Monthly Archives: February 2010

February Family Birthdays

Well, like most things on the blog lately, I’m just a little bit behind.  So, without further ado, here are two BIG “Happy Birthday to you” shout outs all the way from Florida to…

My brother-in-law, David!!  He celebrated his birthday on February 4th!

And my niece, Kayla!  She celebrated her 13th birthday on February 11th!!

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Filed under Birthdays, Family

We’re having a…

BOY!!

Okay, so I realize that this is not new news to many of you, but since I haven’t officially announced it on the blog I thought I’d do so now!!  As we drove to our ultrasound appointment on November 30th, Jake and I both made our best guesses on what we thought the gender would be…Jake guessed boy and I guessed girl!  I was pleasantly surprised and we were both delighted to find out we’re having another boy!!  We’re so excited that Ben’s going to have a little brother and buddy to grow up with!!

A few cute things Ben has said about the baby recently…

He came up to me one day and patted my belly and said, “Mommy growing.”

He also likes to pat my belly and say, “Hi, baby brother.”

We were driving home from Mother’s Morning Out a couple of weeks ago and I heard Ben say, “Ben has a baby right here!”  I asked him where the baby was and he lifted up his shirt and pointed to his belly and repeated, “Right here!”

Ultrasound pictures from our appointment on Nov. 30th…  

I was 21 weeks at the time of the ultrasound.  At that time, (according to BabyCenter) our wee one weighed in at about three-quarters of a pound and was 10.5 inches long…about the length of a carrot!!  I know I mention this all the time, but I absolutely love ultrasounds!!  According to our ultrasound tech the baby was cooperative for the first few seconds of the visit and then he was moving all over the place.  She said that he was one active little boy!  My thoughts were…hmm, I have “one active little boy” at home already, isn’t the second baby supposed to be the calm one?!?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!  

Face.

Profile.

Feet.

Belly shots…

It’s hard to believe that I’m 31 weeks already!!  The last time I posted a belly shot I was 14 weeks.  Here are a few new pictures of my belly progression taken over the last several weeks!

15 Weeks

Taken at the pumpkin patch in Arkansas.

23 Weeks

28 Weeks

Ben and I were playing in the front yard one afternoon when I happened to look over and see my shadow on the sidewalk.  I thought…hey, that might be a fun belly shot.  So, we ran in, grabbed the camera and snapped a few photos as the sun was setting behind us. 

I thought this was a sweet pic of Ben reaching up for me!

30 Weeks

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Filed under Baby #2, Orlando

Home for the Holidays

We returned to Arkansas to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with friends and family from December 24-January 3.  When we arrived at my Dad and Linda’s house in Greenwood on the evening of the 24th we received a wonderful surprise…SNOW!!  No dreaming about it…we had a white and beautiful Christmas!!  

We also made it in time to put out some milk and cookies for Santa.  It must seem like torture to an almost two-year old to put out milk and cookies and then not get to eat them.  However, Ben was completely delighted when he woke up the next morning to find an empty cup and plate where the milk and cookies once were.  He exclaimed, “Santa eat cookies!!”

We spent the rest of Christmas morning lounging around the house in our pajamas while opening gifts and playing games.  It was some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Last Christmas we bought a board book for Ben called The Story of Christmas.  I think it explains gift giving at Christmas so sweetly, “We give gifts at Christmas to show our love and to say, “Happy birthday, Baby Jesus.””  So after Ben and Laci woke up from their afternoon naps we decided to do just that…have a party for Jesus.  We sang happy birthday and enjoyed some delicious cupcakes!!

A few days later we made our way back to Fayetteville where we celebrated my sister Jill’s 34th birthday on December 27th.  (I love how all the kids are staring at the cake in this pic!)

The following day we celebrated Christmas again with my step-dad, Bill.  It was so hard to celebrate Christmas without my mom this year.  I kept thinking about how last Christmas we didn’t even know she was sick.  It was a reminder to me just how sweet and precious life really is and that we shouldn’t take a single moment for granted.  My mom just had this way about her, especially during the holidays.  She always had such a bubbly spirit and a way of making everyone feel comfortable…from the yummy smelling candle burning on the table to the delicious food we’d all enjoy together.  Oh, and I certainly can’t forget all the card games we’d play…with my mom winning most hands!!  We just never knew what kind of tricks she had up her sleeve or what funny/crazy things she was going to say next.  We missed her.     

Ben loves his new John Deere tractor and trailer from Grandpa!  It didn’t take him long to learn how to hook up the trailer to the tractor.  Now each time he hooks it up he runs to me and says, “I did it, I did it.  Yea, Ben!”  (All while clapping and grinning from ear to ear!)

On New Year’s Eve we drove down to Mena for my cousin Annie’s baby shower.  Baby Chloe will be here soon…on February 16th or 17th!!  (You can read more about their exciting adoption story here.)  Ben was not exactly thrilled to be in the car traveling again so thankfully we had my nephew, Hunter, along for part of the ride.  He brought lots of his trucks and literally saved the day.  Once he joined us on the drive, Ben was HAPPY to play with all the “cool trucks”.

Later that evening we rang in the New Year with about 25 people at my Uncle Steve and Aunt Kathy’s house.  My cousin, Sarah, summed it up nicely, “We ate yummy food, played Beatles Rockband & Guitar Hero and watched the ball drop. Then we all made a beeline for bed at 12:01.”  Thank you for being such wonderful hosts.  We had a great time!

Ben turned 22 months old the day after Christmas.  While we were in Mena over New Year’s, Sarah took lots of great pictures of him and of “the cousins” kids so I thought I’d share a few of them here in honor of Ben’s 22nd month.  Thank you for the pictures, Sarah!!  I’ve had so much fun looking at them!  It really was wonderful to all be together again!!

Ben enjoying the wide open spaces while playing with leaves and sticks!  What more could a little boy ask for!

Ben and Jackson riding in the wagon!  New Year’s weekend was the first time they met.  They were great pals…they played with trains and trucks, danced, and oh, how they LOVED to wrestle!  They were great entertainment!

 

Asher, Ben, Audrey, Laci and Jackson.  Trying for a group shot was no easy task.  I wish I had a picture of all the chaos going on behind the scenes here with everyone trying to get the kids to look and smile at the camera.  Sarah managed to snap this one before any child sustained injuries from another!! 

Sarah, Jackson, Ben and me.  This was not only the first time that Ben and Jackson got to meet, but it was also the first time that Sarah got to meet Ben and I got to meet sweet Audrey!  Fun times!

In keeping with the holiday spirit, here are some funny things…

From the mouth of Ben:

All throughout the Christmas season Ben loved to tell anyone he met (at the grocery store, library, etc…), “Santa’s coming, santa’s coming!”

A few days before we left for Arkansas we had a small get together with a group of friends here in the neighborhood.  We ate a delicious meal together and then exchanged gifts among the families.  One of the gifts Ben received was a Mr. Potato Head.  He referred to him as “Mr. Tomato Head!”

Every time we are at Baby Laci’s house in Arkansas, Ben loves to read the book called Jonah and the Big Fish…the Bible story about Jonah and the whale.  Anyway, some neighbors down the street from our house had a large air-filled helicopter complete with Santa Claus pilot in their yard over Christmas.  Each time we passed by it Ben would call out, “Jonah ride the hel-copper!”

We were praying one day and I told Ben that Santa Claus ends his prayers by saying, “Ho, ho, ho, Amen.”  Ben thought that was really cool and began repeating, “Ho, ho, ho, Amen,” after our prayers too! 

One night at dinner Jake and I were telling Ben that Santa lives at the North Pole.  We asked him a little bit later where Santa lived and he exclaimed, “North Hole!”      

Just about every day (or every other day) since we returned home in January Ben tells me, “Ben get on airplane today, fly to Arkansas.”

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

Everything Christmas

December was an exciting month around our place with all kinds of new Christmas experiences for Ben!  Last year he was only ten months old at Christmas time and not yet walking.  So this year he was eager to help out with everything Christmas and I mean everything.

O Christmas Tree!  O Christmas Tree!

I had driven by a huge tent filled with marvelous looking trees several times while driving Ben back and forth to Mother’s Morning Out.  So one day after church we decided to stop in and check it out.  We should have known that after viewing the price tag on the first tree that this place was very proud of their “straight from the farm” trees.  However, Ben was having a grand time frolicking through the trees and playing hide and seek so we thought we’d keep exploring.  “Maybe we’re just in the expensive section,” I told Jake.  

After continuing our search for a short time we finally found a decent looking tree that just so happened to not have a tag on it.  We summoned the nice gentleman that had approached us when we arrived and asked for a price quote.  After looking the tree up and down and throughly examining it he said, “Hmm, I’ll make you a deal…how ’bout $139.”  Our response, ” How ’bout…not so much.”  So we loaded up and headed over to The Home Depot.  $40 trees…now that we could handle.  We ended up seeing some good friends and neighbors which made tree shopping all the more fun.  Ben and Olivia were thrilled to see each other.  They even danced around together in the extremely cramped and crowded aisle between the rows of trees and people before both families made their lovely tree selections!  (I love how they are holding hands in the picture below). 

I’m not sure which part Ben liked better, playing among the trees or helping his daddy transport the fine fir on this cart with wheels!!

These two pictures sum up how tree decorating went.  Ben was so proud to hang this “cool car” ornament on the tree all by himself, then…he wanted it back and yanked and yanked on it trying to rip it off the tree.  Thankfully, both Ben and the ornament were fine after the incident.  However, the outcome for the glass Christmas tree balls is a little more grim.  When Ben was younger and throwing food from his high chair was a major problem we would tell him, “We throw balls, not food.”  Well, after throwing and shattering two balls from the tree we decided to reconsider that strategy and began a “hands off” approach.

Playgroup Christmas Party

We had our annual playgroup Christmas party for the kiddos in the middle of December.  This year we decided to add something new to the mix…sugar cookie decorating!  This was Ben’s first time to decorate cookies and he LOVED it!  For each one he smeared with icing and literally dumped sprinkles on (all the while singing, “sprinkles, sprinkles”) he also ATE after he finished.  So after four (yes, four) sugar cookies I decided his decorating time had come to an end…at least for the day!

 

Santa’s Helpers

A few days later we recruited Jake to our team and decorated cookies for our “cul-de-sac neighbors”.  Afterwards I began plating cookies and attaching our Christmas cards while Ben and Jake delivered them.  When the neighbors opened the door Ben would sing a line from Jingle Bells and it went a little something like this, “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…Hi, Daddy” or “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…Where’s Mommy?”  We all had a good laugh! 

Opening Presents

Before we left for Arkansas we let Ben open his presents from us.  This is my favorite picture from that day.  We decided to get him a Razorback helmet because he was always putting colanders and bowls on his head while walking around the house exclaiming, “Helmet, helmet!!”  This was the smallest helmet I could find…looks like he has a little room to grow!   

He also received this Chinese Kung Fu suit from his Uncle Matt and Aunt Yvonne.  You can’t really see it in the picture but the hat has a long pig tail braid attached to it!  So cute!  And the material feels amazing.  Wish they made them in maternity sizes!!  =)  The second picture makes me laugh.  That’s Ben showing off one of his kung fu moves that his daddy was teaching him so you can imagine how much fun that was to watch!!  Who knew that Jake was a kung fu fighter!?!  ha ha  (Now I have that song, “Everybody was kung fu fighting…,” stuck in my head!)  Thanks for the cool gift, Matt and Yvonne!!

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Filed under Ben, Food, Friends, Holiday, Orlando

Wreaths Across America

On December 12, 2009, family members and friends joined together for a special ceremony in honor of my mom and other loved ones that have passed away.  Here’s an e-mail from my step-dad followed by pictures from the day.

Dear Family and Friends,

Here are a few pictures that were taken today at the Fayetteville National Cemetery as part of the Wreaths-Across-America ceremony.  It was a privilege to place a wreath in honor of Judy…not only as a distinguished Army WAC, but also as my precious wife and my best friend.

Blessings to all,

bill

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Filed under Arkansas, Mom

Life in November

(I know, I know…it’s February already.  I’m still playing catch-up from last year!!)  Jake, Ben and I returned to Arkansas in early November to help celebrate my niece’s first birthday.  Our plan was to stay for only a long weekend, however, upon our arrival we learned that my mom’s condition had declined rapidly during the two weeks we’d been back home in Florida.  Jake and I decided it would be best for Ben and I to stay indefinitely to spend time with my mom, so for most of the month of November we lived in Arkansas.  Although we endured many difficult days (click here to read more about my mom) there were also several exciting things that happened during the month that helped brighten our lives.  Here’s a recap of a few of them.

November 7th – Laci’s first birthday!

November 13th – Jake and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary (apart).  Even though we couldn’t be together it was still a very special day.  He’s my rock and my knight in shining armor.  I love you, Jake!!

November 14th and 15th – Jake’s sister, Amanda, celebrated her 31st birthday on the 14th.  The next day she married her fiancé, Joe!  Congratulations to the newlyweds!  We CANNOT wait to celebrate with you in Hawaii later this year!

November 23rd and 24th – My sister-in-law, Candice, turned 30 on the 23rd and my sister, Julie, turned 38 the following day.  Happy Birthday, Ladies!! 

November 26th – Ben turned 21 months old on Thanksgiving Day!

From the mouth of Ben:

You know I can’t do an update about Ben without sharing some of the funny things he says.  Here are a few things I wrote down from Ben’s 21st month that made me chuckle.

He had gotten something in his eye at lunch one afternoon and turned to me and said, “Mommy, wipe my eyeballs.”

I was driving him to Mother’s Morning Out (MMO) when he started calling out from the backseat to all the other cars around us, “Get off the road, get off the road!”  I’m not entirely sure where he’s heard that before, but I’m going to guess Jake.  =)

One day he came up and told me very matter-of-factly, “Mommy, I like cool trucks.”

Anytime he’d leave the room I was in at our house he’d wave and say, “Bye bye, Mommy.  Have a good day.” 

The same goes for his trucks.  When we’d leave the house for the day he’d say, “Have a good day, trucks.  I’ll miss you.  Bye bye.”  And when he’d go to bed at night he’d tell them, “Night night, trucks.”

We were driving in Fayetteville one day when I heard Ben call out from the backseat, “Mommy, turn left right here.”  Sure enough…he was correct!  Good guess or maybe he memorized our daily route!?!  He certainly must have inherited his daddy’s navigation skills because we all know how lacking mine are!!  And to think that mom and I used to talk about trying out for The Amazing Race.  Can you imagine the two of us trying to navigate our way through foreign countries…ALONE??  Well, it would have made for some very entertaining television that’s for sure!

They taught him the “clean up” song at MMO and he taught it to us.  Anytime we’d tell him to clean up his toys he’d start singing (and still does), “Clean up clean up everybody everywhere.  Clean up clean up everybody do your share.”  I LOVE this song…he actually seems to enjoy cleaning up when we sing it!

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Filed under Anniversary, Arkansas, Ben, Birthdays, Family, Health, Holiday, Mom