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4.23.2014

The State of Me

Hi friends, I'm sitting down this afternoon while my kids watch Charlotte's Web for the first time...isn't that the best book/movie??  I just love that they are watching this, I have such good memories of this book when I was growing up.  I'm sure I read it a dozen times.  It's cold and dreary today, which I don't mind entirely because it's a good excuse to curl up on the couch and relax.  Which is exactly what we're doing...

I'm borrowing an idea from a friend today because it seems like a great way to mark this particular season in my life.  Tomorrow is my birthday, I'm staring 34 in the face, no matter how much I want to remain 33.  Actually I made a great choice when I married an older man because no matter how old I get, I'm always his younger wife!  ha ha!  Softens the blow a bit, you know?  Anyway, I'm sitting here to write a little "state of the union" post, except that I'm writing about the state of me.  I spend a lot of time writing about my kids or Trav or what we're doing but it's been a while since I've stopped to think about what's going on with me.  I think this will be fun to look back on when I've long forgotten what's it like to be pregnant or what these days looked like with little ones underfoot.  Read a long if you'd like, but I'm writing mostly for my own self today! So here it is, life at 33 on April 23, 2014...

-Currently I'm sitting on the couch, laptop in my lap and my favorite cozy blanket, draped over me, keeping me warm. I bought it at Costco this Fall and I love it.  I wrap up with it almost every day.  

-I'm snacking on a bowl of vanilla bean ice-cream with bananas and mini chocolate chips, because it's 3pm and that's when I get hungry every afternoon.  So good. 

-I've got maternity clothes on because well, I'm very pregnant.  Almost 8 months pregnant, actually.  30 weeks on Friday.  I've got a new maternity shirt on I bought (on clearance) at Kohl's recently and some maternity jeans from H&M that my sister loaned me.  I've also got some new jewelry on, a little pre-birthday splurge from a shopping trip with my sisters.  And owl hanging on a necklace around my neck, some mint earrings and a bracelet with all the colors of spring.  They make me happy.  It's been a while since I've bought any jewelry and when you're pregnant, I think accessorizing makes up for the fact that you can't bend over to put your shoes on or fit into anything from your "old" life.  

-My back is aching, so I've got some pillows propping me up and I'm being kicked by the little guy growing in my stomach.  He's a wild man these days, I swear he's doing acrobatics in there, kicking me so hard and so often he takes my breath away sometimes.  I've had some braxton hicks lately, so I'm being careful to sit and rest after I've been out doing anything.  I took the kids to Target, which feels like climbing a mountain right now.  

-I went to Ava's preschool conference this morning with Trav.  Nothing makes you feel more grown up than sitting across from your childs' teacher, listening to her evaluation of your child.  Thankfully it was all good.  It's fun to hear what she's like in a classroom or with her friends.  Friday we go to her Kindergarten screening.  I feel like I'm aging by the minute these days. 

-I had a bowl of cereal this morning, some turkey bacon and a coffee.  I'm drinking coffee sporadically still, but I do love a cup in the morning if my stomach feels up to it.  I like Starbucks in my Keurig, sometimes with a little cream or sometimes I drink it black.  Feeling like I want to try something new these days, also like I need to clean the Keurig.  I think my coffee was a little bitter this morning.  

-My hair is growing fast, thanks to the hormones.  It's thicker right now and lately I think my highlights need to be touched up again.  I've got new life in my hair care routine for about the last year, thanks to the revolution of dry shampoo.  My friend and hairstylist told me dry shampoo would change my life and she was not kidding.  Seriously, I'm in love and totally dependent on it now.  I only have to wash my hair about 3 times a week now, which is crazy considering I used to be an everyday kind of hair-washer.  The funny thing is that I prefer my hair about a day or two after I wash it now.  It's easier to work with and it looks better.  I never would have thought I could do that, I've always had oily hair, but as it turns out, only washing a few times a week has changed it.  Perfect for being a Mommy! 

-Speaking of being a Mommy, my kids are 5, 3.5, and 29 weeks.  I have (almost) 3 kids.  Crazy! 

-My favorite Pandora station to listen to is All Sons and Daughters.  Mellow, worshipful, and beautiful.  Carter always asks for the Toby Mac channel and Ava always wants the Disney Kids channel, Trav picks Need to Breathe almost every time...we have music on a lot in our house and we all love it.    

-If we do watch TV, I love to watch NCIS Los Angeles, Blue Bloods, and Hawaii 5-0 with Trav.  Those are our shows and besides the news, it's about all I have time for.  We watch almost everything on the DVR, we rarely catch anything live anymore.  Kids shows and kids movies are on our TV the most these days.  Occasionally I watch cooking shows on Food Network or a random Design show on HGTV.  Sports are also always in the rotation, right now it's lots of NBA games or golf.  

-I'm reading a lot right now, mostly due to my pregnancy and my drastically reduced activity level.  I read almost everything on the kindle app on our ipad.  I love hard copies of books but I have to admit, I love the ability to buy a book instantly and for a cheaper price.  Trav and I are sharing lots of reads between our ipads and that's great too.  Currently I've got lots of books on motherhood, counseling, theology, and marriage.  My favorite subjects.  

-The last movie I saw in a theatre was The Muppets Movie, I don't even know the exact title, whoops!   It was a choice to make Trav and the kids happy.  It was funny and we had a good afternoon together.  I'm good if I never see it again though, ha!  

-My latest craving is to have a bowl of tomatoes, mozzarella and avocado, drizzled with a little balsamic, or some olive oil, or some champagne salad dressing.  I could eat it every single day.  It always sounds good.  

Signs of Aging: Maybe more than anything, being pregnant this time around has revealed the ways I've aged.  I'm so very tired, my body is not quite as young looking as it used to be and I'm using a lot more concealer around my eyes every morning.  Early bedtimes are a treat now and lately Trav and I have been talking a lot about our diets.  Like what we're eating and what's digesting well or not.  Seriously.  If that's not a sign of aging I don't know what is!  I recently bought Fiber cereal??!!!?? What's happening to us????

My birthday requests this year:  I've not thought a minute about this until now, or even uttered it, so I'm holding no one to this list :) I think a dinner out with Trav and some scrapbook supplies to finish Carter's baby book would thrill me most.  Also, giftcards.  I love giftcards!  We recently discussed what fun it is to have a gift card somewhere because it feels like guilt-free purchasing.  I also like to give them.

Plans for the near future:  Everything about the near future feels like it involves the baby.  Survive this pregnancy, figure out where Walker is going to sleep, get the kids as ready as we can for this transition and nest, nest, and nest some more...that feels like my future right now and I love it.  This week I have Ava's birthday party to get through.  We're all excited but I've got lists to get done and that feels like the biggest thing on my plate right now.

In the past year, I think I've gotten better at: Saying no.  Keeping my life simpler, my commitments fewer and my priorities in check.  It's been an incredibly freeing year and I've seen the Lord's hand so clearly this year.  I think maybe as I've become less busy, I've been able to see and hear from Him more.  It's marked me and changed me in the best ways.

In the next year, I want to get better at: Being patient with the kids, trusting God without anxiety, saying yes to Trav more than I say no, budgeting, deepening my prayer life.  

Some goals of mine are: To write more, to memorize more scripture, to speak the gospel into my kids and family, to take some steps toward some bigger dreams.

Guilty Pleasures: Hours alone at a coffee shop; time and money to spend at Homegoods, my favorite place these days; long dates with Travis anywhere; an iced caramel macchiato from Starbucks or Dunn Bros; a day to craft with creative friends; trips home to Iowa; cooking with my Mom; snuggling in bed with my kids to watch a movie; dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt from Godiva or Lindt; jewelry from Lisa Leonard.

If I could have anything I wanted, I would choose:  A bigger place to live.  Not newer or even nicer, just bigger. More space for the kids.  More room to spread out.  Storage.  Places to entertain.  Room for our families to visit.  I think about it almost everyday.  It's my biggest burden and sometimes my hardest hurdle to get over.  But I know God is building my character and refining me because of it and that's not missed on me.
-This is the most recent picture of just me.  It's from last Friday.  I was exactly 29 weeks pregnant.  Over the weekend I was told "You look like you're ready to pop!"  and "Are you sure you aren't having twins??  You look ready to go any day!"  Yes, yes...welcome to the end of pregnancy when people say exactly what they think and the pounds just keep piling up no matter what you do.  Not glamorous, but I am thankful for the reward at the end!  And in case you're also wondering, no, we're not having twins!

-My days lately are spent at home, in my jammies if I can help it.  The kids do lots of playing, I'm getting really good at napping and we're all just finding our rhythm over here.  I'm in a very simple season, by design and due to a challenging pregnancy.  I'm not resenting it actually, I've chosen to embrace it and see it as a gift that's short lived.  Nothing wrong with slowing life down for a bit...

-The lesson I'm learning right now is to depend on Jesus for every single thing in my life...To find my contentment in Him, to look to Him for the endurance to get through a day, to find comfort in Him when I'm in pain and struggling, to trust Him with what I can't see and don't know about the future.  This is the gift of a difficult season.  While I want this pregnancy and all the limitations and pain to pass, it recently struck me that perhaps this is what the Lord wants to use to teach me to depend more on Him.  I'm self-sufficient and independent by nature, my tendency toward sin is often wrapped up in my faulty belief that I can handle something on my own or in being too busy to stop and let the Lord lead and guide me.  Having a hard time physically is actually a blessing in disguise...When I'm tempted to drown in self-pity or disappointment, I remember that He is allowing this for a reason and laying down my pride in place of His strength is better for me in the long run.  I'm taking this season day by day, sometimes hour by hour and He is faithfully seeing me through.  I'm so grateful for all of it.  And or course, the blessing of little Walker is totally worth the struggle to get him here.  

-The scripture that I go to the most right now is Galatians 3.  I've been focused, laser focused lately, on the Gospel and exactly what it means for every aspect of our life.  I've been thinking and reading and writing in journals about Jesus and the superiority of the Gospel over the law, how He fulfilled it and how we are justified because of Him, not because of our good works or intentions.  He is everything and I've spent much time preaching the Gospel over and over to myself.  I've been burdened for so many who lose sight of Jesus in the midst of trying to "live a good life" or find peace.  When Jesus is removed from the equation or when we try to add to what He's already done and who He is, we actually subtract Him all together and replace Him with a lesser thing.  Jesus plus anything ruins everything.  It's all Him and only Him.  And I can't get over how good the Gospel is and how it really informs every single area of my life.  


This is a great season in life!  Turning 34 is fine with me because I love the life God's given me and I love the people He's blessed me with.  My 30's have been the best years and I anticipate them getting better!  Life is not exactly how I expected it to be, in some ways it's a million times better and in other ways it's more challenging than I dreamed.  But God is good and faithful and I want so much for this year to be filled with more of Him and less of me!  That's the best birthday wish I could ask for.  If you've read this far, you're a trooper :)  Tomorrow turns a new page on a new year!  It feels good to close this one out with some thought about where I am and I where I hope to be.  Thanks for all of your sweet encouragement over the years you've read along with me on this blog.  I love this outlet so much and I am grateful for the friends I've made because of it!  You are part of my birthday blessings too!

4.22.2014

Five Years with Ava

Last Thursday was a long anticipated day for our Ava girl.  We celebrated her fifth birthday with lots of family and had a great day!  We were in Iowa all week, at my parents' house with both of my sisters and brother in laws.  It was such a great week, made even better by the birthday girl's big day! I have a million pictures from our day, so I'll keep the descriptions brief, but I couldn't help but show you all the sweet pics.  Ava was out of her mind excited from the moment she woke up, immediately sitting up in bed, examining her legs and declaring "Mom!  My legs are longer but my jammies still fit!!"  I knew we'd be in for some classic comments from that moment on  :) 
 Turning 5 is a big deal and we all got to enjoy a big day together!
Sporting her princess crown from the minute she spotted it in the dining room.  She was very thrilled when I confirmed that she could indeed wear it all day, every where we went!  And she did! 
 We started the day by going out for breakfast with Grammy and Grampy, such a treat! 

So far Ava is the only granddaughter on my side of the family and the little one who first made my parents Grandparents! 
So thankful for our little family and the gift of a day together!  We mostly keep birthdays pretty simple at home but this year was a special one and it worked out for us to be in Iowa with everyone.  Pretty sweet way to celebrate being 5! 
We let the birthday girl choose what she wanted for a birthday dinner that night and after she went to bed the night before, my Mom and I ran to the dollar store and the party store and got the dining room all ready for her pasta dinner.  I love to have the table all set for my kids when they wake up on the morning of their big day.  Even if it's just for the four of us at home, I hope to continue this tradition for them.  I love the way their faces light up when they see it! 
 Have you ever seen so many princesses in your life???  As predicted, Ava was beside herself when she saw it! We had just watched a home renovation show the day before where a little girl gets a huge bedroom makeover, I'm talking like a $10k new room (which is ridiculous) and of course she screamed when she saw it.  Ava told me, "Mom I screamed just like that little girl!! I love it!!"  Ha ha!  So glad my dollar/party store efforts thrilled her like a $10k new room!  
 This darling cake was such a fun surprise for her and all of us too.  A high school girl from my Dad's golf team offered to make a cake when she heard that we were celebrating Ava's birthday this week.  Isn't this so cute???  She's a sophomore in high school and did such a great job!  We just loved it and Ava was crazy about it too.  She does this as a hobby and I think she's so talented!  So fun for my parents to treat her to a special cake.  She talked about it all day and couldn't wait to eat it!
 By 10 am her birthday dreams were already coming true, but we had lots more fun ahead!  
 Awhile ago we talked about doing a girls' shopping day to let Ava choose some outfits from her Aunts and Grammy.  She is ALL girl and right now, nothing is more fun to her that a fun outfit to wear!  We took her downtown and had such a sweet afternoon.  She kept telling everyone she was going to "the fashion store" with the girls and she couldn't wait!  
 The "fashion store" did not disappoint and boy did she have fun!  She was totally thrilled and mesmerized by a wall of darling dresses and outfits...we let her browse and tell us what she liked, which was just about everything she laid her eyes on!  She chose like 12 things to try on and had us all in stitches with her running commentary.  She was in girl heaven and we were all enjoying it just as much as she was!  
After lots of talking and deliberating, she settled on these two things.  Gifts from her Grammy and her aunts.  I did my very best not to give in and indulge her in a few more outfits too...Awhile ago we made a deal that if she had a friend party this year then our gifts for her were going to be minimal.  She agreed and we reviewed that agreement several times, but she did great and I was proud of myself for sticking to the deal!  We are blessed with so many aunts, uncles, and grandparents that birthdays and holidays can get extremely overwhelming and create all kinds of expectations, even at 5.  We are trying hard to be simple and grateful from the beginning, but I'm the one who has the hardest time!  I wish I could spend tons of money on my kids, but in the long run I know that's never in their best interest.  So I held my ground and rejoiced in the sweet gifts she got to choose.  So much fun! 
 I have a feeling we will be having lots of shopping dates over the next 13 years!  
 I love having a girl!  Can't imagine my boys will be requesting birthdays at "the fashion store!"  
 My new nephew Sawyer also tagged along with the girls, but he literally slept the whole time.
What a good shopper!  Enjoy that while it lasts, Jen! 
 After our shopping my Mom treated us to cupcakes at our favorite bakery, yum!!  So good!! 
 The birthday joy was made even more complete by sugar  :)   
 Lots and lots of sugar! 
 Such a treat to get some time with my sisters this week, Ava enjoyed being with Aunt Stacie and Jennie all week too.  They did lots of playing and reading and watching her show them things!  
 Fun to think that they were also with us 5 years ago when Miss Ava made her debut! 
Oh how I love being Ava's Mama!  Reminded over and over that day about the gift of motherhood and the privilege of raising children.  Thank you Lord!!  
 We have had such a crazy week of weather here but we got a beautiful day to be downtown! And it was so fun that my Mom had a few days off to spend with us too.  I know she enjoyed all her chicks back home in the nest, even if we did destroy her house with so many people and toys everywhere!  
We even got a little surprise when Travis and Carter showed up, also craving some cupcakes!  
 I think Daddy makes a stop here every single time we come to town, sometimes announced and sometimes in secret!  Ha ha!  He's addicted to these cupcakes but we were happy, and not surprised, to see them!  They had a boys afternoon at a local inflatable park while we were shopping.  
And thankful he could take a pic for us too :) 
 We managed to hold the birthday girl off on opening her gifts until after dinner and after my Dad got home from his golf meet...
...but she was very excited!!!  She wanted to have a fashion show to model her new outfits for all the boys, so we indulged her (complete with "fashion show" music, courtesy of the Disney kids channel on Pandora) and got such a kick out of her twirls and spins and hip-shaking moves! 
Such a sweetie!!  Thanks Grammy and Grampy for the darling outfit! 
We decided this might need one more ruffle??  Ha ha!  I could eat her up in this!  Thanks Aunt Stacie and Aunt Jennie for this sweet outfit too!  
Pretty soon we'll be celebrating as a party of 5! 

After the big fashion show, her Daddy and I did have one big surprise for her...
A new princess bike for our princess! 
 She loved it :) We've been blessed with lots of hand-me down trikes and beginner bikes over the last few years, but this was fun to delight her with!  It was time for a bike that fit her and could carry her into the next few years and she loved it.  
 Even Carter needed a quick turn!  
 She took a few laps around the kitchen island to test it out...
 So cute!  
 Daddy made a fire out back and took her outside to really give it an official test ride! 

Thinking we'll probably be tackling those training wheels this summer...without a driveway of our own we don't always get out for bike rides but I have a feeling this summer Daddy will be doing lots of bike rides to the park while I push Walker in the stroller!  
 Yep, it's gonna work!  
We had such a great day, Ava was riding the birthday high all day and so were the rest of us.  It's big business keeping those birthday expectations in check, but we had such a fun day with family and most of all, we loved celebrating the little girl who made Trav and I parents.  Five years has gone by in the blink of an eye but it ushers in such a fun season and we are grateful to the Lord for all of it!

Ava, we love you so much!  You are a joy and delight to us and we love watching the Lord grow you and draw you to Himself.  Your beauty shines on the outside but we pray it will always shine on the inside more!  We love YOU just the way God made you and we thank Him for 5 sweet years together and we ask Him for many more!  Happy Birthday big girl!!  

4.07.2014

More of That, Monday

Hello friends!  Happy Monday to you...from our neck of the woods, we are enjoying a GORGEOUS spring day, finally!!!  It's sunny, warm (50's) and there is no snow in our forecast!!  To say we are thrilled is a major understatement!  Minnesotans have been waiting and waiting for this weather to arrive and we are all celebrating.  I'm not even a baseball fan, but I do know it's the Twin's home opener today and boy did they get a perfect day!  An outdoor stadium in Minnesota is a gamble but when the weather cooperates??  It makes total sense to me  :)  I'm sure there are some happy fans enjoying an afternoon at the ballpark today!

We're getting our ducks in a row over here, after being away last week over Ava's Spring Break.  Today I am re-charging, so to speak, and looking at another week away very soon! Before you get any ideas that we are vacationing fools, I should let you know that this past week we enjoyed a "stay-cation" right here in the Metro, while we housesat for a girlfriend of mine and in a few more days we'll be spending some time at my parents house while my sister and brother in law are in town.  No tropical locations for us this year, but very fun nonetheless!!  That's one perk of condo living, it's pretty easy to come and go when you don't have lawn care or snow removal to worry about!  I've got a bunch of things I'm thinking about today, and as I'm sitting here with my feet up, I decided to share some of those thoughts in a "I'd like more of that on this fine Monday" kind of post.  Just because I feel like it.  

For example...

1. I'd like some more of the things that make me laugh these days...
 ...like an afternoon at a movie that tickles my funny bone.  We took the kids to see the Muppets Movie, mostly because Trav and I just needed a light afternoon and we knew they'd think it was silly.  And it was, but sometimes a little more silly, is really an necessary addition to anyone's day!  Life is serious and there are things that feel heavy sometimes, but really it just feels good to laugh too!  We've been doing a lot of laughing lately and I think that's medicine for the soul.  But I could always use more of it!

2. I'd like to be more of this kind of friend.  An intentional one who writes notes.  And communicates love with intentionality.  I used to be so much better at this, a few years and a few kids ago, but I want to make more of these kinds of gestures.  It's always worth the time and effort.
 This is how my dear friend greeted us when we arrived at her house to spend a week with her little dog, Maddie.  Isn't she the best??  Super creative, always thoughtful and one of a kind.  We love her.  And we felt very welcomed!  Thinking there are other people in my life who need some of this from me.

3.  Impromptu treats with my kids.  I'll take more of those, please.
 Sometimes paying the bills carries a weight with it that turns you into a "no" Mom.  In an effort to make sure all the ducks are in a row, I can very easily forget that there are little people who don't need to hear about when we pay the mortgage but who just need to be little and enjoy the perks of childhood.  Like stopping for ice-cream with your Mom in the middle of the afternoon.  So easy, so simple and such a delight for all of us.  Doesn't need to be all the time, but it was a good reminder for me to not always be so concerned with the "responsible" things in life...this is why God gave me a husband who isn't just like me!  I need to make sure I invest in memory making with my kids too.  Nothing says "let's make fun memories with Mom" like blue, cotton candy ice-cream with sprinkles!  We need to do more of this.  Maybe not weekly though or I'll have way more than extra baby weight to worry about...

4. Wow, do we need more date nights together!!!  We were able to get away for a little shopping and dinner to celebrate Trav's birthday last week and it was so, so great.  Just so nice to be together and to spend time without the little people we love  :)
We haven't been out very much at all lately, life just got in the way, but I am reminded each time that we need to do it more often.  We love to eat out, that's all it takes for us to get our tanks filled and it's always fun to try new places.  By the time we got to the restaurant I thought I might cry I was in so much pain from walking around the mall, but as it turned out just sitting down and catching up, laughing and sharing a great meal was a really good distraction.  We need more date nights.  Maybe the more kids you have, the more you need them??  Ha!

5. Speaking of food...I need more summer stir-fry and summer cooking in my world!  When you live in a cold weather climate, winter cooking means lots of soups and stews and baked things...you know, all that comfort food that keeps your bones warm??  I love that kind of cooking but about this time of year I get a major itch for things on the grill, salads, cold dishes and things that are fresh.  
 So many of my favorite things involve peppers and onions.  I was making fajitas the other night and started thinking of all the stir-fry dishes I am craving.  I can't wait to cook some lighter fare these days.  We need more of that!  And more olive oil too!  Like seriously, I think I need some more at the store, we're out :)

6.  We need more...
 ...time at the park!!!  You didn't seriously think I was going to say SNOW did you????  This was last Thursday after a warm week when a crazy storm blew in and dumped 8 inches of snow all over our green grass.  Ok, brown grass.  But still.  We went from almost no snow, to 8 inches.  It wasn't a welcomed sight here.  It was pretty, I will admit, but not welcomed.  However, the sight of this little guy with a "shub-ell" is extremely welcomed.  And loved :) He was the best part of the snowfall!  But we are ready and waiting for GREEN GRASS and many park dates again!!
 By the way, his sister and her shovel were also adorable, but I didn't get a picture of her.  I don't know why.  She was pretty darn cute in her pink rain boots and leggings too!

7.  Family dates at Starbucks.  Who knew??  I could use more of these.  It would be nice if we engaged "with" the kids, but we were without internet last week (it was down at the house we were staying at) and I just wanted to get Trav's birthday post up.  And pay some bills.   So, this is how we did that...
2 kids and 2 ipads.  I'm not saying it was great parenting, but I am saying that it bought us a few minutes to get our stuff done!  
A little reading, a little blogging and some peace and quiet.  I'm sure we were judged, we were definitely the parents who employed the "ipad babysitter tactic" but whatever.  Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do!  Perhaps we need some more of that down the road :) I mean come on, Carter knows allllll of his shapes due to the Toddler Teasers app!  That's legit learning, right??

8.  Girls day out with my main girl.  Oh man, do I love her!!  
This age is golden right now!  In 2 weeks Ava turns 5 and as we are finding out, she is so much fun.  She's always been fun, but this age in particular is so great!  She talks constantly and the thoughts of an almost 5 year old are fascinating.  Seriously entertaining too.  We spent a little afternoon together last week and got our hair cut.  We both needed a fresh shape-up and it was so sweet to go to my stylist friend together.  Part of Ava's birthday gift from us this year is a date night with Mommy and Daddy to spend some quality time with our girl, but also to do a little shopping.  She is all about dresses and shoes and we really don't ever go to the store for that stuff.  We usually save clothes shopping for holidays or special events, so we are excited to have some time to spend with her and on her!  I can't believe she's 5 already, well almost 5.  Time is flying and I'm looking forward to more and more girl dates together!

9.  Snuggles from this guy...I LOVE HIS HUGS and while he's still compliant, I'm asking for more and more of them.
He's all boy and so wild, but that tender place in his heart...we're always tapping into that.  Carter's a lover for sure and we adore that about him.  I'm happy to report that our BIG boy is 100% potty trained now!!!  He did so great, it went way faster and much, much easier than I could have ever dreamed.  We seriously can't believe how well he did, but we're proud of him!  It's so hilarious to see him running around in big boy undies now, another sign that he's growing up, and all the more reason to get more of those hugs while he's offering.  I took him in for his 3 year well check today (6 months late, I might add) and he's doing great.  Hard to believe how fast time goes...

10.  These three. 
We had as sweet week together on our little "stay-cation" and lots of family time.  Everything about it was good.  The benefit of all these years in student ministry??  We know how SHORT this season of being little is, how quickly the years go while they're under our roof.  We have both been talking so much lately about spending these years well and intentionally.  So many things pull at families these days, trying to take everyone in different directions.  Some of it's good and healthy, some of it isn't.  We can't imagine a day that we won't care about their lives or not want to be a part of their future.  Parenting is intense for a season, but it lasts for a lifetime in many ways.  We want to invest heavily in our family time now so that later we'll have a great foundation for them to cherish and launch from.  Trav turning 40 sent us both down a reflective path these last few days and gave us some further clarity about what we want to be about.  Lots of things that are important to us, but our little family is a big priority for both of us.  And I'm so glad.

So there you have it.  Ten things I'd like some more of on this Monday afternoon!  I didn't add sunshine to my list and that's ONLY because it's actually forecasted this week!!!!  Like more than one day of it!!!  Praise the Lord and Hallelujah!!  These Minnesotans are ready to receive, I'm just sure I'm vitamin D deficient this year.  Bring it on!!  

But what about you, my kind blog friends?  What do you need more of today??