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

Monday, 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:
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.

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 ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just another manic Monday

This Monday I am thankful for...
-The blossoming relationship between Jaden and Brandon
-True friends
-Cooler temps
-Chinese food
-The Children's Place (it's a clothing store if you were unsure) ;)

What a week/weekend. I'll start with the weekend. Friday night we had some celebrating to do (more on that later) -- so we went with my parents to Crossroads to eat and shop. The Children's Place was having a sale on denim (Jaden needed new jeans) -- plus I had a coupon, and they have a lot of fall clothes now. I got quite a few things for Jaden at an awesome cost... so job well done. Poor little Brandon doesn't get new clothes very often because he gets to wear Jaden's hand-me-downs... but Jaden was so much bigger than Brandon so he didn't get to wear the same stuff for very long. So it's kind of like Brandon's wearing new clothes anyway ;) We also ate at the Chinese restaurant in the mall for the first time -- and it was awesome. Cody left it up to me to order while he sat with the boys... so he wasn't real happy with me when I told him I just ordered one meal for the two of us to split. He later was happy with me because it was so much food that we both ended up full... plus I ordered a new kind of chicken, and it was amazing! We also tried to put Jaden on the carousel in the mall. This was the third time he's ridden one. He rode it at Crossroads last year and liked it -- he rode one at Sturgis Falls in June and loved it -- but then was terrified of it Friday night and practically cried the whole time. Go figure! After the kids went to bed Friday night, Cassi came over and hung out with me and Cody for a little bit.

Saturday Cody had to go to Aplington to work on his parent's house so Cassi brought Ella over and we had a play date all morning. It was nice to have other people there to help entertain Jaden and Brandon. For lunch we decided to take the kids to Los Cabos on Main St. in Cedar Falls. We ate out on the patio and it was awesome. I had never eaten there before but will definitely go back. It's great atmosphere with great friendly service. The kids (and the moms) loved sitting outside watching the people walk up and down Main St. while we ate. I think this will be a new frequent family place for Cody and I to go. Brandon also tried sweet potatoes for the first time while we there and seemed to like them -- much better than green beans, which is definitely not a favorite food of his! ;)

Saturday night a guy I work with and a fellow Tampa Bay Bucs fan just like Cody -- hosted a football kickoff/Bucs party at his house. I left Jaden with my parents and took Brandon along for a couple of hours. Brad and Melissa are expecting their first child at the end of October so Brandon got lots of attention when we were at their house. It was a good time --- AND I drank my first beer since June of 2009! ;) When it was getting close to bed time I went home and Cody stayed until the Bucs game was over. Sunday morning we got up for church and then enjoyed a very peaceful afternoon. Jaden took a three hour nap... and Brandon took a 3 1/2 hour nap -- that is the longest nap he has ever taken!! They both were sleeping at the same time so even Cody and I got a chance to take naps. We then went to eat at the new Becks ThunderRidge in CF with Cody's parents and Cassi for supper.

One thing that stands out from this weekend is how amazing it is to watch Jaden and Brandon together. It is priceless the way Brandon's face lights up when Jaden pays attention to him. This morning Jaden was awake before Brandon so when Brandon woke up, Jaden went into Brandon's room with me. "I wanna wake up Brandon!" -- he says this all the time ;) When Brandon heard Jaden's voice, his head snapped up and looked all over the room for him -- and he got the biggest happiest grin on his face when Jaden looked up at  him and said, "Hi Brandon!" Jaden spent the rest of the morning as we were getting ready playing with Brandon. He helped me feed him his bottle, brought him toys, laid on the floor next to him, patted his back -- and at one point, I even caught him putting his sippy cup of juice all the way into Brandon's mouth. Oops ;) The only thing we're working on is sharing. Twice this weekend we had a huge issue with Jaden taking toys away from Brandon... we'll work on that ;)

Now to the reason we were celebrating Friday night. I had what was supposed to be a routine doctor's checkup last Wednesday. During the exam the doctor discovered two lumps. I immediately said to her that I thought they were from nursing and the fact that I was still drying up from that. The doctor (who is not my doctor -- I had to see someone else at the last minute) told me she thought they were too big and too hard to be from nursing. Yikes. So they immediately scheduled me for an ultrasound on Friday morning. It was a nerve wracking 36 hours. I went from being very scared and shocked -- to feeling better about things all day Thursday -- to being a nervous wreck again on Friday morning. Thank God that the radiologist got back to me before I even left the appointment Friday and told me that the lumps were not a mass of any kind. He said I had some milk ducts that were a bit more prominent than they should be and that might require follow up. Sometimes a worst case scenario for that is a woman has to have surgery to repair those milk ducts. Whatever... that sounded like a piece of cake after what the potential news could have been. I'm just so glad that they weren't masses -- if they would have been masses, this whole ordeal would have been dragged out longer because they would have had to perform a biopsy to see what exactly the mass was. And some more good news is that those lumps are starting to go away almost to the point of being gone already. So it doesn't seem as though I have to worry about needing to do anything with them down the road.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Monday

This Monday I am thankful for...
-Tax free weekends
-My Scentsy Pot (I am really excited to order the new fall/winter fragrances available Sept. 1st -- I had someone drop off the new catalog to our house on Saturday morning!)
-Balloons (Jaden got one from a clerk at Home Depot yesterday - a big one - and he is a VERY happy little boy because of it!)
-Lunch breaks -- I'm excited for some reading time today!

We had a pretty low-key weekend. Anything we thought of doing was quickly to put to rest because of this darn heat. It's suffocating being outside right now!! Another reminder to me of why I love fall so much... let the countdown to September begin!!

Speaking of countdowns, I am currently constructing a countdown calendar for Jaden. What are we counting down to? The day we get to go to "TC's house for football time!" Seriously, I think he tells us 12 times a day that he's ready for football time at TC's house. So... I've decided to make him a countdown calendar to hang on the fridge so that every night before we climb into bed, we can mark another day off the calendar --- getting us closer to Panther kickoff day! This will also be fun because he's really starting to learn about the days of the week... and he is becoming a great counter! Last night in bed he kept interrupting during prayer time so that he could count to 10 ;) He's pretty proud of himself... and I'm proud of him, too! He also understands that Saturdays mean getting a cookie with Daddy -- and Tuesdays are Pizza Hut nights. So putting a calendar on the fridge with the days of the week, a picture of TC and way for him to "count" -- what a great way to incorporate everything into a fun nightly activity for the next month right?? I'm going to do this for Christmas, too. One of my favorite memories of Christmas season when I was growing up was our Christmas countdown calendar. I always knew that when the teddybear reached the Christmas tree room in the house... that Christmas was here!

I accomplished some fall organizing over the weekend. Yesterday morning I made Jaden try on all of his pants from last winter so I could see what still fit and what he was in need of. Some of his pants are still long enough at least for the first half of the fall/winter... but he definitely needs new jeans. Last year's are too tight! He's more in need of shirts -- the kid's torso grows faster than his legs so lots of his winter shirts are too short. He's pretty much covered in the shoe department though. He still fits into his white/blue nike shoes we bought him last winter, "Uncle" Casey sent him a pair of amazingly awesome Jordan's for his 2nd birthday that he'll be able to wear this upcoming winter... and my parents just bought him THE coolest "Panther" Nike tennis shoes, as well. They are Kobe's Laker shoes... so they are completely Purple and Gold! I'm saving them for special occassions (football/basketball games only) -- so that they stay in good condition and Brandon can wear them someday. My parents also bought Brandon a pair of baby Jordan's that are pretty cool, too! I also organized Brandon's closet and got out all of the clothes that Jaden wore when he was a baby two winters ago... there really isn't much that Brandon will need except for pajamas. The ones Jaden wore are so WORN and have quite a few spit up/formula/pee stains on them. We reached a milestone last week when I finally realized that Brandon has grown out of pretty much all of his sleepers. Cody told me that it's time we move him into some actual pj sets instead of sleepers... sleepers to me are so "baby" looking... and adorable! I'm not ready for him to be growing out of this stage!! Brandon also started eating carrots on Thursday night. He always screws up his face the first time the spoon goes in his mouth, but then he'll eat some before he gets sick of them. So he's not a huge fan - but he doesn't completely shun them either! We also have discovered that he much prefers baby oatmeal over the rice cereal! And we're going to give green beans a shot tonight.

Brandon is also completely being bottle fed only now. I have officially quit nursing. I have mixed emotions about this. I really wanted to hold out until he was 6 months old, but it just wasn't working anymore. The poor little guy wasn't ever getting full when he would nurse, and it was making him a bit fussier on the weekends. It's sad because that was a great bonding experience for us (and because formula is so expensive!!) -- but also somewhat of a relief that this duty can now be shared between Cody and myself (and grandparents, etc.)

Bath time is also getting more interesting with Brandon. Ever since he was born, we have been bathing him in his baby bathtub by putting the bathtub into the kitchen sink. The little stinker has fully discovered kicking and splashing... the last few baths have ended with me being completely soaked... and Cody having to mop up all the huge water puddles off the kitchen floor! So bathtime is about to be moved into the actual bathroom ;) I can't wait until Brandon is sitting well enough that he doesn't have to be in the baby bath anymore and he and Jaden can take baths together!

That's it for us. Cody's getting really excited for this upcoming weekend. Our friend's Brad and Melissa are throwing a football kickoff party at their house on Saturday. Brad is from Florida, and is a huge Tampa Bay Bucs fan just like Cody. Brad and Melissa have two big screen TV's in their house - one in the basement and one on the main level. They are getting a keg and grilling a bunch of food before the Bucs preseason game kicks off at 6:00 Saturday night. I'm planning on taking Brandon for a couple of hours because their first baby is due right around Halloween -- and so Melissa will enjoy having Brandon around for a little while.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Someone at work who has a son going into his senior year of high school football shared this video with me this morning. Her son showed it to her before she left for work, and it brought her to tears. I can see why. Having grown up heavily involved in the UNI football scene, having married a former player and a man who coached alongside Ed Thomas... and having a 2 1/2 year old who already talks about football non-stop... even I get emotional watching it. This video sums every reason I absolutely LOVE the sport of football. It's an extended music video - if you're going to watch it, you have to watch the whole thing. Enjoy :)

The Boys of Fall

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy 5 Months Little Brandon!

New developments -
He hates tummy time, but is starting to try and push up on his hands when he does roll onto his tummy. I think he will crawl sooner than Jaden did.
He HATES cereal, but is a hungry little guy so we might try vegetables here pretty soon.
Mommy is quitting nursing this week. He's so hungry, I can't keep up with him. I'm pretty happy with lasting five months -- especially since since I was working full time for three out of those five months. This is a sad thing, but also somewhat of a relief. Now Cody can help feed him more, freeing me up for other things. It's also good timing since we have so many events coming up with Cody's high school reunion and football season.
Brandon does not take his eyes off of Jaden when Jaden is around.
He shrieks -- loudly!
He is REALLY filling out. His little rolley polleys on his legs are huge. He's shorter than Jaden was, so there's not as much room for that baby fat to spread to!

We love our little Brandon to pieces!

I've also updated the growth chart tab on the top of the page.

Monday Thankfulness 8-2-10

This first Monday in AUGUST I am thankful for:
-The "Scripture that Inspires" series at Orchard Hill Church
-My family
-Conversations with my 2 1/2 year old
-Brandon's new favorite noise - shrieking

What a busy few days... where do I begin? I took Friday off because our babysitter was on vacation. It is exhausting being home with our two boys without Cody there to help, but Jaden was very good for me... on his best behavior. (Except for his little meltdown in Target -- but we'll forgive him for that one) ;) It was pouring rain for a long time on Friday morning, but I had some items that I absolutely had to pick up so I took on the attitude that "rain can't stop this super mom!" -- an attitude that I later regretted somewhat. As soon as I parked in the Target parking lot I realized that I couldn't wheel the boys into the store quickly in a shopping cart because there were no carts in the parking lot. So... I had to carry Brandon in his increasingly heavy carseat, while I held Jaden's hand and walked him inside. He's not the world's fastest walker so it was a very slow WET walk to get us all into the store. I got quite a few funny looks once we got inside -- we all looked like we'd taken a swim in the ocean. I also decided to let Jaden be a big boy and allow him to walk beside me while we shopped instead of ride in the cart with Brandon. This slowed down our shopping progress, but as a mommy you have to be flexible! We had a near disaster with a carton of eggs and Jaden deciding he wanted to pick up the carton of eggs off the shelf and nearly drop them on the floor... but as a mommy, I also have developed very quick reflexes and was able to swipe eggs out of said two-year olds hands just in time ;) (Of course Target worker was nearby watching the whole scene unfold and had a good little chuckle, but giving birth to two kids and living life with two kids -- you kind of stop being embarassed by a most things) :) The rest of the day was pretty uneventful -- I was very thankful that Jaden took a 3 1/2 hour nap in the afternoon!! Friday night Jaden and I went to pick up some hamburgers at HyVee while Cody stayed home with Brandon. Once again, I let Jaden walk through the store and after I turned my back for a second, he managed to find a crate full of big outdoor balls and start pulling them out of the crate and throwing them around the store. Again... this was followed by chuckles from HyVee workers watching from a distance. Never a dull moment!

Saturday there was a family reunion for Cody's family, but it was about an hour away, outdoors -- and it was HOT. So I decided to let Cody take Jaden for father/son bonding time, while Brandon and I stayed home and out of the extreme heat. According to Cody, Jaden had a good time throwing rocks in the lake and running up and down a hill over and over again. Brandon and I went on a mini shopping adventure to Crossroads with my parents. When the boys got home, I took Jaden to Blockbuster because I felt like renting a couple of movies. (Of course, they are due back Wednesday and I have yet to have time to watch them. Sigh). Anyways, while in Blockbuster, Jaden decided he didn't want to walk through the store... he wanted to crawl. So he did. He crawled. Through the whole store. To say I have a silly little boy is an understatement.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church -- which was awesome. Great teaching by Dave Bartlett. When Cody, Brandon and I went to pick Jaden up from his Sunday school room, I told him to say goodbye to the teachers and all the little kids before we walked out. I wish I would have had a video camera. He stood proud and tall and with both hands high in the air, waved bye - repeating "bye bye! bye bye! bye bye!" over and over again. It was like... "Jaden is LEAVING the building! You will not see me for another week, so enjoy me now!" ;) After naps on Sunday, we drove to Aplington to eat at Cody's parents'. My parents also drove over to join us. In our car, I still had a copy of the 2009 UNI Football Media Guide. For those of you that don't know what a media guide is - it's basically a somewhat large book previewing the upcoming season with pictures and bios of every player and coach... and lots of other neat pictures from the previous season, as well. I always loved looking at them when I was growing up -- because before my mom retired, she was the one writing the media guides every year so I always got a copy. Anyways - on the way to Aplington, I handed the 2009 book to Jaden to see if he would want to look at it in the back seat. Like mother, like son - talk about a proud moment for me ;) He was SO into looking at that media guide. Every picture was "There's TC's house! Football time at TC's house! I wanna go to TC's house! Go Panthers! TC TC TC!" (TC is the Panther mascot). He looked at that thing the whole way there and then asked to look at it again on the way home. He loved the pictures, and that is all we talked about! Then he asked to look at it again this morning on the way to daycare! He calls it TC's book ;) The other thing going on in the back seat of our car lately is the increased interaction between Brandon and Jaden. More and more Brandon is absolutely in love with his big brother. He spends almost his whole time in the car staring over at Jaden. He laughs at Jaden, and Jaden smiles back at him. On the way to Aplington Saturday night, Brandon started making shrieking noises, and Jaden thought this was awesome so he started laughing at Brandon. Then Brandon started laughing back at Jaden. This went on and on. It was one of those moments as a mommy when I knew I must have done something right along the way to be deserving of a moment like that. One of those moments that I wish I would have had a camera handy but at the same time -- don't need one because that picture will be clear in my mind forever.

So that was our weekend --
A few random bits of information: Jaden used to be terrified of bugs. He isn't anymore. The other day he walked up to me and said, "A bug!" -- He held his hand out to me and between his thumb and finger was a bug that he had picked up by himself, smashed to kill and wanted me to throw in the garbage. Thank you, dear -- but next time take it to your daddy ;)
Also, my mom watched Jaden one day last week, and when she went into the bedroom to get him up from his nap, he was pointing at the ground. She thought he was trying to tell her that there was a bug down there. Instead he ended up telling her that he had picked his nose. He was pointing out the booger so that she could pick it up off the floor. How nice of him ;)

I'm so very glad it's August. Life is picking up speed again. (Wait a minute... has it even slowed down in the last two years? Not really.) Anyways... this weekend we have an all-church picnic on Sunday afternoon. Next weekend we have a Tampa Bay Bucs kickoff party at a friend's house. The following weekend Cody has his ten-year high school reunion. Two weeks after that is Labor Day weekend, and that following weekend UNI football kicks off. Not to mention we have a quickly growing toddler and a baby that acts like he wants to crawl by the time he's six months old. I also realized yesterday that we are approaching the LAST school year that we will not have a child in school for the next couple of decades. That is extremely exciting -- and extremely terrifying to think about!! Jaden actually starts preschool in just one more year?? He can't. He's still my baby.

Sorry this was so long -- happy Monday :)