Monthly Archives: October 2008

We’re Off to See the Wizard…

Happy Halloween from the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion!









Updated November 7th:  I was entirely too exhausted to write a full post on Halloween after we returned home from all of the festivities.  So, here’s a recap:

Our little Lion, Ben, was the inspiration for our Wizard of Oz theme.  I found his costume for about $19 at Pottery Barn Kids when he was only about ten weeks old.  For those of you that know how much costumes cost…this was a steal of a deal!!  Jake and I didn’t decide to dress up until the week of Halloween! 

Since Jake was out of town, Ben and I ventured off to one of those costume shops in the mall a couple of days before Halloween.  It was chaos in that place to put it mildly, plus I was trying to shield him from all of the scary stuff they had!  I was a little freaked out by all of it too!!  The original plan was for me to go as Dorothy and Jake to go as the Scarecrow.  You’re probably thinking that I couldn’t find a Dorothy costume, right?  Wrong.  I found plenty alright…the “Red Light District” Dorothy costume and the “Corner of Hollywood and Vine” Dorothy costume.  Seriously people, Dorothy was from KANSAS!!  Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed that they were selling these trashy costumes.  It was even more disappointing to see all of the young girls buying these costumes.  So I opted for the Scarecrow costume that was half the price and double the material of the Dorothy costume!! 

Jake returned home the evening before Halloween and we headed out to Target to “piece together” his Tin Man costume.  After finding only a few items, (did you know that Target doesn’t sell spray paint?!?) we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up the last remaining necessities.  Similar to the Halloween shop in the mall, it was pretty chaotic!  So at about 10:30 that evening, Jake began spray painting his costume.  He did a great job and I think it turned out awesome!  Not too shabby for homemade, huh?!?

Each year our neighbors, that live on the street known as “The Loop,” host a terrific Halloween party.  Each family sets up a table in front of their house with goodies for both the parents and the kids.  Then everyone meanders from one house to the next to Trick or Treat.  This year one couple set up a projector on their garage door so that kids could stop by and play video games and another family had a bouncy house in their front yard for the kids to jump in. 

It was quite a challenge just making it out of our house.  Ben cried a little once Jake and I were both in full costume.  I think he was wondering where his mommy and daddy went.  Then while we were loading up the car, kids were coming up to our garage exclaiming, “Trick or Treat,” so we were literally handing out candy from our trunk!!  Finally, we made it to the party and we had a blast!  Ben even kept his lion mane on his head for most of the night without shedding a tear!  He must have been happy to be in the good company of his buddies, Scarecrow and Tin Man.  We had a super fun evening and even met a little Dorothy (she was about 5 years old)!  Ben was asleep within what seemed like seconds upon our return home!

Here are a few more pictures from the evening: 

Austin's Lawn Service

Austin's Lawn Service

Christy and Olivia as Bees

Christy and Olivia as Bees

Spike as a Hula Dancer

Spike as a Hula Dancer








Jeremy as a Sumo Wrestler

Jeremy as a Sumo Wrestler (Note: The poor guy received two blows to the gut before he had a chance to explain his costume was filled out by air from a little fan, NOT padding !! Ouch!)












Dave as Joking

Dave as Joking


Filed under Ben, Friends, Holiday, Orlando

8 Months









Our sweet little bundle (who is getting so very big…weighing in at a little over 19 pounds) turned eight months old on the 26th of this month!  Ben is incredibly energetic and loads of fun!  And when he’s super excited, he has the most contagious laugh.  We are blessed, very very blessed!  Here’s what he’s been up to:

  • Two weeks ago he ran a fever for a day and half and woke up about every hour or so through the night.  This was a big jolt to Jake and me since Ben has been sleeping 10-12 hours continuously through the night since he was about three months old.  After his nose became very stuffy we were worried that he had a cold or was getting sick.  Then about a week later, we discovered what these symptoms were all about.  He has two precious little baby teeth coming in!!  Slowly but surely they are making their way up and we can just barely see them now!
  • He is one chatty guy.  His favorite sound by far is a continuous stream of “da da da da da” that can be heard when he’s supposed to be eating, should be napping, sometimes while playing, and often when riding in the car.  He also enjoys saying “blah blah blah” and “la la la.”  Last but certainly not least he says “ma ma” now!!  His favorite time to say “ma ma” is when he’s tired, hungry, upset…you get the picture.  And while he says “da da” in the cutest darn coo I’ve ever heard, “ma ma” is usually said while crying or on the verge of crying.  Go figure!  Click here to listen to Ben.
  • He is the strongest eight month old I know.  Seriously, it amazes me how muscular his little arms and legs are.  Our friend Jeremy likes to say that Ben has “arms like Popeye!”
  • He loves to read the book called “Hello Big Red” with Jake at night.  This is a book that Uncle Tim bought for him, thanks Uncle Tim!  When I was reading it to him last night (Jake is in Cleveland for a couple of days) he kept turning back to the cover of the book and smushing his face up against Big Red’s picture.  It was very cute!  Click here for a clip of Ben and dada reading together.
  • He loves to splish-splash in the bath.  Click here.
  • It looks like Ben’s spit-up might be a thing of the past!  Wahoo!  This has been such a wonderful blessing!  It is AMAZING how life changes once you don’t have to worry about or clean up spit-up numerous times a day.  I find myself (out of habit) continuing to put a bib on him all the time.   
  • It’s like a whole new world has been opened up to him now that he is sitting so good on his own.  Click here to see.  Plus, he is working really hard at trying to crawl.  I’ve seen a big improvement in his arm and leg coordination over the last week, but he still gets frustrated when he pushes himself in the opposite direction of where he wants to go.  Although he’s not crawling just yet, he is quite skilled at rolling wherever he needs to go…it’s impressive!

  •  He is using his high chair for meal times:








  • And we now have to comb this beautiful hair in the morning and after naps:










  • He received an early Christmas present from Opi and Omi last week, a car seat!!!  He is quickly approaching the weight and height limit on his infant carrier.  Ben sends a  big THANK YOU to Opi and Omi for the wonderful gift!  Here’s Ben opening his present:









    Filed under Ben, Orlando

    King of the Jungle








    What do you get when you take seven kids (eighteen months and younger), dress them in Halloween costumes and put them in a room together?  A couple things come to my mind.  Chaos for the mommies and meltdowns for the babies!!  Today is a day I personally will never forget…it was the Halloween Party at playgroup!  Despite a few upset moments, we had a great time and it was hysterical to see all the kiddos in their costumes!!







    Trying to get a group photo was an impossible task.  The three kids behind the couch (yes, that includes our precious boy) were having meltdowns while sitting so we opted for a calmer “back of the couch” approach.  The calm lasted for only a few sweet moments before the crying ensued.  I’m pretty sure at this point Ben had had ENOUGH of the headpiece already.  Not long after the photo frenzy it was back to playtime as usual (but with a very cute lion tail)!

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    Filed under Ben, Friends, Holiday, Orlando

    1st Annual Pumpkin Carving Party

    On Monday night we packed up our pumpkins and headed down the street to David and Christy’s for a pumpkin carving party.  We started off the evening with a big bowl of chili (after all Central Florida is enduring a “cold front” right now with highs this week reaching the mid 70’s…gasp…and lows in the 40’s!) 

    Let me digress for a moment.  Admittedly, I do think temperatures in the 40’s are a bit chilly in the evenings, but certainly not parka weather as everyone around here makes it out to be.  On Sunday evening after we all recovered from the Pumpkin Patch, we went for a walk in the neighborhood.  One of our friends stopped us and asked me if I was cold because I was wearing a tank top (along with velour pants and running shoes).  It was in the low 70’s outside!!  I just laughed and reminded him that I’m from Arkansas!!

    Okay, so back to the pumpkin carving party.  After filling our bellies with chili, cornbread and cookies, we picked out our pumpkin designs and away we went.  Jake and I actually took all three of our pumpkins forgetting how time consuming it is to carve just one.  Needless to say, we only carved one!  Poor David’s pumpkin was literally like carving a block of wood.  I’ve never seen such a cantankerous pumpkin…ever.  Most of the guys were well on their way to carving out their designs before he even had the top cut out!  Around 8:30 all of the mamas left to take the kiddos home to put them to bed and the men stayed behind to finish up the carving.  From what I’ve been told, Dave, Jeremy and Jake finished up rather quickly and then sat around and gave David a hard time while he worked diligently to carve his challenging pumpkin.     

    Here’s Ben showing off the pumpkin his dada carved!  She’s a beaut!

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    Filed under Ben, Food, Friends, Holiday, Orlando


    One evening not too long ago, the doorbell rang and when I answered it I found this on our front porch:









    I found all kinds of fun stuff inside along with these two pieces of paper:  (I included pics for you to see because I think this is a super fun idea…maybe you would like to pass “Boo” along in your neighborhood.)

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    Filed under Friends, Holiday, Orlando

    Pumpkin Patch







    Today after church we took Ben to a little local pumpkin patch.  As you can see from the picture our sweet boy was not a happy camper.  We had originally planned the outing with some other kids and mommies from playgroup, however, it rained all day Friday and our trip got cancelled.  It was so beautiful on our way to church this morning I thought it would be the perfect day to go.  While eating lunch Ben got very sleepy (church always throws his schedule off) so Jake laid him down for a nap.  About 20 minutes into the nap he woke up crying and after an hour of trying to get him back to sleep I thought we might as well head out to the patch.  So, I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep (most likely it was) or the possibility that he was scared of the pumpkins or that the grass was itchy, but Ben was certainly not at all thrilled to see the pumpkins.  So we picked out three to bring home with us for the carving party tomorrow, waved goodbye to the pumpkins and headed home.  The sleepy boy was out like a light by 7:30!!

















    Filed under Ben, Holiday, Orlando

    Aunt Amanda and Mr. Joe

    Jake’s sister, Amanda, and her boyfriend, Joe, came for a visit the day after Ben and I arrived home from Arkansas!!  This was Ben’s first time to meet them both and he took to them immediately!  We had so much fun during their visit!  Here’s a recap:

    On Wednesday we were off to the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.  This was the first visit to Epcot for Jake and me, and it was Ben’s first time at an amusement park!  He did AWESOME!!  He even rode on a water ride.  It was a safe “family” ride and he loved riding in the boat!!  

    Amanda, Joe and Ben crammed into the back of my TL on our way down to the park.  Sorry, guys, not too much leg room back there!


    Here we are in front of the huge ball (it probably has a name, but I’m not sure what it is called) at the entrance of the park.  I’ve always admired this thing from afar so it was fun to see it up close.









    Here we are enjoying the yummy cuisine.  Jake and I started off the festival with Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies from Krakos, Poland, while Amanda and Joe tried out the Spanakopita from Athens, Greece.  Both were very tasty!








    Next up was Istanbul, Turkey for Pistachio Baklava…very yummy, very sweet!!!  I promise not to list every dish we tried, but I do have to mention that we had a very yummy frozen orange drink.  It was de-lish and just what we needed to help cool us off.  We actually didn’t even try any wine at the food and wine festival, but we definitely had our share of the cuisine!!  (Side note:  The cute little hat and shorts that Ben is sporting in the pic below was a gift from Oma, Jake’s mom.  Thanks, Oma!!)








    Ben loved watching all of the people and grooving to the music at the park.  Check out his dancing skills below:

    We stopped by The Pearville Fair and had lots of fun standing in front of this cool mirror.  (Note:  Ben was snoozing in his stroller at this point, hence, he is not shown in the picture…it wasn’t like we left him on a bench somewhere napping.)  Amanda and Joe, I think I have a few extra Pearville coins if you happened not to get one!!!








    While Jake, Joe and Amanda went to ride Mission: SPACE and Test Track, Ben and I had a little shopping to do.  You can’t visit a Walt Disney World theme park for the very first time and not purchase a set of Mickey Mouse ears!!!







    The following afternoon we went for a visit to The Central Florida Zoo!! 








    Ben was very excited to watch the birds fly close by and to hear them chirp.  Check out the clip below!  These sweet birds also gave him a very nice present for visiting the zoo.  Oh, yes, one pooped right on his super yummy teether.  Not to worry, it received a nice sanitizing bath when we returned home!!!

    We saw a big scary alligator:








    And all kinds of slithering snakes (Ben was very brave!!):








    And ferocious leopards:








    And silly monkeys:








    We had lots of fun playing games with Joe and Amanda too.  For those of you that thought I was quite the competitor when it comes to playing games, you haven’t played with Amanda!!  She won every hand of poker, not just won, she smoked us!  She did mention that she is going to Vegas this week for “work.”  Now I am wondering what kind of work she does exactly!!  Also, she was very sneaky when we played Scattergories.  All I’m going to say here is that if anyone is looking for a “mojito maker” at Linens ‘n Things, you aren’t going to find one.  Nice try though, Amanda! 

    I should also note that we heard Ben say, “mana”…translation, Manda.  I’m pretty sure Aunt Amanda was very proud!! 

    Not long after Joe flew back home (Amanda got to stay a few extra days to see her friend Nichole and the new baby, Cameron) we received the coolest Razorback stuff in the mail for Ben.  Seriously, he looks so stinkin’ cute and grown up in it!!  Ben sends a BIG THANKS for his Razorback ball cap, shirt and jersey!!









    Amanda and Joe, thank you so much for flying across the country (literally…from Washington State to Florida) to see us.  We miss you already and look forward to planning our trip out to see you next summer!  We love you!!

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    Filed under Ben, Family, Food, Friends, Orlando