"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 :)