"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, May 31, 2013

Friday Photo Drop

Here to share some of my favorite Instagram pics lately. I'm creating quite a collection of these sweet pics, and my next project involves getting them printed and creating something like this in my home office:


There are several memories of my childhood that stand out, but one of the most vivid involved Maryhill Dr., Casey, James and Amanda, a bunch of bubbles, and the Newbern's front yard. On that summer evening, we filled Kevin and Patty's grass with bubbles. It looked like it had rained bubbles, and though I'm certain no one else has this picture stamped in their heart quite like I do, it's one of my favorite childhood memories from growing up in that special neighborhood. Maybe it's because tragedy struck a few years later and Kevin and Patty are no longer with us, but when I saw Brandon creating bubbles on our grass this week, I went right back to that childhood evening in my mind and felt grateful that God hasn't allowed me to forget that special picturesque moment from all those years ago.

Lucy... this little lady has turned me into quite the cat lover. I never thought I'd see the day. She is such a soft little bundle of mischievous sweetness that I'm okay with holding off on a puppy for a few years yet.

My favorite date with my favorite boys. Coffee, books and a rainy day.

A wedding in Maucker Union. I'd never attended a wedding reception there, but the place looked beautiful.

A perfect summer night. We haven't had enough of these yet, but I'm certain the next three months will be filled with more pictures like this. Citronella candles lit, our fire pit burning and a game or two on the deck. With wine. (Or some Bud Light Lime).

Nothing keeps these kids entertained like this simple little water table. Sensory play is the best kind of play.

Putting the kids to bed early and taking some time for me. No TV. No computer. Just my Nook and a beautiful candle courtesy of Target and my parents.

They love to help Daddy water the flowers. I'm hoping they inherit his green thumb. Unfortunately, I haven't developed one yet.

Saturday morning in our bed. ipad. And Lucy.

Hoping this little one gets to see a real rainbow in the sky very soon.

Here's to the weekend! I hope the weather cooperates because we've got plans -- plans that include hot air balloons, game nights and a picnic or two.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

our little graduate

Last Friday, Jaden attended his last preschool class at Blessed Beginnings Preschool. After two years and a whole lot of growth, he is officially a "school ager."

I will admit that I cried a little bit the day before. I had just come from his new elementary building, filling out kindergarten paperwork and checking out the playground (an element I know will be important to him!), and I unexpectedly "lost it." This new adventure we're about to embark upon came at me out of nowhere. His new school looks so big, and to me, he's still so small. As his mama, I want to protect him from everything, keep him under my wings and shield him from any outside influence that might counteract the morals and values we have been trying to instill in him since the day he was born. But I also know that I have to let him spread his wings - that there is a lot that he can and should learn from other people and life's experiences, and that those same experiences shaped me and his daddy into the people that we are today. We've given him a foundation that we continue to build upon, and we will always be there for him at the end of the day - with shoulders for him to cry on - or ears eager to listen to whatever exciting story he wants to share with us.

We're so proud of you Jaden - and so honored to be your parents. And since I can't promise that I won't cry again on your first day of kindergarten this August, I am very grateful that we aren't shipping you off to college just yet!

Saying goodbye to his classroom... and its butterflies...

For a special treat his grandmas and I took him out for a special lunch after class, and he received his first graduation money. ;)

First day of preschool two years ago...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Weekend '13

This weekend, we...

...went to a wedding for a dear friend from high school. Danielle and I spent many summer nights in high school together dreaming big girl dreams, and it was so sweet to watch her get married. She is the sweetest person you will ever meet and a devoted follower of Jesus with a heart of gold. She looked beautiful in her princess dress and is so deserving of her happiness.

...watched it rain. For three days straight. We got out toys we hadn't seen in a while, put new batteries in race cars and watched all four Shrek movies from the comfort of our living room.

...while the guys all went to a movie together, the boys and I ventured to our go-to rainy Saturday happy place. With a Memorial Weekend coupon in hand, I scoured the Barnes & Noble shelves for summer reads and board games while the boys sipped on their chocolate milks around the train table.

...made a giant pitcher of Strawberry Kool-Aid. Just because. I was craving summer drinks out on the deck but had to settle for a movie night indoors and the look on Jaden's face when he took his first sip. I'd never made Kool-Aid for them before as I tend to favor healthier drinks, but I was desperate for something to break the rainy-weekend blues. Mission accomplished. The boys are fans.

...purchased Brandon's preschool workbook. I bought this same book for Jaden two years ago when he was entering preschool, and he felt a huge sense of accomplishment (as did I) when he completed the entire thing. Now that he is entering Kindergarten, Jaden has a new Kindergarten workbook, and Brandon feels like such a big kid getting to do homework next to his brother. He knew just what to do when we opened it to the first page -- "Can I trace the lines, Mommy?!"

Cancelled our Memorial Day picnic plans and replaced them with a trip to the Dome. We took soccer balls, held races on the track and wore the kids out by having them climb the steps. We've decided that we are going to take better advantage of our access to this space in the Fall and Winter when the football field is down and the goal posts are up. After we ran them tired, we went up to James's office and drew pictures on his white board. It felt kind of cool being the only ones in the Dome, and it reminded me a lot of my Sunday mornings when I was little and my mom would take me with her to her office in the NW corner. It's funny how life can come full circle, and I love that my kids are getting to re-create some of my same childhood memories. The Dome is home!

...by the time we left, the sun was actually trying to come out. So we spent some time outside -- finally -- with chalk and basketballs and caterpillars.


...the kids found a caterpillar. Made a home for her and named her. Brandon got extremely attached to this thing and dissolved into a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor when we got home and he realized he'd left it at Ella's house. We're on a hunt for a new caterpillar now...

...ended our holiday weekend with sprinkled ice cream and fresh pajamas while watching our daddy finally mow the grass. It was starting to look like a jungle out there. (Jaden actually asked us if corn was going to start growing in our front yard).

Three days of downpours was not at all what I had in mind for our Memorial Day weekend, but this is Iowa. And there's no place else I'd rather be.

(Keeping fingers crossed for some much needed sunshine and dinners on the deck this week!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

catching up.

Home is definitely where my heart is, and I'm so glad to be back.

I spent the last three days in Dallas in what is expected to be my last trip for a while, and after getting to bed no sooner than 11:30 every night and needing to be up for team boot camps every morning at 5:30... I am tired. It didn't help that storms rolled through Texas and delayed my return flight by 2 1/2 hours. I rolled into my driveway at 1:15 this morning, was greeted by a happy Lucy and a snoring husband... and my very own bed. When calling Cody from the airport during my delay, Jaden had just spilled an entire thing of chocolate milk all over his shirt, put on a clean shirt and proceeded to spill potatoes covered in ketchup right down the new clean shirt... all the while leaving the deck door open and letting the cat out. Brandon was upset because he'd had a potty accident at daycare, and all Jaden would do when Cody put him on the phone with me was cry. Couple all of that with the fact that our grass is in serious need of being mowed, there's somehow goldfish crackers all throughout Brandon's bed sheets, and Lucy won't stop nuzzling my feet... I think it's safe to say that EVERYONE is happy to have Mommy home. And I sure did love hearing "I MISSED you!" from my boys all morning long. Looking forward to the summer stretched out before us, a dear friend's wedding on Friday and a holiday weekend. More importantly right now -- I'm looking forward to a nap!

Before I left on Sunday morning, we did have the opportunity to have some fun this past weekend...

Friday night was the perfect s'more night so we made some fajitas in the crockpot, had my parents over for a fire and kept the boys up much past their bedtimes.

Cody had brought home a bunch of wood for the fire pit and needed help hauling it from his jeep to the garage. We have the perfect little helpers for such things!

We stretched the night out, turned on the white deck lights (formerly known as Christmas lights!) and admired Brandon's wet tank top, dirt-filled cheeks and tousled hair. This look he wore all night screamed "summer" to me, and I am so looking forward to many, many more nights like this. I think our boys are going to be quite the little party animals. I have so many wonderful memories of summer nights on Maryhill Dr., I can't wait to mold and shape the memories that our two littles will get to look back on someday. Summer nights are the best of nights.

(look closely and you should be able to spot Lucy in the window...)

Saturday was Ella's birthday (and just so happens to also be our engagement anniversary) so after a day filled with shopping, work for Cody -- and Papa Tim allowing the boys to clean the INSIDE of the garage with the hose while babysitting... we went over to Cassi and James's for pizza and cake.

Can't believe she is SEVEN. So many special memories from the day she was born and her one-year birthday celebration that came later...

I love that these cousins have each other and will get to grow up as friends. They have so much fun together.

So much to look forward to... our pool passes are purchased, the pool opens this weekend, Jaden graduates preschool in two days and it is SUMMER!