Things I Learned at the Dentist

I had to go to the Dentist today, which I have been dreading for awhile.  I don't like going to the Dentist at all, and the older I get, the more painful it becomes.  I've never had a very traumatic experience or anything, I just find myself lying there, totally creeped out by the things being probed and poked at in my mouth.  The taste of that fluoride, the scraping of metal along my tooth, the phone book they attempt to shove down my throat for an x-ray, yeah...not my favorite way to spend an afternoon! I would almost prefer to give birth, than sit in a Dentist's chair.  How's that for dramatic?  Today, I learned a few things that may explain my hatred for going to the Dentist.  My own Dentist is a lovely lady, so believe me, it's not personal.  Furthermore, I do realize that without Dentists, we would be in a pickle :) I would just die a happy person if I never had to visit her again!  

So in no particular order, here's what I learned today...

1.  Apparently I have a little mouth.  This explains a lot.  For some reason, no one has ever told me this, but it's all beginning to make sense now...

2.  A little mouth is not condusive for taking full mouth x-rays.  Lots of them in fact.  Little mouths prefer to be closed.  Without hands and instruments prying them open. 

3.  I have an extremely strong gag reflex.  This coupled with a little mouth, made taking endless amounts of x-rays, "delightful."  I could have told them that, but instead, we all got to experience it together.  Fun times.  And do you know what their remedy was??  Me licking salt out of my hand.  I felt like a little kid doing that.  Like a little kid who was being tricked to drink the "medicine" when it was really just sugar water.  Odd.  And I'm not sure it even worked??  I didn't know Dentists liked to play mind games, but apparently they do. 

4.  I have an extremely strong tongue.  Who knew??  Well, maybe my husband :) But he's never complimented me on the strength of my tongue,so I guess I discovered a new talent today!  Perhaps the one bright spot of my visit?

5.  I am an aggressive tooth brusher.  While I would have imagined that was a good quality to have in a person, I would now stand corrected.  I have done some damage to my gums, due to my excessively "hard" brushing. 

6.  My gums are receeding in 4 places, meaning my roots are exposed in 4 spots.  This explains the surges of pain I experience when I eat or drink something really cold, really hot or really sugary.  It explains it, but only enough to make me mad.  At myself.  It appears my "recession" is self-inflicted. 

7.  And to add insult to injury, apparently recessions = permanent damage.  Super.  There are some things we can do to lesson the pain, but no way to make my gums grow back.  Again, awesome. 

8.  In short, back to back pregnancies have taken their toll on my teeth.  I would even go as far as saying they have "wreaked havoc" in my mouth.  Do you thinks it's plausible to consider this part of the comprehensive curse of childbirth?  My Dentist did tell me not to "feel bad" about it.  I seem to have several very normal pregnancy related "issues."  Not sure that advice worked though...I felt badly about it all the way to Dairy Queen :)

9.  I am now the proud owner of prescription toothpaste.  Am I the only one who didn't know that prescription toothpaste even existed???  Well, now I have the joy of using it for the next year.  Yep, a whole year.  And I get to couple that with the toothpaste I've always thought was for old people with dentures, Sensodyne.  Ummm, turning 30 has come with all sorts of "perks!"

10.  I have the pleasure of returning for more "fun" in a few weeks.  Yes, I know.  That does sound like a wonderful way to spend the few hours I get away from my children, doesn't it??

Sedation Dentistry never sounded so good...


A Truly Amazing Day

Today was one of those days that I hope I remember for a long time.  Today I got to experience the glory of the Lord, along with the rest of our Church, in a way that I've never experienced before.  I'm not even sure how to convey the depth and breadth of it, you truly had to be there, but I'm going to try because it was such a powerful morning! 

As I mentioned a few days ago, we are walking through the book of Matthew in Church right now and this week, our Pastor was preaching out of chapter 3.  Specifically, the event that kicked off  Jesus' public minsitry, his baptisim.  After a few minutes of exposition, background, etc. the most wonderful thing occurred.  Our Pastor gave us an opportunity to put some action to our faith.  To listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to respond in immediate obedience.  He gave an invitation to anyone who wanted to come forward and be baptized on the spot.  As most people were thinking, "What??  How are they going to handle that??  He explained that they had already thought of everything, i.e., clothes to wear, dry towels, toiletry items, dressing rooms, etc.  I read one of the volunteers mention on facebook, that they hoped for maybe 30 or so people to respond, but no one and I mean NO ONE could have predicted what happened next.  In 3 services, 277 people streamed out of their seats, down the aisles and to the back of the worship center to get in line. 

As they got backstage, they were greeted by a staff who must have recieved them with complete AWE of our God!  Because this wasn't meant to be a persuasion by numbers, or a casual "commitment", each one was quickly interviewed and recorded to make sure that this was a step they were ready to take.  An act of obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and a beautiful response to the call God places on every believer.  GO PUBLIC and identify with Christ through the waters of baptisim.  Not because baptism saves you, only Jesus can do that, but because we are unashamed of our Savior and because He asks us to do it.  Through immersion, we identify with the death of Christ by lowering all of ourself under the water and then as we are raised out of it, we identify with the resurrection of Jesus and the new life His blood has provided.  It's a beautiful picture of what He has done for us and a public proclimation that we belong to JESUS and our life is now hidden in Him.  Anyway, what unfolded this morning was a script no body could have ever dreamed or written. 

One by one, people flooded the aisles and as we sang in worship to our Lord, we watched one baptism after another...10 first hour, 120 or so 2nd hour, and 150 or so 3rd hour!!!  Do you know how long that takes to baptize that many people???  And can you believe that with each one, there was true JOY and rejoicing??  Claps, cheers, tears, and pure emotion.  And all because of the Lord.  I watched as little ones went forward, teenagers, young adults, husbands and wives, whole families, Grandpas and Grandmas, you name it, we watched it!  Our Pastors took turns baptizing 2 or sometimes 3 people at a time.  One after another.  Some were grinning from ear to ear, some were crying, some were throwing their hands in the air...but all were walking into those waters with obedience and pure abandon.  It was incredibly moving and I don't think I'll ever view baptism the same. 

What stirred my heart most, was that no one was planning on doing that today.  It wasn't advertised, no arrangements were made.  People didn't have an extra set of clothes and cameras weren't on standby.  Truly the Holy Spirt was moving and working this morning, doing what HE wanted to do, and we had the privilege of watching 277 people respond. 

This afternoon and evening, it's been so fun to see the news feed on my facebook, FULL of statuses referencing what we all encountered today.  People in awe of the Lord, people rejoicing with each other and hearts that can't quite get over what we all saw.  I would imagine that there was incredible rejoicing in Heaven today!  And in those lasting minutes, I believe we got a taste of what Heaven is going to be like, when we are gathered together with fellow saints in praise to the Lord!  And if my heart is even a portion as overwhelmed as it was today, I cannot imagine the JOY we have to look forward to in Eternity.  I cannot imagine the love for our Savior that will pour out of us. 

My parents were with me today, and although they really knew no one who went forward, it was just as memorable for them as it was for me.  Incredible day.  Incredible God. 

Praising Him tonight!! 
So thankful for our Church. 
So privileged to worship alongside fellow believers at Grace. 
In awe.
Filled up. 
What a morning! 



I suppose it shouldn't shock me, I do live in Minnesota.  But we are experiencing yet another, snow day.  Nothing like the blizzard last week, juts a good old-fashioned snow.  It's beautiful outside with flakes gently covering the ground and yet, I'm so ready for Spring I can hardly stand it!  Thankfully, Travis is enjoying this new snow with the junior high students at his their annual winter retreat up north this weekend, and I am home with the kids and my parents.  We are "enjoying" it from the comforts (and warmth) of inside.  That brings our total snow accumlation this year to something around 70+ inches.  That's enough I think.  
As far as our strategy for survival?  Nothing new.  I'm pretty sure all of my pictures for January and February basically look the same!  Ava reading and playing in her room while Carter hangs out.  So far, this year will go down as memorable and simple.  And given all of the crazy circumstances and challenges out there, that's not always a bad way to start off a year :)

Looking forward to a dinner outside the confines of our house tonight :)
Happy Weekend!


4 Months Old

Ok, this is a little embarrassing are actually closer to 5 months old now, rather than 4!  I'm so late getting this up this month, but better late than never :)
You have transitioned so nicely from infant to baby this month Carter.
So many things that you do remind me of your sister at this age :)
You are such a happy baby!  You smile all the time now and even flirt with us.  You like to grin from ear to ear and then tuck your chin, as if you're suddenly shy.  We love it. 
But you do have your limits :)
I love this picture!  It's as if you're telling me,
"Enough already Mom, no more pictures!"
But I can't help myself, you're just too darn cute.
In addition to everything going straight to your mouth these days, you have also made some interesting strides in your growth patterns.  I just took you in for your 4 month well baby visit, so here are your latest stats...
-You are very tall!  You are 26 3/4" long (94th%)
-Your weight has evened out quite a bit this month, instead of being on the top of the charts, you are right back in the middle.  You weigh 15lbs, 5 oz (53rd%)
-Your head size is also more average now, 16 3/4"(53rd%)
You are wearing size 6 months in clothes for the most part.  Some of your 3-6 mo stuff still fits you well around your tummy, but not in length.  Your legs are just too long! 
You are wearing size 2/3 in diapers and are eating very well.  We've started to consistently add a bottle into your day and you're doing so great with that!  Mommy likes having a little more freedom but I'm also so thankful that you are a great nurser!  I've really loved my time feeding you Carter :)
You are just such a sweet, mellow little guy.  Having a son has been so wonderful because I can tell that already, you are a Mommy's boy :)
But that's not to say you aren't a Daddy's boy too.  You just light up when your Daddy comes home and when he gets close to you to talk to you.  His voice makes your head turn and you just grin and grin when he comes to pick you up.  So far, your Dad can make you belly laugh like no one else!  I love to hear both of you laughing every night :)
We are so thankful that you continue to be a great sleeper! 
You sleep about 10-11 hours at night and you take a 2 hour morning nap and a 2-3 hour afternoon nap. 
Mommy will forever be grateful to you for that :)
It makes me smile to come get you everytime you wake up because you are usually lying there, just smiling and waiting to be picked up :) Your bed is kind of a mess now, as you are wiggling around all over the place!
Your sister is also thrilled to come with me when you wake up.  She gets very concerned if we hear you cry over the monitor.  She usually tells me, "Uh oh Momma, Cartu crying...Uh oh Momma, go check?" 
Her little face peering over the edge of your crib is enough to make my heart melt.  I'm so glad that you have a big sister and that Ava has a little brother!
The trick to making you fall asleep is keeping a soft blanket on you.  I'm forever checking on you and pulling your little stuffed racoon blankie or polka dot bear blankie off your face!  You love to cuddle up with something soft and within seconds it helps you drift off into la la land :) I've had to pray more than once that God would keep you safe and help me not to worry about it!  Thankfully, He is more than capable of caring for you Carter and He has already ordained all your days before they even began. 
Mommy has to remind herself of that a lot as you and your sister get bigger :)
It delights your parents to no end to see the two of you begin to form a bond together.
So many of our days and nights are spent at home, just hanging out together and playing. 
This is a quiet, sweet season and we are soaking it all up.  You are growing way too fast Carter!  I am so thankful that God has given me these days at home to see it all unfold. 
We love you so much buddy!  This has been a great month and we are looking forward to the many changes you will soon be undergoing.  Your sister keeps us on our toes, as she runs and giggles around the house, but we know that soon your laughter and your little footsteps will be right behind her!  And we can't wait :)

Happy 4 months Cartu! 


In and Through Everything, Jesus!

I've had plenty of time to sit down and blog lately, but the wisdom not to. Partly because I needed to put my family first and partly because of a lesson I've learned as of late.

At almost 31 years old, the truth of Proverbs 10:19 is finally sinking in...
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."

In recent weeks and months, I've just known that the Lord is working something out in me, through the power of His Word. He is consistantly bringing me back to the same truths and it has caused me to just slow down a little bit so I can truly listen. Why? Because I don't want to miss what He has to say. Although the Lord is always present and He has given us His revealed will through His word, I think there are seasons when He is otherwise silent in our lives, when we have to put our faith in action and trust in what He has said and what He has demonstrated about Himself, before. However, the reverse of that is also true. In my own life, there have been seasons where He pours out truth to me so quickly, I feel like I need to just hit "pause" so I can grab my paper and pen and capture it before I forget it.  You know, those moments when He connects those dots that make you go, "wow!" 

So, while I've wanted to sit and blog a little, I've chosen to instead sit and read some more.  Journal my thoughts.  Dig a little deeper.  Soak up God's word.  And just so I don't leave you with a false impression or feed my own pride, I share this only to the great credit and glory of God.  He is doing something in me that is making me long for more of Him.  I am no scholar and many times I find myself striving alone, with no attempt to consult Him or invite Him into "my agenda."  I am ever a work in progress with good days and not so good days.  But what I'm learning, is that really, it's not about me.  My obedience is important yes, but He will act and rule and reign, with or without my participation.  He is on the throne and my good days don't make Him love me more and my bad days don't make Him love me less.  His Sovereignty is complete and for that, I am grateful. 

In my human nature, I am so performance driven and sometimes, I really just spend time with Him so that I can cross it off my list.  Which is so silly, because that negates the whole thing anyway when I treat Him like a chore on my work load.  And yet, if I'm honest, that's what I've made Him to be at more than one time over the course of my walk with Him.  So, please know that in humility I write this.  As one who is so far from "getting it right" all of the time.  One who has simply prayed for a greater appetite for Jesus and is receiving the blessing of that request. 

God has been speaking to me out of Isaiah 6, about his holiness and it's been nothing short of divine.  You know that chapter I'm referring to?  It's the scene that the prophet Isaiah so beautifully recounts about the vision of the Lord he encountered and the details of that encounter that left him forever changed.  It's one of the most quoted passages I think, due to the song that the Seraphs are singing to the Lord, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty..."  As I've sat through some incredible teaching on that passage and read it over and over myself, I just find my heart stirred at the Holy One.  The set apart God.  The Holy other.  The sacred God.  The God who is like no other. 

In countless ways, our world treats God and His word so casually.  So irreverently.  So conveniently.  We come to Him as if He is truly just another voice of wisdom, or the writer of a great story or someone we pray empty words to.  We've lost our fear of Him.  We have no respect for Him.  And we certainly don't want to give him the credit He is due.  And yet, He is GOD.  THE GOD.  The ONLY God.  There are no other Gods before Him and there will be no other Gods after Him.  As I was reminded this week, there is no one else coming for you at the end of time.  HE is IT!  The great I AM.  Faithful and True.  Our Prince of Peace.

I don't know about you, but all of this unrest that is happening in the middle east right now is truly cause for reflection.  While many are prone to worry about what this all means, and the ramifications that have yet to come, there is a clear message that we would be wise not to miss.  While the bloodshed and violence is horrific and nothing short of traumatic for many innocent people, it is a clear picture of the fagility of human power.  Of kings and kingdoms.  Of governments and rulers.  These protests that are happening day after day are throwing long-standing dictatorships and governments into total chaos and calamity.  And while one could argue all day long about the voice of the people and the long standing oppression, the point that I want to make is this:  Do you know that we have a Holy King, who is on His mighty throne?  While He is allowing the chaos of darkness to reign on Earth now, there is a day that is coming, when He will say "Enough!"  When He will come from His Heavenly throne, to regain His control over the Earth again and to establish His Kingdom, which cannot be overthrown or overturned.  When every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, HE is LORD! 

So while I'm standing in awe of the Holy One in Isaiah, I'm also reading about our King Jesus on Sunday mornings, while our Pastor walks us through the book of Matthew.  From Matthew's account, we are given insight into our King, who was promised from long ago and who has been faithful to fulfill prophecies of 2000+ years.  In His Sovereignty, He rules and is righteous.  In His Holiness, He is set-apart like no king we have ever known or will know.  The revealed truths of Matthew are proving the promised truths of Isaiah.  And all of it, right before my eyes.  Oh His word is amazing!  I love that!  Furthermore, in my Tuesday morning Bible study, we are walking through the book of John this year.  And verse by verse, chapter by chapter, the divinity of King Jesus is being proven by John's account of his years with Him.  He is not just another King, not just a "good man" who did some miraculous things, He is the Son of God.  He is the Holy seed God promised in Isaiah, the King that came for His people in Matthew and the Son of God that laid down his life in John. 

Isn't He incredible??  His Word is so amazing because it is so complete.  I've been a Christ follower for 23 years.  From the time I was very young, I've known about Jesus.  My parents passed down their love for Him and faithfully raised me (us) to know Him and guided each of us as we placed our faith in Him.  He has been my Savior for a long time and yet, as I've grown in my relationship with Him for all these years, it amazes me that still, He can amaze me!  There is so much I don't know, so much yet to discover about who He is, so much to put into practice and He is so faithful to reveal it when we go looking for it.  He is the Holy One.  He is the King.  He is the Son of God. I could have told you all of those things, because I knew all of those things.  I believed all of those things.  But with fresh eyes and a tender heart for that truth NOW, TODAY, in THIS SEASON...I am seeing Him again in a new way.  He is in and through everything.  The Old Testament, the New Testament, and today, points to Him.  The most complex of mysteries, the simplest of truths.  He is Jesus.  And as I read His word, and pray to Him, I'm learning to come again with the humility and reverence of who He is, ever before me.  And do you know what's incredible??  He's speaking to me in the sweetest of ways...

I've saved the best part of this post for the end.  I'm writing this and Ava is just stirring from her afternoon nap.  The monitor is on beside me and this is exactly what I'm hearing from her precious little mouth...I promise.  I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to!!  Only God, only Him...Enjoy this little video that we captured a few weeks ago.  It's exactly what she's singing right now and it's straight out of Isaiah 6.  Unbelieveable.   We didn't teach her this, she picked it up from Praise Baby, but this sweet song is ever on her heart and I know that was put there by our God, for her Mother to hear.  And please ignore my singing :)

Amazing. In and through everything, Jesus!

Psalm 8:2
"From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise..."

Isaiah 6: 1, 3
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple...Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Isaiah 6:10
"Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.  Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

Lyrics to : Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

Open the eyes of my heart

I want to see You

I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up

Shinin' in the light of Your glory

Pour out Your power and love

As we sing holy, holy, holy

Thank You Jesus.
You are Holy and I am in awe of you today...


Pull Up a Seat and Stay Awhile...

We're in the middle of a blizzard...15-20 inches are expected to fall by tomorrow night.  I'm kind of in denial about the whole thing, except that we've been cooped up inside now for days on end.  I'm over winter.  I am truly hoping this is our last BIG storm of the season, but I think I know better than to hope for that so soon.  It's just that those 40 degree days this week were so amazing...
Anyway, we've had a fun couple of days, just hanging out at home as a family.  I'm not sure any of this is totally blog worthy, but I know I'll start hearing from the Grandparents if I don't get something up with some pictures :) So, here are a few snapshots from the last couple of days...
Love my little guy in his striped shirt :)
Daddy loves him too...
...however, he was NOT expecting this little surprise!
Yes, that is what it looks like.  Carter managed to spit up, right on Trav's chin. 
Hilarious and gross :)
Partly because I've been cooped up inside for days and partly because I thought Ava needed more floor space, I re-arranged her room a little bit this weekend.  We used to have a big chaise lounge in this corner with a round side table, holding a lamp and some picture frames.
With the addition of this sweet little chair, I thought it made more sense to let Ava enjoy a kid-friendly reading corner, instead of the set-up we had before. 
Now she has more space on her floor to play and a sweet spot to lounge with her books.
Which is exactly how I found her this morning after she woke up :)
Stretched out in her new chair, with her blankie and a stack of books.  
I think she likes it :)
I wonder how many years I'll let this dresser go with that missing knob??
So far we're going on 7 years.  Ha ha!  I want to replace all of those knobs with glass ones, so I keep thinking that I'll just wait until I buy new ones.  The problem is, I keep forgetting about it and have yet to buy new ones :) I don't even notice it anymore, but I suppose it is kind of glaring, huh?
Now that I moved the bookcase from this corner, it's a little bare! 
Graciously, the same family that gave us that blue chair, also gave us this darling easel!  It's got a whiteboard on the other side, isn't that great??  I know Ava is going to love this and for now, it works in that corner. 
These two little monkeys have been getting along so well lately!
Carter is Mr. Mellow Yellow these days...
And Ava is all about being as close to him as possible :)

Sweet sister...
...sweet brother.

That about sums up our last few days!  We'll be digging out tomorrow I'm afraid.  The plows have been going strong all day and it looks like they've barely made a dent. 
Winter in's not for the faint of heart :)


Family Storytime

Tonight we were skyping with my parents when this sweet scene unfolded...
We sure do have a little reader on our hands :)
And thanks to some sweet friends of ours, we have a great new reading to chair to enjoy!  Isn't that cute?  We just love it and even better, so do the kids :)
Well, usually Carter is a little more enthusiastic but unfortunately, we have a little guy with some sore legs on our hands.
Poor Carter had to get his 4 month shots today and he was a little under the weather tonight. 
Can you tell?  
I'm starting to think Ava's love languages are quality time and books :)
And who knows what Carter's love languages will be? 
Right now, hugs, kisses and smiles will do :)
Here's hoping his smile will be back tomorrow...