"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."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wordless Wednesday // Hello, Football

Football season is back, and we enjoyed the first game at the Dome on the most beautiful Saturday afternoon - with a whole lot of friends, a few hours of tailgating... and even some fun with the basketball players. The Larimers and Grahams joined us at our parking spot just west of the Dome, and we eventually joined up with other friends over at the HyVee Tailgate Zone. The boys got some autographs from the basketball team, covered their faces in purple and yellow cupcake frosting... and Cody and Brandon even got to play a game of bags with a couple of basketball players before we all headed inside for a UNI victory in overtime. Internally, I struggled all day long not having my mom and dad there as dad was still hospitalized recovering from open heart surgery, but I got stopped frequently throughout the day by people wanting to know how Dad was doing and asking me to give him their best. And the UNI Athletic Department paid a special tribute to him during the football game that meant so much. When the thrilling game was over, we immediately booked it to the hospital to give Dad the play by play. The next home game is Homecoming, and it will be pretty special to have him behind the mic again.

Monday, September 25, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: You are getting increasingly comfortable in this new neighborhood of ours, and last night you marched across the street to Ian's to ask him if he wanted to hang out. Ian is a really nice 6th grader that rides the bus with you, and your friendship has been growing in those short trips to and from school. I watched from our front porch as Ian answered his door and proceeded to walk you up the street to introduce you to some other somewhat older boys in the neighborhood. You shot some hoops in their driveway, took a seat on their moped (without the keys in it), and then came home just in time for dinner - all sweaty and happy.

Brandon: You were such a big helper again on Saturday, assisting Daddy with moving a bunch of items that had been held in a storage unit - into our storage room in the basement. Totes and totes of Christmas decorations, Daddy's old football trophies and a few other items we'd tucked away a long time ago finally found their way to our new home. You also were eager to "help" paint Jaden's room - a little too eager at times. ;)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hello, Fall

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

September came in like a lion. A season and a month I was so looking forward to after a hurried and hot summer - one that included a big move, big blessings and big answered prayers. But boy were we tired.

I couldn't wait to unpack all the pumpkins in this new space of ours. To cozy it up and tuck myself and my boys in under comfy blankets alongside Autumn-scented candles and twinkly lights - and to spend our evenings watching sunsets over football practice fields and a new season of Fuller House on Netflix. (Tonight, we look forward to a Tanner family reunion before bedtime).

And then the unexpected happened and the first week of September brought about an unplanned and scary heart surgery for my dad. He survived it - we survived it.

The pumpkins are placed, the football games have been won, the Halloween costumes have been purchased (oh my goodness, am I excited), and the update from the window contractor is - any week now. Any week. (There's that patience thing again. I hear You, Lord).

I love this season so much, and if you've followed this blog for long (or my Instagram feed), you know I am the Pumpkin Spice/gray leggings type/brown boots wearing/Midwestern girl stereotype to a T. (Although I much prefer a Salted Caramel Mocha over a PSL). But I also battle an inner struggle during these months, too. To be all the places, and take all the pictures, and create all the beauty that I can possibly fit into these fleeting months. It's such a short-lived and quickly-changing season, and by my nature, I try so hard to hang on to it so tightly before it slips away.

Much like these years with them. One is almost as tall as me and the other has ab muscles and a thin layer of back hair at seven years old. I mean, seriously.

So this is my prayer, on today, the first official day of Fall. (Brandon has been telling me for three weeks that it's still Summer - he takes everything so literally). That I would take time to watch the leaves change - with a camera in my hand or not. That I would soak up the moments as much as I can without fear of the moment ending. That I would be present and that being present would be enough. And that I would have peace and understanding within myself that I do not have to manufacture beauty for my Instagram feed or even for this blog space. That the beauty in this time is a gift from Him, and that He never intended for us to hang on so tightly that we grow weary and our strength is used up. But that we would allow His gifts to revitalize and restore us.

Happy first day of Fall. I promise there will be pictures but there might also be silence.

“I was scared that collecting these moments would feel like trying to hold onto bubbles or wind or ice cream. I was scared the tighter I tried to grip the more I’d panic, and these moments would slip through my fingers; and while I’m freaking out about losing them, they would be gone. I said as much to the Lord… And I felt like He asked me to trust Him. To let Him hold the things my hands cannot grasp… So I decided to believe God, that He is who holds all things together.” 
~Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


"a portrait of each of my children, once each week, in 2017"

Jaden: I always get a chuckle when I look out the window and see you jumping on the trampoline, football in hand, helmet on your head. I think our neighbor Steve had some fun watching you on Saturday morning, too. ;)

Brandon: You start guitar lessons in less than a week, and you are so excited! God blessed you and us with a really neat opportunity, and I'm still quite amazed at how this whole guitar lessons thing came to be. It makes for quite a special story!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Summer from the Phone

I've got my Sugared Cinnamon candle lit beside me, am currently wearing my favorite new gray leggings and cozy blue sweater, and am enjoying the rainy cloudy Monday with open windows and plans for books and baths and Pottery Barn catalogs tonight. We are so enjoying Fall around here and are completely ignoring the forecast for 80's over the next five days. (Be gone with you, heat and humidity). But before I fill this space with pumpkins and leaves and football, a few more final images of summer to share... captured with by phone.

//Our final week at the old house, our final night in the big empty field across the street, our final night with our neighbor Bryce - playing catch and chasing fireflies in our pajamas after baseball. This picture right here is one of my favorites because there's so much sentiment behind it.

//The night before moving day. I should have been packing up and taping final boxes but I took the boys to the pool instead and watched as Brandon jumped into the deep end for the first time without someone there to catch him. And when we walked out at 8:00, there was a rainbow above us.

//Lots of firsts...

...waking up our first morning in the new house to find Jaden jumping on the trampoline in his pajamas...

...our first dinner as a family around our new dining table...

...the first tooth he pulled all by himself...

...puzzles after breakfast on the first day of summer...

...our first Friday night in the new home, feeling giddy and content and so happy after realizing how much the lightning bugs love our new backyard.

//Our housewarming gift to our boys: this trampoline that gets plenty of use and is always a gathering spot for friends and family.

//We love how close we are to the university and our easy access to all the good food and new shops on College Hill.

//VBS week in the midst of unpacking and baseball and golf. A wild June!

//My Waterloo Days' first lighted boat cruise. Hoping for more entries next year as it really was pretty!

//This backyard of ours. We love every square foot of it. Its privacy, its animals, its size and space, its invitation to all the people we love to come hang out as often as desired. God is so good to us here.

//Going into his room to wake him up one morning and finding him clutching his new Chewy cuddle buddy, fast asleep.

//UNI football camp, talks with coaches on the sidelines about Jaden's focus, determination and size... and an MVP award for our boy. Can you spot him? ;)

//Decorating our new space. It has been and continues to be a labor of love.

//Lucy's favorite spot and my favorite view -- and new windows that will be installed any day now!

//That summer sleepy that takes over before you can even help it.

//Re-landscaping our entire yard. Also a work in progress but it's so fun watching it all transform.

//Summer carnival nights...

...and boating days.

//Fresh hair cuts and slow Saturday mornings.

//A mid-week day at the water park and all those trips on the water coaster!

//A new little golfer in the family and putting practice in the four seasons room.

//Brotherly accidents and our first set of stitches and one tough little boy that wanted nothing but snuggles the entire day after.

//One-on-one breakfast dates before golf tournaments.

//Our first movie night in our new home. We introduced the boys to Jaws!

//Soccer/swim camp and updates from Uncle James that he did so well!

//Random visits from friends and family, ringing door bells, late nights around the fire or the TV and finally having a home that invites as many to gather as we'd like.

//A new hobby - evenings at the driving range.

//Cuddles before bed and how I love that they still sit side by side.

//A book library up the street and bike rides after dinner to exchange some stories.

//An old laundry shoot in the game closet and Brandon using it as a telephone to talk to Cody in the laundry room. ;)

//Poker night Sunday night!

//Special days with Papa Bob and Jaden's first trip in the convertible.

//Sometimes it's this simple. No time for anything other than pizza boxes on the front deck with paper towels and baseball hats. The boys loved it, and it's one of our favorite memories of our summer!

//Spreading out all our new loot and organizing our school supplies.

//A new BBQ stop in town and the owner's invite to the boys to scoop their own mac and cheese from the kitchen!

//New school playground equipment and that stormy sky in the background.

//My first soak in this tub.

//Backyard antics. I love my squirrels and our birds and our deer. But I'm sure thankful Cody trapped and released that hawk far from here. ;)

//Free cotton candy and a movie theater all to ourselves.

//A Bucks baseball night with friends and family and autographs and a chance to run the bases after dark.

//Cozy afternoons in the Tea Cellar.

//And here they go... basketball season returns!

//A short and sweet family getaway to roller coasters and wave pools and furniture shopping and lions and a pretty memorable eclipse!

//Final days of summer and the return of football.

That's a wrap! Bring on the cozy season!