"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."

Monday, March 19, 2018


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2018"

Jaden: You finally wrapped up your 4th grade basketball season over the weekend with one final championship and trophy. I have to admit that when we returned home from Dubuque later on Saturday, I felt a little sense of relief that our heavy commitment to basketball is over for just a bit. Our weekends now free up just a tad, which we desperately need right now. We have so much to do to ready this home for the baby! You have mixed feelings... excited that your Sunday and Tuesday practices are over for a while but also knowing that you will miss your teammates and the competition. As it turns out, you ended up at the rec gym on Sunday afternoon anyways. And you're already asking when your first football practice is. ;)

Brandon: You found this old Noah's Ark piggy bank at Grandpa Don and Grandma Alda's and immediately thought of your baby sister, wanting to bring it home for her and paint it with some pinks and blues to go in her room. You did such a good job on it, taking your time, being careful to not to overdo it... and I just love how much you already love her even though you haven't even met her yet. Soon, buddy. The due date is four months from today!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday // Celebrating Brandon's 8th Birthday

It was a whirlwind of a week. You found out you were going to get a baby sister, Daddy had a birthday, too, Jaden was celebrating a State Championship... and half of our family was out of town. I was feeling emotionally guilty for not being able to fully devote all of our attention on you, but Daddy fixed that by whisking you away the night of your birthday for your first two-day guys hunting trip - just you and Daddy and some of Daddy's closest friends and hunting dogs. The craziness of our week didn't seem to matter to you, as the night of your birthday you opened some of your favorite gifts - Disney and Star Wars board games you'd asked for, a Q-Ba Maze set that has already gotten hours of play, a new Lego set - and an archery set and some Star Wars toys. And... your biggest request: a Yoda birthday cake.

We love you to pieces - those big brown eyes, squishy cheeks, adorable smile... and sharp wit and smarts. You get embarrassed when I call you handsome, but I can't get enough of you buddy!

Monday, March 12, 2018


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2018"

Jaden: I went out and bought some new summer shirts for you last week, only to bring them home and discover that you have outgrown sizes 10-12 and are now in the 12-14 range. Later that night you came out of your bedroom with these pajama bottoms on that would put Steve Erkle to shame. I think we're past due to go through your clothes since you seem to be growing out of all of them! The timing is perfect since we started the build out of your basement bedroom over the weekend, and you'll moving to the lower level in no time! (It's also getting increasingly hard to take pictures of you. I'm not sure how much longer my weekly portraits of you will last). ;)

Brandon: You and Daddy went on a hunting trip last weekend for your birthday, and Daddy was so proud of you by the time you both returned home! He said you were such a trooper, fitting in with the rest of the crew perfectly... and that you and Daddy shared some awesome bonding time and some special moments. You are still my cute little babe in my eyes, but you show us every day with your wisdom, your wit, your speech and your actions - just how fast you are growing up!

Saturday, March 3, 2018


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2018"

Jaden: A picture taken minutes after you won a State Championship. A weekend for the memory books - watching you and your teammates work your absolute tails off to accomplish a goal you set when you finished just three points shy of the title last year. You're a 4th grader and you're a state champion. Let that sink in!

Brandon: You were an absolute gem during our basketball weekend, having so much fun with the other siblings and taking full advantage of the hotel pool and hot tub. You never complained once, it's been fun watching your relationships grow with the Outlaw families.

Friday, March 2, 2018

To Brandon, On Your 8th Birthday

Sweet Brandon, you have been the baby of our family for eight years now. And even though your status as youngest child is about to change here pretty soon, you will always be my baby. I can't believe you are eight! I can't believe it's been eight years since that frantic and unplanned c-section. Your entry into the world might have been less than calm and peaceful, but you quickly proved to be an angel of an infant and have grown up to be a young man that we are so proud to call ours.

You have no idea how cute you are, but if Mommy had a dime for every time someone told me that, I could take you to Disney World every month of the year! You get self conscious about your size, often comparing yourself or being compared to your much taller bigger brother... but what you might lack in height you make up for in quick wit, incredible smarts... and amazing determination and creativity. You are one smart cookie, and I tell people all the time that you could move all the mountains if you wanted to.

It has been one huge year for you. We moved you out of the only home you had ever lived in, away from your school where you were friends with everyone and into a school where you knew no one. You found out you were going to be a big brother for the first time, took up golf and guitar, decided to join cub scouts, passed the swim test at the Falls, braved one massive water slide after another, and further grew your interests in all things Star Wars, Lego... and Disney World.

You learned how to shoot a bb-gun for the first time, are about to embark on your very first hunting trip and will be starting track in just about a month now. You quickly made good new friendships at your new school, learned how to ride your bike without training wheels and finally grew tall enough to drive your own bumper car! ;)

And you continue to be one stubborn kiddo! You are strong-willed, causing us to butt heads from time to time as we try to out-stubborn one another, but you also have a tremendous servant's heart, are sensitive to other people's needs and feelings... and I know that you are going to be an incredible big brother. You speak to your baby sister through my belly, pray for her all the time and are counting down the weeks to her arrival.

You aren't into sports at the same level as your brother, but you are into so many other adorable boy things that he never cared for! It's been so fun to watch how different your interests are -- yet special all the same. You love watching videos on YouTube about building and engineering things, your obsession with all things Star Wars only continues to grow... and I don't think anyone can lose themselves in a good Lego build like you can. You love shows like Lego Ninjago, Teen Titans Go and Wild Kratts. And you love to help - whether it's packing moving boxes, planting flowers or hauling new window trim in and out of the house... you are a hard worker and love to learn how to do new things.

You enjoy school because you enjoy learning, and you also greatly value your recess time! Daddy and I chuckle because you always sit in the very front seat of the bus on the way to school because you want to be the first one off the bus so that you aren't slow to get to the playground in the morning. ;) You are still an incredibly picky and stingy eater - unless you are served hamburgers, macaroni and cheese - or ice cream. :) It does cause friction sometimes at supper time, but if all else fails, a peanut butter sandwich never does.

I love our bond, buddy. I love how much and how well you love me. I love your love for Jesus, your innocent yet strong faith in God and how you are completely comfortable being your own unique individual self. You don't often try to conform to the ways of the world, but march to the beat of your own drum, while always remaining kind and welcoming to your peers around you.

You're going to do big things, buddy. God has given you drive and talents and smarts... and a soft, compassionate heart. Oh - and big brown eyes that would stop a train. :)

I love you to the moon. Happy eighth birthday, buddy.