"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, February 28, 2014

birthday party at the "bouncy house"

Last night we hosted a birthday party for Brandon at what he calls "The bouncy house place." He has been to several parties there in the past year and had been asking for months to have his party there when he turned four. The bouncy house place is one giant room filled with inflatables and slides and toys. And it offers a private party room for pizza and drinks and gifts. Since we are in the middle of a brutal winter and we had never thrown Brandon a "friends" party, we decided a month ago to go ahead and book it. His only other request was that it be a Ninja Turtle party. Easy enough.

We had about 12 kids show up besides our own two, and everyone had a blast, including the birthday boy himself. At the end of the night, we watched a bunch of sweaty, tired, happy kids go home with their parents who were also very happy to have been provided a good way for their kids to run off some energy. Some kids even left in tears, sad when it was all over. (My little guy included).

I have to say that it didn't take long for me to give up on getting pictures. Already a hard task with four year olds gets a lot tougher when they are doing nothing but jumping and sliding for two hours straight.

Case in point. :)

This particular moment was a highlight. Through all the many times that Brandon has been here, he's always been just a bit too afraid to try the really big slide. His buddy Braylon got him to finally try it within the first 10 minutes of the party last night.

We had pizza, orange Hawaiian Punch (for Michaelangelo - the "orange" turtle) -- and cake and ice cream. And way too many presents. When Brandon saw all the presents lined up, he looked at me and said, "That's WAY too many presents!"

Smiling because I just handed him a piece of cake with Raphael's face on it. ;)

We are blessed with a great group of kids and parents in his class. We all know each other pretty well... mostly from bonding over birthday parties! Everyone pitches in to help, and Brandon's buddy Colin even ran up and gave me a huge hug during the party. Definitely a surprise from this little friend of his. I'm going to be pretty sad when our daycare experience is over and we send this kiddo off to school. Let's keep them little. :)

And Brandon didn't even mind when all of his buddies helped him open all his gifts. Team work.

Had to get a picture of him with two of his best girls, Kyla B. and Kyla O. What a "cheeser."

He had a great night, and we're ready for more celebrating this weekend!

Monday, February 24, 2014

'52' - Week 8

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2014"
**Getting this post in early this week because the rest of the week is all about a birthday. :)

Trying on Papa's headset before the basketball game this weekend. It's a pre-game tradition in our home -- get to the game early enough to go down to the court and sit with Papa at the scorer's table for just a few minutes. I'm not sure if Jaden will take over Papa's PA job someday... but he sure has the love of sports in his blood. The kid talks about football and basketball non-stop. He knows all the Panther basketball players by name, face and jersey number and though it's a little tougher in football what with helmets over their faces most of the time, he knows all the numbers and names of those key players, as well. And he's growing up. Instead of sitting with us during the games, he goes to the top of the bleachers and sits with some other boys he's gotten to know over the past few seasons. They share cotton candy with him. He shares skittles with them. I guess he's not a baby anymore. ;)

Is he cute or what? And he turns FOUR this week. Four years ago at this time I was getting my membranes stripped at the doctor's office - trying so hard to induce labor. It didn't work, and I spent the rest of the week with an achy back, starting maternity leave four days earlier than I had planned because I couldn't stand sitting uncomfortably in my desk chair anymore and instead sat around at home in our recliner -- restless and anxious to meet this baby that never seemed to take a nap in my tummy! I remember wandering in and out of his nursery multiple times a night, dreaming of watching him sleeping in that crib, staring at his clothes in his closet and pulling those newborn baby diapers out over and over again just to imagine that tiny baby in my arms. He was more than worth the wait, and I can't wait to celebrate all that he means to our family this week.
Stay tuned for birthday celebration pics and a post all about our Brandon at age four!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

'52' - Week 7

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2014"
The older he gets, the more he wants to be like Daddy. He's always "doing work" like Daddy and can't wait for Spring so that they can go fishing together.

Before lights out, taking another paper ring off of his countdown chain. We're anticipating a birthday party around here, and he's so excited. I can't believe he will be four in a little over a week.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Junior Panther Night

Last night Jaden got to participate in Junior Panther Night, an event hosted by the UNI Athletic Department. Kids have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with members of all the Division I athletic teams on the Dome floor, rotating to each station or sport and receiving autographs and a goody-bag to take home with them when it's all over.

Jaden had so much fun, and we can't wait until Brandon is old enough to participate, as well. What a great event and opportunity for these youngsters!

Some pictures of just a few of the stations...

Patiently waiting...

He just spotted us in the stands. ;)

Football... his favorite of the night, of course!

Getting instruction from Jake Farley... one of his favorites...


Wrestling... this was a funny one to watch!

And soccer with Uncle James!

Waiting in line for his turn at the long jump...

And hurdles! ;)

Time for autographs. One from his god daddy first of all. ;)

Bennett Koch!

Another favorite... David Johnson. He had fun looking at these autographs again in the morning.

And Jake Farley. This picture makes me smile. Memories of babysitting Jake on Maryhill Dr. when he was just a little guy... and now looking at him here with my little guy. Life comes full circle in so many ways!

It's so much fun to live in a college community that offers these opportunities. It's so fun to see Jaden up close with the guys he watches on TV and cheers for in the stands.

Thank you, Panthers!