Our family

Our family

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Playing Catch Up

Lucy, dear, its time for a much past-due update.
You are 8 months old, I still cannot believe it.
We have a lot to catch up on.
At 6 months you were
16 lb 7 oz (54th percentile)
2 ft 7 in (100th percentile)
22nd percentile for head circumference
You are my sweet baby but you are also the length of your 1-2 year old friends so sometimes you trick us into thinking you are quite a bit older.
You spent your first Christmas sick with a virus.  And in the season of giving, you shared it with the rest of the family.  We were all pretty under the weather but I forced you into your Christmas dress, while your brother opted for Frozen pajamas
You began eating solid foods around 5 months and have quickly transitioned to eating finger foods by yourself.  You love cherrios, pancakes and yogurt.
You are the queen of cat naps, you sleep in 20-30 minute spurts but you wake up rested, rejuvenated and always have a huge grin on your face.
At seven months you had two teeth, slept through the night and started school at the same daycare as your brother.  You started scooting around with an army crawl and love to explore all around the kitchen floor.
And on the subject of your brother, you look just like him.  There are subtle differences with your dainty fingers, long long lean body and your darker eyes but there is no question you and Kip are brother and sister.  I always dress you in pink otherwise I have constant deja vu of Kip at your age.
Kip takes his role as big brother very seriously, he is always looking out for you.  He is constantly providing protection, guidance and entertainment; always handing you dollies, stuffed animals and books or clapping your hands and playing 'patty cake'.  He tries to feed you hamburgers and cookies and is convinced a pacifier should always be kept in your mouth.  
We don't call you Lucy all that often.  Kip only calls you Luce, I prefer Lulu or Lu, your dad calls you sweet girl and the occasional Juicy Lucy.
We are blessed by your joyful spirit and your easy going nature.  You smile freely and rarely fuss.  You've given us grace in the transition to a family of four and everyday you capture our hearts a little more.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

You are the Brave One

You are the brave one. You are the courageous one.  You strive for peace and yearn for comfort. You battle and you persevere.  You are the brave one, the calm one.  I am the blessed one.  You know the end is approaching.  I am the one sitting and nodding.  I am the one savoring your tranquility and your peace.  I am the one in awe of your presence, your confidence and your humility.  You are the one teaching the sacredness of each day and each moment.  How do you stand so confident and full of grace? How do you hold back the tears? How do you not run away?  Your presence is breath taking, your situation incomprehensible, your courage inspiring. You are the brave one enduring it all, the one shedding light and endlessly breathing your blessing to the world around you.

A letter to my hospice patients that turned into a letter to Jesus too...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fall 2014

It's ironic this post is entitled "fall" amidst feeling (and looking) like the first of February outside.
This comes after a bit of blogging break as our family adjusts to a new schedule and routine this fall.  Braydon moved to a new job at Target in September.  While his new position is a great blessing its left mama with quite a few more solo hours during the work week.  Isn't funny how in the hours alone we discover how much we love the hours together?
God is blessing our family with finding time, energy and opportunities to make cherished memories together during this busy season of life.  From random Tuesdays at Mall of America, Sunday nights at the splash pad and visits at lunch break....we are discovering our new normal with an ever changing and evolving schedule.  I'm also loving more one on one time with other mamas and their little ones during the days and evenings (and not to mention my own mom and dad...our life savers and saving grace as we refer to them).
The terrible twos really are not so terrible.  Of course, we experience the occasional meltdown in Target, the constant turning off and on of light switches and the diet that consists of milk, waffles and applesauce...but our two year old is a genuinely kind, sweet and nurturing little boy.  The way he loves his little sister is incredible and is inspirational for all of us to watch.
While Kip's sweetness grows, Miss Lulu has taken over trouble maker in our house (haha, that's hard to say of a 5 month old).  Lulu continues to be a smiley, joy-filled little gal but she is developing way too fast.
She eats just a little less than Kip (literally), moves just as much as him and lets us know her presence more than anyone in our household.  She continues to be our easy baby but has certainly found her voice.  Lucy loves being active, kicking her legs constantly, rolling over and over, chewing on everything and eating her weight in baby food.
Halloween was an absolute blast.  Kip dressed up as a cow every day of the week leading up to Halloween, he had so many parties and gatherings.  Who knew toddlers have such busy holiday schedules?  Kip loves his farm animals so the cow costume was only fitting.  Our neighborhood was inundated with trick or treaters and Kip had a blast running around with his little buddies (and didn't seem to notice that his fingers were basically frost bit by the time we got home....our true Minnesotan). 
Kip and "Buce-daddy" hanging on their new bean bag chairs.  
At almost 6 months Kip and Lucy have taken on their own looks (Kip on left, Lucy on right).  But I still see some little similarities with their smile and bright blue eyes.
I hope and pray everyone has a safe, healthy and family-filled Thanksgiving holiday this week.  Our culture and human nature is so quick to point out the deficiencies in our lives; I hope you can join me this week in finding and being thankful for even the smallest, little blessings surrounding you each day.

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.