It's been almost a month since our last post, and so much has happened! 

We survived our first Christmas & New Year with style and are now making the most of our start to 2014 with great big hopes for what it may bring. 

The year didn't get off to a great start though.  We had friends over for New Years' dinner, and unbeknownst to anyone, their little baby had carried a virus back from Australia.  So while we had a great time welcoming in the new year, a few days later we were paying for it.  Ava and her little best friend were horribly sick with roseola.  Thankfully we were able to establish what it was before taking her back to the hospital for more tests!  It meant four or so days of a shocking fever and severe irritability - nothing seemed to sooth her.  Which also meant four or so days of minimal sleep, coupled with intense frustration...  We did have the benefit of knowing what it was, though, which gave us some great peace-of-mind.  We knew it would be over soon and knew that it wouldn't do too much damage.  Ava is now back to her wonderful, smiling self again, but we're all incredibly thankful that it's over and she won't get it again.  

We were fortunate to have one of Megan's friends come to visit - the father of two great kids - who provided a lot of perspective on becoming a dad.  The input was especially pertinent given that Megan has returned to work, leaving me in charge during the days.  Whether that turns out to be a positive step or not is yet to be proven.  My role as the stay-at-home parent hasn't really happened as yet - there have been so many other things to do, but now we can look forward to having some real fun.  

Ava has also taught herself to stand up (with a bit - a lot - of help) and has started to grip things with unexpected strength.  I know that development is not a race, but right now I'm super impressed about how far my little girl has come, and am encouraging her as much as I can!  Plus, all that standing & grabbing makes her very tired, which provides some much appreciated down time for everyone else...  

Of course, Ava's recent leap into activity isn't without its issues.  It has meant that we have had to cut down the space that Bruce has to roam around, and the time that we're available to play with him.  Before Ava came along, he ruled the roost but now he's had to wait his turn, and hasn't been dealing with the transition very well.  His favourite new trick is to bark at EVERYTHING. Which, with a baby that you're trying to put to bed, is somewhat less than helpful...  However, with a bit more adjustment and some more patience, we're (somehow) finding time to take him for longer, more frequent walks which is working pretty well - it separates him from Ava for a while and gives us all a little bit of breathing space.

Now that Ava's getting bigger and better, and storming toward the 6 month mark, I can't wait to find out what sort of adventures we're going to have together!