"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, September 28, 2012

An Autumn Stroll

Deep in the heart of our town is what I believe to be one of its best attributes. Loved by those who experience it but unknown to many, Hartman Reserve is not only a beautiful escape from city streets... but its trails take you on a journey that make you feel like you're in a movie right out of Disney's vault. In fact, Cody actually told Brandon that this is where Bambi lives. As you choose which paths to cross and which direction to go, you forget that you're actually surrounded by city life, traffic lights, storefronts and car horns. It's a little getaway nestled amidst the ordinary structure of a developed community. And it's like a little piece of Heaven for Cody and our boys.



To add to its charm, this little neck of the woods holds a special place in my heart and in my memories. My grandparents lived in the house directly across the street from the drive that leads to this nature park. It was a frequent destination for my Nanny and Poppop and me whenever my parents dropped me off for a "slumber party." And with the woods located right across the street from their front yard, I have fond memories of the deer that would stroll by their front window and the squirrels that would eat right out of the palm of my hand while standing in their front lawn.



With a husband who loves the great outdoors and two boys who love animals and exploring, it's the perfect spot for a family walk on a Fall evening.







My three boys were in their element. Cody still surprises me with how much knowledge he possesses about different plant and tree life and the habits of all outdoor animals - big and small. He loves passing this wealth of information on to his boys, and though Jaden and Brandon didn't quite understand that they needed to be somewhat quiet in order to catch a glimpse of any animals, they literally frolicked through the woods in complete happiness - wide-eyed and soaking up all that was around them.










This time around we chose a path that we'd never taken before. And while we walked along the narrow trail, going deeper and deeper into an area of the woods I'd never seen before, Jaden stopped to look back at me and say, "This is beautiful, Mommy!"

Eventually we came to a clearing - where the tree tops opened up, the grass became plentiful and the the wild flowers tall. We'd been walking for quite a while at this point, but we had no idea it would lead to this.





And this is when the sun started to make its descent...


Somehow Cody figured out that we were close to the river so we kept going. Until we came to a steep drop and sure enough... the water's edge.







At this point, we knew we had to head back in the direction that we came. It was getting pretty cold, and I knew we wouldn't have daylight for much longer. Cody and I held hands on the way back while Jaden and Brandon literally skipped along the trail in front of us, and at this moment, my camera battery died. I think this was a whisper from God telling me to focus on living in the moment without feeling the need to capture it on digital film.

We made a memory last night. It seems to be the best time of year for doing so. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You know it's Fall when...

...the morning carries such a chill that you light a candle at your desk while you boot up your computer...




...you drool over items in a Holiday catalogue...



...your kids play football all night underneath the light of the moon...























It's officially Fall, and there is much ahead! Stay tuned this week for a big (huge) football game and a Pumpkin Patch adventure!






Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"...to follow Jesus..."

We have a new bedtime ritual around here. Our two boys love to sing I Have Decided to Follow Jesus every night in bed after prayers. This can go on for a really long time, and they really get into it. Especially Brandon... who at some points can get himself to the point of almost shouting it rather than singing it. ;)

I finally captured a small portion of it on video last night, but this is not the greatest representation. By the time I got the camera out they had been singing it for about 15 minutes and were getting tired. Next time I'll try to time it better!

Here's the somewhat shaky video... :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Holy Wacky Weekend!

It was kind of a hectic weekend around here! After a whirlwind Saturday that sent part of our family to Des Moines and part of us to Iowa City in two very last minute and rushed road trips... it was nice to have a Sunday of nothing to do but grocery shop, shoe shop, and eat some really yummy food.

Since I didn't even have time to grab my camera for Saturday's adventures, here are the details in one big run-on sentence (because that's exactly how the day felt).

...I got a last-minute ticket to the UNI/Iowa football game in Iowa City... last minute as in NOON on Saturday for a 2:30 kickoff... left my family at home... met my parents in Iowa City... didn't even have time to do my hair... at least I wore makeup... met up with the Noonan's... took a train from a packed parking lot to the stadium... got to the ticket gate with about 20 minutes to spare... was told I couldn't take my purse into the stadium... had to walk to a nearby building... wait in a long line to check my purse... got back into the stadium with one minute to spare before kickoff... lost my ticket I needed to pick up my purse sometime during the game... had to leave the game with 10 minutes to go to go claim my purse without the lost ticket (but that some kind soul had thankfully turned in)... Cody decided to take the boys to a family wedding in Des Moines at the last minute... last minute as in 12:30 for 5:30 wedding... Cody managed both boys at an outdoor wedding without me... this was the boys' first wedding ever... they had a blast on the dance floor... we all got home around 10:00 that night... the boys missed me... I missed them... we slept beautifully...

It was crazy and spontaneous and slightly stressful and worth it.

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And then there was Sunday...


































































 
 
 
 
 














 
 

...we got the first of our pumpkins for our deck... I'm in love, and Brandon likes to hug and kiss them...

...we finally found some tennis shoes that fit Brandon... his size is a popular one, apparently...

...Higglytown Heroes on the DVR while Daddy cleaned out the deepest parts of our cupboards... yes, we still had babyfood stored away...

...a much needed grocery shopping trip, the first canned pumpkin purchase of the Fall and who can resist Halloween Oreo's?...

...my parents always have a Starbucks frappuccino waiting for me in their refrigerator...

...Bug Juice and Lunchables with Papa Bob and Nana Nancy..

...Brandon got out all of my old baby dolls and fed them, blanketed them, changed their diapers and even gave them medicine out of an old baby Tylenol medicine bottle... I had so much fun playing with him and made sure to tell Jaden and Brandon that they both had to father little girls someday...

...a visit to an open house right across the street from our favorite park, followed by a play date with the grandparents and a late nap time...

...an afternoon to myself... the boys napping and Cody watching the Bucs game at Wade's house... a Pumpkin Cupcake candle and my DVR...

...'French Toast' melting in the Scentsy pot and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin muffins in the oven...

...the perfect night for supper on the deck... Potato Corn Chowder and bread for dipping...

...a big boy using the fast speed on his tractor and a little boy wanting to "cheese" it up for the camera...

...a walk near sunset...Brandon's legs are still too short to reach the pedals on his little bike, but I'm secretly enjoying what will probably be the last season that our family will be pushing a little one in a stroller...

...a preschool homework assignment... 'F' is for 'Family.'

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Fall is in full swing around here, and I am sinking my teeth in. Our calendar is FULL with five wedding invites, football EVERY weekend and a three-day work trip to Minneapolis. It's the kind of busy that causes me to appreciate the simple even more. Like the quietness of a sleeping house while my white lights twinkle amidst the harvest colors. The anticipation of bread and soup for supper. The way my kids look on our walks at sunset. The knowledge that I'm building memories and traditions for our family to cherish always. I take that responsibility very seriously, and I couldn't be more grateful for this special life that has been given to us.

Signing off and counting my blessings in the season of thanks giving. Happy Fall y'all!