"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thanksgiving '17 // Part 2

Friday morning was a slow kind of morning. Cody got up really early and left the house before the sun came up for his traditional black Friday guys' hunting day. I took my time crawling out of bed, Jaden enjoyed some videos on our new iPad and Brandon put together his new Christmas puzzle. We eventually wandered over to Mom and Dad's to help them adorn their own Christmas tree and watch another afternoon UNI basketball game.

Friday night we headed to Main Street for our traditional Whiskey Road dinner on the corner of 4th and Main. I always make sure to get reservations here early as it's the perfect dining spot to enjoy during the Holiday Hoopla celebration. It's nice to be warm and cozy inside with views of the growing crowd and the musical stage right outside the windows.

Every single year a special kind of magic happens to us on Holiday Hoopla night. Whether it's Santa calling Jaden's name from his sleigh as the crowd parades down Main Street, my own dad getting to welcome Santa into town in front of a crowd of hundreds of people... or Mrs. Claus approaching both our boys as the fireworks explode above our heads... every year has brought something special. (There also was the one year when Brandon was really little and peed all over Cody's shoulders in the middle of welcoming Santa to town). ;) This year's magic involved an incredibly nice couple that was extremely appreciative of the great work Cody had done on their home and surprised us by paying for our entire table's meal ticket. Not just the four of us - but my mom and dad, too.

It was one of the warmest Holiday Hoopla nights on record, but the great thing about our community is that people show up no matter what the temperature. Kids on their Daddy's shoulders and Santa Claus coming to town never gets old. The vision of hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder to follow Santa as he leads us all up Main Street is woven into the fabric of our kids' growing up memories. We sure do love you, Cedar Falls. You are special.

Santa and the crowd lit the tree, and Mrs. Claus found our boys and greeted them by name once again underneath the confetti sky.

We came home to new Christmas jammies, a Christmas movie, hot cocoa in Santa mugs, Christmas bedtime stories... and a warm night around the tree.

The rest of our long weekend included a Saturday morning small business shopping trip with Emily, a UNI football playoff win in the Dome and another family Thanksgiving on Sunday afternoon.

Long, sweet Christmas break... we are ready for you.

Monday, December 11, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: We have been having a heck of a time Christmas shopping for you this year! Luckily all of the best ideas your daddy and I shopped for early but it's left us with little options to suggest to grandparents and aunts and uncles. You have grown a serious obsession with Lamborghini's and motorcycles and hover boards, and I can assure you that none of those items will be wrapped up and placed under the tree for you this year. ;)

Brandon: The two baby calves out at Hick's Place this past weekend stole the show for you. You did the whole Santa thing and enjoyed one wild tractor pull ride with crazy Hick, but you loved most of all going in and out of the little animal pen to sit with and love on those two-day old calves. Your Christmas shopping has been a piece of cake this year, and I think you're going to be pretty happy with all the goodies you unwrap in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thanksgiving '17

Memories of our extended weekend and this first Turkey day in our new home...

Tuesday while the boys were in school, I brought up all the Christmas decor (minus the tree) from the basement and played one of Santa's elves readying our space for December. I turned on the Christmas music and the coffee, spent the whole morning figuring out how to decorate this bigger home of ours and then enjoyed a quiet afternoon with books and Netflix all to myself. One of my favorite days of the year and a tradition I plan on maintaining every holiday season.

Wednesday morning was quiet and slow with the boys at home before attending a lunchtime birthday party with the Outlaw team at Get Air - followed by an afternoon movie. The Star was adorable and entertaining and the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. Even Jaden admitted to liking it more than he thought he would.

We kept the boys up past their bedtimes on Wednesday night, and my parents came over to watch a late UNI basketball game on TV and a big win for our Panthers.

A slow and easy Thanksgiving morning. We decorated our tree, decided the Macy's Thanksgiving parade has too many commercials and switched to Christmas cartoons instead. We headed to Mom and Dad's at noon and enjoyed our turkey meal in front of another afternoon UNI basketball game on TV... and some time outside with Dasher. 60 degrees, sunshine and no coats needed.

Thanksgiving evening we headed over to Uncle Bud and Aunt Rita's for a big gathering with all of my cousins and a dessert course around the kitchen island. The boys and cousin Andrew put together edible turkeys, we had fun with Cookie the dog and headed home around bedtime to enjoy our first night around the Christmas tree lights.