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!)


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!



Filed under Ben, Friends, Orlando, Soccer


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!


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!


Filed under Ben, Holiday, Jude, 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

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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Filed under Anniversary, Arkansas, Family

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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