Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SPECK-tacular!

I took Josh for his ophthalmology appointment today. Turns out his cornea abrasion is all healed up and we don't have to do any more ointment, which is a blessing since it was almost impossible to get him to hold still so I didn't give him another good poke in the eye trying to treat his poke in the eye! But we did find out that he is pretty significantly nearsighted, especially the left eye. So nearsighted that they gave me a prescription for glasses. Not really a shocker to us. He's never seemed to have any trouble seeing, but Andrew was in glasses at 3 and I was in glasses at 4, so here we go down this road! I am actually quite excited about him wearing glasses. The eye doctor's office had a children's optical in it, so I got to try a few pairs of glasses on him, and OMG he looks SO cute! They make him look about 5 years old! I was really wishing I would have brought the camera. In addition to being stinkin' adorable, I think he won't want to sit so close to the TV anymore, and won't have to stick his nose in books. For some reason we never equated this to his vision. But I guess hindsight is 20/20. It all makes perfect sense now. The optical in the doctor's office didn't take our vision insurance, so we'll have to go somewhere else, but the frames he showed me were pretty kick-booty. The entire frame was completely flexible, and therefore virtually impossible to break. They cost a pretty penny (of course!), but I think it is worth it to spend a little more money on some frames that we won't have to replace in 3 months because he's a 3 year old who falls down a lot! So now I'm trying to get him excited about wearing glasses. My parents believe that he will want to wear them when he realizes how well he can see with them, so I hope they're right. They are the experts, you know. So I think finding some specktaculars for Josh is our mission for the weekend. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ain't That a Poke in the Eye

Poor Josh got a pretty good eye poke today. So bad we had to make an unexpected late afternoon trip to the doctor. Apparently the whole thing happened while he was playing on the playground at the mall. He somehow got poked in the eye, be it by another kid, himself or playground equipment, I guess we'll never know. But he quickly seemed to be okay, until later this afternoon when he started crying that his eye hurt. After that it was off and on every 10-15 minutes. He'd be fine, and then all of a sudden he'd be wailing in pain. So Andrew gave him a wash cloth to compress on his eye, and called the doctor who was able to fit him in this afternoon. Turns out he has a cornea abrasion. So tomorrow morning we get to go to the pediatric ophthalmologist to get it checked out. The rest of the afternoon and evening was more of the same with the pain. We gave him some Motrin which seemed to at least space out the spells of pain a little more, and he kept that wash cloth on his eye the rest of the night. What a sad little sight! But he's been a trooper and I'm sure he'll be just fine. The doctor said that these things heal with in a day or two so hopefully by tomorrow he'll be back in tip top shape. It tears your heart out to see your little guy in pain like that and not be able to make it go away. So hopefully the eye doctor goes well tomorrow, and more importantly, I hope that sleeping goes well tonight. Wish us luck!

Monday, December 29, 2008

THE MACHINE!!!


I am completely unashamed to say that I totally use bribery with my kids. Sometimes you do whatever works. My little trick to get Joshua to be a good listener in the grocery store is to dangle the idea of playing with the claw machine in front of him. Works like a charm! We have never actually won anything, but he still gets a big kick out of it. So yesterday, we took a family trip to the grocery store. Joshua was talking about the machine the whome time we were there, and was being a pretty good boy, so while Daddy was checking out, I took him over to the machine. After the two attemps we got with our dollar, we were so close to winning something, I just had to pull out another $.50 and try one more time. That was all we needed... we won! Josh ended up with a blue Christmas cap. To say he was elated would be an understatement. He started jumping up and down and shrieking at the top of his lungs "We got something out of the machine! We got something out of the Machine!" I look over at Andrew who is probably about 100 feet away at the checkstand, and he is cracking up. Apparently the whole store knew that Joshua had won something from the machine, from the sheer volume of his excitement. The whole way home we heard about 50 different recounts of the tale about when a boy named Joshua got something out of the Machine. What a magical day that was! Gotta love what excites a 3 year old!

Merry Christmas 2008!

Another Christmas has come and gone, and they just seem to get better every year! Christmas for us started at church on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve service is very different from every other week out of the year, with the biggest difference being that there is no children's programming. I cringe every year when I remember that my children will have to sit through an hour long church service! We sat with our friends the Millers and Schrotenboers, both who have kids our kids' age. The kids did awesome during church. Josh made a beautiful manger scene with stickers, and pigged out on some cookies we had brought. Hey dude, whatever keeps you quiet! Towards the end, everyone started to get a little antsy, so my friend Cynthia (aka my new hero!) pulled out some glow sticks and handed them out to the kids. Everyone was completely entertained the rest of the service and we made it out without a tear or tantrum. Merry Christmas to Mommy and Daddy!

After church we headed over to Grandma and Grandpa B's in Avondale for dinner and presents with the whole family (except Kerri and Jonathon... we missed you guys!). It was great. This year they decided to move the Christmas tree into their larger living room, which made all the difference from last year! The kids had room to run around and it was a completely enjoyable evening among family. Grandma and Grandpa went a little overboard! I didn't think the gifts for the kids were going to end! =) Everyone liked their gifts, and more importantly, we all enjoyed the company.

We got back home around 10:00 and after putting cookies out for Santa (which Joshua was about half conscious for) got the boys in bed. Our second Christmas present from the boys is that they slept until 7:30! That was awesome. We got to sleep in a little bit, and I was even able to get a jump on the coffee cake I was making for breakfast. I'll post the video so you can see Josh's reaction to all things Santa. it was great!

After opening our gifts, Grandpa and Grandma Maple and Auntie Andrea came over for breakfast, and of course more gifts. I made a yummy egg casserole and sour cream coffee cake. Just as we were sitting down for breakfast, our phone rang and it was a neighbor on the street right behind us saying that she has "Cooper". It took it a second to click that she was talking about Copper, our dog. We have no idea when she got out, but apparently she made it around the corner. Thankfully they were nice enough to take her in and call us, and that she still had the tag with our phone number on it. So I ran around the corner to pick her up. I suppose our Christmas drama could have been much more dramatic, but we are thankful that it wasn't! The rest of our time with Grandpa and Grandma was great. Auntie Andrea got Josh some Curious George books (one of his favorites) and as soon as he opened them he plopped down in Grandpa's lap to read them.

We finished off our Christmas day with homemade spaghetti and meatballs and a new garlic bread recipe that was really good, and then jumped in the car to see Christmas lights, as is our Christmas night tradition.

We wrapped up our Christmas celebration on Friday, December 26th with a delicious prime rib dinner with Grandma and Granddad. Josh got to play with Jacob, who sufficiently wore him out, and Ben and Grace (who is now a professional walker...yay!) got to play together.

As this Christmas as drawn to a close, I already find myself looking forward to next year when Ben and Grace will be running and talking 2 year olds, Cheyenne will be running around with everyone else and Baby Adria will be here. But until then, we will cherish the memories of this Christmas. It was a great one!


Lights, Lights and More Lights!

This Christmas season has been so much fun. We really decided to take advantage of lots of activities available around the Valley this year, since Josh is at the perfect age to enjoy the festivities, and Ben will go along for any ride as long as the tummy is full. Most of the things we ended up doing revolved around Christmas lights. What other time of year can you see millions and millions of different colored twinkling lights? Our first stop was at the APS Electric Light Parade float judging competition. Every year the floats for the parade are judged in the parking lot of the kids' school, and they make a big party out of it. The trip turned into a family affair, with my parents, my sister and her kids. It was a lot of fun. Ben was happy to chill in his stroller and take in all the sights, while Joshua set out on a mission to find any float that he could climb onto. After seeing all of the floats, we went back to Grandma and Granddad's house for some hot chocolate.

The very next night the City of Chandler was having their light parade and tumbleweed tree lighting. Our small group made an impromptu decision to all meet up and watch the parade together, which actually worked like a charm! (Thank God for cell phones!) Joshua thought the parade was the coolest thing he'd ever seen. It was so great to have his friends there and keep him entertained. Ben even enjoyed it, pointing at the brightly colored floats and clapping to the music.

Finally, as we try to do every year, we went to Zoolights. This year was so much more fun than last year with Mr. Grumpy Pants. We had invited our friends Jennifer and Brandon Miller and their boys to come along with us. It's always fun to do things with friends! The boys (Josh and Nathaniel) had a blast and got to ride the carousel together. It was a super cold night out, as it had been raining all week up until earlier that day, so we got to pull out our heavy coats and bundle up, which is a treat for us desert rats!

I'm so happy that we got to fully enjoy the season! Here are some photos of our adventures!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Sex Boo-Boo

I can see that I now have your attention! Okay, so it's a little bit of false advertising, but I couldn't resist! So, on to the Sex Boo-Boo story...

As we have mentioned numerous times before, Joshua is so great at so many things, but physical agility isn't yet one of them. So he frequently falls down and gets hurt in various ways. He has learned to take it like a man, and rarely cries about these things. So when Andrew picked him up from school yesterday, Josh told him that he got two boo-boos today. Andrew asked where, so Josh said "My first boo-boo is right there, and my sex boo-boo is right there." Too funny!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Out With the Old, In With the New

Ever since I went back to work full time, our mornings have been hectic to say the least. I'm up at 5, in order to be ready by 6 so that I can get breakfast and lunches ready. After that we try to get 2 kids dressed and groomed so we can get out the door before 7:00. It's a lot to pack into those 2 hours, but I absolutely refuse to wake up any earlier than 5:00. As Josh gets older, and comes up with new and improved ways to stall in the dressing and grooming department, our out-the-door time has gotten increasingly later. It is time for a new routine. We've decided to get the boys dressed, their hair brushed and shoes on before breakfast. That way the only thing left to do before we leave is brush teeth and hop in the car. Why we didn't try this earlier, I have no idea! I guess our concern was Josh getting syrup on his clothes. But I am totally over that concern. There are much worse things in the world than going to school with a blob of syrup on your shirt. Especially if you're a 3 year old! The last couple mornings have been so much lower stress, and we've gotten out the door a good 10 minutes earlier, so it looks like our new routine is the way to go. Thank goodness!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wii Fit

Merry Christmas to us! Andrew and I decided to go the old married couple route for Christmas this year, and just get ourselves something as a joint gift. We decided on the Wii Fit... of course the hardest to find gift of the season! After checking a couple stores, we actually ran across one at Toys R Us and snatched it up. It is the coolest thing! You can do yoga, strengthening, aerobics and balance games. You really work up a sweat, and man do your muscles feel the workout the next day. It is a smart system, which helps with your yoga and strengthening form, telling you where to keep your center of balance. I am hooked! One of the most fun things is hula hooping. You look absolutely ridiculous, but it is so much fun and really works the abs and legs. I am able to laugh at myself and how totally dumb I look, so I wanted to share so you can laugh with me. Thanks, Andrew for this little gem of a video! Ha ha! You can't see the screen very well, but I am hula hooping, and when I lean to the side, I'm trying to catch another hoop someone is throwing at me.

The New Me!

I go through the same cycle with my hair every couple years. It will be entirely too long, start to drive me crazy, and then I'll chop it all off. The last time I had my hair cut was May of 2007, so suffice it to say, it could have used a trim. But who should I go to for the job? I had the stereotypical male hairdresser (if you know what I mean) for a couple years, but he constantly salon hopped, and I couldn't keep up with him. Then by happenstance, I found the blog of a girl that I went to high school with, and found out that she is a hair stylist. So last week I decided to go pay her a visit. It was so great! We got to catch up on the last 10 years and I got a great new look! Here's a before picture... not the greatest picture, but at least you can see all the hair.

And here is the new and improved look. What do you think?



(Believe it or not, Joshua took this picture of me.) I am so happy with it. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a great look for me... so I must look pretty bad with the long hair! =) Maybe I'll try a little harder to keep it short and cute. We'll see. The grand total that was cut off was 10 inches. She saved it for me and I plan on sending it to Locks of Love. So it's a win-win-win!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mr. Independent

I just have one question.... When did Joshua stop needing me? He has become so independent lately. On one hand it's awesome not having to do so much for him, especially with Ben needing so much attention. But on the other hand, where did my baby go? Among the things that he now insists on doing himself: bathing (we are present, but he does all the soaping and rinsing), drying himself off, putting the top buckle of his car seat on AND taking it off (thankfully he has only done this when we are ready to get out of the car); putting on his clothes and shoes, and the newest, putting himself down for his nap. This past weekend he pulled this trick out of his hat. He informed us that he was going to put himself to bed at nap time. After lunch, he went in the bathroom to go potty, came out to give us hugs and kisses, said good-night and went in his room. I went in to check on him after about an hour, and there he was, fast asleep in his bed with his covers pulled all the way up. He even informed me the other day that he doesn't need me anymore... except to do the little buckles on his car seat. So I guess other than that, old mom is obsolete. Oh well. At least I still have a couple more years of being useful to Ben until I am officially put out to pasture!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ben's 15 Month Checkup

I finally got Ben in for his 15 month checkup last week. I usually do pretty well at getting them in on time, but I kind of spaced on this one, so I was a couple weeks late. Oh well! He is doing awesome. He weighed 22 lbs. 6 oz which brings him all the way up to the 25%, which is incredible after being down below 5% just 6 months ago. He was 31 3/4 inches, which is righ at 50% for his age. When the doctor asked if he has any words, I rattled off his laundry list (including thank you, doggie, Joshua, peek-a-boo, uh-oh, Mama, Dada and diaper). She said that is a lot of words for this age, so we're happy that it's not looking like we're going to go through the same headaches with late talking as we did the first time around. The one piece of not so great news is that he is still mildly anemic. But we know that is entirely our fault. We have been terrible about giving him his iron drops and more often than not he wouldn't get them. The doctor asked that I take him to get his blood drawn, but I think I'm going to hold off on that and be diligent about giving him his iron over the next 3 months and have them retest him with the finger prick test. I don't want him to go through getting his blood drawn because we suck! =) If it is still down at his 18 month appointment, we'll take a closer look. But other than that, he is the picture of health and happiness, and for that we are very thankful.

Thanksgiving 2008

The long Thanksgiving weekend is over. I was so busy doing, that I had no time to blog about the doing! =) My weekend started on Wednesday (boy, do I wish I could say that more often!). It was a rainy, gloomy day outside... perfect to get cooking! As usual, everything that was to be served on the big day was to be homemade, so there was plenty to do. I made the pumpkin pie, the croutons for my homemade apple sausage stuffing and, for the first time ever, homemade cranberry sauce. It was such a fun day, being alone in my house, listening to Christmas music and cooking away. All the boys got home around 3 and I ran Ben to his 15 month checkup (see next post for the details on that), and ran a couple other errands with my littlest sidekick. Because our fridge was so stocked with the makings of a Thanksgiving dinner, and the fact that I would be cooking all day the next day, we decided that In n Out was the way to go for dinner. =) After the boys were in bed, Andrew and I set out to clean the house.

Thanksgiving day was awesome. My parents came over mid-morning, and we all had a pretty low key day, chasing kids, drinking wine and enjoying each other's company. Our new friends Wade, Cynthia, Lil' Wade (not Wade Jr.) and Mason, from church came over for dinner and we all had a really nice time. The food was awesome if I do say so myself. We had herb roasted turkey, apple sausage stuffing, fruited sweet potatoes with struesel topping, mashed potatoes with herb butter, steamed green beans, homemade cranberries and jalepeno cheddar cornbread muffins. You should be sorry you missed it. =) After dinner we took the boys to the park to work off some of that food, and then came back home for pie!

Somehow Cynthia talked me into going Black Friday shopping with her at the crack of dawn. She, being midly crazy, wanted to go to Toys R Us. Toys R Us. On Black Friday. Sounds like walking through the gates of hell to me, but maybe it won't be so bad. It was so bad. The 2 lines went from the front to the back of the store. After finding a few decent deals for her kids (she's got to buy 2 of everything having 2 year old twins!) we got in line and waited... and waited... and waited. We were in line for about 20-30 minutes, and had not yet gotten to the half-way mark. All that waiting gave her time to second guess her purchases, and in the end we ditched the cart and got the heck out of there. But we had a nice time anyway. =)

On Saturday we decided to put up our Christmas Tree. Josh did a great job helping decorate the tree, and of course wanted to hang three or four ornaments all on the same branch. =) Our tree looks awesome with all of our special memory ornaments. It's always so fun to talk about what each ornament represents. After the tree was up, we decided to go visit Santa at the mall. We got there early enough in the day that there wasn't much of a line, and the mall was virtually dead. We thought this would be the year that they wouldn't let us take our own picture, when we saw a sign asking us to "refrain from using your own camera." What? yes, I want a picture with Santa, but I'm not about to pay $14.99 for one 4x6. Sorry kids. Mommy is way too cheap for that. But I sweetly asked one of Santa's helpers and she told me it would be okay. It's not the greatest of pictures, but I got my picture so I'm happy. =)





On Sunday evening some dear friends that moved to Tennessee a few years ago were in town and came over for dinner. Thanks to them, we finally broke in our firepit that has been sitting unused on our back patio for about a year! It was so fun to sit and chat, roast marshmallows and make smores. I think that will have to be a tradition whenever they come to visit!

So now it's back to work, back to school and the normal everyday life. But the Christmas season is here, and I am so excited about all of the things we will be doing over the next month. I LOVE the holidays! =)

Fright Night

Our poor little Joshua has begun to have bad dreams. The first was about a week ago. We were all sleeping peacefully until we hear wailing coming from Josh's room, and then quickly increase in volume as he is running down he hall to our bedroom and jumping into bed with us. We cuddled for a few minutes and then went and put him back in his own bed, telling him that if he gets scared he should talk to God and ask Him to take the scary things away. Unfortunately, he didn't sleep very well the rest of the night and ended up back in our room about 3 more times. On each trip back to his bedroom, we would get a little more of the story. By morning we had gotten a pretty good idea of what was so scary. You see, a choo choo train was coming down our street, and then a big rock fell in the street right outside his bedroom and went "Boom Boom". And at some point he was being chased by a dinosaur. Poor guy. No wonder he was scared! But we moved on and didn't think a whole lot more about it until we saw this article in the Arizona Republic Wait a minute... Big rock? Check. Boom Boom? Check. Monsters? (Dinosaurs) Check. Now THAT is pretty darn freaky!

Josh has had a couple more bad dreams since then, but no more of them have predicted the future! Hopefully this will be a short-lived phase and we can all rest a little more peacefully.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Big Boy Classroom

Now that Ben is a professional walker and eater (that last one has never been an issue!) he was ready to move up into the one-year-old classroom at school. Miss Robin, his teacher in the old classroom, was reluctant to give him up, but she gave him the green light last week to move on up. Today was his first day with the older kids, and he handled it like a rock star. He walked in the classroom with a look of curiosity and wonder, and as soon as he saw the new and exciting toys to play with, he was off. He will now be able to enjoy lots of amenities the school has to offer, such as the ball room and the playground. Probably the biggest change for him is that he no longer takes his naps in a crib, but on a little cot. I was curious to see how this went, seeing how he has never slept in an unconfined environment before. But he fell asleep with no problem and took a super long nap - 3 hours! Maybe we should get him into a bed at home if he will take those kinds of naps! =) One definite bonus is now our daycare bill has decreased about $60 per month, so yay for more money! It's a little sad for us for him to be in that room without Miss Kim, who was the greatest one-year-old teacher ever! But if today was any indication on how well he will handle the transition, we're sure he'll do just fine!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Enough Already!

Again yesterday I got the call from Daycare. This time about Ben. The director told me he had thrown up and had a low grade fever. She was really cool about it though, and didn't ask us to pick him up early. I think they were enjoying hanging out with him in the office, because let's face it, he's pretty awesome. =) So once again we need to devise our plan for tomorrow since he is banned from school for 24 hours. My mom is a saint and agreed to watch him the whole day since, of course, it happened on a day that would difficult for either of us to take off. So all last evening Ben is eating lots and acting pretty much normal, and was completely fever and vomit free this morning. I spoke to my mom and it sounds like they are having a lot of fun together, so I guess it all works out in the end.

But my question is this.... can we please have ONE WEEK where no one gets sick, there are no holidays or other activities and/or daycare is closed. I feel like a circus juggler lately trying to balance everything. Lord, give me strength!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Peek-A-Boo! And Other Random Ben Facts

Ben is now a full on participant in the game of peek-a-boo. Yes, he has been playing the game for many months, hiding himself under a blanket and then whipping it off to "surprise" us. But in the last couple days he has actually started saying peek-a-boo. Well, at least he tries to say it. It really sounds more like "da-da-doo". But he will try to cover his eyes with his hands and when he pulls them away says "da-da-doo!" with a huge grin. Too stinkin' cute!



We're pretty sure that Ben is also trying to say Josh or Joshua. He will say something that sounds kinda like it, and when we then say Joshua, Ben's face will light up, as if to say "You actually get me!" We are starting to see some definite early language development with him, and we are so excited about that. Hopefully he'll keep it up.

We have also tried teaching him a few baby signs, and he's actually picking up on a couple of them. He knows "all done" and "more" and Andrew said that yesterday he did the "eat" sign. He doesn't do the sign for drink, but can get his point across loud and clear by trying to open up the fridge!

One last thing we have noticed with him is that he is understanding more and more of what we say and is following all sorts of commands. He will sit down, put his binky in his crib and give Josh a hug all on command. It's a great feeling to know that we're starting to understand each other!

200 and Counting!

Wow! We've had this blog going for over 3 years, and I have apparently been blogging my little heart out this year. We have reached our 200 post mark! I love being able to keep a record of the things we have done and the progress the kids are making. This blog has really turned into our kids' scrapbook (since who has time for actual scrapbooking!). I love looking back at old posts about when Josh was little, or when Ben was brand new. I think its better than flipping through the pages of a scrapbook. You can access it anywhere you are without having to lug around albums! I tend to be a little long winded (have you noticed?) so this is a great medium for me to keep a family record. I hope that our 3 readers enjoy reading our little corner of the internet as much as we enjoy writing and sharing it. Thanks to anyone who takes time out of their busy day to check in on us. We love you all!

Now, onto 201... I'm a blogging addict!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

It wasn't a huge shock to us on Monday afternoon when Andrew was told by the daycare that Ben had a fever and so couldn't return to school until Wednesday. He had been somewhat congested and had a very low grade fever on Monday morning, and usually the afternoon is when it really hits. So, of course the preparations began to figure out who was staying home with him. What's hard this week is that we both already have to take a day off of work because daycare is closed Thursday and Friday for teacher training. It's difficult for me to take too much time off of work since I am the one and only employee, and Andrew had something that he had to get done this morning, so we devised the perfect plan. I would drop Ben off at my parents house and my mom would watch him until Andrew was done and Andrew would pick him up, then I would pick Josh up from school that afternoon. Sounds great, right? Wrong! As is always the way, the kid that is being forced to stay home is perfectly fine. Fever is gone and he is rip roaring ready to get into whatever trouble he can find. But as soon as Josh woke up this morning we knew our plan was foiled. He didn't have a fever, but we knew there was something that was not quite right about him. Andrew made his breakfast and sat him down at the table, but he wouldn't touch it, which is very unlike him. Josh is big on breakfast, just like his Mommy. All he wanted to do was cuddle with us. So we decided to keep him out of school today too. Okay, no big deal. Instead of dropping just Ben off, I'll drop them both off. Still a pretty good plan. Oh no. Wrong again. Right after I called my mom to ask her if she could watch them both this morning, without any warning, Josh emptied the contents of his stomach right on the living room rug. And then again on the living room rug...and then again in the hallway. By the time we actually made it into the bathroom, his tummy was feeling just fine again. SO, second change of plans for the morning. The final verdict was that I would stay home until Andrew got done with his work project, and then I would go in. I was at work by 10:30, so I really only missed 2 hours today. But my goodness. This morning gave our normal stressful mornings a real run for their money.

In the end, Josh is completely fine. We figure this was his annual random throw-up that he tends to do. The rest of the day he couldn't get enough food in him. So he should be cleared to go to school tomorrow. The day turned out okay, but what a morning!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Halloween 2008

Halloween has come and gone, and it really was the best one ever! On Wednesday night we carved our pumpkin, and Josh even helped scoop out some of the goo. He quickly decided that job wasn't very glamorous, so of course the rest of the work fell to Mommy. While I was carving what I think was a pretty kick butt pumpkin, Josh set to work painting his very own pumpkin that we had gotten at the farm a couple weeks ago. He had a blast. I put some of each color into paper cups, and showed him how we mix colors and make different colors. He thought that was pretty darn cool. Then I showed him the coolest part of all... at least he thought so. I gave him a cup with just water in it to clean his brushes, and he was amazed that the water would change colors. Before long, the pumpkin painting was forgotten, and we were just getting paint on our paintbrush and making the water change colors. But his pumpkin definitely got sufficiently painted. Benny even helped out some.

Friday was awesome. Andrew and I got off of work early and picked up the kids right after nap. We went to my parents house to show off the costumes, and then came home for dinner and to get ready for the big show! All of my concerns that Josh wouldn't want to wear his costume were completely unfounded, thank goodness!!! He happily got into his costume, and never once complained about it being scratchy or hot. The face painting took a little coaxing, but we finally got him to come around on that, and we ended up with the cutest little guinea pig ever! We went trick or treating down about 3 streets in our neighborhood. Josh was guiding our way, telling us which houses had lights on that we could go to. Ben was really getting in on the fun too. Whenever someone would hold out their bowl for him, he would take his candy and drop it in his bucket, like an ol' pro! After about an hour, Josh told us he was done and wanted to go home. But with 2 kids trick or treating, you end up with a TON of candy without even trying! So we headed home and then headed out again to join our small group for a get together. Josh even wanted to put on his costume again to show his friends! We all got home and collapsed at around 10:00. What a fun day.

Now it's November, the weather is cooling, birthdays are abounding (including mine!) and the holiday season is rapidly approaching. I gotta say, our Halloween was a great way to kick off all of the fun of the season!






Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yet Another Episode of....

Kids Say the Darndest Things! That's right, kiddies, we've got more tales to tell of those silly things that come out of a three year old. This one requires a little bit of a back story...

Way back when, probably about a year ago, Josh, Ben and I met up with Josh's teacher from the prior year for ice cream at McDonalds. He has remembered that to this day. He loves his ice cream, and he loves his Miss Kim! He apparently even remembers the exact location of the McDonalds we went to on that particular day. So fast forward to a few months ago, when my office moved, and we were now driving past that very same McDonalds on the way home everyday. He sees it and starts asking for ice cream. We would always combat this question by asking him if he had any money to pay for the ice cream, and that usually ended the conversation. That brings us to today, and our darndest thing quote of the day. We were driving past the McDonalds, and out of nowhere, Joshua asks us "Can I please have some money?" We both looked at him with puzzled expressions and asked why he needed money. "So I can go to McDonalds."

If you break it down, that is a really smart approach to try to trick Mommy and Daddy into some frozen treats... the preemptive strike. "If I can get them to give me some money, then they can't say I don't have money for ice cream." Brilliant! It seems to us there is a very advanced thought process going on here. He's going to be outsmarting us in no time. We're in trouble!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bye-Bye Binkey

Ben has always been the biggest binkey boy. He loves it... it's basically his crack. And it has been a Godsend to get a little piece and quiet around the house. But now that he is doing so many big boy things, we think it's time for the binkey to go. I'm sure Ben's totally NOT on board with this idea, but we feel it's time for him to learn how to soothe himself without the crutch. Yesterday was the first day we really started to hold out on him. We didn't give him the binkey all morning right up until nap time. We let him use it to sleep, and tried to steer clear of it for much of the afternoon too. The afternoon didn't go as well as the morning and we finally had to give in when he fell down and bonked his head in the library and started wailing. I couldn't very well say "Sorry all you people trying to study and read, my boy's trying to get off the binkey and you just have to deal with it!" I didn't think that was very fair. So hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can do away with the binkey during his wakeful hours. Sleepy times will come later. I'm just tired of his little face being blocked by the binkey in all of our pictures! Wish us luck, and pray that we will be blessed with an extra dose of patience for a fussy toddler going through binkey withdrawals!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adventures in Costume Making

Josh's costume is done, and if you ask me, it looks pretty darn good. I am so glad I decided to make his costume. I admit I was a bit obsessed over this thing. Every night as soon as the kids were in bed, I would get to work and wouldn't stop until I had to go to bed. If I could have, I would have stayed up all night to work on it. At least I have work to motivate me to tame the crazy a little bit. So after gathering all of my materials and getting some very helpful advice from a little old lady at Joann's, I got to work. I made the cape first, since that was easy. I can handle cutting and gluing! After that I moved on to cutting out the pattern, cutting out the pieces of material and sewing it all together. After some finishing touches of velcro up the back, elastic around the wrists and ankles, and some bias tape (which I had never even heard of until this project) to keep the collar from being scratchy, the jumpsuit was all done. The only real mistake I made was getting the grain of the fur going in opposite directions on the front, but all in all, I would say not bad! Along the way I picked up some other handy sewing experience, like threading the bobbin and threading the sewing machine needle. The costume pattern also called for a hood. I made the hood, but figured it wouldn't really work for us. Since he would be wearing a hat, there wasn't any room to put the hears on the hood. And what do a guinea pig's ears look like anyway? Plus, the hood kind of made the whole thing a little creepy. So we decided to just skip it. Then I was on my quest to find the right hat for the costume. I tried and tried to find a youth sized golden yellow or yellowish-orange cap, but the only place I could find them was online, and the shipping charges were ridiculous! So I had to come up with a plan B. I found a white hat at Michael's and got some dye to make it just the right color. It turned out perfect! So without further adieu, the moment you've all been waiting for. Drumroll please...................
Here is a photo of the real Linny.







And here is OUR Linny!








When we are getting all dressed up on Halloween, we are going to give Josh a little pink nose and some whiskers as some finishing touches. I'm sure no one else will have any idea of what he is, but we will know. Josh is so excited to be Linny. I'm so happy I could make his Halloween for him!

I do have to pause and give a couple shout outs for those who helped me along the way. First of all my Mother-In-Law, Angie, a veteran seamstress, for giving me some awesome tips along the way. And my mom who let me use her sewing machine and helping me figure out how to use it. Thanks guys for all your help.

Here are some of the pictures I made Andrew take of me during this whole process. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things

Let me set the scene for you. We're sitting at the dinner table, enjoying a nice meal together. On the menu was Chicken Enchilada Casserole, which Josh has never wanted to even taste before. But this night, he decided to give it a try. I suppose he thought to himself "Chicken.... good. Chips.... good. Cheese... GOOOOD!" (Name that pop culture reference!) So we are sitting there eating, and Josh is trying to eat some of the cheese that tops the casserole, but it was too big for him... do you see where this is going? Wait for it... So he asked if Daddy could cut it up for him.... wait for it... After Daddy had obliged with Josh's request, Josh says "Thank you, Daddy. Thank you for cutting the cheese." Andrew and I couldn't speak, could barely breath, we were laughing so hard. Josh was looking at us like "What the heck is wrong with you guys?" Maybe you had to be there, but even just typing it right now I am laughing out loud. Gotta love having a 3 year old!

And another...The other night we were lazy and didn't want to cook, so we decided to take the fam to In n Out for dinner. After eating (Ben ate a WHOLE cheeseburger!), we were getting ready to leave when Josh said he needed to go potty. So I took him in the bathroom to do his thing. When we got into the stall, someone's seat guard was still on the toilet. Josh saw it and asked what it was. I told him it was a butt protector. But he must have misunderstood me and started calling it a butt-detector. Good thing we have butt detectors to tell all of us unsuspecting fools when there is a butt close by!

And yet another... Saturday mornings are usually reserved for down time, typically involving the TV. Josh likes the shows on Playhouse Disney on Saturday mornings, so we let him indulge in a little TV time. So after breakfast, Josh told Daddy he wanted to watch TV, saying he wanted to watch "business." Andrew had no idea what that meant, so he turned on Noggin which is Josh's typical channel of choice. Josh watched the first show, but when a commercial came on saying he was watching Noggin, he got very upset, and started saying "Not Noggin.... Business!" Turns out the Business Channel is the Disney Channel. I guess he's not too far off really. Isn't Disney one of the biggest conglomerate corporations in the world?

That's it for this episode of Kids Say the Darnest Things. Tune in next time for all of the hysterical hijinks coming out of the mouths of babes!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun on the Farm

Fall is here! The weather is starting to cool down during the day, the nights are gorgeous and we're gearing up for a fun Halloween. A Fall-time must is going to a harvest festival. This year we went to Vertuccio Farms out in East Mesa. We had such a good time. This farm is a small operation, but has plenty to keep our two little guys entertained for a couple hours. Among the attractions were some small farm animals to pet (not really a petting zoo, but close enough), a "train" pulled by a tractor, old fashioned see-saws, a "pizza farm" - a circle that is sectioned off like slices of pizza with each "slice" containing a pizza ingredient, like tomato plants, pepper plants, a pig pen, etc. Ben had such a great time walking around and touching the animals. He especially loved the goats, which he kept telling us were doggies. Josh's favorite thing at the farm was the train. He got to ride in his car all by himself, and had his very own steering wheel. The first time he rode it there were only 2 other small kids on with him, and the driver went pretty slow. The second time was much later and he was on with a bunch of older kids. The driver was nervous having him on there because apparently he took it pretty fast, so he kept telling Joshua to make sure he stayed seated. But Josh was not interested in trying to get out, he had to steer his car, and he took his job very seriously! After checking everything out, we decided to try our hands, or should I say our feet, at the 3.5 mile corn maze, made in the shape of the Statue of Liberty. We walked around this maze for close to an hour. We were supposed to find 6 check points throughout the maze. It seemed just about impossible until Andrew had a brilliant idea... each checkpoint had a map of the maze, telling you where you were and where each of the checkpoints were. Andrew took a picture of the maze and was able to follow it and find all of the checkpoints, and more importantly, help us find our way out before it got dark! Josh did an awesome job, walking through about 90% of it before pooping out and asking to be carried. Ben walked some through the maze, but the ground was really uneven, so he wasn't too steady on his feet. But he did enjoy the shoulder rides! We celebrated our victory over the corn maze with hot dogs, chips and soda. Since they didn't have any lemonade or any other juice type drink, we decided to let Josh have his very first soda. The picture of him drinking it cracks me up. He looks terrified of it, but he wasn't! I think he's just not used to the bubbles, but he made that face with every swig. We tried to get some cute pictures of the kids sitting in the pumpkins, but it's hard to get them to both cooperate at the same time, so we got what we could. It was a great way to spend the afternoon. Here are some photos of our day. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kid Lottery

Andrew and I must be the luckiest parents in the world. In my opinion, we totally won the kid lottery, getting two of the best little boys we could ask for. I just wanted to take a few moments and reflect on some of the things about these two little men that make my cup runneth over!

1. Brotherly Love: Josh and Ben love each other so much. Josh is so patient with Ben, and really takes his responsibility of being a big brother very seriously. Ben wants to do everything Josh does, and loves getting his brother's hugs and kisses. It's so sweet to see Ben light up when he knows hugs or kisses are coming from big brother, and lean in for them. I know they'll go through sibling rivalry and will definitely argue and fight, but I hope that this bond between them stays strong.

2. Potty Training: I can only attest to this one with Josh, but we got off way too easy with this one. As friends were going through potty training nightmares with their 3 year olds, with regressions and loss of interest, Josh went for the potty at 27 months old and never looked back. I'm not fooling myself to think that we had much to do with that. He was just a superstar. I am also not naive enough to think it will be that easy second time around, but we can hope! =)

3. Sweet Nothings: Josh is such a sweet affectionate little guy. He will spontaneously decide that Mommy or Daddy need a kiss or and a hug and makes sure that need does not go unmet. He has so much love in his heart, and has one of the sweetest spirits I have ever known. Ben is our little cuddle bug. I hope he never gets too big to cuddle with Mommy on the couch!

4. Do as I Say: Josh is so good at following directions. We have some pretty high expectations of him, but he usually meets them, and a lot of times surprises us with even more. In the evenings, all we have to tell him is that dinner is ready, and he will turn off the TV and come in and sit down. Of course he will balk at us from time to time, but will usually end up making he right choice. We have relatively few tantrums from him, and I can't even remember the last time he had to sit in the corner. I don't even remember having to threaten the corner lately. Ben is really starting to show increased understanding of what we say to him, and is starting to follow simple directions. We hope that Josh will be a great example for his little brother and will help in teaching him to make good choices.

5. Transition, Shramsition: Both of these boys just roll with the punches. Everything we have asked of them, they have totally delivered. Josh went through lots of transitions between 1 and 2 with moving, changing bedrooms, going into a big boy bed, becoming a big brother, potty training... and he has done it all without any problems. I have spoken with friends who have not had it so easy with these types of things, and am very thankful for how easy these things have been for us. Ben is such an easy going guy. As long as he's got a full tummy (which is getting to be a difficult task!) he's good to go and can handle just about any situation he is thrown into.

Okay, I guess that's enough mushy gushing over my kids. It's just nice to have posts like this to look back at every once in a while, especially on those frustrating days when it's easy to forget that the bad days are few in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Feeling Inspired... or Maybe Just Crazy

Halloween is rapidly approaching. Before kids, I really didn't care much. It's not typically a holiday that excites me much. But kids change everything. Joshua is so excited about Halloween. He remembers trick or treating last year, and can't wait to carve/paint our pumpkin and dressing up. This is the first year that he has really understood the festivities, and has voiced his opinion about who he would like to dress up as for Halloween. This year, Josh would like to be Linny from the Wonder Pets. Linny is the Guinea Pig, and kind of the leader of the Wonder Pets. Josh decided a while back that he was going to be Linny, and that no other costume would do. So we set out to find him a Linny costume. Unbeknownst to us, Linny costumes for 3 year olds do no exist. So, I decided it was time to get creative. I started searching online for a sweatsuit that was a similar color to Linny's fur. Unfortunately, orangish brown is not a popular color for sweats, so I had to abandon that idea. So now I am on to bigger and better things. I have decided to make a Linny costume. So this weekend, we made 3 separate trips to Joann's Fabrics to buy the material to make the costume (fake fur!) and the cape, as well as a costume pattern. I borrowed my mom's sewing machine, and away I go. So I get home and open up the pattern, and am instantly overwhelmed. How on earth am I going to do this? I have no idea what half of the stuff means, and the directions are not totally for a beginner. The things a mother won't do for her little wannabe guinea pig! Thankfully my mother-in-law is very experienced in this area, so I think we will be speaking quite frequently over the next few weeks. I really hope I can pull this off. I figure that as long as the pieces get sewn together good enough to hold for a few hours, and are approximately the right size to fit him, I can deem this costume as a success. I'll post again with my progress (and most likely my frustration!) as I get going with this newest project, and of course will post a picture of the finished product. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Toddlerhood

It has really been an amazing last couple of weeks. Ben has literally taken off in his walking. He has reached full blown toddlerhood. He reached the last little milestone today. He was sitting on the floor and then stood himself up! It was the first time we had seen him do that. He apparently was pretty impressed with his new found skills, and kept doing it over and over again, so we know it wasn't a fluke. Here's a great video that Andrew took tonight of just how good he is now. We are so proud of him, and so relieved that he has finally decided to walk! I will preface this video with, yes, I know my fly is down a little... Oh well. You shouldn't be looking at me anyway! =)

He has reached big boy stature in other areas too. He no longer eats in a high chair at school, but sits at a little table for lunch and snack time. He is really starting to understand the things that go on around him too. Tonight he found a tissue, and tried to wipe his nose with it. At bath time, he handed Andrew the plug for the bathtub and pointed to the drain. It seems to be something new everyday. This is such a great age, filled with so much discovery. As I see Ben doing these new things, it helps me to remember those little things that I had forgotten about when Josh was this age. For instance, being fascinated with curbs, wanting to step up, step down, repeat, repeat, repeat. We just love all these new things he's doing. I can't wait to see what he does tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Jury Doody

I have spent the last 2 days down at the Maricopa County Superior Court, fulfilling my civic duty. What an experience! I got the dreaded jury summons a few weeks ago. I called the number on Friday night, hoping that my group would be excused, but of course, I was in the very first group, so I got the pleasure of attending. So, armed with a book, a magazine, a bible and plenty of water, I headed down to the courthouse on Monday morning. Usually the cases they are hearing are 3 day civil trials, like the ones I work on, so I wasn't thinking it would be that big of a deal. It might actually be a good learning experience for me given my chosen career. Then we hear the announcement. "Ladies and gentlemen, we will be calling a panel today to select a jury for a 5 week trial." What?!? I don't think so! But the only excuse they would accept to begin with was if you medically were unable to attend trial for that long a period of time. I'm thinking, why can't I still be nursing and still in pain from my car accident! But, I guess I better be careful what I wish for. Anyway, I of course was called into the 5 week trial group.

First we get to hear the allegations in this case. I won't get into details here, but let me just say that I would definitely suffer from vivid nightmares with the things that I would hear and see as a result of participating in this trial. Sitting through the voir dire process is excruciating. I was sitting in this dreary courtroom for 3 hours listening to 55 people's dirty laundry. When asked, I advised the court that I was the only employee at my office, and that I handle everything and could not be gone from work for that stretch of time. Apparently that wasn't good enough to get me excused at that point. At 4:30, the judge adjourned, instructing each of us to come back the following morning to continue jury selection. Are you kidding me? So I call my boss, and thought his head was going to explode when I told him that they were selecting for a 5 week trial. He stressed to me that I had to get out of it, that he couldn't survive without me. So I came back the next day and while answering another question requested a personal meeting with the judge and counsel. Of course they didn't do the private meetings until AFTER lunch, but when I was called into the courtroom, I just flat out requested to be excused from the case, telling them that the stress and worry about what is going on at the office would absolutely distract me from the case at hand. With that, I was dismissed. What a relief. I got out of there at about 2:30 and went back to work. My boss literally fell down on his knees when I walked in the room. It seems as though the thought of being without me for that period of time reminded him of how much he needs me. He was telling me all afternoon that I can't go anywhere (as in quit) and that he is so happy I'm here and really appreciates the work I do for him.

So all in all, I guess I know my job is secure, and I am off the hook for jury duty (at least superior court) for at least the next 2 years. I definitely thing that this process is more doody than duty!

Friday, October 03, 2008

All Done!

At 13 1/2 months, Ben is officially done nursing. It's been 5 days since he has had any milk, and he doesn't really seem to mind anymore. This is one of those bittersweet times, when I am happy to be past that part of babydom, but at the same time, I am going to miss it. I really enjoyed nursing (feels weird to say that in the past tense!), and Ben really enjoyed it too. I decided early last week that I wanted to try to get him off of that 5:00 feeding that he so stubbornly was holding onto. So I made sure our dinners were prepped and ready to just heat up when we got home so that he would be eating dinner ASAP in hopes that he would then be too full for milk. I still caved and gave him some those first few days after dinner, but after a few days he started to get the idea that milk wasn't going to be forthcoming as soon as we walked in the door, and then decided he didn't really care all that much, as long as the feeding got replaced with mucho cuddles. I think I can handle that! So that chapter of our lives is officially over. I guess now I can find out how big my boobs REALLY are! Ha ha! Is that TMI???

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ack!

I hate being sick. I don't do it well. Usually I just chalk it up to allergies and press on. But when you're running a 102 fever and it feels like you've swallowed a whole package of razor blades, it's hard to keep on keepin' on. All last week I was kind of feeling like I was trying to come down with something. Then Friday night, I couldn't sleep because I was hot, then I was freezing, hot, freezing. I figured I probably had a fever, and sure enough it was in the 101's. That is so unlike me to get a fever, so I knew I was getting something bad. Saturday the sore throat started and this morning it was so bad I ended up going to urgent care. My rapid strep test came back negative, but the FNP didn't believe it after taking a look at my throat so he went ahead and prescribed Penicillin to try to kick it out of me. Hopefully the meds will do their job quickly so I can begin to function like a human being again. This being sick thing is for the birds!

Bling Bling


I finally got my new wedding ring. I am so excited. My original wedding set just wasn't working for me anymore. About 8 months ago the stone broke off the engagement ring, the engagement and wedding bands had been soldered and come apart twice, and the wedding band was about 3 sizes too big. We figured it might be a good time to upgrade. I found a great little jewelry store in Mesa who bought my old set, and was able to set my original stone in my new ring. I decided on a 1 carat total weight 3 stone ring. I absolutely love it. And to top it off, I got a super smokin' deal on it. It was hard to get a good picture of it, so click on the picture to see an enlarged version. Yay for new bling!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Superstah!

Yesterday began as any other day would. Got up, got ready, got the boys up and got breakfast going. As Ben was sitting in his highchair eating his pancake, I noticed some lovely green goo in his right ear. Oh no, not again! So the decision was instantly made that we would be staying home from school and flying off to the doctor that morning. I really wish he would give us some kind of warning that his ear hurts before the darn thing ruptures! So later that morning we went to the doctor. Thankfully the left ear was clear, but of course the right eardrum was ruptured, hense the goo. So she prescribed oral antibiotics and ear drops and wants to see him back in a few weeks to take a look at the eardrum and make sure that it is clear without any scar tissue, which could affect his hearing.

So after the doctor, we ran in Walgreens to get the scrip filled. As we are waiting in line, Ben really turned on the charm for the rest of the people in line. He was smiling, doing the whole pretend shy thing. He was a celebrity! I had put him down and was letting him play with some hand baskets that were stacked up next to the pharmacy, and it was clear he was very aware of everyone watching him. He would move the handles around, and then look at everyone to make sure they were watching, and then flash them his sheepish little grin. They were all eating it up. It was really cute. A whole line of people who didn't even know each other were all talking to me, to Ben and to each other about Ben, and how cute he is. I guess he's just a little ray of sunshine that can bring everyone together. He's our little Superstah!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And He's Off

I know these posts about Ben's walking are probably getting annoying, but bear with me. I'm almost done with them. =) Today, Ben's walking took on a whole new dimension. He was walking all over the place! Not only that, but he was making very conscious decisions to walk. It was amazing. He seemed really excited to be walking around, like it finally clicked that maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. He was locking those knees every time I set him down. No Mr. Spaghetti Legs! He was letting go of things to take steps, he was changing direction, he was a walking machine! He hasn't been able to right himself after he falls down yet, but if you stand him back up, he's off. All I've got to say his Hallelujah and Praise the Lord! =)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sleepy Pee Pee


Okay, so this is probably the most disgusting picture we have posted on our blog. But this story was just too funny not to share, not to mention we definitely needed to record this one for posterity! This morning at about 5:30 or so we heard Josh go into the bathroom, and then go back in his room. Nothing too out of the ordinary, actually we are stoked that he will go to the bathroom and put himself back to bed all by himself. Usually his path is lit by a night light, since the bathroom light is too bright for those little eyes just waking up. But this morning, there was no night light in the bathroom because the bulb burned out the other day. So instead of turning the light on, he just went potty in the dark. Apparently, he didn't notice that the toilet lid was down. We discovered this later in the morning. We were wondering why the house had a distinct aroma of urine, but hey, we've got two little kids and a dog, so it's not entirely uncommon to smell certain bodily fluids in our house, and everyone was dry, so whatever. After breakfast, Josh said something about there being something in his bathroom, and that he was going to go clean. He was playing with the broom at the time, so I thought that he was just making something up. After a minute or two I went to check on him, and found the large puddle on the toilet lid. Amazingly nothing had dripped onto the floor or anywhere else. I was a little impressed with that! So what have we learned today? (1) change the light bulb immediately!; and (2) leave the toilet lid up overnight in case Mr. Sleepy Pee Pee returns!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Walking: The Movie

We finally got Ben to allow us to take a short video of some steps. He seems to be getting more confident with letting go of things to try to take steps. He's just got to figure out how to slow down so he can keep his balance. We're so proud of him!

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

We had the most wonderful opportunity to attend what is probably the BEST marriage building seminar at our church this weekend. It was called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage". The speaker, Mark Gungor, is a pastor out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is so gifted in speaking on this topic. Oh, and did I mention he is absolutely hilarious. This seminar really helps you understand the opposite sex, which is probably the most effective step to making marriage all it can be! If you ever have a chance to watch his DVD's or see him speak, I would highly recommend it. It is definitely Christian based, but it is nowhere near preachy. I can guarantee you it is like nothing you have ever experienced before.

To top it all off, we were able to volunteer to help sell books, DVD's, etc. so we got into the conference for free, and our church even helped us out on babysitting. It doesn't hurt to be close friends with the director of the Family Life Ministry! Thank you, Jennifer, for providing us with this awesome opportunity to serve God through your ministry this weekend, and also for giving us the chance to attend this conference!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What a Cool Way to End the Day

Today ended up being a pretty cool day. At the end of the work day, my boss told me that he is taking tomorrow off, so I could have the day off too. Then he said he was also taking next Friday off too, so I could have that day off as well. Sweet! It's great working for a sole practitioner who can do those things on a whim and not have to worry about any office politics. I have been totally burned out over the last couple of weeks and have really needed a Mommy day, so praise God for providing me with two! So with my day off tomorrow, I am going to go shopping around for a new wedding ring, and try to find someone who will buy my old one. So after I got home, I started looking through my jewelry box to find my engagement ring (which broke about 8 months ago, so I haven't been able to wear it - hence the shopping for a new ring). I opened up one of the drawers and lo and behold I find a $100 bill that I had NO idea was in there. I don't even remember for sure where it came from. I believe it was from when I sold my 35 mm camera on Craigslist last year, but who knows. All I know is that was a very pleasant surprise to stumble upon today. I heart happy surprises!

Give me an E, Give me an H, Give me an L

What does that spell? Well, actually nothing. But those are a few of the letters Josh is learning how to write. He started doing this all on his own the other day in the car with his Magnadoodle. He was playing with the square shaped magnet and drew an L. He instantly recognized it as a letter, but couldn't think of what letter it was. So Andrew told him, and he kept making L's (at least that's how I understand it. I wasn't there, so honey, correct me if I'm wrong). This morning he was going at the Magnadoodle again, and tried to draw an E. He did a really good job, it just had a couple extra middle sticks. So I showed him how to do it and he kept writing E, E, E, E, and they were perfect little E's. So then I showed him how to make an H, and he was doing that really really well too, with only one demonstration.

He has been very interested in letters lately so we've been trying to work with him as much as possible. He tends to get frustrated easily if he doesn't know what letter he's looking at, so we're just taking it slow and letting him learn it at his own pace. He's doing so great. He'll probably be an early reader, just like Mommy and Daddy!

Walking Update

Since some of you have asked (and not at all because I'm completely obsessed about this issue - ha ha), I wanted to post a little update on Ben's walking progress. He's still going slow and steady and isn't totally excited about walking, but he's definitely getting a bit more confident on his feet. Last night was the most we have seen him walk yet. He took 11 steps before sitting down. Two other times last night he took 7 steps, and lots of other times he took 3-4 steps. If we can just put that all together, he's getting some good distance. Of course we tried to get video of these good confident steps he was taking, but as usual, as soon as the camera was on, the show was over. He's such a stinker! We'll keep trying. Over the last few days he has also started letting go of whatever he has pulled himself up on and has taken a few steps that way, which I think is huge forward progress. It takes a lot of courage to do that!

When we picked him up from school yesterday, one of the other little babies that is just about Ben's age, and from what we can tell, his best buddy, took about 20 steps across the room. It was really cool to see her doing so well, but at the same time a little frustrating. But they have been pretty much staying neck in neck in their progress, so maybe this just means bright things in our near future. It might also help now that Kaitlyn (his buddy) is walking, because it might motivate him a little more. Once he decides he WANTS to walk, he will be gone in a flash!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wii!!!

We're always too darned responsible with our money. Bills, bills, bills, save, save, save. Last week, I got my first bonus at work, and it was sizable. Much bigger than I expected. I guess all my hard work is really paying off! So we decided to do something fun with a chunk of it, so we broke down and bought a Wii. I am not much of a gamer, but the Wii did sound like a lot of fun. So Andrew did some calling around on Saturday afternoon to see who had them in stock. These little buggers are hard to find, thanks to the marketing geniouses at Nintendo. He finally found one in stock at Best Buy after calling 3 other stores, so we jumped in the car and snatched it up.

This is a fun system, I must say. It came with a sports pack game, so we can play tennis, golf, bowling, baseball and boxing. Andrew and I played for a while after the kids when to bed on Saturday night. I beat him in bowling and baseball, and he beat me in tennis (barely!) and golf. It can actually be a pretty good workout. We were both sore the next day. One day we'll get some more games to play (Guitar Hero, anyone!). But we're having fun with what we've got for now. Maybe with the next bonus... =)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's Give Him a Hand

It's it funny how one day, these little people just plain can't do something, and then the next it's like a light switch has been flicked on and poof! instant ability. It's baffling. This morning, out of nowhere, Ben started clapping his hands. He has tried this before on a few occasions, just halfheartedly trying to throw us a bone and imitate us. But this morning, he climbed himself up on Josh's bed, sat down, and started clapping. It's such a cute little clumsy clap. Yay for learning how to do new stuff!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

It's so funny to me how different these two boys are. When Josh had just turned one, and we were trying to get him to walk, he would go spaghetti legs on us every time we tried to set him down. Not once did he ever walk around holding onto our fingers. It was always "If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it by myself." And eventually, he did. Ben has been a different story, completely. He takes a few steps on his own here and there, but really enjoys getting Mommy or Daddy's assistance in walking around. As soon as we set him down, assuming he is in the walking mood, he will stand strong on those little legs, and both arms will shoot up trying to find our fingers to grab onto so we can go for a little stroll. He sometimes can balance and get going really well just holding onto one hand. In reality, we are not doing much to help him. He just needs that little piece of security. We are the magic feather (thanks for the Dumbo reference, Dorrie!).

Last night he was doing really well and was taking very confident solo steps between Andrew and I, showing us his newest "forbidden treasure"... a drink coaster. Everyone together now.. Ooohhhh. Aaaahhhh. Every couple steps he would start to doubt himself and start to sit down, but then would change his mind and stand back up and keep going. He probably took about 5 or 6 steps at once.

He is definitely taking his time in learning how to walk. It just kind of goes along to the way his approach to life has been from day one... "Eh, I'll do it someday, but I'm in no hurry." But he is for sure getting there. I just need to remmeber not to try to push him. He'll get there. Until then, I'll enjoy our finger in hand strolls down the sidewalk.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Let the Weaning Begin!

Well, it's not happening exactly how I planned it, but I have officially begun weaning Ben from the breast. What I had wanted to do was eliminate his evening feeding first, leaving only morning and bedtime. But as I have previously posted, that didn't go over very well. So until this week I have plugged along at 3 nursings a day. Most mornings I am awoken by my baby's cries for milk at about 5:00. It sounds bad, but that's the time he's been trained to wake up to eat. But on Tuesday, he didn't wake up. So I decided to let him sleep and go about my morning routine. He didn't wake up until 6:00, which is when I would be getting him up anyway (he would always go back to sleep for a bit after nursing). So I decided to forego nursing that morning and see how we did. He didn't even seem to notice. Today is day 3 of not nursing him in the morning. I'm really excited about having this feeding knocked out (assuming we continue down this path). This morning I was even able to get up and exercise a little bit which I have been wanting to do for a long time, but when do I have the time to do that? I am just hoping that my body quickly adjusts my milk production. By the time we get home from work, I am, shall we say, more than ready to feed him! We'll see how long it takes to get him off of me completely. I'm not in any huge hurry, but, in the words of my friend Robin, I am also ready for my body's part in all of this to be over.

1st Birthday Portraits

We had Ben's 1st birthday portraits taken over the weekend. The kid is a natural! Click here to see them. We had them taken at Kiddie Kandids. They did such an awesome job... but then again, look at their subject! =)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Swiper, No Swiping!

Josh is a big fan of the shows played on Noggin. He actually requests to watch the channel by name... "I want to see on Noggin!" What's great is everything on this channel is completely age appropriate for him, so we have no problem letting him watch them. On the show Dora the Explorer, there is a character by the name of Swiper, who is a fox who likes to come around and cause trouble. To get him to stop, you have to say "Swiper, no swiping!" When Swiper has to stop swiping, he says "Ah, man!" and goes away. His part of the show can really only be described as a cameo. But for some reason, Josh REALLY doesn't like Swiper. Whenever Swiper shows up, Josh promptly turns off the TV and says he is all done watching, because he doesn't like Swiper. When we ask him why he doesn't like Swiper, he says it is because he says "Ah, man!" We have no idea why Swiper is so disliked, but we like that Josh sticks to his convictions!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rock Me Like a Hurricane!


What a whopper of a storm did we get last night! I have lived here my whole life and I don't remember a storm as severe as this one. At about 8:00 last night, the sky tore open, shaking our windows, the lightning and thunder were pretty much constant and the winds were unbelievable. We probably got about an inch of rain in maybe a half hour. It was insane, and at the time I had no idea just how out of control it really was.

So this morning we go out to inspect the damage, and find our roof looking like the picture above. That's not good... thankfully we didn't get any leaks, but we didn't want this to go unrepaired. Thankfully, my mother-in-law had recently given us a referral for a roofer they have known for a long time (we had already lost some shingles from prior storms) so Andrew got him on the phone this morning and he agreed to come out and got it all fixed up this afternoon. It worked out well because Andrew was already planning on being home because Ben still had remnants of a fever. Anyway, I packed up Josh and we headed off to school. After we got off of the freeway in Phoenix, most of the traffic lights were malfunctioning, or just plain not working at all. I was thinking that I didn't have a good feeling about this. Then I heard people calling in on the radio saying that schools that were close by to daycare were closed due to lack of power. Uh oh. Then we got to school and saw a downed light pole and found out that school was indeed closed for the day because they had no electricity. Too bad I didn't know that before I drove 25 miles in! But what can you do? So I took Josh back home and just worked from home for a good portion of the day.

I guess the destruction downtown was massive. Major arteries for rush hour traffic were closed down due to downed power lines (I believe there were about 10 on 7th Street), there were even multiple spots where large portions of roofs were laying in the middle of the street. There were reports of wind gusts of about 100 mph, and the practice stadium for ASU was completely destroyed. It was just crazy. Don't believe me? Check this out! http://www.azcentral.com/commphotos/azcentral/7667/1/69/

Thankfully the monsoon season is nearing its end. It has been a pretty impressive season this year. The storms can be kind of cool to watch, but not when they are causing millions of dollars of damage around the city. Hopefully this will be the last of its kind for quite some time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time for Round Two

Josh is over his random fever and got to have his first day in his new classroom yesterday. He was so excited and had a great day. His teachers seem nice, so I don't believe we will have any issues this year like we started out with last year, so that's a relief!

So after getting over one round of illness in the house, the inevitable second round has hit. Benny felt a little warm this morning, running a temp right around 100. So we did what any parent would do... pumped him full of Motrin and sent him off to school hoping that he would at least make it through nap time. Then 2:30 came with no call from daycare. Sweet! I guess he's okay. 3:00, we're for sure in the clear now. 3:15, not so fast. Daycare called me to pick him up because he had a fever over 101. He usually gets picked up at 4:00, so we were so close! So now he's not welcome at school tomorrow. Thankfully my mom is available to watch him for us so that we don't have to miss any more work. Andrew and I both had to take a chunk of time off last week because daycare was closed, and now the kids get sick. Isn't that always the way? I guess this is where being a stay at home mom would be helpful. Hopefully this will pass through him quickly and he can go back to school on Friday and we can move on to bigger and better things!

What'd You Say?

Little Ben is definitely finding his voice. At this age it's hard to tell what is actually being used, and what is just babbling, but there are a couple things that we SWEAR Ben is actually saying. He's been saying da-da-da for a while... that's pretty much been all he's said, so it's been hard to tell if he's actually associating it to Andrew. But a couple weeks ago he started adding the ma-ma-ma-ma sound to his baby vocabulary. But since then, we've noticed that he really only says ma-ma-ma when he is coming after me, climbing all over me, or when I am at least in the vicinity. We think he is actually calling me Ma Ma Ma (he adds an extra for good measure!)!!! He also has been making a da-da sound whenever he sees a dog. The intonations of this da-da are different than his others, and the other day he started trying to put a "g" sound in it and it really sounded like he was trying to say Doggie. It also sounds like he says "Thank you"... actually it doesn't sound anything like Thank You, but he makes the same sound - 2 little grunts - whenever you give him something. Even my friend noticed it, so we're not totally nuts. He has been loving experimenting with different sounds, and imitating some of the sounds we make. It's so cute, we just love it. We can't wait until Josh and Ben start having full blown conversations. That is going to be constant comedy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Here We Go!!!

Ben took a few little steps tonight!!! It might not look like much, but it's one of the most beautiful things we've ever seen! Hallelujah! It looks like the trick to getting him to pitter patter is letting him hold onto something he thinks he's not supposed to have, as evidenced by my cell phone in his little hands. Whatever works for ya, buddy. Yay!

What a Weekend

This weekend was one of those that we were so happy to see Monday roll around so we could go back to work! There wasn't anything totally horrible that happened, it was just extremely long and taxing.

Let me start by saying how much we love our little Ben. He is so sweet and funny and such a joy to have. We are just at a difficult developmental stage right now that can make things difficult, especially for Mommy. There is only so much face clawing, hair pulling and hitting a person can take! We are learning that Ben seems to get frustrated pretty easily, which is understandable for a little guy just beginning to try to figure out this big ol' world around him. Since he has no other outlet for his frustration, he lets it out physically. So our big task right now is to try to teach him how to use his hands nice. In addition to wrath of Ben's frustration, he also feels he needs to be hanging on me at all times. This is just a challenging age, and I know this too shall pass (come on, walking!), but any prayers for my sanity would be greatly appreciated!

To add onto all of that, Joshua came down with a high fever on Saturday afternoon. He woke up from his nap and we were cuddling and I thought he felt a little warm so I took his temp. 103.6. WHAT? Where did that come from?! So we pretty much spent the rest of the weekend home with him, cuddling and watching more Noggin than I will ever care to admit. The bummer of it all is that he was so looking forward to his first day of school in his new classroom (he gets to go in the purple door now), and he wasn't able to go today. He seems to be doing better now and we anticipate he'll be able to go tomorrow.

So with Josh wanting Mommy to cuddle on the couch, and Ben wanting to climb all over me, my personal space bubble was pretty much non-existent this weekend. I love my boys with my whole heart, but sometimes the solitude of my office sounds pretty darned good!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One Year Checkup

Ben went for his one year old check up today. Everything is great! He weighed in at 19 lbs 10 oz, which is still in the 10%, but he is holding steady on the growth chart, so there are no concerns there. He is 29.75 inches long (50%) and his head is 47 cm (75%). So he is pretty much our little big headed boy. =) He is hitting every single milestone right on target. One little blip on the health radar is that his iron came back a teensy bit low, so they are having us give him an iron supplement every day for the next 3 months. He was just borderline anemic, so he should be up to par at his next checkup. Hopefully the iron won't cause too much staining to those brand new pearly whites! He also got 3 pokes today. But big brother was there to comfort him and make sure he was okay. The tears didn't last too long afterward and he quickly returned to his happy go lucky self.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Come On Already!

I've heard the advice... I've even GIVEN the advice. "Don't be in such a hurry for your child to walk. Once they start walking, there's no going back.." Blah, blah, blah. This is true to a certain extent. BUT, then you hit that point where it would honestly be so much easier if he would just start walking already. We're at that point, and it's driving me crazy. Ben has been incredibly mobile for a long time. The only think missing is independent walking. He crawls at the speed of light, pulls himself up and cruises.... and he knows it. He knows he can go wherever he wants to go all by himself, so he gets frustrated at being carried around and becomes squirmy worm that is hard to even keep a hold of, because all he wants to do is explore. He doesn't understand that there are some places you just can't crawl. I know he's going to do it on his own time, but I am praying that his time will be soon, and I'm also praying for endurance and patience to get through this time. I know he'll do it.... I just wish he'd get on with it!

Gotta Get Away!

The weather in Phoenix lately has been, shall we say, toasty. In addition to that, life has been a bit mundane. We have been really feeling the itch to get away from it all, break out of our box and do something new and different. We got our chance this weekend. Grandma and Grandpa B were camping up in Payson, and invited us to come up for the day. What? Spend a day away from 110 degrees and spend time outdoors, and all it will cost us is a half a tank of gas? We felt like we won the Health and Wealth! Okay, that might be going a little far, but we were pretty excited about it anyway.

We started our day by going out to breakfast with the boys before heading out on the road. I think we could have ordered Ben his own adult sized meal and he would have taken it down. The kid was bottomless! But I digress. After breakfast, we got out on the road, and were delighted to see the thermostat on our car tick down one degree at a time. By the time we got to the camp site, about 15 miles outside of Payson, the temp had gone down to 78 degrees. Whoo hoo! We met up with Grandma and Grandpa, after having an entertaining conversation with the old lady who was running the booth at the entrance to the camp ground. She was a character to say the least. Joshua was highly impressed with Grandma and Grandpa's trailer. Actually, so was I. This is not your roughing it camping. This is my kind of camping. Camping with a bed, a microwave, a DVD player and a fully functioning bathroom. We spent a little time exploring the woods behind the campsite, collecting sticks and pine cones. Ben loved crawling around in the dirt, too.



After exploring the camp, we packed a picnic lunch and headed up to Woods Canyon Lake, which is at the top of the Mogollon Rim. We got a nice little shower on the way up there, which kept the temperature nice a cool. Ben had a great time smearing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all over his face and stroller. He may have even gotten some in his mouth!




Josh was fascinated by the lake, and even got to stick his feet in. It is so beautiful up there! We even got to see a crawdad and a water snake!







After bumming around the lake for a while, we went back to camp and hung out. I even let Andrew beat me at cribbage... ha ha, just kidding. He ALWAYS beats me. But I guess that's why he suggested we play cribbage instead of dominoes! But at least I held my own this time...he only beat me by one point!

Grandpa made us an awesome dinner and Josh and Grandma made a yummy dessert. Nothing says vacation like good eating! But alas, it was time to head home. We were all sufficiently pooped! Josh was sacked out before we hit Payson city limits, with a book still open in his lap.



I'm pretty sure Ben was too. After an hour and a half car ride, we were back to our 100 degree home and our normal routine. But it was so great to be able to get away, if only for a day. Thanks for the invite, Grandma and Grandpa B. Can't wait to do it again!