Category Archives: Family

Sweet Birthday Wishes!!

Happy Birthday to you, Amanda!!

Hope your day is sweet!  We love you!!

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“Daddy is the Birthday Boy!!”

Ben has been walking around the house today chanting, “Daddy is the birthday boy!!”  Oh, how we love birthdays at our house…especially Ben!!  Here’s a special birthday message to Jake from two of his biggest fans…Ben and Jude!!

A few things about this video:

  1. Lovely how Ben couldn’t make it through the video without a little potty talk.  Did you catch the word “dookie” that he blurted out a few times?  And now every time he watches the video he laughs uncontrollably at himself saying the word dookie.  Nice Ben, real nice!  (And just for the record, we are trying to teach him that potty talk outside of the bathroom is inappropriate!!)
  2.  So glad that Jude didn’t try to jump off the side of Ben’s bed.  Did you see him eyeing the edge?  He certainly was thinking about it.  The kid loves to throw himself off things just to see what happens.  Yep, I definitely predict some hospital visits in our future with that one!
  3. Did you notice the dirt on Ben’s knees?  The kid comes home from preschool wearing at least half of the dirt from the playground!

Happy Birthday, Jake!!  May this be your best year ever!!  We can’t wait to continue your birthday celebration with the rest of your family in San Francisco this weekend!!!  We love you!!

p.s.  Today we are also celebrating several other special birthdays…Jake’s cousin Derek, Jake’s cousin’s daughter Savannah and my cousin Molly’s son Elijah!  Happy Birthday to you all!!  A special day indeed!


Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family, Jude, Orlando

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

20 on 20

Twenty years ago today, my dad and Linda tied the knot!  I still remember the day.  They were married in my hometown of Mena, Arkansas, at Grace Bible Church, the church I attended from the time I was born until I left for college.  I was a bridesmaid.  I can still picture my dress.  It was a floor length, v-neck dress with a flower print…lots of flowers.  I’ll also never forget a little incident that happened mid-way through the ceremony.  My sister, Jill, who was standing right next to me, almost passed out.  My grandpa (my dad’s dad) was sitting on the front row and thankfully he was fast on his feet because he caught her!  Poor thing had to be taken out of the sanctuary but recouped in time for the reception!  So there you have it, a recap of their wedding day from my perspective…the littliest bridesmaid.  I was almost 13.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Dad and Linda!  Thank you for being a wonderful example to us!  We love you very much and hope you enjoy your special day together!

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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

Princess Khloee is Eight!


Happy 8th Birthday to you, Princess Khloee!  We are wishing lots of wonderful things for you on your special day!  Hope you enjoyed your Tea Party!  We miss you lots and lots and can’t wait to see you again!  We love you!!

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Happy Birthday, Opi!

When I told Ben at breakfast this morning that it was Opi’s birthday today he asked (while almost jumping out of his chair with excitement), “Is Opi coming to eat cupcakes with us?”  Ah, sweet Ben, no party is complete without a cupcake!!

Happy Birthday, Opi!  We’re thinking of you lots today and wishing we could be there to enjoy a yummy cupcake with you!!  Can’t wait to see you very soon!!  We love you!!

[In the picture above…Ben was three weeks old and Jude was one week old!] 

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Come Fly Away ~ Jude’s 1st Birthday

Hello again!  After a month and a half hiatus from the blog, I’m back!  As usual, I’m finally getting around to posting about events  l o n g  after they’ve occurred, but these events are just too special not to write about at some point.  The past month and a half has been full of lots of fun things (and not so fun things like strep and an emergency room visit for Ben, two totally unrelated events, and our two month battle against an obnoxious respiratory infection with Jude involving lots of coughing, congestion and wheezing that eventually required breathing treatments).  Now, I’m back to blog about it…the fun stuff that is!  First up…Jude’s 1st birthday celebration!!

Is it just me or does it seem like we just brought this precious boy home?  And now here we are celebrating his first birthday!!  Love these comparison shots of Jude at one week and one year!!

In honor of Jude’s special day we hosted a kite flight at our neighborhood park for our friends and family.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather…it was a gorgeous day, and we even had a light breeze…just pefect for the kiddos to fly their kites!  Love this “cousins” pic of Khloee, Ben and Jude enjoying a yummy picnic lunch out on the lawn!!  Of course I had to get some action shots of Ben and Khloee flying their kites too!  Jude had lots of fun watching the kites fly by! 

We also enjoyed chocolate and vanilla flavored cupcakes frosted with white icing to resemble clouds.  I purchased a few kite cupcake toppers and a kite smash cake topper from a company on Etsy called Mary Had a Little Party.  They were the perfect touch to our little kite party!  And my sister Jill and I even got a little crafty and made the kite banner with Jude’s name on it (see first picture)!  We used pinwheels for decoration, and we gave them away as party favors along with “Spring” inspired goodie bags.  Each goodie bag had a small planter filled with seeds, potting soil, gardening tools and gummie worms!  I also got lots of inspiration from these websites too:  Hostess with the Mostess and The TomKat Studio.

One of my favorite parts about all first birthday parties is the smashing of the cake!!  Little did I know that Jude would smash little fists full of cake all over me!!  My sweet friend Jen grabbed my camera to take a picture of Jake and me with the birthday boy and before I knew it, wham, a smack of cake right in my face!  I love how she captured it in this picture…complete surprise!  (A little sidenote:  When I ordered Jude’s smash cake (from Target) I didn’t realize that it was going to be quite that tall (see first pic), but I love how Jude totally demolished it!  While he did eat a lot of it, he spent the majority of his time smashing and kneading it with both hands…needless to say, he was covered in cake!) 

Here’s a fun clip of us singing the Happy Birthday song to Jude!  (Another funny little sidenote:  Just as we called all the kids over to sing I realized that I’d forgotten one teeny tiny very important detail…the matches to light the candle!  So I jumped in the car, drove the two minutes back to our house, grabbed a box of matches from the kitchen drawer and drove the two minutes back to the park.  We corralled the kiddos again and tried to light the candle.  It’d only stay lit for a few seconds before it would burn out again.  Well, we did pray for a windy day…and we got it…I couldn’t complain!  Finally, we sang to Jude without a lit candle!!  And all of the sweet, and might I add very patient, partygoers finally received their much-anticipated cupcakes!!  ha ha)

So we decided to take a family pic after the party.  Probably not the best idea, but we worked it out.  A quick shirt change for Jude since his other one was no longer red, but white with icing (notice the icing on my jeans) and we bribed him with the pinwheel…he wouldn’t cry as long as he was holding it!  And notice the bag of gummie worms in my hands…I told Ben if he would smile for the picture he could have some…it worked like a charm!  Last but not least, my sweet hubby…he and his friend Jeremy stayed to clean up after the party (thank you, Jake and Jeremy!!) while Jill and I took the kids home to put them down for a nap.  Jude fell asleep in the car on the two-minute drive back to our house.  He was one exhausted birthday boy!

I love that my sister, Jill, and my niece, Khloee, flew in for the party!  It was really really special to have them here!  Jill, thank you for being such a big help with the party!  I couldn’t have pulled it all together without you!  And Ben just loves his cousin Khloee.  The night after Jill and Khloee flew home we were eating dinner as a family when midway through a bite Ben completely melted down into a puddle of tears.  I’ve never seen him cry the way he did that night.  Sure he’s cried plenty of times over a skinned knee or out of frustration when playing with a toy, but never like this, never over someone!  All of a sudden he slumped down in his chair, buried his face in his hands and began sobbing.  So for the rest of dinner I rocked him in my lap and we both cried.  It broke my heart to see him so upset.  So now, anytime we see an Allegiant airplane fly over our house Ben asks if it is Khloee coming back to see him.  Sweet boy!  We love you, Jill and Khloee!

Here’s a slide show with more pics from the party!  Micheal Buble’s “Come Fly With Me” is supposed to play in the background but the audio was disabled when I posted it to YouTube.  If you know the song, hum along or better yet, if you have it downloaded on your computer, just turn it up and let it play!  Enjoy!

Happy 1st Birthday, Jude!  We love you to the moon and back! 


Filed under Birthdays, Family, Jude, Orlando

Double the Birthday Wishes!

Happy HAPPY Birthday Oma (Jake’s mom) and Tim (my brother)!  How fun that the two of you share a birthday!  In honor of this special day, we made a special family video for you.  Ben had lots of fun gathering play “party” food like pizza, coke, cake and cookies.  The scene was set, Ben was anxiously awaiting his time in the spotlight on lead vocals, Jude was eager to sing back-up and the camera started rolling…

Okay, so things don’t always go as planned.  Hope Jake and I didn’t hurt your ears too badly with that beautiful rendition of  the Happy Birthday song.  Apparently the boys were having way too much fun munching on play party food to chime in!  At least you both got to hear Ben’s sweet little version of Happy Birthday to You on the phone today!

Hope you’re both having a wonderful birthday!  We love and miss you lots!

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Happy 10th Birthday, Hunter!

My nephew, Hunter, turned ten today!  We had the pleasure of spending Christmas with him…he’s one cool kid!  He’s super smart and one of the kindest, most helpful ten-year olds I know.  He was more concerned about making sure everyone else had plenty of presents to open at Christmas than himself…yep…and he’s only ten.  Pretty cool!  Happy Birthday to you, Hunter!  We love you!

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