Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas

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Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! Can't believe it was a year ago that we were packing our suitcases and getting ready to fly to Ethiopia to meet Ava. This Christmas will be special because it is also the day Ava arrived home to meet all the Jarvies.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Disneyworld this year and Ava LOVED Mickey (and all the characters). Unfortunately, her love did not carry over to Santa. Our first picture of her with Santa is not a pretty one.......she's screaming and trying to jump off his lap!

As we celebrate this wonderful time of year, I can't help but think back to all the beautiful orphans we met while we were meeting Ava. Thankfully, many of those children have been matched with forever families, but many have not. I hope that more families will feel called to adopt these amazing children.

We have much to be thankful for this year and we look forward to 2011!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Fall!

Ava experienced her first trip to the Pumpkin Patch last weekend. She enjoyed toddling around and watching all the kids.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Whole New World

It's finally happened!!!!!! Yesterday, Ava walked all by herself!!!!! It took many months of practice to get there, but she took a few steps in the afternoon and by bedtime she was walking all around the house. It's so funny to see her plump little body upright and moving independently! At 17 months and 28 pounds, it was time for this to happen. I am so proud of her, but at the same time my "mommy heart" is sad that her "baby life" is coming to a close and her "toddler life" is beginning. It is all happening in a the blink of an eye. I'll try to post some video or photos later!

Monday, September 6, 2010


So summer flew by without any updates......sorry about that! With the kids being home, there just didn't seem to be time to update the blog. Tonight they are all in bed and ready to start their first day of school tomorrow. It will just be mommy and Ava at home again and Ava will be missing her sisters. They did a great job of entertaining her this summer.

Ava was quite the traveler this summer. We went to Ocean City, MD, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Boston, MA. She loved the pool and ocean....think I'll put her in swim lessons this year. She is almost walking and can crawl at record speeds. She just discovered she can get herself up the steps, so the gates went up this weekend. She is 16 months old and is still in the 95 percentile for weight and has dropped down to the 75th percentile for height. Her favorite activities are rolling/throwing the ball and reading her books. We are working very hard to get her to say a few words, but she isn't cooperating. I am taking her this month to have her hearing checked, just to make sure that isn't an issue.

She loves to make us laugh and she has figured out little tricks to get our attention. She pretends like she has a cough and then we all look over and say, "Ahhh, does Ava have a cough?" and she just cracks up. Her other favorite trick is to pretend she is putting her food in her mouth, but at the last minute she flings it over the side of her high chair so the dogs can eat it. She thinks that is just so funny. She loves for us to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider (over and over and over). We are branching out to new songs because we all are sick of singing that song!

My favorite thing is to go in and get her out of her crib in the morning. She is always standing there with a big smile on her face ready to start the day.Then gives me a huge hug.......can't think of a better way to begin the day! She is such a happy girl!

We were discussing the other day that she has now been home with us longer than she was in Ethiopia. It's just amazing how much she has grown and changed. Everyday is something new and we love experiencing all of it with her!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July

Ava celebrated her first 4th of July!!!! We took her to see the fireworks and at first she didn't love the loud noises the fireworks made, but she loved watching them. She was a trooper and stayed up way past her bedtime.

She turned 14 months old on July 3rd. She is babbling all the time and now says "Dada" and points to Bruce. I have to admit I am a little jealous since I am with her all day long and still haven't gotten a "Mama" out of her yet! She is pulling herself up and moving around, but not walking on her own yet. I think we are just a few weeks away from that happening.

We have taken her to the pool several times now and she LOVES the water! I really have to watch her because she is not fearful of the water at all. Her personality is really beginning to shine thru. She loves to be tickled and teased.....she is going to have quite a sense of humor!

The girls have been out of school for 2 weeks and she really likes having the girls around. There is always somebody there to play with her!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

13 months!

Ava just turned 13 months old and continues to grow (and grow!). I took her for her one year check up a week ago and she is in the 95th percentile for her height and weight. She is just going to be a BIG girl!!! We had our 6 month post adoption interview with the social worker and she was impressed with Ava's development.

So, at 13 months, Ava :
- has 6 teeth
- is eating some real food (pancakes, fruit, pasta, etc)
- can stand up while hold onto my finger
- is crawling all over the place
- can pull herself up to a standing position
- can tell us how old she is by holding up 1 finger

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New teeth & new hair

Ava is standing up and holding on to things. Now that she has discovered this new skill, she wants to be upright all the time. Don't know how long my back and arms will hold out!
So I have finally entered the world of African American hairstyling!!!! I watched a few videos and gave it a try. This style is called coils. I just wet it and put some styling product in her hair. Then I sectioned it and twirled each part with my finger. Olivia says it looks like she has little caterpillars on her head! Ava was cooperative for most of the time, but by the end, I was crawling on the floor behind her trying to finish the back. Not something I would do every day, but it's fun to have hair options.

Ava's teeth are coming in quickly!!!! She now has two on the bottom, two front ones on top and a few more working their way thru.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ava's First Birthday

Ava turned a year old on May 3rd! I think she had a good time, although we couldn't get her to smile in the photos. We did a Yo Gabba Gabba theme since that's her favorite show. She enjoyed the cake, balloons and gifts.

These past four months have gone by in a blink and she has made such huge strides in her development. On her first birthday, we are reminded of how fortunate our family is to have Ava in our lives. Happy 1st Birthday Ava! We love you!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Into the Streets of Ethiopia

If you click on the button to the right you will see a great blog that has been set up by another family who adopted from Ethiopia. They are working with a man named Robel who works with America World Adoption ( our adoption agency) and also has set up a ministry to help the children who live in the streets of Ethiopia.

I think everyone who has traveled to Ethiopia and experienced all that we did cannot walk away without being transformed. It's encouraging to see families from our agency getting involved and helping to change these children's lives.

Monday, April 19, 2010

11 months

Ava turned 11 months old while we were on Spring Break. That was her first time to see the ocean/beach. She really liked the sand, but wasn't crazy about the ocean. I wasn't sure how she would do on this trip because we drove to Flordia and then were on a cruise for 7 days. She was great! She is the most laid back baby I have ever seen!
She is still working on crawling. She now army crawls all over our downstairs. The other day I found her playing with the dog water bowl. She loves exploring and banging on anything that makes noise. Her top 2 teeth are just coming thru. She has been sleeping thru night for over 6 weeks and life is much better (for both of us). Now that the weather is nice, she loves going outside and going for walks in her stroller.
I can't believe she has been home with us for nearly 4 months........she is changing and growing everyday and her birthday is just around the corner. Originally, we were planning to have a big party for her, but lately, she isn't comfortable around large groups of people, so we'll just do a small family birthday.
She is just so much fun at this age and she makes us laugh everyday!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Project "Sleep Thru the Night"

The time has finally come to get Ava to sleep thru the night. I am so exhausted that I knew we couldn't go on like this anymore. The other night she woke up 4 times! We had our 3 month post adoption interview on Sunday and the social worker encouraged me to start right away.

So, Sunday night we put her to bed and she woke up at 9:30 and 11:30, but I didn't go in to her room. After lots of crying, she was able to put herself back to sleep. Those minutes seemed like hours to me as I lay and listened to her pathetic little cry. I kept wondering what was going thru her mind. I think it makes it even harder since she is adopted because I have worked so hard to establish that bond with her and I didn't want her to think I had abandoned her and left her to cry all night. She woke again at 2:30 and I gave her a bottle.....I could tell her cry that time was because she was hungry. She drank her bottle and slept until morning.

Monday night we put her to bed and she didn't wake or cry until 4:00! Although, I woke several time during the night.......she had me in the habit of waking up and I have to get myself back in a sleeping routine too!

Now we know she is able to sleep 9 hours straight! I hope the next few nights are as successful as Monday night was.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ava is 10 Months Old

Ava is 10 months old today. She is sitting up all by herself and has 2 bottom teeth. She is growing like crazy........28 1/2 inches long and 22 1/2 lbs!!!!!! So, in the 10 weeks she has been home she has gained 4 pounds.

The photo above shows her in her "bumbo" (the greatest invention for babies) watching her favorite show. I just love to watch her while she watches it.......she is mesmerized by it.

If we could just get her to sleep thru the night, things would be perfect!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

9 Months Old!!!!

Ava turned 9 months old yesterday. We can't believe how quickly the time is passing. I would have posted something yesterday, but we were experiencing lots of "illness" at our house. Olivia and I had the stomach flu and Claire is on her second round of antibiotics for a bad throat infection. To top it all off, we had a snow day!

I just wanted to post some of the things Ava is doing, so we'll remember her little achievements. This past week was a big one for Ava:
- Her first tooth came in
- She learned how to wave Hello
- She is sitting up for several minutes on her own
- She is almost able to push herself up into a crawling position
- She has a favorite TV show.....Yo Gabba Gabba (interesting for a baby, but not so much for me)
- She definitely is attached to us. She doesn't let strangers hold her anymore and is always making sure that I am nearby.

It's getting hard to remember what life was like before Ava arrived. She has fit into our family so easily and we are thankful for that. She is just a joy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

4 Weeks Home!

Ava is doing great! Her bloodwork had to be done again and everything came back fine. She had a developmental assessement and is a bit behind, but nothing to be concerned about. We had expected that to be the case and we can see she is progessing everyday. She is a happy baby!

Friday, January 15, 2010

3 Weeks Home!

Ava is doing great! Next week we have an appointment to have her development assessed. This week she has started sitting up on her's only for a few seconds at a time, but we can see her growing stronger everyday. She is really liking her baby food now. Carrots and squash are her favorites at the moment.

Each day when the girls come home from school, I stand at the window with Ava and we watch for the bus. She gets so excited when each girl walks thru the door. The girls are such a big help!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Very Special Cake!

Check out this beautiful cake our friend, Nancy, made for Ava! She has a cake making business and we are so thankful for her generous gift! It looks too good to eat, but eventually the girls had to cut into it........and it's delicious!!!! What a special welcome gift........we are going to put a few crumbs in Ava's mouth so she can enjoy it too.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2 Weeks Home

I used to wonder why the families that get back from Ethiopia didn't update their blogs often to let us know how things were going. Now, I know why.........there isn't a spare minute to gather your thoughts and find time to type a blog post!

It's hard to believe we have been home with Ava for 2 weeks! That first week was somewhat of a blur. She wasn't on our time zone and as a result, she was waking up every 2-3 hours throughout the night. She also was very congested, but still she was happy and babbly.

This week we have made great progress! I took her to the international adoption doctor on Monday and he did a physical evaluation. She weighs 19 lbs!!!!! Tuesday, she had to have blood drawn. That was not a pleasant experience.....they couldn't find her vein in her left arm and after several tries, they switched to her right arm. They explained that her vein was about the size of a thread and it was really difficult, but they finally found the vein! For the past 3 days, I have been collecting "specimens" from her diaper and driving it over to the lab so they can check for parasites, etc. That too, was not a pleasant experience (for me!).

Everyday we see improvement in her development. We have been giving her small amounts of baby food and she is slowly coming around to that. She is not able to sit up yet, but we are working on that, along with developing her leg strength. Although, the weather is sooooo cold, we have had a few outings to the mall and Costco.

Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed and sent beautiful gifts! Your generosity is overwhelming and Ava is one loved little girl!!!!!!! We are loving every minute with her and are so happy to have her home with us. She is a true gift to our family!