Happy Birthday to you, Amanda!!
Hope your day is sweet! We love you!!
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!!
I turned 31 on August 14th (yes, I am officially a 30 something)!! My birthday request was to spend some time squishing my toes in the sand at the beach and that’s just what we did. Jake and I spent last Saturday and Sunday at a beautiful place on Daytona Beach called The Shores Resort and Spa. Our friend Nichole works at the resort and she hooked us up with a discounted room rate and some other free stuff…it was so wonderful!! Thank you, Nichole!!
This was also our first overnight trip without our sweet Ben. We are so blessed to have found an amazing babysitter, Amanda, through our church. She is simply wonderful and such a blessing to us. It is so evident to see how much she loves Ben and in turn it gives us a very good feeling to leave him in her very capable hands. But, oh, how we missed him! Anytime we saw a little boy Ben’s age playing on the beach I so badly wanted to call up Amanda and have them come and meet us. It was so fun to come home and see him though. Amanda said he was great and he seemed so happy to see us. He walked up with a big smile and greeted us both with big kisses. It melted my heart…it always does!!
We were already hungry when we arrived and got reservations at the hotel restaurant Azure right at 5:30pm. We pretty much had the entire restaurant to ourselves which was quite nice. Our table overlooked the patio, pool and beach. A couple had just gotten married on the beach and they were having their dinner reception out on the patio in front of us. It was so fun to watch all of the excitement! And the meal was delicious!
Here’s the view of our hotel from the beach, the view of the beach from our room and the view of the intracoastal waterway from our room! Gorgeous!!
After dinner we went for a romantic stroll along the beach and watched the sunset. Here we are laughing hysterically (you know the kind like when you were a kid trying not to laugh in church but the more you tried not to laugh the worse it made it and the worse the stares got from your parents…that kind of laugh) while trying to snap our own picture on the beach. Ahh, much better!
Does anyone remember that episode of Friends when they all go to some tropical location and Monica’s hair gets bigger and bigGER and BIGGER the entire show. Yep, that was my hair after our walk on the beach. BIG!!
We woke up on Sunday morning to a yummy breakfast in bed. I’m pretty sure I said, “ah, it’s so nice to not do dishes” about a million times that weekend. It was such a luxury!! So after our breakfast in bed we headed down to the beach early Sunday morning to soak up some sun. It was already quite warm so we spent more time letting the waves crash against our legs than we did laying out on the beach. When we were relaxing on the beach it was under the shade of an umbrella. Long gone are the days of laying out in the sun with baby oil. Oh yes, I know, horrible isn’t it?!? I remember laying out by the pool in my younger years using baby oil because it was supposed to make your tan much darker. Please, do not try this at home. Much darker…a.k.a…much redder….think…lobster. Not pleasant.
It is amazing how a little time away can make you feel so revived and energized! It was a great birthday! And the gifts, cards, calls, e-mails and other birthday messages I received…thanks everyone for making me feel so loved on my special day! I hope that you were blessed even more in return!
After a good nights rest, a big family breakfast and lots of strong coffee (my brother-in-law makes it that way) we were feeling recharged from our busy Fourth of July festivities. I’m also happy to report that everyone escaped without any fireworks related injuries!!
We spent the next few days playing at Opi and Omi’s house in Greenwood. Much to his delight, Ben discovered these wonderful trucks, trailers and tractors the moment we stepped foot out of the car! He spent hours outside playing with them. At one point he began placing them side by side in a row right before he began heaving them into a big pile. I found the side by side thing interesting. It was the first time I’d seen him do that with his toys. I wonder if it is just a toddler thing OR did he give me a little glimpse into his personality? Maybe we’ll just have to wait and see!! There are certainly a few other family members (I will not mention any names…you know who you are!!) that I remember doing this same thing and it seems to be a “unique” trait they have carried with them into adulthood.
This is the same highchair I used when I was a wee babe. I started digging through some of my old photos with the hopes of finding one of me in the chair to post next to Ben’s pic, but my searching efforts were to no avail. So this is a request to my parents and/or other family members…if you have said picture could you please e-mail or snail mail it to me. Thanks!!
Ben never passes up an opportunity to wrestle!! Seriously, anytime he sees someone laying down he believes it is an open invitation to pounce on them! So after a little wrastlin’ with Opi, Ben turned on the charm and smooched on Laci and snuggled with Omi!
Opi and Omi had a spraying fountain froggie pool for Ben and Laci to cool off in. Clearly, Ben enjoyed playing with this ball in the pool. Apparently, he thinks Laci’s head is a good place to bounce it. Oh, just wait until Laci can hold her own one day…I have no doubt she’ll get him back!
While we were there we got to spend time with one of my best gal pals, Sonya, and her adorable girls, Laynee and Raegan. (Of course I didn’t have a single shot where they were all looking at the camera!!) We had lots of fun going out for pizza (okay, well that part was a little chaotic with four kiddos), chatting and even watching a movie!
One night after dinner, Dad and I were driving around checking out some pretty neighborhoods in the area when we drove by these amazing deer! I don’t think I have ever seen so many together not to mention in someone’s front yard. Apparently this is quite common in this particular neighborhood!!
One afternoon Dad took Ben for a ride on the lawn mower to keep him occupied while Candice and I made lunch. It worked marvelously and in no time we were sitting down to lunch. Afterwards we were busy getting the car packed up to head back to Fayetteville so once again Dad and Ben headed out to the lawn mower. When I went to check on them this is what I saw…
Jake returned Friday evening and we spent the rest of our trip at Tim and Candice’s house. From the moment he walked in the door (even before he saw the dogs), Ben was calling out, “Max, Max, Max.” It was so cute how he remembered sweet Max!
Here’s something we could have used around here about a month ago when Ben fell three (yes, THREE) times in two days leaving two large bruises and one small cut on his head. The not so fun part about learning to walk and being a very curious boy! The perfect fit don’t you think!?!
In addition to making a “whew” sound while waving his hand across the sky, Ben now says “plane!” He had a whole lot of fun watching planes pull up to the gate while playing with his beloved blue truck!
Thanks so much to our family for a “party” of a week! Speaking of parties…Happy Birthday to my nephew Landon that turned 10 on July 15th and Happy Anniversary x 2 to my Dad and Linda and Mom and Bill that both celebrated anniversaries this month! A party month indeed!
On the morning of July 3rd, Jake, Ben and I headed out bright and early to the airport. With Jake’s busy work schedule it isn’t too often that we all get to travel back to Arkansas together for a visit. However, with the 4th of July holiday approaching plus Jake’s need to make a business trip to Remington’s Little Rock office, this was the perfect opportunity to travel together.
The flight started off just right when we learned that we had an empty seat in our row. Ben was thrilled to have his own space…and so were we! For those of you that have traveled with toddlers you know what a blessing that was! We managed to keep our busybody busy by reading books, eating snacks, mingling with the neighbors behind us (they didn’t seem to mind too much that Ben had his face smushed between the seats staring at them) and taking a stroll up and down the aisle.
Once we arrived in NWA we stopped by the pharmacy where Tim and Candice both just happened to be working that day. Ben had lots of fun exploring the place…he wanted to go back behind the pharmacy counter so very badly. There was also this little old lady there that was very interested in Ben. She asked me his name…I told her Ben…she replied, “Charlie, that’s a cute name!” Charlie, Ben…whatever…she was having such a good time talking to him it didn’t matter what his name was!
We were able to spend some quality time with Ben’s grandma and grandpa that weekend before they left for the week for treatment at CTCA.
The last time we came to visit they bought him some really cool trucks that light up and make sounds. Turns out…Ben’s not the only one that really enjoys playing with them!
That evening we made our way out to Jill and David’s house. They hosted the Fourth of July festivities at their place this year. They were wonderful hosts!! At about 8:30 that night, Jill, Kayla and I ventured out to Wal-Mart to pick up a few “necessities” for our holiday festivities the next day.
Crazy ladies on aisle five. Check. Essential party tiaras. Check.
We were suffering from sheer exhaustion and needless to say we were quite delirious by the time we returned home roughly three hours later. As we walked through the back door sporting our fancy $1 tiaras David asked quizzically, “What did you do?!?” I think we’ve been banned from any future late night outings to Wal-Mart (at least until our husbands forget about the whole incident)!
A little rain was NOT going to ruin our big day (although the giant bolts of lightening and booming thunder were a bit scary at times). Thankfully it subsided before long and we were ready to celebrate. Party! Party! Party! Party! (I’ll digress for a second…Ben and I checked out a book the other week at the library about an elephant and a pig that go to a party. Throughout the book it repeats…Party! Party! Party! Party! So now anytime I think of a party/celebration I can’t help but think…Party! Party! Party! Party!) Anywho, we had the guys cooking outside while the ladies worked on many delectable dishes inside. Then we just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the day with family!
And to end the evening (to a very spectacular day), Jake and Tim put on quite the fireworks display. Here’s the grand finale…”Love on Fire”! (Ben was sleeping in a bedroom on the side of the house where we were shooting off fireworks…amazingly enough, he slept through the entire thing!) Enjoy the show!
Ben and I traveled to Arkansas to spend time with my mom and other family members at the end of May/early June. It was such a blessing to have 10 whole days to hang out with my mom. I referred to her as Ms. Daisy and I was her driver. We spent time running errands, getting some lab work done and of course…getting pedicures!! Here’s a recap from our time together.
The day before we left, Ben helped me pack up our stuff. Here’s a cute clip of us talking about our flight the next morning. Whenever we talk about planes with Ben he’ll immediately point up to the sky and then blow air out of his mouth making a “whew” sound. At the end of the clip he notices the neighbor out walking her dog, Mojo. That’s him “barking” at Mojo.
Finally, after an uneventful flight…we had arrived in the natural state!! We enjoyed lots of fun times outside at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!
Ben liked to go on walks around the yard with Grandpa.
Here we are enjoying dinner out back…apparently howling is a very normal dinner time ritual in our family!!
He absolutely loved this Razorback flag at Grandma’s house. When we were inside he peered longingly out the window at it and as soon as the front door opened he’d make a b-line for it.
Grandpa and Grandma bought a special little pool for the grand kids to splash and play in. Ben spent a lot of time climbing in and out and in and out of the water, then he’d take a break from his busy activities for a nice refreshing drink of…pool water…yummy!
One afternoon mom and I took Ben to the playground down the street from her house. Ben loved every minute of it!
Khloee and Ben played with sidewalk chalk while Laci (sitting up like a big girl!!) supervised in her adorable white hat.
We took a break from all of our outside activities to stop in at Rick’s Bakery to cool off and grab a delicious treat!!
We also celebrated two super special birthdays while we were there…my dad celebrated his birthday on June 2nd and Khloee celebrated her birthday on June 7th!
I always LOVE IT when our trip coincides with birthday parties…I hate missing out on family stuff like that. For my dad’s big day we celebrated at PF Changs. We had a lovely evening and pigged out on some delectable food!! (The babies were at home with the babysitter.)
A few days later we celebrated Khloee’s sixth birthday at Lokomotion.
I’m pretty sure Ben was quite overwhelmed by all of the commotion and loud noises, but he handled it quite well. He got to ride on some of those motorized vehicle toys for the first time which was quite fun to watch.
Hunter, Landon and Kayla after bumper boats. Clearly they were having so much fun and definitely hyped up on lots of sugar!!
And for the record…Kayla and I smoked and I mean SMOKED everyone else on the go-karts!
When we arrived in Arkansas Ben hit the ground running…literally. He wasn’t really walking that much before we left other than the times we would really encourage him to stand up and walk. By the end of our trip I felt like “he was run-ning”!!