"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."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

deep thoughts on a winter's day

It's no secret that I love every season and embrace each one for what it's made for. Beautiful temperatures in the Spring, green grass, Easter egg hunts and spring jackets. Nights at the pool in the Summer, steaks on the grill, staying outside until dark, 4th of July fireworks. Pumpkins and football in the Fall, soups and the pumpkin patch and dinners on the deck while the sun sets. And in Winter? Christmas and hot chocolate and basketball and this...

I can't help but think it's pretty.

Last Winter we got cheated. It didn't snow much - making for a pretty dull and lifeless Winter. There was the cold without the snow pants. The clouds without any white sparkly stuff falling from them. Cabin fever without any chance to go outside and build snowmen and snow forts with our Daddy.

Deep down, I'm embracing this view from my "office" window. As my baby's third birthday is just three days away, I'm all too familiar with how quickly the seasons come and go. Tonight we will eat pizza. And watch the Panthers on TV. And color with our favorite markers. And take a warm bath. And cuddle in our sweats. I'm okay with all of that.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Recap

Pictures and video from a fun weekend. After a stressful week, we let loose with some sledding, some basketball and some bowling. Brandon even took a nap on Sunday, allowing me some much needed couch and coffee time.

We took the boys outside both days. They had a blast playing in the snow. We got our sled down for the first time, Daddy made our own mini-sledding hill, they worked together to build a fort and even made a mini-snowman and snow castle. Jaden spent most of his time outside shooting baskets, but Brandon couldn't get enough of Daddy pulling him around the yard on the sled. Just wait until we get him to a real sledding hill!


We spent Sunday night at the bowling alley celebrating Cody's birthday with the entire family. I love that my hubby keeps getting older while I keep getting younger. ;)

"Look what I did!!!"

Never leaves his ball... (except for pizza and pop).

More updates to come - swimming lessons start this week, and my baby turns three?!

(Videos below!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

To my loves...

Tonight - a day late - Cody and I are celebrating our Valentine's Day with dinner and a movie. The boys are anxious for their sleepover at Papa Bob and Nana Nancy's. This isn't a holiday I get real excited for, but in honor of the day of love, here's a small tribute to my loves.

To Jaden, my first-born...

...I love that you still want me around so much. Every year you get older, I fear this will diminish, but just the other night you cried when I had to leave for the evening - telling me you'd miss me and that you didn't want me to go.

...I love how cute you are, I love your eyes, and I love how much you love to laugh.

...I love those moments when we pause to give each other a long hug, you rest your head on my shoulders and let out the most contented sigh - like my arms are your favorite place to be.

...I love watching you and Brandon play together in the peaceful moments. How you try to protect him, teach him and include him. I love how you want him to look up to you and be impressed by you.

...I love your love for music.

...I love hearing you tell me you love me... multiple times a day.

...I love how much of a little social bug you are turning into, and I've loved watching you grow so much this last year.

...I love that you are finding other passions. Basketball, swimming. I just love watching you come into your own.

...I love that you love your family. You can't get enough of your Nana's and Papa's and have already welcomed James into the family with wide open arms.

...I love that you love going to Panther games. :)

...I love how animated you get when you're telling us something that -- in your mind -- is so incredibly important to share with us.

...I love how excited you get over the little things. A quality you possess that I hope you always cling to.

To Brandon, my baby...

...I love your cheeks, and I love that you let me kiss them as much as I want... often times dozens of times a day.

...I love that you are sure to tell me 'Sweet Dreams' every night as I walk out of your room and shut the door.

...I love that you are a mommy's boy. You really, really are.

...I love how goofy you are. Whether it's walking around with a towel on your head, wearing Jaden's snow boots through the house or deciding to wear your Panther beads for two days straight... you keep us on our toes and give us reasons to laugh every day.

...I love how focused you get on your coloring.

...I love when you brush my hair behind my shoulders and lean in for a big long kiss.

...I love that everything to you is, "One more minute!"

...I love that you love your big cousin Ella.

...I love how genuinely sweet you are, and I love watching you play with your toys.

To Cody, my best friend...

...I love that you have stuck by my side through the extreme highs and lows of our first six years together.

...I love that you share the exact same dreams I do - nothing more - nothing less.

...I love that you try to be Mr. Tough Guy around so many and save your softer side only for me.

...I love that others don't know that you sometimes look at old pictures of you with the boys as babies and get tears in your eyes. (Okay -- so now everyone reading this knows).

...I love that there are days and moments when all I need is for you to say, "It'll be okay."

...I love your love for football. Does it drive me crazy sometimes? Yes. But it's the sport that brought us closer together, and I wouldn't trade my memories of watching you coach on the Aplington Parkersburg football field for anything else.

...I love watching you play with the boys and how excited you get at thoughts of taking them fishing and hunting one day.

...I love how hard working you are. I wish everyone could see just how hard and how many hours you put in. Because you know it's the right thing to do.

...I love that you balance me out. In so many ways you are my opposite, but in this crazy life of ours -- your calmness and laid back attitude is just what I need.

...I love that you cook, and I love that you like to cook. :)

...I love how you helped pull your sister through one of the toughest times in her life, and I love thinking about how our story started.

It's true I'm not much of a fan of Valentine's Day, but I am a fan of my loves.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bookshelves: Before & After

Stopping in this morning to share a quick before and after project.

(This one's for you Aunt Sally!)

As a mommy who loves to read, we have accumulated quite the book collection for our boys. Every change of season, every new holiday and almost every new preschool book order... the boys get a new book... or two or three. :) When Jaden transitioned from a crib to a bed a few years ago (and before we were a family of four), I purchased a couple of stackable storage cubes from Target with the intent to use them as bookshelves in his room. That little nook of books very quickly outgrew itself and was beginning to look more like a cluttered mess - with no way to see which books were what and completely lacking in any kind of organization. (I can't have that).

See what I mean?

The past few months I tossed around ideas in my head as to how to fix this. Now that the boys share a room with bunk beds, wall space is limited. I wanted functional but aesthetically pleasing. Space-saving but reachable for their little legs.

Thank goodness for Pinterest. And Ikea. And my Aunt Sally.

I saw a picture on Pinterest of another mom who used these Ikea spice racks as book shelves. I loved how it looked in their room, I loved the size (and the price), and I loved that it allowed the books to face cover-forward. I read research somewhere that stated if kids can actually see the cover of the book, they are more likely going to want to read it. The unfortunate problem is that Ikea won't ship these, and we don't have a store anywhere close to us. I saw on their website that a newer store just recently opened in Tampa, and it just so happens that my Aunt Sally and Uncle Bob live near Tampa. I e-mailed my aunt telling her my dilemma, and of course -- she was happy to help out. She and her friend Barb made a day trip out of an Ikea shopping trip and within a couple of weeks, I had eight beautiful spice racks show up on my door step.

They fit perfectly in this little corner, and the boys love them. We hung four racks here, and we have four left over. Some that we are planning to hang on the walls by their beds and some that I might use for mason jars filled with their art supplies. My original plan was to paint them to match the colors in their room, but once we actually had them in hand, I decided to keep them as is. They look clean, simple and modern. And we now have a very efficient book system going on. We used one rack for their "seasonal" and holiday books that we can change out throughout the year, one rack for their favorite Bible stories and books, and two other shelves for some of their current favorites. We have another spot in their room that holds their bigger and heavier books, a basket in the living room for their Berenstain Bears collection and a storage bin in their closet that holds their not-in-season books - like their Christmas ones that Brandon would read year-round if he could.

For looks - and for that hard-to-reach top shelf - we went to Target and picked out a nice step stool. We coupled that with two of their reading companions that go along with a couple of their books, and it's amazing how much it all has made a different in their small bedroom.

And to add to the beauty of it all - the old Target black storage cubes match and fit perfectly in my office to provide me with a place to put all my marketing materials and printer paper. Storage I was despartely needing for myself.

Thanks again Aunst Sally!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

this weekend...

...we snuggled in and snuggled up and did a whole lot of nothing. We played with Lucy's new toys -- and then found her long-lost favorite toy. We downloaded new iPad apps, played the Easy Bake Oven app over and over again and read The Cat in the Hat with our Tag system. We made Valentine Card sugar cookies, made vegetable minestrome soup, ate chocolate chip pancakes at Perkins and received a jar full of homemade fudge for Volunteer appreciation week at church. We drank wine with James and Cassi, popped popcorn for the kids to eat downstairs and then vacuumed up all the spilt  popcorn the morning after. We watched the Panthers win in a nail-biter at Pepper's, printed Brandon's birthday party invites and watched Jaden and Daddy compete against each other in Madden on the Wii.

In other words... we had a sheltered, Winter weekend. The kind of weekend where you count down the days until Spring while at the same time appreciating the simpleness of nothing on the calendar, sweats all day long and a cup of coffee at 5:00 in the evening. It's almost the middle of February, after all. And pretty soon these lazy days will be replaced with kids begging to be outside all day long, soccer practice at night and swimming lessons every Saturday. So we live in the now and appreciate it for what it is.


This is what I came home to from Pepper's Sunday afternoon. Jaden asleep in bed, Cody snoring in the recliner, Brandon watching Tangled and Lucy trying to sleep in the middle of it all. It can be a little exhausting having a two-year old that refuses to nap. ;)

Happy week of Love! When you get a moment, leave me a comment with your favorite iPad kid apps... I've been loving all the suggestions I've been getting lately. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Straight up rambling.

Well hello blog readers, it's been a while. (Sorry about that). We've been busy around here. Like... work-dinners, -boss-visiting-from-Texas, -hair-coloring-appointments-at-9pm, -tax-filing, -preschool-open-houses, -Lucy-chewing-through-chords, -third-birthday-party-planning, -Valentine's-making, -Valentine's-shopping, -learning-the-new-iPad, -dealing-with-influenza-and-breathing-treatments, -etc. -- kind of busy.

...yeah. All of that and more. My poor pretty camera has been collecting dust. My brain is foggy. And my DVR box? Almost completely full. My Nook? Hasn't been touched in over a week. Parenting and mothering and working and wife-ing and trying to kick butt at all of it. I wouldn't trade any of it in for anything else, but alas... I've missed by blogging space and needed some journalistic therapy. And apparently just a chance to ramble for a bit. (Lucky you).

For your Friday viewing pleasure... life lately - through the Instagram lense:

*when we are home, Brandon either doesn't wear any clothes, wears a towel or wears a basketball jersey. to each his own.

*lucy is a big fan of the bathroom sink. she hasn't yet learned that the flat iron is hot so she gets frustrated when i have to lock her out of the bathroom during hair prep.

*jaden's five-year checkup. he is off the charts in height (as usual) and remains in the 90th percentile for weight (as usual). bottom line: doctor told me it's a good thing he likes basketball.

*speaking of basketball, the white-out was fun.

*a new chair and new bookshelves. it's not spring yet, so we have to make our own bit of sunshine in our home by adding some "new" to it. it's the little things. especially in the dead of winter.

*speaking of new, a fresh trim and touching up the roots with some color.

*preschool open house. next, it will be kindergarten roundup. #timeflies

*arts and crafts and lots of them. brandon loves to paint and we practiced making hearts.

*preschool homework. cover a box in paper for the upcoming valentine's party. jaden was pretty proud of all the different colored papers he chose. all by himself.

*lucy fell in the toilet. (jaden forgot to put the lid down).

*game nights are becoming a regular thing. nothing like a little wine and some boy vs. girl competition. i can get feisty with a gameboard.

*cuddles and cheek kisses whenever i can - or whenever they let me.

"...so be sure when you step. step with care and great tact and remember that life's a great balancing act."
...this wonderful quote from the great Dr. Seuss has been on repeat in my head all week long.  Happy Friday!