Our family

Our family

Friday, October 10, 2014

4 Months

Lucy Lillian 4 Months
Weight: 13lb 13oz, 42nd percentile
Length: 27 inches, 100th percentile
Lucy donning my baptism dress on the left and my baby pink sweater on the right...thank you mom for saving my baby clothes for my precious daughter.
First food: Rice cereal and mashed pears
Sleep: Just about through the night
New this month: tons of giggles, playing in her excer-saucer, sitting in a high chair, belly laughs galore
Our four month photo shoot was photo-bombed by Kip.
First he sat on her, then he stole her headband and waved it like a garter at a wedding, then he bonked her head and gave her kisses, and finally he sat like he was a little angel all along.
This past month we made several trips to see animals and explore emergency vehicles.  Kip is convinced that seeing cows and climbing in police cars are completely normal occurrences.  Between the Minnesota Zoo, Gale Woods Farm, numerous apple orchards and a barnyard boogie, we all had our animal fill this fall.
Kip rode his first horse and fell even more in love with the 'neigh.'  
He certainly takes after his father in the equestrian world (Braydon on the left).
For anyone with toddlers, we highly recommend Saturday mornings at Gale Woods located in Minnetrista.  Its an amazing educational farm complete with cows, sheep, llamas, pigs and roosters.  Kip's favorite is the cow that he still thinks is a horse.
Braydon recently started a new job with Target; while it make our days a bit longer and our lives a little busier, we are so thankful for this exciting new opportunity.  Braydon still volunteers for the police reserves and always finds time to keep our little guy entertained.  Kip was so proud to have Braydon teach his daycare class about being a volunteer police officer.  I've never seen him smile and beam as much as he did that day.  
And lastly, today marks four years of marriage for Braydon and I.  To think this was four years ago...
And this is today....
Couldn't ask for more.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Summer Reading and All Time Favorites

My neighborhood book club is starting back up this week and the leaves are starting to turn so I thought it was about time to recap this summer's reading.  There are so many fabulous new books out, I just can't keep up.
Two of my favorite reads were Melanie Shankle's The Antelope in the Living Room and Sparkly Green Earrings.  I literally laughed out loud with both of these books but also found myself underlining thought provoking and life inspiring words of wisdom.  The Antelope in the Living Room recaps Melanie's journey through Marriage and Sparkly Green Earrings is her experiences as a mother. She intertwines her faith, humor and real life stories to make an unforgettable story.

What Alice Forgot is one of those books you will fly through in just a few sittings.  Its a thought provoking story of what happens when a woman looses her memory of the past ten years.  It challenges us to examine our own life: what would the me of 10 years ago think of me now?
The Orphans of Race Point is a bit longer read that intertwines many story lines following a childhood friendship throughout many generations.  Its an engaging novel that explores what we will do for love.
Love Idol is a nonfiction, Christian novel that exposes our need for approval in a world full of comparison, criticism, perfectionism and ultimately sin.  It explains how we are pre-approved in God's eyes, we are enough in Him.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown was by far one of the most life changing (and life challenging) books I've read in a while.  I won't do justice trying to recap it so just do yourself a favor and go buy it (so you can highlight it, re-read it and pass it on).  All I'll say is we (men, women, faith or no faith) need to be gentle to ourselves and let go of trying to be perfect, its the only way we can live wholeheartedly.

These are my two picks for good old fashioned beach reads.  You'll finish them in a day or two and be entertained every moment.
I loved Wonder.  It may make its way to an all time favorite list.  Every student and parent should read this book and cherish it.  Wonder is the type of story made for curling up and sharing, for talking and connecting.  Its one of the best nonfiction books I've read recently.

And because I'm a book fanatic (and I've seen people posting their favorite books on facebook) I thought I'd share my all-time favorite/inspiring books.  I tried to come up with just my top 10 but ultimately had to break it up so I could share a few more. In no particular order....

Top 10 Non-Fiction
1. The Emperor of All Maladies
2. Love, Medicine and Miracles
3. The Irresistible Revolution
4.  Tuesdays with Morrie
5. The Last Lecture
6. Marley and Me
7.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
8.  The Omnivore's Dilemma
9. Cutting for Stone
10.  Still Alice

Top 10 Fiction
1.  Water for Elephants
2.  Room
3. My Sister's Keeper
4.  The Alchemist
5.  Redeeming Love
6. The Shack
7. The Art of Racing in the Rain
8. The Husband's Secret
9. A Thousand Splendid Suns
10.  I'll Love You Forever

Saturday, September 6, 2014


It's amazing how much can happen in a short span of our lives.
About four years ago Braydon and I stood on the shore of Smith Mountain Lake and announced our marriage vows.
Now our two year old is enjoying the same lake, the same dock, the same sacred space as we shared on that special day.  I love that we re-visit our place of "I do's"multiple times each year and that we share this special place with our growing family
As the extended Andrews family evolves (welcoming its 8th grandchild in October!), Shiloh (Braydon's parent's home) has transformed into a child's dream come true.
Braydon and I are convinced we don't need passes to Disneyland or Six Flags any time in the next 10 years.  Shiloh has everything from water sports, a mini roller coaster, and sandy beaches to home cooked food, endless toys, wooded trails and, most of all, two amazing grandparents.
This was our first visit to Shiloh without any other visitors; while we certainly missed all the cousins, brothers and sisters, it was special to have precious one on one time with Mama Boo and Papa Deke.
Traveling with the two kids had its challenges but it was so worth it.  We loved spending our days outside and our nights relaxing by the fire. 
Lucy was also blessed to meet her Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather.  She showered her Great Grandma with so many smiles and giggles....it was a time I will always remember.
The theme and highlight of our trip was cows.
Yes, cows.  
Our boy has an incredible obsession with cows.  So much so we actually had to be careful when mentioning the C-O-W (there were major tears when we arrived at a hardware store and he was expecting to see a cow there).
It just didn't get old for this little guy.
Kip could have sat and watched the cows and goats for hours and hours.  I think he still associates putting on his muck boots with feeding farm animals.
And he still carries his cow figurine all around the house (its even made its way to the dinner table...while eating his favorite food, hamburgers, oh the irony).
We had the unique privilege to watch cows being milked at a local dairy farm.  This was an incredible process and was fascinating to watch for both the adults and the toddler.
Did you know that one dairy cow produces about 7 galloons of milk per day?
We love spending time and making memories with Mama Boo and Papa Deke, we only wish we all lived just a bit closer.
Thank you for an amazing weekend away and a time we will always cherish.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why I Love the Challenge

Trapped.  That’s the best way to describe someone with ALS.  A fully functioning mind trapped in a body that can’t move a finger or easily breathe on its own.  A disease that overtakes a body, abandoning the soul and mind of movement and independence. 

I’ve always felt called to work with and help people with cancer; it’s my vocation as a nurse and as a person.  However over the past two years as a hospice nurse my heart has transformed, molded and empathized with so many other diseases.  ALS tops the list.

ALS is a degenerative disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.  The break down and subsequent death of nerve cells cause the brain to lose its ability to control and initiate muscle movement. After the disease paralyzes the extremities, it creeps into the respitory systems and robs the ability to breathe.  Individuals and families are faced with the harrowing decision of a life dependent on a ventilator (breathing machine) or a death of respitory failure. At this time there is no cure for ALS and very limited treatment options.  
ALS takes robust, young people and transforms them over the course of years into completely dependent, nonfunctioning bodies.  The disease affects the person, family and support system to their absolute core.  People with ALS require 24 hour caregiving, extensive protection against infections and pressures sores, heavy equipment to assist in mobility, computers to help with communication and relentless love, empathy and grace.
The ALS ice bucket challenge isn’t perfect in explaining the disease and the basis is a little confusing (dumping clean, ice cold water over your head so you don’t have to donate?), but the challenge is spreading awareness and raising money. At this time, ALS always results in death.  The main hope is in research and advancement of medicine.
Awareness is essential to the battle.  Awareness allows people to understand the need, grace and empathy required for the battle.  Awareness stirs our souls and moves our bodies to help those who are truly in need.  Awareness motivates us to donate our time, energy and money to a cause that is desperately in need of help. 

Obviously there are many other awful diseases in our world and many worthy causes in need of money and donations.  The ice bucket movement spreading through our nation and world not only brings hope for awareness and advancement in ALS, it proves we can come together for good, we do have resources to share and we do have hearts that can support and love others.  
Just like Jesus did.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2 Months

Lucy Lillian 2 Months
Weight: 11lbs 6oz, 53rd percentile
Height: 26 in, 100th percentile 
Apparently Lucy grew 4 inches in 1 month, is that some sort of infant record?  Or perhaps just inaccurate measuring at the doctor's office.

Dear Miss Lulu,
Lucy isn't even a sweet enough name for you.  I've coined you as my little Lulu.  Your dad doesn't love the nickname but its perfect for you.  
You are two months and two weeks old.  You are laid back, easy going, smiley and an incredible blessing.
There are times you remind me so much of your big brother (Kip on the left, Lucy on the right), but there are other times you have your own look and own persona.  
You have given your dad and I so much grace these first two months.  You rarely cry, are so patient and sleep like a beauty.  You love to snooze and only fuss when you want to sleep.  You nap throughout the day and sleep throughout the night. Oh please don't change.
Your brother cannot get enough of you.  He is always wanting to hold, rock and cuddle up to you.  We are still working on being gentle but you're a tough little one and have survived some hearty body slams .  He calls you 'baby' most of the time except in the morning he says, "HI OOO-CEE."  He loves showing you off to his daycare buddies and is always saying, "oh no! baby?!" when he doesn't see you.  
He runs into your room in the morning to watch you sleep.  I often find his pacifiers, toy horses and puzzle pieces hidden in your bassinet.
Your dad and his friends have a lot of little girls on their hands.  I have a feeling God has big plans in store for these daughters and dads.  Something tells me they'll learn just as much from you as you do from them.  
You are wearing size 3-6 month clothes and most of your pants are more like capris.  You are smiling, grasping at objects, kicking up your legs and making the most adorable little laughs.
I am continually humbled by the love that surrounds you.  Little do you know how many people have held you, prayed for you and supported you in just two short months.  From meals and gifts to phone calls, visits and messages, you are one treasured little girl.  
Oh dear Lulu,
thank you for reminding me to praise God in the happy moments, to seek God in the difficult moments, to worship God in the quiet moments, to trust God in the painful moments and to thank God in every moment.