"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."

Friday, February 12, 2016

February Ramble

 Feeling: Anxious and excited as I can sense the season's change coming. We have such fun plans for spring and summer, and I plan on being as recreational and outdoorsy as possible. I love that these boys are at the perfect age for adventures with us. I spent some time yesterday looking over old pictures, Instagrams and blog posts from last spring and summer, and I just got so antsy that I had to get up and DO something. So... I worked out for a half an hour. I guess I should look at summer pictures every day. ;) Last night Brandon walked into our bedroom and asked if we could stay up late this summer and catch fireflies in our pajamas again. As if I would ever say no to that?!

Thinking about: How busy we're about to get. Both boys have weeknight swimming lessons in March, Jaden starts weeknight baseball in April, Cody's busy work season will be kicking into high gear again in about a month, and we're going to be busy with lessons or athletic activities two nights a week from March through July. I know it will be a lot, but I also can't wait. Maybe this is why God gave us winters. To force us to hibernate when we can. Not sure I could maintain a summer's schedule year-round!

Eating: Too much comfort food! There's been a lot of pasta, soups and Chinese takeout around here lately, not to mention - it's Shamrock Shake season. I'm excited to fire up the grill and get back to some protein and vegetables. Lord, help me stay away from the  boys' Valentine candy bag when they get home from school this afternoon...

Watching: Fixer Upper on Netflix (I finally joined the party and now I'm addicted. Even the boys watch it), Jack Hanna's Into the Wild, Real Housewives, and I'm a sucker for all the new Chicago shows. I love that 9:00 hour at night when the boys are in bed, the candles are lit and my pajamas are on. I ignore the notification sounds on my phone, warm up a cup of French Vanilla or hot cocoa and finally exhale from the day.

Loving: Our family Bible reading time every night. Ever since Jaden was gifted his Adventure Bible at church a couple of weeks ago we've changed up our bedtime reading routine to allow more time for chapters out of the Bible every single night. Instead of a few picture books every night, we read a chapter out of the Bible, a chapter out of our fiction book and now just one picture book every night before bed. I love that we're getting into the Bible on a daily basis now, and it's become one of my favorite parts of our day. And I love the Adventure Bible because it offers easy to understand facts, comparisons and discussion starters to help our kids better understand things as we read. It sparks great discussion every night, and I'm so proud that the boys genuinely love this reading time, too. We all pile into one of their bed's, blankies and stuffed animals in hand, teeth already brushed - and it's the perfect activity before light's out.

Spending time: Building forts, designing Lego cities, holding family game nights and movie nights, battling each other in Mario and going to UNI basketball games. As much as I dreaded these months of January and February, it's been pretty good to us this year. The boys have handled cabin fever probably better than I have, and I'm soaking up what's left of these dark and cold nights because it's all changing very soon.

Thankful for: Jobs that provide for our family, an email from Blessed Beginnings telling us that they have a spot for both boys this summer (I was so thankful, I even shed some tears. We love that place.), 40-degree days in the middle of winter, God's plan, four seasons. And Target.

Remembering: Junior Panther Night a few days ago when Brandon took a step out of his comfort zone and agreed to participate in some athletic activity for a couple of hours. Oh my gosh, was it the cutest thing. This little boy who has always sat and watched from the sidelines as his brother puts on a show went out there and acted like he'd done it all before. He learned some "juking" moves from the Panther football players, he made three baskets in a row with the UNI basketball team, he finished first in a relay race and long jumped into the sand pit with the UNI track team, and he also hung out with the soccer and softball girls, spent some time with the wrestlers on the wrestling mat and worked on his golf game with the golf team. Action shots taken from a distance - not the clearest images, but I adore every one of them. I'm so proud of him for having so much fun that he's still talking about it.

Looking forward to: An indoor swimming birthday party, spring around the corner, tulips on the table, evening boat rides, spring swimming lessons and baseball nights, Mom and Dad's new house, Easter egg hunts, new bike tires and family bike rides, windows open, deck nights, the fresh start a new season brings. So much good ahead.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Snow Play

You'll have to excuse me for the extreme overload of pictures in this post. It turns out my camera is suffering more severely from cabin fever than I am, and all it took was a sniff of fresh air and natural light, and it just couldn't stop snapping.

In the last two weeks we've had two blizzard warnings, about five-six inches of snow, freezing cold temperatures and 40 degree days with sunshine. Hello, February in Iowa.

And though some of these days have been too cold to even walk to the mailbox to get the mail, we've had a couple of days where I have sent the boys outside, and we didn't come in for hours at a time. It's true that I cannot wait for spring and open windows and dinner off the grill - spring fever is starting to overtake my thoughts, and the first sight of tulips at HyVee yesterday didn't help. Part of me is paying no attention to the fact that Valentine's Day is a few days away as I keep thinking ahead straight to Easter. There's good in these cold months. We're forced to slow down, I have zero guilt when doing nothing but snuggling under blankets every single night at about 8:30 and I have no problem living in sweatshirts as a work-from-home mama. But by February, enough is enough.

These few days of almost spring-like temperatures were needed.

Jaden reconnected with his basketball hoop. Snow pants, boots, gloves and mounds of slush under his feet did not stop him from practicing his hook shot over and over again. (And how he consistently makes hook shots with gloves and bulky boots on is beyond me).

(His exact words at this moment: "THIS is a blizzard??" It was a little over-hyped.)

We practiced getting our footing on our new snow board that our neighbors gifted to us.

We tried out our new sled from Santa.

We dug up the snow until we could find the mud and grass underneath. Yes, it's still there.

And we finally built a snowman.

But the highlight was our Saturday afternoon at our new favorite sledding hill. We discovered it by accident, it's conveniently located very near our house, and it's a hidden gem that isn't known by many making it much less crowded than the most popular hills in town.

The first two times taking the snow board down the hill, Jaden didn't fall once. It was pretty incredible to watch him master it so quickly, but then the pressure built and he started wiping out after that. ;)

Here he is offering me his hand... "I'll help you climb the hill so you don't fall, Mommy!"

I hadn't gone sledding myself since I was a kid. We had so much fun.

Thankful for a lot of hours outside the last week but ready to trade in our boots for flip flops and our snow boards for bikes and boats! We're getting closer!