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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hit the Pause Button...

Weekday mornings are a marathon at our house. Especially Monday mornings because Cody has to be at work a half an hour earlier for a supervisor's meeting. Even though today is Tuesday, he had the meeting this morning since yesterday was a vacation day. I am especially busy this week as I prepare for a conference call this afternoon, a meeting at our house tonight and then a trip to Kansas City early Thursday morning for a conference that I won't be returning from until Saturday night. (Insert sad face here. I HATE being away from home!)

But this morning I had reason to hit the pause button for a minute or two. Which is kind of ironic since our series of teachings at church right now are all about hitting the pause button.

I came out into the living room after putting on my makeup. Jaden was sitting on the floor eating his yogurt. I found Brandon sitting on Cody's lap on the couch. But he wasn't just sitting on his lap... he had his arms wrapped around Cody's neck, face pressed against Cody's face... and was clinging on for dear life. I sat down on the couch next to them and watched Cody pull his face away from Brandon's a little bit. He didn't want to give him whisker burn since he hasn't shaved in a while. Brandon looked up at Cody, put both of his hands on Cody's face, and pulled Cody's face back against his own face as if to say... "Don't let go yet, Daddy." At this moment Jaden walked over to me and climbed onto my lap. And the four of us hit the pause button together... sitting on the couch... forgetting about the long week ahead.

It was only two minutes... but it was just what this mommy needed to charge my batteries.

Don't forget to hit the pause button from time to time!

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's going too fast...

This morning I had one of those "moments" that mommies so often have throughout the course of a year. We had a great morning at our house filled with laughter, funny kiddos, hugs and tickles. And as I watched Brandon monkey around in our recliner, so proud of himself for learning the easiest way to get into it and down from it and therefore giggling at himself, I said to Cody -- "I'm going to miss this."

I love both of my boys dearly. But when Jaden was Brandon's age, I knew he wouldn't be my last. I knew there would be at least one more baby. But now Brandon is my baby. He's my tiny man. And he's growing too darn fast.

So I am soaking him up - every cuddle, every baby giggle, every little roll of baby fat, every whine for "mama" or "dada" -- every. little. thing.

I am soaking up...
the fact that he refuses to eat his yogurt in the mornings unless he is sitting on my lap. I have to position myself on the living room floor and he runs to me, sits down on my legs and adjusts himself so he's sitting just right while I spoon feed him. If I have to move him off of my lap for any reason, he climbs right back on. It's a common occurrence that usually results in yogurt falling onto my dress pants or getting in my hair, but I don't care. In fact, as I came to work the other day with dried yogurt on my black pants, I actually found myself bragging about it to a co-worker.

I am soaking up...
the way he jumps up and down in his crib and squeals for us when we come into his room in the morning. I know too soon that he will be crawling out of his big boy bed all by himself. So for now... I savor the jumping.

I am soaking up...
the way he giggles and giggles when I tickle his thighs during a diaper change or while getting him undressed for his bath. Those baby rolls on those little legs are too irresistible.

I am soaking up...
the way he sways to the music in his car seat while we're driving to and from daycare. Every once in a while, I will look in my rear-view mirror and there is Brandon with his hands clasped together, swaying back and forth as if he's ready to get his groove on.

I am soaking up...
his high pitched grunts when he wants something. He can't talk yet so he grunts and points at what catches his eye -- whether it be a drink, a snack or a request for us to pick him up. If he doesn't get what he wants right away, the grunts gradually get higher in pitch until it's a full-on shriek.

I am soaking up...
the way he looks up to his older brother. His face shows so much delight when Jaden plays with him or makes silly faces at him. He adores his big brother, and I pray they always have a close bond as brothers and friends.

I am soaking up...
every little "uh oh" "mama" "dada" and "gaga." Pretty soon that vocabulary will be much more extensive and the baby talk will lessen.

I am soaking up...
every time he lays his head on my shoulder for my hug "goodbye" when dropping him off at daycare.

I am soaking up...
the way he holds his arms up to us and opens and closes his hands repeatedly (picture the way someone would milk a cow) when he wants us to pick him up.

I am soaking up...
his new love of clapping along to "if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands..."

I am soaking up...
his hilarious facial expressions and his attitude. Anyone who has spent a good amount of time with our little guy can attest to the hilarity and uniqueness that this little boy's personality possesses. He makes us laugh constantly.

I am soaking up...
how much he loves his daddy and the way he shows his love for Cody at this age. Baby wresting, pats on Daddy's head and the way he will just stare at and grab at Cody's face sometimes when they are on the floor together... priceless.

I am soaking up...
the way he chugs from his sippy cup when he is really thirsty. Both hands on the cup, head tilted back as far as it will go... "bottom's up" baby.

I am soaking up...
putting him to bed. How he insists that his musical mobile be turned on, how we lay him in the crib, he reaches his hand out for his pacifier and his blankey and then rolls himself onto his side with his blankey tucked by his cheek. He looks so peaceful and he goes to bed for us so nicely.

I am soaking up...
watching him try to run with his short little legs. Soon enough his legs will be longer, and he will be giving Jaden a run for his money.

I am soaking up...
the last remaining months of using "baby" supplies. Pacifiers, diapers, wipes, baby Tylenol, the bottle he still uses once a day before bed, the crib, baby washcloths, "footy" pajamas, the diaper bag, Gerber baby puffs, sippy cups, baby toothpaste, 12-24 month baby clothes, high chairs at restaurants, baby spoons, bibs.

I am soaking it all up.


Soaking up those baby feet...



Soaking up those forehead wrinkles...


Soaking up those pudgy cheeks...


Soaking up those rolley-polley arms...

Soaking up that baby tummy...

Soaking it all up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Dip

Ingredients:
*1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
*2 tablespoons brown sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips (or more than a cup if you choose)

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Serve with graham cracker sticks or animal crackers, etc.

**I have made this for several gatherings now and it is so quick, so easy and SO very yummy! (Not to mention incredibly addicting).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18th

Today, May 18th, holds a lot of special memories for me. Five years ago today I was blessed to witness my niece Ella come into the world. (At the time I watched her birth I had no idea she would one day be my niece). Four years ago today, Cody proposed to me at Ella's first birthday party. It was at Ella's birth in the hospital that Cody said he first knew he wanted to get to know me better. What a cool date on our calendar every year.

Looking back at Ella's day of birth... here's what stands out. I remember my phone beeping at around 4:30 in the morning -- a text message from Cassi saying "Start praying." I still laugh when I think about that text message. Leave it to Cassi to be so vague. I immediately shot out of bed and called her... "What do you mean -- start praying??!" "Baby's coming," she said. We had planned for a long time for me to be one of the people in the room with her when she gave birth so I had been looking forward to this day for quite a while. Cassi's mom was driving her to the hospital and had stopped at a gas station to get coffee on the way -- so Cassi was sitting in the car waiting when I talked to her. "Just go back to sleep," she said. "I'll call you when we get checked into the hospital."

Yea right... of course I couldn't get back to sleep after that! I remember lying in bed for almost two hours watching re-run episodes of "Roseanne" on TV just dying for her next phone call telling me to head on over to Covenant Hospital. Finally somewhere between 6:00/7:00 a.m. she told me they were ready for me.

Later in the morning was when I got my first glimpse of Cody at the hospital. Prior to that day I had only seen him in person once... and at that first sighting he had a head full of thick curly hair. Now here we were, Cassi in intense labor, and he shows up at the hospital around lunch time with a shaved head... looking like a completely different person... peeking into Cassi's hospital room with their dad Tim. And being somewhat typical men... Tim decided they would go eat lunch so that they could duck out of there for the most intense moments of labor before Cassi finally got her epidural.

A few hours after that a beautiful little girl was born. (And if Cassi ever makes public the picture of me sobbing in the background while she holds Ella for the first time -- I might have to hurt her!) I was just so happy to finally meet the little girl that had brought me and Cassi so close together during the previous nine months.

*This picture was taken right after Ella opened her eyes.

*Holding her the morning after she was born.

*The second time that I babysat her. I don't have a picture from the first time. I think it's because I remember her sleeping the entire time... in my arms of course.

I can't believe she is five and about to start kindergarten this fall!! Happy birthday Ella!

************************

To celebrate Ella's first birthday, Cassi planned a gathering at the Eagle City Winery. Everyone... and I do mean everyone... knew that Cody was going to be proposing to me that night. Everyone except for me of course.

*Reading Ella one of her new books she received... just seconds before Cody got down on one knee.

*Here I am watching Ella with one of her new toys... but notice Cody in the background... ring box in hand...

...And then it happened! So glad we have this moment caught on camera... even though the picture is a bit blurry.


*This was the box that the ring was in during Ella's party... disguised as though it were one of Ella's birthday presents. Clever.

*The first flowers Cody ever gave me were pink roses that he had sent to the UNI football office when I was an assistant up there during my senior year at UNI. They were for our first Valentine's Day together. These pictured above were the roses he gave me right after he asked me to marry him. So what flowers did we use for our wedding?? Pink and white roses of course.


*To this day Cody still insists that I never actually said, "Yes." I have to remind him that my excitement, the acceptance of the ring, the hug and the kiss and the fact that we did indeed get married was my way of saying, "yes."

*************************

Tonight we are once again gathering with family to celebrate Ella's birthday. A park, some pizza... and two little kids of our own to enjoy it with. Happy May 18th!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Picture Comparison

Jaden's first year...


Brandon's first year...


So different in some ways... yet both are so so cute. :)

Happy Mother's Day!

How did we spend our Mother's Day...?

Together...


Feeling thankful...
Laughing...


Being goofy...


Grilling...
Trying new foods...


Eating way too much...


Talking...



Swinging...



Having slide races...



Enjoying "man's best friend"...



Monkey-ing around...


Enjoying our grandparents...


Enjoying our cousins...


Mommies got to be kids again...


...And we got to cuddle our own kids...


Taking lots of pictures so we'd always remember...


...Mother's Day 2011...




(Click on the link for a cute short video).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Hello. My Name is Trouble."

My parents bought a shirt for Brandon a month or two ago that says, "Hello. My name is Trouble."

He's wearing that shirt today. It suits him perfectly.

Our "baby" is not a baby anymore. He is quickly turning into a troublesome toddler. A troublesome toddler that makes us pull our hair out one minute and then laugh hysterically the next. Cody summed it up perfectly last night after we put the boys to bed when he said we should expect a lot of trips to the emergency room in our future with our youngest son -- and that it will never be "easy" to stay mad at him for anything. Brandon is into and on top of and underneath everything. He is not afraid of anything. Sunday morning he fell down the steps in a completely head over feet, head over feet tumble. This was the first time it's happened, and luckily we live in a split level house so it was only about four steps that he fell down... but he wasn't very happy. How'd he fall? Because he continues to think that he can just take one step in front of the other and walk down steps by himself even though his balance isn't yet up to the task and his legs aren't nearly long enough to handle it. The last couple of nights he has been bound and determined that he can stand up in the tub and try and climb out of the tub all on his own. When we make him sit down and stop climbing, he gets very very angry. He wants to climb on top of and wrestle with Cody and I at every opportunity he can. Whenever I'm lying on my tummy on the floor, he climbs on top of my back and sits on me like I'm his horse. Then he starts bouncing around expecting a "ride." He climbs into and out of anything he can. Sometimes he does a good job of it, sometime it ends with him falling down and getting mad. Then he proceeds to do it again. At daycare, they can't keep him out of the little exersaucer that is intended for the smaller babies. He climbs into it on his own and then gets mad when he gets stuck because he's too big to get out of it on his own. But then after they get him out he goes right back to climbing into it again.

Besides being a monkey, he is a stinker. Meal times with him are never anything short of a messy disaster. He will be chewing his food and then decides mid-chew that he wants a drink. So instead of waiting until he's finished chewing and swallowing his food, he'll spit the food out of his mouth so that he has room to take a drink. Then he thinks it's funny to just spit his drink out for the heck of it. The other night he tried to tip his plate over so that all of the food would fall off. After his third attempt, Cody looked at him and said, "NO Brandon." And very lightly tapped the top of Brandon's hand when he said no. Brandon turned his head, looked up at Cody, scowled at him and proceeded to smack the top of Cody's hand in return. Then he smiled. Here we are trying to start some discipline -- but we can't hold in the laughter when that's how he responds to it. (I'm sure it won't be as cute when he's 24 months as opposed to 14 months old).

I cannot talk on the phone anymore. If I want to or need to talk on the phone, I have to take it into our bedroom and shut the door. If Brandon sees me talking on the phone, he insists on grabbing the phone from me and talking himself while he carries the phone around with him. Ask my parents -- they've had some interesting phone conversations with Brandon the last couple of days. Trying to put shoes and a coat on the kid is like trying to wrestle a wild animal. He doesn't want to sit still for anything. He is everywhere.

And we love him so stinkin'  much. He is the sweetest, most lovable, most adorable little boy. And we are so glad that he's ours. :)