ladybird's egg

Last weekend we went to CT to hang out with our dear friends and introduce Avery to the pool for the first time. 

I’d say she enjoyed it immensely!  Oh, and swim lessons officially start this fall. 

And, my most favorite photo of Avery—-she really does smile!

Dear Avery: Month Four Plus

Dear Avery,

You are now four and half months old—-going on a year it seems.  My letter to you is weeks late, but I hope you know it is only late because we are having so much fun.  And, I’m tired.  But, mostly it’s been fun!

Where to begin?  How do I wrap my mind around the changes in the last few weeks?  Our lives have gone through multiple transitions and with each one you have, in your typical way, gone with the flow and been a delight.  First, Nana was with us all of July.  What a blessing it was to have her with us as I transitioned back to work.  You spent your days singing songs, playing games, reading book, and all the usual napping, eating, and filling diaper-business.

Going back to work has been a real adjustment, but was made easier knowing that the first few weeks you were with Nana and at home in a familiar space.  We made time to go on outings during the weekends so that you could enjoy summer in Vermont.

We went to Brattleboro for lunch and shopping:

Picked blueberries in Weathersfield, VT:

Hung out at home:

Oh, and you also stopped by my work with Daddy!:

Oh, and spent some time at “Nana’s house!”  That’s the really big news!  Nana and Pa are thisclose to owning a house just a few doors down from us.  Whoopie!  The paperwork is still in process, but their offer has been accepted and you will now be able to see Nana and Pa every October-December starting in 2012.  I am so happy that for part of the year you will have more family nearby and that they will be able to share the holidays with us.  Oh, and Nana’s birthday.  Very important stuff.

This month you have really found your voice and you coo all the time.  You are particularly chatty after you eat or when you are put down to sleep.  You talk to yourself as you fall asleep and it so darn sweet.  You are a little stingy with your laughter, but when you do giggle it is incredible.  While you may not laugh all the time, you do smile non-stop.  NON-STOP!  Every morning, you wake up chatting (!) and then Daddy and I greet you the same way every morning.  In our sing-song voice we say, “Good morning to you!  You live in a zoo!”  This tickles you to no end and you practically snort with joy.  There is nothing better in the world than waking up this way.  Every day, without fail. 

You are thriving on routine and our bedtime is now locked in.  We start bathtime at 6:30pm, followed by books, nursing, and our songs.   I rock you for a bit and then put you down by 7pm.  We had a real tough time with your 4-month sleep regression where you went back to waking up as often as you did when you were a newborn.  Those were not good days/weeks!  Thankfully, you are back to waking up twice a night, which is totally do-able and fine.  You wake up somewhere between 6-7am ready to play and face the day.

So.  Daycare.  The big, scary monster in the room.  Your first day was two weeks ago. I can’t sugar-coat it—-that day was, without a doubt, one of the most heart-wrenching of my life.  I sobbed all day and was a complete wreck.  You didn’t eat a whole lot that day, which was worrying, and like all things that are difficult, it felt like I would feel that way forever.  By day two?  You were fine. 

I am taking Wednesday afternoons off in August and Daddy has summer Fridays, which has really helped to break up the week.  The thing is:  you love your time at daycare.  You smile at your teachers when you are carried in and they adore you.  I love to read your little daily report cards where they say things like, “Avery lights up the room when she smiles.”  You get great playtime and I know you are well taken care of.  I rush out of work the first second I can to get you and nothing brings me more joy than to scoop you up and gobble up your cheeks. 

I expected to feel miserable forever, but the truth is, I know you will do just fine and will actually be more than okay.  It’s just your personality.  You are observant and thoughtful and I know you know you are loved.  By us.  By your teachers.  By everyone.  You are just as happy as can be.

You light up our lives.




I have to write this down, because even though I am SURE I won’t forget, I have a leaky brain and forget most things.

Yesterday I was playing with Avery and she laughed!  I mean, she laugh-laughed for a long time.  Oh the joy!

Avery was sitting on my lap, highly alert and smiley, when I started a game where everytime she would lock eyes with mine I would say, in my most exaggerated voice, “Oh, HI!  How are you?!  I didn’t see you there!”  And she thought this was hilarious and gave me belly laugh after belly laugh.  Then, it would start over again.  This went on for a good five minutes, which may mark some of the best minutes of my life so far.

The thing I love most is that she seemed to understand HUMOR.  Melts my heart.  My next plan of action is to capture this on our flipCam to share. 

To be continued…

Dear Avery: Month Three

Dear Avery,

Happy three months!  You are no longer a newborn, but are instead officially an infant.  My baby!  My big baby.  My, oh my, are you a chunker.  And, I love it!  I love every last roll and squishy cheek.  I cheered when your wrist rolls appeared.  It was a great day. 

You are such a happy and content baby.  You smile and coo and love to swat at your toys.  Although, truth be told, you are happiest when you are cuddled.  I love to scoop you up and hold you close and shower you with mama kisses.  Thank you, Avery, for not objecting to this onslaught of kisses. 

This past month has brought with it a lot of changes.  You are definitely showing your personality more and more and showing your preferences for items and people.  You are captivated by our ceiling fans and delight in your hands.  You have hands!  And they move!  You love to flip the bird, too.  Just saying.  It’s funny today—not so much in a few years.  Sometimes you try to get both hands in your mouth and if that doesn’t work you cover your eyes as if the drama of life is just too much.


We had so many adventures this month.  Right after you turned 9 weeks old, we took you on your very first real trip—-to New York City, no less!  It was so great to introduce you to our NY friends, and show you Brooklyn, a place that will always be special to us.  You were a complete champ the whole visit.  You slept in the car, slept in my arms, played for a little bit, and slept some more.  You would wake up, look around the City and get so stimulated that you passed right out.  Super funny!  I do think that we paid for our traveling in the few days after we returned, but things quickly went back to normal.  Did I mention how happy and content you are?

Here you are with your buddy, Jay, in NYC!

I read somewhere that around this age you should be starting to cry for ONLY an hour a day.  AN HOUR?  You don’t cry for a minute a day.  You fuss sometimes, you make your needs known, but you don’t cry to expess yourself.  (As I get down on my knees and thank the Universe.)

You love to sit up these days on our lap and look around.  You are very strong and I have no doubt that when you figure out how to crawl/walk you will never stop.  Sure you are content to look around.  But, the kicking!  And the swatting!  And the movement!  You are ready for some real action and I don’t think you will be a late-bloomer in getting down to the business of physical activity.

You are more and more interested in watching us do things, too.  If I am cooking dinner, I will put you in your bouncy seat in the kitchen and explain to you what I am doing.  You smile at me and pay attention to what’s going on.  When I tell you I am “all done cutting the onions” you kick and flail and give me a big grin.  You love when I tell you that I am “all done” with something.  I show you the vegetables I’m cooking so you can see everything up close and you seem to be trying to figure it all out.  I delight in watching your mind trying to sort out the world.  It’s like seeing all these little sparks as you take it in.

More visitors continue to make the trek to Vermont to see you.  Nana came at the end of June to be with you for the first month that I am back to work (a whole other topic).  A few days later, Great-Grandma Sooky and Auntie Nancy joined the party to spend your first 4th of July together.  What fun!

We had a great time eating Auntie Nancy’s cooking (never gonna lose those last few pounds at this rate), walking around town, and being together.  We took you to your first parade and you managed to watch most of it.

Every day brings a new joy.  Your first signs of laughter are creeping up and you are starting to figure out that you might be able to move from your back to your front.  So far you’ve found your side. 

People ask me if I sleep through the night and the answer is no.  You go down to sleep around 8pm and wake up around midnight and 3am and then are up for the day around 6am.  But, here’s our little secret.  I don’t mind.  You wake up to nurse and it gives me more opportunities to hold you and kiss you and love you in the peaceful moments that are just for you and me.  One day I’ll sleep again, but know that I don’t miss the sleep.  Not when it means I get to be with you.



Dressing a Baby

How is that in the last week Avery has worn a 0-3 month onesie, a 3-6 month romper, a 6-9 month pair of pants, and a 6-12 month tank top?

This all makes getting dressed in the morning very interesting.  It is also sometimes sad when I realize that something marked “6 months” is already too small and she never even wore it.  Boo.

Feeding Miss Avery

One of the things about being a mom that has surprised me the most is my love of breastfeeding Avery.  I was pretty matter of fact about it before I had her.  If I can do it for 3 months—great.  If only a few weeks—fine.  Well, if I can only get her the colostrum—so be it.  

After 10 weeks of nursing Avery I can say that it is officially one of the greatest joys and accomplishments of my life.  I know that it doesn’t work for everyone and it isn’t like formula is rat poison, but I was committed to at least giving it a chance.  Before Avery was born my version of giving it a chance meant maybe a few weeks or 3 months at most.

Little did I know that nursing her would be one of the defining moments of my life.  To know that my body grew her, delivered her, and is now completely responsible for her growth is astounding to me.  It makes me weep with gratitude.

Are their days when her non-stop eating is tiring?  Yes.  Frustrating?  To say the least.  But when she looks up at me with her big blue eyes or smiles at me while she eats—-well, there is just nothing in this world more amazing to me.  I love that I can calm her in an instant and as she grows so does our nursing relationship.  When I unbutton my blouse she smiles.  When she nurses, she holds my back with her hand or gently touches my tummy. I love the way her body relaxes, her eyes close, and when it is all done, she is absolutely milk-drunk.

I am gearing up to go back to work in less than two weeks and, while I am absolutely committed to pumping while we are apart, the hardest part for me emotionally is knowing that we will be missing our intimate connection for nine hours a day.  Ouch.  I just never knew that I would feel this way.  I never knew that the love was so big.  Or the closeness was so strong. 

You just don’t know until you know, I guess.  And now I know. 

A big thank you to my own Mom for loving me this much.  I hope one day that Avery knows the very same love.



Avery snuggles with Mommy, 5/18/11 from Tom Haushalter on Vimeo.

Dear Avery: Month 2

Dear Avery,

For the rest of my life I will probably say, “where did the time go?”  How can you be two months already?  How does that feel like both a lifetime and no time at all?

You have changed so much in the last month.  Every morning you wake up smiling and cooing and just so dang happy.  Daddy and I pull you into bed with us while we sing songs and chat with you.  You are starting to “reply” to us as well with your voice, but also with lots and lots of full-on grins and hints of laughter.  You also discovered Woody for the first time today.  You really stared at him and were trying to figure out who this silly creature was.

Lots of family has been visiting you, too!  In addition to Nana, Pa, and Auntie Elsie’s visit, Pops and Aunt Megan were here and just a few days later, Uncle Stephen, Aunt Karly and cousin Isaak arrived for more cuddles.  We’ve been blessed to have so many visitors come see you and give you all the love in the world. 

This month also brought with it a more formalized bedtime routine.  We change your diaper, put you in your pajamas, read you one or two books, and sing you two songs (Goodnight Sweetheart and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).  Somewhere in there I will nurse you, too.  We put you to sleep drowsy, but still awake, and hopefully I’m not jinxing this by saying, you happily fall asleep without a peep or a cry.  We are now able to get you down around 8:15pm which gives me and Daddy a few minutes to catch up and do things around the house before we crash for the night.  You are also nursing with precision-timing throughout the night.  Typically you will wake up at 11pm and then nurse every 3 hours until 5am when you switch over to every two hours.  But, if you wake up at 11:30pm for your first nighttime feeding, then it is exactly 3 hours from there until morning.  You are prompt and on schedule!

Every day you grow and change in so many new and exciting ways.  My love for you also deepens and the sheer force of it amazes me. 

With all the love in the world,


6 weeks!

I can’t believe Avery is six weeks today.  The last two weeks have marked a huge change in her awareness of the world.  She smiles!  She coos!  She holds her head up! 

Avery and I have been getting out more and more into the world to meet other moms and babies.  We are taking a “Mommy and Me Pilates” class twice a week and we also go to a “4th Trimester Group” with other new moms and babies.  It’s been really nice to chat with other women going through the same experiences and also to have a little bit of structure to our days.  What am I going to do when Oprah is finished next week?! 

Last weekend, Tommy and I were determined to take a small day trip with Avery despite the rainy weather.  We headed down to Manchester, VT for lunch, a stroll around the outlets, the essential ice-cream stop, and a peek into the famous Country Store, located in Weston, VT (Tommy is in front of the famous one).

Avery loves the car, thankfully, and either sleeps or gazes out the window.

We’ve been enjoying bathtime, too.

But not as much as naptime…

I feel like we are finally starting to get our groove.  I won’t say we have a schedule, because that’s not true, but a routine perhaps?  Avery is such an easygoing and sweet baby and every day brings us new joy and happiness.  Even at 3am…



Avery suckles. from Tom Haushalter on Vimeo.

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