Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All About Ava!

This post is inspired by some of my friends who have cleverly used their blog as a way to "keep up" with our kids' baby books without actually writing in them...for now! The idea of sitting down at home and jotting down all these memories with cute colored pens in pretty handwriting while bouncing Lucas in my lap just sounds disastrous! Hahaha! But typing them up on my blog while I sit in my workout clothes at the YMCA while the little ones are in the nursery- Perfect! So this one is for you my sweet Ava.

You are 2 years and 3 months old, and you are a wild child. You love your passy and nigh nigh bear despite how hard I am trying to only let you have them at bedtime and naptime. You love to "kulor" in your Elmo coloring book. You LOVE Dora and Boots and cry when Tv time is over. You give the best kisses...when you want to. You have light blonde hair that is getting a bit unruly but luckily you let me put it in "piggies" so I can see your pretty brown eyes. You love avocados, but hate pretty much every other veggie...You like to sit on the potty even though you never pee in it. You LOVE Lucas. You especially love it when I put him in your crib with you and you pretend he is your baby. I brush your teeth when you take your bath at night. You think that's silly. You LOVE to play "I'm gonna getchu!" with Daddy and squeal with delight when he chases you around the apartment. You like to brush my hair. You and your friend Gavin are the biggest trouble makers when the two of you are together, but secretly I love your little mischievous side! You love "Palmey" and you are teaching each other how to share...painfully sometimes for your mommies! You do not like your hands to be dirty. You love to play the silly faces game with me. You like to try to give Lucas your passy. and your sippy. and your food...You love to dance. You know that when we go to Church, we are going to spend time in prayer because when we pull in the parking lot, you tell me that we are going to see "Geesus". You are not pottytrained. You still sleep in your crib (thank goodness!) and you take 3 hour naps. I'm still not sure if you sleep the whole time, because sometimes I peek in at you and you are standing in your crib looking through your blinds out the window or you are reading a book. Ava, your Daddy and I love you so much. You make me crazy sometimes, but when you lay your head on my shoulder at night as I sing our prayers to you, I melt against your sweet face.

Here a few of my favorite videos of Ava as well:

Ava didn't learn to crawl until she was about 8mos old. She was getting close in this video when she was 7mos old and it was so darn cute to watch her try!

Ava LOVES to play Peek-A-Boo and of course boxes provide tons of entertainment!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chili Cook-Off!

Today we went to a small little town called Leiper's Fork. Every year in October they hold the Leiper's Fork Chili Cook-Off. We went last year, and it was so much fun! Bobby was counting down the days until the event this year! It was definitely a cold afternoon, so chili was the perfect way to keep warm. We went out there with Branden and Lauri O'Neil and their gang, and had a great time trying to keep up with all our kids while keeping them warm but not spilling any chili on anyone! (Especially the babies since they were being held by Lauri and I!- I think Finn and Lucas came home with a little chili on their hats! hehe)

Right before we left, Branden took a few family pictures for us. Unfortunately we were WAY past Ava's naptime, so she was not such a happy little 2 yr old..hence why there aren't quite as many pics of her today as there are Lucas! I did catch some breathtaking pics of Lucas' eyes. They shine such a brilliant blue that I almost get emotional just looking at them knowing in my heart that they are a gift from Victoria :) Love you Vic!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Victoria's Birthday Weekend

I am probably picking a bad time to post about Victoria's birthday weekend (it's 4:23am and I am at work...tired), but I have been meaning to post about it for over a week now because it was the most beautiful, God-filled weekend ever. I have to preface that I was pretty much dreading Victoria's birthday on Oct.2, not out of disrespect or hiding from the truth, but I just wasn't sure what to expect. My family and I are coming up on a tough time of year these next few months. Every month from now till the end of the year will have a "first" without my sweet sister here with us. First birthday. First Thanksgiving. First Christmas. First Year. Oh man, lump in throat.

As her birthday approached, I seriously considered staying here in Nashville instead of driving home to be with my family. Selfishly, I was tempted to try to let the day pass like any normal day, but boy am I ever so grateful for my beautiful husband who knows my heart so deeply. When I shared with him that I secretly didn't want to go home, he delicately urged me to think through why I felt this way, and on the day of Victoria's birthday would I feel better avoiding it rather than trying to make something special of the day by spending it with my family in ATL. Of course he was right, and I took his advice straight to the heart and my parents, Alex, and I did just that- we were able to experience God's joy and faithfulness as we shared together Victoria's first birthday without her here. Bobby unfortunately had to stay in TN because Vic's birthday was on a Friday, and I left early Friday morning to go home and he could not miss work.

As soon as I arrived in Atl, we drove to the cemetary to bring Victoria some pink roses and meet an older couple who had been trying to contact us regarding Victoria and her untimely death. One of Vic's friends, Brittany, had arrived at the cemetary before us and had decorated her gravesite with beautiful flowers, butterly confetti, balloons, and a great big butterfly balloon. It was amazing and so touching. This couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kumar were waiting to greet us. You see, they also had a child buried in the same cemetary, a son named Victor. He died 2 yrs ago of a massive heart attack at age 37. They faithfully visit his grave every Saturday and one day they came across Victoria's grave not too far from where their son is buried. The wife immediately felt a closeness to my mom because she could empathize with losing a child so young, and their names were also similar. From that day on, they have been cleaning off Victoria's gravesite every Saturday and had been trying to find a way to contact my family to meet us. To make a long story short, Mr. Kumar was finally able to leave a voice mail for my parents and explained how they had been looking after and praying over Victoria's grave every Saturday. My parents were extremely touched by their kindness and so decided to meet them at the cemetary on Victoria's birthday.

I could go on and on about the compassion of this couple, but I will just say this- when I looked into the eyes of Mr. Kumar as we talked about my sister and his son, I felt as though I were looking into the eyes of Christ. He looked at me with such a loving and tender gaze, and I felt such a peace standing in the presence of someone who had been a stranger just 3 minutes prior! I can't really describe it, but instead of feeling sadness as we stood over my sister's grave on her birthday, I felt a deep warmth that penetrated my heart and filled me with such an unexpected joy! As I type this, I am almost chuckling at how God made himself present to me on that day, not in the form of a beautiful angel, but rather a short wrinkly older Indian man with dark eyes-yet the kindest eyes I have ever seen. We spent most of the morning visiting with him (after we left the cemetary, we all went to Starbucks together and shared pumpkin lattes and pictures of Victor and Victoria).

One of the most incredible parts about us meeting was when the Kumars talked about the day my mom contacted them for the first time. Mr. Kumar had left my mom a few messages before she finally called back. She hesitated to call back at first not sure of his intentions, and why he was so interested in meeting our family even though we were all really touched by them taking care of Vic's grave in between our weekly visits. On a Saturday afternoon in late August, my mom called them back and left a message. WELL, it turns out that the exact day and time that my mom called the Kumar's was the 2yr anniversary and exact time of their son Victor's death. My mom obviously had no idea of this, but for the Kumar's, it was an immediate confirmation that our families were destined to meet! It was a great morning and afternoon spent with them!

The rest of Victoria's birthday was spent doing some of her favorite things. That night at her high school's football game, all the cheerleaders released blue balloons in honor of her birthday right at kickoff. Then we ate dinner at La Parilla (her FAVORITE restaurant-mine too!) as a family. We had such a wonderful time together at dinner and shared our favorite parts of VIctoria's birthday (mine was obviously spending time with the Kumar's!). Favorite's ranged from random butterflies showing up in places to simply spending time together. Ava's favorite part was dancing to the mariachi band at dinner! She was so cute.

On Sunday, we invited a few of Victoria's friends to join us in planting the beginnings of a garden at the cemetary. We started with planting 3 crape myrtles (sp?), and it looks so wonderful! They will bloom white. It was a great day filled with love and God's blessings as we celebrated the memory of my sweet sister and her birthday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lucas- A swimmer?!

Oh how I love this child. He does this EVERY time he takes a bath! It brings Bobby and I so much joy to watch him "swim" in his bathtub. Kristi, if you're reading this, sounds like Gabriel and Lucas are going to be swimming buddies!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Florida Beach Trip 2009!

So the days of laying out by the ocean reading a book basking in the sun for hours upon hours I fear are over! Vacation at the beach is still wonderful, but perhaps not quite as relaxing with a 2 year old and 3 mo old in tow!
Every September, Bobby and I go to the beach in Florida with his family. My first time going with them was when we were engaged, and we have gone every year since. It is neat to see how our vacation has changed now that Bobby and I have 2 children and his sister Angie who comes with her husband every year has 2 young children as well. This year we had a 3mo old, 1yr old, 2yr old, and 3yr old! Whew! It was a crazy week.
By the end of the week, Ava was OVER the beach. She did not like the sand nor the salty water and insisted that only I hold her in the water which was difficult to do considering we had Lucas on the beach with us! Bobby and I decided that next year we are going to bribe, pay, and manipulate my sister Alex to come with us and help with our little ones! hehehe But hey- she will be getting a trip to the beach too right? Nonetheless, we had a great time together and made some wonderful memories!

I love this picture. Bobby is throwing Ava into the air and she was in heaven playing with her Daddy!
One of the moments where Ava didn't mind the sand when she realized there were little seashells buried in it!
Ava and her cousin Alyssa- they are so cute together and look a little bit alike too!
Family pic- well sorta...when we took this picture, I didn't realize Bobby had his fingers in his mouth! When I asked him why he did that, he said Lucas wanted the guys to look alike...nice!
Cutie little guy!
Love this! My father-in-law bought Ava and Alyssa pink angel wings and Ava
wanted to wear hers ALL the time!

Bobby and his babies!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

His Sweet Baby Blues!

I have been meaning to post about this for a while...Lucas has blue eyes (and not just the steel gray color that may eventually change-they are like a light ocean blue)...Bobby nor I have blue eyes-his are brown and mine are a miriad of colors, but we will just call them hazel. What is so amazing though is Victoria had blue eyes :) This is such a precious gift to me that my son has her eyes. My family and I like to think that Victoria arrived in Heaven and after realizing that my baby was going to be a boy, she said something like this, "Ok, God, so since he can't have my name (if Lucas had been a girl, he would have been named Addison Victoria), can he at least have my eyes??" :) And then God smiled, winked, and blessed my sweet Lucas with his Aunt Victoria's beautiful blue eyes.