"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, December 31, 2013

A look back: 2013

For my New Year's Eve post, I challenged myself to pick one picture... just one... from each month of 2013. A picture from each month that tells the story of our family over the past year. This was so hard to do. I take so many pictures and there are so many that I love. But these are the ones that stand out -- that really fill the chapters of the memory book I hold so dear to my heart.

So here we go... a brief and happy look back at 2013.

January. Our oldest turned five. A bowling party, a family night at his favorite -- Pizza Hut. A new basketball. My budding 'baller.'

February. Finally some snow on the ground after a weird and relatively dry January.

March. Easter. And my baby turned three. A Curious George family party and no more diapers in our home.

April. Sweet, sweet spring arrived. This month was hard to pick just one picture... but our adventure to Wisconsin Dells and Kalahari Resort was memory-filled. There was the broken down bridge and the extra long journey to get there. There was Jaden becoming a thrill seeker on all the big attractions and his constant laugh and big eyes going down those fast water slides. There was Brandon and this carousel.

May. We lived this month outdoors. There was Mother's Day and s'mores in our yard and walks by the river. And there was this picture... my heart, soul and whole world wrapped up in that image of these two brothers.
June. There was Sturgis Falls and Father's Day and nights at the pool. Live to 9 downtown and dinners on the deck. And there was this night... a beautiful unplanned fishing excursion down by Big Woods Lake... a storybook sunset and visions of more of these moments to come. This picture now sits in a white frame in our living room and just the other day Jaden told me how much he loves it. This picture makes me long for summer again...

July. A trip to the river in Dubuque, fireworks and petting zoos and parks and picnics. A 4th of July spent in our own backyard -- swimming, grilling, running through the sprinkler, eating melted ice cream cones... and sparklers.

August. A boy's first t-ball season. A week-long visit from Florida relatives. A first day of preschool and an emotional first day of kindergarten. A farewell to a summer that was so, so sweet.

September. Hello Fall. My favorite season allows me to cheat just once... I can't pick just one picture. A month of football and work travels and pumpkin smells and a last-minute weekend getaway to Des Moines. The zoo, a night of swimming at the hotel and a perfectly beautiful day at Adventureland. Brandon finally got to ride that Frog Hopper. This was a happy day.

October. Pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving and two Ninja Turtles for Halloween. A successful work trip that would lead to later news of an upcoming promotion and the turning of the leaves. My happy place... my happy season.

November. Thanksgiving and Christmas tree decorating and Holiday Hoopla. And the four of us in a wedding. (Thank goodness for Instagram pics).

December. Heritage Farms and breakfast with Santa. Pony rides and gingerbread houses. So many surprises from Santa and a wonderful, wonderful Christmas. Jaden's silhouette while holding his candle during 'Silent Night' and Brandon's rendition of Christmas carols all month long. So hard to say goodbye to this month... it was a special one.

And it was a special year. Though I'm sad to let it go, after looking back on all my hundreds (thousands) of pictures from 2013, I am eager to make new memories... take new pictures... and ring in 2014. Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you blessings, health, happiness... and many, many reasons to celebrate.

"Pay attention. Be astonished. And tell about it. The world didn't have to be beautiful. We can and should think about that beauty and be grateful."

Monday, December 30, 2013

So long Christmas Break and 2013...

Christmas break is pretty much over around here even though we have another slow, easy week this week with New Year's right in the middle of it all. Christmas break was everything I had hyped it up to be in my mind. I always get a little nervous that my two kiddos will get extreme cabin fever over long holidays in the middle of Winter, but they did so good all week long. Sure, we had our moments of impatience and brotherly fights, but we enjoyed this time together so much. We became used to an easy rhythm of slow mornings, bubble baths after breakfast, breaking out a new toy or two before lunch and little excursions out in the afternoons and evenings. There was Disney's Frozen in the theater, the McDonald's play land one day, a UNI basketball game one night, several trips to Target... and Cherry Berry for a late dessert over the weekend. There was lots of new movies to watch that we received as gifts and lots of time for Lego building, board games and cuddles. I loved it and am so sad it's over. I'm experiencing a bit of the post-holiday blues and am trying to perk myself up a bit. Flowers and butterflies and Spring is a long ways off. And I have no time for a funk... I've got a soon-to-be six year old's birthday party to start planning!

Images from the tail end of our vacation time...

All those toys to put away...

New bedding just for fun...

So many games of Sorry and Ninja Turtles. I am loving our family game moments and loving that the boys are old enough to join.

Cherry Berry is a favorite in this house...

Quiet nights with hot cocoa and playing with the camera...

Play-doh and trips to the Nana's and Papa's...

Our first big sledding adventure and four hours outside of snowman and fort building. That 40 degree day felt so good.

Mommy went shopping and came home to a "mommy snowman." (They gave it long hair).

A new couch that we absolutely love.

I am one for comfort and change makes me nervous. I get a little anxious at the thought of turning the pages of our story to 2014. My job is changing in a big way and 2014 is going to be another big year for us with lots on the horizon and goals that we've set for our family for the next two years. I'm hesitant to let go of 2013 but also very excited for all that's to come.