"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."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

on a Tuesday morning

This weekend, we moved Jaden into his own room. Our two boys had been sharing a room for the last 3 1/2 years, as I had been using the third bedroom in our three-bedroom home as my home office. However, for the past several months I was hardly using that office to work out of - choosing to work mostly from the living room, the kitchen table or the back deck - and that office space of mine was starting to become more of a drop-zone than anything else. It was starting to give me a little bit of anxiety that a whole bedroom in our house was being wasted, so we made the decision to take down the bunk beds and give Jaden his own space.

And now after three nights of sleeping in their own beds, in their own rooms, the results are pretty fabulous! Sunday morning they both slept in until 8:30, and here we are on a Tuesday morning at 8:00, on vacation, and Jaden slept in until 7:30, currently downstairs watching the late Tampa Bay football game from last night that Daddy recorded for him, while Brandon remains sleeping! In fact, Brandon woke up at 6:30 this morning to go to the bathroom and put himself back to bed! Not a bad way to start off vacation.

Speaking of vacation, I'm looking forward to spending the next several days with these sillies. It's been a whirlwind two months with a job promotion, housing decisions and a busy summer. I have been needing this week to turn off the alarm clock, ignore the constant work emails and plan some time to cross those final items off our summer bucket list.

Have a good week!


Monday, August 24, 2015

34/52

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"


Jaden: First night of football practice - year two. Just like in baseball, his best friend Jack is on his team, and Jaden's even more focused than last year. His practices are a little longer this time around - an hour and 20 minutes each time, and his new coach ended this first practice asking if Cody would be an assistant coach again this year. These nights and Saturday mornings make this beloved season even better, and we're looking forward to the next two months watching these boys have fun together.

 
Brandon: Standing outside of daycare on his very last morning at Blessed Beginnings. We left the house early to pick up a bouquet of flowers for Mrs. W., and I drove to BB with a huge lump in my throat. Truthfully, I had been dreading this day - knowing I would struggle with it more than the actual first day of kindergarten. I hate goodbyes - I am horrible at them - and I just can't say enough about how much this place and these people have meant to us over the last few years. I was able to barely keep it together at drop-off until Brandon's best girl friend Kyla walked in right after us, also carrying orange flowers. The usually tough and put together Mrs. W couldn't handle it, threw her hands over her eyes and started crying, causing Kyla's mom to cry, and ruining my resolve to stay tear-free. We were all kind of a mess in that moment, surrounded by littles that couldn't figure out why all these crazy ladies were sobbing and hugging. I struggled all day, feeling sad and a little distracted, once again holding a lump in my throat all the way to pick-up at 5:00, and then lost it again watching Brandon hug all of his dear friends goodbye. Kyle must have picked up on my struggle because she came over to give me a big hug right before we walked out that door for the last time. I'm so glad that day is behind us and we can now look forward because it was truly a tough one. But Brandon? He rocked it. There's something so refreshing and comforting about little kids that don't fully understand the significance in goodbyes.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

the season we're in


"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." (C.S. Lewis)
 
I shared this quote on this blog back on January 26th of this year. We had just stuck a For Sale sign in our yard and all was uncertain, a little bit scary, but also very exciting. This quote had been printed on a church bulletin we received one Sunday morning in September of last year and had been sitting on top of a pile of papers in my desk drawer ever since. I knew back then that it was a sign of change coming. I thought I understood its meaning for us. Now knowing what I know, and having lived what we've lived through this year, I realize that my initial understanding wasn't quite on point. Yes, it's relevant for our lives today, but in a different way than interpreted all those months ago.

Our house didn't sell. We pulled it off the market at the end of July, and it's been a rocky couple of weeks of trying to figure out where to go from here - what to do next. We got our hopes up a couple of times during the six months it was listed, and really thought God was pulling a rabbit out of His hat on the day we pulled the sign out of the yard, as we had an interested shopper look at it that very night. That interested party has since disappeared, and our emotions have been all over the place. We didn't waste much time getting a second and a third opinion, as we at least wanted to have a plan for moving forward, even if our plan doesn't initially involve doing anything at this point. We sought council and guidance from someone we trust and do indeed now have a plan in place. But the immediate plan is to wait and do nothing right now.  Which is probably good because one of the MANY things we've learned through this journey is that when you do make plans, God usually has His own set of plans at work. And His plans trump ours.

It's not been an easy year. It's been a year full of blessings, absolutely. We've had a fun summer and made countless memories and life is still very good. But we have been challenged and stretched and experienced highs and lows that we weren't expecting.

But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of ...

We're disappointed but not out. If anything, my faith has only grown stronger, as I have pulled closer to Him to try to make sense of such great disappointment. I believe wholeheartedly in His plan for us even though His did not line up with mine this time. And yet there's so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. There's this Fall season ahead of us, watching my boy play football games every weekend, picking pumpkins and filling our cozy home with the sights and smells of the time of year we love most. There's the holiday season that awaits, visits from far away relatives, my parents building their new dream house and our new plans off in the distance. And in the immediate future there's next week - a week away from work - a week of time with my boys doing both big and small things - before they start school the following week. Before we start a new chapter. Life changes so quickly - so often. And there's much to find joy in.

And as my dad told me on the phone last night, "You will get there eventually. It's just going to take a little longer than any of us had expected." I just keep thinking of how good it's going to feel when we reach that place. How much we will appreciate it and how much we will have learned along the way.

Know what the first two things that popped up on my phone were today? On my Instagram feed, this reminder:
"Waiting on God is not only difficult. Sometimes it seems impossible because we live in a culture that demands everything now or even yesterday... Many of you are growing weary, frustrated, and even becoming doubtful to the point of giving up because the wait is discouraging you. You're believing in God for something to change that is taking longer than you expected... You're beginning to wonder if He is listening. God's timing is perfect and since He is perfect we can have joy in the waiting."

And on my blog feed, a post titled, "God is Always on Time."

I believe in signs. I believe in these signs. I believe that He is still working on us, through us and for us. And I believe that when God delays, He always delays for a greater purpose.

***

A few snapshots of the past week. Can't wait to load my camera up with my boys next week as we say goodbye to summer...


































 

Monday, August 17, 2015

33/52

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"


Jaden: He's aged so much this summer. This weekend he was outside shooting hoops in the driveway, waiting on supper, when one of the older neighbor boys came over to join him. Our little seven year old had no trouble keeping up with that 10 year old boy in a game of one-on-one, and when he finally did come back inside, I immediately sent him to the shower before I'd let him sit on any furniture. He was dripping sweat everywhere and made our house smell like the inside of a locker room the minute he came in the door. A small glimpse into the reality of all the years to come, I know... :)


Brandon: A senior picture moment. But really... the last picture of my boy as he heads into his last week of daycare. When dropping him off this morning, I handed him the daycare check to put in the mailbox in the office, something he's always liked to help me do during Monday morning drop-offs. It was a surreal feeling - that last weekly daycare check after almost eight years of writing them. That last Monday morning drop-off - the last Monday morning of reading off the list of daily activities on the daycare calendar hanging on our fridge. So many lasts. So many firsts ahead. So many mixed emotions. These next couple of weeks are going to be quite a trip.

Monday, August 10, 2015

32/52

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"


Jaden: I think he's just the cutest little baseball player there ever was. We have two more weeks of this season, four more games, and then we head straight into football practices. As busy as we are this time of year, I really do love it. Jaden has always had the largest cheering section at every game ever since he started playing t-ball a few years ago, benefits of having our entire family living so close to us, but last week we added even more people, as my aunt and uncle moved to town from Iowa City. We love watching him play, love seeing how much he's progressed since last summer, and love these times spent as an entire family watching the kids grow up while doing something they love. His best friend Jack is on his team, too, and it's been fun to share in these nights with Jack's family as well.


Brandon: Two weeks left at daycare for this one. I think the reality of that is starting to sink in for him, as he knows he's about to say goodbye to his very best friends. But we've been talking up school a lot and all of the fun that's ahead for him. He's comforted to know that he will have the same kindergarten teacher that Jaden had, is excited for art class and recess, and last night was thrilled to find out that he can choose chocolate milk at lunch time - every single day. ;) Lots of change ahead for all of us... but we've got this.

Friday, August 7, 2015

August Thoughts

At the start of summer, it almost feels like there's this endless blank canvas ahead of us. So many possibilities and unlimited potential and time. And here we are heading into the second week of August, and I feel like it all went too fast again.


August is a bittersweet month every year. These summer months with young kids at home are such precious times, and it's always hard to close the door on another season of them being little and being around to make these memories with us. Yet there's so much to look forward to as we turn the page from one season to another. There's Jaden's flag football season, college tailgating and football Saturdays, Sundays filled with more football on TV and comfort food on the stove. There's pumpkin patches ahead, and Autumn candles lining the store shelves and cozy sweaters and crisper nights and a chance to slow our pace just a little bit as we find more time to gather at home around the family table at night for dinners and homework together. But yes, it's bittersweet, this time of year. The seasons change so often and quickly around here, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I just find it a struggle to keep up with it all sometimes. I'm a wife, a mom, a professional and a woman of faith. And all of those pieces of who I am cause waves of change to come in and out of my days and my seasons at a speedy pace. As long as there our children under our roof, August has been and will continue to feel as though it's the end of one chapter and the start of a new. This particular August just happens to be a big one.

And so here's to these last few weeks of summer. To the baseball games we've yet to play, the boat trips up the river we're still to take. Here's to highly anticipated family rides on Papa Tim's new pontoon boat and our upcoming day at the waterpark. Here's to a round of family mini-golf and an old neighborhood friend's wedding. Here's to meeting our new teachers and our new flag football coach and saying goodbye to a very special daycare and group of teachers that have meant the world to us during these past few very important years of nurturing and preparing our babies. To the simple moments at home - watering flowers on the deck as the sun sinks down earlier and earlier every evening, to swinging from our tree as the leaves above prepare to change colors, and to making chalk rainbows in our driveway before the rain comes to wash it all away again. Here's to August. And to these final weeks of making memories of a summer that's been so good to us.

A boatload of images captured to show how we've ushered in our final month of Summer 2015...

















































































It's true - every summer tells a story. Let the pages of this one never be forgotten.