Category Archives: Ben

Party Hats

This afternoon when I asked Ben what we needed to make his Uncle Matt’s birthday video really special he said, “Party hats!”  So the plan was for me to cut out party hats from construction paper and Ben and Jude were going to decorate them with crayons and stickers.  It took me about five minutes to cut out the hats and tape them together to meet the approximate circumference of their heads.  Blue for Ben.  Red for Jude.  And in normal three-year old fashion, by the time those five minutes were up Ben had changed his mind…no decorating needed…he was ready to shoot the video!!

A few things about the video:

  1. It is not Jude’s birthday…just Uncle Matt’s special day!
  2. Ben always seems to skip the second verse of the Happy Birthday Song.
  3. Ben loves to speak in gibberish.
  4. Ben, Jude and I spent the morning at the pool.  I tried to teach Jude how to say, “Happy Birthday, Uncle Matt!”  He was actually saying “Happy!”  Guess he got a little camera-shy!

Happy Birthday, Matt!  Hope you enjoyed the video!!  Ben was excited to make it for you!  And, Jude, well, he’s just excited to do whatever Ben is doing!!  We cannot wait to visit you all in October!!  We’ve been talking to Ben a lot about Fleet Week and he is especially excited!!

I love that it’s becoming a tradition to make a video for Matt on his birthday.  Thought it might be fun to take a look back at the videos from the previous years.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering…YES!!  I do intend to blog more frequently again.  And soon!

August 2, 2010 (Ben at 2, Jude 3 months):

August 2, 2009 (Ben at 1):


Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family, Jude, Orlando

A Father’s Day Interview

I saved the questions below from a cute interview a friend posted on Facebook between her and her daughter back in 2009.  I’ve been waiting to interview Ben (and one day Jude) and I thought today would be the perfect occasion!  I changed the original version from questions about “mom” to questions about “dad”.  So here it goes…my interview with Ben (age 3) on Father’s Day!

1. What is something dad always says to you?  Clean up your toys.

2. What makes dad happy?  Cleaning up my toys!  (Can you tell that teaching Ben to pick up his toys is a BIG deal around our house right now?!?  At age 18 months the kid LOVED to sing the “clean up” song and pick up his toys, at age three he acts as if he’d rather get in trouble and have them taken away than clean them up the first time he’s asked!  People weren’t kidding when they said the third year is hard!!)  

3. What makes dad sad?  Hitting daddy.

4. How does your dad make you laugh?  He says, “Skippy!”  (At the library a few weeks ago, we checked out a Skippyjon Jones book for the first time…Skippyjon Jones and the Big Bones to be exact.  He loves this book so much we read it at nap time and bed time and he pretty much has the entire thing memorized.  He’ll make sure to correct you even if you get a “the” out of place and he quotes it ALL the time.)

5. What was your dad like as a child?  He was a daddy.

6. How old is your dad?  One, Two, Three, Four (holding up another finger each time he counts), FIVE!  (Ben thinks turning five is the coolest.  He tells us all the time, “I’m three and I’m in the 3’s class, then I’ll be four and I’ll be in the 4’s class, then I’ll be FIVE and I’ll be in the 5’s class!!”  He’s referring to being moved up to a new classroom each year at our church…he just got moved to the 3’s class at the beginning of June.)

7. How tall is your dad?  This much bigger.  (Showing me with his hands…one is on the ground and he’s stretching the other one as high as he can in the air.)

8. What is his favorite thing to do?  Play. 

9. What does your dad do when you’re not around?  He plays by himself.

10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?  For presents. 

11. What is your dad really good at?  At playing “bad birds”.  (He’s referring to a recent game Jake downloaded on his iPhone called “Angry Birds”.

12. What is your dad not very good at?  At playing hard games.

13. What does your dad do for his job?  He works at Northland.  (Northland is the name of our church…Jake does not work there.  But, we were just there for church this morning so he must have Northland on his mind.)  🙂  

14. What is your dad’s favorite food?  Peanuts.  (This answer made me laugh only because we don’t really eat peanuts all that much.  Funny that he would pick peanuts of all the foods available to choose from.) 

15. What makes Daddy proud of you?  Cleaning up my toys again!  (I wasn’t kidding was I?!?  See Q&A #1 and #2)

16. If your dad were a cartoon character, who would he be?  He would be a puppet.

17. What do you and your dad do together?  Play a race.  (He’s referring to the Wii game “Mario Cart”…it’s always a special treat!!)

18. How are you and your dad the same?  You and Daddy are alike.  Jude is like me. 

19. How are you and your dad different?  I am short and Daddy is tall.

20. How do you know your dad loves you?  On Jesus Christ.  (I’m not entirely sure what he’s trying to say here, but I think it’s cool that he mentions Jesus when asked a question about love.)

21. Where is your dad’s favorite place to go?  To the sandwich shop.  (When Jake runs out to grab lunch for us on special occasions, Ben loves to tag along!)

Happy Father’s Day, Jake!  You are such an amazing daddy to Ben and Jude!  Thank you for leading and teaching them by example about what it means to be a man and a father!  We love you muy much!  🙂

A Father’s Day post wouldn’t be complete without giving a big shout out to my dad too!  Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  Thank you for being such a wonderful dad and friend!  We are blessed to have you in our lives!  We love you lots!  

p.s.  Wasn’t this such a fun day at the beach!?!  It is one of my favorites!!


Filed under Ben, Family, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

Loads of Cuteness on St. Patrick’s Day!

I just so happened to save Ben’s little t-shirt from the St. Patty’s Day right after he turned one.  As luck would have it (it is St. Patrick’s Day after all), it was the perfect fit (size 12-18 months) for Jude to wear today!  I couldn’t resist putting Jude in the back of the same dump truck and snapping a few pictures.  Love love LOVE the comparison shots…so cute that they are both waving! 


Staff Appreciation.  This year Ben’s preschool implemented a new monthly Staff Appreciation.  Ben’s class was responsible for hosting one day during the month of March…we picked today!  All of the parents signed up to bring lots of yummy “green” treats!  We had such a great time putting this together…everything turned out super cute!  It was a fun way to honor all of the wonderful people who make a difference in the lives of our children each day!  

The Spread.  We served muffins adorned with green shamrocks, cupcakes with green frosting, fruit salad, mini quiches from Panera Bread, munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts, sweet tea and green punch.  If you’re looking for a green punch recipe check out this one.  I made it for the first time today and it turned out great!  A couple of recommendations…don’t add any of the sugar it calls for (it’s already sweet enough) and add some lime sherbet.  You won’t be disappointed!  A few other favs from the day…the round paper decor hanging from the ceiling, the green flower bouquet and a “pot of gold” for each staff member (little black pots filled with Hershey’s kisses)!!

Leftovers.  While the mommies cleaned up at the end of the day, the kiddos did a little “clean-up” of their own.  They sipped on punch and ate cupcakes, and they enjoyed every. second. of. it!  (I snapped this pic on my phone.  I know, the quality is terrible, but the pic is too cute not to post.  From left to right:  Anabella, Will, Miles, Madison and Ben.)  They are all classmates!  They are also the usual suspects that make it out on all the class play dates so it’s been fun to get to know them and their mommies outside of the classroom.  We love our friends!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Filed under Ben, Co-op preschool, Food, Friends, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

Catching Up With Matt and Yvonne

At the beginning of the year, we had a special visit from Jake’s brother, Matt and his wife, Yvonne.  They had tickets to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans for the Arkansas vs. Ohio State football game and decided to take a little detour to Florida on the way!  I love this picture of the all the boys!  This was the first morning after they arrived.  Ben and Jude were sooo excited to see their aunt and uncle! 


In the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, Matt and Yvonne headed down to the parks for the spectacular fireworks show.  I heard a clip on the news that day that said New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days of the year at the parks!  That being said (and the fact that we’d just gotten back into town and had no babysitter lined up for the boys) we opted to stay in for the evening.  Although it was crazy crowded, Matt and Yvonne seemed to really enjoy the show!  I think it will be a lot of fun to take the boys there when they get older!!

On New Year’s Day we stopped by the mall to ride the train (of course!) before eating lunch and checking out some of the after-Christmas sales!  

The following evening our babysitter came to watch the boys while we enjoyed a night out to dinner and a movie.  First, we headed to the theater to watch the latest film in The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  We all really liked it!  Next, we ate a late, but very tasty dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Seasons 52.


Yvonne bought Ben some really fun projects to work on while they were here.  All of them involved painting and Ben was all over it!  He loves to paint!  So on the morning before they left, Yvonne and Ben painted an airplane, a dragon and a picture frame!  Ben thought they all turned out super cool!  Thanks, Yvonne!!

Matt and Yvonne, Thanks so much for coming to visit!  We hope to see you all out on the West Coast this Fall!

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Filed under Ben, Family, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

Where Dreams Come True

The morning after Ben’s birthday party, we headed down to Magic Kingdom for a few hours!  Ben, Laci and Jude had a blast grooving to the music at the Move It!  Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party and they got to meet a few Disney Characters too!  We took a relaxing little boat ride through “it’s a small world” and spent the rest of the day riding anything that had a short (or at least a fast-moving) line! 

I’m pretty sure Tim’s dreams came true when he was the lucky one to ride in a giant tea cup at the Mad Tea Party attraction with Ben and Laci.  The tea cups make me want to puke on a good day and I was already feeling a little bit yucky.  (Long story short…I ended up coming down with a bad sinus infection the day after Ben’s party and completely losing my voice.  One antibiotic and four days later my voice returned.  I chuckled to myself when the doctor told me to rest my voice.  Try not talking with two kiddos ages three and 11 months…it’s impossible!) 

Anywho…thanks for riding the tea cups, Timmy…Ben is still talking about them!  For that matter he’s still talking about you, Candice and Laci too!  No joke.  Just this morning at breakfast he asked me if I could see the three of you.  When I told him I couldn’t he pointed to the ground and said, “See, they’re right there…just really tiny.”  So apparently he believes that you are tiny, invisible people still living at our house!  🙂  All that to say, we miss you guys!  Thanks for coming to visit!  We had a great time!

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Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family, Hobbies, Jude, Orlando

All Aboard!!

Ben turned three years old on February 26th!  We celebrated his special day in the cul-de-sac in front of our house with family and friends and a train to pull us all!  We had a magnificent time!

As the kids boarded the train we handed out engineer hats and whistles!  They got to take them home along with train-shaped rice krispie treats (as seen on the table).  We made the rice krispie treats, cut each one with a train cookie cutter, wrapped them in cellophane bags and tied a ribbon around them.  We even put some of the treats on lollipop sticks and used them as decorations.  They turned out super cute!  We also set up a sand table and train table for the kids to play with when they weren’t riding the train! 

The train was a hit!  It seemed that the adults enjoyed riding it just as much as the kids.  It was actually quite relaxing…I know…a toddler birthday party and “relaxing” typically don’t go together, but seriously, the train was fantastic!  There was a light breeze blowing through the little train windows and the train played music.  It was fun to just sit back and enjoy the company of the other passengers on board!


Some of my favorite things about the party…

The pom poms (as seen hanging above the entrance by the gift table)!  Candice made them by taking ten sheets of tissue paper, folding them accordion style, tying a ribbon around the center and then fluffing them into pom poms. 

The kids’ tables and chairs!  I went back and forth about whether or not to use these cute little tables and chairs and I’m so thankful I did!  I hesitated to even bother setting them up because I didn’t know if the kids would actually sit down to eat, but they did…we used them a lot!  

The train engine!  We also tried to carry the train engine from the invitations throughout the decorations for the party.  The day before the party I started having second thoughts about the pull-apart train cake I had ordered.  It seemed to be a little more cartoon-like than engine-like.  Just hours before the store closed for the evening, I changed the order to red and blue cupcakes.  That night I bought a train engine die-cut craft punch, a circle craft punch, lots of card stock and some lollipop sticks from Micheal’s.  Candice and I spent most of the night (and early morning…try 4 am) making cupcake toppers and finishing up the rest of the decorations.  Thank you, Candice.  I couldn’t have pulled it off without you!  A big thanks to Tim and Jake too…they were very helpful as we instructed them on where to “hang this” and “put that there” while setting up everything outside for the big day!

My most favorite thing about the day…the birthday boy, of course!  Here’s a cute clip of him blowing out his candles!  

Another favorite…the little round revolving metal cake stand Ben’s cupcake is sitting on in the video.  It plays the “Happy Birthday to you” tune.  It was my mom’s and she used to play it at our birthday parties!  Love love LOVE that I get to share it with my kids!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Ben!  We love you!

Since I had so many photos I thought I’d show the rest of the party in a slideshow.  Enjoy!


A little sidenote:  I found most of my inspiration for Ben’s party from these two websites.  Check them out…you will be inspired too!

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Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family, Food, Friends, Orlando

Big Red and Sue E.

The night before we flew home from Arkansas in December, Jake and I took the boys to their first ever Razorback basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville!  Opi, Hunter, Tim, Candice, and Laci also joined us and we all had a great time!

Walking from “The Pit” to the arena.  Two of my favorite things about this picture…1.)  Laci, Hunter and Ben holding hands and 2.) Laci’s pig tails…they’re absolutely adorable!!  The kids were all so excited about the big game that they didn’t seem to mind the long, cold walk to the arena.

Finding tickets.  So we didn’t exactly have all the tickets we needed when we arrived at the game.  Ben was eager to help out by proudly displaying four little fingers.  I mean, really, who could turn him down?!?  We quickly found tickets, made our way inside and grabbed our seats just in time for the tip-off! 

Snacking on concession food!  Ben loves popcorn and he and Hunter are sharing a box of it in this pic.  He also munched on nachos and a hot dog!  A couple of times I heard Ben holler out “defense” even when we had the ball and he’d clap anytime anyone on our team or the opposing team scored a basket!

Cheering on our team!  I wasn’t sure how Jude would hold up considering game time was his normal bedtime.  But, in typical Jude fashion he was pretty chilled out and quite content to hang out on Opi’s lap.  (This picture really doesn’t show just how excited he was…he was bouncing, clapping and letting out little squeals for most of the game!)  I’m pretty sure he was in Hog heaven and happy to be out and about with all of us!

And the most anticipated event of the evening…

meeting Sue E.

and Big Red!!


Filed under Arkansas, Ben, Family, Food, Hobbies, Holiday, Jude, Travel