Sunday, September 26, 2010

a real page-turner

Avi has always been into books. It might have started at age 3 weeks with one of her first photo shoots taking place inside of a book shelf, specifically in the poetry section. It might be genetic;
her father has only recently gotten over his indulgent tendency of buying too many books, wandering into too many book stores while vacationing, lingering too long in the poetry, architecture, and landscape sections. Her mother's genes also offer no way out from books; when not completely busy with Avi-rearing and running a wedding photography business, she can be found blissfully engaged in the world of a novel.

So, it should be no surprise that Avi would become a bibliophile. As far as her book habits go, Avi's sensibilities tend toward the ritualistic. Next to warm milk, a tried and true book is what comes right before bed. And during the past week or so, books are what she reaches out for when waking up in the morning. While being pulled out from her crib, her little hands & fingers stretch out towards her shelves of books across from her crib while she utters intent, "da-da-da" noises at them.

Usually, her tastes are quite particular. She prefers the prose to be sparse, and the imagery colorful and photojournalistic. In fact, her preferred genre by far is creative non-fiction. She's a positive realist, to be sure, and appreciates being able to personally connect with the books' protagonists, particularly young characters (as in 5 years old or less). There are a few exceptions however, since if a book possesses engaging lyricism placed harmoniously within the narrative, it will certainly be a keeper (great Nana's gift of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is one of her favorites).

And besides a book's style and content, what equally arouses Avi's interest in books is the simple, physical activity of turning the pages. In the beginning, her pudgy fingers were unable to separate the children's book pages, so I'd split them for her and let her turn each read page. This allowed our reading time to be an interactive and collaborative effort. Then starting several months ago, she became more adept at separating the thick, cardboard stock pages of children's books herself. Now, she’s honing her skills on the mature, “thin-page” variety of books, which involve some serious motor skills. It’s probably the equivalent you or me trying to sculpt Michelangelo's David with a pocket knife. Her fingernails pry in between the slivers of pages and if the literary angels are with her, she’ll separate them on her own. If not, she’ll settle for rapidly flipping the pages which basically involves her frantically wiping pages with the flat of her hand. Using this method, she can get through a good sized novel in about 4 seconds.

Much of the time lately, it doesn't matter what the book is about- be it Dr. Seuss or Leo Tolstoy- so long as there are pages for her to turn. She will waddle over to our hallway library, toss almost every book within reach on the floor, pick one of them, carry it to a comfortable spot, then sit and just turn pages. Ahh, the pleasures of books.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sitti's, August 2010

Cousin Jaime, Momma, Aveah, Cousin Miles

All the cousins and Sitti reading Avi a book before bed. She was having so much fun with all that attention! If you asked Avi to point out the apple, she could find it and point to it. That impressed her cousins and grandma!

Looking up to Cousin Matthew.

Sitti feeding Avi watermelon.

Isn't this the cutest expression on Avi?!

Bath time in the sink!

Gotta have sun protection from that Fresno sun!

Avi using her first swimming pool (a Christmas gift from Uncle Matt & Cousin Matt).

Random iPhone pictures

Downloaded from my phone, here are pictures taken in the last 6 months. Low quality, but full of specialness!
Getting weighted at the doctors.

Here's an (unedited) picture of Avi asleep on my chest when she had eczema. Sad, huh, how rashy her face (and body) was. Thankfully, she has outgrown that now! Woo hoo!

Here's the same picture, but edited! Doesn't she look much more peaceful without all those rashes? If only I could have edited them out in real life for my little Dove.

Hanging out at home some random day. I like this picture because it shows life as it is: messy, comfortable and sunny! (Notice Keeta passed out on the floor.)

Hanging (literally) out before bed in our sky chair.

Reading Green Eggs and Ham before bed.

Avi's teething on me. Yes, those are bite marks. Yes, that is mommy's arm. Yes, motherly love is true love.

Avi in "class" with her friends. She's the one in the center with the pink dress.

Hanging out on Aryn's parent's porch.

She's a Hiker.

Avi is a hiker. Really, I'm not exaggerating. She hiked uphill for a good quarter of a mile on an official hiking trail along Multanomah Falls in Oregon. As she passed people along the trail, they would comment: "She's hiking better than me", or "Keep going, baby!", and "Oh, my, isn't she the cutest!", etc., etc. We've heard many comments from strangers before (having a baby makes you an instant friend of the world), but what was interesting was that everyone, yes, everyone we passed had something encouraging or sweet to say to her. I thought it was so uplifting and beautiful of the human race to edify this little hiker.

Aveah was so confident of her hiking abilities she was ready to hike downhill, too, even against her parents protests. We tried to hold her hands going downhill, but she waved them off by shaking free of our grasp. She probably would have been successful at her downhill hiking if it wouldn't have been for that gravel that she slipped on that plummeted her forward without time to put her hands out to brace the fall. Result: her first goose bump on her forehead. It was enough to break our hearts with worry. She sobbed, and luckily, mommy's milk was there and she was able to breast feed (the only thing that calmed her down). What would we have done without that secret weapon? Her forehead even had little scratches on it from the gravel. This experience was shocking enough to us that we decided to book it home, we were spent! (Thus, this is the official last post of our Summer 2010 epic vacation.)

Avi would fall and get right back up. What a trooper!

Here's one of her admirers that stuck around for 5 minutes or so. She just couldn't get enough of little Avi!

About 3 minutes before the "fall."

After the fall, Daddy is calming Aveah down with some food and a book, while mommy reads through the baby books about what are the signs and symptoms of a concussion! If you look closely, you can see the shine of the bump forming on her head and the bluish color underneath. Poor Avi.

Random Vacation iPhone Pictures

Downloaded from my phone - here are some random, low-quality (but high-meaning) pictures from our trip this summer.

Avi getting out her passport before crossing the border into Canada.

Tribute picture to Maren's brother Brant.

A moment captured. This was on the Sunshine Coast, about 30 miles south of the "end of the raod."

Michael and me at the "end of the road", or as the people in Lund, British Columbia like to say, "the beginning of the road/mile zero." This is where Highway 101 begins and the road north ends.

This is one of our (free) "campgrounds". This is in downtown Portland, along the river in a parking lot for a computer firm. We love this spot! Along a bike path, near downtown, quiet at night, free!

Here's a view from our "campsite" in Seattle. This was a residential/commercial street in the hip Freemont district. We stayed here close to a week. The bike path you see stretched on for miles. There were cute coffee shops in abundance nearby (it is Seattle!). In the evenings when Avi would go to sleep, one of us would sneak out to get food and a RedBox DVD, then we'd sit with the monitor outside and eat while watching the boats go by. In the morning, we'd leave our campsite, drive downtown, park and explore downtown during the day. Theo Chocolate factory was right around the corner (free chocolate tasting whenever our hearts and taste buds desired)!

Here's an example of eating dinner outside our camper. This campsite, though not as pretty, was centrally located. This was the parking lot of a hotel in Hood River, Oregon. Nearby was a Starbuck (think breakfast and coffee) and RedBox (think entertainment while baby is sleeping) - two essentials on this trip.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grand Grandparents!

Avi spent most of her second summer hanging out with her grandparents and us in the Pacific Northwest & Canada. Though my dad would still like to pretend he isn't capable of taking care of her, all the evidence I saw and heard tells me otherwise. He slept with her when she was fussy at night while babysitting, took her on a stroller ride in the morning before I woke up, let her sit on his lap while she ate. And though he never braved changing a diaper, I know that this man, who orchestrates the construction of huge buildings, would have succeeded just fine in that, too.

Mimi was the opposite of Grampy. Where he liked to act like he didn't know what he was doing, Mimi knew she knew what to do with little Avi. And though my mom had a lot of good ideas, she never tried to push them on Michael or me, but let us make our own decisions (and mistakes). She encouraged us to get out and have little dates, while she would watch Avi, and those moments were precious to our marriage and friendship. Thank you, Mom.

Avi just loved having her grandparents along. She would jump up and down and giggle when they were around. She felt just as happy in their arms as in ours. Having four "parents" really was a blessing to little Avi. I think it really helped her develop faster and more fully - she truly did a lot of amazing things this summer!

Avi learning to walk between Mimi and Grampy.

Their last moment together right before we parted paths in Oregon.