Life, Updated

I'm enjoying a quiet, couple of hours to myself on this rainy, Friday night.  Travis is out with students for awhile and the kids are sleeping.  I don't always mind these random nights, when we're not together and he's working.  I don't necessarily love dinner, playtime and bedtime without any help, but it is kind of nice to kick my feet up after they go to bed and do whatever I want...Which tonight includes a new episode of Blue Bloods and a bowl of Starbucks ice cream :) Not a bad trade-off for a few hours of alone time!  

We've had an incredibly busy week, with lots of little errands here and there.  It hit me afresh over the last few days, that we only have a few weeks left until our Summer schedule kicks in, which is pure craziness.  We've got some big things going on, including Travis going to Israel for 10 days, and I know it's going to fly by once it begins.  So, I'm trying to get my heart and mind prepared for a busy summer and lots of demands on Trav's time, while thinking of some fun things for the kids and I to do together.  Tonight I talked myself into taking them to get Carter's haircut, then to the mall playland.  After we survived the (tearful) haircut, it started raining cats and dogs outside and I realized I didn't have the heart to drag everyone to the mall and home again.  So, I managed to bribe them with the promise of ice-cream and a Veggie Tales DVD, which totally did the trick!  I'm thankful for these ages, because they are relatively easy to please and all they really want, is time with us.  I sat down to watch Veggie Tales with them tonight and before I knew it, I had two little snugglers on my lap, each one jealous of the other if they thought I was holding one closer :) Carter especially was cracking me up.  Everytime Ava inched closer or moved at all, he leaned over to her and said, "Nooooooooo"  then looked at me as if I was supposed to get rid of her.  They make me laugh! 

One of the things we did this week, was go to the pediatrician for their 3 yr. and 18 mo. well check visits.  It was a long appointment and one that was pretty informative and helpful.  I thought I would share some of their stats with you, as well as these adorable pictures that my girlfriend took of them.  She watched them for us last week so we could go out for dinner for my birthday and I love them!  I can't tell you what's happening in most of the shots because I wasn't there, but I think they are pretty self explanatory :)
 Carter was hilarious during our appointment.  I had to schedule their joint appt during naptime, because it was all I could get, so I wasn't sure how it would go but Carter did pretty well.  The first thing his doctor said after she saw him and read his height and weight stats, was that he was "gianormous!"  Ha ha!  He weighed in at 26 lbs and 15oz, which puts him in the 60th percentile, but only 1 oz behind his "big" sister!  His height however, is the real game changer.  He is 1 inch shorter than Ava at 34.5" tall, but he's in the 93rd percentile which is crazy for his age! 
 So crazy in fact, that his pediatrician told us we need to get him out of his crib asap.  He's so tall that he's in the danger range of being able to climb out and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what happened for the first time on Thursday!  So, we are trying to decide what to do about a bed for him, but for now he's in his crib with the rail down as far as it will go.  It's up enough to keep him from rolling out, but if he tried to climb out, he would be able to do it easily and safely.  So far I don't think it has dawned on him that we've essentially set him free, but we know that day is coming soon!  We're so used to seeing Ava randomly appear in our room, I actually think it will be kind of funny when it's Carter's little blonde head giving us a surprise midnight visit :)
 Developmentally, he is doing great.  He's all boy, climbing on everything and attempting anything that seems physical or dangerous.  I honestly have to watch him constantly as he is into everything he can get his hands on.  His newest trick is to pull chairs or stools up to walls and counters and pieces of furniture, so that he can reach whatever I don't want him to get.  This week alone, while I watched him closely, I saw him turn on my crock pot and brew a cup of coffee!!  Can you believe that little stinker??  I'm having to do some rearranging but mostly, I just can't leave him alone for more than a second.  I am so tired from keeping up with him, I'm having no problems sleeping at night!
While she was pleased with his growth and development, we did do a blood draw to test for some possible allergies.  Since he's had pneumonia twice this winter, there are some things his doctor would like to rule out.  Nothing out of the range of normal, but I'll be anxious to hear the results of what they find out.  We may need to make some changes in his diet if there are any food allergies triggering his chronic congestion, but the tests should be able to answer those questions. It was interesting to hear that she noticed some dark, purple-ish rings under his eyes which typically indicate chronic congestion or a possible allergy.  As soon as she said that, it connected a few dots for both of us, so we'll see. 
 I feel like Carter is making some big changes right before our eyes.  He's able to understand almost all of our requests and instructions now.  Whether he chooses to obey is another story, but we can tell he knows what we mean most of the time.  He hasn't had the same level of vocabulary that Ava had at this age, but because he's a boy and our second, I haven't been too concerned.  However, in the last 2 weeks I think, all of a sudden he is exploding with words.  Not so much single words, but phrases.  It's so crazy, but he pulled out several for his doctor which she got a huge kick out of. 
I seriously think he was showing off for her :)
He says things like, "I want dat (that)", "I want some more", "I need up", "I did it", "I want a danimal (yogurt)",  "Let's go"...That's all I can think of right now, but I know he has more.  He also loves to use the words, "Ball, mine, up, Ada (Ava), Hi, No, Mommy, Daddy, eat," and some more that are escaping me.  He is also testing us with everything in him these days.  We are having lots of fit throwing and "NO!!" repaid to us for our efforts to teach and enforce boundaries :) His size and strength are almost too much for me when he's mad, but a few deep breaths later and a change in tone help bridle him most of the time.  Did I mention I'm really tired 99% of the time??
But for all the energy and stubborn tendencies Carter possesses, we are so thankful for our little boy!  How can you not love that cute face and that white hair??  He is hilarious and full of life.   He makes all of us laugh and he's all about cars and balls and action.  We're happy that he's a great sleeper at night and is taking a big afternoon nap without much hesitation.  He is the sweetest little guy at heart, even if he's brewing a cup of coffee and screaming "NO!!" everytime I correct him :) 18 months is a trying age because there is no down time (unless he is asleep, but now we have the crib climbing to worry about!!) but it's also amazing to watch him transition into an independent toddler as he figures out his world around him. 
We love you Carter and we so happy that God gave you to us!
Then there's this sassy little peanut. 
I mean seriously, can you even stand the look on her face??
If Carter weighed in on the top of the charts, Ava has maintained her position at the bottom :) Her doctor told me that she is extremely petite and by all indications, always will be.  Not a bad diagnosis, right??  Thankfully she's stayed on a perfect curve, even though she's very little.  She's 1 inch taller than Carter at 35.5" tall, which puts her in the 15th percentile and she weighs 27 lbs, which earns her a spot in the 12th percentile, 1 oz more than her brother :)
Does this look like her prom picture, or what??
I wasn't there for this dress up session, but I can tell you that she was in her full glory in this dress and that tiara.  Ava spends the majority of her day, changing into one dress after another.  She loves tutus, hair accessories, purses and anything that resembles a princess.  Anything.  The most common phrase I hear is, "Mama, can I put on my (Belle/Cinderella/Lellow/Bootiful pink) dress??
For as much as Carter is "all boy", Ava is "all girl."  She loves to hear us tell her how beautiful she is and that God made her and she is special.  If she's not dressing up like a princess, she's asking us to dance with her or begging me to watch a princess show.  She is hard core right now, but we totally love it!  I hear her playing with her dolls all the time and I love the imagination she has.  This week I've learned that it's "Belle's special birthday" and all of her babies have been celebrating, ha ha!  There is something very innocent and sweet about this age and about her individual play.  I am thankful that she is very content to be at home with her toys.  She loves nothing more than to put on a dress, some shoes, a purse and then gather all of her babies to move them from one place to another.  I often find her with all her stuff behind a chair or in corner.  When I ask what she's doing, she tells me that she's "at Church with baby" or "in the car with baby, going to the mall!"  She kills me.
 Her well check was so fun, mostly because I got to listen while her doctor asked her all kinds of questions and she answered them.  She knew her name was Ava and that she is a "grirl" but she also said she was "2."  We can't seem to get her to embrace "3" yet!  She rattled off tons of colors and shapes and could answer questions well beyond her.  She even drew a bunch of "A's" while we were talking, which was quite impressive :) I was proud of her, but mostly just entertained at how big she is getting and how independent she is. 
I totally laughed however, when her pediatrician came in the room and sat down, Ava immediately gasped and touched her (the doctor's) skirt, picking the bottom of it up off the floor.  Then she told me, "Mama, she's wearing a beautiful dress!"  We got a good laugh out of that and as I explained, it was a perfect example of what makes Ava tick these days!  The girl loves a dress like she loves her Mama!!
Her health and development is great, ahead of the curve for her age.  She was very pleased with her potty training progress and confident that we'll conquer our last hurdle very soon.
She wanted us to get her in bed much, much earlier on the days she refuses to nap, explaining again how much a lack of sleep affects their behavior.  So many days she just does not want to nap now, which I hate, but she does agree to rest in her room and play quietly.  We've always put her to bed earlier on those no nap days, but her doctor wants her to make up the two hours she would have received in a nap, meaning we'll probably have some days where she goes to bed before Carter.  Not really sure she's going to get on board with that, but I do think she's got a good point about her behavior being affected and it probably explains some of the trouble we had last week. 
Which is hard to believe in this picture.  How could that sweet face ever give us any trouble??
Our princess is a lover of doggies too.  She can't get enough of anything that will love her back!
 Three years old is incredibly fun.  I am enjoying so much with Ava and am amazed at how much she understands and thinks about now.  She is so excited to spend individual time with us and tomorrow, her Daddy is taking her on a date to see the play "Beauty and the Beast" which is her favorite.  And yes, she will be attending in her "Belle dress" :)
 We are soaking up these days with Ava, while trying to be patient and remember that she's only 3, even though she often thinks she's 15!
We love you so much Ava Page!  You are every bit the princess and God did make you so very special!  We're so thankful you are our sweet daughter. 

So that's the latest on our kids.  Life is busy and very entertaining.  Everyday holds another adventure and tons of "you won't believe what they did today" (good and bad) stories!  We're blessed and loving the ride with both of them.  I'm starting to see some light at the end of tunnel as far as their age span goes.  More and more I catch them playing together and getting along.  It's not perfect and there is much room for growth, but I know they will learn to appreciate the built in play mate they have in one another as they grow up. 

I need to wrap this up, Travis is home and it's late...And I think I've proven why I need as much as sleep as I can get these days!  I hope you have a blessed weekend!

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