Life has not settled down for our family since our world was shaken up by Cody's health struggles in July. We are still dealing with the fall-out. Still dealing with doctor's appointments, expensive prescriptions, and days where he doesn't feel quite up to par. Still dealing with a massive shake-up at my job, still being taught patience and still being reminded that when all else fails, God doesn't.
In the midst of a crazy world and a crazy life where things don't always seem "fair" -- this past weekend brought us an extended weekend and our first taste of one of my favorite things. Fall. Autumn. The season of thanksgivings, football, warm-up pants and pumpkin spice candles.
With the windows open and the boys playing happily outside, I force myself to breathe in the smells the new season brings and to look for the good even on the days when all I feel is tired. We are being taught a lot in this season of life. We are being taught to not wish for a lot of money... but to wish for enough. To not want the biggest house, but a comfortable cozy one that allows you to truly sink into it and feel rested at the end of a long day. To not pray for the "perfect" job -- but to pray to be surrounded by supportive coworkers and bosses that tell you often - "family life comes first, and our kids pray for Cody every single night."
We have a lot to be thankful for. We are thankful for a church that our entire family - the kids and Cody and I - are truly excited to go to every Sunday morning. It's amazing how Orchard Hill's teachings lately seemed to have been written just for us. We are thankful for a family that is there for us through thick and thin - in good times and in bad. We are thankful for a 3 1/2 year old that tells us several times a day, "I LOOVE you!" - and we are thankful for his younger brother that shows us he loves us by his dozens of hugs, love pats and requests to be picked up all day long. And I am thankful for bosses that ask me how I'm doing -- and truly care about the answer I give them.
To ring in this new season, we got up last Saturday morning and all got dressed in our purple best -- rejoicing in the opening kickoff of the season. I happily went down to the storage room and opened up our "harvest" decorations box. Nothing beats mason jars filled with cinnamon potpourri, a glowing candle that permeates the smell of pumpkin and maple throughout the quiet house after the kids to go to bed... and flowers that remind you of what the trees will soon look like when Fall is at its peak.
And it wouldn't be Fall without the annual Wing Ding. I'm not sure why this event is so fun. It's crowded, it's hard to find parking, the lines at each vendor tend to be long, and you usually have to eat standing up. But -- the food is good, the music is fun, the company's great, the weather is perfect -- and it's one of life's simple things. A community event that reinforces why we live in Iowa. In September, there's no place I'd rather be. While my boss down in Texas is rejoicing that it "only" reached 90 degrees this week - I'm enjoying eating hot wings... outside... in jeans... and not sweating.
...As you can see, I had trouble getting good pictures last night. Everyone was far too concerned with eating! This year's Wing Ding wasn't quite as busy as years past which helped us get the boys their food faster. And Jaden had SO much fun at this event. He was glued to Papa Bob's hip as they share a love for music and drums. Brandon did a good job at the beginning, but the noise from the band and the crowd got to him a bit. By the end of our night, he was thrown into hysterics and nothing made him happy. He kept pointing at the band and then running in the opposite direction. He's just not as impressed with drums as his older brother at this point. ;) He kept running to the outer edges of the park and trying to escape! Jaden's one request during the night was that the band play the UNI Fight Song. That's my boy! After we got home, I received a text message from my dad stating that he talked to one of the guys in the band about Jaden's request... and they said they would try to work the Fight Song into their show next year. ;) This band is now all Jaden can talk about. "I want to go back to the band shelter!"
We are now looking forward to a fun weekend. Grilling some pork chops tonight, a wedding tomorrow night (while my parents babysit the little ones), and then Cody is very excited for his first Sunday of NFL football with his buddies. And though our beloved Panthers play in Texas Saturday night and we won't get to watch it or even listen to it... I'm REALLY hoping they come home with a big win! (And that my dad will send me game updates every five minutes while I'm at the wedding!)
Happy Friday everybody!