Happy 3rd Birthday Ava!!!

Although her party was on Saturday, today is Ava’s actual birthday, which is why I’ve waited until today to write a post. I know Jessica already wrote about all the fun we had on Saturday, but I’ll just add that it was a great day which was well attended by a variety of family members and friends. We were visited by: Laurel, Amy & Tom, Kristy & Madi, Dana & Brad, Butch & Carol, Jim, Cara, & Marcus from next door, Jodi, Leon and their son Miles, and Solana, Josh, & their son Ronin. We definitely had a full house! Ava had a blast playing with the kids and opening her presents. All in all we couldn’t have asked for a better day, and we greatly appreciate not only the gifts, but simply the presence of so many loved ones in one place at one time.

The party ended at 3:00 that afternoon, and the girls were exhausted, so we spent the rest of the evening relaxing at home watching TV shows and movies while Ava and Elise took extended naps. The following day Jessica and Amy took Ava to see Disney on Ice at the Comcast Arena in Everett. Jessica said Ava had such a great time, and that she couldn’t help but get emotional from seeing the sheer sense of joy and excitement exhibited by Ava from the minute they arrived. Looks like this won’t be our last visit to an event like this.

Tonight Rick and Chris are arriving from Iowa for their Thanksgiving visit. They will be meeting the four of us, plus Amy and Tom, for Ava’s birthday dinner. I’m not sure what the plan is for Wednesday, mainly because I’ll be working, but I know Thursday (which is Thanksgiving) will be another busy day with a full house, lots of delicious food, and plenty of football to watch. I wish I could take Friday off work but this is our busiest time of year at Amazon so we need all hands on deck throughout the holiday season. No worries though, I’m just looking forward to Thursday. Even before Ava was born I always loved Thanksgiving, but now that it has become synonymous with Ava’s birthday, I love it that much more.

Ava has been doing so well lately. She’s doing great at potty training, and she loves to play with Elise. She’s turning into a great big sister, just in time before she takes another sibling under her wing. Although we went so far as to submit her notice at preschool because it wasn’t going well for her, things seem to have taken a 180 degree turn and she’s now doing excellent in school, so we’ve decided to keep her in. I went to pick her up from school yesterday and found her playing outside with her friends. Rather than go get her right away, I decided to stand and watch for a few minutes. Seeing her run around with other kids laughing and playing makes me so happy. I’m really glad things are going better and she’s going to stay there.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been three years since Ava entered our lives, but when you consider all that has happened to us during that time it all makes much more sense. Three years ago we were living in a little beach house in Pacific Beach, San Diego. I was trying to get out of my career as a bartender, and into my new career as a web developer. I worked days as a contractor at ScrollMotion as a Production Developer, and nights at the Tractor Room as a bartender, plus I was just getting started in school. Jessica was a server and bartender at Azul in La Jolla. We had been married only about a year and a half, we had very little money, but we were in the midst of an adventure that we knew we’d never forget, and most importantly, we had each other.

I’d be lying if I said we were 100% ready to become parents. We were a bit nervous, but we knew that as long as we stuck together everything would work itself out. It wasn’t long before we were moving out of our beach house and into a more residential neighborhood, then only a few days after Ava’s first birthday we were on the move again; this time back home to Seattle so I could begin my career with Amazon. Looking back at it, that was an incredibly risky move because I didn’t have a full-time position awaiting me, but simply a contracting job. I was confident, however, that if I could get my foot in the door the rest would work itself out, and that is exactly what happened.

Today we find ourselves in a whole new situation; we’re the proud parents of two amazing little girls (and an amazing little boy soon to arrive), we’re proud home owners, I’m done with school (thank goodness), and we’re living what most would call the ‘American Dream.’ I honestly don’t think any of these good things would have happened to us if it wasn’t for us having children, and that all started with Ava. After all, it was getting the news that I was going to be a Daddy that gave me the motivation to make a career change. Had we never had children, chances are I’d still be working nights and weekends making cocktails. We’d still be happy of course, but nowhere nearly as much so as we find ourselves today.

Ava thank you for everything you have done for your Mother and I. You made me a Daddy, and you’ve already made us so proud. Your siblings are lucky to have you as a big sister, as well as a role model, and your Mom and I are so lucky to have you as our little girl. Your energy, enthusiasm, and persistence are infectious, and your natural sense of humor brings smiles and laughter to everyone you encounter. Happy 3rd birthday my sweet girl, and here’s to so many more. I love you with all my heart.

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