Monthly Archives: December 2008

A Merry Little Christmas Party

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas early by throwing a fun party for the kiddos in our neighborhood playgroup.  We had a smorgasbord of all kinds of yummy treats to eat including chicken salad with croissants, spinach dip, sausage bread, salad, fruit and cookies!  Playgroup has definitely gotten even more interesting now that all of the kids are either crawling or walking.  We all sat around on the floor and ate picnic style hoping that it would make it easier to corral the kids.  For the most part I felt like I was juggling my plate, water glass and Ben the entire time!!  He enjoyed crawling (at top speed) around Christy’s house because she had all kinds of cool stuff for him to explore.  Other than a spilled water glass, thankfully nothing was damaged!  Whew!  After we ate and played for a while, we started our gift exchange.  We had a book exchange for the kids and a $10 gift for the mommies.  Ben got a set of really cool counting books and I got a a handy “market tote” that will be just perfect for a quick jaunt to the grocery store, a picnic or a trip to the beach.  Thanks to Christy S. for hosting the party.  We had a most wonderful time!  (The first pic from left to right:  Jen and Stephen (Stephen is about one month younger than Ben and they have become quite big buddies), Christy L. and Bella, Amy and Austin, Christy S. and Olivia, Carissa and Isaac, Katy and Ben, and our little Ben…can you tell he is totally ecstatic about opening his present…he LOVES to rip paper)!!  Oh!  And one more thing…our playgroup is about to get some new members…Amy, Christy S., Carissa and Debra (not pictured) are all pregnant again!  Congratulations, Ladies!!!























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Filed under Ben, Food, Friends, Holiday, Orlando

A Friendly Lunch

Ben and I met up with Judith earlier this week for a yummy lunch!  Judith and I worked together at the Orlando VA Medical Center in Human Resources and became great friends!  We recruited her out of the Miami VA and in my personal opinion it was the best hire we ever made…she is one smart lady!!  She grew up in Germany and has a law degree from there along with an undergrad degree in economics!  She also has a wonderful German accent.  During our conversation at lunch Ben was mesmerized by her voice and basically stared at her the whole time!  It was so funny to watch him watch her.  It was the first time Judith had seen Ben since he was about three months old.  We had a great time catching up (for about two hours)!  Ben was a trooper!  Here’s a pic of Judith and Ben.  He has recently started doing this squinty eye thing and it cracks me up!


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In Loving Memory

While we were in Arkansas over Thanksgiving we received the news that Jake’s grandma passed away.  (Jake’s mother’s mom.)  She was suffering from dementia and was cared for in a nursing home in Louisville, close to Jake’s uncle.  This is a picture of the last time we were together with her in 2005.  Many of the things that I remember from our time together on this particular day make me smile.  She had a Julio Iglesias cd playing the entire time we were there and wanted to dance with anyone that was willing, she kept telling us that the staff had “sticky” fingers (referring to some of her things that were “missing” when in fact she was hiding them and then forgetting where she put them) and she insisted I eat a bite of her dessert…when I politely declined she shoved it in my mouth.  I gave her a big smile and said, “yummy!”  She seemed very pleased! 









We also learned just this week that a very close friend of Jake’s family lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.  Seven weeks after his diagnosis, “Uncle” Jim went on to meet his heavenly father.  Jim was Jake’s dad’s lifelong best friend.  As we talked about it the other night Jake said he just knew that Jim and his dad were hanging out and catching up on old times.  I had the privilege of meeting Jim when he and his wife, Rosemary, came to our wedding in Arkansas.  It meant so much to us to have them there.  Jim spoke so highly of Dutch and told Jake how much he reminded him of his dad.  It was a really special time.  Below is a picture of Jake’s family sharing breakfast with Jim and Rose the day after our wedding.


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9 Months

If I could use one word to describe Ben right now it would be “MOBILE!”  This boy is a busybody for sure!  He turned 9 months old while we were in Arkansas and it was seriously amazing to watch the changes going on in his little body.  He has learned some really cool skills recently and is so smart.  I can tell when he really gets something now…it is like you can visibly see lots of little “ah ha” moments taking place all around him!  We’ll get into all of those cool things, but first up are his stats.  The day before we left for Thanksgiving we went in for his 9 month check up.  He weighed 19 pounds 10 ounces and was 27 2/3 inches long!  Thankfully he did not receive any immunizations at that appointment, although they did have to draw a little bit of blood from his big toe to check his iron levels.  They wanted the levels to be around 10 and his was 13…so it looks like he is getting plenty of iron!  Ben started whimpering a little as soon as we started to walk down the hallway to the exam room.  He was in a full blown crying mode by the time his pediatrician came in to examine him.  I was told to expect this to continue to occur at each appointment from now until he is about 18 months old!  Poor thing, I guess no one likes to be poked and prodded no matter what age! 

My sister-in-law’s friend, Lindsey, just happened to be over at Tim and Candice’s house one night taking some newborn pictures of Laci and was nice enough to take some shots of Ben too!  Here are a couple of my favorites!  Thanks, Lindsey!!  _mg_1331
















Here’s what he’s been up to lately:

He made it through a very historic election last month.  I really wanted to take him with me to vote, however, the reporters on the local news kept going on and on about how long the lines were.  I was worried that instead of teaching him a lesson in history he would think it was one on torture, so I opted to leave him home with Jake in the evening on Election Day and went to the poll alone.  Turns out, I was in and out within about five minutes.  Oh well, at least he can say he got the t-shirt!










He loves to empty out bins full of his books, toys and mommy and daddy’s magazines.  He typically doesn’t stop until everything is pulled out and strewn across the floor!  Click here to watch the video of him destroying the magazine bin.









He is crawling EVERYWHERE.  It seems like one day he woke up and decided he was going to crawl, really crawl, and he did…just like that!  It is so cute to watch him go from one thing to the next and from one room to the next.  (Okay, so it can be really exhausting for me too!) 

Since he is crawling everywhere, he is in to EVERYTHING.  The armoire doors to the TV stay shut most of the time now or we barricade it so that he can’t get in and pull cables, turn knobs and/or rummage through DVDs…we’ve seen him do all of these things.  img_5304 







He has also learned quite quickly how to pull up to his knees and sometimes into a standing position.  Even more surprising is that he has already learned to climb on things.  The other day I caught him doing this:

So I moved the dog bowls to a new “secret” location.  A few days later I was unloading groceries and gave Ben an empty box to play with while I put everything up.  The next thing I knew, he had pushed the box over to the “secret” dog bowl location, climbed up on it and was having a glorious time splashing in the water bowl.  Seriously, he was soaked from head to toe!  I also caught him pulling up on the toilet seat the other day.  I was washing my hands at the sink and the next thing I knew he had pulled himself up to his knees and was banging his hands on the toilet seat…yucky!  I gave him a good once over with some hand sanitizer! 

When we’re holding him he often tries to escape by either (a.) trying to leap/ jump off our laps or (b.) trying to squirm, wiggle, twist, turn or crawl down.  I’m glad he’s got an adventurous spirit and all, but the bigger he gets, the harder it is for us to hold on.  img_5238    







He is very good at playing ball:

He enjoys petting, pulling and tugging on Dakota.  Dakota is such a good sport.

Some other cool stuff he’s doing right now:  clapping his hands and giving high fives!!  He is also learning to associate pictures of objects in books with objects in real life.  For example, Jake can point out a picture of a teddy bear in a book and then ask him where the teddy bear is.  Ben will look up and over at the teddy bear sitting on his night stand.  That look is usually followed by a big grin from Ben as if he is trying to tell us, “hey, I know that’s a teddy bear!”  How cool is that!

I love it that our home is filled with the sound of Ben’s hands going pitter patter on the tile floor as he crawls so quickly around the house and the melody of his little voice that says  “da da da” and other jibber jabber constantly throughout the day.  This has been one exciting month!


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Ben’s 1st Thanksgiving

Hello, again, blog.  I’m sorry that I have completely neglected you over the past several weeks.  Since we arrived home on the 8th, we have been going non-stop. 

So now I would like to take this time to sit back, relax and reflect on the fun time we had in Arkansas!  Ben had several “firsts”!  For the very first time he:  celebrated Thanksgiving, bounced on a trampoline and played in the snow to name a few!!!  He was very busy!!  What a glorious time!  Here are the highlights from our trip:

My mom made the trek to Springfield to pick us up!  It was certainly a blustery winter’s day when we arrived.  As we made our way across the airport parking lot to the car, Ben made little gasping sounds as the gusts of wind blew in his face.  Here he is all bundled up waiting patiently while Jake installed the car seat.








Our first stop was grandma and grandpa’s house.  Here’s Ben playing on grandpa’s knee!









The day before Thanksgiving we celebrated Candice’s 29th Birthday at Noodles, a very yummy Italian restaurant in Northwest Arkansas.  Even sweet Baby Laci came out to join us for dinner!  At the end of our meal, we surprised Candice with a tasty chocolate cake and ice cream dessert topped with a rather large firecracker thing on top!  It was de-lish and quite sparkly might I add !  Happy Birthday, Candice, we were so excited to celebrate with you!!  Here are some pics from the night (if Ben could have had it his way, we would have loaded up this Christmas tree and taken it home with us…he loved it!):













































My sister, Jill, and her husband, David, hosted Thanksgiving out at their house this year!  They were wonderful hosts and we had such a great day!  Ben even got to sample the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes!  He loved them both!!






































On Sunday morning we woke up early and little did we know that a BIG surprise was in store for us…a gift from Mother Nature…SNOW!!  Here’s a clip of Ben and Jake trying to catch snowflakes!!

































One evening Ben and I drove down to Greenwood to visit one of my best friends, Sonya, and her girls, Laynee and Raegan.  We met up and had dinner at a great local diner.  The food was yummy, but the company was even better.  Sonya is one of those friends that even though I don’t get to see her too often, when I do we pick up right where we left off.  We had a great time catching up!  We always talk about how much fun it would be to live in the same neighborhood one day so that our kids can grow up together.  I would love that!!  We tried to get a group shot of the three, but it proved to be a little difficult.  Here’s the best pic I got of the three of them together:








We also spent a few days at Opi and Omi’s house.  As you can see, Ben got to sit on the Harley with his Opi…very cool!  We also toured their new home to check out how things are progressing.  The brick on the exterior is completed and the crown molding was finished the day we stopped by to visit.  As you can see from the pics below, the cabinetry is going in now.  The kitchen is awesome!  I am always stunned by how amazing the view is from the back of the house too!  It is looking good and we can’t wait to see it finished!






































Ben and I also joined Candice and Baby Laci at the mall one afternoon to do some Christmas shopping.  It was Laci’s first visit to the mall, but we know it certainly won’t be the last!  By the time we got to the mall, unpacked the babies, strollers, diaper bags and toys out of the car, ate lunch, fed the babies and changed their diapers we had already spent two hours at the mall and had not stepped a foot inside an actual store.  So we finally ventured off to Gymboree and spent about 30 minutes there before it was time to pack it all back up to leave.  Ahh, how life has changed…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!  Thanks to our friends and family for making our time in Arkansas so wonderful!  We look forward to seeing you all again IN LESS THAN A WEEK for Christmas!!


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Filed under Arkansas, Ben, Birthdays, Family, Food, Friends, Holiday, Travel, Weather