Friday, December 31, 2010

New Friends

The feeling of adopting and completing your family is AMAZING! The love and joy you have, always having someone to play with, cuddle with, and giggle with. But there is one awesome thing you don't realize when you are in this process. The people you will meet, the children your child will become friends with, the people who you will hold a forever bond with because you have this one thing in common. We have met some truly fantastic people during our journey, near and far. From couples we met in parenting classes, couples we traveled with to China, and the local FCC families. John, Ava, and I are thankful for each and every one of you! Thanks for making this process just that much better!

With that being said, Ava and I got enjoy time with some of our new friends. Four moms, 5 kids with 3 from China, 1 from Russia, 1 from Guatemala, and snacks. What a great time! Ava took a little bit to warm up but once she did, she had a great time! Here are some pics of the day!

Ava and Ella stomping their feet

Ava, Roz, and Jewel making lunch

And here they all are together! Love them!
Roz, Ella, Josh, Ava, and Jewel

After our play date we met Ginger, Jeff, and Caleb at El Camino. Jeff and Caleb hadn't met Ava yet so we decided to meet for lunch. Caleb was awesome with her! He is such a cutie and he played with her and chased her around the restaurant. He kept asking if he could come over and push her in the stroller sometime. Haha!!

Ava and Caleb

After El Camino we came home and everyone took naps. I took the shortest one of 2 hours. That's right! Ava slept for 2 1/2 hours!! She had a big day! We woke her up at 5:15. A little late for a nap but we're on vacation, right? We usually feed her around 5:30 so we thought instead of snack, we would just give her dinner. She wasn't ready for dinner yet. And she made sure we knew that. So here is what she had...

Chips while sitting on the counter. She was happy so we were!

I ended up going to dinner with my friend, Sara so Ava went to Nana's for a little bit. She ended up eating meatloaf over there for dinner. Guess she was ready then!

Next week I go back to work full time in the office. I can't believe it, but I'm ready! I think it will be good for us to get on a schedule.

We hope you all have a safe and happy New Years! We are laying low tonight because John has to work 6p -6a.

John, Sara, and Ava

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Water Cooler

Things are still crazy here at the Houghtaling house! But I literally have EVERYTHING done that I wanted to before I go back to work full time next week! Woohoo!! We have taken Ava to school on Monday and Wednesday and she will go again on Friday. We wanted to keep her in the routine even though we are off. It's been very beneficial for us! On Monday, John and I went shopping and returned a bunch of items and made 2 trips to the Social Security office. By the time we picked up Ava, everything was returned and we have OFFICIALLY applied for Ava's social security number. We should have it in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, we went to Medina to visit John's mom and take her Christmas gifts to her. My mom and Emily went with us. It was a good day! However, I forgot my camera so there are 0 pictures from the trip...:(

Today, John got up with Ava and took her right to school. She does so good and we are so thankful that she enjoys it as much as she does. I slept until 9:30!! I was still fighting a cold and have been coughing constantly. Today, I am 100% better. Still have the lingering cough, but I can handle it. I feel like one of us has been sick since we got back from China. Anyhow, this morning after I woke up, John and I busted a$$ and got the entire house cleaned, Christmas stuff is DOWN, and all the laundry is done and put away! Woohoo! What a feeling! It's funny after we picked Ava up from school and brought her home I don't think she even noticed the tree is gone.

My aunt Martha got Ava a water cooler for Christmas. This may possibly have been the best gift for this child. She LOVES it! We are going to have to do a few diaper changes in the middle of the night if that's how much water she is going to drink! Haha!!!

She still hasn't completely picked up on how to get the water herself. Which is probably a good thing!

Here's a pretty cool story:
Years ago, my uncle Carl was in the Navy. I don't remember too much of this as I was pretty little. Anyhow, when I was around 4 and Emily was around 2, Carl was stationed in Hong Kong. When he came back he brought Emily and I these little Chinese dolls. I loved, loved, loved them! But we weren't allowed to play with them because they were so fragile. So my mom put them up and every once in awhile we would find them and I would just stare at them. Well...guess what my mom found????

I guess I knew even back then...

Looking forward to tomorrow! We have a play date with Ella, Roz, Jewel, and Josh! They are other FCC families! I love their moms, so I know I will love them too! I can't wait to meet them!

Have a great one!
John, Sara, and Ava

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ava's 1st Christmas!!

Boy, has it been a busy few days!!

Christmas was an exciting time for us because we finally got to spend the holidays with our little girl that we were anticipating for a long time! But, not only did we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, we also celebrated our 2 month anniversary of our forever family! 2 doesn't seem like that long of a time, but when we look back over this short time, our lives and our daughter have changed dramatically. When we first met Ava she didn't walk (we found out later she could, just chose not to), she took 2-4 bottles per day, and didn't want anything to do with me. Now...she is constantly on the go, has grown out of bottles and almost out of sippy's, and is attached to my hip. And has even sat on the potty a few times!

Happy 2 months, John and Ava! I'm so in love with our family and I thank the Lord everyday that I was blessed with the two of you in my life.

Our family has some wacky traditions around the holiday season. And this year was no different, we participated just as we have in the past.

Tradition #1: Lunch at Fricker's with my dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve

Both of my grandparents on my dad's side have passed on, so that leaves my dad, uncle Carl, and uncle Stan. The brothers, kids, and now grandkids meet at Frickers for lunch on Christmas Eve. Here are a couple of pics of Ava and her cousin Brooke. She brought Ava a new set of jammies and a little dog.

Ava decided that Brooke needed to have her hands cleaned and helped her put on the sanitizer.
Tradition #2: Christmas Eve service at St. John's in Genoa.
I don't have any pictures from church, but I can tell you that we lasted about 5 minutes into the service and then ended up in the cry room. She wasn't crying, but just couldn't keep quiet because one of her teachers from school was sitting in front of us and she kept trying to get her attention. So we decided to respect the others around us and take her out.
We also tried to get a picture of Ava in front of the tree with her Christmas dress. I will save that post for tomorrow. It's hilarious! So you will have to wait until then to see her Christmas dress.
Tradition #3: Midnight "dinner" at the truckstop on Christmas Eve
Yes, I said it. The truckstop. Years ago (I really don't know how many), my aunt Tammy had to work until midnight on Christmas Eve and she suggested that we meet at the truckstop afterwards for dinner. So, a few of us did. Now this has become a tradition for many others, as well. We started with maybe 5-6 people and now we are probably averaging about 30-35 people. Now, there is extended family and friends! It's crazy, but we all have a good time. Last year, however, we switched it up (since we are getting older) and we meet at 10pm now. It does make it easier, but we are all still super tired! Ava did great! I was so proud of her since her schedule was so messed up.
Mama and as Ava calls him, Mama (while giggling)! She does say Dada, but now it's a game with her to call him Mama.

Enjoying her time!

Tradition #4: Christmas morning AKA Santa time! Emily, my 32 yr old sister with Down syndrome also still believes in Santa, so we have always done the Santa thing. You will hear no complaining from my brother and I. Speaking of my brother, he flew in on Christmas Eve night! So excited he got to finally meet Ava! Unfortunately, he goes home tomorrow. It's never long enough when he comes home.

Did Santa come?????

I think he did! These ARE NOT all for Ava! I swear!

Just chillin...waiting for everyone to get here...

Playing with the gifts that weren't wrapped while waiting patiently for the rest of the family to get here!
Her new tricycle

And her kitchen set! Let's just say very little mattered after this!

Don't you just love her jammies? They had Clarice from Rudolph on the bum with her name! I loved them!!
Grandpa got a new jersey!!

Daddy got cigars!

Mama got earrings (that Ava wanted)

Aunt Tammy got a new shirt!

Uncle Carl got new socks!

Uncle Nate got new books!

Aunt Emily's new "Aunt Emily" sweatshirt!

And Nana got one, too!!

Please disregard my face in this picture, but I'm so excited about this video! It's for Ava, but I'm definitely more into it than she is!

Lovin' her dishes!

And her Bitty Baby!

Later in the day, we had my mom's side of the family over! So all the aunts, uncles, and cousins came over!!
Ava and Jordyn were loving the kitchen set!

Had to throw this picture in! Check out her cupcake hat!

We got all of the cousins Pillow Pets this year! They loved them! Here is Jordyn with her duck:

Livi and Morgan with the dolphin and dog:

Here is Ava with one of her gifts, a Snuggle Kins!

And a cleaning set! Can't wait to bust this out!

We gave Ava ice water for the first time...think she liked it?

This morning, we met my dad and Tina at Maumee Bay for brunch. It was super yummy and guess who loved the chocolate fountain?

Playing with Daddy!

After brunch, we came home and took much needed naps. We were pretty much lazy the rest of the afternoon. We did end up going to my moms for dinner and to play games. We had an awesome dinner and played Apples to Apples. I'm not a huge fan of games, but that was so much fun! We laughed so hard! I didn't take my camera, but I wish I would have. I'll have to steal some pics from my mom. I wish I could have caught what Ava did while we were playing. She literally unwrapped about 20 hershey kisses. She didn't eat any of them, just enjoyed playing with them. It kept her busy through 2 whole games! It was hilarious! And afterwards, she put them in a bowl and tried to pass them out to us. Her actions just crack us up all of the time!
Tomorrow, I'll post the Christmas picture saga.
From our family to yours, we hope you had an AMAZING holiday!

John, Sara, and Ava

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ava and Ryan Jr.

Today was a busy and then lazy day. Yesterday at work, while talking to my boss, I realized I didn't have a first Christmas ornament for Ava. What a bad mom, right? Now let me tell you that I have been finished shopping and everything wrapped since before Thanksgiving. Yes, I'm one of those people. Freakishly organized as I've heard it be called. So at 10am the day before Christmas Eve, Ava and I headed to Hallmark. We started at the one on Secor because I wanted to avoid the mall area. And they were sold out of them. Imagine that?? We ended up at the store on Secor and Sterns and they had the cutest little Precious Moment ornament. Yea!

We came back home and I worked on laundry and got the house ready so tomorrow all I have to do is dust and sweep for the festivities this weekend. And I'm getting ready to head to the grocery store tonight. I really don't want to go out and freeze my bum off at 10pm at night, but I figured this is the best way to beat the crowd. :(

My friend, Rachel, that I used to work with recently moved to Nashville. And since she came back home for Christmas, she wanted to meet Ava and I wanted to see her. She has 1 1/2 yr old named Ryan who is absolutely beautiful! It was a little difficult for Ava to share her toys and we had to do a time out. I hope this is something that will improve with school. Here are a few pics from today:

Ava and her friend, Ryan

Ryan was trying to give her a hug. You can see how excited Ava was for this...she wouldn't even get up from her chair!

I was trying to get a picture and Ryan decided to show us her mean face...haha!!

Tonight has been a little sad for me. A dear friend of mine is fighting the battle of cancer and she isn't improving. Unfortunately, today they had to call in hospice. Please pray for Tiffany and hope that she finds peace. Love you, Tiff!!
I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Which means that Nate is coming into town!! Woohoo!! I can't wait for Ava to meet her uncle!
Love you all!
John, Sara, and Ava