Looking Back on the Week...

Whew!  What a week!  I have been running from one place to another this week and trying like crazy to keep my ducks in a row.  Travis' student ministry team is in the process of moving their offices from one floor to another.  They're getting a new suite that they've asked me to re-design for them, so lots of my free time lately has been spent working on that.  Hence the blog silence this week :( The wheels do not move quickly at a big Church because there are so many hands and departments involved, but I'm hoping they will be in their new offices by the end of next week!  It's been a really fun project and I'm loving the way it's turning out.  I'll take some pictures when it's done and share them with you. 

I've also been busy this week getting ready for a baby shower that I'm throwing for a dear friend tomorrow.  Some other friends are helping me, but I've definitely got my hands full today!  I've set up camp in my kitchen and will be here for most of the day I think :) I do love throwing/hosting/planning parties, but it's always a struggle for me to mix reality with creativity.  I always have a million ideas and rarely the time or  money to pull them off!  Ha ha!  I've been working on some cute things though and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of the set-up tomorrow too.  Right now I'm letting some dough chill for a few minutes so I have a little break to show you some funny pictures from our week...
I know I've shared before that my little Ava LOVES when the garbage truck comes 3 mornings a week.  We live in a condo and from one of our windows, we have a perfect view of where the garbage trucks pulls up to access the dumpster in our garage. 
She hears the truck every week and goes running to the window to watch it, and now to wave and say hi to the garbage man, who so sweetly looks up at her and waves every single time.  It's so cute.
Well recently, Carter has picked up on the commotion that the truck brings and he crawled his way to the window to watch on Wednesday too.
What cracked me up and made me tear up, was that Ava saw him next to her and as she waved and yelled "HI!" she put her arm around Carter and yelled, "This is Carter!"  I know he couldn't have heard her and I didn't tell her to do that, but it was so precious.  I literally laughed and felt my eyes well up with tears.  I just love to watch her little nurturing instincts come out! 
Squealing with delight at the sight of...garbage. 
Ha ha!
As the weather gets cooler, one thing I am LOVING about Carter is getting to dress him in little sweatshirts and jeans and track suits!  He's so handsome in his warm stuff, I just love it!
And I'm starting to get used to his big boy haircut now.  It's taken me a full week to look at him and not mourn his long, baby locks.  I see so much more of Travis in him and I'm starting to accept that his 1st birthday is just a little over a week away...
I posted this picture of Ava on facebook yesterday, but thought I would share it with all of you too.
She was playing with chalk while I was doing the dishes and I kept asking her if she was remembering to draw ONLY on the chalkboard.  Each time I asked she said, "Yes, Mommy" and I believed her.  Until she came to the kitchen for a drink and I laid eyes on her :)
Me-Uh oh Ava, did you draw on yourself??
Ava-*shakes her head*-NO.
This little nut has also made my head turn this week as I've caught a glimpse of her and thought,
"Wow. She looks so much like a little girl now." 
She talks a mile a minute and it's very easy to understand her now.  She's remembering so much and all of her little teachers in the nursery at Church tell me the funniest stories about her. 
Between the ponytail and this precious outfit that her Nana and Papa sent her, I just couldn't take my eyes off her on this day :)  I always wondered what she'd look like, when she was just a baby, and now I'm getting a good preview of the years ahead.
Hello little teenager...
You are a beautiful sight in our eyes Ava!
Here's a good picture of this handsome guy, going "King Kong" on us.
He loves to haul his little buns outside to this table so he can pull up on it and shake it with all his might!  It's hilarious, but the first time he did it I had to SPRINT out there to stop him because that table was holding 3 heavy pots of dirt which he had dancing on that table top!  I'm sure we were seconds from it landing on his head!  That's a good picture of what life with Carter is like right now.  He is ALL BOY and roams this house looking for things he can shake, throw, bang, break or destroy :)
I know.
This sweet face is capable of all that chaos!! 

I love my kids.
And my husband. 
It's been a busy week but a good one too.  I am sure soaking up the nostalgia of really one full week left until my baby turns one.   Wasn't it just yesterday I was pregnant with him??? 

Happy Friday friends!


Pinning and Dreaming and Pinning Some More.

It's Sunday afternoon and while I hoped to be decorating my house for Fall, both of my kids boycotted their naps and we are instead playing games.  Well, I should clarify.  Travis is playing a game with them while I sit on the couch and play on pinterest.  I think I've earned it after a long week :) Ha ha! 
Anyway, since tomorrow is Monday (and who wants to do a lot of deep thinking on a Monday?) I'm saving a "deep" post for later in the week and instead, I'm sharing some of my recent "pins" from pinterest with you.  Just because I like you. 

If you're not on pinterest yet, maybe this will sway you.  Or not. I totally get not wanting one more thing to manage or keep track of, but for creative minds like mine, this has been such a fun place to get recipes, new ideas, inspiration, or mindless rest after a long day.  I truly love it.  It's creative, it's visual and it's all organized in one place. 
Right. Up. My. Alley.
(Is that how you spell alley?) 

 Here are some of my favorite things lately, in no particular order...
Guacamole bruschetta...ummm, yes please.
Totally want this in my house somewhere...Perfect reminder of what's true when we've given the reigns of control to the One who holds the world in the palm of his hand.
And this is why I'll never lose the baby weight.
Salted Caramel Vanilla Cheesecake.
If it's as tasty as it is beautiful, look out hips...
Insert appropriate age and the truth remains.
Maybe it's because I love words and writing, but things like this make my heart smile.
And give me a little more fuel to end the day well with my precious babies.
I LOVE this.  I will be making a version of this to appear somewhere in my home, if not on our front door.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes...
Again with the baby weight.
Not only do I think this is artistic and beautiful, all of it, but I see a sign like this and think I want one in a family room someday.  I want our kids to see this everyday and their friends to remember our house as the one that spoke love to all who entered. 
All of that from one little picture.  See why I love pinterest so much??
Perfect!!  So doing as much of this as possible from now til Thanksgiving.  These are the things memories are made of, right?
 And great pictures.
What is this, might you ask???
Roasted brussel sprouts, bacon and apples.
We made this last week and can I tell you, IT IS AMAZING!!!  And I didn't think I even liked brussel sprouts, but the picture was so pretty it sold me.  I made it at my parents house and we ate it up like candy.  SO incredibly good.  And good for you!  Gonna try and sell my kids on it this week!
Great recipe for homemade pumpkin spice lattes.
My sister made them and they were delicious.  On my agenda this week.
Feel liberated fellow Moms!
Someday, I will have this on a door or a front window. 
So true.
Another great idea here.  An alphabet book of love.  For your man, for your kids, for a friend who is hurting??  Lots of reasons why this would be a good investment of time!
My sister pinned this the other day and it's genius!  I have a thermostat on our wall that has bugged me for years with it's totally odd placement.  Why have I never thought of this????
Again on the agenda this week...Healthy chicken spaghetti with grape tomatoes.  Yum!
I'm so in need of a haircut and color...really thinking this could be my next look??
This is not my year for lots of decorations that little hands can touch, but if it was, I would be making these for my porch.  Or if I had a beautiful front door, 2 to go on either side.  Such a beautiful look!  Mom-this has YOUR front door written all over it!!
And finally, another one of those things I want hanging in our house someday.  Especially when they become teenagers and think they are too cool for us.  Or for each other. 
Then it's really time to preach this list of rules :)

See what you're missing??  I didn't take the time to include all the links, but if you're on pinterest, you can find all these fun things and millions more with the included links that take you directly to the source and tell you how to do these things or where to find them.  But, if it's not your thing, you can just wait until I am brimming with more inspiration and wait for me to post some more pictures. 

Happy Monday friends!  Enjoy :)


11(.5) Months

Yep, same song and dance this month...I'm posting this a few weeks late :) You are just a few weeks from your first birthday but here is what you've been up to in your 11th month!
This is you after your first big boy haircut. 
I almost can't take it Carter.  You look SOOOO much older now! 
Here's a good profile shot for the relatives :) You are officially a toe-head Carter.  Any dark locks you once had are definitely gone.  Your hair is almost white!  We think you are such a handsome little guy.
This month you have definitely grown!  I took your sister in for a possible ear infection and had the doctor weigh you too.  Ava weighed in at 26 lbs and you weighed in at almost 23 lbs!  You are wearing size 4 diapers and size 12-18 month clothes.  You are constantly on the move now and into everything in sight!  You keep me on my toes Carty!  
I love this picture. 
You remind me of a teenage boy trying to show off your *skills* !!
In addition to crawling like a wild man, you are cruising all over the house.  You love to pull up on anything and everything and you love to walk behind your little car walker (or anything else that can be pushed).  You haven't taken a step yet, but you are getting more brave by the minute so I know it won't be too much longer before you can chase your sister.
You love your growing independence and we love that for you.  I'm sure it's frustrating to watch Ava do all the things you want to be doing too, so we love to see you reach these milestones!  Those big blue eyes dance with joy whenever you do something new.  You bring so much LIFE to our home Carter!  We are grateful for the addition that you are. 
As we've enjoyed the last of the summer heat, you've started braving the slide!
You move at a snail's pace, but you giggle the whole way down!  It's so cute!
I can't imagine what going to the park next year will be like.  I'm sure you and Ava will be busy bees and maybe Daddy and I will get to do more watching :)
You and your sister and truly two peas in a pod.  I'm not sure who gets more excited about playing together, you or Ava, but we get such a kick out of watching the two of you play.
We thought your sister was a daredevil, but it's clear that you are going to be much LOUDER and probably WILDER too!!  You are ALL BOY Carter!  You love to bang on things, throw things, yell and make as much noise as possible!  Sometimes Ava covers her ears and tells you, "NO Carty!  Dat's too loud!"  I can't say I blame her, you can make some serious noise buddy :)
This has been a hard month for your mouth.  You have 4 teeth that are in and several more on the way.  It's affected your eating and sleeping a little bit, but just this week you seem to be back on track.  We were a little nervous for a couple of weeks.  You seemed to only eat about 3 things and we were starting to panic that you were turning into a picky eater.  Thankfully you are back to your well-balanced self this week, in hindsight I think your teeth were really hurting you.  It is clear that you love to eat and you let us know by your screams when we aren't moving fast enough :)
You are still a great napper, taking two a day most days.  You have fallen asleep in the car a lot more now, as we have you on the go.  That little blue polka dot blankie is your favorite.  You immediately bring in up to your face and close your eyes while you rub your face with it.  It's precious.  I hope you do that for a long time :)
We've introduced sports to you in a big way this month! 
The Hawkeyes started playing football and we've got you outfitted in your Iowa gear!
We've also spent tons of time on the sidelines, cheering on Daddy's soccer team.  You are such a good sport, you never cry at the games you just watch everything and crawl everywhere you can.
We can't wait to watch you play someday Carter!  I just know your Dad and I will LOVE sitting on the sidelines to cheer on you and Ava, in whatever sports you decide to play.  One of the reasons we chose your name was because we thought we liked the way it sounded when we yelled it! 
"GO Carter!!!"  Ha ha!!  I hope you love sports as much as we do :)
As we get closer and closer to your first birthday, I'm getting very sad about letting your first year go.  If there is one word I can use to describe what you've meant to us this year, it would be JOY!  Your easy grin, your laid back personality, your giggle...You just bring us so much joy and happiness. 
So there you go big guy.  It's been a great month and it's fleeting right before our eyes.  You are growing up Carter and even though your Mommy's heart hurts these days, we know you are gradually becoming the little boy God created you to be and that is a good thing. 
We love you buddy!
Happy 11 months!


The Pneumonia Chronicles

Well, it's been a little quiet over here on the blog.  Not for lack of blog-worthy material, but rather life.  I haven't been feeling great for almost a month, and no, I'm not pregnant :) I finally got to the doctor last week and discovered that I actually have pneumonia.  Bummer.  I thought maybe it was bronchitis or just a sinus infection that wouldn't quit, but now that I know it was more than that, it certainly explains why I've been so tired and why I've struggled to keep my head above water. 

After a round of antibiotics, I'm feeling better. My chest congestion is clearing up and my cough is not so deep.  But I definitely have not recovered my energy yet.  I'm pretty much operating in survival mode, picking and choosing what happens every day, based on what's on the calendar and how I feel.  Although there is never really a great time for pneumonia to hit, this particular month is especially not ideal.  Between soccer, student ministries kicking off, Bible study beginning again and lots of other things going on in our world, it has been a challenge for me to keep up. 

So, after looking at the schedule last week, I knew it would be wise for me to get a little help for a few days.  Trav had a busy weekend and was going to be gone alot, so I packed up the kids and drove to my parents house in Iowa for a long weekend.  It was great to be there but unfortunately, Carter decided to keep me awake for hours on end in the middle of the night.  I don't know if it's purely coincidence or not, but this is the second time I've been there without Trav and Carter has struggled through the night.  I'm thinking he is teething again, which is challeging in itself, but certainly more challenging when you're sick and spouse-less.  Anyway, all that to say, I was a HAPPY woman to have my night nanny back last night :) That's what I call Trav these days.  One of the things I truly appreciate about him, is that he chooses to serve me by getting up with the kids in the middle of the night.  I know, he's a saint.  For some reason, aside from pure exhaustian every day, after Carter was born I just hit the pillow so hard at night and I do not hear the kids when they wake up.  We have laughed about how many times I've gotten up in the morning and said, "Oh the kids did so great last night!" only to have him say, "Well, actually I was up 3 times with Carter and once with Ava."  I know!!!  That's so bad, isn't it??  He's such a good guy...

Here are some cute pics from our weekend in my hometown :)
Snuggles with Aunt Jennie. 
I think it's safe to say, none of us are ready for Carter to be a big boy yet :)
I believe this was after one of many falls.
Carter is getting so close to walking, but in the mean time he's taking lots of falls while working on his balance.  It's never easy to see your baby cry big crocodile tears, but especially when they fall from these blue eyes.
Ava kept herself busy bossing everyone around, Grammy was not exempt. 
But her trade-off was a kiss.
This was especially exciting for our little Hawkeye to experience his first football game in Iowa.  I should clarify, we watched from the comfort of our home, not in Iowa City.
My Dad treated all of us to some new Iowa gear, which we were happy to sport.
Although this appears staged, my Mom caught us at the perfect moment, when our Hawkeyes got an interception and won the game!
It was a CRAZY game that we almost gave up on, but after a 21 pt comeback, we managed to win.
Whoo hoo!!
I'm sure you are wondering why my Dad has headphones on??  Old school headphones to boot?  For a long time now, my die hard Hawkeye fan Father has refused to listen to the announcers on the TV during an Iowa game, when he can instead listen to the "voice of the Hawks" on AM radio.  There is a station in Des Moines (WHO) who broadcast the game with announcers I've probably heard my entire life and they are ALWAYS his first choice :) He gets totally bugged by announcers who don't have their stats right or facts about Iowa football straight.  It's so "my Dad" I don't even notice those headphones anymore!  Carter however, was fascinated by the whole thing. 
Go Hawks!
Ava spent the whole weekend saying that :)
She's made her Grampy very proud!
It was also incredibly cold and rainy while we were there, but at least we got out a few times.
Ava was sleeping, so Carter and Grampy got a good walk in.
We had fun, it was so great to get away and not make a meal for 4 days!
We drove home yesterday and got home right around naptime. 
Which explains this :)
I put Carter down for a nap and Ava wanted to stay up, so I said yes. 
I put on a movie for her and laid down myself.
But when I got up, I realized this little peanut couldn't quite hang on either! 
I think my favorite thing about this is that she covered herself up with her blankie. 
What a big girl she's becoming :)
We were all very happy to be home with Daddy last night.
These two were wild in the bathtub and got Travis and I very wet!
Does that face say, "Let's have a good time!" or what??
The good mood was short lived however.
An hour later, Travis was putting him in the car to get him to sleep after lots of crying and agitation...
From Carter AND his Mommy.

Yep, it's good to have the night nanny back!