Monthly Archives: August 2009


Ben and I were playing with his mega bloks in the front room today when we heard a plane fly over the house.  Here’s our conversation:

Me:  Ben, do you hear the plane?

Ben:  Plane (looking out the window)…whew (waving his hand through the air).

Me:  Yes, a plane.  It’s been a while since we’ve been on a plane.

Ben:  Bye-bye (waving to the sky).

Me:  Maybe we can go on a plane sometime soon to see Grandma.

Ben:  Grandma…Amen.

Then he stood up and walked over to me and grabbed both of my hands in his little hands.  I knew what he wanted…he wanted to pray for Grandma and that’s just what we did!

Me:  Dear Heavenly Father, please help Grandma…

Ben:  Grandma (said Gran-ma)

Me:  (continuing the prayer)…to feel better today and please heal her body.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Ben:  Amen.


Filed under Ben, Family, Health, Orlando

17 Months/18 Months…Our Little Parrot


Here are a few of my favorite moments from Ben’s 17th month!!  Plus, he turned 18 months old today!!

After Ben’s nap, we head outside to play in the backyard until it’s time to start dinner.  Ben follows Dakota around the yard as they sniff out the grass, fence, bugs, bushes, plants…you name it!  And yes, you can usually find Ben either on his hands and knees or squatting next to Dakota as they investigate each of these!!  One afternoon Ben decided to take a break from his explorations to play peek-a-boo behind the trees.  Here are a couple of my favorite shots.

















Earlier this month we made a special trip to the hospital where I used to work to visit our friends there.  Ben made sure to identify each and every clock he saw by pointing to each one and saying, “clock!”  I think he was in heaven…he absolutely loves clocks.  I guess you never realize just how many clocks are in a hospital until you take your 17 month old along.  He also enjoyed giving everyone he met a fist pound at least three or four times each.  Another highlight…he got to spin around and around in an office chair.  It was hysterical to watch him as he squealed in delight.  And as you can see in the pic below with my friend Judith…he so badly wanted to wear a visitor badge so I let him borrow mine…he wore it very proudly!  I’m pretty sure we were a major distraction.  So before long I thought it would be best to go.  After all, the government does frown upon the stealing of company time.  Ben was snoozing as we drove out of the parking lot.  All in a day’s work!









And while he napped that day, it rained, leaving the perfect puddle (perfect meaning…water, no mud) for Dakota and him to splash and stomp!!  











A little after noon on my birthday, Ben and I had just settled into his rocking chair with a good book when we heard the doorbell ring.  We both excitedly sprinted to the front door to see who was there.  The mail lady had left a birthday package for me!!  After I carefully removed the contents of the package…Ben had a little party all his own!!  Who knew that a box and some newspaper could bring such joy and such a good nap!!  He slept for a good three hours after this!!  

After Jake and Ben treated me to some delicious pizza on my birthday we made a quick stop by the grocery store for some cupcakes and a few other necessities.  We let Ben ride around…I mean fly around…in this fun space shuttle shopping cart!









Grab your coffee (or beverage of choice), pull up a chair and get ready for story time with Ben!  This is from his library book, “Melvin Might?”  We’ve read it close to a million times so he’s memorized some of the words!!  One of his favorite phrases he’s gleaned from this book is, “I try.”

And now…the rest of the story.  I know you can’t wait to find out what happens to Rita.  Sorry for the cliffhanger (ha ha)!  (My camera only lets me film for…apparently three minutes…before it cuts me off).

And for an encore presentation…here’s Ben reading his library book, “Tip Tip Dig Dig.”  One morning I overheard him from the kitchen saying, “Tip Dig Dig.”  I grabbed the camera and here’s what happened next. 

From the mouth of Ben:  We recently started calling Ben our little parrot.  He likes to pick words from our conversations and repeat them over and over.  One night at dinner Jake had just finished telling me an “interesting” story from his day at work…he has lots of those now that he is a supervisor.  I replied in surprise by saying, “WHAT??”  Throughout the remainder of dinner we heard Ben saying, “WHAT??”

Here are some other new and funny things he’s saying: 

“Hat.”  We were at the post office recently and Ben would point and call out “hat” to each person that walked in with a hat on.  I was kind of feeling rude for all of the pointing we were doing and singling out of those with hats on, but fortunately for us they were all very nice.  We counted two white hats, a red hat and a straw hat…yes, a straw hat…similar to Huckleberry Fin!

“Picture.”  We finally got around to hanging some pictures in Ben’s bathroom recently.  The other morning we were in his bathroom and he looked up, pointed to the frames on the wall and said, “picture.”  I didn’t even know he knew that word!

“I miss.”  “I shoot.”  “Brick.”  “Goal.”  When he’s shooting hoops on his mini basketball goal we hear him say all those words/phrases.  (Hmm, I wonder who taught him how to say “brick”!!)

“Hut.”  Right before he throws the football he says, “hut!”  Oh, and if you happen to join him for a game of catch, beware, he likes to throw the ball at your face…at point blank range!  Ouch!

“Dirt.”  If we’re outside and he finds some dirt, he likes to bring me some and say, “dirt.”  Or if we’re inside playing on the tile and he finds grass or Dakota’s hair he’ll pick it up and bring it to me and say, “dirt.”  Ahh, it is good motivation to keep the floors clean…Ben will certainly let you know if they are not!

“Mama…book.”  This boy LOVES to read his books.  In the mornings I can hear him on the monitor calling out, “mama…book, mama…book”.

“Geen.”  When you ask him what color something is he usually responds “geen” no matter what the color.  Maybe green is Ben’s favorite color…it’s Jake’s too!

“Duck goose.”  Anytime he sees a duck he always says, “duck goose!”

“Mac cheese” for macaroni and cheese.

“Benny bop bop.”  Not long after Ben was born we’d do this little leg thing with him and say, “Benny Benny bop bop.”  Now he likes to say, “Benny bop bop.”

“Bath time.”  When it’s time to take a bath he says, “bath time!”  And from the moment we tell him it’s time to get out he begins telling everything “bye” and waves as the water drains from the tub.

“O.”  He says “o” for “hello” when pretending to answer the phone.  He likes to pretend that any one of his small toys is a phone and he’ll hold it up to his ear like he’s talking.

“A mess.”  He loves to repeat the phrase “a mess” from one of his library books, “What a Mess.”  One night after dinner he had potato soup all over him and puddled in the seat of his high chair.  He looked up at Jake and me and said, “a mess!”

“Hands.”  When he says, “hands” that means he wants to go and wash them with the lime green soap in his bathroom.  Limit:  three squirts and we’re done! 

“Dub dub” is for the letter W.

“I love you.”  Of ALL the things he’s saying right now, these THREE words are my most favorite!!


Filed under Ben, Orlando

Happy Birthday, Yvonne!!

Matt and Yvonne visit


Filed under Birthdays, Family

My Birthday at the Beach

I turned 31 on August 14th (yes, I am officially a 30 something)!!  My birthday request was to spend some time squishing my toes in the sand at the beach and that’s just what we did.  Jake and I spent last Saturday and Sunday at a beautiful place on Daytona Beach called The Shores Resort and Spa.  Our friend Nichole works at the resort and she hooked us up with a discounted room rate and some other free stuff…it was so wonderful!!  Thank you, Nichole!!  

This was also our first overnight trip without our sweet Ben.  We are so blessed to have found an amazing babysitter, Amanda, through our church.  She is simply wonderful and such a blessing to us.  It is so evident to see how much she loves Ben and in turn it gives us a very good feeling to leave him in her very capable hands.  But, oh, how we missed him!  Anytime we saw a little boy Ben’s age playing on the beach I so badly wanted to call up Amanda and have them come and meet us.  It was so fun to come home and see him though.  Amanda said he was great and he seemed so happy to see us.  He walked up with a big smile and greeted us both with big kisses.  It melted my heart…it always does!!  

We were already hungry when we arrived and got reservations at the hotel restaurant Azure right at 5:30pm.  We pretty much had the entire restaurant to ourselves which was quite nice.  Our table overlooked the patio, pool and beach.  A couple had just gotten married on the beach and they were having their dinner reception out on the patio in front of us.  It was so fun to watch all of the excitement!  And the meal was delicious!











Here’s the view of our hotel from the beach, the view of the beach from our room and the view of the intracoastal waterway from our room!  Gorgeous!!























After dinner we went for a romantic stroll along the beach and watched the sunset.  Here we are laughing hysterically (you know the kind like when you were a kid trying not to laugh in church but the more you tried not to laugh the worse it made it and the worse the stares got from your parents…that kind of laugh) while trying to snap our own picture on the beach.  Ahh, much better!
















Does anyone remember that episode of Friends when they all go to some tropical location and Monica’s hair gets bigger and bigGER and BIGGER the entire show.  Yep, that was my hair after our walk on the beach.  BIG!!









We woke up on Sunday morning to a yummy breakfast in bed.  I’m pretty sure I said, “ah, it’s so nice to not do dishes” about a million times that weekend.  It was such a luxury!!  So after our breakfast in bed we headed down to the beach early Sunday morning to soak up some sun.  It was already quite warm so we spent more time letting the waves crash against our legs than we did laying out on the beach.  When we were relaxing on the beach it was under the shade of an umbrella.  Long gone are the days of laying out in the sun with baby oil.  Oh yes, I know, horrible isn’t it?!?  I remember laying out by the pool in my younger years using baby oil because it was supposed to make your tan much darker.  Please, do not try this at home.  Much darker…a.k.a…much redder….think…lobster.  Not pleasant.


















It is amazing how a little time away can make you feel so revived and energized!  It was a great birthday!  And the gifts, cards, calls, e-mails and other birthday messages I received…thanks everyone for making me feel so loved on my special day!  I hope that you were blessed even more in return!


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Happy Birthday, Grandpa…Whee!!


Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family

Happy Birthday, Omi…Nite Nite!!

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16 Months…A Recap











At Ben’s most recent check-up he weighed in at 24 pounds and was 32 inches tall.  He did EXCEPTIONALLY well at the appointment…he had quite the audience in the waiting room as he choo chooed and squealed with delight EACH and EVERY time the train rounded the track mounted high above our heads…all was well UNTIL it was shot time.  On our way out of the exam room the nurse who administered the shots passed us in the hallway and jokingly asked if I could pick a different nurse next time.  She said that Ben was one of her favorites and she just couldn’t stand to make him cry like that ever again.  Then a little boy in front of us at the check-out line received a shiny Thomas the Train sticker.  Apparently, it was like putting salt in Ben’s needle wounds and the tears began to flow again.  So after he received his very own sticker, life seemed to resume as normal!!

Here’s a recap of Ben’s 16th month:

One of the perks to Jake’s job is a free membership to RedTail Golf Club.  So occasionally after church on a Sunday afternoon we’ll eat lunch on the verandah overlooking the 18th hole and let Ben run around and play.  The first picture below was taken right when Ben turned 10 months old and the second was taken at 16 months.  I can’t believe how much bigger he looks in just six months!!   Although it appears that one thing hasn’t changed…he still loves to play with leaves!!  









“Five Silly Monkeys” is a book we’ve been reading with Ben for a long time now.  To keep him occupied while we waited for our food Jake decided to read it to him.  Ben’s hand motions always make me laugh!!  Check out the clip:

On July 18th Ben received his first hair cut!!  We took him to a little place around the corner from our house to a lady named Kathy who had come highly recommended by a couple of other mamas in playgroup.  First we tried to put Ben on a booster seat but without any way to buckle him in he squirmed all over the place so Jake got to put on a “cape” and hold Ben while I assisted and snapped pictures.  Kathy handed him a hair pick to keep him occupied but of course he immediately put it in his mouth so I went to my purse and grabbed one of the two suckers I brought along.  Ben had never had a sucker before so I thought it would REALLY keep him occupied and it worked great except for one little thing.  I grabbed a blue sucker.  So by the time we were done with the hair cut his entire mouth was blue and he was drooling blue on his clothes.   










Here are before and after pictures.  She mostly trimmed the hair over his ears and the curls in the back.  Before we left she asked me if Ben was our first child and I responded, “yes.”  She replied with a smile, “I can tell.”  I wonder what gave it away…the fact that I hoovered over her watching each and every strand of his precious hair that she cut, or that I captured the entire hair appointment (and I mean ENTIRE) by either photography or film, or maybe that I forgot to bring something to put his little lock of hair in to take home for his baby book.  No worries…we found something to put it in!  (After his haircut he wanted NOTHING to do with me taking anymore pictures…so after following him around the next day I finally got a shot of the front…he’s thrilled can’t you tell!) 



















Ben and I decided to brave the heat one morning and headed out to the park.  He had a blast and he so did not want to leave.  Thankfully he was over it by the time we made it to Chick-fil-a for lunch.  When one of the workers stopped by to ask if we needed anything Ben puckered out his lips like he was trying to give her a kiss.  She got a big kick out of it!  Such a fun day!










Here’s another comparison shot.  The first pic is of Ben at 6 months and the second at 16 months.

Copy of IMG_4377IMG_8216 









We’ve also been trying to find some cooler fun things to do inside…like playing at the train table at a local book store.









And coloring.  I found this nifty mini tray at Michael’s one day (on sale!!) and he really likes using it.  But of course his favorite place to try and color is the tile floor.  Busted!!  I caught him doing just that in the second picture below.  Thankfully it is super easy to clean off the floor!!









Ben loves to help out around the house too.  I’m sure you all might remember how much he likes to help out with folding/wearing the laundry.  He now gets a big kick out of helping me sort the laundry!  And just as quickly as I put the wet laundry into the dryer Ben is there to try and fling it out onto the floor.  Finally, after explaining (each and every time) that we must dry the clothes before we can fold them he takes great pleasure in pushing the dryer door closed.  








Ahh, yes…I can’t forget to mention the Swiffer.  It has an adjustable handle so I just take a couple links out of it and away he goes!

We recently were told by a lawn care group that part of the grass in our yard was dead and that we’d need to re-sod it.  About a week and a half ago the crew got started and did a great job!  Ben’s favorite part was when they hauled in the new sod on this cool skid steer loader.  He’s also been a big help doing some yard work with Jake!


















One night Jake told Ben they were going to the mailbox but because he didn’t have shoes on he would have to be carried.  Ben immediately went to his room, grabbed his shoes and went and stood with them by the front door!!  Are you kidding…be carried…anymore he always prefers to walk and he’s usually running.  I feel like I’m always saying, “Ben walk”, “Ben slow down”, “Ben watch where you’re going!!”  I think this pic is a great way to sum up 16 months…very happy, very excited about everything and always on the go!!











From the mouth of Ben.  There’s no doubt he’s talking a bunch these days.  Here are some of the things he says that make me laugh.

He walks to the refrigerator in the mornings and tries to open the door and repeats the word “milk” over and over again until I hand him his sippy cup.

Potato is “tay-toe.”

Please is “peas.”

He likes to pull on our pant legs and say “up! up! up!”

Apparently I say, “Hey, babe” to Jake a lot because sometimes I’ll hear Ben walking around the house during the day randomly saying, “Hey, babe.”

He affectionately calls his pacifier his “pass.”  He’s only supposed to have it at nap time and bed time but occasionally I hear him calling it for it, “ppppaaasssssssss”, “ppppaaasssssssssss”.  I am sooo not looking forward to having to take it away from him one day soon.  Suggestions, anyone?  His pediatrician says, “just take it away…there might be a few nights of crying but then he’ll be fine.”  I sure hope that is the case, but I’m not sure anyone realizes just how much he LOVES his precious “pass”.

He’s gone from calling Dakota “D” to “ca-ca.”  (I know it sounds horrible doesn’t it…I hope people don’t think we are teaching our child slang words for poop.)

I typically give Ben the option of water with his milk throughout the day.  When he asks for both we count them…”one, two.”  So now he’ll hold up his pointer finger when we count “one” and when we say “two” he opens his hand up showing all five fingers and says “two”.


Filed under Ben, Orlando

Shooting Hoops

After a short time-out to rest his legs and get a drink of water…


Filed under Ben, Orlando

Mom’s Eight Week Chemo/Radiation Treatment Begins

My mom and Bill returned to Zion, IL yesterday to begin mom’s eight week treatment at CTCA.  Their day starts bright and early this morning with their first appointment at 7:15 am.  At noon she will undergo a surgical procedure to insert a port that will be used to administer the chemo.  At 3:00 pm her first radiation treatment will begin followed by a round of chemo at 4:00 pm.

Mom’s major praise for the day:

They arrived safe and sound in Zion, IL yesterday evening.  Since mom will receive eight weeks of treatment they decided to drive their own vehicle instead of fly.  She was happy to report that they had no car problems and the trip was relatively uneventful. 

Here are her prayer requests:

  1. Pray for no nausea or vomiting from the treatment (or any other negative side effects).
  2. Pray for a smooth day today and throughout the eight weeks of treatment ahead specifically that everything would run on schedule.
  3. Pray for her safety during surgery today and that she would not feel any negative effects due to hunger before, during and after the procedure.
  4. Pray that the doctors and nurses will be alert during her surgery today and pray that God would give them wisdom in how to best provide her treatment.
  5. Pray for Bill’s energy and encouragement as he cares for my mom.
  6. Pray for complete healing!!!

This is the most recent e-mail update sent out by Bill on 7/29/09:

Dear Family & Friends,

We just got back from Chicago…actually, Zion, Illinois last evening and are now preparing for a return trip on either Saturday or Sunday of this week. As mentioned in the last update, we will be staying for two months this time. The Lord has not only provided us with good accommodations but He has also provided convenient  shopping nearby…a grocery store, K-Mart, etc… and Lake Michigan is just a short drive away, too.  (Judy loves to walk along the water’s edge…me too!)

Well, it’s been almost 3 weeks since Judy’s first chemo treatment (a mega-dose) and she has done exceptionally well… only one day of total fatigue post-treatment. Other than that, she has been up and going with no nausea.   She still has a good appetite, and her weight has now stabilized. Also, her pain continues to be well-managed, and her energy level remains good. Only the G.I. distress remains.  But, like Judy said, “If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t know I was sick.”  (I count about eight praises in that paragraph!  Thank you Father for Your faithfulness and all the answered prayer!!!)  We do sincerely thank God for our dear family and friends who have fervently prayed, day-after-day, for our specific needs…and have then reached out to meet those needs.  We pray blessings, blessings, and more blessings on each of you in return!    

Well beloved, I’ll probably e-mail another update in two or three weeks, after we have established a routine and get settled-in there in Zion.   Until then, our love to each of you…


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A Birthday Message From Ben To Uncle Matt

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