Our Little Traveler

I just ran across this sweet picture of Ava from camp last week.  Isn't it hilarious??  It's also fitting.  As I type, we are on day 3 of our peanut being gone on her first big kid sleepover.  She left on Wednesday to go to my parents house and we are missing her big time!!  
Here she is, all packed up and ready to go!  My parents graciously offered to take her for a few days so that we could get some big projects done around here (painting, re-arranging, organizing, etc.) and because they were dying to see her again!
Look at that big girl!!  We were even able to pull off a little "whale spout" on her head :) Daddy came home for lunch and helped us pack up the car to get her on the road.  
She was ready to go, although I'm not sure we were ready to have her go!
I can't believe how old she is looking these days or that she is big enough to spend the night away from us!  
We met my parents half-way, near the border of Iowa and Minnesota.  She was beside herself when we pulled in the parking lot at our meeting place and she saw them!  She hardly wanted anything to do with me at that point :) However, I'm very thankful she loves her Grandma and Grandpa as much as she does!  Not to mention how much they love her :) 

Oh we miss you sweet girl!!  We can't wait to get you home again but we're so glad that you are having lots of adventures with Aunt Jennie, Uncle Dave and Grandma and Grandpa!!  

Travis and I are in the thick of tearing our house apart, while also trying to make some time for "us."  We've got 3 dates nights planned starting tonight, which is totally fun and just the break we need before life gets twice as busy.  I'm a little overwhelmed right now with all the work we have ahead of us in order to get the kids rooms put together and ours moved.  I am fighting lots of desires for a bigger house right now, as it seems we are having to make the most of every inch and it's still not enough!  I think I freaked Travis out last night when he came home from his meeting and saw Ava's room piled to the ceiling practically with storage bins, clothes, and baby stuff.  I am having to re-purpose every closet, every dresser, and every everything in order to make this work.  I'm realizing this is going to take weeks to get done.  Our big goal for the weekend is to at least get all of the painting done before Ava comes home.  That's the messiest part  :) I think it's going to be better when it's all said and done, but this 2 bedroom condo is currently bursting at the seams!!  

Although I'm a little sad about giving up my big closet and losing space that we once had plenty of, one thing that has put this project in perspective is the latest battle our friend Karen is facing.  I shared a few months ago about her recurrance of cancer and the less than favorable prognosis they had received.  We have been sick over the horrible roller coaster she has been on lately and the difficult time she has had with even the smallest of obstacles, like eating.  Two days ago her journey intensified and took another turn for the worse and just yesterday they learned that her tumor had grown, again.  It's heartbreaking on so many levels to wrestle with the ultimate direction this journey seems to be going and to factor in the faith and trust we are placing in the Lord.  Karen and Forrest have been a pillar of strength and resolute faith, but I know they are weary and desire nothing more than to see her healed and facing many years ahead with their boys.  At this very moment, they are seeking the Lord for peace and direction, concerning the decisions they need to make for the future and also for God's mercy on Karen.  She's been so sick.  This is terribly hard and we are so burdened by it for them and especially the boys.  I can hardly process it with years of maturity behind me and experience with loved ones who have walked a similar road.  I can't imagine the traumatic and devastating effect this must be taking on their young hearts and minds.  Daniel, Ben and Jonathan have been given incredible parents who have modeled exactly what they've preached for years and years and each of them have placed their trust in the Lord and are doing their best to trust Him with the life of their Mom.  But it's so hard and they are watching her suffer so much.  Please keep them in your prayers right now.  Daniel should be starting college in a matter of weeks and Ben and Jonathan should be heading back to school soon too.  Their childhood has been forever marked by this journey and we are begging the Lord to protect and preserve them through this.  We know He will use this journey to mark the men they will become and both Forrest and Karen will be proud parents as they watch their sweet boys put their faith to the fire and trust the Lord no matter what.  Of course we're also praying for Forrest and Karen and all that they are facing together.  They will be celebrating their anniversary in just a few more days and I know it will be bittersweet as they had hoped to have this part of their life behind them.  

Life is hard, but God is always good in His intentions, plans and love for us.  He is faithful to deliver on His promises and He holds Karen in his tight grip, even in this dark hour.  Even though we don't understand, we choose to put our trust in the one who is worthy of it.  

I hope you have a wonderful Friday!  I'm looking forward to an entire day with my man, working, playing and just enjoying one another.  We miss our baby girl but we know she's having a big adventure and getting all the love and attention she can handle!  


Rebecca Jo said...

I love that first picture! She looks like she's going somewhere with some serious intention!

Love the "whale sprout" - awesome name!

Girlfriend has a book while traveling - YES! :)

I'm sure she's had fun with her grandparents but I bet she'll be glad to see her mommy & daddy too!!!

Good luck on the painting & re-doing... the end results are always worth it!

I've been keeping up with Karen as well & praying for her. Such a fighter!

Erin said...

That first picture is so cute.. I remember last year Alex stayed with grandma and grandpa for 3 days and this year she has stayed 1 week with them and then her and alex stayed 3 days with them. I never thought I would give avin up so early but its so worth the extra time with the hubby and getting some things done kids free.

can't wait to see pictures!

Michele said...

Girl...I feel ya on the "getting ready for baby". We currently have our three (ages 4, 2 and almost 9 months) in one know's ok! It works. Sometimes they wake each other up...but sometimes they make each other laugh. The good thing about not having a lot of room, is that it forces you not to have lots of stuff! We just had a "getting rid of stuff" party this morning. So, I just wanted to encourage you that it CAN be done!

Heather said...

Ava looks SO BIG!!!!!! I am so excited that she is having such a big time on her sleepover! And excited for you and Trav to have some productive and quality time together! Enjoy it!