"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, October 29, 2015

Panther Homecoming

A few pictures from UNI Homecoming a couple weeks ago. What was supposed to be a pretty chilly day turned into a picture perfect October football Saturday. So after Jaden's final football game of his season, we packed up our van and headed to campus to tailgate for the whole afternoon. We were outside walking around, eating and playing with friends for three hours before kickoff, and I wasn't sure how Brandon would do. If he would be able to handle a full day of tailgating followed with being inside for the entire football game. But he was a rockstar. Apparently tailgating is his thing now!

Jaden had just as much fun, finding a few of his buddies within five minutes of arriving in the parking lot, and he ended up spending the entire day with them instead of us! We would meet up with them every once in a while to check in on him and found them either playing football in the open grass area behind the HyVee Fan Zone, or sneaking into the fan zone to grab free slices of pizza and hear the live band playing up on stage. Brandon enjoyed playing bags, eating food, getting his face painted, and jumping in the bouncy houses over and over again.

And then both boys were golden during the entire game. Jaden has no problem sitting and watching football for three hours, but Brandon has been a pleasant surprise this year. He spent the entire first half with the ipad and the second half with ice cream and his coloring books.

Looking forward to making a family tradition out of this tailgating thing every year. There's not a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the fall!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

To Live in the Moment

I have been struggling greatly lately to live in the moment. A worrier by nature, I tend to think pretty far ahead instead of focusing on my present. And though Fall, in my heart, is my favorite time of year, it also somehow usually tends to be when I worry most. I don't know if it's facing the end of the year, looking ahead to a new year with all of its unknowns. If it's looking back on the present year as it comes close to an end and seeing all the beauty in it - and fearing it slipping away to change as new years always bring new chapters, new challenges - growing kids. I don't know if this year, in particular, it's a delayed reaction to our youngest starting school and the realization that we've closed a door on those precious years of babies and preschoolers. Or if it's a combination of so many things happening at once - taking our house off the market, a major job promotion and a goodbye to a daycare that was a safe haven for us and our kiddos.

That's a lot of big stuff and big change for this mommy-heart of mine.

Look at how big they're getting!

I'm trying really hard right now to find a balance. I'm so appreciative of my job. The flexibility it provides for us most days, the ability to work from home - the blessing that my kids are home with me after school. The trust that my bosses have put in me. The amazing things that my company does to help people. But it's also a lot to juggle with Cody and I both now managing companies. We're trying to find a new balance together with both of us under more pressure - both having a lot expected of us. Trying to make sure that neither one of our jobs takes priority over the other one's has been a big topic of conversation lately - something we're trying to make sure we're always conscious of. And it's in the little things. Cody has made a more concerted effort lately to have the house picked up and cleaned by the time I get home from a few days on the road - exhausted and jet lagged. And I have a much more compassionate and relaxed attitude than I used to when he wants to spend regular Sunday mornings hunting instead of at home with us. I'm proud of what we've both been able to accomplish, but our jobs can't ever come ahead of what we've built and are trying to sustain in our own home. And that's where the juggling comes in lately - making sure I don't drop the most important ball of them all.

Last night while the boys were getting in their pajamas, I opened up my computer to try to get some quick non-related work stuff done. Paying bills, uploading pictures, probably some Amazon shopping. Brandon came up to me with his disheveled sleepy hair and his Lion pajamas on and said, "Mommy, are you still working?" One look into those big brown eyes, and I immediatley shut my laptop and removed it from my lap, replacing it with my little five-year old boy that wanted nothing but my attention and some snuggles. And there he sat with me - content to watch Monday Night Football until bed - as long as my arms were around him. At the end of the day, these are the moments that must take priority.

More focus on walks in the woods, baking cookies and coloring alongside my boy when he asks me to.

More moments of saying yes to Jaden when he asks to play catch outside, more date nights with my husband, more quiet time with my Bible app and more family game nights.
More time to throw some leaves, make big piles and go jumping.

I love these people. I love how uniquely God made them - so different - so talented and smart in their own special ways.

More moments spent appreciating these boys at the ages of five and seven - loving them in the here and now - and not worrying about the days and the years ahead when they won't want to spend so many moments with me, their mommy.