Category Archives: Orlando

Famous Last Words

So it turns out that keeping up with the blog has been a greater challenge than I imagined.  I am reminded of a comment I made to Jake at the end of May as Ben’s busy preschool activities were coming to a close.  The comment was something like this, “Oh, I’m so excited for summer!  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  And, I’m finally going to get caught up on the blog!”  I can only chuckle in spite of myself as I think back about that comment now.  Famous last words, right!?!

So I thought we’d take a little trip back down memory lane.  Picture it like a movie when the character is thinking back in time.  As the flashback begins the screen turns kind of wavy.  Actually, I’m sure if you just sit and stare into your computer monitor for a minute or two you might get the same effect.  My plan is to highlight some of my favorite memories from the past several months.

Wavy lines~~~wavy lines~~~wavy lines~~~

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Filed under Ben, 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

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

It’s Officially Official

This little gem came in the mail on Friday.  Ben, Jude and I had just settled into our seats around the table for lunch when the doorbell rang.  Ben immediately wanted out of his chair…anytime the doorbell rings Ben is always the first responder (not to worry, we have a child safety lock on the front door so he can’t open it by himself).  Ben shrieked with excitement when he saw the rather large envelope sitting on our front door step.  The kid is obsessed with mail trucks, UPS trucks, FedEx trucks (you get the idea) and the packages they deliver.  He was completely beside himself when he discovered that our mail woman left a package at our door!  He ever so carefully carried the envelope inside and delivered it to the top of the bar in the kitchen (a safe place out of reach from tiny hands) until Jake could open it when he returned home from work that evening.  

Ta-da!!  (Cue ray of light from heaven beaming directly down onto certificate with the angels triumphantly singing the Hallelujah Chorus!!)

Finally, after waiting for it with much anticipation the certificate that makes everything officially official had arrived!!  Certified!  Public!  Accountant!

As most of you probably remember, Jake began studying for the CPA exam in April of last year.  We found out that he passed the Financial Section in mid-June, then the Regulation Section in mid-September, followed by the Auditing Section in late November.  He took the fourth and final section of the exam (the Business Environment and Concepts Section) on November 30th.  And just in time for Christmas, we learned that he had passed it too!!  It was a fantastic Christmas present!!  I remember the day Jake returned home after taking the fourth section in November, he looked like a different person.  I’m pretty sure he was walking on air and he had a huge grin on his face!  I’m not sure that either of us realized just how stressful the entire year-long process had been for all of us (but mostly him) until it was all over!!

Since that time in December when we received the final “passing” letter, we’ve been waiting.  Waiting for the certificate that arrived in the mail on Friday documenting that everything was completed (he also had to take an Ethics Exam in January that he passed with flying colors)!  Ahhhh, success has never tasted so sweet!  Words can’t describe how incredibly proud I am of Jake for passing the exam (not to mention on the first try!!) and how happy and excited I am that he we can put it all behind us now too!  

Congratulations, Jake…ahem, excuse me, Mr. CPA…a job well WELL done!  We love you!!


Filed under Orlando, Work

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

1st Birthday Breakfast!

At 6:27 am on April 5, 2010, we welcomed sweet baby Jude into our lives and our hearts were forever changed.  Today, we celebrate his first birthday!!

Since Ben has preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, our staple for breakfast on those mornings is typically frozen waffles with syrup topped with fresh fruit of some kind and a side of cheesy eggs or yogurt.  Today we went extra fancy…a marshmallow to hold the candle on top!  Plan A was to make homemade pancakes but when the storm clouds began to roll in I knew we’d need the extra time on the road to get Ben to school on time.  Plan B was to at least use some whipped cream I bought at the store last week to hold the candle in place, but apparently in our house, we LOVE whipped cream because when I began searching for it this morning I soon learned that we were out.  So, a frozen waffle with sliced fresh strawberries adorned with a marshmallow and candle on top it was!  Jude didn’t seem to mind.  The entire time we sang the Happy Birthday song to him he kept trying to grab the burning candle!  He also enjoyed the waffle and strawberries.  No marshmallow for him just yet though…it went to his big brother Ben…Ben was especially grateful.  It was a happy morning all the way around!

On Saturday we’ve asked our friends and family to join us for a kite flight in the park to celebrate Jude’s special day!  We can’t wait to celebrate!

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Jude!  We love you!


Filed under Birthdays, Jude, Orlando

Jude…11 Months

In less than a week (April 5th), Jude will turn one…here’s a little recap of a few things he’s been up to at 11 Months! 

It turns out that this month has been one of major achievement for our sweet Jude.  He’s finally crawling scooting!  Yep, it turns out that his preferred method of travel is scooting on his hiney!  And for those of you that know me really well, you know that I also scooted as a baby and did not crawl.  While most babies start rocking on their hands and knees right before they crawl, Jude started rocking on his hands and bottom right before he began to scoot.  A few weeks ago we noticed him moving just a few feet over a short period of time.  And then, just a few days ago…He. Took. Off.  He seems so happy with his new-found freedom of movement!  Here are a couple of videos of him in action…

First up…playing ball.

In the “10 Months” post I wrote about Jude’s love for any kind of toy ball.  And now that he’s mobile, this is one of his favorite activities around the house…he plays catch…with himself.  He throws the ball, scoots to pick it up and then throws it again.  He literally makes laps around the bar in the kitchen. 

Second…discovering the dog bowls.

This next clip brought back memories of when Ben discovered the dog bowls.  Oh, how enticing these bowls are…to splash in the cool water and attempt to eat the crunchy dog food!  What a treat! 


We took the boys to the beach last week.  I couldn’t help but do a quick compare of these two photos.  The first is of Jude at 7 months with my dad and the second is of him at 11 months with Jake.  It’s amazing the difference just four months can make!  He seems so much bigger to me now!  He also loved the beach just as much the second time around as the first!  (Another post on our trip to the beach coming soon!)

I just love how happy Jude is in this video.  Plain and simple, the kid loves water!  He tries to swim in the bathtub all the time now.  Yes, swim.  He’ll just throw himself forward or backward in the water with no warning…then he squeals with great delight!  It scares me to death.  And this day at the beach was no different.  I’m pretty sure he would have tried to ride a few waves if we would have let him!


Some of my other favorite things Jude’s been up to this month…

Vroom Vroom.  He makes all kinds of cute “vroom vroom” noises when playing with his cars and trucks.  I can’t imagine where he learned that from!?!

High Fives.  If we hold up our hand and ask him for a high-five, he’s usually very excited to oblige.

The Point and Wave.  He likes to point and wave to each person and object on every page of the book when we read to him.  If there are ten people/objects on a page he’ll point and wave to each one.  We call it the “presidential” wave because he waves by turning his little hand from side to side versus opening and closing his palm into a fist!


Filed under Jude, Orlando