Tales From the Pediatrician

We are fresh off of our double pediatrician appointment this week and I have some amusing stats to share...
After having both kids out recently, I've had to correct several people who saw them and then said, "Oh, Twins?"  No, not quite, but given their similar sizes, I do understand the confusion!  Now that we've had Ava's 2 year appt. and Carter's 6mo well baby check, here is what we know:
-Carter is 27.5" tall (76th percentile)
-Ava is 34" tall (54th percentile)
-Carter weighs 17.6lbs (38th percentile)
-Ava weighs 22.6lbs (5th percentile)
Yes, that is correct.  They are a whopping 5 lbs apart! 
And given the expected weight Carter should gain in the next few months, it's only a matter of time before he officially passes her up.  His 18 month older sister.  :)

Thankfully, there are no worries associated with either of them.  Each is following his/her own growth patterns perfectly.  However, it is kind of amusing. 
 And when Carter is finally mobile, Ava better sleep with one eye open! Ha Ha!
Speaking of sleeping, here is the little miss on the way home from our trip to Iowa this weekend...
...rapidly fading in the car...
...trying not to fall asleep... 
...but eventually giving in.
If there's one thing I like more than a cute toddler in her car seat, it's a cute sleeping toddler!
Thank goodness for kids who fall asleep while driving.
Of course this little guy slept a little too long in the car and then kept his Daddy up later that night. 
This was the best picture I could get of Carter in the car.
Remember, he's still rear facing.
I'm still nursing a cramp in my arm from the acrobatics required to get this picture :)
This has nothing to do with anything, but I thought you'd appreciate the contrast.
Very, very sad.
Mixed with a little bit naughty.
And topped off by a lot bit tired :)
And since this is rapidly becoming a very random post, why not ask?
Am I the only one still getting lots of extra mileage out of the plastic easter eggs??
Best $2 I spent this month??
The thrill of the hunt motivates this girl...
Shopping could be what bonds us in the future :)
Mixed with well rested.
And topped off with cute.

She may be little, but she more than makes up for it in personality!
That's what I learned from the pediatrician.
Several things on my heart today...

The first of which, is the horrible devastation from the tornadoes down South.  What a scary and terrifying thing, I just can't believe the video footage that has emerged from yesterday and the photos of the homes that are gone.  Literally destroyed and non-existant.  I hate tornado season and like every other natural disaster lately, this year has been HORRIBLE already.  Praying for the many families and people whose lives have been interrupted and in some cases, torn apart...

So thankful for the promise that He KNOWS each and every person who was affected yesteray...He hasn't forgotten anyone...

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when  I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completly, OLord. You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain..."

Secondly, thank you for the love regarding Ryley :) I appreciate the emails and messages you guys left for me.  It's been kind of sad around here, of course Ava is asking for him multiple times a day and honestly, I keep looking for him and then remembering he isn't here!  I am looking forward to getting my carpets cleaned soon and the thought that they won't be immediately covered in dog hair again, is kind of thrilling!  Travis keeps reminding me, he isn't dead :) We'll see him soon and I told Ava we could maybe skype with him tonight!  This would be a lot easier if he was a bad dog or had done something wrong...Poor guy, he's just as sweet as can be, but he's getting lots of love from Dave and Jennie, so all is well.

And speaking of Jennie, today is her birthday!!  Happy Birthday Jen!!  We love you and are thankful for you.  You were a "surprise baby" for Mom and Dad, but it's obvious our family wouldn't have been complete without you :)  By the way, now that I've had a "surprise baby" of my own, I understand the sweet blessing that kind of gift is!  You'll always be the baby, but as your oldest sister, what a joy even for me to watch you grow into a beautiful, Godly wife and woman.  Hope today has been a great day!

In light of what's happening down south, this is pretty trivial, but I will admit-I've got royal fever today!!  I'm totally looking forward to the wedding tomorrow and my DVR will be working early to capture it all for me to enjoy :) Travis has a student event tomorrow night and he'll be gone, but I'm kind of excited because that means I can watch all the coverage I want and not worry about how much he hates it!  ha ha!!

I hope today is a blessed day for you!  You've still got time to make some scones, buy some tea and get your big hat ready! 



For awhile now, I've been waiting to share this and today seems like a good day...

 For those of you who have followed my blog for the last few years, you would know that our first "baby" was our dog Ryley.  When we were married for about 9 months and living in North Carolina, we took the plunge and brought home the world's cutest puppy, an 8 week old purebred golden retriever.  He was that classic picture of a fluffy, blonde puppy and we fell in love with him in about 30 seconds.  I can honestly tell you that from that first week we got him in June (almost 7 years ago) until today, he has been nothing but wonderful.  Travis spent hours and hours with him while he was in Seminary, training him and playing with him during a season with a very flexible schedule.  We rented a little house on an acreage in North Carolina and he had space to run and play and explore and dig one hole after another.  We introduced him to all of our friends, took him on roadtrips to Virginia and Florida and eventually moved him across the country to Minnesota. 

For the last 5 years that we've been here, he's gone back and forth to Iowa with us, dozens of times.  My family has fallen in love with him just like we did and thankfully, they have helped us out a lot over the years, when we've been gone on retreats or at camps.  When we moved into our condo, it was a perfect fit for all three of us.  Ryley had free reign of our (then) guest room and most days I would find him curled up on the bed!  We spent lots of time on walks with him, and even took him to summer camp one year :) He won over our neighbors with his gentle, friendly self and provided the company and companionship that each of us needed when the other was away.  Many, many nights I spent evenings alone while Travis was working, but I never minded it because I always had Ryley to hang out with :) He would curl up next to me, lay his head in my lap and spend as much time by my side as I needed.  For the last 7 years, every tear that has fallen from my eyes, has not gone unnoticed by Ryley.  As most goldens are, he is such a people pleaser with a very tender heart and no matter where I was in the house, as soon as he realized I was crying, he was right there by my side, looking up at me with those big eyes.  It didn't take long for me to pick up on his intuition and to appreciate him in a whole new way. 
We have loved Ryley and have become "those" dog people as a result!
For many years he has spent every holiday with us, opening his own gifts with the rest of the family on Christmas morning :)
He's gone to Canada twice, with Travis and my Dad, on a fishing trip...
...enjoying the great outdoors as dogs are made to do!
He's the most handsome dog and has been a wonderful family dog.
As he was with Ava, he's been perfect and gentle with Carter.
We've never had an issue, never had a really close call or anything that's made us uncomfortable.
And because of that, Ava loves him dearly.  She loves to give him hugs like this and lately loves to chase him around the house with her doll stroller, which of course we don't let her do :)
When Ava was born, I worried about the way Ryley would adjust and then worried about how we'd keep up with his needs too.  We managed, but we did find ourselves feeling guilty for the lack of time we had for him and mostly, for the lack of space.  When we knew we were expecting Carter, I began to worry and pray that the Lord would somehow meet our needs and Ryley's too.  We knew we just couldn't give him away, nor had he done anything to deserve that.  But he's a big dog and our condo only seems to be getting smaller as we add little people to the mix :) In many ways, we were burdened over Ryley and not sure what to do. 

When Carter was born, my sister Jennie and her husband Dave, graciously took Ryley for 2 months and let us get back on our feet and adjust to life with 2 kids.  It was a huge blessing to not have to worry about Ryley and I know he just LOVED all the attention he got from the two of them!  In fact, when Travis picked him up to come home, he didn't want to go :) That was a good thing and probably a little detail that the Lord orchestrated for this next season in our lives. 

A few months ago, Jennie called me and asked us to think about whether or not we would like them to take Ryley, indefinitely.  Not only because it would help us out, but also because they fell in love with him and wanted him to come live with them in their new house. 

I knew the second she offered it, it was the answer we had prayed for.  It took me awhile to get used to the idea, even though it was in so many ways, the perfect circumstance.  I've cried some tears, felt all kinds of guilt and gone through every range of emotion.  Unless you are a dog person, I don't expect you to understand that.
But as we went to Iowa for Easter this weekend, we brought Ryley down with us, to officially move him into his new digs.  It was a good decision, the right decision for us, but mostly for Ryley.  He's got room to breathe and play, a yard to explore and two people who are in the perfect stage for having a "baby" of the canine variety! 
He's happy there and he's wanted and loved.  We'll get to see him a lot and we can sleep at night knowing he's in very good hands.  How could we ask for a better situation??

And so, although it's great and wonderful, we already miss him.  The kids are both napping right now and it's terribly quiet in here.  When Travis comes home, I keep listening for Ryley to get up and meet him at the door.  When we pull in our garage, Ava has asked me several times about going inside to "see Ryley", which is what I always told her we were going home to do :) We'll adjust and get used to it I know and honestly, I feel like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders.  I know he's just a dog, but when he's your dog it's a whole different story.  We love him like crazy and always will.  We're not sure how the next season will play out, but for now we're grateful for my sister and brother in law and we feel like this is one more adventure for Ryley to add to his growing list of accomplishments! 
He's lived quite a life so far and I hope he's got lots of life left in him for the future!

So after a long day yesterday without Ryley around, Travis came home with one of my favorite treats to celebrate my birthday. 
A turtle pie straight from Heaven...
And no, I didn't eat that whole missing section by myself :)
But let me tell you, I could have! 

I realize that in light of tornadoes and earthquakes, crumbling economies and wars; letting go of a dog is not a life changing event. 
 But it's a significant part of our lives that we are letting go of and in our world, it's a big deal. 
Thanks to Jennie and Dave, I'm happy to know that Ryley is enjoying his new home and we'll get to see him in a just over a month. 
He's getting spoiled all over again and I couldn't be happier about it.
The Lord has been good to us again, to faithfully answer a need in a way we couldn't have predicted. 

When I consider how He provided so perfectly for our DOG, why do I ever doubt Him for my own life too??
So there you have it, that's what's been brewing in our world for the last few weeks and I'm grateful to finally be able to share it with you. 
I hope your Tuesday has been sunnier and warmer than mine... 
I think it's about time for another piece of turtle pie!


Easter Blessings

Happy Easter!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend celebrating Resurrection Sunday and contemplating all that Jesus endured on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I had intentions of hopping on here several times to write about what the Lord has been teaching me this Easter, but as is often the case, my priorities with my little family took over :) The month of April is so incredibly busy, with 3 out of 4 of us celebrating birthdays, but I really was determined to not let Easter get lost in the shuffle. 

Last week the Lord impressed many new truths on my heart during Holy week, but He mostly just refreshed my mind with the timeless miracle of the cross and the empty tomb.  I was focused on the doctrine of propitiation most of all, humbled and marveling at the sacrifice Jesus made, to absorb the full wrath of God, in my place. That's what propitiation means.  Jesus taking my place to take the wrath of God off of me and transfering it onto Him.  It struck me anew to remember that in His Holiness and Justice, He could not let the penalty of sin slide.  God had to punish the work of sin, He had to pour out His wrath in His righteous anger and I (we) are the ones who should have been condemned in that wrath.  And yet, as the perfect substitute for us, Jesus who was both fully human and fully God, took it upon Himself to pay the penalty, to bear the wrath and to die to sin.  That alone is miraculous.  But it still wouldn't be good news without the resurrection!  If He only died to sin, then sin would have won.  It would still hold power over us.  But, praise be to the LORD!!  He broke the chains of sin and conquered death, securing our eternal hope forever.  And in His work on the cross and because of the empty tomb, I am free from the curse of sin and death, forever.  I have great HOPE because of Christ.  Hope that sustains me when the world seems to be in chaos.  Hope that anchors my soul when devestating news comes my way.  Hope that cannot be taken away when the economy crumbles beneath us.  Hope that promises I will be reunited with my Savior and those who have died before me and trusted in Christ too.  THAT is real hope and THAT is all wrapped up in Easter and the miracle of salvation.

I sincerely pray that the same is true for each of you.  It can be...There is no one of us who deserves that mercy or grace and yet, He died for us while we were still sinners.  Not because we made a great plea or because we promised to uphold some standard of perfection.  Simply because He offers salvation, we know that we desperately need a Savior, and we trust in His work on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb to satisfy the wrath of God, on our account.  Our penalty has been paid, our debt wiped clean and our eternity secured.  We can claim that when we confess and believe and we can BELIEVE Him because we can TRUST Him.  The hinge of our lives, hangs on the glory of this weekend.  I pray that it was as monumental for you, as it is for me.  Many years ago, when I was just a little girl, the Lord opened my eyes and my heart to the truth of what He did for me.  I am BLESSED that He put a calling on my life, some 25 years ago, and that honestly I have never truly known a day where the Lord wasn't part of my lifeI was raised to know and trust Him, I believed Him at a young age and have only grown in that belief ever since.  I owe my life to my Savior, quite literally, and I have been granted an incredible gift of grace in the parents He gave me to.  Not only did this weekend represent Easter, but I also got to celebrate my 31st birthday yesterday.  These 31 years have held lots of things, but now that I'm a parent, I can truly appreciate the fact that the Lord chose MY Mom and Dad to raise me and disciple me.  31 years ago, He placed me in their arms and they have done an incredible job (still to this day) of loving me, speaking truth into my life, supporting me, and modeling for me authentic (although not perfect) lives that  fall fast and hard for the Lord.  I can think of no greater birthday gift that that. 

Easter and my birthday are two tremendous reminders of the Lord's great love for me. 
 Here are a million pictures that capture that very thought...
Arms that are full with two little blessings...
...represent a season that is busy BUT also a heart that is overflowing.
Milestones reached...
...and the joy that comes from being little.
I have a front row seat in two worlds and I wouldn't trade the privilege of being present for any amount of money or a bigger house or a newer car.  They are my investments and their lives will offer the best return  for our hard work now, by far.
The blessing of a husband who is present, who loves our kids and who is never too busy for a twirl in the  front yard...
...and knowing that my daughter will enjoy the same security and self-respect that I do is a treasure that is not wasted on me.  A Daddy who is encouraging and affirming and loving is a gift that trumps a room full of toys or a backyard pool :)
The joy of an unexpected GIFT, in the life of a happy, smiley little boy!
Celebrating "First Easters" and a host of other annual holidays...
...all the while trusting and hoping for a lifetime of celebrations together.
Praying daily for a little heart that learns to love and trust the Lord early in her (and his) life...
...brings purpose and direction and perseverence on the days that are long and filled with 2 year old behavior!
Watching the bond between siblings being formed is a rare and priceless process that millions of parents before us have witnessed.
Asking the Lord for wisdom in how to make that bond last and grow is a challenge and a blessing that far too little parents experience.
Giving little gifts that delight...
...and watching little ones delight in the gifts!
Realizing that the years of giving stuffed lambs in fluffy baskets are fleeting...
...and hoping that the confidence to be themselves and wear a silly hat, is not!
Looking at pictures of a family of 4 and realizing that WE are that family!
Seeing your siblings love and enjoy your children...
...with a love that can only come from somone cut from the same cloth.
Seeing your children enjoy them in return?  Priceless.
Never forgetting the thrill that a new purse brings, even at 2...
...or the thrill that ice-cream cone cupcakes still bring, at 31!
Birthday candles that were made to be blown out...
...and realizing you just received the very thing you wanted most!
Laughing at the reality that this will most likely be the only birthday that your daughter receives the car of her dreams :)
But rejoicing that for now, baby dolls and clothes and accessories are all she's really asking for anyway!
Grandpas and Grandmas who love their grandkids just like they love their kids...
...and husbands who were the result of many years of prayers and well worth the wait. 

These are just some of my Easter blessings this year...

In the ups and downs of life, the busyness and the stress, I'm so grateful for the Grace today to truly SEE all that the Lord has given me.  31 years of abundance, 31 years of HIM! 
Blessed beyond measure, it's true...