Another Mouth to Feed

No, we aren't having another baby...
But this little guy has started eating real food!
Well, if you consider rice cereal "real food" :)
We actually started him on cereal about 3 weeks ago and from the very first night, he made it clear he was more than ready for the upgrade.
He wasn't sure at first...
...but a few bites later...
And he was hooked :)
In fact, he quickly lost his patience and took matters (or the spoon) into his own hands.
Is that face cute or what??
Since our first night, we've moved on to bananas, pears and apples too. 
Veggies and oatmeal are next up on the agenda...
Do you think he seems excited about that?
Of course this is the example he has to watch at the dinner table :)
Which explains this.
A fist full of cereal.
He's a cutie, isn't he?? 
Dinnertime just got a little more chaotic in the Armstrong house!


Anxiety Driven Memorization

I had one of those days yesterday that I hope not to repeat.  The kids were fine. They were great actually.  But I had to make a return trip to...

The dentist. 

Yes, everyone take a deep breath with me.  I don't know why, but as I told you a few weeks ago my teeth have gone from perfectly clean and cavity free to needing some "work."  4 fillings to be exact. 

Anyway, I found myself in that chair for 2 hours enduring and I do mean *enduring* my appointment.  The only bright spot in the whole thing was that as I was in that chair and starting to feel anxiety over what was happening in my mouth, I was searching for ANYTHING to keep my mind off of it.  And thankfully, what came to mind were my 6 verses from the SSMT.  Yesterday morning, I probably couldn't have told you all 6 verses, word for word.  But in that chair, while desperately trying to keep my mind off that awful drill, I recited all of those verses over and over.  I could picture each one written in my little spiral notebook and I could have told you what color pen I wrote it in :)

One of my goals this year was to intentionally memorize more scripture, to hide it in my heart, because I so want to be a woman who drips God's word off my tongue.  I've stayed pretty diligent so far to the schedule, 2 verses a month, but I wasn't sure how well I knew them.  Well let me tell you, now I know!  I'm not sure I would have chosen a dentist's chair to test my memorization skills, but I'm happy to say that my anxiety was not in vain :) Thankfully, as the Lord is ALWAYS faithful to do, not only was I able to recall what I had memorized, but the verses I chose weeks and months ago, were exactly what I needed to fix my mind on. 

Verses like,
Psalm 62:5  "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; My hope comes from Him."

Hebrews 10:35-36  "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."

John 16:33  "I have told you these things so that in me you may peace.  In this world you will have trouble; but take heart!  I have overcome the world."

I am thankful for God's Word, not only because it got me through the dentist appointment, but because His words are life and a healing balm to my soul.  They remind me of Who He is, what He has done for me and the HOPE I have in Him.  Even when a there is a drill in my mouth :)

I hope to be done with the dentist for awhile.  When I came home yesterday, I told Travis I'm never eating or drinking again.  Perhaps that's a little drastic, but my mouth is still aching and I'm keeping the ibuprophen within reach.  And I've already broken my vow to not eat  :)

Hope your Monday was less eventful than mine!


Hobbies Gone Wild

I'm sure this is no surprise to you, but I'm back at it with the Sugar Cookies :) I won't deny it...
I love making them.  I might even be a little bit obsessed with them. 
I haven't made any since Valentine's day, so when a friend of mine asked me if I would make some for a baby shower she was hosting, I wasted no time in saying "Yes!" 
It was a shower for sweet little girl who is 5 weeks old and when she said her colors were pink, purple and a little yellow...
I couldn't help but go for a Spring theme, right?? 
Remember last week???
I am SO desperate for some color in my Minnesota-winter-world right now!
Anyway, t,his baby's name starts with an "a", so of course I had to throw in a few monograms in each color!
I made these while we were at my parent's house this weekend, for a quick visit to see my sister's new house.  I took my time making them, mostly because I could (with lots of helpers around to watch my kids) but also because these are so theraputic for my soul.  My creativity gets worked out and that is incredibly satisfying and relaxing for me.  But I had to laugh because I also realize that not everyone is wired like I am.  My Dad couldn't believe how long these took and that I was still working on them, hours after I started :) I then asked my Mom if she would help me spread some icing around and after a few minutes of that, she informed me that such tedious work was so frustrating to her she felt like she wanted to take a hammer to them and smash them!  I could not stop laughing!  And then I quickly released her and told her to "step away from the cookies" :)
I don't know why, but things that are tedious and meticulous are right up my alley.  Well, I suppose I should clarify.  *FUN* things that are tedious and meticulous.  Things like taxes and bank statements...not so fun.
Anyway, I was totally happy with how these spring cookies turned out, they make my heart happy!
Thank goodness for the aftermath and the clean-up.  They keep my hobby from getting totally out of control!
But, with 3 birthdays this month and Easter right around the corner, don't think I haven't already plotted and planned my next few batches :)

I think it's safe to say that sugar cookies have filled the creative void that scrapbooking has left! 
Heaven knows I don't have time for scrapbooking right now, but I always have time for cookies :)
Happy Spring!


Welcome to Ava's World...

I've been faithful to keep up with Carter's monthly posts, but I thought I should take some time to document what Ava has been up to lately.  She is changing and growing up in so many ways, I can't hardly believe my little girl is just weeks away from turning 2!  We are on the doorstep of the so called "terrible two's" and although I would agree, she is so much more challenging right now, nothing about this little sweetie is terrible.  She has a strong will and yet, a tender heart.  She is BUSY and always on the go, but also loves some quiet time to herself and is still the bookworm we've predicted she'll become.  Here's a more thorough glimpse into Ava's world...
I often find Miss Ava entertaining herself all around our house.  She is so good at exploring her world and
finding something to occupy her curiosity.  Sometimes she needs some direction about what she's allowed to explore and what is off limits, but I love to find her tucked away in a corner or next to a window, holding her stash of precious trinkets and chatting or singing away.
Part of this stage she's currently in involves making lots of daily messes.  This is an accurate view of my living room these days :) Toys, toys and more toys.  But I love that I can put a basket of something in front of her and she is as thrilled as the first day she laid eyes upon each toy!  We are working on learning to clean up after ourselves, but we definitely have room to grow in that area :) If she's "in the mood" she's a great helper, but catching her in that mood is key! Ha Ha!  I'm learning to pick my battles and extend grace when it's just not a matter of character development or true importance.  I love that she is teaching me that.  Hopefully as she and Carter grow up, this Mommy's rough edges will be worn and smooth.  Embracing the mess is part of my gift to her creativity, right??
One of her more recent developments is her fascination with putting her own clothes on...and as we recently discovered, taking them off.  Particularly her pants.
She loves to put her pants on, one leg at a time and now she's thrilled at the freedom she feels to also take them off!  At home it's one thing, but last week we were at Church on Wednesday night, waiting for the junior high kids to come and I caught her trying to pull her pants down :) We evidently need to have some talks about modesty already!  I did have an "episode" that made me stop in my tracks on Sunday morning...I was getting her dressed for Church in the outfit I laid out for her.  As I put a sweater that she's worn many times on her, she immediately began to cry and pull at it saying, "Please Mama, noooo, Please!"  As I tried to figure out the source of her tears, I realized she has some newfound hated for that particular sweater.  As soon as I brought out a different one, she was happy as could be.  No more tears. 
Good grief!  Are we really going to battle over clothes already??
Just like her Mom, one of Ava's favorite things to play with are her cars.  She talks about them constantly!  I also loved little matchbox cars as a kid, which makes me laugh, and I guess she does too! 
But, what is so fun and entertaining to us, is that she does the same thing with them everytime.  She takes all of them out of her basket and lines them up.  Then she rearranges them and lines them up again.  No idea why, but it's so funny to watch her do it.  She loves it and she talks and sings the whole time she's doing it.
I'm hoping thinking maybe she's got some natural organizational skills :)  
Just recently, she's started to actually watch TV.  Her favorite things are still Praise Baby DVDs, Dora and the movie, Annie.  She loves Annie!  I think because of all the singing and dancing??  She walks around and sings, "Ammorrow, Ammorrow, I wuv you, Ammorrow!! Only a day, wayyyyy!"  Here she is sitting with my Mom, who also loves Annie, totally thrilled as you can see :)
Last week, Aunt Jennie and her friend Cady came to spend the night with us and Ava was so excited about it!  She LOVES when we have visitors here and it doesn't take her long to think that they are here ONLY for her benefit :) She likes to tell us to "sit down" now, which means to sit and play with her! 
Carter is still her favorite playmate though :)
Mostly because he just grins and watches everything she does with huge eyes.
Who doesn't love a captivated audience??
She is still a wonderful eater and I'm so thankful.  You'd never know it because she's just tiny, but this girl eats like a horse!  It's constant and most nights she licks that plate clean :)
Spaghetti is her favorite, hands down. 
She attacks it and it ALWAYS warrants an immediate trip to the bath!
For some reason, this little seat is such a treat for her, so sometimes we have lunch or breakfast in this.  It's quite helpful actually, it's one of the only things that I can still strap her into! 
This is my ticket to a shower some days :)
At her core, God has given her a very curious spirit.  She is fascinated by what happens outside our windows and LOVES to sit and watch cars, trucks and people, often giving me the play by play.
Oh man, her little profile just slays me.
I could eat her with a spoon!
Like a true woman, she is a multi-tasker already!  We're in constant discussion about what she "needs" to bring with her in the car and what can stay home.  She has her piles all over the house of things that are precious to her.  I've recently enlightened her to the joys of a purse!  A place to put all that "stuff!"
And she has no problem role-playing!
I love to watch her march around the house, drink in hand, purse on her arm, sunglasses on her head and usually talking on a phone.  I have no idea where she gets that....
Ava's vocabulary is just amazing to us right now.  She talks constantly and can string together 4 or 5 words now.  I can't believe it!  It's getting easier to have a conversation with her, but I'm the one who understands her the most, probably because I'm with her all day.  We are having to really guard our tongues now because she is repeating MOST of what we say.  Lately, she's picked up on the fact that I call Daddy, "Travis or Travy."  Obviously she has no disrespect in her intentions yet, but she thinks it's so funny to call him Trav or Travy or Travis.  Probably because we struggle to keep from laughing when it comes out!  Usually she does it when Travis is not paying attention and it goes something like, "Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy!  Travis!  Trav!  Travy!" and then when one of us says, "Ava", she throws in another "Daddy!" with a giggle!  Oh it tickles us, but we definitely don't want her calling us by our first names so we are doing lots of correcting :) Last night however, I put Ava to bed and Trav was finishing up with Carter, who is in an adjoining room.  I kissed Ava and told her Daddy would come kiss her too when he was done with Carter.  I guess after I left and when she got impatient, she starting talking as loud as she could in her bed, saying "Travis! Travis!  Travis!  Travy!  Trav!"  Oh that stinker!!
I am so in love with my sweet Ava.  She is a delight to my soul and so exhausting at the same time!  Just when I think I'm going to lose my patience with her, she pulls out a "Sorry Mama, forgive you?" and my heart melts over her.  We are challenged at this particular season, but also loving it.  I'm so grateful for my firstborn and so thankful that God saw fit to give her a little brother. 
She's a keeper!  And worth every gray hair I keep finding :)


Not a Fan

If this picture is any proof, I think it's safe to say that so far, Carter is not a fan of bathtime.
Poor guy!  It appears as if we're torturing him, but we aren't :) Just trying to get him clean, which apparently he's already opposed to! 
Eventually he resigned himself to the inevitable, but since he was born, he's never really enjoyed a bath yet.  Maybe once or twice, but that's about it.  We do baths in the sink sometimes or alone in the infant tub, but tonight we thought maybe he'd like it a little bit more if he was with his sister in the big tub.
It may have helped a bit, but I'm not sure we're quite there yet! 
However, are these two not the cutest little siblings ever??  Twins??
This was Ava giving Carter a "hug"  :)
This boy much prefers to be cuddled and wrapped in a warm towel, safe and snug in someone's arms.
Oh how we love you Carter!
Even when you're so worked up that the vein in the middle of your forehead flares up :)
Nothing like clean babies! 
It's taken us 5 months, but today was one of those golden Sundays when both of our kids napped for 3 hours at the same time and so did we!  Well, we didn't sleep for 3 hours, but we ate lunch in peace and got to relax for awhile before a hard nap.  It was glorious.  I've worked hard to get these two on the same afternoon nap schedule and it's finally paying off!  I look forward to the coming day when Carter will love taking a bath with Ava.  I know she will be thrilled to have a playmate in there, splashing and making a big mess for us to clean up :) It's been so fun to see them interact more and more and to think about their growing up years together. 

I ran into a sweet friend at Church today, while I was holding Carter.  She was one of my friends when Travis and I were praying so desperately for children and she knew how our hearts longed for these days.  She looked at my little guy and said to me, "Isn't it amazing what God has done?? You have two kids, just like that!"  And she was right!  It is amazing what the Lord has given us and the way He has filled our home in such a short time.  I can't believe that 2 years ago, I was counting down the days until my due date with Ava, eagerly awaiting this little girl who was about to join our world.  Now, that sweet girl is about to turn 2 and she has a little brother who has joined the fun! 

Sundays are typically exhausting for me because I do so much of them alone, while Travis is busy working.  But, there aren't too many Sunday mornings that I don't close my eyes during worship and remember those years of empty arms and dreams that seemed to be on hold.  Now, I stand there with circles under my eyes, arms that ache from carrying everyone's stuff and 2 check-in stickers on my shirt that remind me how faithful He has been and how perfect His plan and His timing are.  I can't imagine life without the blessing of Ava and Carter.  I wouldn't trade the busyness of a Sunday morning for all the sleep and time I used to have to myself :)

It was an ordinary Sunday in our house today, full of meals and toys and naps and baths...
And I've never been so grateful.
There is something so beautiful about the everyday, ordinary stuff that brings me to my knees in worship while rinsing my kids hair and putting on their jammies. 

It's been a blessed day, hope your Sunday has been too! 
Have a great week!


Spring Fling

It was just a matter of time really. 
Although it's been slow, Spring has sprung here in Minnesota.  The days are getting longer, the snow is melting like crazy, we've dabbled in the 50's a few times, and I've spotted the obligatory shorts and flip-flops multiple times while I've been out this week!  To say it's long overdue is a gross understatement.  We are desperate over here for some warm weather and sunshine! 

Which should explain the following photos :)
I was "helping" my sister look for some things for her new house, when I took the plunge and started an impromptu bedroom makeover of sorts.  I just couldn't help it.  The stars aligned  (or something) and all kinds of things started coming together, whispering "Buy me, you'll love me!"
Things like these metal flowers.  Aren't they happy?
And green glass votive holders...
...and throw pillows like these. 
Holy Cow, is that a throw pillow or what????
Dr. Suess anyone???  The Twilight Zone???
Meet my personal weakness...
The throw pillow. 
Never underestimate the power of a fun pillow...
Words to live by :)
Especially when you hit the jackpot and find a throw pillow that looks as if it was made for the new quilt on your bed!  What a find!!  Pier One to the rescue again.
Here is the quilt that started the whole thing. 
I've been looking for some color to add to our room for a long time and when I saw this, I loved it.
And here is the husband who graciously let me indulge in this little "project."
After 2 nights on our new sheets, he's just as happy as I am about the whole thing!
Who knew sheets could thrill our souls like they have???
 I also picked up some new accessories and some picture frames in need of pictures.
And new lamps!
I think these might be my favorite part of all.  I'm so happy with these lamps.
I've got some work to do above the bed, we need a little something more to go with the flowers so that they are not so off scale.  But for now, even something leaning on our headboard is better than the nothing that was previously on that wall :)
This picture doesn't quite do the "new look" justice, but it makes me so happy to walk by our room now and see some color in there!  I loved our bed before, but I'm so tired of muted and neutral, so for now I'll take bold and bright!  If we can't live in Florida anymore, at least we can enjoy the same appreciation for color that most Floridians do :)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some new sheets to crawl into and a new lamp to read by...
Have a great Sunday tomorrow!