Back to School Night

In between diaper changes and Disney cartoons, we've been counting down the days until Miss Ava starts Kindergarten!  So many emotions for this Mom to handle this summer and ready or not a big change is here.  The first day of school for us is next week but tonight we got to attend a Back to School Open House at her new school.  
 A few weeks ago Ava and I had a little date at Target to pick out school supplies. I'm honestly not sure who was more excited about it, Ava or me?  I LOVE school shopping and always have.  I have so many fun memories of picking out my school stuff and I always loved organizing it all and getting it ready for the first day.  I have a feeling I am raising a mini-me when it comes to our love for supplies! 
 Ava's been showing everyone who comes over her new backpack (that lights up, ha!) and all of her supplies.  She is SO thrilled about school starting and we are very thankful.  Last year we (I) spent a lot of time worrying and pondering what this Fall would bring.  Where we should send her, who her teacher would be, what kind of kids would be in her many choices! 
 This is obviously our first go-round with all things school related and we are feeling like first time parents probably do.  We have lots of nerves for Ava's sake and yet we know the Lord has already gone before her and has plans for her that are His.  We do have a peace about the school she's attending and we feel like we have a new responsibility and opportunity to be a blessing there and to shine a light for Jesus' name and fame.  We are in new territory and on new ground but we know He will faithfully lead us through this school year as we shepherd and prepare our girl for what we can't see.  
 Today she and I sat down together and labeled her supplies and talked a little bit about how she's feeling about all this.  I told her I clearly remember my Mom writing my name on all of my school stuff when I was younger.  I remember being in school and studying the way my Mom wrote my name.  I always loved her handwriting and I loved the way my name looked in her script.  To see her writing made me feel like she was a little closer to me during the day because I thought about her every time I saw my name in her handwriting.  I can still see a particular folder from second grade, it was light blue with a hawaiian floral print all over it and she wrote my name in the upper right corner.  The way that she wrote it was so beautiful to me, I LOVED that folder because of it!  I think maybe that was a sign that I would go on to love design and all things artistic if I got that much out of a labeled folder, ha ha!  
Anyway, it was very surreal to be labeling my own daughter's supplies.  
I hope she thinks of me too while she's sitting in her class! 
It always cracks me up to see how big backpacks are on little ones!  I know by the end of the year this won't seem so huge anymore however.  I had high hopes of talking Ava into a sweet, monogrammed backpack but as soon as she saw glitter and lights and princess sophia, she was sold and wanted nothing else!  I always said (before I had kids) that I wouldn't be that Mom who put her kids in "character" clothes and accessories, I always thought that stuff was so tacky.  So now here I am, all these years later and of course I'm now doing exactly that!  What I didn't know then is that your heart can't say no to the things your child loves!  Whatever brings her joy, brings me joy too and in this case, a princess sophia backpack it is.  
 Trav came home from work for a little bit to meet us and walk to the school for their back to school open house.  I love that we are able to walk to her school!  I look forward to that option with all three of them when the weather is nice, I'm hoping it inspires me to keep walking and get some good exercise in each day too.  Fingers crossed :) 
We ran into a friend from Church right away and got this sweet picture before we went into Ava's classroom.
We found her little frog and she was so excited to check it all out!
 At this point she was telling me, "Mom!  I want to go in now!!"  I was determined to take pictures tonight so the pressure is off next week when she really goes to school and when I'm likely to be holding back tears  :) 
In front of her little classroom locker, ha ha!!  She has a locker!!
And with her sweet teacher!  We just had a few minutes to chat with her but we all agreed she was so nice and very excited to greet all of her new students.  Ava was at ease right away talking to her and I couldn't help but thank the Lord for a sweet, warm teacher to start this journey.  I asked Ava tonight at bedtime what she thought and she said, "I really like her Mom, she was so nice!"  And then Carter chimed in and said, "I liked that she was so nice to me too!"  Ha!  We are even more excited about the school year now that we know who will be teaching our girl and after we got to say hello to some of her cute classmates.  It's going to be a fun year!!  

It's a big week for our family!  We have a few more days together and then we start a brand new chapter.  I swear I only blinked and now here we are, but I am so grateful that the Lord has given us a peace about Ava's future and that no matter what we do or don't do, He's in control of her life and He has a plan that far exceeds our own.  She's a big girl now!  I love it and I hate it all at once.  
Good thing I've got two busy boys at home to keep me distracted  :)  
Look out Kindergarten, here she comes!!  


Two Months Old

Today our sweet Walker is 2 months old! As usual, I have a ton of sweet pictures from the last 4 weeks and probably too much to say about each of them  :) We are falling deeper and deeper in love with this little guy and we are so enjoying every day with him.  
Here's a look at what he's been up to this month...
If it's not totally obvious right out of the gate, he grew!! This month we definitely left the newborn stage behind and he changed right before our eyes into a more of baby.  Gone are the chicken legs and his tiny little frame and in their place are some rolls and some chunk that we love! Tomorrow he goes in for his 2 month appointment so I'll know some official stats then, but I can tell you that he's heavier and thicker and growing out of his clothes at warp speed! 
***Edited to add, we went to Walker's appointment and his official stats are: 
-He weighs 12lbs, 12oz, which puts him in the 81st percentile for weight
-He is 24" long, which puts him in the 89th percentile for height
Translation?  He's HUGE for a 2 month old!!
Just recently I can tell he's gotten longer.  We started the month in 0-3 month sized clothes and now he is wearing size 3-6 months, with 6-9 months knocking on the door.  Which is hilarious to me because you know, he's all of 2 months old! But this is a familiar path as Carter did the same thing.  I have a feeling we are going to have two big boys on our hands in the blink of an eye! 
Walker, we started the second month in Iowa where you got the red carpet treatment from everyone as seen here in this photo with my Dad.  You loved being held non-stop and proved that you are a snuggly little guy. 
You and I were on pins and needles for Daddy to come home from Peru and spend some time with you again.  It was a happy reunion for both of you when he arrived, but especially for Daddy.  
He missed you so much while he was gone! 
He marveled at how much you had grown while he was gone!  You were considerably more alert over those 12 days and you even started some new tricks while he was away.  
You were a welcomed sight for Daddy!
It's still so sweet for us to see pictures of our family with YOU included.  Ava says we are "a 5 family" now and she's right.  You were clearly thrilled that we were all together again  :)
Mommy was so thankful that over those 12 nights we spent alone without Daddy, you only gave me 1 bad night.  You weren't quite sleeping through the night like Daddy hoped, but you increased your stretches to every 4 hours at the beginning of your second month.  
You did well on your first big trip!  
I can only imagine how much bigger you will be the next time we are back in Iowa.  
You still love your swing and are starting to really fill it out now.  You take some of your naps in the swing but with chaos all around you sometimes they get interrupted in here.  
And then you look at me like, "Seriously Mom?? Can't you tell them I am sleeping??"  
At night you are sleeping well in your bassinet and I'm trying to get you in it more and more during the day for naps.  You typically take a good morning nap and a good nap after dinner but the afternoon is a little unpredictable.  Some days you sleep well and other days not so much.  Hopefully we can get you in a good groove soon once our days get a little more regulated with school starting.  Thankfully you ended your second month by sleeping in longer stretches, waking up between 5-6 hours now!!  We are so grateful and feel like you are on the cusp of making it a full 8 hours very soon!  
C'mon Walker, I'm hoping for that update next month :) 
Bath time is still quite an event!  
You always have an audience and now you like to look at yourself in the mirror too.  
You've definitely outgrown the little hospital tub, ha ha!  
I think it's time to move you into the kitchen sink or the infant tub next  :)  
In Mommy's mind we stay home most days but as I looked at pictures, I realized just how much of a traveling baby you've become! In your two months of life, you've attended 3 weddings, 1 funeral and you've been to tons of parks, soccer games, church services and stores.
Walker, this will be the story of your life for years to come!  Mommy would love to be home with you all day but when you're the third, that's just not possible :) 
It's a good thing you like to sleep in your seat! 
At this particular wedding you were sound asleep in my arms during the reception but when Daddy's voice came over the mic to pray for the dinner, your eyes popped open and you were wide-eyed while he spoke!  Ha ha!  It was so cute, I think you definitely recognized the sound of his voice.  
And speaking of Daddy, he is a pro at helping you work out your extra gas with walks in the Baby Bjorn.  You LOVE being in that thing and this month we used it like crazy.  It's the only way Mommy can grocery shop with all three kids because as soon as you get in it, you almost always fall asleep.  
It's magical for all of us!
This month you really began interacting with us more and more.  You are the master at epic stare-downs and we can tell you are really studying our faces and expressions now.  I love looking back at your sweet face, you are such a cutie Walker!  We still get to spend the most time together as you snuggle in to eat all day and in the night.  You are nursing about every 3 hours unless you are napping or sleeping and then you've stretched yourself as long as 7.5 hours.  I love that time with you and most days, it's the only time I get to sit and be still.  You have figured out our groove together and now you like to pull back and grin at me before and after you burp.  I love that time we share Walker, although I'd be happy to drop it in the middle of the night!  I'm thankful you are a great eater and that you are able to eat on the go while we're out and about.  
Daddy took you for your first run with him this month!  He's been anxiously waiting for you to be ready and big enough for the jogger.  On this particular day, you went with Ava for the first time and have since gone with Carter too.  
We all think you are so cute in the jogger and Daddy says you just look around for awhile before you fall asleep.  I plan to take you and Carter for lots of walks in this after we drop Ava off for school so I am really glad you have gotten used to it! 
As the month wore on your personality began to shine!  You are so much more expressive now and you make many noises and faces that make us all giggle.  A few weeks ago you got all dressed up in your tie for Church...What a little heartbreaker you are! 
These last two weeks this smile has delighted all of us to no end!  We cannot get enough!!
You smile all the time now...
...and then stick your tongue out afterwards! You've also begun to coo at us and move your mouth so much it seems you want desperately to talk back to us.  
You are such a happy little guy and we are grateful! 
Now that are awake more and more, we are trying to figure out what you like and don't like.  For now, you like your little play mat for short stretches of time but you get pretty bored if we aren't sitting with you and talking to you the whole time.  You haven't totally noticed the dangling animals yet but one of these days I know you will! 
You did however discover the mobile and the mirror on your swing just last week!  
We laughed and laughed as you stared up at your reflection and grinned! 
You look up there all the time now and often give a little grin too! SO cute. 
Your brother and sister are just as crazy about you as ever.  
They love to include you in anything and everything they are doing! 
The requests to hold you are frequent... 
But you are a hunk, so that's to be expected! 
As soon as Daddy gets home from work you love to hang out with him too.  
You are giving him tons of smiles now too and melting Daddy's heart with each one! 
You have two built in babysitters and they are both big helpers to Mommy, keeping you happy while I try to get something done. 
Ava loves to hold you and is so very patient with you when you are fussy.  She is eager to try and do anything she can to help you, recently even wanting to learn how to change your diaper!  
You are in good hands with Ava as your big sister.  
Carter is always talking to you, kissing you, rubbing your head, and wanting to be as close as he can to you!  He sure loves you Walker and is so excited to tell you all about trucks.  He likes to "read" a little book to you about those trucks, showing you every picture until he thinks that you are looking at it and listening too.  What a sweet brother you have! 
I know he will be such a fun, big brother for you and very soon the two of you will be spending your days together with Ava at school.  I can't wait to see your relationship grow, I know you will love running around with Carter and will likely try to be just like him! 
Buddy, you are doing so well and are growing like a weed! 
You are so loved by each one of us and we praise the Lord for your place in our family.  Mommy can't believe how fast time is flying by and how quickly this season is moving along.  
You are a tall drink of water, Walker Cole, and that smile melts us in an instant! 
Happy two months sweet boy! 
We love you so much!!