Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parent-Teacher Conference

I realize that we have one child and another on the way (very soon), but it still feels odd to be attending parent-teacher conferences. Like…I'm-not-a-real-adult, are-you-sure-my-parents-shouldn't-be-there odd. However, it is so wonderful to hear all the fabulous things Ava's teacher has to say about her. 

At our parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago, Ms. Paula told us that Ava is very intelligent, is such a happy and sweet child, shares well with others, is the "leader of her class," loves all the songs and rhymes they have learned, and speaks in complete sentences/understands pretty much everything they say in Spanish. 

She also got a great report card...

We were very proud parents :). 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rising Star

I am proud of my husband for many reasons, including the fact that he was recently selected for inclusion in Texas Rising Stars® 2014 published by Thomson Reuters. 

Because I work in the marketing department of a large law firm, I know first-hand how impressive it is to be selected for this honor. However, for those of you who don't know what it is, the Texas Rising Stars® list represents the top 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or those attorneys who have been practicing for 10 years or less. The selection process involves a nominating survey sent to all attorneys named to the previous year's list of Texas Super Lawyers® and a review of each nominee by an attorney-led research team.

And Josh's listing was even more impressive due to the category in which he is listed…he is one of only 51 attorneys listed for the Bankruptcy: Business category in the entire state!

The list was published in the April 2014 issue of Texas Monthly, and we clearly had to purchase a few copies.

Congrats, my love!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekend Fun | Rangers Game + Wildflower Festival

Last weekend was packed with activities, including a "Front Yard Friday" party hosted by our neighbors and Ava's weekly swimming class on Saturday morning. 

But the fun really began with a trip to see the Rangers on Saturday night. Luckily, Ava took a great nap after swimming, so we weren't concerned about her staying up (way) past her bedtime. 

The weather could not have been more perfect, our seats were great, and despite the Rangers' loss, it was such a wonderful night at the ballpark. 

Ava loved helping open Daddy's peanuts (but didn't want to eat any). 

But the helmet ice cream was clearly her favorite part of the game. 

 After a relaxing Sunday morning, we met up with the Lockwoods at the Wildflower Festival in Richardson. It was our first time to attend the festival, so we didn't quite know what to expect, but it turned out to be such a fun outing. 

The bands were better on Friday and Saturday, but we chose to attend on Sunday due to the half-price adult tickets and free entry for kids under 12. We spent most of the time in the "Kids Korner" section of the festival, which had all kinds of fun activities, including…

A petting zoo. 

Ballon animals and face/body painting.


A karaoke station, with "Happy" and "Let It Go" on repeat throughout the evening, that the kids loved dancing/running around to.

And a butterfly tent, which was clearly Kate's favorite part. 

We also enjoyed all the classic, and extremely unhealthy, festival food (but corny dogs two nights in a row was probably a bad idea for this pregnant lady…talk about heartburn!). The weather was fabulous, and the kids had such a great time. We will definitely be back!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ava - Two Years

Ava turned two on February 3, so I am waaay behind on this post, but I wanted to capture all her two-ness on the blog nonetheless.

We not only celebrated with her football-themed birthday party, but also with a special donut breakfast on the morning of her actual birthday.

It is amazing how much Ava has changed since her 18-month update. Our two-year old is talking up a storm, and it is crazy to carry on full conversations with her (in English and Spanish thanks to her daycare). It's so fun to get more insight into how her little mind is working and how much she absorbs from the world around her. Ava's expanded language skills also mean she has become quite the little negotiator (which is no surprise for a child of two lawyers). If we tell her she can have "one more," she responds with "two…no, five!"

Ava's memory is amazing as well. For example, when reading a book with a purple balloon, she recalled how she lost her purple balloon at the grocery store...three months before. She also remembers things that I don't, including recently noting the fact that her comb was in my car when I couldn't recall where we had left it.

Ava has the sweetest little personality. She is happy, curious, easy-going, loving, thoughtful, and so much fun. If I hurt myself (as my clumsy self is apt to do), she looks at me with such sympathy and says, "I'm sorry, Mama." So adorable. She is also super silly and loves to giggle.

Despite her general happy-go-luckiness, Ava can be very particular about certain things…who she wants to get her out of the carseat, how she wants her hair done, which bathing suit she wants to wear, etc. And she is not pleased if things don't go according to her plan. Ava is definitely a type-A, first-born child. However, I know that this is not a bad thing. These are the qualities that make Ava a "leader of her class" according to her daycare teachers and will serve her well throughout her life.

Just as she is part easy-going and part type-A, Ava is well balanced in other areas as well. She is both a tomboy, who loves bugs and playing outside, and a girly girl, who is obsessed with shoes and accessories. Ava is also super independent in some ways ("Ava do it!" is one of her most used phrases) and very needy in others ("Hold you, Mama" is uttered just as much).

Ava is turning into a little person before our eyes, and it is such a magical thing to witness.

We are so proud to be her parents, and we can't wait to see her step into a new role very soon...big sister :).

  • 29 pounds, 6 ounces (85%)
  • 36.5 inches (greater than 95%)
  • After dutifully following the new safety guidelines (I'm clearly a color-inside-the-lines kind of rule follower when it comes to child safety issues), we turned Ava's carseat around after her second birthday. She was so excited on the first morning ride to daycare. 
  • Ava is slowly transitioning from calling us Mama/Dada to Mommy/Daddy. While it sounds adorable, it also makes me a little sad. She also now pronounces her name Ava instead of "Iya." 
  • As I mentioned above, her language skills have exploded. Below are some of my favorite/her most used phrases:
    • She will loudly say "My Mommy!" (while hugging me proudly) when we are in public places. It's the absolute best. 
    • "Hold you." (said while giving me a sweet little face)'s impossible to resist picking her up, even while hugely pregnant. 
    • "What's that, Mama?"
    • "Ven aqui." 
    • "Ava do it!" 
    • "Scu me." (excuse me) and "Permiso." (con permiso)
    • "No talk!" (most often said in the car on the way home from daycare when she doesn't want me to ask her any more questions…such a little teenager)
    • "Just a little. Not a lot." (said for the first time in reference to the medicine she had to take)
    • "Watch me, Dada."
    • "There it is!"
    • She often ends sentences with "ok?!" Ex: "More ice cream, ok?!"
  • As of her second birthday, she could count to 10 in both English and Spanish…but she sometimes skipped number five. She now can sometimes go up to 18 in English. 
  • She can also name most colors in English and Spanish. 
  • Ava's imagination is continuing to grow, and she often pretends that she is an animal (most often a dog) as well as that she is on a boat (our stairs) and doesn't want to fall in the water. 
  • She is starting to understand time/order, and will now say that she wants to do one thing first and the other thing next. 
  • If asked what her full name is, she will proudly respond with "Ava Shepherd!" We are working on the middle name :). 
  • Dora the Explorer (aka "Doda"). The girl is obsessed!! She will also request Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Mickey, and Wallykazam on occasion. 
    • Due to her love of Dora, Ava has taken to saying that Swiper is going to take various things around her. "Oh no, Swiper take NuhNuh!"(I seriously don't understand the need for Swiper on that show.)
  • Her NuhNuhs (Wubbanubs) and Aden + Anais blankies. The elephant blankie has recently become her most favorite (I really need to buy another one). 
  • Stuffed animals and baby dolls, particularly the baby we got her for Christmas (who she has named Lyla). 
  • Knowing the names of everyone around her, including those in books…we often have to make up names. 
  • Playing outside, especially at the park.
  • Singing "Happy Birthday." We often hear her singing it to all the stuffed animals, one by one, in her bed before she falls asleep. 
  • Being sung to before bed. Her most-requested songs are "Jesus Loves Me," "Favorite Things," and "I See the Moon" (or "Lou Lou Moon," a version where we replace the word "Moon" with "Lou Lou.") She likes to sing along as well…

  • Taking photos on our phones. Particularly of inanimate objects, which is funny because Ava will say "good job" to the subject of the photo after she takes it. Ex: "Good job, Dada's foot." 
  • Her favorite foods include: 
    • "Bars" (organic children's breakfast bars) and "Squeezies" are her go-to breakfast order. 
    • "Roni"(macaroni)
    • Breakfast tacos
    • Turkey
    • Ham
    • Cheese sticks
    • Fruit (except blueberries)
    • Broccoli 
    • Hummus
    • Spanish rice
    • Yogurt
    • Fruit snacks
    • Popsicles
  • Swinging (particularly going "really high!").
  • Bubbles. 
  • Books. 
  • Dada's tickles. 
  • Swimming class. 

  • Brushing her teeth (despite the fact that we even got her a Dora toothbrush). 
  • Getting in her carseat. This is a struggle most days after daycare. 
  • Being told "no" :). 
Funny/Random Tidbits:
  • Hannah and Reed were two friends of Ava's at her old school, and even though she hasn't seen them in almost a year, she still mentions their names all the time. For example, if we are playing with her picnic basket toy, Ava will set out places for them. They have basically become her imaginary friends. 
  • Any time Ava has a "boo boo" (or we do) she insists upon putting "lotion" (aka Aquaphor) on it. She's like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who uses Windex as a cure-all. 
  • When she doesn't know the answer to a question, Ava will respond with "huh?" or "hmmmm" (like she is deeply pondering the response). 
  • Due to the fact that Josh and I both head off to work every day, Ava often supposes that someone is "at work" when they are not around. While this is kind of sad, it does come in handy. For example, after I fast forwarded through the scene where Nemo's mom gets eaten, Ava said, "Where Nemo's mama? At work!" Yep…at work. Much easier answer. 
  • When she wants you to "listen" to something, Ava insists that you also put your finger up to your ear. 
  • Thanks to what I can only assume is her daycare teachers keeping the kids' noses very clean, Ava will often say "Mama, ven aqui...mocos." Meaning, "Mom, come here, you have boogers that I need to clean" (whether I do or not). And she will then proceed to wipe my nose for several minutes with a Kleenex. My girl takes good care of me. 
  • When Ava sees pictures of food (particularly yummy food like cupcakes), she acts like she is grabbing it off the page and pretends to eat it while making a loud eating sound. 
  • She received a little anatomy lesson after discovering that Louie has different "parts" than Stella, so Ava now knows that boys have "wee wees" and girls have "cha chas." And out of nowhere she started saying that Baby Brother has a "little wee wee"…ha! 
  • Ava has learned the art of blaming things on the dogs…specifically blaming Stella for any bad smells :).  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Daycare Spring Carnival

The weekend after Easter, Ava's school hosted a spring carnival complete with performances by all the classes. Ava's class had practiced their song, "Habia un Sapo," for weeks, and she had it down…

But the morning of the performance, none of her classmates uttered a word of the song :). 

Ava still made her momma proud by dancing up a storm... 

She also had a great time exploring the carnival (and eating lots of popcorn). 

Ava and her sweet teacher, Paula. 

Bunny was able to join in on the fun as well. 

Such a fun day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Easter 2014

We had a very low-key Easter this year, but fun nonetheless. 

The festivities technically started the weekend before Easter, when we took a potty-training break to dye eggs for the first time. 
I'm clearly an egg dying rookie (as an adult), because the end results were not very colorful. We will do better next year. 

Ava received plenty of gifts as well, including a book and stickers from Grammie and Papa...

And a basket of goodies from the Easter Bunny :). 

The Easter Bunny left plenty of eggs as well. 

Ava loved hunting for the eggs, especially because some actually contained candy this year. 

But she wanted to open each one as she went. 


Enjoying her loot. 

The bunny marshmallows were her favorite. 
As were all the items in her gift basket, including the bunny ears and little stuffed bunny that she carried around all day (pictured above), the bubbles...

And especially the Piggie Paint nail polish. She is such a girl!
We capped of the holiday with a family dinner, complete with a visit from Aunt Hannah. So fun!

About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; The Bar Method; pajamas; Topo Chico; reading; coffee; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows and podcasts; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; snoring; bad hair days; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and Miracle Whip. That pretty much sums it up.


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