"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 23, 2010

A Fun Giggly Moment with My Tiny Guy!

Brandon is at one of my favorite ages. He's still a baby - but his personality is blossoming, he's able to interact with people at a high level, he's mobile and tries to be independent... but he still needs his Mama, still likes to cuddle, still crawls up my pant leg many times a day just to let me know that he wants to be held by me. He's still squishy with baby fat, still without most of his hair, still has the most kissable cheeks ever created. I just adore him.

This morning we had a really fun couple of minutes. We played "chase" :) It started when he crawled into the kitchen, and I crawled after him. When he saw me coming after him, he started crawling faster until I caught up to him - with a big smile on his face and giggles. So then I crawled the other way - back into the living room, and he crawled after me quickly - smiling and giggling. This went back and forth. Every once in a while he would get into the kitchen and try and peek around the corner at me into the living room and then continue to crawl away from me - like we were playing hide and seek or peek-a-boo.

It was just a great start to the morning on a day when I realllllly didn't want to come to work! Last night we had a neat moment, too. Sometimes Cody brushes Jaden's teeth and tucks him into bed, and then I go in and read him his book and help him say his prayers. Cody will then be the one to put Bandon to bed. Sometimes it's the exact opposite. (Jaden's funny - sometimes he wants Mommy to brush his teeth - sometimes he wants Daddy to do it). On the nights when I'm putting Brandon in his crib, I hold him in his room and rock with him just for a minute while I sing him a song. He's getting used to this routine, so the minute I carried him into his room last night he immediately put his head down on my shoulder and waited for me to start singing to him. There's nothing better than a quiet baby falling asleep on your shoulder!

I wish I could keep Brandon at this age. I feel like I have the best of situations right now. My oldest is talking up a storm, smart, funny, - also at a really great age and not at all a baby anymore! I want to keep them both at the ages they are and not let them grow up!!! They both have birthdays coming up, and I want to say "No! You're not allowed to have birthdays!" :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Part 1 and 2

Whew! We survived a very busy weekend. I took Friday off for my birthday -- but more so just to get ready for the first two rounds of Christmas. I took the kids to daycare and spent all day running errands and baking. By the time I looked at the clock it was 3:45 in the afternoon, and I hadn't sat down yet ;)

On Saturday we went to my cousin Jodi's house in Cedar Falls for Christmas with my mom's side of the family. There were eight kids there (including our two). Ages ranged from 9 months (Brandon) - to 2nd grade (my cousin's son, Zak). The family get-togethers with this side of the family are always lots of fun. There's always WAY too much food... and I'm mad at myself that I didn't think to take a picture of all the food! Goodies/treats are always in abundance, and it's always so hard to figure out what to eat! I think for treats there were rice krispie bars, pumpkin pie, two kinds of brownies, peanut butter cookies, some kind of pretzel deals with m&m's, puppy chow... and I know I'm forgetting some. We had ham and potatoes and green beans and bread and soup and vegetables...and more!... :) YUM. But as much as Jaden loves to eat, he would hardly eat lunch because he wanted to keep playing. Because Jodi has three kids of her own, there is no shortage of toys in that house :) The whole basement is a kid's playroom practically.

When it was time to do presents, Jaden was all about it! This is the first year that he really completely understands presents. His first Christmas he was still a baby, last year he got excited for one present -- and then wanted to play with whatever was in it and didn't want to take the time to open the rest of his presents. This year... he totally gets it! Brandon of course just cared about the wrapping paper ;)
Here's Brandon opening his VERY FIRST Christmas present - EVER! :)
Jaden opening his very first present of the season - he was very excited to get a brand new Boz movie! He loves these movies. (For any moms out there - BOZ is a great series for your kids).
Jaden playing with one of the toys in the basement. :)
I cannot tell you how good Brandon was that day. (Jaden was, too). But I was slightly concerned about Brandon missing his nap and how he would hold up through all of the chaos... he was perfect. Didn't fuss once - not one bit.
This is my grandpa (my mom's dad - he's in his nineties) -- surrounded by all of his great grand kids! I was pretty impressed with how well my kids sat there for this picture ;)

On Sunday we went to church and then headed straight to Aplington and Cody's parents' house for Christmas with Cody's mom's side of the family. Again we ate too much food and again my kids did great. Everyone had a good chuckle at my expense... we all started drinking wine when we got there, and I got to drink my absolute FAVORITE wine - Raspberry from the Eagle City Winery near Ackley. This was the wine I was drinking when Cody proposed to me at the winery :) I really don't drink at all anymore - the acquired taste I once had has almost completely disappeared. But this wine is like juice to me... so... four glasses later... ;) I told Cody's dad that the ONLY thing I wanted for Christmas was my own bottle of Raspberry wine! :D

Both our kids passed out immediately on the drive home. I felt like doing the same thing!

Now onto this week! Today I picked up a gingerbread house making kit that I'm hoping to do with Jaden tonight. Thursday night (the night before Christmas Eve), Jaden and I are going to make a birthday cake for Jesus! This is a new tradition I really want to start and keep up. Then Christmas Eve we are going to the 5:00 church service with my parents and then back to our house to eat Jesus' birthday cake. Instead of leaving cookies for Santa, we're going to leave part of the cake for Santa. This way I can teach Jaden that even Santa celebrates Christmas because of Jesus :) Then Christmas morning we are going to get up and open presents just the four of us at our house... and let the kids play with their new things for a little while before heading to my parents' for brunch, presents and naps ;) After naps we are heading to Aplington for more Christmas with Cody's parents and sister and our niece. The day after Christmas we have another Christmas in Aplington with Cody's dad's side of the family at Cody's grandma's house. Whew!! Good thing I love Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CHRISTMAS!!

At one point last night, Cody said to me... "You are just like a little kid on Christmas morning." And I take that as a GREAT compliment :) He didn't say it to me because I was excited about opening MY presents. I had recently ordered two gifts for people that I was expecting to arrive yesterday, and I was very excited to hold them -- to actually be able to see them rather than just what I could see of them online. So I was kind of disappointed when I got home from work and there weren't any packages waiting by our doorstep. It came UPS -- so I never thought to actually check the mailbox. So after Cody got Jaden in his pajamas and I had Brandon settled in his swing with his bedtime bottle, I checked the tracking number of my delivery online and saw that it was indeed delivered. I slipped on my shoes -- no coat or socks -- and ran out to the mailbox in the dark freezing cold. I raced back inside, opened up the tiny packages and shrieked ;) And then I immediately had to gift wrap them and place them under the tree. I'm so excited that it's almost Christmas!

I decided two days ago to take tomorrow off (Friday). I got a jump start on Christmas shopping in November -- got the kids done, got our parents done, got our niece done. So I felt pretty good about myself. But then time flew by... and it is now two days before our first family Christmas, and I still have six presents that need to be bought. SO tomorrow I am taking the kids to daycare, I'm going to go finish shopping (luckily I know exactly what I'm looking for) and then I'm going to bake goodies and wrap presents and catch up on my DVR shows. All. day. long. :) It's my Christmas present to myself ;) Sometimes I feel guilty sending the kids to daycare if I'm not working (this rarely happens). But I have a lot of time off over Christmas and New Years because our company shuts down... and they won't be going to daycare at all during that time. I feel like I need a day to myself before the madness begins so that when I am home with them, I can give them the best of me and not some tired worn out cranky mommy ;)

And yes we do have two family Christmases already this weekend. One with my mom's side on Saturday and one with Cody's mom's side on Sunday. I'm excited... this will drag out Christmas longer and we won't be trying to fit those Christmases in with all of the other stuff during the actual Christmas week.

Now I'm just hoping the snow stays away! Cody's been having to work a lot lately because of the snow the past week. It's pretty and everything... but... we have enough ;)

I leave you with the chorus of an awesome new Christmas song:

How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How I Keep Warm

...Pictures and thoughts of these cute little buggers keep me warm no matter how cold it is outside!
 I just love those chubby cheeks and gorgeous eyes peeking out at me! :)
What a great smile he has :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brandons 9-Month Checkup

Our little baby is 3/4 through his first YEAR of life!! How is he nine months old already??? :) We had his nine-month checkup on Friday -- and it was a glorious appointment because he didn't have to get ANY shots at this one ;) He weighed in at 19 lbs. 5 oz. and is 28 inches long. This puts him in the 25th percentile for both weight and height. His head still measures close to the 80th percentile... so he's got a lot of brains in there! :) There really isn't much else to report - he did great, and the doctor said everything looks and sounds great. We did talk about the ear infection problems he's been having -- she said if he has another one this winter, she will probably send us to a specialist to discuss doing tubes. So keeping our fingers crossed we can stay ear infection free for a long time now!!

We go back to the specialist at the U of I hospitals the first week in January to finalize the plans for getting rid of the "bump" on his neck. They still think it's nothing internal -- and will only have to do a minor procedure to cut it off so that he doesn't have the excess skin there anymore. (It is getting slightly bigger as he grows, and he'd probably hate having it there as a teenager and adult). They said there still is a possibility that once they cut it, they might see something internally that would require a more invasive surgery... but they don't think that will be the case, so we are praying they are right.

Next up -- we've slowly started offering Brandon a sippy cup with water in it. He hasn't quite learned how to drink out of it yet... but he'll learn. ;)

The words of an almost three-year old.

Nothing like living with a very talkative almost three-year old. 

This morning while I'm getting the kids ready to go... "Mama, I just tooted."

Saturday night in the living room - "I got a booger in my nose, Daddy."

Jaden and I were in HyVee Saturday night. We were standing right next to an elderly man who happened to have a very long white beard. Very loudly and obviously, Jaden points right at the man (who again - is standing right next to us) - and yells, "There's Santa!!!!" The old man just walked away and Jaden continued to yell and point, "There's Santa! There's Santa!!!!"

I'm going to start keeping track of these things :) Many more entries to come, I'm sure!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perspective

So...
*When I was on maternity leave, my car had to receive $1000.00 worth of repairs. HAD to. It was no longer safe to drive. It wasn't an expense I could put off and just "deal with" the problems... it HAD to be fixed. When I was on maternity leave and not receiving a paycheck for two whole months. Not a single penny.
*Not long after, the door handle of my driver's side door fell off. Just - fell off. In my hands. That was a $300.00 repair.
*The week of Thanksgiving our washing machine broke. Made a horrible last sound and then - bam. No longer wanted to wash our clothes.
*Two days ago I stood in line to spend $330.00 on 2011 license plate tags for my car.
*Now this morning, the door handle on my trunk no longer works. Can't open our trunk. I have countless Christmas presents - plus a big stroller - stored in my trunk.

--There have been other expenses, as well - but you get the drift. It's just one thing after another. And it's Christmas season. This is NOT where I want to be putting my money.


BUT. It's CHRISTMAS season. A time to remember (though we shouldn't need a certain time of year to do so) how MUCH we have to be grateful for. A time to remember that these troubles on earth are temporary. That the joy we will one day experience is unimaginable. That Jesus came as our ever-lasting light and hope.

So. Even though every single one of the above mentioned negatives has given me moments of anger, stress, "why me??" thoughts -- these moments don't last long. Through prayer, reading daily Bible verses, and looking at my wonderful beautiful children - I am reminded of His love -- and that He truly does care about every single detail of my life. And reading the following helps, too:

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life goes on - and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."

...So in this moment I'm focusing on the joy of my first cup of coffee of the day (even though I didn't get a chance to drink it until mid-afternoon). I'm focusing on the new wrapping paper in my car that I get to use to wrap my boys' presents after tucking them into bed tonight. I'm focusing on thoughts of watching a brand new episode of Grey's Anatomy tonight while sitting by my gorgeous Christmas tree. The bad/negative parts of the day? They must take a back seat. Take that, Satan :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Plans!

We are so busy at our house! Normally I like to put the Christmas tree up the Friday after Thanksgiving, but Cody has to work Friday. And our upcoming Saturday and Sunday are shot. SO we put the Christmas tree up this past Sunday, and I'm SO happy we did. Nothing brings me more peace and happiness than a room lit up by a Christmas tree :) The boys are doing a good job of staying away from it and not trying to pull at it. Although it helps that I purposely have not put very many ornaments along the bottom of the tree :)
We started putting the tree together before the kids went down for naps. Then when we were ready to actually put up the lights and ornaments we put them in their beds. This is Brandon trying to figure out what the heck all that prickly stuff is :)

These two pictures were taken right after Brandon woke up... seeing the tree for the first time. He just kinda gawked at it for a while ;)
"Baby's 1st Christmas" ornaments. The one on the left is the new one I got for Brandon... the one on the right was Jaden's two years ago!

I am super excited for a four-day weekend... although I'm going to be needing a vacation from my "vacation!" Our plans are as follows:
Thanksgiving Day - Morning - breakfast at my parents before they head to Cedar Rapids to spend the day with my grandpa. (We try to alternate Thanksgivings every other year - so next year we will be spending the bulk of the holiday with my family. All of my cousins are spending it with their spouses' families this year, too. So next year we will all be together again).
Noon - heading to Aplington for Thanksgiving meal at Cody's grandma's and Cody's dad's side of the family.
Evening - supper at Cody's parents' house with just us and Cassi and Ella - and helping Tim and Deanne put up their Christmas tree.
Friday - Morning - Cody has to work all day so the boys and I plan on going to my parents' to "help" them put up their tree. (We will probably hinder their progress - sorry Mom and Dad).
Afternoon - taking the boys home for naps.
Evening - Holiday Hoopla kickoff downtown Cedar Falls. A fabulous event. Have I mentioned in previous posts that I love where I live?? Well, I do. I LOVE where I live :)
Saturday - UNI hosts the opening round of the football playoffs in the Dome. Kickoff at noon. I will be a nervous crazy mommy all morning waiting for this game. I LOVE the playoff system. There is nothing like it. Nothing. The excitement and anticipation... wanting to win SO badly... it's just wonderful. "The thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat..." Can't wait.
Sunday - family pictures/Brandon's nine-month pictures/Jaden's "3-year" pictures at 11:00. (Pray for me and for this experience!)
Noon - ANOTHER Thanksgiving gathering in Aplington.

Do you think we've packed enough into four days? Not to mention our washing machine decided to stop working. And I'm a little nervous how the kids will handle all of this craziness. Especially since Brandon has come down with yet another ear infection. But the doctor put him on a powerful dose of a five-day antibiotic last night. I'm hoping he's doing better by tomorrow or at least by halfway through the weekend. We have his nine-month checkup next week, and I will be discussing the possibility of tubes with his pediatrician.

That's it for this post! The next month is pretty crazy... especially if UNI can pull out a victory this Saturday! So with all this hustle and bustle, what do I plan on doing during my one hour of alone time over my lunch break today? I'm going to go to Barnes and Noble, sit on my butt, and read a book ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Living with a hunter

I love my husband.

I don't love looking at cute, adorable... but dead... animals.

So.. we are blessed that although Cody is a landscaper, he gets paid salary and doesn't have to go on lay-off when it turns winter time. He goes to work every day as he's one of the managers and there's always things to get done. But... often times now he gets off somewhat earlier. So the last two days he's gone duck hunting at about 4:00 in the afternoon.

Last night when we got home shortly before supper, he walked into the kitchen - carrying a freshly dead and adorable duck. (I have a soft spot for ducks). Jaden loves ducks as well. So -- Cody called Jaden to the kitchen and had him pet the cute duck. Jaden said he wanted to hold the duck. Cody said, "No... he's sleeping! We don't want to wake him up." Jaden accepted that and went back to playing. Cody then cleaned two ducks after the boys went to bed last night and stuck them in the freezer. I think Cody thought Jaden would forget about the duck.

First thing Jaden says when he wakes up this morning: "I want to pet the duck!" Cody told him the duck flew away. Little does Jaden know that the duck is sitting in our freezer waiting to be thrown into the crock pot.

Sigh. I do love my husband though.

"Bring the Rain"

You know what song I love right now? This one:

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on You, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead, I draw closer through these times
So I pray...

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me, what's a little rain?
So I pray...

****Don't take this the wrong way... there's not a whole lot of rain in my life. But when there is a cloudy day, this song does wonders for my spirit!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dentist and Steps

We had a big day yesterday! I took Jaden to the dentist for the FIRST time. For any local mommies out there looking for a good "pediatric dentist" -- I recommend All Smiles on 1st Street in Cedar Falls. They were wonderful! The whole experience was so much improved from what I remember the dentist to be like when I was little ;) The moment we walked in the door, Jaden noticed the basket of blocks and cars waiting for him to play with. He dug right in! They also had a lot of kid's books there to read while we waited -- but we didn't have to wait long at all. Before we went to the back, the receptionist told Jaden that if he was good for the dentist he would get a balloon when he was all done. She gave him a list of colors to choose from, and he told her he wanted the blue balloon :)

Missy was the hygienist that worked with us. Jaden and I had been talking about this experience for a week leading up to the visit - we even read "The Bernstein Bears Go To The Dentist" at bedtime. So he was excited to have his "teeth cleaned." But of course once we got back there and they put him in the chair, he was slightly hesitant at first. There was a big flat screen TV hanging over his chair that had cartoons on... so that was nice! Missy was SO beyond friendly with Jaden -- but when she asked him to open his mouth for her for the first time (she had the little dentist mirror in her hands so she could see the backs of his teeth) -- he immediately turned to me, reached out his arms and got tears in his eyes. I thought... "uh oh here we go." BUT Missy immediately grabbed the new toothbrush he was going to get to take home with him and asked him if he would show her how he brushes his teeth. Well, Jaden loves to brush his teeth at home so he did this very willingly. And that was that! From that point on, he cooperated with everything they needed to do for him. He opened his mouth wide "like an alligator" every time they asked him to. They counted all his teeth (he has all the teeth he should have at this age). They let him touch all the tools that were going to be using. (Which is huge for Jaden because he LOVES to touch new things). Missy kept saying to me, "we're just going to build trust throughout this whole visit." And they really did. They cleaned with the little vibrating brush they use for adults -- we told Jaden there was "candy" on it -- and he loved the blueberry flavor ;) They put a special coating on his teeth before he left (I guess it's the new thing to do now) -- and she showed him how it looked like frosting before she actually put it on his teeth. When we left he got a dentist pack with a new toothbrush, sticker, pencil and a little hourglass he can use to make sure he brushes his teeth long enough. He also got his blue balloon of course ;) We go back in six months, and Missy is the one who scheduled our next appointment -- and it will be with her again. She said they try and make sure kids see the same person every time they go. It was a great experience, and I'm just mad at myself for forgetting to bring my camera! Jaden looked and acted so grown up and he was so good throughout - that it almost brought me to tears. He's getting so big!

THEN last night... Brandon climbed up two whole steps all by himself! He once again was trying to follow Jaden and Cody into the bathroom at Jaden's bath time. I was watching Brandon by the steps, and all of the sudden he pushed himself up to a standing position -- which is the first time he's pushed himself up to completely standing. Then... before I knew it... he started climbing up the steps! He made it up two of them, and by that point I was shrieking and he was giggling because he was so proud of himself! This was shortly before his bedtime, and the whole experience must have recharged his batteries because normally he is out like a light by 8:00. Well.. I put him in his room THINKING he was sound asleep at 8:00. But when I walked by his room about 10 minutes later after putting Jaden to bed... THIS is what I saw when I peaked in Brandon's bedroom door:
He was kneeling in the corner of his crib just smiling while looking out his door. He had managed to grab a blanket of his that was folded up on top of a hamper by his bed - and pulled that into his bed with him. He was trying to grab his turtle that was on top of the hamper as well. (We have one of those turtles that projects stars up onto the ceiling at night). He was WIDE awake.


AND then I watched as he tried to stand up in his crib. Well that prompted me to go grab Cody... and we had to lower his mattress again -- to its lowest point. Now if he stands up he can't fall over on to the floor. I am just amazed at how fast he is growing. Our first year with him is going even faster than Jaden's first year... probably because I'm about 20 times as busy.

He and Jaden also played together for a while last night -- with Jaden's cars and car garage. I watched as Brandon would grab hold of a car, put it at the top of the garage and push the car down the car ramp - over and over again just like he sees Jaden do. If the car would tip over, Brandon would put it back on its wheels the way its supposed to be. He learns so much just from watching what his big brother does!

We are excited for this weekend. The UNI basketball team has a big game tonight that we will get to watch. (They're playing at Syracuse). Then the last regular season football game is tomorrow night... and if we win, we're on our way to being conference champs... again! Some friends of ours have a brand new baby girl, and I get to go see her on Sunday (she will be only a week and a half old). Cody is not wanting me to go see her because he thinks it's going to give me "baby girl ideas." HA. He has nothing to worry about. I am very content and happy with my THREE boys :) I also have my Christmas shopping list completely figured out -- I know what I'm getting for our boys, for our parents and for most of the other little ones we have to buy for. Now I just have to go PURCHASE everything. So I think I'm going to try and get a big chunk of that done this weekend because there are some big sales at Target and Toys R Us right now. It will be nice to have the big bulk of that all taken care of. 

Happy Friday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caught!

Brandon is on the move! He spends a lot of time now trying to climb up the steps from our living room to our hallway where our bathroom and all of our bedrooms are. Here he is looking guilty!
Whenever Cody or Jaden - or myself - go up those steps for any reason, he tries to follow us! Last night when I took this picture he was trying to follow Jaden and Cody into the bathroom so he could watch Jaden take his bath. He just adores his big brother!

(Just to clarify - the dark spot at the bottom of the picture is not a stain on our carpet. My camera has been putting those spots into pictures lately. Maddening! I need a new camera so badly!) :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brandon's 8-Month Pics




Check out the growth chart tab at the top of the page - it has been updated as well!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Never Grow Up"

Our little Brandon is eight months old today already. So isn't it fitting that I heard this song for the first time this morning?

*Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it's so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cuz you're dreaming
So I tuck you in and turn on your favorite night light
To you, everything's funny
You got nothing to regret
I'd give all I have, honey
If you could stay like that

Oh darling, don't you ever grow up - don't you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don't you ever grow up - don't you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won't let nobody hurt you
Won't let no one break your heart
No one will desert you
Just try to never grow up

You're in the car on the way to the movies
And you're mortified your mama's dropping you off
At 14, there's just so much you can't do
And you can't wait to move out someday
And call your own shots
But don't make her drop you off around the block
Remember she's getting older, too
And don't lose the way that you dance around
In your PJs getting ready for school

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother's favorite songs

Oh Darlin, don't you ever grow up...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Another Milestone Reached

Brandon will be eight months old tomorrow, and he has reached another milestone. He's been sitting on his own for quite a while... and crawling for almost two weeks now. But last night he started getting himself from the crawling position -- to the sitting up position -- all by himself. It used to be that he would crawl to the toy or object he wanted and then play with it while on his tummy or roll over onto his back. Now he grabs it and sits himself right up to play with it! He did this over and over again last night before bed and was pretty happy with himself ;)

...In other news, we have survived a brutal week. From my previous blog post you know that we were battling flu and colds and bronchitis like crazy. Well Jaden made it through the weekend without throwing up again (after he threw up twice on Friday). His cold also seems to be getting much better. However, Cody went back to the doctor on Saturday morning and had to be put on meds for a sinus infection. Poor guy has had bronchitis and now a sinus infection --- he sounds awful. By Saturday late afternoon, Brandon was as fussy as ever. He's not getting a tooth, but he was having trouble sleeping and eating... so... we took him to the same doctor Saturday afternoon that Cody saw Saturday morning! Turns out our little peanut had an ear infection in one year AND a sinus infection. I didn't think his cold was horrible because he didn't have a lot of snot coming out of his nose... well, it turns out it was because it was all draining down the back of his throat. When the doctor looked at his throat, all he could see was thick green mucus. :( SO Brandon got put on medicine Saturday night. Then yesterday Cody threw up in the afternoon. I now have the cold, but I would much rather be sick than have my kids be sick so I'm dealing with it. Brandon slept better last night than he did on Saturday night -- he's not completely back to being himself... but he seemed improved last night. He also was very excited to get to daycare this morning. He's been cooped up in our house since Wednesday morning so he was having some cabin fever issues! Kinda bummed this all happened around Halloween... but hopefully this means our Thanksgiving will be healthy! (Fingers crossed!!) Since we weren't healthy enough to trick or treat in the neighborhoods we took the kids to the mall yesterday for the mall's trick or treating. Neither of the boys were too thrilled with being in their costume so the pictures aren't very good... but when I get them loaded on my computer I'll share them with you all.

Tomorrow night I am taking Jaden to the first UNI basketball game of the season! Can't believe it's already that time of year. The games are too late in the evening during the week for Brandon, but Cody and I are going to take turns taking Jaden to them because he will really enjoy them, and it will give each of us one-on-one time with our little Jaden-man. I'm also excited that there's only three full work weeks left before Thanksgiving week... and I cannot wait to get our Christmas stuff put up!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Sick Little Family :(

You know that saying - "When it rains, it pours"? Boy is that the honest truth.

Lets start with two weeks ago. When Brandon gets a tooth, it's like hell for two to three days right before it pops through the surface. So two weeks ago we had a fussy weekend as we waited for his eighth tooth to come out. Got through it - awesome. Shortly after, Cody started feeling awful - short of breath, horrible headaches... could barely function. This went on for almost a week before he finally agreed to go see a doctor at convenient care this past Sunday. Diagnosis? Bronchitis. Sweet. So they prescribed him with a Z-pack and codeine. It took about four days after that, but he's finally feeling better. He had horrible headaches for quite a while because his sinuses were so clogged - and he even threw up once. Before he was out of the woods, Jaden started coming down with a horrible cold (probably from Cody) -- which he still has. About a day after Jaden got his cold, I got a call at work from daycare at about 9:30 Wed. morning. Brandon had thrown up three times within about a half an hour. Great. So I had to leave work at the worst possible time. My boss is opening up another one of our centers in Minneapolis, and the girl he had hired to help run the office up there had come down here to work with me and train with me. So... here I am leaving work... and here she is four hours from her home... to work with me. Cody couldn't leave work because he had just missed work due to his sickness. I not only missed Wednesday, but I had to be home Thursday, too as Brandon still wasn't any better. While I was at home on Thursday, I got three frantic phone calls throughout the day from my boss stating how badly things were going in the office and that I really needed to find a way to be at work on Friday regardless of what was going on. Okay...
So Friday morning (which would be this morning) at about 3:00 a.m. Brandon (who we thought was getting better) -- ends up pooping all over the place and then throwing up -- ALL over me. Apparently he's not better yet. I absolutely have to be at work so Cody has to stay home again... which is really bad because he's used up all of his paid leave. I take Jaden to daycare this morning, and not even an hour later I get the call -- Jaden has thrown up all over the daycare living room floor. So now Cody is home with both Brandon and Jaden, and I am hating being at work because I have a sick family at home, and I feel very helpless.

This stomach flu is the worst thing. It started with one girl at daycare who came down with it last weekend, and they tried bringing her to daycare Monday and Tuesday. Well, glad they did that because she has literally infected everybody at the daycare. There are zero kids at daycare today because every single one has it now. And the little girl that started it --- STILL has it five days later. None of the kids have fevers... the just throw up randomly. And it's weird -- Brandon went the whole day yesterday without throwing up anything. He did have some horrible diapers, but was able to keep his food down. Then all of the sudden he throws up again in the middle of the night. And that's how all the other kids are reacting, too. Going long periods of time perfectly fine... and then throwing up again. Bummer timing. With Halloween on Sunday I really don't see how Jaden will be able to trick-or-treat. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. I bought costumes.

On top of the flu, Jaden still has his bad cold and Brandon was showing signs of a runny nose this morning.

God -- please make it all go away. Please :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Crawling!!!

Our little baby Brandon officially started crawling yesterday afternoon!!! We knew it'd be starting very soon. The last week in September he was up on all fours rocking back and forth... and not even a month later... he's off! It's so funny to watch right now. I don't think he fully realizes that he can do it yet. He will be staring at an object quite a ways away from him, and it will take him forever before he decides to go after it. It's like he sits there and thinks for a long time... and then remembers "oh! I CAN get to it now!" I can't believe how fast he is growing. And he continues to do everything sooner than Jaden did. Which I believe is because he wants to be able to keep up with his big brother! Jaden didn't crawl until almost 10 months old I believe. And he didn't sit quite as early as Brandon. Jaden did army crawl really well for a long time, which Brandon never even attempted. It'll be interesting to see if he walks earlier than Jaden did -- Jaden waited until he was 15 months. Jaden's not sure what to think now... Jaden was lying on the floor this morning getting his diaper changed by Cody when Brandon crawled over to him and started pulling at his ears and eyes ;) Jaden handled it pretty well, considering :) Can't wait to see what the next milestone will be!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Kids These Days

Jaden:
I'm lucky Brandon likes to be held a lot because Jaden definitely is past his cuddly stage. (Not that he ever was much of a cuddler, but he did used to have his moments). I have to pretend to be super sad to even get a hug from him these days. Or... bribe him. This morning when Cody was getting the boys out the door, Jaden refused to hug or kiss me goodbye. But he loves to be able to push the garage door button. So... Cody made a deal with him that if he would give me a hug and kiss goodbye then he could push the button. At this point Jaden was already out the door, down the deck steps and standing in the driveway. When Cody told him what he had to do in order to push the button, he ran as fast as he could back up the deck steps and opened our back door screaming, "mama hug! mama hug!" Can't believe we're having to resort to bribery to get my 2 1/2 year old to give me a goodbye hug!

He's also testing his boundries. Which is no surprise considering his age. But he's getting this stubborn, authoritative little attitude and unfortunately we hear, "No!" a lot. Or sometimes it's more like this: "Noooooo MAMA!" And then he glares at me. Lovely. (Sometimes it frustrates the heck out of me -- sometimes I have to hold in laughter because it's rediculously comical how much power he THINKS he has.) ;)

He still refuses to sit on the potty with his pants and diaper off. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Occasionally we're letting him drink without a sippy cup lid. But only if it's while he's sitting at the table... not if he wants to carry a drink around with him. He does really well without a lid as long as the cup's not too full.

He doesn't like to share toys with Brandon. Even if it's a toy he's never had any remote interest in... all of the sudden it's like gold if it's in Brandon's hands. He resorts to trying to steal the toy right out of Brandon's hands and saying, "Mine, Brandon!" -- but this isn't happening quite as often as it had been so I think he's slowly learning.

He's now opening up the fridge and telling me what he wants for snack. I don't like this so much -- I'd rather him just be content to take what I offer ;)

Last night I asked him what he wanted for supper. Normally he doesn't really respond with anything other than "milk." But last night this is how it went: Me - "Jaden, what do you want for supper?" Jaden - "Umm... noodles." He loves noodles with butter and parmesan cheese. ;)

He loves loves loves music. So much so that he gets mad if Brandon is making noise in the car because he thinks Brandon is interrupting the song. "No no no Brandon! I want to hear the song!" This happens every single time we have to go anywhere. He also refuses to let me sing along to any of the songs on his movies.

His favorite movies are on a rotating cycle: Boz Christmas... which he refers to as the Christmas Movie. Choo Choo Movie or "Balloon Choo Choo." They are both Thomas movies, but the balloon one has pictures of balloons on the DVD case. His most current favorite is once again "Potty Time Elmo." You would think that as often as he watches Elmo sit on the toilet, he'd have some interest in it. Yea, you would think.

He doesn't understand that going to the Pumpkin Patch is a once a year special activity. Every day he tells us he wants to go to the Pumpkin Patch.

He gets excited about clothes now. If I tell him he's wearing something new when I dress him in the morning he talks about it later. "New shirt!!!"

We have a routine prayer we say before supper every night. He knows it pretty well and always tries to say it along with us. I need to get this on video.

Brandon:


His eighth tooth just came in. And he's not even eight months old yet. I imagine he's sick of teething. I'm incredibly sick of teething.

In many ways I am thinking that Brandon is going to be much more like me, and Jaden is going to be much more like Cody. Jaden was bothered by teeth ocassionally but not to the extent that Brandon has been. There were times where Jaden would get blood drawn or shots and wouldn't even cry. He's a tough little stinker. So is Cody. I am not. Neither is Brandon. When Jaden was a baby (aside from his first five weeks of colic) he was the easiest baby you would ever meet. Incredibly laid back. We could lay him on the floor, give him a toy to shake around, and he was content like this forever. Brandon... no. Since he was able to roll over, he hasn't stopped trying to get anywhere but where we put him. If I put him in his Bumbo seat to feed him, he spends his entire meal trying to get out. If we put him in the swing to try and feed him, he's trying to get out. If we lay him on his back to play, he is immediately on his tummy. If we sit him up to play, he immediately is trying to get on all fours. And when he's on all fours, he moves forward about two "steps" and then is frustrated and collapses onto his tummy. He is not laid back. He is like me. Once he is able to completely crawl, I am thinking and hoping that he will be a much happier baby. Not that he's not happy - we love him dearly. But again -- not quite as laid back as Jaden was.


He has the cutest giggle in the whole world.


He has days where he's hungry and days where he's not at all hungry.


He is tiny. I had to get him a 0-6 month Halloween costume because the 6-12 month would have swallowed him whole. You wouldn't have even been able to see HIM in the costume. Again... the exact opposite of Jaden.


He continues to adore his big brother. Jaden watched as I gave Brandon a bath the other night, and he kept smiling at Brandon. Every time Jaden smiled at him, Brandon kicked, splashed, giggled, squeeled... just got incredibly excited. It really is the sweetest thing to watch happen.


He's in the stage of liking to grab and pinch. Cody has been calling me "Scar" for a week because without warning Brandon grabbed on to my cheek last week and pulled and ripped a thin layer of skin off. He likes to grab at Jaden's face, too. This doesn't go over too well with Jaden most of the time.


He goes to bed at 7:30 regardless of how hard I try to keep him awake. He then wakes up most mornings by 5:30. It's a vicious cycle. But this too shall pass.


--The fun thing about parenting is things are constantly changing as kids go through growth and different phases of development. We love our little boys!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy UNI Homecoming Week

It's Homecoming week for UNI. And last night I had OP Pizza and bread sticks... which was a weekly meal for me in college (at least it seems that way looking back). So I'm feeling a little sentimental. I am reflecting on what I miss about the "college days." This post is in no way intended to take away from the life I have now... I love my husband and kids dearly and would never trade them in for a trip back in time to when my life didn't include them. BUT college was an awesome four years for me so -- here are my reflections on what I miss the most...

*Classes. I can't believe I'm saying that. But right now I sit in an office by myself with no windows. I miss social interaction during the day!

*Skipping classes :)

*My "jobs" -- if you can really call them that. Working in the Athletic Media Relations office and in the football office was a b.l.a.s.t. The only reason I didn't pursue a career in athletic media relations was because I wanted to actually be at home with my family and not working seven days a week. BUT... for a single college student... it was awesome -- and didn't even feel like work most of the time. I got PAID to go to football and basketball games. I loved the people I worked with and am still friends with most of them to this day. My jobs MADE my college experience the amazing experience it was. Sigh. I could on and on about this.

*Being able to function on four hours of sleep. Once I turned 21 my junior year, I typically was out enjoying life at night every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And was still able to go to class, study and work. Kelly Cole -- my camera misses you.

*The OP. What a great idea I had when I decided to move into an apartment just one block away from the OP for my junior and senior years.

*Spring Break. "Real life" employers should start providing one of these.

*Christmas Break.

*The Union. I can remember freshman year... thinking UNI was so big because I didn't know 90 percent of the people that I saw in the Union during study breaks. By senior year, I KNEW 90 percent of the students in the Union.

*Walking through campus.

*Being surrounded by friends all the time. I lived with my friends, I was neighbors with my friends, I took classes with my friends, I worked with my friends.

*Crushes. Cody -- I love you, and I waited patiently for you. But come on... everyone knows that having a "new crush" can be pretty exciting ;)

*Being able to go home for a home cooked meal instead of having to be the one to provide the home cooked meal. ;)

*Traveling with the football team. I can't watch the 2005 highlight video without getting teary-eyed. (This was the year we went to the national championship). I didn't miss a game and spent every single away game on the sidelines. Honestly one of the best four months of my life. We had SO much fun.

*Working out in the WRC. I wish I could still go to the WRC to workout. The WRC was motivation that I just do not have anymore.

*Having keys to the Dome. When I started working in the football office, they gave me my own set of keys. This was motivation to run the Dome steps whenever I wanted to. Again... motivation I do not have anymore.

*Karaoke nights at the OP. I know I've already mentioned the OP, but karaoke nights deserved its own bullet point.

*Living at Hillcrest. What a year. Out of the dorms and my first "on-my-own" apartment experience. So many funny memories.

*Finals week. Not the actual test taking part of the week... but all the fun we always had when that week was over. :)

*The excitement of meeting and dating Cody. This was a good way to kick off senior year ;)

*Receiving text messages at 3 a.m. Even if I was home sleeping. Just nice to know your friends were thinking of you ;)

*Getting emails that class is canceled. Suddenly a free hour during the day! Heaven.

There's more but these come first to mind. I'm so glad I chose UNI, I'm so glad I had the experiences I had... I'm so glad it got me to where I am today with a wonderful little family and lifelong friendships.

Happy Homecoming week, UNI! Panther Purple for life!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Know You're a Mom When...

*I stole this idea from another blog friend of mine!

You know you're a mom (Mommy/Mama) when...

-You have songs stuck in your head like... "La La La La.. La la la la... Elmo's world..."

-You've been singing the ABC song so much that you could probably sing it backwards.

-Bedtime prayers include thanking God for things like... Pizza Hut, Parks, Footballs, etc. ... at the request of your 2-year old.

-You find wet diapers in all sorts of hidden places around the house... ("How did that not make it to the garbage can??")

-Your idea of "sleeping in" is 6:30 a.m.

-Your kids get all the new clothes and you're stuck wearing the same winter dress shoes you wore four years ago.

-Your living rooms looks like a daycare center.

-You show up at work and notice the spit up stain on your shirt or pants. "Oh well, everyone knows I have a baby at home." --And you're perfectly content to walk around all day wearing the spit up stain for all to see.

-Your dishwasher is 3/4ths full of sippy cup parts and baby spoons.

-The five minutes you get to take a shower is a little piece of Heaven.

-Your day is not complete if you haven't been able to kiss those precious cheeks at least 100 times (per child).

-The phrase "you have to share your toys" gets repeated at least a dozen times a day. (Yes, we're already fighting that battle).

-You manage to lose two/three pounds over a weekend (and then gain them back during the week) because you literally do not get to sit down when you're at home and not working!

-The only time you get to have adult conversation with your spouse is when you strap your kids into the stroller and go on an evening walk. Kids are content and quiet during that 20 minutes!

-Once 5:00 hits on a week day you literally can't get home fast enough.

-Your favorite smell is a freshly bathed baby.

-Your favorite moment in the day is when your 7 month old wakes up in the morning and gives you that incredible first smile of the day smile -- so excited to start a new day. (We could all learn a lesson from a baby's fresh outlook of each new day!)

-You get more excited watching your kids open presents at Christmas/Birthday time than you do about opening your own presents.

-You start playing on playground equipment again like you're still five years old.

-You hurt the bottom of your foot at least one time a day by stepping on a small child's toy/object.

-Pumpkin carving, egg coloring, picking out Valentines, etc. is super fun again.

-You're doing laundry... all. the. time.

-You either have someone with a cold or a teether in your house at all times.

-All your grocery money is spent on Gerber products, formula and milk.

-You could change a diaper blindfolded with one hand behind your back (maybe even both hands behind your back depending on how cooperative the child).

-Holding your child's hand tiny hand is the greatest feeling in the whole world.

-You've never heard a sweeter sound than "Mama!"

...I could go on and on...

I love you Jaden and Brandon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Comparisons

I like comparison pictures... crazy how time flies.
This is of Jaden and Brandon at the same pumpkin patch. Kudos to Cody for remembering to get one of Brandon in a wheel barrow!
Jaden at the same pumpkin patch two years ago... and Jaden now :)

7 Months, Pumpkin Patch and Football

Fall -- I'm so glad you're here! It was a busy weekend for us, but I am in my element... I can't say enough how much I love this time of year! October is full of football, perfect weather, pumpkins, amazing smells... and -- I just realized on my way to work that Jaden is old enough to actually go trick-or-treating this year :) Then we have November -- Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating at the end of the month. Plus a nice little Thanksgiving vacation from work. Then we have December :) Which is not only an amazing month because of Christmas, but I also get a nice vacation from work, and it begins our string of birthday months. My birthday in December, Jaden's in January, Cody's in February and Brandon's in March. Whew! :)

Friday night we kicked off the weekend with baking. We had a family gathering on Sunday, so I thought I'd enlist Jaden's help in making a simple cake. Betty Crocker has a fun fall festive cake mix and matching frosting for sale right now so that's what we did. He helped me do everything - pour the ingredients, crack the eggs, and stir everything together. I then let him try one spoon lick of the batter before putting it in the oven. The whole time we worked on it, he kept saying, "I help! I help!"

Saturday Brandon turned seven months old! I can't believe it. He is almost completely sitting up on his own. He can sit on his own for long periods of time as long as someone is there to help him if he starts to tip... but he is very close to not needing any help. He's also still getting up on all fours a lot and rocking back and forth. I think as soon as he gets this sitting thing down pat he will be crawling right away. Jaden sat up at eight months and then scooted for a really long time before he crawled. Brandon seems to be progressing a little faster, but they say that's normal with second kids. He still gets up on average once a night for a bottle. Jaden did this until he was a year old so we just have kind of accepted this with Brandon, as well. Every once in a while he will sleep through the night, but then he tends to wake up at like 5:15/5:30 in the morning. I'd almost rather him get up for five minutes in the middle of the night and then sleep in a little later. He's babbling more, but his favorite noise is a high pitched squeeling noise! He also likes to stick his tongue out and just spit spit spit ;) He has seven teeth - four on the top and three on the bottom. I'm waiting for that fourth tooth on the bottom to make its appearance soon. He loves to be on the go. He gets bored quite easily if we're hanging out in the house for too long. I'm hoping this changes some once he's able to crawl and sit -- maybe then he'll have an easier time entertaining himself. We attempted to take his seven month pictures with his big bear on Saturday morning, but it didn't go very well ;) He kept laughing at the bear so all he wanted to do was try and get the bear's foot in his mouth. Then Jaden was in the room and kept trying to stand up on the crib and reach his hand in to all the pictures. Oh well - here's one of the better ones that we got ;)
After attempting pictures in the morning, we headed out to the Heartland Farms Pumpkin Patch. This is the third year in a row for us, and it is becoming one of my favorite traditions. This year was just as much fun. Jaden loved it. It was pretty cold and very windy but nobody cared. (I did not go prepared so Cody was nice enough to offer me his jacket, and he stood there in short sleeves. Thank goodness I have such a tough hubby) ;) Jaden loved visiting with the animals, and went down the really big slides for the second year in a row. They prop the slides up on big piles of hay to make them go really high and really fast. I had to be at the bottom to catch Jaden cuz he would literally fly right off of it! He also had a good time in the inflatable pumpkin that was set up for kids to jump in. At first, he was too afraid to try it, but then my dad got in there and that was all the convincing Jaden needed ;)

 My dad took this picture, and I love it!

 We took this same picture of Jaden when he was a baby two years ago!

 Here's a picture of the spitting Brandon likes to do ;)

 Jaden kept trying to feed the animals anything that he could find on the ground ;)

 This was kind of crazy... Jaden quickly stuck his hand through the fence, and the horse put Jaden's hand in his mouth! Luckily he just gummed it a bit and didn't bite. My dad had to help pry Jaden's hand out of the horse's mouth!

 Brandon hanging out -- comfy and cozy!

 Here's Jaden's favorite slide!

After the Pumpkin Patch, it was lunch and nap time and then it was game time! The boys did well at the game again. Brandon took a good nap, ate a bottle and ate his baby food while we were there. He made it until halfway through the third quarter, and then Cody had to take him home. They ended up having a good time though after they left. Cody decided he wanted to make his own bird feeders (he loves bird watching) so he and Brandon went to Farm & Fleet together to get supplies, and then after I got home, Cody stood out in the garage working on the bird feeders until 10:30 that night! Jaden and I stayed for the whole game, and then went down on the field aftewards to play for a while.  This is Jaden's favorite thing to do! However, I was a bad mommy and forgot to pack his football. When we got down to the field after the game, he immediately asked for his football, and I had to tell him that I forgot to bring it. For a second he got upset, but then I told him to just run! And he did! He ran from one endzone all the way down the field to the other endzone and then back again. He is just in heaven when he can run, run, run! I get a little nervous with all those other people that are down there throwing footballs all over the place - I keep waiting for Jaden to get clobbered in the head, but we've dodged that so far. He also gave Coach Farley and Coach Dedric a high-five for a great win!

On Sunday we went to church, and Jaden once again had a very good time at Sunday School. When we picked him up he told us that they sang songs about God and that he had fun and wants to go to church again ;) Sunday afternoon, we had family in town at my parents' house. My grandpa (my mom's dad) and some of my cousins hadn't even met Brandon yet so they got to finally meet him, and Jaden got to play with all of my cousin's kids. The ones that were there ranged in age from 6 years old to 1 years old. It was a noisy afternoon!

Now it's Monday again, and unfortunately the business and lack of sleep helped Jaden to come down with a cold. Keeping our fingers crossed that he gets over it quickly and that Brandon doesn't catch it, too!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Football games/weekend activities

So far this football season, the kids are doing pretty well at the games. The first game in the Dome was a late one - didn't start until 6:30 - so that was a little rough. Brandon gets super sleepy right after supper time and is usually asleep by 7:30/8:00 so Cody had to take him home mid-way through the first half. Jaden lasted until the 4th quarter, and then Cody's parents took him home so I could stay until the end. He probably could have made it the whole game, but he was looking really sleep, and Tim and Deanne were leaving anyway so they took him with.

The second game went better. It was a 4:00 kickoff. Brandon made it until the end of the third quarter, and even fell asleep for an hour on Cody's chest -- even with all the noise! He's doing better than Jaden did as a baby -- I couldn't take Jaden at that age because he was terrified of the noise! Jaden did really well the second game and made it through the whole game. He got to go on the field aftewards and throw his football around. He got to see TC at both games and continues to love him. I keep waiting for him to show signs of fear, and it hasn't happened yet.

I need to get some pictures at games, but we're always so busy keeping track of the kids that I haven't even thought to pull my camera out yet. Maybe this weekend!

This past weekend Cody stayed home with the boys, and I got to go to the UNI/Iowa State game in Ames. I had an absolute blast (except for during the actual game since UNI played terrible). But it was so fun tailgating and seeing good friends from college. It brought back a lot of good memories, and I got the chance to visit with a lot of former UNI football players that I was friends with when they were players and I worked in the Dome.

We have a home game again this weekend... we also have family coming to town. On Sunday my grandpa and cousins from Cedar Rapids are visiting. They haven't met Brandon yet at all so we're going to enjoy some time with them -- and eat some good food! AND Jaden's been asking to go to the Pumpkin Patch so we're going to try and fit that in as well.

This is why I love fall! We are always super busy with fun and exciting things!

Kiddo Updates

Sorry it's been a while... :)

Brandon is close to sitting and crawling. He is strong enough to sit on his own, but he gets distracted and rolls right over. Gotta work on the balance. :) He also wants to crawl so badly. He gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth, which is adorable. It won't be long now! (I got video of the rocking back and forth this morning... I will post soon.)

We just switched formulas. You might have heard that there was a major recall on Similac formula -- and of course we used the formula that was recalled! It might have been a blessing in disguise. Brandon's on Soy formula - which Jaden had to use also because they both got uncomfortably gassy on normal stuff - so we had to be extra careful when switching his formula. I called the doctor's office, and they told me that they have been recommending people just use the generic store brands. They said that the production of formula is regulated so closely that they are all basically the same -- it's just the store brands don't put the marketing behind theirs that the big-name brands do. So -- we switched to the HyVee Soy formula and are saving almost $10 a can... which is a big deal right now :) He's doing fine on the new formula.

Brandon usually eats any food that we put in front of him, but his favorites seem to be - oatmeal, pears, apples, sweet potatoes and mixed veggies. 

Jaden is our goofy sweet little boy that continues to impress us and amaze us and everyone else around him. We are constantly told how well he talks for a 2 1/2 year old boy. He can count to 14. He can sing the alphabet letter for letter right along with us. He walks around the house saying, "UNI Fight UNI Fight!" quite frequently, and he's been mentioning God more and more. (Gotta love Sunday School!) This morning he was downstairs playing while I was getting ready, and he heard me drop my phone on the bathroom floor. He didn't know what had happened, so he yelled up the steps to me, "Mama okay?? Mama okay??" He was making sure I hadn't hurt myself. What a sweety :) Yesterday Cody was at a friend's watching football, and I ventured out to Old Navy with the two boys to look for some pants for the both of them. Old Navy has a coloring table set up for kids, and Jaden walked over to it, sat down and was perfectly content to sit there and color while Mommy shopped. When it was time to go, he looked up at me and said, "I don't wanna go home." The other night he was watchign the UNI football game on TV, and he kept walking by the TV saying, "Lets go guys! Come on guys!" Ha... such a fan! ;) His feet are huge. He's now wearing size 10 1/2.

He's about to go through a big change at daycare. There's another family that's been going there just as long as us -- two years now. They have a little boy, Carter, who turned two in August. Their other son, Noah, is just a few weeks younger than Brandon. They have decided to switch daycares to a place closer to the mom's work. Carter has been Jaden's best bud there for two years, and the two are inseparable. They have so much fun together, and they have learned how to communicate so well with each other. It's going to be a tough transition not having Carter there anymore in a couple of weeks, but hopefully a new family comes in that helps fill the void.

I have some videos I need to post... soon, I promise!

"Ready Now"

We sang a new song at church yesterday morning, and I immediately fell in love with the words. Here they are...

"Ready Now"

Come like You promised You would
I want to surrender for good
Know that I need You
And I don't want to keep living life alone

So take my heart
Make it new
Make it true
Make it like You
Take my hands
Lift them high
They're Yours not mine to do...

Do what You will
Do what You will
Do what You will

I feel like a blind man in Your sight
I know that I'm wicked in Your eyes
So wash me and make me shine like Your Son
I want to tell everyone that You're the only one

So take my heart
Make it new
Make it true
Make it like You
Take my hands
Lift them high
They're Yours not mine to do...

Do what You will
Do what You will
Do what You will

I'm ready now
I'm ready now
I'm ready now
Do what You will

I struggle a lot -- especially lately -- with giving everything over to God and trusting Him with every detail of my life, my family's life, my kids' lives, my work life, my financial life, my marriage... etc. etc. etc. :) I know He's there, I speak to him consistently throughout the day, and I completely trust him. But I still have many moments when things are down or I'm having a rough day... when I start to panic and try to figure out how to "fix" things -- and I try to do it all on my own. Which is silly. This is just one of the many songs that has spoken to me lately. Even though the tough stuff is scary to go through -- I know that He has a plan, and that all things work together for good for those who love Him. And when I sit back and remember to breathe and remember to pray -- I realize that I'm willing to go through whatever rain I have to if it's His will for me - if it makes me a stronger person for my family and a stronger person in my faith. And I also know that as I sit and pray for help in certain situations -- I couldn't be in better hands. And He truly cares about every little detail of my life. And while I'm waiting... He is at work. He's got it all figured out. Pretty cool... :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nice God!

Jaden has started a new adventure at church recently. His first two years of life, he went to the nursery rooms while Cody and I attended the service. This summer he moved up to the "Terrific Twos" room, and now that the school year has started, they are implementing Sunday School teachings and offering some structure aside from just "play time." I love it, and Jaden loves it, too. I love picking him up at the end of that hour, and peeking in to see what he is in the middle of doing before he realizes we are there to get him. I also love that when the parents come to get their kids, we receive a little note as to what was taught during that morning's teachings so that we can expand on it at home in our discussions with our little ones. Yesterday morning when I picked him up, the note said that they had been talking about how God is the one who has given us all the nice food we get to eat every day and what a blessing that is. They also incorporated a little craft into the lesson. The craft was putting little circular cereal bites onto a drawing of a tree. (Gotta keep it simple at two years old!) One of the teachers politely informed, as she was handing me Jaden's picture, that he loved the cereal. When looking at the picture, I noticed that he'd eaten some of the cereal right off the picture after he had "glued" it on.... no surprise there ;)

Anyways... I was telling my parents yesterday about what Jaden had learned at church that morning, and as I was explaining it, Jaden chimed in with HIS version of what he had learned. And this is what he said... "NICE God!!"

In all the detail and the abundance of stories that are in the Bible... Jaden has already learned one of the most important things about our God. Yes, Jaden, God IS nice!! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sweet face...

"The decision to have a child is to accept that your heart will forever walk about outside your body."
..So true.

Could there be a sweeter face? :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

6-Month Comparison

Starting to see more differences now... Jaden ALWAYS smiled with his tongue out, and Brandon almost ALWAYS has cute little wrinkles in his forehead :) Jaden also had more hair, and Brandon's face is a little rounder. Definite similarity -- they are both doll babies :) What differences/similarities do you see?? It's going to be so fun watching their similarities and their differences continue to develop!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

He's growing up!

It's amazing how the little things Jaden does make him seem so grown up! He's so independent now. I don't even think of him as a toddler anymore... but as a little boy. (Except for the whole diaper thing... sigh).

He gets his own milk cup out of the fridge and puts it away -- back into the fridge -- when he's thirsty.
He brushes his own teeth and screws the cap back on the toothpaste all by himself.
He can work the DVD player on his own -- open it, take one movie out, put the new movie in, close it - turn it off, turn it on, etc.
He gets in and out of his car seat by himself (we buckle him in).
When we got home from church on Sunday he started singing a song that was sung during that morning's service.
He drinks pop out of Cody's pop bottles. (Horrible, horrible idea, Cody)
He has shape cutters for his play-doh... we used to have to help with these. He now does it all by himself. He can press the shape cutter into the dough, pull the edges off around the cutter, and press the dough out of the cutter to reveal the intended shape.
He repeats his favorite quotes from his movies when we're not watching the movies. THIS is definitely just like his daddy ;)

There's more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head. Some of these might seem like such small insignificant events, but to me, they're huge. I might have to take a vacation day his first day of kindergarten... it might take me a whole day to stop the tears ;)


He also has this cute little developing attitude that I can't help but laugh at. Case in point:
Saturday at my parents' house he was playing in the basement with my dad. He didn't want Mommy interrupting so when I came downstairs to say hi, this was the response I got from my little man:
"No. Go upstairs Mommy. Go upstairs Mama."
If we try to help him with anything, he thinks we're getting in the way --- "Go Daddy! Go!" Meaning... "get out of the way" ;) His little voice tries to sound so authoritative, and it makes us laugh... though we try to hide it from him ;)

Totally unrelated -- he is now obsessed with Thomas the Train. Thanks Papa Bob for that one ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Brandon's 6 Month Update

Brandon turned six months old yesterday, and to celebrate it, he came down with a cold. Bummer! However, it's amazing how much better he handles colds than I do. When I have a cold, don't even attempt to get me to smile. Brandon's still our happy little guy except for when he gets really really tired!

We took him for his checkup today. He weighs 17 lbs. 9 oz. (up almost 3 pounds from his last visit) and is 25 1/2 inches long (exactly an inch longer than two months ago). This keeps him at the exact same percentiles - 50th percentile for weight, 25th percentile for length. His head measures in the 75th percentile... so like Dr. said... he's got a lot of brains in there! :)

A little out of the ordinary... he has a little bump on his skin right in the middle of his neck on the front. It's been there since the day he was born, but to anyone else besides his mommy and daddy and his doctor, it would look exactly like a large pimple. It's also hard to see because it's usually hidden under his little roley-poley skin under his neck. Today was the first time I had shown his doctor because I'm so used to it being there, that I had forgotten to mention it until today. When the doctor saw it, she said it is a cyst. She has referred us to the University of Iowa Hospital Pediatrics ENT doctors (Ear Nose Throat). She said they need to take a look at it because sometimes when a cyst is formed in that area, it can actually be connected underneath to things in the throat region... and that if that's the case, it would have to be surgically removed or an infection can develop internally. So we go next Wednesday for that appointment. Three things could happen - they could discover that it's only superficial and that would be case closed, nothing to worry about. They could tell us that they don't want to make a final decision yet and want to see us again in a year. Or they could say -- yes, we need to do surgery. Our doctor thinks that if surgery is required, they would wait until he's a year old to do it. Our prayers are obviously that there is no surgery needed. We will keep everyone posted and would appreciate your prayers as well. The thought of someone performing surgery on my tiny sweet little man chokes me up a bit... but trying not to think too much about it yet!

The growth chart tab at the top of the page has been updated with his six-month picture.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Heeeerrreeee Come the Panthers!"

Okay this entry has this title because that's really all I can think about... and I'm feeling a little let down that UNI kicks off a week later than everyone else this fall. I'm tired of hearing about the Hawks' first game this weekend when I have to wait another week for Panther time. (On a side note, I got a Facebook invite this morning to attend an Iowa football game watch party -- ha! They obviously don't know me very well) ;)

Here are our updates:
Brandon...
Still hates green vegetables. I tried to trick him by buying him "Mixed Veggies" -- with carrots, peas, and potatoes thinking that would hide the peas taste. Didn't work the slightest bit. Oh well. He did, however, start bananas over the weekend and that went well. He's funny though. Even the foods he does like, every time we go to eat baby food, he makes a yucky face during the first bite. Like the texture is taking him a long time to get used to.

He's working on his 4th tooth, second one on the top. The top teeth are taking forever though... we've been able to see one of them for a couple of weeks but it's not progressing as fast as the bottom teeth did.

He's close to "scooting." He now can turn himself in different directions when on his tummy if he sees something that he wants to grab.

He can sit on his own for up to a minute at a time if he's concentrating. If there's anything near him that he wants in his hands, he topples right over trying to grab it.

I say this every blog entry, but he loves his big brother. This morning when we were waiting to leave for daycare, Jaden was hyper and running around. He also decided he wanted to jump. So he kept jumping up and down all over the place. Brandon giggled and squeeled at this the whole time. I think when Jaden's not around (like if he's napping for a long period of time), Brandon truly misses him. Sunday when Jaden woke up from his nap, Brandon's mood improved just by seeing his brother!

He turns 6 months this Thursday - has his doctor's appointment Friday - and his six-month pictures on Saturday.

Jaden...
His new favorite activity is to throw rocks into the creek behind our house. On nice evenings, Cody fills an old ice cream bucket with rocks from our driveway, and he and Jaden spend about five-10 minutes throwing them into the water.

He's really loving parks and big slides even more than he used to.

He's turning into a great singer. He now hums along in almost perfect tune to songs that he's familiar with.

He asks me to sing the UNI Fight song quite frequently. (LOVE THIS!!!!!) :)

My parents have an electronic keyboard at their house. Jaden likes to sit there, push the buttons to make it play different tunes -- and bee-bop along to the music! It's so funny to watch. I think we have a very talented boy on our hands. He's showing excellent athletic skills already (you should see him dribble a ball, and he's got an amazingly strong throw already) -- and excellent musical talent!

We bought him new shoes yesterday for this fall/winter... some really cool brown ones for church, etc. We had to get him a size 10! His feet are so stinkin wide!!!

He refuses to potty train. Refuses. I would love to spend a weekend trying the tactic where you make them run around the house naked so that he's afraid to have accidents. Minor problem -- I don't have a free weekend until October. My doctor has assured me that it's perfectly normal for boys to be three years old before they are potty trained... and I actually know another little boy who IS three and refuses to potty train... it still doesn't make me feel any better ;)

He likes to "help" do just about everything. Here is an example:

Cody wanted to adjust the pedals on this car. Jaden sat down, grabbed some tools -- and actually made himself somewhat useful. Cody said he actually used the screw driver to unscrew things a bit ;)

I'm ecstatic that we are reaching my favorite time of year. My only negative feelings right now are towards fantasy football. Whoever invented this disastrous activity obviously didn't have a wife and kids at home. Friday night, Cody went to a high school football game and didn't get home at all until after we were all in bed. Saturday he was gone half the day at his fantasy football draft. Sunday he was home but basically absent as he had to keep track of all of his fantasy guys playing in the preseason games. This is now going to be our lives until NFL season is over ;)
Hurry up September 11th!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cody&Nicole Scrapbook

Cody & Nicole Scrapbook

If you click on the link, you should be able to view a scrapbook I just finished for Cody and me. I've now made this one and one for Jaden. Next up -- Brandon's! Let me know if the link doesn't work.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Random Tidbits

Brandon's third tooth is coming in already. I laugh at this because I have friends whose kids didn't get their first tooth until they were a year old. Brandon isn't even 6 months yet, and we're looking at three teeth. This third one is his first one on the top. Jaden was an early teether, too so I was prepared for this. This tooth seems to be coming in easier than his bottom two did... those caused us a couple of fussy days. This one I didn't even realize was coming in until he was laughing one night with his mouth wide open, and I just happened to accidentally see it.

Brandon's getting a lot better at eating baby food. He likes carrots and sweet potatoes the best. Green beans... I can't tell if he likes them. I think he tolerates them ;) Peas -- absolutely not. Takes after his mommy. Gagged on them twice the first time we tried them, and I haven't made him try them again just yet. We're going to try squash this weekend. Then by the end of next week, he can have his first taste of fruit! He also is pretty good with his oatmeal. He hates the plain rice cereal. I don't blame him.

What more can I say about Brandon? He's a joy. His smile might be the biggest smile I've ever seen, and when I get home at the end of the day, I can't get enough of kissing his little cheekers. When I walk into daycare to pick them up and he hears my voice -- it's so fun to watch his head frantically start turning in all directions trying to find me -- because he heard Mama's voice, and it makes him happy. And that makes me happy :) His love for his older brother grows and grows. When we're all in the basement together, and Jaden is throwing his balls around, Brandon literally reaches both his arms out trying to catch the balls when they come near him. Those two are going to have so much fun playing catch together. He's going to be six months old in less than two weeks. How is that possible??

Now on to Jaden. We adore our little man. And I call him little MAN because he grows up more and more every day. It's so fun having conversations with him. It's so crazy that we're actually HAVING conversations with him. Wasn't he just born yesterday? He's going to be such a protective big brother and oldest son. I stubbed my toe really badly a while back... so badly, that my eyes watered with tears. Jaden started crying and hugging me because he wanted to make sure I was okay. Brandon was starving on the way to Pizza Hut the other night and was crying pretty badly in the car. Jaden was worried about him and wanted to touch him and comfort him from his car seat. "It's okay Brandon!" He's a champ at counting to ten, he knows most of his colors (red and orange are still a struggle), and he sings along with his movies now... memorizing a lot of the words. Everything is SO big, SO high, and SO heavy right now. We see a big truck... "Big truck! SO big! So heavy!" We see a bird in the sky... "The bird is SO high!" He also knows the importance of "being nice." ;) "Be nice to Papa and Nana! Be nice to people!"

Cody and I are going on our first "date night" tomorrow night since before Brandon was born. Wow, six months ago. His 10-year reunion is tomorrow so we are going to do our own dinner just the two of us and then meet up with his friends from his class afterwards. At least that's the plan right now.

UNI Football kicks off in just 21 days. There has been a void in my life since last November -- it's about to filled again ;)

Happy Friday! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nativity Advent Calendar

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE Christmas!! Thanksgiving weekend until December 26th is my absolute most favorite time of the year... I love everything about it. The excitement of family celebrations, the decorating, all the Christmas lights up every where, the food, the smells, I could go on and on and on. I love it even more now that I have kids.

I got an email this morning from Fisher Price about their new items out... and normally I'm really good about waiting until things go on sale if it's something that I really really want -- but I found one thing that didn't go on my "wish list"... but instead had to go in my shopping cart! ;)
This is a Little People Christmas countdown calendar for the boys. Each day starting December 1st, we'll get to add another figure to the nativity scene until we add Jesus on Christmas morning! What a great way to teach Jaden and Brandon the Christmas story and have some fun doing it. Here is the link in case you want to order one, too ;)