"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."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Brandon's Preschool Graduation

Last week we celebrated our preschool graduate with an actual commencement program! Jaden felt a little cheated because he never got a graduation commencement, as the preschool program at Blessed Beginnings just started doing this last year. But Brandon was so very excited for his special night, and he told me weeks ahead of time that they had tried on their caps and gowns early so that the teachers could take pictures of all the kids for their preschool journals they would bring home with them at the end of the year. I am glad that they tried on the gowns ahead of time because Brandon had been having negative feelings about wearing the gown until he tried it on and realized that it wasn't "too long." ;) I was so excited to see him in his proper graduation wear, and let me tell you, the moment did not disappoint!

Here he is on his very first day of preschool almost two years ago as a three year old...

...and here he was on his very last day as a five year old. They always say, "don't blink" and they aren't kidding. I can't believe we've arrived at this point already. Four straight years of preschool between our two boys, and just like that, it's over. All I keep thinking is thank goodness we're not celebrating high school graduates just yet!

Before heading off to the program, we surprised Brandon with a few small graduation gifts. I had spotted a preschool graduation card in the store when we were buying high school graduation cards, and I just couldn't resist. I hadn't had any idea that they even made preschool graduation cards, but the one I saw fit Brandon perfectly, all decorated with rainbows and stars, a couple of his favorite things to draw! I found some pool toys to pack in our swimming bag for all those visits to the Falls this summer, and found a summer tank top for him, as he'd been complaining that his one tank top from last year was too small now. :) (He's grown over four inches since starting school last August!)

We arrived at the church early to collect his cap and gown and to get some good pictures. I'm so glad the weather was so nice so that we could do our pictures outside in front of the playground that has been his home away from home for the last couple of years. I wonder how many hours he has logged on that favorite tire swing of his!

One of my favorite pictures from the night... he had spotted one of his buddies getting out of his car and turned to wave at him. Watching him have fun with his friends before the program started gave me visions of his future graduations flashing into my head all night long. It's going to be so fun watching all of these kids grow up.

One of his very best buds... miss Abigail. :)

As usual, he was shy during the actual program, standing up on stage through three songs and a couple of nursery rhymes... only slightly mouthing the words and doing small hand motions right in front of his tummy. He made sure to tap his feet to the music, and whenever he'd lock eyes with me, he'd get his well-known shy and embarrassed look on his face! But then the big moment came - when Miss Jackie read his name into the microphone and he came forward to get his diploma from Mrs. Kent...

...he dashed up on stage all by himself, proudly shook her hand and took his diploma... and dashed off just as quickly. I just love this picture.

He was so proud of that diploma that when the class filed back in and back up to the stage for one last round of applause, he was opening it up and showing it to me all the way down the aisle of the church. And then Miss Jackie herself got extremely choked up as she introduced the "Blessed Beginnings Class of 2015", and all the moms followed suit. We were doing so well with no tears up until that moment! But it just goes to show how loved these little people are when they are in a daycare and preschool environment where the director is brought to tears during their graduation.

One of the other special thrills of the night is that he gets to keep his 2015 tassel! He now has it proudly hanging in his room by his book shelves. :)

It was such a fun night, and we're so glad all the grandparents could be there to celebrate with us. We ended the night with cookies and lemonade at the church and our proud boy showing off his diploma as much as he could. Love all these pictures... can't pick a favorite.

We are so, so proud of you Brandon. Kindergarten, here we come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


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

Jaden: Loving life on Memorial Day. Our little party animal couldn't have been happier all weekend long, but he did learn one important lesson. If you want dry tennis shoes to wear to school in the morning, you probably shouldn't walk through a lake wearing them the day before! Happy last week of 1st grade to this kiddo!

Brandon: My happy, happy boy. I think one of my favorite moments of our holiday was soaking him in a tub full of bubbles when it was all over. He was filthy from head to toe - the kind of filthy where you have to actually scrub elbows and in between little toes. But when you're a mom of boys, you know that's a sign that they've had themselves some fun. And then after bath, when he crawled up next to me on the couch with his little pajamas on, tag sticking up out of his shirt, wet disheveled hair, and looked up at me... "Mommy, I had a lot of fun today." ...It's going to be a good summer.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015

Ready for all the nostalgic sights and smells of those summer months. The lingering sunscreen smell on the boys as I tuck them in bed at night. Driving home from a night at the Falls with the sun setting in our rearview mirrors. Crickets chirping outside our kitchen windows. The peaceful routine of watering our outdoors pots with the cool evening breeze. New adventures and memories made mixed with memories of yearly traditions.

This list is written on our chalkboard in our kitchen, and I can't wait to get started...

Here it is. With some of my absolute favorite pictures from last year.

1. Take the boys to Lost Island Waterpark for the first time.
2. Spend a night mini-golfing
3. Spend a weekend at a cabin
4. Pick strawberries
5. Stargaze from a gravel road with our telescope. Buy a constellation book and teach the boys to find them.

6. Go to a carnival. Drink strawberry smoothies and eat funnel cakes.
7. Have dinner on the Montage rooftop.
8. Movie date night at Jurassic World
9. See the fireworks
10. Go go-karting

11. Take the boat up the river
12. Go for a family bike ride
13. Make homemade oreo shakes
14. Picnic at George Wyth
15. Picnic on the lawn outside the Falls. Spend the rest of the night swimming.
16. Spend a night at the Palmer's Jumping Pillow.
17. Catch fireflies.
18. Do sparklers. Take lots of pictures.
19. Go fishing
20. Host a game night on the deck.

21. Visit the splash pad at sunset.
22. Watch Jaden play baseball.
23. Visit the wood park in Waverly. Pack a picnic lunch.
24. Eat Tropical Sno
25. Go to the beach. Swim in the lake. Build sand castles.

26. Have a water balloon fight.
27. See the Minion Movie
28. Go to a Waterloo Bucs game.
29. Watch the sunset from the lake in our pajamas.
30. Have a family kickball night at a park.