Today we finally assembled Avery's new bike trailer that we bought at Target a few days ago. (Thanks Grandpa and Grandma Smith for the contribution!) And it turns out that Avery just LOVES this thing. Mommy, on the other hand, found out just how hard it can be to pull an extra 50ish punds behind you- in a much more hilly environment than we had in Muncie, and she is planning on being sore tomorrow. I (Jeff) don't have a bike, so I wasn't on the trip, but Steph told me that it got pretty difficult after a while. I think she's gonna give it another go tomorrow, though, and she's also assured me that there's nothing to be ashamed of if I decide to ride her bike. (I think I almost believe her, but I'm having trouble shaking some deeply-ingrained feelings about boys on girls' bikes, I think related mostly to my middle-school buddies making fun of some other poor kid.) So anyway, I just thought these pictures were cute, so I thought I'd share them with you.

I'll leave you with one more picture. Nothing special was going on, except that we were eating dinner and Avery held up her slice of cheddar and said "Cheese," as she smiled. It might be her first pun, albeit unintentional.

I know you all have been checking your computers daily for a potty-training update from Avery... so here it is, your dreams realized!!

Well, after a ridiculously successful first week where she had zero accidents, we've had a bit of a back-slide. We think much of it comes from us trusting Avery's skills too much and not making her sit on the potty more regularly. We've been asking her if she needs to go, but she's unwilling to stop playing to go potty. So for her, the thrill is gone also! She still loves getting pez when she uses the potty, but not enough to stop playing. We'll definitely spare you the gory details, but we've had a few accidents of both kinds.

Tomorrow brings a sense of renewed commitment on behalf of mama and daddy, and much success ahead.

Here's a fun story for you. The other day I (Steph) had to work and Jeff and Avery decided to come and visit me and share dinner with me. After dinner, I rushed back to work and they played at the stuffed animal/beany baby kiosk outside our store. A few minutes later, a woman approached Jeff and said she had a gift for Avery. She was watching her playing with all of the stuffed animals and just thought she was so cute! She apparently only had grandsons and never gets to buy anything girly. So, she bought Avery a stuffed pink kitty that she saw her playing with! She said she loved her curls and just wanted to do something nice! Isn't that amazing???! She loves it, of course (I'm not sure if we've kept you updated on the amount of games we play that include her stuffed animals, but its quite amazing- hide and seek, chase, tackle, night-night, and about 10 different games with her choo-choo ball- she's really psycho about stuffed animals right now!) and it continually reminds me of such a neat act of kindness.

Not much else is new... work is fine, Jeff goes back to school next week- he's pretty pumped. Avery will go through her yearly daddy withdrawl (as will mommy!). The grandparents are all getting ready for some visits soon- my parents are coming next weekend and Jeff's the following week! So, Avery will get plenty of love in the coming weeks! :)

Hope everyone is doing great... don't forget to leave comments- we love them!!!
Well folks, potty-training is fully underway here at the Smith household! (And no jokes about which one of the Smiths is in training!) Over the past few weeks we had slowly been transitioning Avery to the potty by occasionally suggesting she sit on the potty when it appeared she needed to 'go', and even wearing underwear instead of diapers a few times. But this was all infrequent, based a lot on when mommy and daddy were in the mood to sit in the bathroom with Avery and read a book or ten. We always knew, though, that we would eventually need to buckle down and get serious and consistent with our efforts. Well, that day came on Tuesday...

Day 1: Tuesday 7/31/07

The day began much like any other, with Avery calling for us from her room, a sippy cup of milk, and a potentially unhealthy dose of Playhouse Disney. But when it came time for that first diaper change, we had a talk with Avery and we changed into underwear for the day!!! That's right- we were committing to an entire morning of underwear, and Avery was supposed to try to keep those underwear dry. Though she tried really hard, she managed to keep the first pair dry for approximately 15 minutes, but she did get to sit on the potty at the tail-end of her pee, and she was awarded with cheers and a pez.

The next couple of hours consisted of Jeff getting to see an astounding display of pee from that wonderful little girl. (That's right, Steph was at work during all of this, so boy did she miss out!) Avery proceeded to wet five pairs of undies, the carpet in her bedroom and the living room, and even the front porch! (No poop accidents, by the way. Whew!) But during all of this wetness, she was learning to associate the feelings in her bowels with the fact that she was going to need to pee, so she was bound to have success later on after her nap, right?

Well, we wouldn't find out on Tuesday, because we spent the afternoon at the pool, and then went out for dinner, so she had to be diapered for all of that.

Day 2: Wednesday 8/1/07

Avery's half-birthday began with a diapered trip to visit with Erica and Ella. This trip was apparently inspirational to Avery, because when she got home, she was ready for some serious biz-ness! With the aid of Mommy and a stuffed kangaroo she had terrific success where she surprised herself with some pee going into the potty. A little accident later, it was time for a diapered nap. Post nap, she sat on the potty and proudly pushed out some pee- with Kangaroo talking her through it all the while (thanks Jen and Kerry for the apparently magical kangaroo!). She even had a moment where she was playing under the dining-room table, and came sprinting across the room to her portable potty yelling "I have to poop, I have to poop!" She miraculously made it through the rest of the evening in one dry, clean pair of underwear! What a big proud girl she was! And what a pez-full little belly she had, too!

Day 3: Thursday 8/2/07

Thursday began with a visit from Ella (during which time they sang a very cute rendition of the Itsy Bitsy Spider), and continued success on the potty. Avery showed off her new-found abilities to her older friend, and also discovered that she doesn't like lemon pez. It's amazing, by the way, how diligently she tried to like this candy, even though she spit out the first one. She probably tried another 4 or 5 of these things over the course of the morning, and spit every single one of them out. We finally made it to the store in the afternoon and got the poor girl some other flavors. At the store, where she wore a diaper, she expressed the idea that she didn't want to pee in her diaper, and would just wait until she got home. I'm not sure whether she really held it the whole time or not, but she was ready to pee as soon as we walked in the front door. The entire day just consisted of successes one after another! We were even playing outside, when she went running for the apartment holding her crotch, and she made it all the way to her potty, completely dry! In fact, believe it or not, she wore the same clean, dry pair of underwear ALL DAY! We don't want to be overly confident yet, but it sure seems like this kid is learning!

(Note: I just noticed that I've overused the exclamation-point in this blog entry in an almost unforgivable way. Sorry, but we're really really really really really excited that Avery's learning this stuff so quickly! It's amazing!!!!!!!!!!)

Day 4: Friday 8/3/07

Amazing! She's been dry all day today, too! We were getting soooo confident in her abilities, that we decided to venture out to the mall and Costco!!! Not a very short trip, right? Luckily, Erica has hooked us up with every possible potty training gadget- including a fold-up seat that you can put on a big potty to make it little and a pad you can put in the car seat to protect it from accidents! So, with those and a few extra outfits in tow, we made our way to the Disney Store so Avery could pick out a little treat as a reward (doesn't hurt that TCP employee's get a discount there too!!). It was about a 20 minute trip to the mall, shopping, a trip to the potty just to try, 10 minutes to Costco, 45 minutes in Costco (plus lunch) and a 30 minute trip home, and she stayed dry the whole time!!!! Might she have been a tad dehydrated because we deprived her of all beverages??? Maybe... but she was dry the whole trip!!! (Just joking, we didn't really deprive her of beverages- but it wasn't her normal free-for-all that she's used to!)

She's really starting to get it! How to hold it, how to go on big potties (instead of just her little seat), and especially that she gets candy afterwards!! :)

We're not totally convinced potty-struggles are totally solved and not approaching on the horizon, but for now, she's lovin' it and we're so proud! Too much info about going potty? Sorry. Let's consider this installment of the Potty-Training Daily Log officially closed, and you hopefully won't hear any more updates (because that would probably mean accidents).

Here's that video of Avery and Ella singing. Enjoy!

(Note: This blog entry is really meant just for Stacey, but the rest of you can read along, and sing along, if you like...)


We're so sorry that we can't be there to help you celebrate, but we thought maybe a little blog would help make us seem a little closer to home on this important day. And we also thought we'd try to experiment with a new form of media on the blog, in your honor... VIDEO!

Avery was super-excited to hear that it was your birthday, though her birthday-song-skills may be a little out of practice. We love you and miss you, and hope you have a really fun day that makes you feel really special, like you deserve to!!! (By the way, we also hope that our package o' presents arrives. According to the USPS, it should have gotten there yesterday or today.) Have a great birthday!!!

Love, Jeff and Steph and Avery