Happy Monday, friends.  I'm attempting to put some words in sentences this morning, but considering my lack of sleep these days, it could be a little dicey to say the least.  For a word girl like myself however, I need to spill some of these words and thoughts ruminating in my head and heart so I'm giving it a whirl anyway.  I have loved sharing so many pictures of these last 7 weeks with you, can you believe it's been 7 weeks since I blogged from my hospital bed and shared our first glimpses of Walker with you??  Time is both flying and yet standing still.  I thought today I would share some of what's been running through my mind and a little more about how it's really going around here.   I don't know about your neck of the woods today, but here it's dreary and overcast, the perfect day for this kind of post.  And a cup of coffee, or three.  I'm not sure I have the bandwidth for a well organized post this morning, so I'm offering you more of a jumbled collection of thoughts...that's sort of an accurate depiction of my life right now anyway!  Ha ha!  There's not a whole lot of order going on yet...

  • And then there were three. 

So how is the adjustment with another child?  Well, speaking strictly from my perspective only, it's amazing.  Like really satisfying and fulfilling and completing.  I look at all three of my little peanuts and I think, wow, this feels so sweet and right.  Adding Walker to the mix feels like a missing piece of our family has been discovered and set back into the original puzzle.  A year ago I never would have thought we were missing a piece, but now I see how the Lord has created a perfectly orchestrated picture that included space with Walker's name on it.  And I love it and it's been a beautiful seven weeks.  

But I am tired.  Sometimes I'm totally overwhelmed.  I long for a break.  I don't always enjoy the nursing schedule.  And life feels a little out of control sometimes, mostly due to the chaos of daily living...things like dishes, laundry, the mail...they are never ending and I just always feel about a week behind.  BUT, we'll get there.  In general I would say that I can tell a big change in myself this time around.   Now that the visitors are gone and life is feeling more "normal" I am realizing how much more relaxed I am with a newborn.  Things that would have phased me with Ava and Carter just don't ruffle my feathers so much with Walker.  I guess by now you figure out that everything is just a season and most things they will grow out of or will resolve themselves.  I don't panic about leaving the house and yet, I don't feel the need to get out unless it's really worth it for one of us or all of us.  Rather than feeling like I'm missing out and stuck at home, I've resolved to cherish this season and make life as simple as I can get it.  On purpose.  I don't want to miss anything with my kids and Trav right now, I've got enough on my plate just to make it through the day.  And while I'm typically antsy to jump into stuff and commit to "adult things" this past year the Lord just taught me to be more still.  To only say "yes" when He made it crystal clear.  To be OK with NOT doing what everyone else is doing, but to just focus on Him and move when He tells me to move.  And it was such a freeing year.  He brought so many unexpected things, things I never could have handled with all my regular "commitments" on my plate.  And so now I see how that is impacting my mothering.  Simple feels better.  For me, and for Trav and the kids.  I have a lot more to give when I'm not being pulled a thousand ways.  That's not a new concept but it has been a key one for me.  

Yes, having three has required more juggling, more planning and sometimes it empties me of all I have. For example, I looked at the clock this morning at about 9:30 and realized I'd heard "Mommy!" about 546 times and Walker can't even speak yet.  Maybe that's the hardest part.  Just dealing with needs, wants, cries for attention, requests, and tears.  I'm stretched to balance it all, but you know, the Lord gives abundant grace and strength when I'm weak.  He helps me take a deep breath and tackle one thing at a time and He forgives me when I blow it and respond harshly, enabling me to apologize to the offended and washing me with mercy that helps me and keeps me from drowning in defeat.  For every victory, there are ample defeats, but His mercy is new every morning and great is His faithfulness.  

Yes, GREAT is His faithfulness...I can attest to that in a brand new way with 3.  For my friends who are Moms of two or less and are wondering about having a third, of course the Lord is the one who knows and decides to give the gift of life, and I can only speak to my experience not yours...BUT in almost every way this has been easier than I imagined and SO TOTALLY WORTH IT!!  I'm not saying the days aren't long or hard, they definitely can be.  But not any more difficult that just having two.  Have a third  :) Children are a blessing from the Lord and I find myself repeating that often.  This chaos, this physical drain, this season of's all a blessing from God to me.  To us.  He gave us these gifts, all three of them, and tells me that they are a reward.  He says they are arrows in our hands and it's our job to point them to their target...I am grateful for this reminder.  It helps me find purpose in a day that's filled with messes, accidents, feeding schedules, meals and endless clean-up.  

  • Friends 
Oh my, we have been encouraged by so many friends this summer!  I am grateful the Lord answered my prayer for friends a few years back.  I am also grateful that He gave me friendships that didn't look exactly like I thought they would.  He's given me several dear friends that are older, with kids who are grown; friends who have kids in the thick of the school years; friends who have no kids; and friends who are walking in the same footsteps I presently am.  Some friends are here in town, some at Church, or in our small group and even across the country.  And they all have given me such perspective and wisdom because having a baby is a sweet way to hear from all of those friends! I am so thankful for so many meals that have been dropped off at our door, for gift cards, for phone calls, for texts and for visits over coffee or at the park.  Life is rich when we consider the ways that God wraps His arms around us through other people.  I could not have survived these early weeks with the sanity I have remaining, if not for dear friends who have served us and loved us well.  One verse I have been focused on concerning this kind of friendship is from Proverbs 11:25... 
"Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."  
That's the kind of friend I want to be, and the kind of friends I've got.  It's also my prayer for each of them, that they will be enriched and feel watered because of the way they reached out to love us.  What a gift the body of Christ is!  As I get back to cooking most of our meals again, I'm constantly reminded that a delivered meal is an incredible ministry! Note to self, make more meals for people!!  

  • Change
Life is full of change isn't it?  We are walking through big changes this summer, adding Walker to our brood was the biggest change but now we're getting ready to send Ava to Kindergarten in just 16 days.  Yep, I'm counting now.  As the kids say now, I'm feeling all the feels.  I'm equal parts thrilled for her and sorry for me and then thrilled for me and sorry for her!  Postpartum hormones are not helping the cause.  After a year of deliberating and praying about school choices, I've got a real peace about the neighborhood school she is attending and I know it's where the Lord has led us for this coming year.  We got a letter in the mail this weekend, telling us who her teacher is, which was fun for us to finally know.  I can't believe Kindergarten is upon us, I really just gave birth to her, didn't I?? Five years has flown by (like seriously FLOWN by) and I know this is just the beginning!  I can't believe my years with her at home are now almost over, and yet I am so thankful that I can look back at these past 5 years with no regrets.  I love all that we shared together and certainly, we have lots of afternoons together when she gets home from school! But I know this new chapter will change the dynamics of our daily life and I'm doing my best to get on board with it instead of mourning it. She is so excited and I don't want to squelch that in her.  I know the first day of school will likely be a totally different story for me (not her) but for now I am her cheerleader and we are enjoying the anticipation together.  I'm also determined to make the most of these final summer days!  I LOVE Fall, but I am hanging on to summer this year a little more tightly than before.  It's so surreal to be getting emails about school lunch accounts, bus routes, and back to school nights!?!  I have babies, how are they old enough for this??  Ahh, change...we've got it on all fronts right now, but I'm pressing in to the Lord, the one who never changes!  Thankfully He walks me through all of it day by day.  

  • Spent
A friend commented on a post of mine last week about being spent right now and I loved that word choice.  That's exactly how I feel.  I am poured out every day, hitting my pillow hard at night with an empty tank.  But in that weakness the Lord keeps sustaining me and giving me strength, just as He promises to do.  Isaiah 40:29 says, "He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength." Definitely a promise I can attest to.  In the middle of those long nights when Walkie is hungry, I am amazed at how God sees me through.  It's totally a different experience with each child as we age a little more...we aren't bouncing back as quickly from a lack of sleep like we used to! But hour by hour we get through the days and manage to do what's right in front of us, which I know is of the Lord.  Thankfully Walker is sleeping in longer and longer stretches, 6 hours last night in fact!  It won't be long before our nights are a little more regular and not as interrupted.  I'm not sure if we'll laugh or cry when that first full night comes!  I know it will feel amazing and yet, it's just another sign that these baby days are fleeting...oh, these days are so good.  Not knowing what the Lord has planned for our family, I just want to soak this all up and treasure it in my heart forever.  If this is my last shot at a baby, I don't want to waste this and wish the days away, no matter how long or hard they may seem.  I've got a power source that is beyond me and I'm so glad! 
All is well at our house and with my soul.  I love this journey of motherhood and the sight of three kiddos and alllllllll their chaos. A sweet lady at Church yesterday told me that my eyes looked good for having a new baby, not tired at all!  Ha ha, I think she was being kind because I know they were very tired looking, and her husband even bought me a cup of coffee!  They knew the real deal  :)  Sure my heart is full, my hands are busy and my body is spent, but I couldn't imagine life any other way! What a ride...  
These three have my whole heart and they are each worth every last ounce of energy and then some! 
Truly, I'm just living the dream!  


One Month Old

Walker, you are one month old!  We are so thrilled that you have joined this little family or ours and we can't believe we've already been with you for over a month now.  To say that you are a delight is a massive understatement.  We just adore you and are so thankful that God brought you into our world.  You were a welcomed surprise and having you with us feels just right.  
 I don't have tons of stats on you yet as we've only had 2 doctor visits, but we can tell that you are growing and filling in much like your big brother did! 
When you were born you were 7lbs and 15oz, but when we brought you in for your one week well check, you had already gained back most of your birthweight. Yay!!

 At your two week appt you were 8lbs and 6oz already, which confirmed what we already knew, you are a great eater!  You eat every 3 hours unless you are taking a long nap, but typically you don't go more than 5 hours at the very most.  Concerning your height and weight at two weeks, you fell into the 38th percentile for weight and the 90th for height, which makes you one long and lean little guy! 
 When we left the hospital you were so tiny to us, and you seemed to be a little angel most of the day. Thankfully you never got your days or nights confused, so you really slept well and on a schedule right out of the gate.  That was a big blessing!!   
 At the beginning you were only awake for little stretches at time but whenever we caught glimpses of your big eyes, Mommy ran for the camera!  At this point you looked so much like Carter did at the same age, although we could occasionally see some of Ava in you too.  
Just like your siblings before you, you love your swing and your vibrating seat and would sleep for hours in both.  I am so thankful for the many, many naps the three of you have now taken in this same swing!!  It was a lifesaver for Ava and Carter for the first few months and you seem to love it too.  
 Before your sister and brother came home from Grammy and Grampy's house, we took you to Church for the first time at just 6 days old.  
 You were so cute and stuck close to Mommy the whole morning.  
We took you for a little visit to see Daddy and the junior high kids who had been waiting to see you, but then you spent the rest of the morning in the nursing room with me watching the service on the telecast.  It was a great, low key, first Sunday! We even took you with us for a little marriage counseling appointment Daddy was leading and then out for lunch.  We knew it would be the last time a Sunday morning wouldn't be crazy so we enjoyed our quiet morning with you! 
 Your siblings came home when you were just a week old and they were in love the minute they held you and realized you were home with us for good!  Walker you are so lucky because they both adore you like crazy.  Every time you make a sound or need something, they are right by your side to smile at you, talk to you, sing to you or help you take your paci.  
You are already the highlight of our new season of life! 
We are thankful that you are healthy and all systems are a go at this point!  You poop like a champ and are very predictable throughout the day.  We are glad you've had no problems in that department and that nursing seems to be agreeing with you.  That makes Mommy's life so much easier!
 And speaking of Mommy, I am basically your BFF at this point.  We spend so much our days just like this and I love every minute of it.  You are a snuggler and you love to be held, which we are happy to do.  
For the first month you have enjoyed being swaddled at night and at naptime and you sleep very soundly when you are wrapped up like a burrito! You are sleeping in the pack n' play bassinet in Mommy and Daddy's room still.  Once we get you sleeping through the night we will make the switch to your own room!
 For now we just visit your crib every now and then and sometimes you are a fan and other times, not so much! Although you can't really tell with all that stuff temporarily making a home in your crib, you are tiny in there!  I can't imagine you sleeping alone in there yet, but I know you'll be ready someday soon.  
 For the first two weeks or so, the four of us basically lived in Mommy's bed while Daddy was at work!  We did a lot of snuggling, reading, and watching movies together and actually it was one of the sweetest times of my life.  All my babies together, no where to go and nothing required of us other than just surviving and getting to know one another.  We giggled a lot watching you and all of us took turns snuggling you.  I know you won't remember anything of these days, but should you read this one day, I do want you to know how loved you already are sweet boy!
 At two weeks old, Daddy gave you your first bottle and you took it like a champ! I am still nursing most of the day but it's been great to know that we have the flexibility of giving you a bottle and that you happily take it when offered.  I love you for this!!
 With every day this first month, your sister and brother have been extremely close to your side.  They are always wondering where you are and what you're doing or are asking if they can help me with you.  
 We all love dressing you up every day and seeing and hearing all the noises you make!  Ava and Carter love to sing to you, "Jesus Loves You" is their go-to although Carter also throws down "Away in a Manger" every now and then, for a little variety I suppose  :) 
 Texie came to see you around your 3rd week and got to know you as her newest grandbaby.  
She thought you looked so much like Carter as well.  
More and more you are "waking up" and staying alert and when you do we just can't take our eyes off of your baby blues.  And since it's front and center in this photo, I am also thankful that you have become a pacifier baby! You have decided you like your paci and you take one often.  
We are all thankful for that!
 One of the sweetest surprises of the month has been how darling the bond between you and Carter is.  You guys will hopefully share lots of fun and adventure over the years and we are so happy that you seem to be starting that journey now.  Carter just loves you and he loves being a big brother! 
He talks to you constantly and is always rubbing your head and calling you "buddy."
And speaking of that, we call you a few different nicknames.  
and of course, "Walker, Texas Ranger" are our favorites! 
 I think Walkie is definitely what we call you the most though.  It comes out of all of us pretty effortlessly.  
We've all enjoyed so many "firsts" with you.
 You have an audience for everything Walker!  
You will grow up being watched and cheered on by your adoring fans I think  :) 
Bath-time is pretty easy with you.  You may let out a squeal or two every now and then, but mostly you seem to like the warm water and enjoy it running down your head and back.  
We always love your hair after a bath.  
It's pretty rockin in this picture and like your shirt says, you are totally handsome! 
You had to say your first "good-bye" this month while Daddy went to Peru on a mission's trip.  He told you to be good to Mommy while he was gone and asked you if you could sleep through the night by the time he returned.  You agreed to one of those conditions but not so much the other! 
 Because Daddy was gone, you took your first road trip to Iowa and got to meet lots of family, including your cousin Sawyer, Aunt Jennie and Uncle Dave.  
You also got to meet Aunt Stacie, who flew in for the occasion!
While in Iowa we discovered how much you love being in the Baby Bjorn and how it soothes you instantly.  We spent a lot of time bonding together in that carrier!
You also started cracking your first real smiles this month!  You gave me a good one before we left for Iowa, but you started doing them a little more while we were there.  I LOVED it and was always scrambling to get a picture of you.  This was the first good one I got! 
Ava has taken her role as the Big Sister very seriously and she is SO good with you Walker.  She is my go-to helper right now and is the one who patiently tries to calm you down or is eager to "babysit" you while I go to the next room or take a shower.  
You love to look right at her and I can tell you already know the voices of both your siblings.  
 You spent a lot of time in the arms of people who love you this month!  Grammy was your bedtime snuggler while we were in Iowa.  
 And Grampy often got you in the morning while we sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air.  
 You are pretty predictable when you get wrapped up in a blankie and held.
First your eyes get heavy...
 ...and then there is an eye-roll or two...
 ...and then you're out!  So sweet.  You are darling always, but especially when you are sleeping!
 What fun we've had with you this month! 
If you ever wonder what it was like when you were born and we brought you home, now you know.  It has been wonderful and exhausting and amazing.  You are a sweet, easy-going baby and the perfect fit for our family.  We love you like crazy Walkie!  
Happy 1st month of life!  We have been waiting for you and anticipating your arrival for 9 months and we are so happy to say that you were worth the wait and then some! 
We are so taken with you sweet boy and we can't wait for life with you in the mix. 
We all love you so much, 


Organized and Official

We entered a brand new phase with our first born on Saturday, one that we have been thinking about and looking forward to for a long time!  For the last few years, well even when she was born, Travis and I have wondered if we'd have kids who loved sports as much as the two of us do.  We have tried to keep our expectations in check and remind ourselves that no matter how much we love sports, our kids might not and we need to be OK with it.  But secretly I think we've both hoped they'd follow in our footsteps and play something!  Anything! 
Before Trav left for Peru, we realized Ava could join a local youth soccer league for just a short season this Fall, which was perfect, so we asked her if she wanted to (she did) and we signed her up!  We've all been looking forward to it beginning, especially Miss Ava, and on Saturday our wait was finally over.  
She and I made a trip to the store to pick up some gear for her and she couldn't wait to get in the front door and show her soccer-lovin Daddy!  What a sweetie.  We almost couldn't take her in those shorts and those shin guards and socks!!!  By the way, those are the *tiniest* athletic shorts known to man!!  
 Totally adorable on her.  
 We told her very little about how the morning would go because we really didn't know what this youth league would be like, but we did tell her that we just wanted her to have FUN.  I think I might have let out a squeal at the sight of her on a field however.  I was BORN to be a soccer Mom!!  Or basketball/volleyball/lacrosse/golf Mom, whatever...fill in the blank with a sport and I am on board!  Except for hockey.  Which might be a problem here in the frozen tundra of hockey-land, USA.  
 Anyway, the stretching...oh my word, she had me at the stretching!!  
 But then...
 ...they started doing JUMPING JACKS!
And somehow THIS was her version of what a jumping jack should look like.  
I don't even know, I can't explain the form, but I LOVED it  :) 
Oh my stars, is she the cutest or what??
I knew I would get allllll of our money's worth just by the time "warm-ups" were done.  
Also, the sight of her in that t-shirt = totally worth it!!!  
 Working on her skills and cracking us up!
 There was so much instruction flying her way and so many balls going in a million different directions, she was pretty overwhelmed but she tried it all.  The league is for 5-7 year olds, so she is on the youngest end of the spectrum, but she held her own and did her best, even when we could tell she didn't have a clue what they were talking about! 
Look at that form!
Travis and I were dying on the sidelines, analyzing everything, while one of us entertained Walker...
...or Carter, who was SO wanting to get on the field and play too.  

Getting their "position assignments" for the "game", which was enough to make us sweat as we sat and realized she had no idea what the words "defense/offense" meant, let alone how they translated to soccer?   
 Sweet girl, the first few minutes were rough as we watched her basically do this.  
 But as the minutes wore on the wheels in her little head were spinning and she began catching on.
 Have you ever seen a more intimidating defensive line??  Ha ha ha ha!!!  
 There was classic hair twisting...
 ...serious game faces...
...and just some good old-fashioned standing around! 
 And then it was over! 
 The whole thing was darling and painfully slow and hilarious!  
 We discovered she's a big fan of the water break and wondering where Carter was and if she could play with him, during the middle of the game!?!?!?!  Oh man, her Daddy and I are going to have to lower our expectations of "youth soccer with a 5 year old girl" and then lower them again!  ha ha!  
We are way too competitive and aggressive for our own good  :) 
 Seriously though, we loved watching her and got the biggest kick out of seeing her personality on the field.  Whether she ends up loving soccer or sports is totally up to her, we are proud of her no matter what and we will enjoy seeing her blossom in whatever she chooses to try!  
Right now, at 5, THIS smile is exactly what it's all about!  
And by the way, she LOVED playing and can't wait for the next game when she gets to do it all over again.  We have a TON of soccer in our near future with Trav's high school team beginning their season this week, but hands down this sweet girl is our favorite player to watch and her games are the highlight of our week!