Monthly Archives: January 2009

Dog Sitting
















Last week Ben was asked to dog sit by his little buddies, Kendall and Kali, that live in our neighborhood.  They received a miniature schnauzer puppy named Pepper for Christmas.  Kendall and Kali have taken care of Dakota for us many many times and we were happy to return the favor!   I think Ben was pretty thrilled that he was actually the bigger of the two!  However, truth be told, Pepper was a little hyper and I’m not sure if Ben knew quite what to think of her (as evidenced by second picture above).  After all, he is used to playing with Dakota…a very calm dog.  Dakota has quite the (good) reputation in our neighborhood.  Before Kendall and Kali got their dog they used to have their parents call our house and ask if they could come over and play with Dakota.  Right after we moved into the neighborhood the kids next door, Andrew and Ally, asked if they could adopt Dakota because they loved him so much.  When pleading her case as to why they were qualified to adopt him, Ally stated very matter-of-factly, “We even have dog food.”  It was very cute!  Needless to say, they didn’t get to adopt Dakota but they did end up getting a dog of their own, Mojo…a pug.  He and Dakota are pretty good buddies.  

Back to dog sitting…while Jake was walking, feeding and playing with Pepper, Ben and I took advantage of the big backyard and fun playground equipment.  Ben had a blast soaring high on the swing, zipping down the slide and crawling around in the grass (one of his favorite things to do these days).  Here’s him in action:

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Filed under Ben, Dakota, Friends, Orlando


We decided to join the masses around the globe and finally purchased a webcam so that we can Skype!!  Wahoo!  We’d love to chat and see your beautiful faces!!  Here’s Matt from our phone call with him and Oma Leah several nights ago.  Since Matt has been working out of the country for the past year, this was his first time to see and talk to Ben.  It was so much fun!!  I heart technology!!



Filed under Ben, Family, Hobbies, Orlando

Resolutions Anyone?

Is anyone else wondering where the month of January went?  Whew…I feel like this month has zoomed right on by.  Is this a foreshadowing of what the rest of the year will be like?  Maybe so.  I guess I’m not starting off the year so hot with keeping up the blog.  So here’s the “Happy New Year” post I meant to write, oh, say, about a month ago.

After a cat nap on the couch from 11-11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve, I was rested and ready to count down the New Year.  Ben was fast asleep by 8:00 pm so Jake and I took it pretty easy and rang in the New Year with Dick Clark and a few other million people in New York City all from the comfort of our own home.  After a few phone calls to my family (although they were still patiently waiting to welcome in the new year since they are on central time) we were fast asleep.  The next day was nice and relaxing.  I made an extremely large pot of chili (thanks to a recipe from my stepmom, Linda).  It was so good!  That afternoon we took a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Here’s the best shot I got.  (It was a little trickier than I thought it would be by trying to walk backward and take a picture!)  Click here to take a walk with us! 










I am usually not one to come up with and certainly not one to write down any resolutions for the new year.  So this year, I actually had a few in mind and decided to write them down.  I thought if I posted them here I would have you (my faithful reader(s)) to help hold me accountable.  We’ll see how it works out…here we go (in no particular order):

  1. De-clutter and organize our house.  You see, I’m one for stacking things into neat piles because I really don’t like to throw anything away.  Plus I have clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn in years.  So it is time to get rid of the piles, throw away a few things and donate some clothes.  When I told my friend, Amy, at the beginning of the year that I needed to get organized she asked, “How can you be married to Jake and NOT be organized?!?”  Our husbands work together so it appears that Jake’s reputation for organization has spread quickly.  Here’s the thing, before I met Jake I thought I WAS a pretty organized person.  What I have learned is that there are different echelons of organization.  I would consider Jake, along with my cousin Annie, to be in the extreme upper echelon while I would rank at the lower end.  For example, when I get home from the grocery store, I place the yogurt on any empty shelf I can find in the refrigerator.  Jake typically follows behind me and organizes it by flavor and expiration date…I find that cute and quirky and yes, a little extreme!!
  2. Work-out at least three times a week.  I used to work-out all the time.  Seriously, from middle school all the way through grad school, I was pretty disciplined to get in the gym on a very frequent basis.  I even found an old journal from middle school where I had actually written down very detailed work-out routines for each day (including length of time for each activity along with number of repetitions).   So it is time to break out the pilates videos and put on my walking shoes and get moving!
  3. Spend time reading and studying my Bible every morning.  For me, this one is the most important of them all.  There is nothing better than starting out my morning by reading my Bible and worshiping God.  It really just makes the day better.  Of course it doesn’t mean the day won’t have its challenges.  It just helps me to try and see God in everything throughout the day. 
  4. Learn a new hobby…sewing.  I’ve wanted to learn how to sew for a long time, but it just seems very intimidating to me for some reason.  The machine, the needles, the thread…  Lately I’ve thought about a lot of things I would like to make…if only I could sew.  So, it’s time to sew.  Anyone know of a good beginner sewing machine they would recommend?
  5. Reconnect with an old friend.  The truth is, I’m not always good at staying connected.  I’d like to, even think about lots of friends and family often throughout the day, but before I know it another week has gone by and I haven’t talked to them.  So I’d like to do better in this area and especially would like to really reconnect with at least one old friend that I’ve lost touch with. 
  6. Volunteer at church…community outreach.  I’ve really felt a tugging on my heart over the past several months to volunteer either at our church or with an organization through our church.  There seems to be so much to get involved in out there and so many people and organizations that could use a helping hand.  So I am on a quest to find a way that I can help out with a group that will either allow Ben to join me or provide care for him.

Happy New Year!!


Filed under Ben, Family, Food, Holiday, Orlando

Ben’s 1st Christmas








The Saturday before we flew out to Arkansas, Jake and I had a marvelous time opening presents with Ben…just our little family (Dakota too)!  It was such a wonderful day!  We turned on the Christmas music and started the morning with a delicious breakfast, followed by a reading of the Christmas story, and then we opened gifts.  Jake read from a little board book called, “The Story of Christmas.”  It starts out, “Do you know why we give gifts at Christmas?  We give presents because it is Jesus’ birthday.”  It was a really cute book and a fun way to try and explain the Christmas story to Ben.  We had all kinds of fun watching (and helping) Ben open his presents.  I think the new experience was not only very exciting but extremely exhausting…he took a long two and a half hour nap when we finished!  Click here to see him shoot a hoop in his new basketball goal!


































On Monday, Dec. 21st, we jetted off to Arkansas for seven merry days!!  We stopped to grab lunch after we landed and Ben was quick to initiate Omi to his new eating practices by knocking his food bowl out of Jake’s hands and splashing it all over her.  Sorry, Omi.  Thanks for being such a good sport and for picking us up at the airport!!









Here’s the rest of our trip in a chestnut shell:

We opened presents at my mom’s house on Christmas Eve.  The first pic is of Ben with some of his cousins…Landon, Kayla, Laci and Khloee.  Ben was completely exhausted by the time we finished dinner and began to open presents, so he went to bed and got to open his presents the next day! 





























On Christmas Day we left Baby Laci and Ben at home with their grandparents and we went to see Marley and Me.  The theater was packed out, but we managed to find a row of seats together (about five rows back from the screen).  We enjoyed a great movie with lots of yummy popcorn!









The next day we drove to Dickson Street for a juicy burger from Grub’s.  It was sooo good!!  Ben decided he would entertain us by playing peek-a-boo under his blanket (one of his favorite things to do these days).  Afterwards we headed over to a very windy University of Arkansas campus.  We toured around Old Main and found Jake’s name carved on Senior Walk (look closely…Ben has his hands on it)!!



















That evening we celebrated Jill’s 34th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Jill!  You are such a wonderful sister!!  We had a blast celebrating with you and love you lots!!!










Since my dad and Linda’s house is still under construction, we opened gifts with them at Tim and Candice’s house.  For lunch we opted for a Mexican fiesta theme instead of a traditional ham and/or turkey meal.  We had quite the spread of burritos, enchiladas, refried beans, queso and salsa!  Muy bueno!  As you can see, Ben LOVED the Christmas tree.  We couldn’t take our eyes off of him for an instant or I’m pretty sure he would have tried to pull it down on top of him.















To end the week we traveled down to Greenwood on Saturday evening for a very special event at my dad’s church…Ben’s dedication.  My dad performed the dedication and it was wonderful!  It was a very special night for all of us.  Thanks, Opi!!  (For those of you that want to see the dedication ceremony, I’ll try to get it uploaded to the blog sometime soon!)









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

10 Months










The day after Christmas, Ben turned another month older!!  I am seriously amazed by how much he changes, grows and learns from month to month…it’s incredible.  Here’s what he’s been up to!!

Meal time is certainly interesting around our place these days.  Ben basically refuses to eat anything that we try to feed him unless he can feed himself a sampling of finger foods first.  I’m not sure just how much actually makes it into his mouth, but he seems to be rather content in just trying.  He also assists in feeding himself with a spoon and can hold/drink from a sippy cup!  Just this week I began officially weaning him to the cup at his lunch and dinner meals.  He is also truly thrilled to spit/spray food out of his mouth while he’s eating.  Jake and I have been working very hard on our poker faces so that we don’t encourage him to continue.  It is so hard not to laugh when he looks so stinkin’ cute, and of course there are those days that I want to scowl when he sprays my white shirt with bright orange carrots!  (I noticed yesterday when I returned home from running errands that I had a big blog of Ben’s lunch on my white t-shirt…whoops…I’m sure the nice folks at World Market didn’t mind!)  I used to give him a spoon to hold while I fed him with another, but I stopped that when he began to sword fight me with his spoon!!  We’re so proud of our little “independent” eater!!  (I know I posted lots of pics of him eating here, but we’ve been spending lots o’ time at the table.  Oh, recently he has been setting the sippy cup on top of his head when he’s not drinking it.  I guess that is as good a place as any???)  He’s quite a character!!!






































He loves to crawl under, over and through tight spaces.  Lately we’ve been making obstacle courses out of pillows for him to crawl through on the floor…he has a blast!  He is determined to fit through any space he thinks he should be able to, so he has definitiely had his share of bumps to the noggin and gotten stuck a few times along the way…none of which seem to deter him one bit.  









At the golf course one afternoon (yes, we have been spoiled by beautiful weather) we let Ben play in the grass and on the putting green while we waited for our lunch.  He was mesmerized by the leaves.  He kept trying to eat them and by the time we made it back to our table, he had a big dirt spot on his face.  As you can see he was fascinated with the hole on the green too…he kept sticking his hand down in it to see what he could find! 



















We’ve transitioned the toddler tub from the kitchen sink to the bathroom.  Click here to see why.  I’m not sure if all kids are this way, but Ben is SUPER HYPER after a bath.  After he gets out he acts like we’ve just fed him straight sugar from the canister.  Seriously, it often takes two of us in the evening after bathtime to get him diapered, lathered (with lotion) and dressed for bed.









He can wave “hi” and “bye bye”.  We love to practice when Jake leaves for work in the morning and at other times like checking out at the grocery store.  After Jake leaves the nursery at night, Ben will continue to wave and say “da da” in a super cute whisper.

He pushes cars (and most of his other toys) around on the floor.  We went to visit his little friend Kai last week and they had loads of fun rolling their cars around together.









He enjoys “helping” unload the dishwasher.

He is pulling up to his feet on EVERYTHING.  He is also “cruising” a little now by taking  side steps when he’s holding on to the ottoman.  It seems like he really might be walking soon!!












Filed under Ben, Food, Orlando