Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On the advent of my second babe starting kindergarten

Not so long ago, I found myself in this same seat writing a similar post about a little boy named Kolbe. And here I am, just one year later, heart in my fingertips, typing away about a little boy we call Rudy.

Our little Rudy starts kindergarten tomorrow.

To say that time has flown throughout his childhood would be a drastic understatement to how it has truly felt. Rudy is the child that I could bottle up and keep a newborn forever. Or a two-year-old. A three-year-old. Really, any day of his life thus far, I'd be more than happy to live over and over and over again.

The day we found out we were pregnant with Rudy I was terrified.

I sat on the edge of our bathtub in Lubbock, TX, staring at a stick with tears flowing. My eight-month-old had just completed his first cleft surgery and was preparing for a second. My husband was in another city Sunday night through Friday night each week attending PA School. Even with a life growing inside of me, I felt so alone. Over the phone Mark reassured me that it was okay… God only gives children as blessings and this baby would be no exception.

I say without hesitation that Reagan Mark was the greatest, most unexpected blessing Mark and I have ever received.

Yes, all of our babies are blessings. Kolbe, my ever present thinker, competitor, and defender. Grant, my firecracker and endless ball of bounding life. Our baby, Thomas John, who we are yet to know but sure to love.

But then there's Rudy.

If every child in the world was a Rudy, no one would ever choose to stop having children. He's the most tender, most loving, most thoughtful, caring, kind, and generous child I have ever known. He's the embodiment of all emotions, picture of purity and goodness. He makes Mark and me want to challenge ourselves to be better. Naturally. He does it with no reservation, no prompting. Just out of the sheer goodness of his being. He's that great.

We have a little daily book of saints that Rudy likes to look at and we often read about the saint for the day. He recently asked me, "Mom, do you think there will ever be a page in here about me?" A child who hopes to become a saint at age five is well on his way, I'd say. And I can see it in him without a doubt.

The five-and-a-half years we have spent with Rudy have been so wonderful. I look to the years ahead with great pride that he's our boy. One that God has entrusted to both Mark and me. I'm so excited for his future and those he will touch at our new school, Sacred Heart Catholic School. His excitement and zest for life will be a blessing to all and I confidently send him out knowing how he will shine.

As Mark best articulated before bed this evening, Rudy has brought a certain something to our family that we would have not known had it not been for his presence: a constant joy. We celebrate you this evening and always, Reagan Mark, for the joy you have created for us. Mama's tears flow not from nerves, fears, or doubt, but out of great pride in who you are and in great gratitude that God created you and put you so near and close to me.

That special place in my heart is always yours.

Meeting the boy who made the world more beautiful.
Joy is knowing you, Rudy!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"A Good Dada" by Kolbe, Rudy, and Grant Asmussen

A good dada takes you for treats.
He's, hands down, the MOST fun person to play with on the trampoline.
When you're sick, he gives the best cuddles.
He even knows how to bring out your real smile when Mama is trying to take a picture.
A good dada would never let you fall.
But when you do, he's always there to make it better.
A good dada reads the story he promised, even after a fifteen hour work day.
And he also happens to be a great chef!
He loves our mama more than us (which is good!)
And does the important things to help her be the best mom she can be for us.
He carves the best pumpkins…
…and teaches us all of the skills we'll obviously need to know later in life.
A good dad does the coolest tricks ever.
And is well versed in the art of wrestle-mania.
He leaves surgery to make sure he's there for the first day of school.
And the last.
And makes us proud by showing us how to stay healthy.
He's the perfect friend for sharing stories and snow cones…
…and sleep after a long day at the beach.
A good dad is never short on the jokes.
And is there for every soccer game. Even when he's on call.
He's always behind us one hundred percent…
And leads us in the most important way possible.
From last Father's Day…
…to this one…


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 2014

It's a busy year thus far, this 2014. And by busy, I'm not referring to the errand-running, practice-attending, meeting-scheduling variety. It's been more of the fun-having, rowdy-rumbling, non-stop-shenanigans type, and for that, I can't complain. Lots of fun has been had with our boys. The kind that leads me to know that we have such a blessed, beautiful life. With the advent of soccer season upon us, a trip for just Mom and Dad next weekend, a major order for my shop that I'll be working throughout the spring months, and several other big things on the horizon, it's been fun just to enjoy a fun month of "nothing."
A large majority of our energy burning has revolved around the new trampoline. And trust me, Dada makes the best trampoline boss ever. 
Poor Grant…he gets so frustrated that he falls down all the time!
And as I expected would happen, the boys have already started learning tricks.
Even Grant has a mean forward roll. (and as an aside, I've been very proud at the boys for learning "the rules" for the trampoline and following them very well…thus far. )
And where do they get their crazy ideas from??? (I won't lie…I do flips for them all the time too. But Dada's are better.)
Rudy always gets a mean case of static-head.
Grant was having a hard time avoiding the monster so he got to ride on his shoulders. 
It was a mix between sheer joy and sheer fear. (I should probably implement helmet use on the trampoline as well as everything else I make them wear them for.)
The faces I wake to every morning. Be jealous, people. Be very jealous.
One of my favorite recent pics. Taken by Grant of all people! I was sneaking a few extra minutes of sleep and cuddling with Rudy and Grant snuck my phone from the charger beside my bed. There's nothing in the world quite like cuddling with Rudy.
We've enjoyed many days of beautiful weather…nice enough to each lunch out back!
We took a little trip over to Brenham for our nephew Will's second birthday. Is he not just the  most adorable little ball of cuteness ever!?!
A friend that works at the hospital with Mark hosted a bonfire at his home. We took the boys and they had SO much fun. I think they're now officially pyromaniacs and completely fascinated with taxidermy. 
Over the past week we've had two snow days separated by a couple of days that have reached nearly 70. And no snow. That being said, on both snow days we have had enough ice to make the trampoline way cooler than normal.
What kiddo doesn't love bouncing ice chips!?!
And I'll end with a sunny day at the park with my little guy. Though he's not always this happy, this is how I hope to remember "two" some day.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas 2013!

Let me tell you what, there is nothing quite like Christmas when your kiddos are 6, 4, and 2. Ohhhh, the magic! The excitement! The JOY.

December was simply fantastic for us and, though I'm sure we'll have wonderful Christmases in the future, I bet I'll be looking at them at 16, 14, and 12 and wishing I could relive Christmas 2013 just once more. Thankfully, I took more than plenty of pictures to recap all of our fun.

All of the kindergarten classes at Kolbe's school put on an adorable little Christmas concert. We tried desperately to convince him that his tie was supposed to go under his vest, but he wasn't hearing it. And really, who cares!? Rock your own style, little dude. 
And this guy attempted to create a show of his own from the front row.  
As most six-year-olds do, Kolbe was abnormally sheepish up on stage. But it was super cute, for sure.
Then there was Rudy's adorable Nativity play put on by the four and five year old classes at Little Saints.
He was the most precious little shepherd ever! 
Prior to heading to Dallas for Christmas with the Asmussens, we had a small Christmas celebration with my parents, my brother Pat, my brother and sister-in-law, Andy and Abby, and their kiddos, John and Will. (The English teacher in me is hating the number of "ands" and potential comma mistakes in that last sentence. Ugh.) We had lots of fun opening Christmas presents and creating the usual mayhem that goes along with lots of small kids in a small space.
We also had fun making a ginger bread house! (I die over John's face in this picture!)
Aunt Abby, the more patient of us mamas, did a great job spearheading the gingerbread house construction.
The following morning we had our own little family Christmas.  The boys LOVED opening their gifts from each other. They worked hard throughout Advent to earn tickets that were eventually traded in for money to go on a shopping trip to purchase Christmas gifts for each other. 
Grant is in the kissing stage of being two. He likes to bring it in for the real deal.
Poor Dada….he got his wisdom teeth removed on the Friday before Christmas. Not exactly ideal, but it meant not having to take off more time in the future since he was already off for the week of Christmas. He was definitely struggling for a few days.
Aaaand all of my kids are at the stage where it's nearly impossible not to "help" someone else open a gift. 
Ever since we stayed in a downtown Houston hotel for Mark's half marathon in October, the boys have been obsessed with the idea of hotels. I mean, why not!?! They're pretty much awesome when you're a kid. They had been begging to go to a hotel again, so Mark and I decided to give them a night in the hotel for our Christmas gift to them. I randomly picked a hotel in Corsicana on our way to Dallas because it was a little more than half way and also boasted an indoor pool. Sadly, when we arrived we discovered that the pool was under construction. Mom fail for not calling ahead. So instead, we got pizza and watched Christmas movies in bed. Mark and I might have been bored to tears but our kids still thought it was the coolest.
Upon arriving in Dallas, we immediately hit the Galleria with G-ma, Papa Jeep, Uncle Brian, and Aunt Cristi for some fun at the ice rink!
Papa Jeep used to be an avid skater so we were excited to get out on the ice with him and see his moves.
Luckily, Aunt Cristi is a pretty awesome skater too and we were blessed to have all her  help out on the ice!
This is what ice skating with a two-year-old looks like.  I most definitely got my workout!
Kolbe and Rudy LOVED it! 
And by the time we finished, Kolbe was doing it all on his own. (Though mom would have been happy with a helmet and a full set of pads.)  
By this point, Grant was sidelined, but our little family sure had fun at the ice rink!
That night we had fun playing an iPad version of charades. Uncle Brian makes a great "ballroom dancer!"
And Mark is obviously great at "fencing." 
And Kolbe and Rudy…well, they're great at something too. I just don't remember what. 
G-ma was sooo happy to see her grandbabies! She brought them all new jammies.
They had lots of fun climbing on Papa Jeep too!
Oh, Grant. Being two is so hard.  
Mark's cousin, Mika recently moved down to the DFW area and we got the chance to go by and see their new house. Instead taking pics of Mark with his cousins, or even Grandma Josie who was also there…all I got were shots of Mark running football drills with our boys and Mika's son, Adan. They had a blast!
All dressed up and headed to Christmas mass! (I've learned to take the picture BEFORE mass instead of waiting until after when they're completely disheveled and cranky. But, sadly, I failed to get a shot of our whole family.) 
This one is more like reality.
Aren't these two some cutie-pa-tooties!?
All G-ma wanted was a picture of her with the boys in their Christmas outfits. But someone didn't want to participate. We tried to force it anyway. So here you go, G-ma. Merry Christmas. Hope you like chaos.
Aunt Cristi just so happens to be a kindergarten teacher and she had lots of arts and crafts to work on with the boys. Score one for time-filling, quiet-creating, fine-motor-skill-developing greatness!
I forgot our copy of "The Night Before Christmas" so we read it on the iPad instead. Kind of pitiful and definitely not "the same," but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Yes, G-ma, Rudy is still the most lovable, cuddly boy of all creation.  (and no, he wasn't asleep! Just loving on "Geems.")
Then there's these two. They share a birthday. And obviously some awesome stories too.
This is Ellie--Brian and Cristi's super-pooch. I'm not quite sure how we managed to get a picture of Ellie without Grant torturing her as part of the shot, because, really…the entire trip revolved around breaking up fights between Ellie and Grant. Poor pup was probably glad to see him go!
Mama and Grantness…in our Christmas jammies!
Christmas morning! 
The boys got up MANY times throughout the night. The excitement was beyond killing them! But we managed to hold them off until 6:30ish. (I think.) These four were great sports and got up to share in the Saint Nick festivities. We then opened family gifts and I'm pretty sure all was complete by about 8:30am. When they'd normally be hitting the snooze button again on a normal Christmas morning!
Let me explain….
For WEEKS this child's only request for Christmas was donuts. Any time he saw a picture of  Santa Clause,  be it home decor, newspaper flier, Christmas card, you name it…he would grab the picture and say, "Hi Santa! Bring donuts!" I kid you not. Obviously, we HAD to have donuts…and he was beyond thrilled to find a couple of nasty bags of caked together donuts in his pile on Christmas morning. He even walked the room and handed them out to everyone. Oh, to be a two-year-old.
Opening gifts with Papa Jeep!
Thanks to G-ma, this guy now has the microscope he's been eyeing for the longest time. 
And two little boys, after at least two years of begging, are now  on four wheels.  (Lord, please help my anxiety!) 
Kolbe is as intense as ever and Rudy is just so "fun" on his skateboard.
Those are my boys! 
And that would be more Asmussen Christmas 2013 that anyone would ever care to see, right?! But so many wonderful memories. We are blessed beyond measure and looking forward to the fantastic year ahead of us.