Monday, October 31, 2011


Bryce and I took my mom and aunt to Heidelberg yesterday. We viewed the Heidelberg Castle which is one of the finest Gothic-Renaissance castles in Germany. Heidelberg is known as the “Romantic City” and it is also a University town. The majority of the residence in Heidelberg are students. The Heidelberg Castle dates back to the 1500s and was expanded as rival rulers competed for control of the Rhineland. In 1689, The French burned the town and the castle and since then, it has never regained its original glory.

Heidelberg is only an hour from where we live and it is definitely a place we will visit again.


When we got to Heidelberg, we ate lunch (we took a sack lunch) and then hit up the castle! It was absolutely beautiful. We spent most of the day at the castle. It was huge and we didn’t even get to everything! Afterwards, we went downtown to find something to eat. We took my mom and aunt to a Doner Kabob restaurant to eat Doners. Yum! It was delicious! Of course we had to try out the Italian ice cream afterwards! Even more delicious!!


My pictures don’t do it justice! This city was absolutely beautiful!






Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Go Rangers!!

Ava is supporting the Rangers today in her onesie… it is way too big for her right now but I had to put her in it since the Rangers are in the World Series right now. Game 6 is tonight but since we are in Germany and 7 hours ahead, the game won’t be on till 3am here. Depending on when Ava gets up in the night to eat, I may or may not be up at 3am to watch the game. If I do miss it, I can watch the re-run tomorrow afternoon.


Doesn’t she look super cute? I think so!

Today is Bryce’s day off so we ran some errands on Ramstein to get ready for my mom and aunts arrival tomorrow! They will be here for 2 weeks and we are thrilled! We pick them up at the airport tomorrow morning!!


Monday, October 24, 2011


A friend of mine wanted me to write a post on my recovery and post partum after having Ava Drew. I had a really fast recovery! Please don’t hate me. I had a fairly smooth delivery! I was in labor for 10 hours and pushed for 2 hours so it wasn’t really easy but it could have been worse. After I had Ava, I was never in pain but I was sore for a couple of days. I felt totally fine the third day! Bryce and I even took Ava out! We just went to her 3-5 day well check-up and then the BX but at least we got to get out of the house!


Before I got pregnant, I weighed 110 pounds and gained about 25 pounds so I was up to 135! When I left the hospital, I think I was around 115-120. I could fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans right after I had her. I still have a little pudge in my stomach but hopefully I can get back to exercising here pretty soon and I can get rid of it! I was totally surprised with how well and fast I recovered! Some ladies from my church were telling me that they would stay in bed for days after delivery and not want to get out of the house or do anything. I’m not sure if I really “recovered” faster than most women or if the recovery just wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.


I expected to leave the hospital still looking like I was pregnant and wanting to stay in bed for a week to recover!

I worried that I would experience post partum depression or a mild form of it. Some of my friends over here in Germany experienced a small part of it so I expected the same for myself. Well, it has been totally opposite. I have never been more happy in my entire life. I absolutely LOVE every minute of being a momma! Even the 3am feedings! My whole life, I have waited to be a mom. When I was little, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said “ A mom”. Every time. I never knew what it was like to be THIS happy! I love my husband a hundred times more than I did before Ava and we have definitely become stronger as a couple.


Bryce says her bow is too big…he’s probably right. I still think she looks pretty cute though.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ava’s first day of church

Today, we took Ava to church for the first time. We both strongly believe in raising our children in church so why not start taking them as soon as we can? I’m one of those girls that doesn’t like being locked up in the house all day. I like to get out and about! I know some people like to stay inside when they first have a baby but not me!

I think Ava looked pretty cute today.  I really wanted to dress her up in a cute dress but unfortunately, she doesn’t have a cute newborn dress. How could I have forgotten to get her some newborn dresses? Everyone told me to just get onesies for when they are newborns because that is all they wear. Well not Ava. She is a diva! She likes to dress cute everyday with a big bow! Ok ok…maybe its just her momma that likes to dress her up everyday!!

Here is an attempt to take a family picture. Not the best picture but it will do for now.


I think Ava enjoyed her first day of church. Of course we were running a little late (why do we always seem to run late on Sundays?) but we made it in time to get a seat before they were all full. Ava is quite the attention getter! People we didn’t even know came up to her to see her. We are very proud!!

Ava was awake for the singing part of the service but decided to take a snooze when the speaker came up.

Goals: Teach Ava the importance of Sunday afternoon naps! (She’s doing pretty good so far!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today, my husband put up Ava’s letters in her  room! I absolutely LOVE them!!

We went to a local hardware store before Ava was born and we bought a sheet of wood. I traced out the letters and Bryce cut them out and then I painted them. I think they turned out really cute.


I painted them a green color. The picture makes the green seem darker. The color goes really well with her bedding. It adds something to her room besides the pink and white.


And here’s a pic of my little princess…just because!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One week old!

Ava is one week old today! Man, how time flies when your having fun!


I have never been so happy in my whole life! A friend of mine asked me the other day what my favorite part was… I honestly couldn’t think of a single thing because I seriously love EVERY part about being a mom! It is the greatest thing in the entire world!! I love getting up with Ava every 2 hours in the middle of the night! I love just looking at her and wondering what is going through that little brain of hers! I love all the little faces she makes and the cute smiles she gives in her sleep.



When Ava Drew sleeps, she has to have her hands up by her face. I knew she would be this way before she was even born because every ultrasound that I had, she was always sucking on her thumb or she had her hands close to her mouth.


She loves her carseat. When we go out, she sleeps the whole time she is in it. Bryce and I went to the BX twice since she has been born and she sleeps the entire time.


Ava is a sleeper. And a hard sleeper at that! I have to wake her up for almost every feeding. It is nearly impossible to wake her up. Even if she has been sleeping for 3 hours straight. The only way to really wake her up is to change her diaper and once I’m done changing her, she goes right back to sleep. I have even tried stripping her down and that doesn’t even work! I guess that’s a good thing?

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Ava loves it when we rub on her face. I wiped down her face the other day with a warm wet cloth and I thought she would start crying but to our surprise, she really enjoyed it! ha!! She is so funny.


I think I said this in my last post but Ava can already hold her head up. The day she was born, she raised her head up and looked at me and then gently put her head back down on my chest. Crazy girl!


Ava has been such a joy. Bryce and I were sitting down eating dinner last night while Ava was sleeping and we were talking about how we don’t remember what life was like without her. It didn’t seem right to be with my husband all alone with no Ava. It seems like she has been in our family forever. And its only been one week!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Ava Drew Stringer

Ava Drew was born on October 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm. She weighed in at 7 Ib 6 oz and 21 inches long.

I’m giving a lot of details so I will remember in the future!

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 4:30 am to use the bathroom and Bryce was still up taking a test for one of his classes. I went to check on him and that is when my water broke. I called my mom to tell her I thought my water had broken so she told me to call the hospital. Bryce called his mom while I was on the phone with a nurse. They told me to go ahead and shower and pack and then head to the hospital.

Bryce and I went into the hospital at around 5:45 am. My contractions were getting worse by the minute so I requested an epidural about an hour after I arrived. Best decision I have ever made!!! All of my nurses and my doctor were so nice! I had never met my doctor until this day. (In a military hospital, you don't get to choose your doctor. You get what is available which means you could have a different doctor at each doctor visit). I was in labor for about 10 hours total and pushed for 2 of those hours.

Before I delivered Ava, they discovered that she had a little bit of meconium (poop) so if she didn't cry when she came out, they would have to take her to get her all cleaned up and make sure she didn't swallow any of the meconium. Sure enough, she didn't cry so I didn't even get to see her until she was all cleaned up. 

 Warning: This is kind of graphic... After Ava was born, and they were examining the placenta, they discovered that I had a Vasa Previa. If you don't know what it is, look it up. Basically, there was a large vein that was on the outside of the placenta that wasn't supposed to be there. It happens to 1 out of 3000 women. It is very rare and very dangerous. If my water would have broken along that vein, it could have killed Ava or I or both of us. 95% of babies with Vasa Previa are still born.

With that being said, we are VERY blessed and God was definitely looking over us! We had a lot of people praying for us that day and I know God heard every single one of those prayers!

Once I had Ava, I was in a whirl of emotions. I was SO excited and SO sad at the same time. I was so sad that we didn't have any family or friends there to celebrate with us but I was so excited to finally get to see our baby girl.

We stayed 2 nights in the Mother/Baby unit and it was horrible. All of my nurses were men and it was just really awkward and uncomfortable. I didn't get any sleep because the nurses were coming in every couple of hours.

We are now home and so thankful to be home. I hate hospitals! Especially being a patient in one!! I don’t feel human when I am there!
Ava has been perfect! The day she was born, she was laying on my chest and then she raised her head…yes, she RAISED her head and looked at me…paused for a few seconds and then turned her head and laid it back down on my chest. She is a very strong girl!! I guess all those Tums I took did her good!


Bryce and I planned on not giving her a paci until she was at least a week or so old. I really wanted her to get the hang of breastfeeding and I didn't want a paci to mess her up. Well, the second day of her life, she wanted to breastfeed about 30 minutes after I had already fed her. I attempted to feed her again but realized that she wasn't hungry. She just wanted to suck on something in order to go to sleep. I did NOT want to be the human pacifier so I caved and gave her a paci. The moment I gave it to her, it was like the paci was nothing new to her. She even knew to hold it in her mouth with her hand! And she took the paci out with her hand and held it. She is a smarty!!

Ava sleeps ALL the time! Its fabulous! I have to wake her up for every feeding!! To keep her awake, I have to strip her down and rub on her face the whole time while she eats! She is a great sleeper even when its loud! Praise Jesus! We took Ava to the BX today to get some things and it was very loud and she slept the entire time!

Ava also had her 3-5 day well check up today. She has lost a little weight, which is normal. She weighed 6 pounds 9 1/2 oz. She is in the 21% range for her weight. Her head measured in at 38 cm which was in the 97% range! The doctor said that her head is still a little big from delivery but it will get better in a couple of days. I can already tell that her head has gotten better since the day she was born.


God has truly blessed us with Ava and I am honored that God would trust us and give us the honor of raising His precious girl! I am so thankful for my little family! I don’t think I have ever been happier!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

38 weeks!

38 weeks.


Pregnancy Highlights:

How far along: 38 weeks!!

Size of baby: A Leek. About 6.8 pounds and 19 1/2 inches long.

Total weight gain/loss: gained 24 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: I can still fit into a few non maternity jeans but I usually just wear maternity.

Sleep: Lately, sleep has become more difficult.

What I miss: Nothing really.

Cravings: Ice water.

Symptoms: Sore back, sore feet, Indigestion, Braxton Hicks contractions.

Best moment this week: Finding out that I am already 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced!

What I am most looking forward to: Meeting our baby girl!!


I had a doctors appointment today and everything went great! The doctor was really shocked and impressed that I am already 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced! She said that most all of her first time mom patients don’t progress this early! I knew this baby girl was ready to come early!! She had a good heartbeat and I am measuring at 37 weeks which is normal. I go again next Wednesday for an appointment, if I make it until then!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baby Shower!

A sweet sweet friend of mine threw me a baby shower here in Germany! It was so nice! I was definitely showered with gifts! I was beyond blessed!! The shower was held at Kristie’s house (my sweet sweet friend) and another one of my friends, Ashley, helped with the shower as well. They did a great job with the decorations and yummy food!! Here are some pictures from the shower…


Warning: Picture Overload!!

Opening gifts…



Ashley made this super cute diaper cake!!


Two of the cutest girls in Germany…Addeline and Grace! (Little girls at showers reminds me of me when I was little. I would not let my mom go to a shower without me!)


Me and Emily! We worked together at MDO last year!


Jaqulyn and I! She is a great friend from church!


Ashley Neri and I! She did some of my maternity pictures!


Another great friend from church, Emily! Why am I so pale?!


Amanda, Crystal, Me, Kristie, and Ashley


All the great gifts!! This isn’t even all the gifts! I think I got 7 bags of diapers!!



I had a great time at my shower and so thankful for the friends that I have made here in Germany. I honestly don’t know how I would survive living in Germany without all my friends! Of course God has gotten me through A LOT and there is no way I would be sane if it wasn’t through prayer! The Lord has definitely carried me through and has taught me to trust in Him. I give Him all the glory!!