Saturday, April 25, 2009

Big Boy Bed

Joshua is our little giant. At just under 4 years old he is nearly 4 feet tall. So it's no surprise that he has come very close to outgrowing his toddler bed. So we buckled down, stimulated the economy and bought him his first (and probably only until he moves out the house!) big boy bed. We got it at Pruitt's which is the BEST furniture store in the Valley. I think almost every piece of furniture we have is from there. The bed was delivered this morning. It looks so huge in his room compared to the little toddler bed. Check it out!

When we told him we were getting him a new bed, he was SO excited. We asked what kind of sheets he wanted, and without hesitation announced that he was going to have a Thomas the Train bed. Alrighty then. Thomas the Train you shall have! It is so stinking cute!

He of course had to give it an immediate test drive.

In addition to his new bed, Josh also got a clock radio/CD player to put on his new nightstand. After his room was all set up, he spent almost an hour playing different CD's in his room. Our plan is to start training him to get himself up and ready in the morning. We are going to have him help us make a CD with all of his favorite songs, and set his alarm to start playing the CD when it's time to get up and get ready for school. We think he's going to do an awesome job with that, and it might even make the mornings a little easier. We'll see!

As I type the bed is on its maiden voyage to dreamland (it was no problem getting Josh to take a nap today!). This is just another sign that he's growing up before our very eyes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Vegas!

Mommy and Daddy got to take a weekend getaway to Las Vegas this past weekend. The biggest reason for the trip was to get to meet this little one...

That's our newest little niece, Adria Lynn Jones. She's such a doll! It was the highlight of my weekend to be able to do this...

and this

Of course I did let Andrew hold her, at least for a few minutes.

After I had gotten my baby fix, and had a good visit with Kerri, we headed off to our hotel to begin the second part of our trip, celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary! My boss finagled us a free room at The Mirage, so we were living in style!

Our room was so cute

After resting up for a little bit, we got ready and headed downstairs to dinner at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse. It was definitely a unique dining experience. There are several waiters who walk around with different kinds of meat on giant skewers and slice you off pieces.

They'll keep coming until you indicate on your table you'd like to take a break. Everything was so good, and we got so stuffed! Here we are with our Plates O' Meat

After dinner we went out on the strip and walked around the various casinos. We played some slots at Caesar's Palace, but that was a big bust! I guess when you've limited yourself to $20, you're not planning on walking away with anything! But we did get our pictures taken with some gladiators

Since we didn't like to see our money disappearing so quickly on the $.25 slots, at the next casino, Paris, we opted for the penny slots. That's my kind of gambling! My first spin, I got this

yeah, it was only a dollar, but it sure was fun watching the credits rack up. And at least our $5 lasted about twenty minutes, instead of two! When we were done with the slots, we headed back to the room, as we were DONE fighting the crowds of the drunk and scantily clad. We ordered some apple pie from room service (that was some good apple pie... worth the $16 - no joke!) and hit the sack. That was a long day. I'm surprised we made it as late as we did!

The next morning we got up and tried a few spins at the Roulette table. That was a big bust, but fun anyway! Before heading home we had brunch with Kerri and Jonathon, and of course Adria too.

Jonathon had been working on Saturday, so we were happy to be able to see him, at least for a little bit. We ate at the Hash House a Go Go.

If you're ever in Vegas and looking for some good breakfast, you've GOT to try this place. It was so good, and the portions are unreal. After brunch we hopped on the road to head home and see our boys, who had spent the weekend with Grandma and Grandad.

I can't say that Vegas is our kind of town, but it was fun to get away for a couple days without kids and have some fun adult time. We'll be sure not to wait another 4 years before we do it again!

The obligatory self portrait!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yo, Gabba Gabba!!!!

On evenings when one of us has a church obligation and the other one is on his or her own for the boys' bedtime, we make life easy and let Joshua watch a few minutes of TV while we put Ben to bed. It keeps him occupied and out of trouble so Ben can have his relaxing wind down, book reading time. So on Tuesday I turned the TV to Noggin after bath, and the show Yo Gabba Gabba was on. If you've never seen this show here's the opening sequence.

It is probably the strangest thing I have ever seen on TV, but the kids eat it up. Ben was completely mesmerized by it, and when one of the songs started, he started getting his boogy on big time! He was bobbing up and down, clapping his hands, swaying his head Stevie Wonder style and stomping his feet, all at the same time. Talk about dance machine! It's hilarious! See for yourself!

video



Isn't it funny how a show as completely annoying as Yo Gabba Gabba can take on a whole new life when you see your 1 year old enjoying it so much!

Another Installment of Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Last night I was giving the boys a bath, and Joshua announces that while he was riding in the car, he saw a man wearing girl panties. I'm sorry, what??? So I go out to ask Andrew why Joshua would have said that. Turns out that the other day on the way home (on a day when Mommy wasn't in the car), Andrew encountered a driver that was taking more of a passive approach to driving than Andrew thought was necessary (Andrew's a very good driver, but a passive driver he's not!). After a few minutes of quiet frustration, Andrew says "Oh come on! Put on your big girl panties and drive already!" This, along with Joshua picking up the word "Va-jay-jay" (but not using it in a sentence, thankfully) are teaching Daddy to watch what he says around the 3 year old!

Easter 2009

Easter is such a special time for us. It is the celebration of the biggest, most significant event to take place in the history of the world! Jesus, who had been crucified just 3 days prior, which paid the price for all of our sins, rose from the dead, proving once and for all that he IS God! How incredible! In years past, we have not been able to do much of anything for Easter, other than go to church and look for Easter eggs in the backyard. But this year we were able to get together with our parents and have a really fun day!

Festivities started on Saturday, when Joshua and I made Easter cookies (which I'm sure has now become a tradition in our house!). We made cookies shaped like Bunnies, butterflies, flowers and eggs, and decorated them with different colored homemade frosting, M&M's and chocolate chips. We had such a good time together and Joshua is an Egg-cellent cookie decorator (get it?). We went to church on Saturday night, having been enticed by the offer of free pizza for dinner after the service. After enjoying our pizza, we went home and colored our Easter eggs. This was Joshua's 2nd time coloring eggs, and he did a great job, even making 2-colored eggs without any help.

On Easter Sunday we lounged around a lot of the morning. Andrew went to church to help greet for one of the Sunday morning services, and when he got home we gave the boys their Easter baskets. We were a little surprised that Joshua didn't pee his pants over his Easter basket, he was so excited about getting it. Of course he dove right into the Jelly Beans, and they were both so excited over getting new bubble bath and a cool no-spill bubble blower.

Joshua also got a little train set that runs on a circle track. I never would have imagined that a $2 toy would make him so happy!

Note to self for the upcoming birthday! After baskets I sneaked outside to hide the eggs, and both boys really got into hunting for the eggs. Joshua did a great job letting Ben find some eggs, instead of running after all of them himself, and Ben got the hang of this egg hunting thing very quickly! It was so much fun!


After that Grandma and Grandad and Grandma and Grandpa B all came over. Grandma and Grandpa had Great-Grandma Pat with them, too. It was so great to see her! Grandma B brought Easter baskets for the boys, with WAY too much candy in them (but then, that's a Grandma's job, right?) and we had a nice visit with everyone. My parents stayed for dinner and we ate way too much, having ham, baked beans (my mom's are the BEST!), potato salad, asparagus and deviled eggs, with carrot cake for dessert.

After everyone had gone home, we packed up some cookies and took them to our neighbor, Mr. Jim, who invited us in to visit for a bit, and the boys quickly discovered his putting machine, so they occupied themselves trying to roll golfballs into the hole so they could watch them shoot out.

It seems like as the boys get older the holidays get more and more fun. What a great Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The "Fruit" of Our Labor

How exciting gardening has been! When we bought our little plants a few weeks ago, there was nothing close to anything edible on them. But as we have carefully watered and doted on our "babies" we have watched them thrive in their new home. We'd had our eye on one particular strawberry that seemed to be getting pretty darned big, and were pretty impressed with ourselves for successfully growing something. Then one day early last week, I was checking out the strawberries, and lo and behold found a giant one (at least compared to the others) that had been hiding from us down in the dirt. Over the following days it slowly started to turn red.

Every day as soon as we would get home, we'd go out to check on our strawberry, to see if it got "even more redder", as Joshua would say. Yesterday when we checked it out, it looked like it was ripe for the picking, so we went for it! Joshua got to do the honors of picking the strawberry.

What a delicious strawberry, and about as organic as you can get! Of course we all shared it, so we all just got a little taste, but man, there is nothing like tasting the fruit of all your labor!


Sadly, Copper has discovered the garden, and has gotten in there to sleep a couple times this week, which of course just about uprooted one of the plants. So we put a net over the garden to try to keep her out. That was successful, but unfortunately the plants, especially the tomatoes, were none too pleased about being covered, even though they were still getting full sunlight. While we were gone during the day one of the branches on the tomato plant that had about 10 buds on it shrivled up, and the other tomato plant started looking pretty sad. So we took the net off and are trying to come up with a new way to keep an old beagle out of the garden.

Can I just say, I heart gardening!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

CCC Women's Retreat

I had such an amazing time this past weekend! I had the privilege of going up to beautiful (and chilly!) Prescott for my church's women's retreat. Not only did I get to go and spend time getting connected with God along with so many wonderful women (including my friend Kathryn from junior high!), but I also had the honor of serving as the retreat's worship leader.

I was approached about putting together the music for the retreat almost a year ago, and have been diligently planning and furiously downloading all sorts of music over the last few months to get ready. I invited my sister to sing on the team, and was so excited and blessed that she did! I don't know how, with both of us being singers, we haven't had an opportunity to really sing together in the last 30 years, but it was so great to be able to not only sing with her, but worship with her, too! My dear friend, Livonia, also sang with us. My friends, Lana, Kristi and Tammy also served on our team running the sound board and powerpoint, and I can't thank them enough for all of their hard work! In the planning stages, Satan definitely tried to creep in and get a hold of me, trying to plant the idea in my mind that I didn't have the chops to pull off such a huge task, and also tried to throw some last minute obsticles my way, but in the end, God certainly prevailed, giving us everything we needed to be able to effectively lead these women in worshiping Jesus.




The theme of the retreat was "No Regrets." Our speaker, Julie Gariss, was incredible! She shared with us her studies on the life of the old testament Joseph, and what an amazing example he is of overcoming family issues and of our own forgiveness for others. At the end of the weekend, we all nailed a regret, sealed in an envelope, to a cross. We give those to Jesus and we leave them there! It was incredible (and incredibly difficult to sing through watching so many women crying and being so emotionally touched by the experience!).





The time outside of the sessions was so much fun! On Saturday we had 4-5 hours of down time to just play around. A bunch of us decided to try our hand at climbing a 30 foot rock wall, and riding down a zip line. Sign me up for that one! I was surpised at how easy it was, and the ride down was so much fun!



Here was our home for the weekend.

It was a 4 bedroom cabin, and were lucky enough to all be in the same cabin together. The nights were pretty chilly, as our cabin was only heated by a wood burning stove in the common area (the first night I slept in my coat!). We got fed SO WELL by the camp staff, with 3 square meals a day, including desert at dinner. It seemed like everywhere we looked there was food! Everyone came with their own munchies to share, so it seemed like we had a whole grocery store in our cabin!


Of course we had to get a picture of our outstanding group of women before we left. Here we are!

Top row - Left to Right: Lori, Lana, Brandy, Livonia, Kristi, Tammy & Brenda.

Bottom Row: Ronna and Kathryn.



I feel so blessed to have been a part of this retreat, and am so glad I went!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ten Years

Wow. It has been 10 years (and one day, since I wasn't able to post this yesterday) since Andrew and I met in person. I can't remember life without him... and I don't want to!

We had met online a few weeks before and had been chatting here and there, but most of the time we would seem to just miss each other. I would get the little ICQ "uh-oh!" from him right as I was ready to log off for the night. The the first time he paged me (yes, paged me... we're talking 10 years ago here, people!), I was on a date with someone else, so I didn't call him back. Thankfully for me he was persistent even though it seemed as though I was trying to blow him off. When we finally did connect on the phone, we decided to meet up at Jamaican Blue, a coffee house that I frequented in downtown Scottsdale. I had a picture of him, but he had no idea what he was walking into, since I didn't have a picture I could send him and all I would tell him was that I was "average". I think he was a little scared! But we found each other and talked for a bit, and then decided to try to find somewhere to eat dinner. He didn't want to take me to the Olive Garden, since he thought that would be super lame, but it was the thought in the back of his head in case we didn't find anything better along the way. Of course, we ended up at the Olive Garden.

Our waiter had a strange obsession with Romano Cheese, and offered some to us every time he came to our table... even when he brought us drinks. We had great conversation. I don't remember anything we talked about, but I remember laughing a lot... partly because I was "first-date nervous" and partly because I hadn't been desensitized to his brand of humor yet (I am now!). =) After dinner we went back to Jamaican Blue where my car was and decided to go walking around the Scottsdale Civic Center. While we were walking, I saw a swan that looked like it might be dead, so I wanted to throw a rock at it to see if it moved. But there was some strange dude lurking around us, so I didn't do it... I sure hope that swan was ok!

Afer a while we returned to our cars, and he gave me a hug goodbye. He will tell you the hug lasted a little longer than he was comfortable with, but I didn't hear any complaints at the time. =)

And that's what started it all. April 7, 1999 is definitely a day for the history books... the Maple history books anyway. One day short of 3 years later (April 6, 2002 for those of you keeping score at home) we were married.

So much has happened in the last 10 years, and there is no one else I would have wanted to share any of it with. Thank you, my love, for a wonderful decade. I look forward to many more together. I love you!