"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."

Monday, September 29, 2014

'52' - Week 39

"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2014"

Jaden: He scored a touchdown this weekend. A perfect pass from his teammate, Gabe, and a beautiful catch by my boy before he turned and sprinted up field to the end zone. It was pretty exciting to watch. And then later that afternoon the two teammates met up with each other for some tailgating and catch at the Dome. Cody and I sat by our car and snacked while our oldest ran around without us for a while. It was kind of a weird feeling for his daddy and myself. A little bit of letting go happened. He's growing up. And yet... every morning without fail when I drop him off at school, he blows me kisses the entire walk up the sidewalk until he enters the front doors. I watch from the car as he turns every few steps to wave at me, always wanting the assurance that his mommy is still sitting there watching him until he is safe. I watch as the teachers at the cross walk take notice and compliment him, somewhat in awe that this 1st grader is not embarrassed to blow constant kisses to his mommy in front of all of his friends. And I think, I've hit the jackpot with that one.

Brandon: A golden hour picnic on a Friday night in a field full of dandelions. Story time before bed is one of my favorite parts of the day with him. He's usually incredibly exhausted by then, perfectly content to curl up next to me as close as he can get and lean his head on my shoulder while I read quietly in his ear and he stares intently at the pictures. And lately, he's been sliding one arm around my back as I read. This gesture from his four year old heart that completely melts mine. I've hit the jackpot with this one, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Pantheriffic Weekend

We had a pretty special and fun weekend around here. We packed a lot in and wore ourselves out a bit but with all good things. Not only was it UNI Homecoming weekend, but it also was the first home football game of the season so excitement was high to finally return to the Dome. And the forecast was perfect. Iowa in September is definitely the place to be.

Pictures and stories of our very full September weekend...

We had so much going on and so many plans and so many pieces to line up into place that I had a hard time concentrating on work on Friday. I had every intention of visiting Cedar Falls' annual Oktoberfest that Friday night but when Cody had to work late, I decided to forego that idea and spend a relaxing evening at home with my kiddos. It turned out to be the perfect thing for us. We played with chalk, ate an easy dinner of frozen pizza outside and went grocery shopping for all the fixings needed for our first official family tailgate the next day. Being that it was the first time the boys had ever tailgated, they were so excited to help me pick out our snacks and drinks. We had fun at the Panther Tailgate section of HyVee, choosing our purple and yellow decorated cupcakes and tortilla chips, purple juice boxes and of course, some pumpkins. There was a full display of orange and white pumpkins in front of the store so of course the boys each had to pick out a couple. And when Daddy got home after dark, we got our UNI tailgate table out of the box for the first time, set it up in our driveway and started eagerly packing our picnic basket and coolers in preparation for a very full Saturday.

After kicking off Saturday morning with Jaden's own flag football game, we came home to finish packing up our food and ready the boys in their Panther best. Brandon couldn't wait to wear his new purple and yellow Nike tennis shoes (new to him - Jaden used to wear them, too), and Jaden had been waiting months to wear his purple and yellow striped socks that he received for his birthday from Nana Deanne last winter. They looked so great and so spirited, and we received so many compliments on how cute they looked in the tailgate lots and in the Dome that afternoon.

I was actually a little nervous to tailgate with Brandon as I didn't know if hours in a parking lot would be entertaining enough for him, but he pleasantly surprised me. He didn't start getting antsy until it was time to head in for the game, and Jaden had a great time playing catch, eating all the food and watching the marching band perform at the pep rally. We got there early enough to really enjoy some open space before more cars started packing in, and now Jaden keeps asking if we can tailgate before every game.

I think I have a picture like this of one or both boys every single year since becoming a mom. They love to stand here and watch pre-game warm-ups before heading to our seats.

First David Johnson sighting... his hero and the number he proudly wears on his jersey.

And first Papa Bob and Daddy sightings up in their booth.

The game was extra special as my dad was honored at halftime for his 40 years of volunteer service as the "Voice of the Panthers." Our entire family went down on the field after the band's performance to be filmed on the new high-def. video board while my dad received a gift. This was a pretty neat experience and I'm so proud of how well-behaved the boys were when we were down there. They fully cooperated for the presentation even after Brandon spent the entire first half of the football game asking me every other minute when he was going to get to go on the field. That is all he could think about the entire first half of the game, and he definitely tried my patience a few times leading up to the big moment! It all worked out in the end, and it was definitely a memorable experience.
Check out that new video board! It is awesome!
After the game was over, as is tradition, we went down on the field again so the boys could run around and mingle amongst the football players. It's neat to think that I used to do the very same thing in my little UNI cheerleading dress 20+ years ago...

Brother field turf races...

Can you tell he's been practicing proper hand-off technique at practice? ;)

A fun day with a Panther win to top it off!

Sunday included church, two different soups for two different meals, baked pumpkin bread in our oven that made our house smell like Heaven itself, 1st grade math homework and the Fall Festival at the Arboretum.


I love these two!


The boys loved checking out all the different scarecrows, but this one was my personal favorite. It's a butterfly!

My dad and I both agreed we'd love to take these owls home with us. They were beautiful!


Brandon insisted on pictures by the flowers. Jaden gets so annoyed with us sometimes. ;)

Checking out the bagpipe performers...

My favorite pictures from our weekend... it was a good one.