Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Despite the gloomy weather in Atlanta, at the Shove household we're thankful to celebrate our Savior's triumph over death today. Happy Easter everyone!

Now on to the secular part of this holiday--eggs, baskets, pretty dresses. Enjoy the bajillion pictures of Emma Vance! :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Oh, I almost forgot! At today's picnic, we finally (accidentally) got a picture of Emma Vance's new teeth. See, they DO exist!

Does It Have to Do with Your Beard? (Small Group Picnic)

Okay, so NOT a successful picture since this is only half of us, but it'll do for now. ;)

In January I decided join a small group through North Point, where Ryan and I have been attending church lately. Despite a previous failed attempt--where Ryan and I literally walked out in the middle of one several years ago--I decided to suck it up and attend the January GroupLink event. (All in the spirit of "2013: The Year of Trying New Things," of course.) Eventually I need to take a few reflective moments to write down my thoughts on the whole process, but for the sake of today's post, let's just say it was a successful event. I now have a "small" group of 12 girls that I'll be spending the year with--and I'm so excited about it!

Today we had a little pre-Easter picnic to meet each other's families and enjoy the beautiful weather, and, man, was it beautiful! Everyone BYOLunch'd and then hung around, playing and talking. I love being able to put faces with names, so our time together was awesome. (Plus now when I complain about Ryan, they'll be able to picture him. Haha, just kidding, Love! :) )

The organizer of the event, Amber, has a baby girl who's nine months old, so Emma Vance was happy to play with her little friend today and to have some big kids to look up to as well. Children always bring such life and joy with them wherever they go, so having everyone's kids there was especially nice. In fact, perhaps my favorite moment from the whole day came from Nicole's youngest son: It happened because Ryan was practicing his father-of-boys skills, teaching the little guys how to do things like make water bottles explode (and thoroughly enjoying himself). When Ryan went to introduce another mischievous trick, he tried to get the boys' attention by saying, "Hey guys, do you want to learn another thing?," to which Nicole's not-at-all-shy son said, "Does it have to do with your beard?" And the whole crowd belly laughed in unison...including Ryan. 

Here's a little of how the day went, in a nutshell.

First, we all had lunch. Well, except for E.V. because oatmeal + hot weather just seemed like a bad idea to me. So instead, a straw (and people watching) entertained her.

"Um, excuse me, little lady, I can't see your handsome daddy..."

"Much better. Thank you."

Emma Vance's buddy, Blake, who was born in June as well!

"Hey Blake!"

Afterwards, the big kids played on the playground...

...while the little ladies sat nicely in a social circle. Typical...ha!

(I only included this photo because it's evidence of the leaf that E.V. ate about 10 seconds later...and then
Blake decided it looked tasty and joined E.V. by eating a leaf of her own. Oh, babies!)

E.V. was eager to show off her desire to walk. I'm not ready yet! Ack.

Emma Vance was excited to meet Miss Carly and her mom, who hugged on her for a bit. Then she got to pet Elizabeth's sweet dog, Lila (me, too!), who let the baby pull on her ears with much less annoyance than Oscar and Olive do. ;)


Then the big kids came back to the pavilion to get out of the sun for a bit (which is when the Ryan-Shove-induced mischief making occurred).

Once the excitement was over, everyone just chatted and we put the camera to good use for a bit with the kids...


Overall, I'd say we had a fabulous time...including this girl, as you can clearly see by her expression!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Short, Fat & Brainy (Nine Month Dr. Appt.)

Short, fat, brainy and on-track. That about sums it up!

Today is Emma Vance's nine month birthday, and we celebrated with an early morning visit to the pediatrician's office. Since it's been three months since her last official visit, things have changed quite a bit with her mobility, so I had to get creative to keep her entertained while waiting. After fighting a squirmy baby on the exam table for a few minutes, I convinced myself that they must keep the floors clean in a doctor's office, so she crawled around, pulling apart my diaper bag, scratching my shoes/pulling up on my legs and practicing her selfie skills. Then the doctor came in, and I breathed a sigh of relief for the provided entertainment.

diaper bag = entertainment while waiting

Mom's shoes/legs = entertainment while waiting

taking baby selfies = entertainment while waiting

There wasn't anything super significant about the visit. E.V. is on-track developmentally, gaining weight well and full of personality. She gained 1 lb. 3 oz. this month, weighing in at 19 lbs. 7 oz. (70th percentile). She grew an inch and is now 27" tall (25th percentile), while her head grew 2 cm (75th percentile). Big brain, short legs, full belly? Sounds like her mom to me! (Ha!) The doctor had to give her a tongue depressor to keep her focused and entertained during her examination. Sounds like her dad to me!

The best toys aren't really toys per se...

She only had to get one vaccine this month, and while the nurse gave her the shot she was happily playing with her new tongue depressor. She cried for about 0.2 seconds, then re-discovered the stick and happily went back to chewing on it. In fact, when the nurse then had to prick her toe to test her iron level (which was fine at 11.5), she barely even noticed because she was so enthralled by little wooden object. I suppose it felt good on her new teeth! As I was packing up and cleaning up, E.V. discovered the Snoopy bandage on her toe and decided it was more fascinating (and tasty) than the depressor...
"Shot? What shot?" 

"new" Snoopy bandages


 So, all in all we're just chugging along, encouraging her to stand tall and suck in that tiny belly of hers. :) We're thankful for uneventful doctor's appointments like these and pray for more of the same in the future.

Dear E.V. (Month Nine)

Dear E.V.,

Well, little love, it's official. You have been out here for just as long as you were in my belly, and every moment of the past nine months has been for the purpose of your gaining independence--and in those moments I have been so proud for you and so sad for myself. :)

You are our little miss Baby Wise, happy to stay on schedule most days. The days you sleep too long or too short, everyone feels a little off! You currently take two naps a day, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Every morning we wake up and trek downstairs to let the dogs out, listen to the radio (The Bert Show), and have oatmeal for breakfast. I've started adding prune juice to your oatimeal (our nickname) because you LOVE bananas so much and they, um, "stop you up." You seem to like your morning prune juice, just like a little old lady. :) And, of course, oatmeal is your absolute favorite thing to eat. You grunt and cry out of anxiety while I make it, which is apparently too slow in your opinion! We play in your corner of toys, and everyday I try to read a little bit from "The Wizard of Oz" to you as you dump out your toy bins to find various objects to bang together. And then, when you're ready to wind down, watch Sesame Street while you have your mid-morning bottle, and then you're usually very eager to pass out for an hour. The afternoons are filled with errands, going to the gym to see your childcare buddies, or long walks in your stroller. You love to be outside, in your stroller or on the ground. You're peaceful when you have the breeze in your hair, and explorative with the dirt under your bum. You are a little more reluctant to take your afternoon naps usually, and use the occasion to demonstrate your latest talent--standing up in your crib! This month you learned how to pull yourself up, so we lowered your crib mattress. You LOVE to lean against the rail, pleading with me to pick you up in lieu of a nap. You rarely win, though, E.V., so remember that Mom always gets her way! :)

Beyond just standing up in your crib, this month your skills have skyrocketed in so many ways! You pull yourself up to a standing position very easily, crawl at lightning-fast speeds, cruise along furniture, talk up a storm (mama/dada/nana/hey)'s scary how quickly things are moving along! I have to watch you constantly because with your expert mobility you are now into EVERYTHING more so than ever. (You particularly enjoy scratching outlets, so, yeah...NOT safe, okay?) You have no fears, and oftentimes I watch you out of the corner of my eye as you crawl from one room to another to grab a toy you remember you left there earlier. I always run after you, especially when we're upstairs because you try to follow the dogs down to the living room; in fact, one time I literally caught you by the belly as you lunged head-first after them! (We'll tackle the stairs a little later in life, if that's okay with you!) This month we retired your baby whale tub, so now you take big girl baths. I had to get a no-slip mat because the tub has become your favorite place to practice standing, which is so dangerous! You also pick up the tiniest items, stickers and leaves and fuzzballs, eating them all with curious pleasure. I often find you with a closed mouth and a confused look on your face, and in those moments you are NOT eager to share you discoveries with me! I have to force your little mouth open to make sure you don't swallow whatever you've found, and since you got your first two teeth this month (!), you have no qualms about biting me in retaliation. Ouch!

You love your dogs, and this month in particular you have begun truly interacting with Oscar and Olive. You crawl after them as they play, dump our their dog bowls, and grab their toys right out of their mouths! They've been a little leery now that you're mobile, but they're slowly coming around. :)

More than your dogs (and even your mom, unfortunately), you love your dad. He's the light of your life, and you grin when he walks in the room. You got to go to work with him on set this month, and you stole the show. When he's at home in his office, you relish your visits with him between phone calls and emails, and he relishes them too. You adore sitting in his lap and banging away on the keyboard, and he indulges you because you are his little princess. He has taught you many things successfully because you LOVE to imitate him. You clap when he sings the ABCs to you, rub your little monkey toes in his beard curiously, and ask for him by name every morning. I don't doubt for one second that you are going to be a total Daddy's Girl, which is fine, because I also don't doubt that he is already a total Girly's Dad. :)

Emma Vance, in your ninth month, you developed a heart wrenching case of separation anxiety, and it's aptly timed. I've been thinking about my nine months of pregnancy and your nine months of life so much lately, drawing parallels in my mind, getting weepy at the thought of you growing so fast. I can't stand to be away from you when I hear that particular anxiety-ridden cry; it's as if your little world is ending, that you believe I've left you for good, and that nothing can ever be the same again...but none of that is true, and when I walk into your nursery, pick you up and grasp you ever so tightly, I hope you know that I love you too much to let any of those things happen to you. You are my world, my greatest accomplishment, and my purpose. I love you and will NEVER leave you.

Love You Always,
Me (and Dad)