Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Letter for March: Austria and Babyproofing

Dear Reader,

We can't have nice things. Here at the Royse household, we can NOT have nice things.

Ava is growing so fast.

It's ruining all my things. 

I've really learned to love our small apartment. It's simple, and lovely.


At 1500 square feet it's also easy to clean, and serves as a constant reminder that we need to keep only what we love, AND use. Unfortunately, as of lately, that now includes keeping only what we love, use, AND what Ava will allow. 

What a tyrant-baby. 

Here's what I'm talking about:

TV/Death Trap

You've heard about the dangers of children tipping TV's over onto themselves. Our TV is very small. It's a 23 inch flat screen, (we're clearly not TV people these days). It's very light weight. If it tipped over on Ava, it likely would leave a bruise at most. BUT--I don't want to replace a TV. OR, clean up a potentially broken one, (yet ANOTHER trip to the recycling center). And then of course I don't want anything tipping over on my precious-itty bitty-princess-angel-baby-bunny

I wanted to mount this TV to the wall. But the walls of our our little German cottage are made of medieval stone. There is an inch or so of mortar--and then the remnants of the walls of Jericho. Hanging picture frames that weigh less than 5 ounces is difficult---anything else is impossible.

Jiminy Christmas...

After Ava started pulling up on things, and then discovered she could push anything she could reach...

push it she did. In this case the TV.
The TV used to sit right under that flower wreath.

By the grace of our Lord and Savior--I was standing right there--and I caught it---MID FALL.


I knew I had to do something:

It wasn't enough to hide the TV; Ava knew it was there. She'd crawl up and just move the door out of the way. SO--I filled a thick canvas tote with dumbells, and put it in front of the door. Now it's too heavy for her to move

One point for mommy.

Here I had to place a baby gate in front of the office (because it's unbabyproofable). I had to move the gate beyond the door because: 
Ava is obsessed with this outlet. 

She's also obsessed with the telephone and internet modem.  These two have been on a LONG experimental journey of movement. I put them on a shower caddy, and hung them too high for her to reach, (and BEHIND the baby gate) and hid the wires behind a large piece of wood... Sheesh. 

I've also had to hide THIS outlet behind an ottoman....

...then I had to place a rug on top of the cords she was always trying to chew.

It doesn't matter what I "baby proof." Ava always find a way. She is dedicated to her craft.  Here she poured out a  cup of (cold) coffee that I left (like an idiot) on the side table. 

The following were also removed from the living room:

lamps, decor on and underneath the coffee table, candles, books, plants, magazines.

Same story for the bathrooms. All candles, plants, bath stuff, trinkets-and-the-like, all removed for the Czar Ava. But I'm not complaining about the new look. It's much less cluttered. 

The kitchen is another story. I can't install permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary latches on these cabinets, (stupid Euro cabinets). SO, I rigged up THIS little bit of brillance:
 Until Ava started tugging on them so hard they'd snap off:


SO now, I'm simply tying the cabinets together with the special "boot blousers" Steven uses for his Army boots.

biding my time.

In other news, I've been planting flowers and reading some books:  The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules, If Protestanism is True, and Rome Sweet Home, Born to Run, Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think, Slow Food, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View Of The World.  All excellent.

What else...

We went to Austria recently. Salzburg. It was really wonderful. The Alps are beautiful. The little town is beautiful. And everyone who lives there is clearly a millionaire, (which I made notes of in my Creepy McCreeperson pictures of random people).

Schnapps are a big deal in Germany and Austria. That's right-- it's not just for frat boys. 

Everyone loves Ava...

and Ava loves everyone.

All of these are homemade.

Here are the pictures I took of all the well dressed people.

Steven got better photos, and he posted them on his Facebook page, so go have a looksey. ALSO, check out the video of Ava walking! That's right--the terror of Toddlerhood has begun! 

We are going to Paris this weekend (I promise to take better photos). Trés fantastic. Hope all is well.




  1. The old guy with the cane is my favorite! Ava is getting so big! I miss you and really want to see you! Hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

  2. Little Ava is getting so grown up! Henry misses his little buddy. I miss you too friend! We will have to get together soon! Have fun in Paris. :)

  3. I remember hearing about the TV almost disaster :)
    You're my favorite manager of chaos.

    And there are no pictures of YOU. fail.
    But I still love you.

    Have a wonderful time this weekend. Eat like 690860985 baguettes for me!

  4. Oh, joy! I just know together Ava and Aspen could pull a room apart in 10 seconds flat and laughing all the while! I try not to think about how I'm missing Ava go through all of these terribly wonderful stages of her life!! AND it sounds like you may be writing a book on tips for keeping a toddler from destroying a house and herself! As for your trip to Austria: That is one of THE ONLY countries I have ever wanted to visit!! You guys are so blessed! The photos of the well-dressed people were hilarious! To think you would take pictures of them is just way funny to me! The dude that stood out for me was the older gentlemen who is walking away from your camera. He has on a cream colored jacket, brown KNICKERS, and cream colored knee high socks or tights! His loafers look pretty cool, though! LOL!
    Love you, kiddo!! So nice to hear from you!