"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."

Friday, March 30, 2012


Since last July, I have known that eventually I would be accepting a new position with my company that would allow me to work from home full time. Today, it finally became a reality.

Today, I packed up the last of my personal items from the room that has been my office for the last 3 1/2 years and brought them home to this:

It's a work in progress, as I haven't put much effort into decorating yet. But that will come with time. I'm just so excited and relieved that for the first time in three years, I get to work in a room with a window!

There are the little things that I'm excited about. Like actually being able to see the summer time thunderstorms rolling in while I work... and watching the beginnings of a blizzard in the winter without having to worry about my extra long drive home in slow traffic. Being able to work in sweat pants and tank tops. Not having the 20 minute commute to and from every day. Brewing my OWN coffee in the morning and using the creamer flavor of MY choice. Having a lunch break to do whatever I please without being stuck far from home -- time for laundry, reading, napping, cleaning, paying bills. Less hectic evenings because I will have time during the day to do these things. Being able to eat healthy lunches made at home. I have big plans this weekend to go out and buy the fixings for sandwiches, yummy yogurts -- and eggs to go along with my fresh cup of coffee every morning. Being only a two-minutes drive from daycare. Putting a little Christmas tree in my office in December. Having a television set up behind my desk so I can listen in on the Today show. I can't tell you the last time I actually got to watch the morning news.

But the most exciting part about this transition is that I am loving my new role already. I'm being kept so busy that the days fly by, and every day is something new. I can't say enough about how proud I am to be a part of the team that I belong to. It's so refreshing to work for a company that treats its employees like family while at the same time expecting a lot out of us. They set their standards high, but they push their employees to be the absolute best we can be. And we laugh a lot together, too. One of my managers said it best yesterday when I was telling him about something coming up that is going to be taking place to help train a new employee. His response to me... "Wow. I just love this company."

It will definitely be a transition working from home full time. But my job involves so much communication with everyone nation wide that I will still have plenty of human contact. And there will still be days where I will need to go into the office in Waterloo for a couple hours here and there for meetings and other things. It will be a great balance. It's amazing looking back on the last few years and seeing how God knew me better than I knew myself. When I first had Jaden, I longed to stay home with him full time, even though that could never be a reality for us. I wished for a life that I couldn't quite have. All the while, God was putting something even better into motion. I will have to work hard. I will have to put in a full week's work. But when my kids get off the school bus every day, their mommy will be at home waiting for them. And while they are away, I will be doing something that fulfills me and challenges me. I believe that I will be a better mom to them because of it. So here's to the next chapter of this crazy life!

...Enough about me. What else have we been up to lately?

Brandon's new obsession is lying on his blanky on the floor while watching a movie. But the blanket has to be PERFECTLY flat. If it gets a wrinkle, we have to fix it until it's smooth again. He's a goof.

He's also decided that he likes to wear his bath towel over his pajamas.

And our poor Jaden looked like this for most of the week:

...The only thing keeping him happy at times was getting to listen to the UNI Fight Song on my phone. ;)

Thankfully, he is feeling much better, and we are now looking forward to a weekend full of park play, grilling -- and some Easter egg decorating!

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Let them be Little

It's been a stressful week. And I've been extra anxious at the end of each work day to hug and squeeze my little ones. Then my co-worker played this song for me this morning. It was all I could do to not shed tiny tears over my laptop.

Happy Friday! ;)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

Last night we hosted a last-minute cookout at our house for St. Patty's day. Except it felt a whole lot more like Memorial Day.

My favorite St. Patrick's Day memories are of NCAA tournament sites... green beer... lots of crazy Panther fans... and the freedom to stay out all night long in a big city.

Times have changed a little bit.

...And even though this year didn't include a bar in Oklahoma City or Dayton, Ohio... it did include 80 degrees, good food, amazing family... and some green beer. Or... as close to green as we could get from our back deck.

I had every intention of making some kind of green dessert this year but couldn't convince myself to work inside when the outside temps and my happy boys were persistently calling my name. So we played outside. All. Day. Long.

We let the boys eat as many chips and sweets as their hearts desired. We watched Brandon blow bubbles and shriek with delight for two hours straight. We watched Jaden hit baseballs out of the yard over and over again.

Memories are good, and the ones I have from before I became a wife and a mom will always hold a very special place in my heart. But this year's St. Patty's? Well... I think it has to take the top spot. Because now I have this...

And the unseasonably gorgeous weather was just the pot of gold at the end of our St. Patty's rainbow!

We are sleepy today! A lazy Sunday afternoon, more outside evening fun... and pork chops on the grill tonight. I could get used to this...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The best moments in life...

...are often times the simple ones.


Watching your kids grow up from one spring to the next. Last year, he was learning to drive his tractor. This year, it's scooters and bikes and asking Daddy questions about how to grill while watching our supper cook.

Last year Brandon was just trying to get his footing - a new walker and completely unsure of his boundries.

...This year it's -- well -- trying to do everything his big brother does.

...Little moments...

Like watching your husband and son play tball together. A dream as a young girl brought to life right before my eyes. Jaden's interest in all things sports is blossoming. All of the sudden he is loving practicing soccer, tball and basketball. He asks me questions about the games we watch on TV. I can't wait to watch him learn every Panther basketball player's name and jersey number... just like his mommy did. ;)

...Little moments...
Like eating an evening snack on the deck with your little ones. Watching Brandon point at the planes in the sky... "Mama, Mama!!" ...perfect weather... happy kids... simple pleasures.

...Little moments...

Like cleaning up the kitchen after supper and coming outside to find your three boys gathered around the bird feeders. I'm not sure what they were talking about, but I was sure to stay far behind so as not to interrupt the moment.


...Little moments like this...

that really aren't so little.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I am behind on everything these days. Behind on blogging. Behind on taking pictures. Behind on my quest to try a new recipe every week. Behind on laundry. Behind on sleep.

My desire to take a picture of every new moment - the winter decorations giving way to Easter colors, the first night outside complete with chicken on the grill, my newly painted home office, the four days in a row now that Brandon has only needed his binky at bedtime - all of it has come and gone while my camera has stayed put in its designated spot in the basket above our DVD's.  Life is moving so fast that sometimes I feel the need to just embrace each moment while its here instead of experiencing it from behind a camera lens. Besides... the kids' runny noses left little to be desired for about a week...

These two continue to make us so happy. And moving them into the same bedroom with bunk beds was one of the best decisions we've made yet. They are loving sharing their room, and Cody and I are loving the little bit of extra sleep we get in the mornings. As soon as they wake up, Jaden crawls down from the top bunk, grabs a bunch of books, and they sit together in Brandon's bed reading and looking at pictures. No longer yelling at us to come get them from their separate rooms right away, they bond over picture books. In fact, one morning I even walked in to see that Jaden was reading from their Bible, and Brandon was sitting right next to him, taking it all in. "And God's creation was very fun for him!!"

It's amazing how fast they grow from week to week. Today Brandon played with his Duplos by himself for an hour, singing to himself the whole time. Cody and I stared at him and couldn't believe how big he looked. Jaden starts soccer in a month, and rode his big boy bike up the street today for the first time. We continue to work on a new letter each week, and he continues to do very well with them. We've made it all the way to Q, and we're practicing having him write his name by himself more and more.

We're so happy it's Spring. I only have three more weeks in my current position at work. April will not only bring rain showers and Easter, but I'll finally be working from home full time. I have been waiting since last July! I'm most excited for the WINDOW in my new office (I've been without for three years), my own coffee maker, and being able to wear a tank top during work hours! (Oh... and my new computer arrives tomorrow... all expenses paid). ;)

New season. New life. New hope. New adventures. And hopefully many more new pictures ahead!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Brandon

It blows my mind that you, sweet boy, are two. Your first two years flew by so fast. My heart breaks a little more each day as you continue to grow, but it is so heartwarming to see you develop into your own unique wonderful little boy.

So much to love about you...

I love how you say "Mama." Your first word continues to be the word you speak most clearly, and I love hearing it when I walk through the door at night. I wish you could still call me "Mama" when you're 20. However, puberty will unfortunately take away the sweet high pitched tone by that point. When you grow, you can call me Mom or Mother. Just don't be embarrassed to hug me. Ever.

I love how you love your big brother. I love how you aren't afraid to defend yourself against him when going after what you want, but at the same time you look for Jaden's approval and show that you want to be just like him. When I found out we were going to have two boys, I dreamed of you being the best of friends. You're well on your way.

I love how seriously cute you are. I know I'm your mom, but since day one you have been complimented on your amazingly good looks by everyone who meets you. The girls are going to be lined up. Set your standards high. She won't be perfect, but I hope she's darn close. ;) I'm already praying for my future daughter-in-laws so I'm confident God's got that covered. Until she comes along, you're all mine. ;)

I love how wild you are. You are exhausting and make us pull our hair out. (Especially at meal times). But I would not want you any other way. You love life. Continue to live it up, little man.

I love hearing you say new words. Clock (cock), Cake, Cheese, Bible, Papa Bob, Nana, House (hoowww), Up, Cookie, Hot, High, Uh-Oh, Ow, ... every day is something new and exciting with you.

I love how feisty you are. As you grow, it will probably becomes less cute when you try to mouth off to us. But right now it sure is funny watching you try to spread your wings.

I love your cuddles. You can be such a stinker, but you are such a lover. Your daddy and I are so lucky that both of our boys have such a sweet, sensitive side.

I love that you're still so little. Your size worries your daddy a lot. I don't doubt that you will one day hit a monstrous growth spurt. For now, I cherish that you're still so tiny and compact. (And hey... if you don't grow... I'd like to recommend the position of running back. You could be that tiny little bugger that no one can find on the field. I'm hearing your name over the PA system... "Brandon Ubben carries fooooorrr the touchdown!!!")


I love how you love to make new friends. You aren't usually shy and will wave, smile and give high-fives to anyone you come across. We're told every Sunday that you are a joy to have in the church toddler room, and I love watching you interact with the other littles.

I love that you love to draw and color, and I can't wait to see what cool things you bring home from Art class.

I love your love of animals and all things outdoors. You love the moon, airplanes, watching birds fly and seeing squirrels on our big front tree. Your face lights up when you spot your favorite things, and seeing you happy is my greatest happiness.

I love how focused you can get when playing with certain toys or trying certain things. I can't decide yet if you're going to be the kid that's always in the Principle's office for being so rambunctious... or if you're going to be a good student with your devotion to trying to do everything perfectly.

I love how mischievous you are. There is no one with a personality or facial expressions like you.

I love your infectious laugh and how ticklish your thighs are.

I love watching you chew food. Your little face gets so serious and you furrow your eyebrows together. Your lips smack together, and when you try to take a big a big bite of something, you always feel the need to open your mouth far wider than necessary. Kind of like this...

I love watching you try to dance to the music and how you are taking after your big brother by clapping along to the beat of your favorite songs.

I love how you try to be so independent. You don't like to accept help with anything.

I love how you love to wrestle with your daddy. You are all boy.

I love how "chill" you can be. You're not afraid to completely relax in front of your favorite movie. As wild as you are, you also are able to sit still for long periods of time, and you're not afraid to let us know when you're in the mood to do just that.

I love the little things you do to show affection. Touching our cheek, laying your head on our head, putting your arm around us out of the blue. Looking up at us, saying our name, and leaning in for a hug.

I love (and hate) that you are fearless. From a very young age, you were putting your face in the water during bath time, jumping off of things, climbing things, trying things. You terrify us and thrill us at the same time. Keep jumping, and I'll continue to catch you.

I love how protective you are. When Daddy appears to be "attacking" me with tickles, you are quick to jump to my defense. When Jaden is crying from getting hurt, you are quick to sit by his side and pat him on the back or lean in for a kiss. When dropping you off at daycare the other morning, I was told by Julie that one of your little daycare friends kept saying "Mama" all day. You didn't like that and responded with "MY Mama!!" every single time.

I love your little attitude when we have to force you to wake up in the mornings. Often times, you protest by pulling the blankets over your head and yelling at us. You're a little spitfire. 

Thanks for lighting up our lives and filling our hearts...

I'm so thankful that we decided to go for number two - and got you.

Happy birthday, Baby. :)