"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, February 23, 2015

5 Years of Brandon

One week from today, our baby turns five. (Maybe at some point I should stop calling him our baby? Maybe).

I have been loving this Timehop app on my phone for quite a while now but enjoy it even more so around special occasions of the year. Daily over the last few weeks I've been able to read old reminders from five years ago about those final days leading up to Brandon's birth. Reading status updates from five years ago on how I felt physically, what my thoughts were at the end of pregnancy. I was so very anxious for his birth. Five years ago at this time, I could barely sit at my desk anymore - my back killing me. Of course none of my clothes fit. I couldn't breathe with the weight of him pressed against my lungs. And the doctor was going back and forth on whether he was going to be in the head down position like he was supposed to be. (We know how that story ends... definitely not in the head down position!) It was such a special and anxious time, and now we have this amazingly cute little boy to show for it. A little boy that is getting ready to spread his wings, graduate preschool and fly off to kindergarten. Thankfully he's not completely leaving the nest yet... I'd be a mess!

Five years of Brandon... sweet memories of my mama's boy...

Brand new.
He was such a beautiful and easy infant. Born in early spring and right in the midst of UNI's sweet 16 run, my two months at home with him was a very memorable time spent focusing on him - and basketball - and walks in the early spring sunshine. Kind of ironic that on his landmark fifth birthday, the Panthers are having yet another milestone season!

1 month.
And one of his first smiles caught on camera. Papa Bob and Nana Nancy did quite a bit of traveling right after he was born, and I tortured them by sending pictures like this whenever they were gone. I remember one of my dad's text messages back to me after sending him a picture like this one. "This isn't fair."

2 months.
A hat brought back from Papa and Nana's travels. He looked so cute in it, and I used it as often as I could while it fit.

3 months.
The picture that our church used on the big screen for his baptism. And one of my all-time favorites. He had the cutest wrinkly forehead and the sweetest whisps of wavy hair atop that mostly bald head.

4 months.
He absolutely loved lying naked in his crib, and we had some of our best chats that way!

5 months.
This little saucer was our attempt at keeping him occupied. He wanted to be able to crawl long before he was ready - I think in order to keep up with his big brother! And look at those two front teeth!

6 months.
The only time that bath robe ever got worn. And oh, that face.

7 months.
His first trip to the pumpkin patch. It was really windy but he was a trooper. And to this day, he still sleeps with that blue blankie tucked in under his head every night.

8 months.
Trying to take his monthly picture with the giant stuffed bear. He never cooperated by actually sitting with the bear, but at least we were always able to get smiles. Usually with the help of Jaden standing by his crib.

9 months.
So many teeth already. He had all of his teeth before he was 12 months old.

10 months.
His first Christmas. See the signs of glitter along his cheek and forehead? Mommy's lip gloss. I could never stop kissing his cheeks... I still can't!

11 months.
That grin? It's not fooling anybody. Little stinker used to pee in the tub ALL THE TIME.

1 year!
We couldn't get him to sit for many pictures, but the ones of him walking are even better. He walked by the time he was 12 months old. This was also when we finally got tubes put in his ears, and life became much easier!

2 years.
An unseasonably warm March. We used to sit out on the deck with an after-school snack and watch the planes fly overhead. He'd point out every single one... even the ones so high in the sky that  I could hardly see them. He loved everything in the sky. The planes, the stars and the moon. He and the moon were on a first name basis... he was obsessed with it.

3 years.
Shopping for books with his own birthday money for the first time! We love going to the bookstore together, and I love that he's a little bookworm just like me.

4 years.
One of my favorite pictures from last year's birthday party. He put on quite the show for us with his cupcakes, and I just love that twinkle in his eyes.

(Almost) 5 years.
Looking so grown up and being quite the poser for the camera. Recently Papa Tim told me I should try him out to be a child model. We might be a little biased. ;)

The countdown is on Brandon. One more week. I adore you, buddy, and I can't believe you're going to be all five fingers old!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2015"

Jaden: Cabin fever might be settling in a bit more as he made some new decisions this week. I had asked him a couple of weeks ago what sports he wanted to do this spring and summer since we need to start registering for things and getting schedules lined up. He had decided that he was going to have to think about soccer, that he didn't want to do baseball at all this year, and that he wanted to focus mostly on football and basketball again next fall and winter. (No surprise there). He then said he didn't need to do swimming lessons either, but I told him that one was not negotiable. ;) However, just yesterday he told me he changed his mind and wants to do all the sports again. I would have been fine without soccer, but Cody and I are both pretty happy he is choosing to do baseball again. These cold days are really making us miss our summer nights spent at the ball diamonds last year!

Brandon: This is Brandon's face while watching his shows. We absolutely love watching his expressions while he watches his favorites. He either looks confused when watching or happy and his facial expressions are always changing and entertaining. A few other things for this guy this week. First of all, we think we're finally done with bedtime pull-up pants. Although he's been potty trained for two years, he was still inconsistent with wetting himself at night so he's been wearing pull-ups just for bedtime. But we forgot to get a new supply last week and decided to give underwear at bedtime another try again. So far, no accidents. However, a new set of problems has come with it. His internal body clock seems to wake him up now at 5:30 every morning alerting him that he needs to get to the bathroom to go potty immediately. I'm happy he's not wetting the bed, but wish he could go back to sleep for a bit after visiting the bathroom! His 5:30 alarm clock is now waking the whole house up at that time every morning, including Lucy, who seems to think that's the time she needs to start begging us for breakfast. Secondly, he's still talking a lot about the 10 Commandments learned last month at daycare. Today he came home with a drawing he'd worked on, and in his own hand writing was written, "Do not steal." I asked him what was in the picture. "A mommy stealing M&M's."  Not sure why that imagery popped into his head for this commandment other than the fact that Mommy is his favorite person and M&M's are his favorite candy. I do a lot for him but stealing M&M's is not part of the deal. But... whatever works to make the idea stick in his head?! Third, he turns the big five in a little over a week and the night following his birthday we are attending Kindergarten parent informational meetings. It's gettin' real now.

Monday, February 16, 2015





//We took the boys sledding for the first time this winter last weekend. They had a blast. We tried out a new hill by Sartori Hospital, and it was the perfect spot and size. Not too big to and not too hard to climb up, but long and fast enough to provide over an hour of entertainment. And... there was already a ski ramp created by other sledders that had come before us. Once the boys got comfortable going down over and over again, they started tackling the ramp, evidenced by some of the pictures above. By the time we were able to get them to leave, they were soaking wet and my cheeks were hurting - I'm not sure if it was from the cold. Or from smiling so much just watching them.

//The boys enjoyed Valentine's just as they enjoy any holiday. Though I am not a big fan myself, they get into it, and I'm happy for that. They are fully eager to soak up any little celebration, just as kids should. They had parties at school on Friday with Spiderman and Ninja Turtle Valentine's. Jaden addressed each Valentine to his classmates all by himself and Brandon signed his name to about 35 cards since he had a party in both daycare and preschool, as well as placing all of the suckers into each little punch hole. It was a lot of writing and work for his little hands, but he rocked it! We kicked off the weekend with movie night at home on Friday night with a viewing of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (great family movie by the way), and I prepared a special pink and chocolate breakfast for them the Saturday morning of. Strawberries, chocolate doughnuts and pink (Strawberry) milk. Each of them gave their breakfast a thumbs-up before moving on to gifts. They opened their Valentine's mail from the great-grandparents and then their gifts from Cody and me. New books, new movies, a new game to enjoy together, a little bit of candy, a new coloring book for Brandon, and a first set of Pokémon trading cards for Jaden. He's been wanting his own set ever since some other boys brought them to daycare last summer and now he can't wait to trade his own cards this upcoming summer in the school-agers building. Pokémon is completely over my head, and the nice clerk at Target must have sensed that because he gave me a nice overview when he saw me staring at them all in bewilderment in the aisle the day I purchased them!

//While Cassi and James were gone this weekend, we went over to their house to spend some time with Ivy. We played and chatted for a long time on the floor, bathed her, fed her and got some sleepy snuggles in. At one point Jaden laid down on the floor with her and got some big smiles out of her. After five minutes of talking and playing giraffe with her, he got up on his feet and said, "Whew. Now I'm exhausted!"