"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, June 26, 2013

roasts and toasts and cheers.

It's been a while since my last update -- over a week -- and after realizing that this morning, I realized how fast this summer is already flying by. With next week being 4th of July week already, I know it will seem like we will be snapping our fingers and Jaden's first day of school will be here and we'll be kicking off football season. I was walking through Hobby Lobby yesterday to kill some time -- (I actually left without purchasing anything) -- and they had all of their Fall stuff on display and were busy putting out all of their Christmas items.

With time flying by, we've been doing our best to soak our toes into some chlorine as much as possible -- and celebrating some other special occasions.

Like...

My dad's retirement party/ROAST.



It would take me an entire day to write about why I'm so proud of my dad, but I'll just sum it up by saying that I'm lucky to be his daughter. The outpouring of love and support that has been shown to him by our community the last few weeks has been more than heartwarming and has only further reinforced why we have chosen to raise our family in this special little town. I'm sure glad I was raised here.




Giving him the key to the city...


My uncle Bud gave an awesome speech, and my kids MADE the night. Right at the end of my dad's speech, they burst through the crowd, ran towards the podium and jumped into my dad's arms for big hugs. Like out of a movie.




 
We took Brandon to his first movie on the big screen - Monsters University - and though I had no idea what to expect going into it, I couldn't stop staring at him throughout the viewing. He looked so little -- yet so big -- sitting in that movie theater chair with the giant tub of popcorn between his legs. He sat still for the most part -- only moving back and forth between Cody's lap, my lap -- and wherever the popcorn bucket was -- and didn't have to take a potty break one time. Our little one is growing up.


We have been outside as much as possible. This picture below makes me laugh. Our deck is a true extension of our home during this time of year, and during some of the less humid and dry days, I've been enjoying my lunch hour out there with a book and some fresh air for Lucy.


The pool.



Last night, we had our best night at the Falls yet. It was one of those nights where you marvel at your children and the people they are becoming. It's true that if your kids are happy, all is right with the world. They had so much fun. 10 minutes after we got there, Jaden and Brandon's friends from daycare showed up. Tate and Kyla - siblings - five and three years of age. Brandon quickly gravitated to Kyla and spent the entire evening doing just as she did. While we moms talked and supervised, the kids went three times around the lazy river - each in their own tubes - while Brandon and Kyla held hands the entire time. After that we took the kids into the bigger pool for the first time where Jaden attempted swimming under water while Tate started going down the big water slides by himself. After watching Tate several times, I convinced Jaden to give the big tube slide a try - by himself - without me. Understand that the tube slide is completely in the dark with lots of turns and twists. He did it. And loved it. And then did it again and again and again. Every time the slide would dump him into the pool at the end, he would come up out of the water with his eyes wide and the biggest grin on his face. Memories made all over the place.

This weekend is Sturgis Falls and my 10-year high school reunion.

Yup. Time flies.

Cheers to summer. Cheers to water babies. Cheers to shirtless boys and grilled hamburgers. Cheers to memory making and celebrations and chalk-filled driveways.







Cheers.

Monday, June 17, 2013

skipping rocks, counting blessings

"Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can't put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don't overlook life's small joys while searching for the big ones."
 
 

This summer, I feel an increased sense of urgency and responsibility to teach my kids to appreciate every day, every adventure - big or small - every season for what it uniquely brings. To soak up the little things and be consumed with gratitude for them. Not necessarily by using words to emphasize the importance of it all - but by living it out. They are little now. They are in awe of the world around them. Ice cream cups and a trip to their favorite park is all it takes to bring joy to their days. But their summers of youth are fleeting, and the memories we make with them and for them are all so important.

My summertime memories are filled with Ray Edward's pool and Maryhill Dr. With Casey and James and Amanda. With swimming in our backyard pool and swinging for hours on the Newbern's backyard swingset. My memories of those summer nights mean more to me with each passing year. And it seems like every summer that my kids get a little older, I feel a little bit more nostalgic when those memories come to mind. Memories matter. Moments matter. Big or small. And a blip in time that can seem so small in the making can last a lifetime in our thoughts. Like when Casey and I would sit on our front steps and talk about anything and everything. I don't have a single memory of what our conversations were about, but I remember being there together and I remember it happening often. Or when we spent a whole evening in Patty and Kevin's yard catching lightning bugs. Or when Patty taught me how to ride my bike without training wheels by pushing me down the small grassy hill in their front yard. I fell over and over again, but she told me to get right back up and do it again until I no longer fell.

So many of those little moments stitched together to make up the fabric of what I hold on to and cherish. I want my kids to have a memory bank full of summer nights and summer days. I want them to have a reserve of happy thoughts stored away whenever life gets tough. I want them to be able to always find happiness in skipping rocks and sprinkled ice cream cones.

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Tonight, Cody decided to forego all the work that needed to get done at the office to take his boys fishing. And as a mom who is usually a stickler for routine and a structured bedtime, summer inspires me to stretch the nights out and forget about the alarm clock the next morning. Jaden surprised us with some really good casting skills and Brandon found joy in rocks and water ripples. Most of all, we were together. With nothing around us but open sky, Big Woods Lake, a setting sun and appreciation for an Iowa summer -- that may be short - but all the sweeter because of it.









We didn't catch any fish, but we did catch some gorgeous views and have found a new favorite spot for picnics and late night snacks in our pajamas.








 






That is a happy daddy.




So much inspiration to live life to the fullest just from sitting on a park bench and watching my boys fish.
 


Images of Father's Day '13





Beverages. Grills. Parks and pools. That's how we spent Father's Day.


Highlights included...

...Cody's grandpa surprising us with our very own handmade bags game. All that's left to do is decorate it purple and gold Panther style. We are very excited about this.


...root beer for the boys. And Jaden running around the shelter saying, "I'm having so much fun. This is the best day." A couple of times, he even whispered it in my ear. That boy loves a party.


oops! root beer in the eye!


...man's best friend.



...images of a beer in one hand and a burger flipper in the other. Now this is the life.



...catch and cuddles. (And maybe a tantrum or two. This is real life, after all).






...the pool. And my first sunburn of the season.




...Jaden being old enough to ride down the tube slides with Mommy. He was excited until we got to the top where he realized there was no bottom to the inner tubes, (a little different from our experience at Wisconsin Dells two months ago) and started telling me "No!" It was too late to turn back, and I gave the lifeguard the "go ahead" nod. He gave our tube a push, and sure enough Jaden immediately enjoyed the ride. All the way until the bottom, when our tube flipped over in the pool, and he ended up with water in his nose. He handled it well and told me he wants to try the slide "in the dark" next time. It's moments like these when it hits you that your kids are growing up. Something as simple as being old enough and tall enough to ride down a water slide. It's going to be a fun summer.















Several times, we adults were sitting back in the water and would catch a view of Jaden dancing to the music by himself while walking around in the pool. That kid loves life.



...ending the night with pasta on the deck and a book in the lawn chair while the boys rode their bikes. Dairy Queen blizzards, sweats and the DVR.

Finally summer is in full swing. Jaden has a fieldtrip today back to the pool with his class, there are swimming towels drying in our bathroom and the other night we did a puzzle on our driveway. Brandon's hair is getting blonder, and Jaden's face is getting darker.




Lots to look forward to...

Happy Monday!