Category Archives: Orlando

It’s Been A Long Time

Joanna meet blog.  Blog meet Joanna.  Actually, we’re old aquaintances…it’s been a long time.

I took this adorable video of the boys painting at the art easel today and just had to share!  Enjoy!

A few things about the video:

  1. I love the unique technique Jude is using to paint his masterpiece.
  2. By the time Jude finished he had paint splattered all over the tile floor, his face, hair and clothes.
  3. Ben is so excited about the fall and all the festivities that come with it.  He’s painted pumpkins for the last two days!
  4. Ben and his clothes or lack there of.  Please excuse his undies in the video.  The truth is we’re lucky he’s wearing a t-shirt.  The kid hates to wear clothes.  On most days he strips down to his undies as soon as I pick him up from pre-school.  Every now and then I see him streaking around the house and I have to remind him that undies are required! 

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Filed under Ben, Hobbies, Jude, Orlando

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood…

Who ya gonna call?  GHOSTBUSTERS!!

I mean, really?  Who could be afraid of these two scary adorable ghosts!!

Boo Ben 

and Ghostly Jude!!

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Filed under Ben, Friends, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

“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!

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Filed under Ben, Birthdays, Family, Jude, Orlando

The Big Stage

Standing on the big stage in our sanctuary at church while peering out at the faces of some extremely proud parents must seem a little intimidating for a three-year old.  For this particular event in May, Jude stayed at home with our babysitter while Jake and I spent a special evening with Ben at the end of year program for his 2’s preschool class!  Dressed in his required red shirt, we dropped Ben off at his classroom so that he could prep for the show!  Ben seemed a little nervous and after giving him a quick kiss on the forehead, we assured him that we’d wave really really big from our seats to make sure he could see us. 

We made our way into the sanctuary only to find that it was already quite crowded.  We did find what we thought were decent seats in the middle section about midway back.  My plan was to walk up close enough to get Ben’s attention when he walked out on the stage and then head back to my seat.  However, right before the ceremony began we were asked to remain in our seats.  Bummer.  Every part of me wanted to get up anyway.  Afterall, I had told Ben I’d make sure he could find us in the crowd.  But I also didn’t want to be “that parent”.  And I certainly didn’t want to break the rules.  So as hard as we tried…we waved and called out Ben’s name…we could not get his attention.  I could tell he was searching for us the entire time he was on stage.  Thankfully, the show did go on and he did great!!!

Ben’s musical debut included two tunes…Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children.  After the last song was sung Ben exited stage right where I finally got to meet up with him!!  The first words out of his mouth were, “Mommy, where were you?!?”  When we arrived back at our seats where Jake was waiting, all seemed well in the world again!!

We wanted to end the night with a special dinner of Ben’s choice…McDonald’s!

It was his second happy meal ever and he loved. every. bite!  And we loved. every. moment. with. him!!!

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I just had to add one last picture.  Toward the end of the school year we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week.  There was a theme for each day of the week and on one particular day each child was supposed to write a note to his/her teacher about what makes her so great!  I interviewed Ben and loved his response for Ms. Hale, his home room teacher.  “Ms. Hale is a great teacher because God made her!”  Heart melting.

[The first three photos in this post are courtesy of Mike & Ann Visual Storytellers.  Thank you!!]

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Filed under Ben, Co-op preschool, Orlando

Jude…13 Months

Jude turned 13 months old on May 5th!  Here are a few memorable moments…

Jude hearts forks and spoons.  I know it sounds kind of silly to even mention it, but Jude feeds himself amazingly well with a fork and spoon for his age.  Maybe it is so shocking to me because Ben is the polar opposite when it comes to using utensils while he eats.  He believes his hands work just fine to eat just about everything!  We are constantly reminding him, “Please use your fork and spoon.”  We began introducing solid foods to Jude when he turned six months old, and it seems like right from the beginning he always wanted to feed himself.  In this post I even referred to him as a “two spoon kind of guy” because he loved spoons so much…we couldn’t get him to eat unless he was holding one too!  And at 13 months he has mastered the use of his fork and spoon better than, well, some three-year olds.  He typically won’t even begin eating until he has the appropriate utensil in hand.  The strangest thing I’ve seen him eat with a fork?  A cheese puff!

Sneaky Baby / #1 and #3.  Before Jude began to crawl he could only sit and longingly gaze upon Ben’s toys from a distance.  But, oh how things have changed now that he can motor his little self on over to those toys!  Lots of big brother’s toys lined up in a nice and tidy row + 1 swipe from little brother’s tiny hand = Major meltdown mode for big brother!  And as the swiping continued on a frequent basis, Ben dubbed baby Jude the “Sneaky Baby.”  Not long after Jude received said nickname I started finding things like this around the house.  (Yes, that is Ben’s tractor and trailer hanging from our bedroom doorknob.)

When I asked Ben what he was doing he replied, “Don’t touch it Mommy, I’m making sure the Sneaky Baby doesn’t get my toys!”  Of course Sneaky Baby does continue to swipe Ben’s toys from time to time and when Ben starts to go into meltdown mode I like to remind him that Jude is one and he is three and that they are both going to have to learn how to share.  So what does Ben think about all of that?  Well, he dubbed Jude with a new name, #1, and he calls himself #3!      

Curly, Larry and Moe would be proud.  If you ask Jude to point to your ear, he’ll very gingerly grab your earlobe and maybe give it a little tug.  No big deal, right?  Do not be fooled, the kid should come with a warning label.  If you ask him to point to your eye, he will try to jab you in the eye with cat-like reflexes while yelling out “eye!”  If you ask him to point to your nose he will try to stick his little finger up your nose!  If you ask him to point to your mouth he will try to pry your mouth open with his bare hands!  Oh, and he thinks all of these things are hysterical…they always elicit lots of squawks from him!  Who knew that teaching him the various parts of the face could be so dangerous!  

I love these playful photos of Jude!  He does look a bit mischievous and a little “sneaky” after all, doesn’t he!!

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Filed under Jude, Orlando

He’s Gonna Be a Soccer Player

Soccer Ben #17!!

Standing on one leg, balancing the other on a soccer ball while keeping your hands on your hips and smiling is no easy feat for a three-year old.  It took a few tries, but he finally got it!  I love how even with the extra-small jersey it still hangs on him.  And look at those little shin guards and cleats…love this adorable soccer player!! 

Team Galaxy!!  (That’s Ben…first row on the far left sitting on the ball!)

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At the beginning of Spring we thought it would be fun to let Ben try out soccer!  A few of his buddies from our neighborhood also registered for the season and they were all put together on the same team.  Team Galaxy!!  As an added bonus one of our good friends David S. (a.k.a. Olivia’s daddy) was one of the coaches.  Ben was beyond excited to play, but before he could begin we’d first need to pick up a few soccer necessities! 

First up, soccer shoes.  Finding soccer shoes in a 9.5 wide toddler size proved to be a little more challenging than expected.  After a couple of trips to two different shoe stores we finally had to settle for a size 10 shoe and decided he’d just have to wear double socks.  Next up, a soccer ball…he picked out a navy blue one.  (For his age group they had to have a size 3 soccer ball…this was a great learning experience for me…I never even knew soccer balls even came in various sizes!!)  Finally, shin guards.  A more experienced soccer mom recommended I purchase the soccer socks with built-in shin guards versus a separate sock and shin guard and I’m so glad she did!  When your three-year old can barely sit still because he is so excited to join his buddies out on the field, a two-in-one sock/shin guard combo is so much easier to slip on those squirmy little legs than trying to assemble the others.  And once again, finding the shin guards proved to be a challenge.  I stalked the sporting goods aisle for weeks at Target looking for shin guards before I found a peewee sized pair in black!  Thankfully, the official team jersey was supplied by the soccer league! 

Practices began at the beginning of March.  At the time Ben was also taking ISR refresher lessons in our neighborhood.  So every Thursday we’d leave ISR after his ten minute lesson, meet Jake back at the house and then head over to the soccer field for an hour of practice.  Thankfully practice was held at a nice park just a few miles away!  I should point out that Ben was the youngest on his team.  He managed to meet the age deadline by only a few days!  Watching practices was pretty interesting and quite comical at times.  The coaches did their best to come up with fun and interesting ways to teach the kids the basics of soccer.  Even so, Ben was often seen picking up the cones that marked the sidelines and wearing them on his head.  During conditioning exercises (running sprints while kicking the soccer ball) Ben liked to take his time.  He usually waited for the ball to stop before he’d kick it again and he only wanted to kick with his right foot!  And, yes, there were even a few tears.  During a scrimmage at practice one evening Ben came over to the sidelines crying.  When I asked him what was wrong he told me the other team wouldn’t give him the ball to score.  I told him this was his chance to actually take the ball away from his buddies (using feet only of course) and score!  I’ll never forget the look on his face.  He looked thrilled beyond belief that I’d just given him the okay to take a “toy” away from someone!

Finally, the first official game day had arrived!  Ben seemed very excited.  He was even sleeping with the soccer ball in his bed!  When we arrived at the field on the morning of March 12th, Soccer Ben made time to pose for a picture with two of his biggest fans…Daddy and Jude!

Then he was happy to take his ball, run out on the field and warm up with his team.  However when the whistle blew to start the game, he was content to watch from the sidelines while guzzling water from his water bottle.  Seriously, the entire first half we couldn’t get him to step a foot on the field. 

Bet you can’t guess what we did at half time?  Yep, we made a trip to the potty.  The kid had to pee!  So I seized the opportunity for a pep talk.  In a nutshell, I told him to think of it like a game of chase…all he needed to do was run after his teammates and if the ball came close to kick it toward the goal.  Maybe the pep talk, but certainly his good buddy Bowen did the trick.  

The two decided to hold hands and chase their friends together.  I also love how Ben is #17 and Bowen is #18!  So sweet!

The soccer stroller crew (a.k.a. the younger brothers and sisters) loved cheering for their team and eating snacks together!

The final count of the number of times Ben kicked the soccer ball during a game the entire season was three.  They played eight games.  So while he may not have been interested in kicking the ball, he was very much interested in having a lot of fun!!  Mission accomplished!  In this picture Ben and a few of his gal pals are enjoying a tea party smack dab in the middle of the playing field during a game!

And here he is playing goalkeeper.  He loved wearing the special blue jersey that only goalkeepers get to wear.  While no balls ever came his way, I’m confident that if they did he would have defended his team’s goal amazingly well!

They ended their season on May 21st with seven wins and only one loss (they lost the last game of the season).  After the game we made our way over to some picnic tables for the end of season soccer party!  The highlight of the soccer party was the presentation of a trophy and goodie bag for each player!  Ben keeps his trophy on his dresser in his room.  Every now and then he’ll ask to hold it and when he does he’ll tell us, “They gave me this trophy because I am the best soccer player!”  And that’s the way he should feel!  Well done, Soccer Ben, well done!

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Filed under Ben, Friends, Orlando, Soccer

Eastarrr!!

I know what you’re thinking…Easter in August?  Really?  I know, it is ridiculous that I’m just getting around to writing about it.  And the fact that this post is completely out-of-order kind of drives me nuts.  But write about it…I shall.  I love these pictures and memories too much not to post them into history on the blog!

Easter Pirates

So what do Easter and pirates have in common?  Typically, I’d say nothing.  But this particular Easter at our house they had everything to do with each other.  Ben is really into pirates right now.  It all started when he saw a show on TV called Jake and The Never Land Pirates.  It’s a cartoon about Jake and his buddies Izzy and Cubby and their journeys throughout Never Land to find hidden treasures while their nemesis Captain Hook and his sidekick Mr. Smee try to spoil their plans.  One day I asked Ben who he’d rather be…the hero, Jake, or the villain, Captain Hook?  Without hesitation (and a little to my surprise) he replied, “Captain Hook!”  When I asked him why he said, “Because Captain Hook always gets all of the toys!”  Nice, Ben, real nice! 

So back to Easter.  The day before Easter I picked up a couple of pirate swords and some gold doubloons (that’s pirate talk for gold coins), and I made a treasure chest out of a cardboard box and some construction paper.  After an amazing Sunday morning Easter service at our church (you should check out this link… http://www.northlandchurch.net/media/easter_christ_is_risen/ … it is our worship team singing Matt Maher’s song Christ Is Risen) we hid eggs stuffed with gold doubloons in the front yard so that the boys could have an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt!

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Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt

A couple of weeks before Easter we took the boys to the annual Easter Egg Hunt in our neighborhood.  It was Jude’s first egg hunt and first time meeting the Easter Bunny.  You may recall Ben’s first meeting with the Easter Bunny:

Jude’s wasn’t much different:

This is the best shot I got.  I love how Ben is trying to console Jude.  But even with his big brother nearby, Jude was having none. of. it.  They called Ben and Jude’s age groups down for the hunt soon after I snapped this picture.  Our plan was to return to the clubhouse and at least let Ben take a picture with the bunny by himself, but when we returned after the hunt the Easter Bunny had left the building.  So sorry Ben.

After the hunt, Ben quickly made his way over to a grassy area to inspect his loot.  He was thrilled to find that of the many eggs he had collected, most were filled with candy (the others were filled with stickers, temporary tattoos or little toys).  So while Ben was devouring his candy, Jude was completely content to sit beside him and dump out his basket of eggs, refill said basket and repeat.  Here’s a fun picture progression of the action.

No community party is complete without Ben getting his face painted.  He chose the gator.  Jake decided if Ben was going to have a gator painted on his face it should at least be wearing a University of Arkansas t-shirt!

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Filed under Ben, Holiday, Jude, Orlando