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Archive for August, 2007

bon voyage

In about six hours we will be boarding a plane bound for Rome!

We cannot believe this day has finally arrived, nor can we believe how difficult it is to leave Ava behind. In January it seemed completely fine to leave Ava with three of her favorite playmates for two weeks, now it seems impossible.

Ava was overjoyed today to be reunited with Naomi, Audrey, and Cate that we hardly saw her all day. She assured us that she would not miss us and that she wanted to stay behind. This is her special trip!

Please pray that the Lord will watch over and protect our sweet Ava as she stays with our dear cousins. Pray also that the Lord would comfort her and help her to be happy and compliant. And while you are at it, you can pray that the Lord will comfort this mama’s heart as she leaves her baby behind.

See you in a couple weeks!

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Strawberry Cone for Ava, Nutty Bar for Shane, and Chocolate Cone for Levi

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and then she falls asleep.

After two weeks of strategizing with painstaking detail about how I could give Ava a rest time, have her hair done, her wedding clothes on, and be at the church for pictures at 1:45 pm (the time she is normally sleeping), Ava’s internal sleep clock took over all and she fell asleep on the five minute drive from the church to the park. She was completely comatose for the next two hours while she was transferred from lap to lap under the blazing, August sun.

She woke up just in time to add her sweetness to the chapel pictures and line up for the wedding march.


As the well practiced flower girl, Ava was able to deplete her basket of petals in a mere three handfuls. And after having a two hour power nap neither the pew nor Grandma Penny could contain the wedding excitement of this three-year-old. I heard “Mama!” right before I saw a red lollipop waving flower girl fly across the front of the church and up the stairs to take her place next to her “mama.” I felt my face turn the shade the Charm Blow Pop that Ava continued to wave at the congregation attempting to listen to the pastor’s address to the couple. He was exhorting Chad and Emily to speak in song, hymns and spiritual songs to each other, and I was quite certain that at any moment Ava might take up this encouragement and begin to awe the guests with her musical talents in addition to her baton twirling skills.

My friend Jennifer (who was the wedding photographer) claims to have some sweet pictures of this unplanned performance. I have yet to see them, but here is one snap that I adore:


You can view more of her amazing wedding photography at www.jennifermckinneyphotography.blogspot.com!

Ava twirled and danced, twirled and danced, and twirled her away around the reception. She was certain that as the very special flower girl she must have a place at the head table, even if that place was Mama’s lap in front of Mama’s food and most importantly Mama’s cake. She had climbed her way up there during the oh so critical best man’s speech. The only way the bridesmaids and I could keep her from upstaging her uncle was to stick more pieces of cake in front of her. After three pieces of wedding cake and half a piece of chocolate torte she pushed away the remainder and declared something that I never thought I would hear her say: “here you go Mama, I’ve had enough cake!” She flew out of my lap to join the gift bearers and resume her role as wedding twirler.

As our Saab light blinked midnight, Ava’s glitter slippers hit the car floor and her curls pillowed the little head dreaming of petals, dancers, music, kissing and most importantly, cake!

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happy day

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practice makes perfect

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follow the leader

“So Mama, I made you a map ’cause actually you don’t know how to get there so I actually just made this for you so that you would know how to get there ’cause I want to go to the beach and you need to know where to go. And actually you don’t know where it is ’cause I know where it is so I’m in charge of this ‘kay?”

(Cartographer’s Note: The long lines and swirls are the map, and the small squiggles at the top of the page are the directions)

So for anyone who actually hears me talk, do I say “so” and “actually” a lot?

After a quick restructuring of leadership and a reminder to Miss Ava that she is in fact the follower and I am the leader and the driver for that matter we set off for the beach that I successfully drive to on a weekly basis.

Mid-way to the beach, I gave Ava her map so she could navigate the remainder of our trip. She happily obliged.

“Go nor than turn right and then actually you need to take another right and then go straight through the nor and then the right and after that actually you take a left up at that part and then you go nor and then you turn left at the corner and you won’t see it at first but it is just up ahead….”

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In her short life, Ava has exhibited quite a bit of initiative. She surveys a given situation, sizes it up and quickly responds with what she believes to be the appropriate action. Of course, this has resulted in stuffed animals swathed in Auquafor, gift clothes robbed of their shopping tags, pedestal sink smothered in “cleaning” bubbles, and countless other spills and experiments. What she lacks in wisdom, she makes up for in zeal.

This afternoon Grandma Penny picked Ava and me up from ballet to take us to Grandpa Great’s surprise birthday party. As we were driving along, Ava began a detailed description of the card that she made for Grandpa Great. “It says, ‘Happy Birthday Grandpa Great’ and I glued it and I colored it and I mailed it.”

“You what?” I responded as I doubled-checked my purse.

“I mailed it. ‘Cause the mail lady is going to give it to him so he feels better, ’cause he’ll like my card.”

That’s right. She took her card out of my bag (because really why would you put a card in a bag) and marched down to the mailbox and reached up and dropped it in. Granted our mailbox is attached to our front door, so she was able to “mail” it from the safety of our home.

Since we were already en route to meet Grandpa Great, we did in fact get there before the card. While Ava arrived at the party empty-handed, she quickly made up for it with hugs and kisses.


Perhaps a card of hugs is better than a handmade card after all!

Either way, we will be sure to properly mail Grandpa Great’s card right after a lesson on addresses and stamps.

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