"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, June 23, 2017

A Special Father's Day



On the Saturday night before Father's Day we hosted our first gathering at our new home. We rounded everyone up for grilling and drinks in our backyard, a late night fire, and a chance to show off our new digs to Grandpa Don and Grandma Alda for the first time.

We have waited so long to be able to comfortably host a crowd. To have a home big enough to welcome our favorite people into it - rain or shine. To have a backyard big enough to spread out in, play games in, share laughter, and make people comfortable. And as my Dad said towards the end of the evening, "Nicole, you have always wanted to own the house that would host all the parties. I think you've accomplished your goal."

We had such a fun time - it was the perfect night to kick off a lifetime of future gatherings here. And after everyone left, Cody and I both agreed that we bought this home not just for us to enjoy - but for those we love to enjoy, as well. And though our plans for this home have only just begun to unfold - though we are looking forward to designing and building a better fire pit area, to installing pretty lights around the patio and painting the shutters a prettier color - all that really matters is that people now gather here. The rest will come in due time.

We shared hours of laughter and memories this night, and we're only just getting started.

Our Father's Day memories - and our Fathers themselves - in pictures.




































Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June Happy Things

We are 21 days into June, two weeks into the boys' summer vacation, two and a half weeks into our new home... and summer already seems to be flying by. I've talked to so many mommy friends lately that have said the same thing - June is chaos! It seems like every sports camp, church camp and activity is scheduled in June, leaving little time for anything other than running from one thing to the next. Two nights ago was our very first week night at home in THREE weeks. Somehow we managed to move in the midst of this circus, and I'm just surprised at this point that we were able to keep our sanity. Two weeks ago, Brandon had golf every night, last week the boys attended baseball and Vacation Bible School every night, Jaden attended basketball camp every day, and this week Jaden has football camp every morning, and Brandon has started his morning golf lessons! I'm definitely looking forward to a calmer July and August - some more vacation time - and am dreaming of boating days and water slides and roller coasters and a continued feeling of settled.

Yes, it's been a chaotic month, but also a month filled with so much good. I can't tell you how amazing we feel to be in our new home, knowing our roots are firmly planted in this place. To be able to dream up dreams and plans and make long term goals for the home we own. I won't ever take it for granted!

I've started something new this month, as well. Overwhelmed with both gratitude and exhaustion, I've been journaling every night before bed - jotting down just a few words in a prayer journal before turning the lights off. Documenting the highlights of the day - the good things that happened - the small moments I don't want to forget. I've noticed that in doing this, I'm able to take longer pauses even amidst the busy, to fully notice His presence and His provision and His faithfulness.

Happy things of June - from my camera and my journal.

//Our summer pool passes and our return to The Falls. Riding the tube slide in a double tube with Brandon over and over again, a fear he conquered this summer, listening to his screams and giggles as we ride through the dark enclosed water slide together. A trip around the lazy river with my niece Ella - just she and I - when Cassi had to stay home to complete a work presentation. Ella is 11 now and getting so grown up! Watching Jaden do dabs off the high-dive and sneaking in a few pages from my book from the lounge chairs while Brandon jumps into the deep end over and over again. Plans to meet up with friends for a picnic supper and post-swim pool night tonight after work.






















...I caught him doing tippy-toes when making sure he was tall enough. JUST tall enough, as it turns out! ;)












//Catching Rainbows on a Friday night when leaving the pool - and Tropical Sno dates in our bathing suits on the way home.



//Baseball games and social hour in the bleachers and driving home towards the sunset, often stopping to pick up $5 pizza from the Hill on the way home.






//A night in a hotel room before the closing of our house the next morning. The boys felt like we were on an actual vacation, James, Cassi and Ivy stopped by to join us in the pool for the night, and we enjoyed the hot tub all to ourselves as we transitioned from one house to the other.








//Quiet hours in our NEW house during the first week of summer vacation. So much space to spread out our games and our toys. An open floor plan, allowing us to sit at the breakfast table and watch cartoons at the same time... and Star Wars pancakes just because. :)














//A new trampoline - a surprise to the boys when we moved into this house. And this backyard of ours. I call it our woods because that's what it feels like, and we just love it so much.








//Summer dinners on the back patio or setting our new dining table for family dinners when there's time for them. We had outgrown our old table and our old dining space in the old house, and it feels so good to be able to set a table again. It's the little things.




//Fresh raspberries set out just because - and Grandma Alda's raspberry pie in the refrigerator - my most favorite pie of all.


//His new interest in golf and how adorable he looks carrying his own bag of clubs around.




//Summer skies over our new neighborhood and walks up the block in our pajamas. We quickly discovered that our yard is a haven for lightning bugs, and we had the best night this night, chasing them, catching them, and jumping on the trampoline in the dark afterwards. I had every intention of getting them to bed on time for the first time in two weeks but the change in plans was better. This was a good night, and now every night we enjoy looking out our big picture window to see how many glowing bugs are flying around our space! It's incredible!



//Cousins who live a block away and meet up on the street with their bikes before coming inside for an afternoon movie. Parents who follow suit and congregate for happy hour for the very first time in a new house.




//A night at the amphitheater during My Waterloo Days - an inaugural lighted boat parade and the best seats underneath the fireworks. The confetti sky was so bright that the kids put on their sunglasses, and we rode home with the windows down, chanting along to 90's rap music, our kids laughing hysterically at us in the back seat.



















//Stomp rockets from Sally and Bob, our first tractor ride around the new grounds and keeping up with my Bible reading plan on the back patio or the front.








//Jaden's favorite basketball camp yet and making the finals of the all-camp layup contest. Meeting our new Panther players and getting our basketball fix once again. He's missed this!








//Watching my husband water the new landscape and my boys shoot hoops in the new driveway from my comfortable seat on our front porch. I exhaled.




//Friends who miss baseball games due to road trips but text you constantly for the entirety of the game looking for play by play updates and celebrating with you when your son gets two big hits.

//Spontaneous Saturday morning visits from Papa Tim and shared coffee around the table. It feels so good to welcome people in and know they are comfortable here just like we are.

//Some Mommy time while the boys were at VBS - thriller novels read in the backyard and long chats with new neighbors who couldn't be kinder.

//Watching and listening to one doozy of a storm roll in from the covered front porch. Brandon joined me with a deck of cards, and we played Garbage outside until the hail started.

***
 
Looking forward to a Sturgis weekend, an extended 4th of July holiday, home improvement projects... and a summer spent planted right where we are.