaches and if your fit has him around, you will stop almost instantaneously.

It's going to be another long night.

Your greatest joy comes when you are around babies. At least once a week, you say that you wish you could be a big sister. It hurts me just a little bit when I tell you no. When I say never, you reply with maybe someday. The eternal optimist.

Helping Nana feed her second cousin. Cutest thing ever. And no, Avi still won't get a little sibling.

Kissing cousins! No, she is NOT choking him, contrary to how it looks.

Our new kitty Pumpkin has been such a great gift to our family. You are so happy with him! He loves sitting on your lap to snuggle with you. He puts up with you picking him up, brushing him, feeding him….he also keeps your bed warm and helps keep you in your bed at night.

These two are going to be dangerous with each other, I can tell. He already puts up with her so much, purring the whole time and she gives him an internal monologue. #weneedarealitytvshow #ilovemyfamily #catstagram #mydaughter

Irony in my own fat orange cat joining us to watch Garfield and Friends? Nope, not at all. #ilovemyfamily #snuggly #catlady #catstagram

We have been so blessed to have Suzanne in our house to help keep you in line. She has introduced us to BJs and their Tea Party fun:

Coffee date with my girl! I love the little Tea Party option and so does Avi! Work dates are the best! #mydaughter #ilovemyfamily #ilovemyjob

We moved to a new house this past spring which allowed us to have Suzanne move in. It’s the fourth move you’ve had in your short life, but this is where we will most likely stay for a while. Letting you have your own bedroom and room for Suzanne and an office means we’ll be here for time. Plus, the pretty door handles make for some fun.

Aren't my door handles pretty?

This year, we’ve also progressed to you sleeping in your own bed. Thanks to a “Brave Buddy”, you became strong and powerful to sleep in your bed in your own room. Most nights, you still end up in our bed, but you start out every evening in your own!

We found a Brave Buddy (tm) to keep Avi safe in her own room. We shall see if it works. Right now, she has it, a blankie and pillow and is laying down on her toy box. #nojudgement #crazybaby #strongwilledchild

Your excitement for performing makes me happy. You do one thing and if we giggle or laugh, you will do it again and again and again.

"But mooooom! You need to put more Backyardigans on!" #teenageratthree #ummmwhat #sassypants

Funny faces? Check. Great costumes? Double check.

Avi is scary! At Baby Max's Monster Party! #monster #costume #scary #pleasedonthavenightmares

I love you, my sweet baby girl. You are so amazing and make our lives better in every single way.

Avi chose to play with a toy tank at the table today. We talked about the letters on the front and she recognized the S and the A. We then asked her if she knew what the United States of America was. "Umm, I think it's where the good guys live?" #kidssayt

We went to visit @thekatspajamas today and Avi found a new friend! Major #temptation to get another dog for the family. #projectlife365 #bigolddog #puppylove #mydaughter

Two seconds later, Avi starts singing a song about being a mermaid. She will have a career in song writing by 5. #ilovemyfamily #mydaughter #swimming #singing #songwritingcareer

Words cannot even begin to share how happy I am that these two are in my life and love each other so much. #iamblessed

Run like the wind, my True Fairy Princess. Your entire life is ahead of you and it will be glorious!

"Run like the wind, True Princess! We can't stop til the day is done!" #mydaughter #ilovemyfamily #yesmydaughteriswearingatanktopin46degreeweather #donthate

Happy 4th Birthday, sweet Aviendha. I love you!

The birthday girl has some serious #style with her dance moves. #projectlife365 #princess

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Hello Strangers

12 Sep

I don’t know if anyone is still here….but wanted to give an update!

Life is good. We are blessed for sure!

Ryan has been healing in ways that can only be judged as miraculous. We received an opportunity for him to get his blood tested at home instead of having to take him to the doctor each week. This is awesome, because even though we only live 5 minutes from the office, it’s difficult for him.

We are balancing out his blood thickness and that, along with a new migraine medication, it’s making a huge difference in his attitude and energy level.

Speaking of a huge difference, we have a friend that moved into our other bedroom. She has been such an amazing gift. Having someone home with Ryan all day is amazing. No worrying about how he is doing if not answering the phone. It’s amazing. She watches Avi at home 3 of 5 days during the week too, which is fantastic because Avi gets to play with her daddy. She’s going to the babysitter 2 days a week to give Ryan more of a break too.

I love the stories I get to hear that happen during the day. For example, Avi was obsessed with the Big Bad Wolf yesterday:

AVI: SUZANNE, the Big Bad Wolf put the tooth fairy in JAIL! That wasn’t nice of him.

SUZ: No, it wasn’t! Poor tooth fairy. She doesn’t deserve that.

AVI: No, but he DID IT. Because he’s BIG! He’s BAD! And he STOLE MY MAGIC WAND.

SUZ: What a mean old wolf!

AVI: We need to STOP him. The Big Nice Wolf couldn’t do it because the Big Bad Wolf hid from him and he couldn’t find him ANYWHERE.

SUZ: What a SNEAKY WOLF.

AVI: Hello! I’m a superhero!

SUZ: Oh thank GOODNESS you’re here, Superhero. Avi needs help getting her wand back from the evil Big Bad Wolf. I think she can do it, but she needs help from a superhero.

AVI: I can do it! *runs off to help Avi* TO THE RESCUE!!!

I love that I get to hear and see these special moments in my daughters life! These are stories that I wouldn’t get to hear otherwise. And that’s awesome.
Now, if you know me, you know I am far from a good cook. I can make pancakes and rice in a rice cooker correctly, but that is about it. Suzanne, on the other hand, loves cooking. This means we get to try recipes that I’ve always thought sounded good but didn’t ever have the energy to touch. The Kitchenaid mixer I won from The Pioneer Woman? Actually getting used now! We have fresh meals and baked goods!
It’s also given us the opportunity to start something else.
In October, we are going to be doing The Whole30. 30 days of a stricter version of Paleo. I think I’ll try to blog about it to see how it goes. But I’m excited to eat healthy. Both Suzanne and I on Monday had thoughts (completely separate) about eating healthier and how little energy we’ve been having. Bringing it up together was meant to be…it’s amazing how God can work even on the little things!
And just because I can, here are some of the more recent Instagram images of our lives:

Good morning, world. I'm ready for Thursday. Let's do this.
Trying on his Halloween costume and showing off his sheer awesomeness. He prances around and loves his clothes.
Best McDonalds toy ever: Paul Frank pencil and book "Hold on, I need to write this down before I forget." I love this girl!
I don't think I've shared one of my two Uncommon cases. I love it so much, not just because it's one of my favorite pictures of my family but because the case works super well! I also love being able to offer them to my photography clients who have iPhone

What have you guys been up to?

Small Style :: Geek Chic

2 Aug

My styling daughter. Because when wearing Darth Vadar shirts, one must always accessorize with pink sparkly shoes, bracelet and a crown!

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Small Style :: Nostalgic Minnie

10 May

My daughter is so in love with this dress. She will most definitely be sad when it’s too small.

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It was mine when I was little. I remember wearing it when I was Avi’s age to a Disney on Ice event, sitting in the front row and being so excited when I got attention from the stars because of the dress.

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It’s almost as if she knows it’s special.

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That she gets so excited to wear it.

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When she wears it, she lights up and loves showing it off.

She even wanted to tell Harvey alllll about it.

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Plus, it looks so lovely spilling out in a circle when she plays on Harvey. The polka dots, the lace, the bow, the ruffles.

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See more Small Style at Momma Loves Papa.

Hard Days

24 Apr

We move on Saturday.

Four days left.

Tonight, I’m suppose to be packing. Instead, I’m eating ice cream, watching Castle and drinking a glass of wine.

It’s been a rough day. Random things throughout the day, layer upon layer just being crappy.

Including learning that the book I preordered a while ago (the amazing Elizabeth Messina’s The Luminous Portrait) was going to be delivered next week….and if I changed the address so it would arrive to the new address, it would take even longer. So I canceled the order, figuring I’d just get it at Barnes and Noble on the way home. Yeah, Receiving didn’t even know which box they were in.

It helped. That I discovered she did the cover to Portland Bride & Groom. So I got to enjoy her images anyway!

Bookstore failed at getting @elizabethmessina 's book on its shelf so I have to wait, but pleasantly surprised to see her photo on the cover of Portland Bride & Groom!

Add into it the joy of being a woman and light food poisoning from the chili at Sweet Tomatoes, and I’m done.

So I’m taking a day off. Breathing and enjoying my daughter being in a good mood tonight, watching Dragon Tales quietly in her Minnie Mouse dress. The sounds of Ryan watching TV in the bedroom. Remembering the blessings I have in my life.

A great post by the amazing Kristen Kalp gives me permission!

I’ll see you tomorrow…when I’m in a better mood…