Lane & Cullen’s classic faces at 23 months.

The “cheese face” and the “silly face,” respectively.  This is them, 100% (as you can tell by most pictures lately).  Love it.


Two wild and crazy guys!

Things have been a bit wild around here lately… two boys at 23 months (today) makes for an adventurous household!!! It’s been so much fun coming home to the family lately. The boys are so excited to see me when I get home, especially since there have been a number of days over the last few weeks where the boys haven’t been awake when I’ve had to leave for work. There’s nothing better than coming home and having both of your kids running full speed towards you and yelling “DADDY!” at the top of their lungs. It makes me feel so welcome home and it’s a perfect end to my work day and start to my time with the family.

I feel like it’s important to remember the snapshots in our life right now, so here are a few that epitomize our life with two boys at 23 months:

  • TRUCKS!!! The boys are absolutely obsessed with trucks…. (and airplanes and cars, but most definitely trucks) Tonight we watched several youtube videos of trucks with them. They couldn’t have been more impressed… I guess my dream of owning a pick-up truck will have to come true just so that I can be the boys’ hero and let them ride around in a real truck. Somehow they aren’t nearly as impressed with my sweet 2003 Ford Taurus even with the JR Nation license plate on the front.
  • Wrestlemania – This is a nightly event and isn’t exclusive only to us boys. Mommy definitely gets in on the action as we tag-team on the boys and rough-house with them. It’s one of my favorite things to do with them. It’s something that I remember doing with my dad when I was little and I want my boys to have good memories of me playing with them and always getting involved with what they have going on.
  • BALL – Lane and Cullen may say this word approximately 627 times a day. I mean, these boys can’t get enough. Softballs, tennis balls, soccer balls, basketballs… you name it, they’re all over it. We probably have a few dozen balls in rooms around our house (under the chairs, in couch cushions, beneath the coffee table, etc.) They are already practicing their pitching form and run around with glee whenever they have one ore more in their possession. Now, this may lead to an argument or ten when one has a particular ball that the other wants, but I’m certainly enjoying the fact that they are “all boy”.
  • Climbing and jumping off of anything – With little to no regard for any safety, these monkeys are on a chair or ottoman in no time flat. Before you know it, you’ll hear “Ready… Go!” or “one, two… tree” and a child will be flying through the air into your arms (hopefully!) and ready to start flying again. This all started with jumping into the pool, but has escalated to anything that looks enticing to an almost two year old… which as it turns out, is just about anything.
  • Prayer time – This is one of the sweetest, most heart-warming things right now. Watching your sons fold their little hands or hold hands when we say grace before dinner literally brings a tear to my eye. It’s so precious seeing them say “pray.. pray” as soon as their plates are set in front of them at meal-time. Sometimes Cullen will even bow his head until it’s just about in his plate… what can we say, he’s a pretty reverent kid. Bedtime is also a great moment… we always start prayers with “Dear Jesus, thank you for…” and let the boys finish for us. There are some standard responses: Cullen normally always says Jesus first (adorable) and then proceeds through the family tree (although mommy and daddy sometimes get lost in the shuffle after grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and friends… and dogs!). We’ve really enjoyed our nightly routine and want our kids to know that we’re praying for them and with them because of our faith in the Lord… I don’t think there’s a much more beautiful sight than to see a family bowing their heads in prayer together.

Just a peek into our lives right now… sometimes crazy, never dull, and always moments that I cherish. I’ve been pretty horrible about contributing to this blog… Lauren definitely does all the heavy lifting in posting updates/pictures. I’d like to say that I’ll do a lot better and contribute a lot more, but I’m not sure that will be true. However, I will do my best to record little moments that mean a lot and memories that I’ll want to hold onto for a long time.


Mommy added a couple fitting videos:


meet our new girlfriend…

Oh, Cullen & Lane…look out – this beauty is captivating. Miss Clara Jane Patnode was born yesterday and we are already in love with her! Jeff & I got to spend some cuddle time with her yesterday (ok, maybe I did most of the snuggling… I can’t help it – I just LOVE newborns!) and we are so happy for Brian & Jenn. Clara is SERIOUSLY beautiful – I could just eat her up, she’s so precious!

Can’t wait for our sons to meet her – we’ve been coaching them on treating a lady right. We have prayed for this baby for so long & thank the Lord for such an amazing answer to prayer! What a privilege to watch our children grow up together. We love you THREE Patnodes!

I'm in love. She's beautiful just like her mama--I mean really, how amazing does Jenn look right after giving birth?!

Jeff & the proud papa - nothing sweeter than a daddy in love with his daughter! (I'm pretty sure she's already got him wrapped around her finger)

HONESTLY - how cute is she?! melt my heart.

we love daddy.

Some shots from Father’s Day yesterday, just hanging out – I love my boys!

always wrestling. and being cute.

silly face. oh, and that "outfit" (including daddy's business socks worn as leggings) he insisted on - ridiculous.

Let me help you out, brother

this kid. he is a whirling dervish of silliness.

mommy's silly too.

wait, I can do that!

a little classic homemade goodness for daddy's garden.

hey handsome.

oh hey, boys!

happy father’s day.

I have heard again and again that parents of multiples sadly have a much higher divorce rate. There have certainly been times throughout the past couple of years where I could sympathize with it–the stress of the NICU, managing two babies together without much of a break (“honey, can you take the baby for a while?” hah.), etc. HOWEVER – these people apparently do not have my husband as the father of their children, or they wouldn’t ever let him get away! 🙂

Jeff, thanks for being the kind of dad who makes me want to be a better mom. Thanks for using this parenting thing to make our marriage STRONGER as we quickly became an awesome team & a force to be reckoned with (at least when it came to you two, Cullen & Lane!). Thanks for teaching me to laugh instead of cry & cracking me up when I wanted to choose the latter. Thanks for getting up in the middle of the night, changing so many diapers, being so hands-on with your sons, and setting forth a godly example for them of what a MAN should be.

We love you very much – and don’t know what we’d do without you!!!

Love, your wifey & sons

Wrestlemania with daddy, a favorite activity.

cuddling at bedtime

P.S. – Happy Father’s Day to OUR dads, too! Dad Z & Dad P – you are both pretty amazing & we thank God for you. We love you!

Island re-do

We finally got around to finishing the kitchen island countertop & are loving the results!

Here’s Jeff ripping up the nasty old countertop (complete with burn marks), in his work clothes because he just had to do it right then. (the face cracks me up)


And after cutting the butcher block (from IKEA-thank you oh sweet sweet IKEA for your cheap farmhouse sinks, butcher block, & other delights, I heart you!) to size & mounting it:


And a more overhead view to see the grain (as well as an iPhone picture can show!) and how it goes with the granite on the other counters. Now picture the cabinets freshly painted a light cream or gray-our next project.  I think it’s going to come together nicely!


We made it bigger than the old island top and really like the larger surface. We can put some barstools there too since we created an overhang. We’re happy with it! (I have to give Jeff credit for most of this project though, it was all his manpower-that wood is HEAVY!)

Pieces of childhood

We went to visit my friend Jessica the other day and her son Sam taught my boys how to play their piano. I use the word “play” quite loosely but it was music to my ears at least (though I’m sure only mine). Soon Cullen & Lane were seated next to each other performing a little duet… and I had the most vivid flashback to my childhood, “playing” my Grandma’s piano with my brother or sister at my grandparents’ house in Florida. Such sweet memories. I really miss my Grandma…I am so sad that these boys won’t know her because she would’ve loved them to pieces-but I’m thankful for all the wonderful childhood memories I have with my grandparents & the memories my boys are already making with theirs. Don’t you wish you could go back in time some days?


being a SAHM

This one is going around, but I read it the other day & it definitely made me laugh.  Jeff & I certainly have a hard time understanding the demands of each others’ days sometimes.  I really appreciate him and his job–I know he works incredibly hard & I am so grateful for all he does to provide for our family so I can stay at home with our sons.  Still, this is hilarious.

Questions for Parents from SAHM