Bike Rides and Blessings

Our babies are growing up and doing big kid stuff every time we turn around.  Ava has been asking about riding a bike for awhile, since early in the summer actually.  We had a little bike that was given to us last year but I sent it to my parents house because it was too big for her and we had no room to store it.  This summer she rode it at their house in July while we were visiting and in just a few days, she was noticably better and more interested than ever before.  Just a few weeks ago she started asking about it again, bringing it up a lot and wanting to "ride HER bike" to the park :) We decided it was time to buy her one and begin teaching her, but in between the demands and events of each week, we just hadn't gotten to the store yet. 
(Insert my sweet friend E and her generous heart *here.* 
 THIS picture is for YOU!!)
As the Lord has so faithfully used her before, my friend E called me on a Monday morning (out of the blue) to tell me that she had a little bike in her car for Ava and could she leave it in Trav's office at Church??  She had no idea that we had plans to get her a little princess bike at Target that week, but as the Lord loves to delight us (both of us), I listened to her tell me that this was a purple princess barbie bike with training wheels and a matching helmet, and would that work for Ava?? 
 Ummm, YES!!!
I can't tell you how many things she has passed our way that have been PERFECT for our kids and have come at just the right time.  She is a huge blessing to us and our kids have reaped incredible gifts from her slightly older kids.  Amazing.
 We heart E at our house!!
  After she called, we didn't tell Ava about it, we wanted to surprise her.  I so wish I would have had the video camera out when it happened.  Trav pulled in after work one day and I directed Ava to the window to "see Daddy" and then casually said, "Ava, what is he getting out of the back seat??"  She leaned forward to really look and then shrieked (as only little girls can) "Is that a bike???  Is that a bike for ME???" 
 It was precious. 
I wanted to cry.  (I probably did)
She took off running through our house and out our door, waiting for the magical sight of her Daddy and the new bike.  She jumped for joy, told us she loved it and said to Travis "Daddy, did you get this for me?? Did you get me my bike I wanted?? Thank you so much for my booutiful bike Daddy, I love it so much!! Oh my, oh my goodness it's a PRINCESS bike!!"  Again, where was the video camera when I needed it?? 
I was too busy choking back tears over her joy and thanking the Lord once again for providing in ways we never expected,  to delight us AND our children. 
 I love that He cares about the big stuff in our life, but I also love that He sees and knows about the little stuff too.  And so often I think He uses the little stuff in life to see if we're tuned into Him or not.  Sometimes I've missed out on blessings He's had for me because I was too focused on the ways He seemingly wasn't answering the big stuff.  These last few years I've tried to really look for Him in the little things and I'm finding that His fingerprints are everywhere. 
Case in point: Here is Carter on his new, little bike, also a gift from E last summer. 
While Ava rejoiced over the new bike in her life, Carter enjoyed an upgrade too :)
Seriously, we are blessed!!!
This little guy is almost ready to ride it himself, but he still loves for us to push him.  I love him in his little hat and crocs.  That has been his classic summer look and I keep trying to preserve it in my mind's eye so I don't forget it when he's 18 :)
Miss Ava wasted no time getting on that bike and exploring her world as if it had just opened up to her.
She is our cautious kid in many ways, so she was never too far from one of us.  She didn't quite trust the training wheels and kept thinking she was going to tip over. 
It's kind of a new phase, transitioning from always having them in a stroller to their own little bikes instead.  It will be a good thing when we can lag behind and they can peddle and steer on their own :) But, as I walked behind everyone and took the whole scene it, I couldn't help but swallow that lump in my throat that is forming more and more these days as I watch them grow and mature. 
We were laughing at Ava who was very vocal about her thoughts and emotions as she "rode" :) :) As she would pick up speed and start to feel out of control she would say, "OH my, OH my, OH my!!  Mom, do you GOT me??"  It was so funny.  She loved it and it terrified her all at once :)
I can only imagine how Carter (our non-cautious child) will handle that next summer!  I don't think he'll be asking if we "GOT" him, I think he'll be peddling like a maniac and laughing hysterically while he crashes into anything and everything in his way. 
Just a hunch I have :)
 We're starting to resemble a circus now.  We're loud, there are several side shows going on at any given time and Travis and I are trying desperately to be the ring masters in the midst of it.  It's a sweet, simple season of chaos.  Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by it and sometimes I can't stop thanking God for the ways He's answered our hearts' cry.  They are precious and they have our hearts all wrapped up around them.  The day will come too soon when a new bike or a walk to the park will not be their idea of fun, but I am not longing for those days yet.  I want to freeze these moments in time and hear their little chatter and banter back and forth.  Life is their oyster right now :)
We need to pick up a helmet for Carter, but I think they are pretty set for some fall walks and spring bike rides, don't you?  Thank you, thank you, thank you to our dear E.  You are a blessing in more ways that we can count!!  Our kids don't realize what you have done for them yet, but we do.  And we love your generous heart and your willingness to let go of your "stuff" and share it. 
If you're looking for us, we'll be circus headed to the park, chaos and noise surrounding us the whole way!

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