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Ava Elisabeth: December 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Small Group White Elephant Gift Exchange


First of all, anything with our small group is always a riot, but you know that anytime a picture like this happens, it can’t disappoint.

We had our White Elephant/Christmas party and Adam decided to give a lucky someone a chance to take a piece of him home. Haha! Chris was the lucky person who picked “Adam” first.


Someone had found this picture that used to hang in the high school gym and brought it to him, he has been trying to persuade me into hanging it somewhere in the house ever since. He obviously has not prevailed!


We had so much fun laughing at each other and the gifts!


Nikki actually brought a sweet gift and it was fitting that Katharine was the one to end up with it- she had a picture frame with a picture of our small group from when we all went to visit her and Jane in the hospital. It’s so neat to think about the memories we have made and how much of a family we have become!


His and Hers Anti-Monkey Butt Powder


Lisa and her Hot Sauce. You know, it’s fitting Lisa ended up with the hot sauce!


Jim and his cuddly teddy bear, which Chris, because he drew #1 took from him and left Jim with the picture of “Adam”….


“Adam” currently resides somewhere in Jim and K’s house in a bathroom….


Adam Also had a surprise gift of a Christmas cd of himself playing- so not only did Jim and K end up with a gigantic picture of Adam in his younger years- they can now listen to him serenade them!


Adam became the celebrity that night and had to sign his picture. I have a feeling this will be a gift that comes back year after year. We had so much fun and laughed until our sides hurt. There isn’t much better than having fun and doing life with people as crazy as our group!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My great grandmother has a house on the river. We spent many a weekend there when I was growing up. All of the cousins had such a blast playing together and sleeping in the loft upstairs. Since it was only 25-30 minutes from our house it made for an easy get away. We call the river house Littlefield. I’m not sure where the name came from, but I think I will put it on my ‘Ask Nana’ list. I’m sure it originated from my Great-grandparents.


Anyways, no one is living there so when the temps dropped and we had several nights of hard freezes we needed to check on the house and pump. It sits on this huge lot and has a dock and of course a gorgeous view. We happened to be pulling in right about the time the sun was setting and I saw it when we turned down the driveway- a picture perfect opportunity!


Ava was asleep in the car so we left it running so she would stay warm and I grabbed my camera and ran down to the dock. Pictures will never capture the true beauty I saw in person, nor it will they capture the birds that were playing over the water as I stood there. I wish Ava had been awake, but of course she would have been freezing standing out there on the water and Adam missed it because he was checking on everything inside the house.


Adam agreed that even the view from the house was breathtaking (I wish he had been outside with me) of course he doesn’t need any encouragement to spend more time on the water….

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Small Group Movie Night


I had mentioned before that we are in between studies with our small group and since we were in between all of the holidays we decided to do some fun things at our weekly get-together. One Wednesday night the group came over and we roasted hot dogs, had chili, and roasted marshmallows and made smores while we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.


When we planned this it was still hot in Florida, little did we know it would be FREEZING the on the night we decided! Everyone bundled up and sat close to the fire, Lisa even plugged in a electric blanket. We also had a propane heater going as well. We were determined to be warm! Baby Jane slept in Ava’s bed while we were outside :) We had so much fun.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Little Miss Hallie


Well, on November 29th a little before 6:00, Ava’s newest friend came into this world! Little Miss Hallie Ann Gressman


After Adam and I got off work we headed down with Ava to see the sweet little baby. Ava loved seeing her and when I held her she wanted me to “get down Mama!” so she could see her better.


We didn’t stay long since there were a lot of people coming by to see her, but Leslie did ask Ava if she wanted to hold her and of course Ava did! So she climbed up in the bed and “held” her.


I can’t count the number of kisses she gave Hallie before we left- but the little baby was showered with love from Ava! She would pat/rub her head and say, “aww baby!”


I have to say I can only imagine the trouble these 2 will be getting into one day!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmastime is Here


This year I knew Christmas would be exciting with Ava. She is starting to understand a little more and boy, she really understands presents! As parents, Adam and I want to make sure we keep the focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We love the fun and excitement Santa brings, and we are enjoying it while we can, but we wanted to be careful that we didn’t rank Santa above the birth of Jesus.


We decided to do the Jesse Tree/Advent devotion that many other families do and it has been one of the best decisions I think we have ever made. We started off with regular devotions, but after feeling like Ava didn’t understand half of it, I went to work and using her ‘Sweet Dreams Princess’ Devotional book redid our schedule. We still have all the stories a regular advent devotion has, they are just geared towards a princess, which of course is right up Ava’s alley! I still think they might be a little over her head, but I think she understands the importance of the devotions and I also think children tend to comprehend more than you give them credit for. This year I just printed ornaments, next year I will probably do a little more, maybe let Ava color them, and I would love to collect different ornaments with Ava as she gets older.   


Each night the devotions have been such a special time with our family. After we finish reading, Ava says a prayer and it has to be the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I have to whisper what to say in her ear and she in turn whispers the prayer- she is so sweet and cute when she does it.


I think we have watched every holiday movie ever made!!! Ava loves Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty- she can sing the songs as well :) We have watched my all time favorite holiday move- White Christmas, it doesn’t get much better than a little Bing Crosby at Christmastime. We even have a record of Bing Crosby that we play constantly this time of year. We have watched a few others, including Veggie Tales movies and “Snoopy” as Ava calls A Charlie Brown Christmas.


This Christmas I think we have driven to see Christmas lights almost every night since December 1st! ha! She loves to “go see” and her favorite thing to see is a big snowman and baby Jesus. If she ever comes up to you and asks you to “take me, go see Baby Jesus!” you now know what she is talking about. I’m not sure what we are going to do after everyone takes their lights down….


Ava doesn’t usually take to strangers that well and therefore I haven’t attempted to even try and take her to see Santa because I am pretty sure how it would end…a screaming little girl. I just haven’t felt the need to stand in the forever long line that would be torturous for both myself and Ava and then pay the obscene amount of money for a picture of her crying, so I didn’t take her. However, one Saturday this past month Santa rode around on a fire truck to see all the kids. We told Ava Santa was coming and she was so excited. She made her daddy wait with her at the front window so she would be sure not to miss him. I was beginning to feel like a horrible mother for not taking my child to see Santa and when the fire truck pulled into the cul-de-sac we went outside and she all of the sudden realized she was going to have to talk to him….haha! She ran back to me so fast! I held her hand and she did take a candy cane from him, but that wasn’t without a little coaxing.


After seeing how excited she was, I was a little disappointed she didn’t enjoy his visit to the full extent, but also a little relieved that I wasn’t going to win the Bad Mommy of the Year award. She has continued to talk about seeing him and apparently in her mind, Santa doesn’t have a sleigh and reindeer, he is coming to town on a fire truck!


One thing I know Ava understands for sure is that it is Baby Jesus’ Birthday. She really understands the word Birthday and that there is usually cake involved. I had promised her we would bake a birthday cake for Jesus before his birthday and she never let me forget! Adam and I both feel that you can keep the excitement that Santa brings, but still keep the focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It is just a simple matter of what’s more important to you and where your priority lies.


One thing I was concerned about this year was Ava getting into the presents. I didn’t want to have to wait until Christmas Eve to wrap all of the presents! Last year I didn’t put ornaments on the tree for fear of her getting into them, but this year that wasn’t an issue, this year, the concern was presents. I’m happy to report that she hasn’t hardly shown interest in them. I will say I haven’t told her that any of them are hers, I have shown her which ones are her grandparents and daddy’s but other than that we haven’t said much. I will say that wrapping presents was a challenge this year for sure! I had to wait until she was asleep to wrap hers (of course), but I would wrap others while she was awake and all she wanted to do was help and put tape all over the package. If you get a present from us and it has an abnormal amount of tape, just know it was a little extra love from Ava :)


But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Luke 2:10-12

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ava’s First Movie


Ava has seen the trailer for the new Disney movie Tangled on TV several times and she started asking her Daddy and myself to take her to see it. Every time it would come on she would ask us. We decided to take her the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We didn’t watch it in 3D since I wasn’t sure she would keep the glasses on and since it was her first movie ever I thought it best not to chance it. Plus, $3.00 extra for 3D….you’re crazy!!


Ava’s Gigi, Aunt RoRo and Meggie all came with us…Ava always has an entourage..haha!


Since I knew we were planning on taking her, I bought her the Rapunzel doll at the Disney store on Black Friday. You can’t really find any of the Tangled merchandise on sale since it’s brand new, but I was able to get 20% off on Friday, so we wrapped the doll and let her open it before we left for the movie. She thought it was so neat!


I honestly didn’t expect her to sit through the entire movie, well, not awake at least, but she did and absolutely loved it. She also had the full movie theater experience complete with popcorn, nachos, and m&m’s. The movie was so cute, Adam even enjoyed it :) Although I wasn’t crazy with how long the previews played (30 mins) or their choice of previews, just because some of them weren’t ones that I wanted Ava to see- I was worried she would have nightmares after seeing a few of them. They weren’t anything rated higher than PG, but a couple of them on the big screen with 2 year old weren’t very comforting….other than that- Ava had a blast. She laughed a lot during the movie and never got antsy or wanted to get up and run around. We did have to make a potty break once during the movie (both of us-haha!). I’m excited to take her to another one, especially since I can count on one hand the number of times Adam and I have been to see a movie since being married.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



The Saturday after Thanksgiving we didn’t have any plans and it was a beautiful day, so we decided to take Ava to the zoo. It wasn’t crowded at all and since we have annual passes we don’t try to see everything at every visit. We just take our time and see what Ava wants to see and when she gets tired we leave- it is an easy (and inexpensive) thing we can do as a family.


Ava wanted to see the giraffe’s first and then we went and visited with the elephants and the monkeys and we also walked through the bird and fish area. All at Ava’s request.


When we stopped at the one of the monkey exhibits and it was the funniest thing we watched in a while! They were playing and chasing each other. So very entertaining. Ava didn’t know what to think at first. We stood and watched them for probably 20 minutes and then they started feeding them lunch so we got to see that as well.


It was a nice relaxing day for us- which we needed before the craziness of Christmas begins.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010



Thanksgiving always starts the Holiday madness! We usually have to make our rounds on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas, but after last year and how tired Ava was on Christmas day, Adam and I started talking about how we wanted to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving. We were hoping for at least 1 non-stressful holiday. We decided to invite everyone over to our house for lunch on thanksgiving. It worked out so well! Ava was able to stay home ALL day, (which when you work and have to leave the house every day, it's nice to be able to stay home) and she played and took a very, very, very brief nap. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Ava loved watching the dancers perform and then watching all the floats go by! We also saw one of my cousin’s husband’s band perform, so that was neat. Shortly before it was over I had to get up and start working in the kitchen, fortunately I was only responsible for some sides and drinks so it didn’t take a ton of work. Around 2:00 everyone came and we had enough food to feed an army and it was all so delicious. After eating all we could possibly squeeze into ourselves the women brought out the ads for Black Friday and planned our day. It was so nice to stay at home the entire day, especially since I  left the house at 3:00 in the morning the next day. I handed Adam the camera to take pictures and he did, he took about 6 total and all but 2 of them are either blurry or could be used for blackmail….family- keep that in mind….. :) Oh well, at least good memories were made. IMG_8627

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Ava’s been up to lately….

So I thought I would give a little update on what Ava’s been up too lately…..


We ended up going ahead with potty training just a few days after her 2nd birthday. She had gotten to the point that she wanted her diaper OFF as soon as she woke up and and even started undoing it, so lest she start making a mess everywhere, I thought, well now is as good of time as any. I hadn’t wanted to really try any earlier than this because my August is so busy and even the month prior leading up to the conference. I knew we had a convention to go to the end of October, so a month and a half would be a good timeframe to try it out and see. I had already told myself if it proved to be too challenging we would go back to diapers and try again later. Another deciding factor was that it was still summer and I knew it would be easier to potty train in less clothes :)

The child didn’t take long at all!!! (Praise the Lord) before she even hit the 25 month mark we were pretty much done. We started by staying home one weekend and she didn’t wear any clothes and I had her potty seat in her bathroom and I kept her  portable potty in the living room so it was easy (and quick) to get too. After a few days she had the hang of it and really after about 2 weeks, I wasn’t even asking her if she had to go every 5 minutes, she was able to tell me and I could pretty much forget about. The only time I made her go was when we were getting ready to leave.

She did amazingly well- better than I would have given her credit for. We carried a little potty everywhere we went and I was always a nervous wreck when I dropped her off at Waumba Land on Sunday mornings, just because I didn’t want them to have to deal with it. But she did wonderfully. Even at the Jaguar games, she hasn’t had any accidents. Now, I will say, she has had accidents, most of the time they happen when she is too excited to stop and go to the potty or when she is just too involved in playing. I do still put a pull-up on her at night, but mainly just for extra security. I can count on my hand the number of times she has wet it, I still have some from the original package I bought so I figured I would use them up and then she is on her own ;)

She had to ‘go potty’ the other day and when I went back to check on her just moments later, this is what I found:


She had gotten her sunscreen out of the drawer and started putting it all over her self. I don’t know if you have ever tried to clean up sunscreen- but it is way worse than lotion in my opinion! Even after immediately putting her in the bath and 2 more baths over the course of the next 2 days, I think she still had some all over her! Life with a toddler is never dull!!

She is talking up a storm now, you can’t say anything without her repeating it verbatim! She loves to sing and dance. She sings and dances 90% of the time she is awake. This time of year you will catch her singing either Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. She also loves Jesus Loves Me and Old MacDonald. She is sooooo much fun! We laugh at her constantly and she amazes us with the things she is able to comprehend and do. She mimics everything we do and the way we do it. Even when you don’t realize it. She’s also a little sneaky and will try to get away with things when she doesn’t think you are paying attention.

One of our favorite things she says is when she tells us she loves us. She always says “Loves you, Mama” or “Loves you, Daddy” it is so cute and sweet. When she wants to be picked up she says “Hols you, mama” We haven’t really corrected her simply because there isn’t much about her that is still baby-ish and listening to her say things like this makes me feel like she isn’t growing as fast (even though I know the opposite is true!)

Another funny thing she says is when she is asking for yogurt she calls it “erget”. We smile every time she says it!  I’m trying to remember all of these little things she says because I know it won’t be long before she outgrows them.

If she ever bumps her head or you ever bump it for her ;) she says, “Owww! Bumped my noggin!” Haha! I’m not sure where she learned the word noggin, but that’s what she calls her head, but only when you bump it. Lol!

Waumba Land (nursery) is one of her favorite places to go now and I’m so happy that it is! I hope she always enjoys going to church. Her second favorite place to go is to the “Jaguar Game” she asks all the time if we are going to the jaguar game and then she usually does the “Move the Chains” bit we do at the games when the Jags get a first down. The girl loves football because she would just about prefer to watch football on tv than cartoons…almost…. which makes her daddy proud ;)

Last, but certainly not least, she loves all things princess and all things Disney! She asks at least once everyday if we can go see the castle, Minnie’s house, or Cinderella. It is so neat to see the world through her eyes. I know that soon enough the way she sees the world will change, too bad we can’t all see things the way a child sees them…so for now we are enjoying the excitement and magic that exists through her!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fl vs. App State


App State played Florida at Florida and of course my grandparents had us tickets- however, we had one stipulation- we had to wear App gear instead of Florida. We agreed and looked forward to the game. Grammy found Ava a cheerleading outfit and sent it down to us along with some ribbon to make a bow- she was the cutest cheerleader there- bar none!


One thing Grammy didn’t think about was bloomers- so guess what bloomers Ava had on for the game?! Her Gator ones- haha! We managed to sneak a little Florida in on her ;)


It was a beautiful day, I could have stood for it to be a little cooler, but at least it was miserably hot! We left early Saturday morning to go eat with my Grandparents and tons of other App fans at a hotel down in Gainesville and then took a shuttle to the stadium. It worked out really nice.


I have to say, being a smaller school and 10 hours away, the App fans definitely showed up. As we were driving through town there was black and gold EVERYWHERE!


We had a good time, Ava can say she has been to her first Florida game (does it still count if she was wearing another team’s colors-haha!) and she can say she has been to her first App State game, but I’m sure she will see plenty more of their games when they play on their own turf.


Ava loved watching the cheerleaders- she had her own megaphone and pom-pom and cheered right along with them. I’m afraid Adam and I are going to have a hard time deterring her from cheering. I do know one thing though- this girl is going to love football! She really doesn’t have much choice otherwise :)


We stopped and ate on the way home and by the time we walked in the door I was tired! I can’t for the life of me figure out why people who live in Jacksonville without emotional ties to the Gators would rather spend the day (because it is an entire day ordeal) at their games and not at the Jaguar games- they are so much more fun and we leave right after church and are home by 5:00 (at the absolute latest) when it is a 1:00 game…that’s my idea of a schedule-I can’t imagine loosing an entire day for every football game!


Thanks to Grammy and Big Papa for the tickets and lunch. We really did have a great time! Sorry they lost- but I know they padded that pocket a little ;) which helps ease the pain!

Ava Elisabeth: December 2010

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