One Thing is Certain...

Hey Ava, are you happy to be going to Daddy's soccer game tonight??
Even though it's a late night game, under the lights, against a BIG public High School???  
Do you think your Mom should let you go??
Because if she lets you go, most likely you'll come home very tired...
...and you'll be up waaaaay past your bedtime....
So do you think it's worth it??

Do you think we should throw caution to the wind and go support Daddy??
Yep, me too.  
Because no matter how late it may be, or how badly we may lose, or how many mosquito bites we may thing is certain...


16.5 Months

It's been 4 months since I've updated you on Ava's "stats" and her latest antics!  I've been waiting until we had her 15 month appointment so I could give you the accurate info, but due to our busy summer, we just got in last week (1.5 months late!)  Better late than never, right??  Anyway, here are some of your stats Ava...

-You weigh 20.9 lbs.  You are tiny still and in the 10th percentile.  I had to laugh when I realized you've only gained 2 lbs since you turned one, I'm sure it's because you're sooooo busy you must work everything off just as soon as you eat it!

-You are 31.5" tall and in the 68th percentile, which means you're pretty tall!  I've realized that lately as many of your pants, shorts, and dresses are all of the sudden too short.

-You wear a size 4 diaper now and most of your clothes are 12-18 months, which is right on schedule.  We just have to look for "slim" everything to make sure it stays on you!

-You are still a wonderful napper, usually napping twice a day and sleeping about 11 hours at night.  

-You LOVE to eat!!  You like so much of what we eat Ava and you always want to try a bite of whatever is on our plate, even if you don't like it.  You like meat, cheese, fruit, dairy, juice, milk, ice water, and snacks but veggies are a harder sell.  I can usually sneak a few in here and there, but I'm hoping to land on something that you really love soon!  
One of our favorite developments in you, is your speech!  This is a common sight around our house, you pointing at something or someone and babbling like crazy until we figure out what you're "talking" about!  You say all kinds of words now and are trying to imitate or copy much of what we say.  You love to make the sounds that different animals make and you are surprising us with what you comprehend and remember.  Your first big word, besides "mama" and "daddy" was really the word, "Apple."  You picked it up in a book and you called everything an "apple" for awhile.  Now you say tons of other things too...
You are really taking your world in Ava, watching and observing so many things.  You are curious and interested in all the sights and sounds of life.  You just discovered airplanes in the sky and birds that fly by and you love to stop and point at them, grinning and babbling about what you see.  
You are a sweet and tender little girl Ava and one of our favorite things is watching you "blow kisses!"  You basically lick your hand and smack your lips, then throw your arm in the direction of whomever is lucky enough to receive it.  It melts our hearts every time and makes us smile.  I hope blowing kisses is something we can always share with you...
You're still a monkey in every sense of the word!  I'm quickly losing every spot where I used to "hide" something from you because you are able to reach it or can figure out how to climb up to get it!  I find you in funny places all the time, like this day when you were in the basket of your stroller :) 
You've also picked up a new fascination and that is with your clothes and shoes!
You love to "try" different things on and model them for us.
Like your swimsuit cover-up :) 
You are starting to have an opinion about what we put on you and you make it clear when you don't like it or want it off!
You have a great little imagination and you love to walk around the house, playing by yourself and gathering all your little toys and trinkets.
We wish we knew what you were thinking, but we love to see you imitate what we do.  One thing is always with you though, and that is your blankie.  You are quickly becoming a little "Linus" as you drag  that blankie everywhere you go!
Of course your big news at this age is that we have now moved you from your crib to a big girl bed.  
You are doing great and we've had no problems so far!  You seem to love your new digs and all of your naps and bedtimes have been very smooth so far.  You also got a new room out of the deal and you love to play in here with all of your toys and lots more space.  You're such a big girl Ava, we just can't believe it!!
On the first morning we went to get you, after your inaugural night in your new bed, we walked in to discover our little girl instead of our little baby.  You stood right up, jumping and running all over your bed, and grinning about your new freedom.  We felt like we really closed a chapter on your baby days and are just beginning a whole new phase of your life.  You're so close to becoming a big sister now and we are so delighted that Carter will have you to grow up with and love.  

We are proud to be your Mommy and Daddy and we love each and every "new" phase of your development.  We are discovering another piece of who you are and how God made you, every day.  You were "fearfully and wonderfully made" and we want you to always remember that no matter what you do or how life unfolds, we will always love YOU for who YOU are and we will always praise the Lord for the way He perfectly crafted YOU in the Heavenlies.  He knows every red hair on your head and He has ordained your every day.  We rest in knowing that He holds you in His very capable and loving hands and He will keep you close to His heart for all your days.  

We love you sweet girl!  
What a wonderful 16.5 months it's been, we can't wait for all the precious days ahead!



Today was a fun day from start to finish!  This morning, Travis called from his soccer practice to invite Ava and I to join him with his team at Perkins for breakfast :) They have their first game tomorrow and so today was a light practice, followed by a team breakfast.  It was perfect timing, I had just showered and Ava had only woken up minutes earlier.  We hopped in the car and went!  Ava loved it, she said "hi" to all the boys and waved when they smiled at her .  She also ate her breakfast with a big grin on her face and enjoyed all the attention :) I love when he includes us in things like this...It's fun to be the coach's wife and for Ava and I to participate in Trav's world as much as we can!  
This afternoon, we took a little trip to a local farmer's market.  Travis has taken Ava here a few times, but I've never gone, so this time I tagged along.  We bought some sweet corn and some fresh produce but then I discovered why they like to come here so much!  There are some little pigmy goats and chickens out back and of course, they're just begging to be fed.  Against my better judgement and germs, Travis fed them and Ava squealed with delight over it :) 
But she wasn't totally sure about all the "begging" noises they were making!
They also have a great playground in the back and we spent some time letting her slide and swing.  She is definitely becoming a park lover!  She has mastered the slide thing and she loves the swings now too.  I just can't believe how quickly she is growing up and transitioning from a toddler into a little girl.  
Her Daddy is so good to her and I am so thankful for the relationship they are forming.  She is a blessed little girl and I am a blessed Mommy.  I married a great man, who also happens to be a wonderful Daddy!  
BUT, the REAL story of the day actually happened tonight...
When our "little" Ava officially moved into her "big girl" bed!!
I'm letting you have a little sneak peak into "the room" so that you can see what we were up to today :) 
While I organized and got some things ready, Ava helped her Daddy set up her new bed rail.  
I've been planning this transition for months and trying to figure out how to make it happen as smoothly as possible.  Who knows if it's going to work, but as we let her explore it for the first time, she seemed to  love it!
She brought her important stuff with her...her baby and my her ipod!
Does she look old or what??
And of course she posed for us while we both took tons of pictures to document the big move!
We bought a daybed for her and I cushioned it as much like her crib as I could so that she would have an easy time falling asleep in it.  It must seem huge to her!  So has at least 2 times the space she had in her crib and she looks like such a peanut in there.  
It's night one of our big move and after an extended time of holding her and singing to her, she went right down without a peep!  She's been asleep for about 2.5 hours now and we're holding out hope that she'll sleep all night with no problems.  I think naptime will be the actual test for this move, but we'll worry about that tomorrow!  I see this picture of her and it makes me happy and sad all at once.  I love how old she is getting and what a sweet little girl she's becoming, but I'm so sad about how quickly time is passing and how she's changing right before our eyes!  I could just cry thinking about it.  

It was a big day for all us and I know, in light of all the bigger milestones ahead, this was just a drop in the bucket.  But tonight it feels like a major "splash" in our little world and I'm trying to process it and enjoy it for what it is, rather than fall apart in a puddle of Mommy tears :) 

We love this little girl so much and I bet there will be a race in the morning between us, as we run to her room the second she makes a peep!  We're both dying to see her little face again in that big bed!  I'll let you know how the move is going after a few days and I'm promising some real pictures of her new room very soon!  It's been a fun filled, exciting day and one I hope to always remember in my heart....

Have a blessed weekend!


Sufficient For You

There are a few TV shows that Travis and I like to watch together.  Most of the time, we have the TV off at night as we're busy, or playing with Ava, or just don't need any more noise, but thankfully we have a DVR that keeps up with what we want to watch later and affords us some "at home dates" a few nights a week.  Two of the shows we like are NCIS- Los Angeles and Lie To Me.  They are both hour long, "who did it?" kind of shows that involve some kind of crime or whatever and the search to solve it.  We think they're entertaining and are intrigued by the story lines, but we also like that in an hour everything has been wrapped up and figured out.  I'm sure there is some psychology behind that, but whatever, we just like it.

Anyway, the last few nights we've taken a little time before bed to catch up on some recent episodes that we've missed.  Both shows are always suspenseful and usually take some twist we didn't see coming, but for some reason this week was different.  We watched 2 episodes of Lie To Me and 1 episode of NCIS.  In each case they were incredibly dark and disturbing story lines.  Terrorist plots, children being kidnapped and hurt, and underground, drug-related crimes.  Perhaps I struggled with each of them because I DETEST anything with torture or children but I kept asking Travis, "Why is this so dark this week??  Why do they have to do these stories??"  He knows my torture thing (and has had to turn many things off until I leave the room over the years!)  but he said, "I think they are just trying to stay relevant and current with what is actually happening in the world.  Sadly, this is not unrealistic."  And I knew he was right.  In fact, during each scene that I hated, I sat there with a pillow in front of my face and told him, "This bothers me greatly because I can't stand that there are actually people like this in the world and there are scenes going down just like this, somewhere in the world." And those thoughts can keep me up at night if I let them....

Evil is part of our world, unfortunately, and in many ways it terrifies me because it makes me feel like at any moment, it could show up on my door step and harm me or someone I love.  I look at my precious Ava and I find myself wanting to beg the Lord to keep her from that kind of pain or hurt.  No child ever asks for or deserves what many adults do to them.  In fact, I can't keep thinking about that or I'll be in a puddle of tears/anxiety/anger in no time.  I'm so grateful that the Lord has such a high view of children and that He is protecting them and rescuing them, even when it seems like no else is.  Keeping His truth and the promises of HIS wrath and judgement in the forefront of our minds is the only way we can wrestle with the injustices of our day.

This morning I pulled out a devotional book that I haven't read for awhile and I was greatly blessed by the reminder of just what those promises say about WHO God is and WHAT HE has done for us.  This particular entry is based on the following verses and is included in italics.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  

Psalm 105:4
"Look to the Lord and HIS strength; seek HIS face always."

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Trust Me in the midst of a messy day.  Your inner calm-your Peace in My Presence-need not be shaken by what is going on around you.  Though you live in this temporal world, your innermost being is rooted and grounded in eternity.  When you start to feel stressed, detach yourself from the disturbances around you.  Instead of desperately striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My Peace.  

Seek My face and I will share My mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from My perspective.  Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid.  The Peace I give you is sufficient for you.

From the Book, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

In light of more bad news about the economy, natural disasters, politicians who can't be trusted, etc., etc., etc. it's so easy to let fear and stress creep right in and take over our thoughts.  But IF I believe God's Word to be TRUE (and I do) and IF He has proven faithful to me over the years (and He has) then I have to read those verses and BELIEVE them.  

HE gives peace.

We WILL face trouble.  It's part of living in a fallen world that has rejected Him.

HIS peace, HIS words, and HIS promises enable us to TAKE HEART.  Even amid the chaos.  Even when evil is present.  

HE has OVERCOME this world!!  The end is already written and HE remains victorious over it all.  This world and all that is in it, is only temporary.  We were created with souls that are eternal and one day we'll ALL leave this world behind for the eternity that WE have chosen.  Either WITH HIM or WITHOUT HIM.  You can choose, but when you do, it will be a choice between eternal life with Him or eternal separation from Him.  His Word guarantees and promises which choice will be better.  

HIS face is worth seeking.

HE is ABLE to be found.

HE has strength that we do not and He allows us to draw on HIS strength when we are lacking.  Which is always.  

HIS peace is unlike any other peace. 

This world gives NOTHING compared to what HE ALONE can give.  

He DOES NOT WANT US to be TROUBLED or AFRAID.  Those two things are NOT FROM HIM.  

He has made a way for us to experience life APART from fear and anxiety.  It's not an empty promise.

He left this world to go back to the Father but He WILL RETURN one day again, to get His people and to triumph ONCE AND FOR ALL over this world and ALL the evil that resides here.  JUDGEMENT is coming and one day EVERY KNEE WILL BOW and EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!!!  The choice to confess it freely is ours now, but regardless of what we choose, one day it will be forced on all.  

When He left this world, He did not leave us empty handed, without hope or help.  He gave us HIS WORD, HIS HOLY SPIRIT to guide us and HIS PEACE.  

Maybe you're like me and you needed to be reminded of WHO sits on the throne and what our response to that should be.  He is FOR US and NOT AGAINST us.  He delights to give His children good things and He longs for HIS peace to reign over our hearts and give us the confidence we need to face each day, trusting Him for its outcome.  It may seem as if this world is out of control and in many ways, it is.  But HE is NEVER beyond that control and He has a perfect plan in place for each one of us.  No circumstance can touch the peace He can give in it's place.  Thank you Lord!!  You are so worthy of our trust and our praise...Truly there is no one like YOU!!!  

YOU are sufficient for me...


Looking For a Good Deal??

Today I have a little treat for you :) 
Do you dream of "all things home" like me??  Do you love when the pottery barn catalog comes in the mail or when your girlfriend wants to take a trip to restoration hardware??  

Are visions of kitchen tables dancing in your head...
or area rugs...
or barstools...
...keeping you awake at night??  

In all of my re-arranging/re-purposing over here, I've been spending a little more time online, looking for  things we need and of course, things I just love to drool over :) Well imagine my delight when one of those places contacted me and asked me to do a review of one of their products!!  So, while I browse through their many sites, CSN stores is letting me choose something and asking me to share my thoughts after we receive it, with you :)  You know I'm all about great deals and they have TONS of them!!  So, stay tuned to see what I choose and what we think of it!  In the meantime, have a little fun browsing the CSN stores for your own inspiration!  


And One Thing Leads to Another

I am sitting in my living room, enjoying a picturesque morning.  Seriously, I might pinch myself because it's meeting all my definitions of "perfect" right now.  Coffee in hand, candle burning, windows open, cool breeze coming in, Ava napping...ahhhh.  Bliss.  Oh, and to top it all off, our sweet Ryley is also curled up at my feet, snoring :)

It has been the biggest blessing ever for our summer schedule to be "over" for the most part.  Last week was relatively quiet and this week is even quieter.  I am catching up on stuff all over the house and spending my days playing with a little girl who lives here.  And did I mention that it's 71 degrees right now and sunny???  Let me just tell you what no humidity and cooler temps do for this pregnant girl, they make EVERYTHING better!  I do love summer, I really do, and normally I'm savoring every hot day because we don't get a lot of them in Minnesota, but I think because I'm 8 months pregnant this year, I can't WAIT for Fall to get here!  Everything about it in fact.  I'm so ready.  Travis told me last night that he's ready for me to make a hearty vegetable & beef stew and I could have kissed him.  In fact, I think I did.  I'm kind of over the grill and ready to use my oven again.  I'm actually dreaming about sweatshirts, apple cider, COLLEGE FOOTBALL every weekend, pumpkins and a certain little guy joining our world.  I have about 8 weeks to go or so, but I know they are going to fly off the calendar and life will be different again before I know it.

(Here's a recent picture of Carter and I, at 32 weeks.  Not a great one, but recent!) 

And different is good.  I'm already gearing myself up for our routine to change, for my days to be full of new challenges and for my nights to be interrupted.  I've officially reached that stage in pregnancy where I'm up to go to the bathroom at least once, if not twice each night.  I'm not sleeping great, I'm very uncomfortable and sore when trying to roll over or move.  It was the exact same way with Ava, unfortunately much earlier with her, but I know that it will soon pass and in God's wisdom, He's really just helping me adjust to what lies ahead.  It will be a few months before we're back to "normal" nights and long periods of sleep :) Hopefully by Christmas.  That might be all that I want this year!

He's also really begun to change my heart and my outlook about having two little ones so close together.  When we discovered we were pregnant again, although we were thrilled and very shocked, I was a little sad too.  Not sad about the new baby, but sad for Ava.  I felt extremely guilty, like we were robbing her of time with us and our full attention.  I realized then and now that most of that was hormonally driven, but it's been great for me to really see how much she's going to love having a little brother around here.  What a blessing for HER!  I know we'll have some adjusting to do, some jealousy to get over, but all in all I think she's going to be tickled at someone else to watch, "play with", and enjoy.  She gets a kick out of other kids and is at the age where she's starting to want to play with them.  Just a little bit anyway :) She's still not thrilled about the idea of sharing!  I find myself daydreaming about what kind of siblings they'll be, it's certainly our prayer that they will be close all their days and (eventually) thankful for one another. God is so good and to see Him expand our family in His way and in His time, is amazing...

As you know, we're still digging out over here from all the upheaval and transition.  I'm in LOVE with our "new" home (praise the Lord!) and slowly accomplishing one thing after another.  But, as with all moves big and small, just when you tackle one thing it always leads to another!  I have "projects" in every room that have compounded from the "switch" and I'm fighting for the contentment and satisfaction to only do what we need and can afford right now.  It feels as if we are bleeding cash :) But truth be told, I could make you an instant list of everything I'd LIKE to do in each room if we could.  It's a hard thing to balance dreams with goals and priorities and budgets, when you have a mind like mine!  It's a good thing we're busy with other things because I think I could quickly blur that line if I'm not careful!

I think I hear my little sweetie, talking and playing in her crib.  She's handled this transition like a pro, sleeping so well in Carter's new "room."  Our plan is to move her to her big girl bed this weekend and see how it goes!  So far she loves to play on it and might be getting the idea that it's for "her."  We tell her constantly that it's "Ava's big girl bed" and she grins and then tries to climb up on it.  I'm close to letting you see some pictures, sorry for the delay but I just want to finish a few more things :)

I hope you have a blessed Tuesday, whatever it holds for you and whatever it leads to!  I've got laundry to tackle, bathrooms to clean and a kitchen that needs attention.  The beautiful thing about it is that I'm happy to be doing all of those things with my little helper at my side!  Happy Tuesday :)


In Transition...

It didn't take Ava long to realize that today was moving day and she needed to pull her weight around here to help us get stuff done!  
Actually, this is just one of the many phases she's currently in.  I'm calling it her "hoarding phase."  She LOVES to walk around the house, collecting "things" and taking them from one place to another.  It's no wonder I can't find anything at all, but oh well!  She has a blast doing it and it keeps her occupied for long periods of time :) While we were prepping for our big furniture swap this morning, Ava was just doing her part and cleaning out some of our bathroom drawers.  She's not only cute, but she's helpful too!  
Before we made the big switch, I got a little nostalgic about her nursery and took some final pictures of how it "used to look."  I always loved it, but I was excited to re-do it too!
All those little details that made this room hers.  
Travis's friend Kristian came over to help us, which was a wonderful blessing and in no time our living room was full of furniture!  Ava was a little stressed out by the whole thing I think. Poor baby...I don't think she could figure out what was happening to all of her "stuff!"  
See those little discs that Ava is playing with?  Travis used those carpet furniture gliders and they made moving the furniture around a total breeze!
Even Ava got in on the action!!  I couldn't grab my camera fast enough to get a good shot of this, but she was sooooo proud to be helping Daddy.  She loved it :) 
And then when the room was all empty, she just kept standing in the doorway and staring, trying to process the whole thing.  We just kept telling her, "Hang on baby, you're getting a big upgrade!!"  
A sneak peak at our "new" master bedroom.  There are a million details that still have to be taken care of, like the spackling on the wall that needs to be painted over, but we're in and it's not so bad!  It actually seems bigger than we prepped ourselves for and I think it's going to work out great.  I am rewarding us for downgrading with some new bedding, but I just haven't found the style that I want yet!  
And here is a sneak peak into the queen's new room :) Sorry, it's not photo worthy yet, but it is full of furniture now and we're making serious progress.  Now I get to enjoy the fun part and start buying the accessories and final touches to pull the whole thing together.  That's always my favorite stage!
As you can see, we painted it the same color as her previous bedroom, mostly for resale purposes when we want to move.  I do love it though, it's very calming and warm, and it's a good neutral background for whatever we add to it!  Plus it makes all of her white furniture really "pop" in the room.  

And although this is a horrible picture and it's terribly blurry, here is a little sneak peak into Carter's new room!  It's become our storage room for the last week, so I have lots of sorting and organizing to do, but the crib and changing table are in and it's already starting to look like a sweet little nursery!!  

I think we moved one more step forward in the big picture today and already I'm feeling like we definitely made the right decision to switch rooms.  The kids have twice as much space and I'm loving the new look!  But my work is far from over...  

Happy Weekend!!